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Salesforce CRM Review

Nadia Reckmann
Nadia Reckmann Staff
Updated Dec 09, 2022

Salesforce is the best customer relationship management (CRM) software for growing businesses because of the sheer number of features, third-party integrations, customization and add-on options available. Once implementation is complete, Salesforce offers users a beautifully designed product that’s speedy, powerful and perfectly tailored to a company’s specific processes. All of this and more makes this CRM system ideal for growing businesses with diverse and evolving needs.

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Salesforce CRM

The Verdict

The Salesforce CRM offers an impressive selection of features, customization options and tailored workflows within a single ecosystem, making it our pick for the best CRM for growing businesses.

Salesforce Editor’s Score: 9.4/10

Customizations, add-ons and integrations9.8/10
Ease of use9.1/10
Customer service9.5/10

Why We Chose Salesforce as the Best CRM for Growing Businesses

Salesforce is arguably the best-known CRM provider, with an established community and a well-earned reputation for being one of the leaders in the customer relationship management field. While it was created to meet the needs of enterprises and large businesses, Salesforce has expanded its scope with streamlined options that are easier and somewhat more affordable to get up and running for small and growing businesses. The amount of available customization options is hardly matched by any other CRM vendor, and while the initial setup requires time and sufficient IT skills, the final product is guaranteed to accommodate all custom processes and meet the changing needs of growing businesses. A plethora of features, advanced customization and automation options, comprehensive reports, and an ability to evolve as your company does make the Salesforce product our top CRM choice for growing businesses.

What We Like About the Salesforce CRM

  • The Salesforce CRM is highly customizable and, with time, allows you to modify almost every element to fit your specific business needs.
  • The lowest-priced plan includes such advanced features as mass emails, marketing campaign management, a drag-and-drop app builder and lead auto-assignment.
  • There’s an immense selection of support materials, videos, and tutorials available, as well as a helpful online community.

What We Don’t Like About the Salesforce CRM

  • Due to the sheer volume of customization and automation options, setting up the Salesforce CRM to match your business’s specific processes and needs can be time-consuming and may require training for your in-house administrators.
  • The pricing model can be confusing, and there is a lack of clarity around add-ons, which can drive up the cost.
  • There is no visual gallery of available email templates, which would make client communication and automation much easier.

Ease of Use

Eschewing the trendy while maintaining a modern look, the Salesforce CRM keeps the navigation process simple. The upper tab-style layout is typical across business and personal software, making it easy to grasp, and categories like “Home,” “Contacts,” “Accounts,” “Leads,” “Tasks,” “Reports” and “Opportunities” need no explanation.

Given the unusually high number of features and customizations available, this CRM’s initial setup can require more time and expertise than other options we reviewed. However, Salesforce’s generous sample data and smart default setup options allow businesses to use the CRM out of the box and gradually modify contact, opportunity, account, task and workflow elements as they explore its full scope over time.

To facilitate the implementation process and resolve any usability issues along the way, Salesforce offers a wealth of support materials, webinars and guides, as well as access to its global Trailblazer community. The vendor promises a two-day query response time, and upper-tier plans give business owners access to live support, coaching sessions and adoption guidance for an additional fee.

Specific training may be needed for your in-house administrators, but Salesforce provides excellent admin controls. Setting up different permissions based on groups or individual users is simple (and some systems allow for admin settings by group only), as is creating different displays and workflows for various departments and employees. If you have even moderate technical expertise and admin experience, you should have no trouble onboarding users, updating permissions or managing this CRM day to day.

Salesforce sales pipeline
The pipeline management feature gives an overview of your sales opportunities.

Salesforce Features

The Salesforce product boasts an impressive array of CRM features that make it one of the best on the market.

Comprehensive Business Ecosystem

Salesforce offers a range of business products that all seamlessly integrate with each other. Businesses can grow with its CRM and gradually adopt new features as needed. Some Salesforce product categories include the Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Commerce Cloud, Safety Cloud, Heroku (an app development platform), Quip (a collaboration tool) and the Salesforce Platform (with high-level development, customization, analytics and built-in AI).

Salesforce call coaching
The CRM has call coaching functionality in the Sales Console.

Integrations and Add-Ons

The sheer scalability of Salesforce’s software makes it an excellent choice for rapidly expanding companies. The Salesforce AppExchange store is one way CRM users can build customizable systems and integrate their favorite business apps. Other CRM software companies we reviewed have similar online stores for add-ons, but Salesforce’s is far more comprehensive, with thousands of available integrations. The company also makes it easy to search for add-ons based on the product name and view industry-specific product bundles. Because Salesforce is such a huge company, the offering of industry-specific add-ons is expansive, and there’s even a separate section for small-business-specific add-ons, many of which are free.

