Compare Commence CRM versus Salesforce.com 2016

This report reviews two industry leaders in the CRM sector and compares several critical decision points that differentiate the products. If you are considering either of these solutions for your business, the information below may help with your decision.

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Salesforce.com is certainly a well-recognized name in the CRM industry. It’s a company with a good product that has built a reputation for addressing the requirements of enterprise level corporations. Commence Corporation has an equally impressive track record, but has spent the past two decades supporting the needs of small to mid-size businesses. With the Fortune 1000 becoming saturated, Salesforce began marketing downstream to smaller organizations where Commence CRM has been a popular choice; hence the competition.

The report compares:

  • Functionality
  • Product Platform
  • Ease of Use
  • Cost
  • System Deployment
  • Data Security
  • Customizability
  • Customer Service

Download the full report: CRM Review of Salesforce.com

There are many options in the CRM sector, but when you compare each company’s track record in the industry, scope of functionality, cloud-hosting services, customization, and quality of service, these two are among the best.

Take a moment to learn how CRM can help you to become a more efficient sales and service organization by watching our video series, talking with one of our experts, or taking a free test drive.

Small Businesses Need to Embrace CRM Software

A recent survey by Software Advice revealed that the vast majority of small-business CRM buyers are still looking for basic contact management, with 62 percent seeking a standalone application for sales force automation (SFA). That’s no surprise. SFA is typically the first step for businesses to organize their customer data and track customer interactions across the sales funnel. As such, it’s long been the first thing small businesses look for when it comes time to adopt a real CRM technology strategy. Small business however face some challenges when it comes to implementing a sales structure or process for managing leads and the sales cycle. They may lack experienced sales management and the majority of lower cost CRM solution providers cannot offer assistance here. One firm that does is Commence Corporation, manufacturers of Commence CRM. Commence has been providing sales automation solutions and sales best practices to the SMB community for more than two decades. Industry articles and product reviews traditionally only talk about a product’s features and as a result, companies like Commence that offer consultation and best practices for improving sales execution don’t get much mention.

Of U.S. buyers seeking an integrated suite, 88 percent want a combination of sales and marketing automation. So small businesses are increasingly looking to implement a full, end-to-end CRM solution. They want to better align marketing with sales and enable sales reps with access to lead nurturing data and interaction histories from across the sales pipeline. This means growing opportunities for vendors that offer a broader small-business-centric suite of sales, marketing and service applications. Very few low cost CRM solution providers offer an integrated sales, marketing and customer service solution. Two that do include Salesforce.com and Commence CRM mentioned above.

When we asked small-business CRM buyers why they were evaluating software, the most common response was that they were simply interested to learn more about how CRM software in general could help their business, or about how more robust systems might improve upon their current solution. This is consistent with Gartner’s research as well, which suggests that an increasing majority of buyers are citing “self-driven information search” as their most preferred method at every stage of the buying cycle. This highlights the need for CRM providers to ensure that they’re in a position to be found when buyers research potential options—whether through search engine optimization, content marketing, driving B2B software reviews or other inbound marketing efforts.
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Customer Service Software for Small to Midsize Business 2014

By Larry Caretsky
CEO Commence Corporation

Software Advice has produced a white paper titled “Customer Service Software – Small Business Buyer View 2014” that clearly articulates what businesses are looking for in order to improve the buying experience and service they provide to their customers.  I am posting this paper with their approval because I believe it is spot on with regard to what I believe is the next wave of application software for small to mid-sized businesses.

Most small to mid-sized businesses are struggling to manage customer service and customer expectations.  Using basic methods such as e-mail or an Excel spreadsheet leaves them with no consolidated record or history of customer interactions.  Some key findings include:

  • Over half of buyers (52%) were still using manual methods to manage their customer support functions.
  • 64% of all first-time buyers cited a need to better manage customer complaints as the top reason for evaluating software.
  • The top requested feature was trouble ticketing (90%), followed by reporting and analytics (36%).
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Top-Requested Customer Service and Support (CSS) Features

“Trouble ticketing gets people out of inboxes and into a system with greater visibility across the organization.”

Managing customer expectations is paramount to customer retention, and while there are several standalone Help Desk solutions on the market, customers need to make sure they do not fall into the old trap of creating silos of information within their organization.  Many understand this, and as such are seeking customer service functionality that is integrated with web-based CRM.

Several CRM solution providers have been working diligently to provide integrated customer service solutions for their customers.  My firm Commence Corporation is taking an aggressive approach to this opportunity and has already differentiated itself with a solid customer service and ticketing system that is fully integrated with the contact management, sales and marketing applications.  A new web-based customer portal that enables customers to enter tickets into the CRM system, as well as access a knowledge base for self-service support, is due out in November.  Only a few CRM solution providers can match this capability and they tend to be quite expensive and support enterprise level organizations.

The Software Advice white paper will provide you with quality information about what buyers are looking for and why. It is a great source of information for companies looking to automate the customer service side of their business.  Click below to access the free report:

CRM – Overly Simplistic or Too Complex for Most Businesses

Solution providers in the CRM software space seem to fall into two categories.  Basic low cost programs are easy to use but provide limited functionality; and feature rich solutions that are far too complex for most businesses.  The two extremes have caused a high degree of frustration among companies that have implemented CRM software programs.  Some are now looking to replace the basic solution they selected for something a bit more robust, while others are trying to reduce the high cost and complexity of the one they selected.

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While dozens of companies continue to do battle in the space, Commence Corporation is targeting what it believes is an under-served middle market with a feature-rich CRM solution that is more affordable and easier to use than products from Microsoft and Salesforce.com.

“Small to mid-market companies often have unique business requirements,” says Larry Caretsky, CEO at Commence Corporation “that are not being met by basic CRM offerings.  The industry giants can address these needs, but people have found these solutions to be far too expensive and complex for their business.  Commence is aggressively working to fill this void.”

What differentiates Commence CRM from competitive offerings?  “That is easy,” says Caretsky. “Commence CRM provides features that are simply not available in basic CRM packages, such as: customization of views and forms, multilevel data searches, security permissions, pre-built analytical reporting, customizable lead qualification and sales process management, shared calendaring, seamless e-mail integration and more.  In addition, Commence CRM offers marketing campaign management, a customer service or help desk application and a project management module.  This level of functionality is only available from enterprise level solutions at two to three times the cost.  Commence CRM is a robust affordable solution for the middle market coupled with an experienced support staff that ensures customers realize the maximum value from our solution.”

When asked, “What is the biggest challenge facing Commence Corporation in the CRM sector?” Caretsky indicated, “Simply rising above the noise of the industry giants.  It is hard to out-market Microsoft and Salesforce.com.  Both have good products, but they cannot be all things to all people.  No company can service the small, mid-sized and enterprise market with the same solution.  Perhaps this is why there is such a high degree of dissatisfaction in the industry.  Commence is 100 percent focused on businesses that require more than a basic CRM solution, but not the cost and complexity of the industry giants.  We are delivering value and making a name for ourselves,” says Caretsky.

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Read what customers are saying on the Commence CRM website or on review sites like getapp.com and serchen.com.

Image “Make The Right Choice” by sheelamohan/freedigitalphotos.net

Image “Thumbs Up Represents All Right And Agreement” by Stuart Miles/freedigitalphotos.net