Salesforce for Small Businesses
Salesforce is one of the most popular customer relationship management (CRM) platforms available. Many businesses use it to help track customer data, create actionable sales and marketing insights, and connect cross-department teams.
Salesforce is a powerful tool with an ecosystem of applications to solve almost every business need. It’s no wonder this CRM has been ranked best in the world for the 5th year in a row and is used by businesses of all sizes. Although it’s powerful, is Salesforce worth it for small business owners?
Our answer is yes!
As a boutique digital transformation consulting firm, the 5P mission is to optimize organizations for increased productivity, and we use process and technology to help drive these changes. First, we focus on identifying the problems and needs of a business, then, we develop a plan that includes a quick win to jumpstart success while also driving long-term improvements.
Our past experience includes working with some of the top SaaS technology and productivity solutions. Over the years we’ve seen a lot of different business trends, including adopting Salesforce for managing customers.
Let’s take a look at using Salesforce for small businesses.
Is Salesforce Worth it For Small Businesses?
Salesforce is known for driving efficiency, but it’s no secret that most enterprise-level technology solutions are costly. This leaves many small business owners wondering whether it’s worth the price to invest in the platform. Luckily, there are lots of ways to customize a Salesforce solution to fit the unique needs of your business.
Salesforce has built a platform that is affordable and maximizes business automation for small businesses up to large enterprises. Many small businesses don’t know you can get Sales and Service functionality in one platform for $25 per user. With pricing so affordable, you can’t afford not to invest in a small business CRM.
We work with businesses of all types and sizes at 5P. One of the things we love about the Salesforce platform is that it doesn’t use a ‘one size fits all’ approach. There are endless ways to configure the platform using one of three base products:
- Non-Profit Cloud: This is a solution for non-profit organizations. It provides contact management, donor nurturing, and fundraising support to maximize impact, revenue, and reach. Depending on the organization, this solution costs little to nothing for users in the non-profit space.
- Salesforce Essentials for Small Businesses: Essentials is the Salesforce small business edition. The Essentials solution makes it easy for small businesses to manage contacts, leads, sales opportunities, and customer service. It allows you to create data-driven reports and dashboards. Salesforce Essentials is a great CRM for small business applications due to integrations with popular small business tools like G-Suite, DocuSign, TaskRay, DropBox, etc.
- Professional and Enterprise: Once a business reaches a certain size, it can often benefit from Professional and Enterprise Salesforce solutions. These platforms are ideal for medium to large-scale businesses to enhance the sales nurturing and customer service process. There is an ecosystem of pre-built solutions and these solutions have the flexibility of custom integration. There are a handful of add-ons and access to third-party applications that include tools for accounting, forecasting, quoting, and cross-selling, which reduces the need for multiple systems and manual data crunching.
What Can Salesforce Do for My Business?
You know Salesforce is a powerful tool, but you might be wondering how Salesforce helps businesses, especially small businesses. Won’t a program that’s so powerful and has so many features be too much for a smaller business to handle?
Lucky for small business owners like yourself, Salesforce is the ideal solution for a growing business. You can customize your solution and integrations to find the perfect balance of automation and organization features at an affordable price. This is one of the core benefits of Salesforce for small businesses, along with its easy-to-use interface, location flexibility, and ability to streamline your business processes.
Let’s take a closer look at how Salesforce helps business owners get more out of their business processes and data.
Benefits of Salesforce for Small Businesses
- Easy to Learn and Use: The Salesforce interface was designed with the end user in mind. That means you don’t have to be a technical genius to use the platform. Your employees can easily learn how to navigate the sections and modules they need — especially with 5P training resources. You’ll have little to no downtime as your teams get used to a new interface and tools to make their work easier.
- Customizable and Scalable: As mentioned before, Salesforce is completely customizable to your business needs. Whether you want a simple, pre-built installation or need something a little more complex, it’s possible to configure Salesforce to meet those needs. When your business grows and needs more from the platform, you can scale your Salesforce solution to fit your changing needs.