Did you know?Did you know? New apps are added to the AppExchange daily, further enhancing its appeal.

Intuitive Productivity Tools

One of Salesforce’s greatest strengths is the built-in project management features it offers its end users. Once implemented, sales and marketing departments, as well as managers, will find it easy to manage and build workflows, assign and follow tasks, and check off permissions. Salesforce’s visual dashboards allow your sales reps to check KPIs and track their progress toward the quotas, facilitating productivity and accountability. You can add meetings straight from the calendar tab, getting an instant overview of your schedule. There are also add-on productivity tools available through the AppExchange store.

FYIFYI: Among other neat features, Salesforce’s AI tool, Einstein, can flag emails in which leads have expressed critical concerns that could prevent a deal from moving forward, allowing a sales rep to prioritize those messages. Einstein is available on Salesforce’s upper-tier plans or as a paid add-on.

Salesforce AI
Salesforce’s AI tool, Einstein, provides detailed sales insights.


What truly sets the Salesforce CRM apart from others is its customization capabilities. While many of the CRMs we reviewed offer options for customizing deal and contact fields, email templates, and dashboards, the Salesforce system allows you to tailor page layouts using CSS; modify record pages, objects, buttons and links; and add Apex triggers for automations. There’s also a developer sandbox and an app builder included with every plan. In addition, the AppExchange offers almost unlimited options for expanding the CRM’s functionality.

Salesforce cadence
Salesforce allows you to set up cadences.

Trailblazer Community

Nearly every CRM vendor we reviewed has some form of an online community, but Salesforce’s Trailblazer community is replete with documentation that’s invaluable for admins, making it a real asset. Step-by-step guides on everything from how to create custom CRM reports to turning on user notifications are available. There’s also an extensive user-only forum for direct communication with other admins and CRM users, as well as a comprehensive Trailhead learning platform that offers various product-related courses, upskilling opportunities and even official certifications.

Did you know?Did you know? The Trailblazer community includes more than 15 million people across the Salesforce ecosystem.

Salesforce Pricing

You can purchase Salesforce’s Sales Cloud CRM via four different subscription tiers: Essentials, Professional, Enterprise and Unlimited. Only Essentials is available on a month-to-month basis; all the other plans require an annual contract. Business owners looking for more flexible pricing options should read our review of Freshworks.

All costs below are applied when billed annually.


Price: $25 per user per month; available for up to 10 users

Features: Account, contact, lead, task and opportunity management; lead auto-assignment; prevention of duplicates; automatic capture of lead’s available web information; mass email; marketing campaigns; customizable reports and dashboards; email integration with Gmail and Outlook; and Salesforce mobile app


Price: $75 per user per month

Features: Everything in the Essentials plan, plus pipeline management, lead registration, rules-based lead scoring, collaborative forecasting and forecasting mobile app, quote and order management, roles and permissions, and developer sandbox


Price: $150 per user per month

Features: Everything in the Professional plan, plus workflow and approval automation, sales teams and territories, opportunity scoring, and advanced reporting


Price: $300 per user per month

Features: Everything in the Enterprise plan, plus sales engagement hub, AI-powered sales insights with Einstein, sales cadences and 24/7 support

The Salesforce CRM is a massive product with lots of add-ons and customizations, so the subscription costs listed here should be considered jumping-off points. It’s possible to spend considerably more on this system depending on what you need. For example, CPQ & Billing, which allows you to quickly configure, price and quote complex solutions, costs $75 per user per month. Other add-ons include Pardot, Quip, Einstein AI and Sales Dialer – all of which are sold separately. There are also additional costs if you opt for training or help with implementation.

Relative to the other CRM systems we reviewed, Salesforce is pricey. Many other SaaS products offer free versions as well as low-cost, entry-level subscriptions that can be used indefinitely. While $25 per user per month isn’t exactly exorbitant, it’s not a realistic long-term option for most small businesses since only 10 users are supported at that level. The next plan jumps to $75 per user per month, which is significantly more expensive than the competition. At the very least, we recommend taking advantage of Salesforce’s 14-day trial to make sure that this CRM is worth the investment for your business.

Implementation and Onboarding

Due to the breadth of customization options, the implementation process for the Salesforce CRM varies drastically and can take anywhere between a couple of days and several weeks. While that may seem alarming, once the system is set up, users will quickly see that this CRM is worth the effort. It is also possible to use the software out of the box and modify it as your business needs evolve. Thanks to the intuitive design and overall sophistication of the product, the learning curve isn’t steep for non-admin users once the product is implemented.

