Top 5 Alternatives to Salesforce


Salesforce is undoubtedly the industry leader in the field of customer relationship management. The public company has over 100,000 products, and changed the market completely in the 2000s, when it overtook big vendors such as Siebel and Act. They offer many products based on core functionalities, including sales force automation, contact management, lead management, and reporting and analytics.

Though Salesforce is unquestionably the most popular CRM solution, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the right solution for you. There are certain drawbacks, the main one being that it’s one of the most expensive CRM systems. Salesforce also try to lock you into a long-term contract. There is no way to properly own Salesforce either – they don’t offer a self-hosted option, which forces you to pay for the service indefinitely. In order to customise Salesforce, you are forced to pay Salesforce consultants to implement your changes, no matter how minor the modification is. This guide will provide you with some alternatives to Salesforce that may better suit your business processes.



Bitrix24 is a project management system entirely free for up to 12 users. For free software, Bitrix24 offers pretty comprehensive functionality all in one place, from time tracking to file sharing. This lets the system consolidate all communication, collaboration, social networking, business processes and documentation for a company of any size.

The user interface is very accommodating to first time users, offering a pop-up window containing 14 introductory videos to help you acclimatise to Bitrix24. Alternatively, you can take part in an online training course. The interface is minimalist and intuitive, but with powerful range of capabilities and applications.

Unlike Salesforce, users can select whether to use Bitrix24 in the cloud or to self-host on the company’s own server. One of the system’s key strengths is project management, delivering Gantt charts, layered task options, and time tracking and management. A recent update also includes employee workload planning tool that allows managers to plan a certain number of hours for the task, then compare it with the number of hours the assignee actually spent on the task. The update also allows for the ability to make task templates that contain subtasks and checklists.

Real-time communication is also dramatically simplified with the solution, which offers group chat, video conferencing and instant messenger functions. Bitrix24 is not just a Salesforce alternative, but can be used as a Dropbox alternative as well; the free edition contains 5GB of cloud storage for simple file sharing.



Since its inception in 2009, Insightly has been providing small and mid-size businesses with a means to manage projects and track contacts, communications, sales, projects, tasks and documents in one single platform. It can be available both on the web and via mobile devices. It’s designed to integrate with many different applicatins, including Google Calendar, Gmail and Docs, Outlook 2013, MailChimp, Evernote, Box, Dropbox, Quickbooks Online and Xero. Mobile applications allow access to information from anywhere with the internet, and support both Android and iOS operating systems, including tablet devices such as the iPad and Google Nexus.

Insightly’s dashboard displays real-time information through a task dashboard and opportunity reports. The Advanced Reports function can help you create custom, tabular reports. Opportunity reports can contain details such as the responsible user, pipeline and pipeline stage, close date, probability of winning and value.

What really sets this solution apart is its integrated project management functionality so you can manage all your customers in relation to your projects at once. Once a deal is closed, users can track and handle follow-up project responsibilities straight from the system. The sidebar can also save emails straight from Gmail, giving users access to the history of their conversations and letting them link the conversations to projects and events.



Zoho comprises an integrated suite of cloud-based applications that can assist you in expanding your business. Each app can be purchased separately. As a result, the CRM app is fully compatible with a variety of tools, such as project management, business intelligence and marketing automation. Like Bitrix24, Zoho can be free for small teams (in this case, up to 10 users).

Zoho CRM is intended to assist customer-facing businesses attract customers and retain their existing customer base by automating repetitive processes and providing a 360-degree view of the complete sales cycle and pipeline. The system can be accessed on both desktop computers through a web application or remotely via native mobile apps for Android and iOS. Zoho may have fewer add-ons than Salesforce, but it’s still possible to use it to build you system through an online marketplace.



Like Salesforce, Netsuite is another big name in the world of CRM, providing its 16,000 users with cloud-based business software. Its emphasis on front- and back-office integration makes NetSuite one of a few solutions that gives organisations full visibility into its customers, as well as every step of the sales cycle. Netsuite doesn’t offer industry-specific variations, but its modern architecture and platform makes it easy to customise and personalise the system.

The platform deals with virtually every customer management need, including CRM, sales and marketing automation, e-commerce, data management, marketing analytics and partner relationship management. Netsuite provide an iPhone application to extend the system’s functionality to mobile devices.



Salesfusion is a complete web-based marketing solution especially focussed on the B2B market. As its main function is B2B market automation, it is more of an alternative for Pardot, Salesforce’s B2B marketing solution. Like Salesforce, Salesfusion is perfect for small to mid-size businesses. Unlike Salesforce, Salesfusion is specially tailored for the B2B market. It can integrate with many other CRM systems, including Salesforce, but also SugarCRM and Microsoft Dynamics.

Most of the regular product enhancements that the Salesfusion team provide are a direct response to customer feedback. They care deeply about customer satisfaction, and have used their MarketingUnlimited Program to design a system that makes marketing automation and demand generation affordable and accessible for any B2B company, no matter how small.

Matthew Hayhow

Web Journalist for Software Advisory Service.

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