- Cloud-Based Flexibility: Cloud-based programs are ideal for many modern businesses. Whether you have a remote team or are often on the go, cloud-based platforms like Salesforce make it easy to stay connected no matter where you are.
- Streamline Workflows and Process Automation: The best part of Salesforce is the freedom it gives your team. By streamlining workflows and automating processes, your business runs more efficiently, and employees can be more productive.
Salesforce Pricing for Small Business
The Salesforce small business edition is an affordable solution for many small businesses. Annual plans start at $25/month per user, with a slightly higher rate for month-to-month solutions. When the Salesforce Essentials edition was introduced it was a game-changer for small businesses. It let smaller businesses run like larger organizations without the cost of an enterprise-level solution.
Larger businesses might also find that the Essentials version actually fits their needs better than a more expensive edition. The key is comparing options and configurations that optimize the CRM for your unique business.
Even though Salesforce Essentials is affordable for many businesses, it may not be the perfect fit for your business. You may find updating your current tools or using a different platform works better for your organization.
Other CRMS for Small Businesses
At 5P, we know that Salesforce is only one solution for small business CRMS, and that is why we won’t recommend it unless it is the right solution for your business. We have experience with many other CRMS for small businesses and can take an objective look at your current systems and present other options that may be a better fit.
We start by analyzing your existing processes and tools. Based on what we see from your existing processes, we can customize and optimize your current tools or implement new solutions. Our goal is always to provide our clients with the best solution for their budgets, needs, and goals regardless of products or brands.
Our Salesforce Story
As a digital transformation firm, 5P Consulting helps other organizations become more efficient through process and technology. We do this with our business as well, however, like many small businesses, the enterprise-level Salesforce solutions were out of our budget. We couldn’t invest in those robust Salesforce editions while also knowing those funds could be used by investing in our internal operations, our current clients, and helping non-profits in our local community.
We were ecstatic when Salesforce Essentials was released back in 2017. We signed up for a free trial to test the new solution for small businesses like ours. This is what we found:
- Our trial version included the use of all the platform features at no cost for 30 days for Sales and Service functionality.
- We purchased the full version of Salesforce Essentials for our entire team at $25/user per month — two full days before our trial was supposed to end.
- We were able to keep all our data from the trial version.
- The program made it easy to convert all of our contacts, accounts, and leads internally from our old system.
- We used Salesforce ‘Opportunities’ and ‘Tasks’ to define leads and accounts while communicating with the whole team.
- We didn’t have to develop any reports because all the best practices were built into the platform to help us manage where we’re at with a contact, the next action, who owns what, what meetings are coming up, and what contracts need additional work or can be closed.
- We get proactive news about our contacts in Salesforce so we can stay on top of their business not just ours.
- We easily customized dashboards, reports, and screen layouts.
- We have the mobile app for everything on the go.
- We added in a free Google Chrome plugin so everything can be done in our email and populated automatically into Salesforce. This has saved so much time and is one of our favorite features.
- We integrated digital signatures for contracts with DocuSign.
- We developed customer marketing campaigns so we could target value-added communications to our prospects and clients and keep track of the results.
Salesforce Essentials gives us access to sales and service abilities with one purchase. We can now also automate the way we track ongoing operational activities like incidents, problems, and project tickets with our clients.
The platform allows our entire 5P team the ability to drive business growth without being salespeople. It put in a cadence for us to nurture contacts, leads, and opportunities no matter the role at 5P.
Like most small businesses, our people fill multiple roles. At 5P, our entire operational and delivery team is now focused on growing our business the same way. There is a sense of ownership and transparency across the entire team resulting in growing together instead of losing hours searching through emails and chats to determine where we left off with prospecting clients.
Learn More About Salesforce for Small Businesses
We are still using Salesforce Essentials from when we implemented it back in 2017. Since then we have customized it to fit our needs and integrated our platform with our other SaaS tools for maximized efficiency.
Many small businesses need a small business CRM to work quickly and effortlessly. Start by taking our customer service assessment or work with us and we will help you determine if Salesforce is the right fit for your business. We always start with a free consultation with our solution and business experts – reach out to get started today.
Originally published July 26, 2021.