Salesforce’s AppExchange allows users to extend the CRM’s functionality from the outset and access third-party integrations for thousands of apps and software products, ranging from in-house Salesforce add-ons to third-party solutions (both paid and free). The pricing scale Salesforce uses makes it easy for growing businesses to build out highly advanced systems, piece by piece, as they expand.

In addition to a vast library of available training materials, Salesforce offers adoption guidance and coaching services for an extra cost. That may be worth it for business owners concerned about setting up the CRM and onboarding users. [Learn more about implementing CRM software.]

TipTip: Use the Data Import Wizard from the Setup menu to import up to 50,000 standard objects – like contact, lead and account information – from a CSV file.

Customer Service

Salesforce provides an extensive selection of self-guided resources, access to the Trailblazer community and basic technical support, and the Unlimited package comes with 24/7 assistance. For an additional fee, all users can access 24/7 phone support, expert coaching and a dedicated account manager.

While Salesforce is a market leader in terms of its CRM technology, integrations and capabilities, we found that it falls short in the customer service department. When we reached out for information about the company’s services, the response was delayed.

When we did get in contact with customer support reps, they were very helpful and used real-life situations to explain its features and answer our questions about the program. They were very clear and offered several solutions to help further our understanding, but compared to other providers we called, their answers could have been more detailed.

Unfortunately, Salesforce has a D-minus rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and it isn’t an accredited BBB business. It earned 1 out of 5 stars and closed 37 complaints within the last three years. That’s disappointing and surprising for a company that’s so well regarded in the industry. Limitations Salesforce’s biggest strength – its customization capabilities – is also its potential downfall. Setting up a fully customized CRM tailored to your business’s specific sales processes, structure and workflows requires time and, ideally, a dedicated IT team. Entrepreneurs and smaller companies might be better off with an easy-to-use yet still customizable solution like Keap. Learn more in our detailed Keap review.

Most of the Salesforce CRM’s customizable elements require some basic technical knowledge of CSS and HTML. For example, creating email templates is a somewhat cumbersome process that requires a manual copy-and-paste of merge fields as opposed to an interactive drag-and-drop functionality offered by some of the rival CRMs we reviewed. This adds an extra load for admins and may be burdensome for small businesses. Check out our CRM review for a Salesforce alternative with more intuitive usability.

Due to the number of available add-ons and platforms, it can be difficult to estimate the final price of your desired CRM solution. However, Salesforce’s sales and support teams are happy to provide a unique quote for your business.

TipTip: Create custom prompts and walk-throughs in the In-App Guidance section of the Setup menu to send your sales reps helpful reminders, as well as training and onboarding messages.


This review is based on our extensive comparative research of dozens of software solutions in the CRM category and a product review process that included communication with the customer support team, a trial to evaluate the product’s functionality and an evaluation of numerous tutorials, webinars and support materials. As part of this review, we took a close look at Salesforce’s features and available functionality, including contact, opportunity, account and task management; sales automation; reporting and analytics; customization options; and available integrations. We also took pricing into consideration. With this in mind, see how to find the right CRM for your business.


Is Salesforce easy to learn?

Though the Salesforce system has an extensive collection of features and add-ons, its intuitive design and standard CRM lingo make it easy to learn. The vendor also provides various training materials and courses on Trailhead, the company’s free online learning platform, to get you started.

Can I use Salesforce for free?

Salesforce doesn’t have a free plan; its pricing starts at $25 per user per month. However, the company offers a 14-day free trial so you can assess whether it’s a good fit for your business.

Bottom Line

We recommend the Salesforce CRM for …

  • Growing businesses that need a flexible and highly customizable CRM solution.
  • Companies that want access to a large collection of integrations and add-ons to suit their processes and industries.
  • Businesses looking for a CRM that can expand with their evolving needs.

We don’t recommend the Salesforce CRM for …

  • Businesses that want a free CRM solution or advanced CRM functionality at an affordable price.
  • Entrepreneurs and small businesses with limited IT resources.
  • Companies that need a straightforward CRM system that works right out of the box and is easy to customize with no technical skills required.

Lisa McGreevy contributed to the writing and research in this review.

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Salesforce CRM

The Verdict

The Salesforce CRM offers an impressive selection of features, customization options and tailored workflows within a single ecosystem, making it our pick for the best CRM for growing businesses.

Nadia Reckmann
Nadia Reckmann Staff
During her years as a professional business writer, Nadia Reckmann has written hundreds of articles with a focus on SMB strategy, operations, technology, and tools that are essential for business success. In addition to that, she creates content that helps small businesses and entrepreneurs improve their marketing techniques, sales performance, and communication strategy. She also writes about CRM and other essential business software, team and project management, and productivity.