Comparison of Commence vs. Salesforce CRM

crm-comparison-of-top-salesforce-crm-competitor-alternativeSelecting a CRM software solution for your business can be a daunting exercise and while there are a myriad of CRM solutions to choose from, two of the most popular ones are Commence CRM and Salesforce.com. Let’s take a look at these two companies side by side and point out some of the key differences.

It is important to note that both of these firms are highly regarded leaders in the CRM sector. Both have been in business for more than a decade and offer a quality product and an exceptional level of service.  There are, however, several key differences that may impact your decision when comparing one versus the other.

How They Compare

1) Functionality – Both products offer a comprehensive suite of CRM application software that is simply not available from other CRM competitors, with the exception of Oracle and Microsoft (whose web hosted product was recently released and remains untested).   Both Commence and Salesforce include: account and contact management, e-mail integration, group calendaring, activity management, lead management, lead qualification and scoring, sales automation, marketing campaign management, a document library, customer service and help desk with frequently asked questions (FAQ) and knowledge base, web forms, mobile support, accounting integration, CRM dashboards, reporting and analytics. Commence also offers an integrated Project Management solution. Advantage None

2) Ease of Use – One of the most important aspects of any CRM system is the learning curve and how easy the product is to use.  Commence CRM gets the edge here as customers have indicated that the product’s user interface is easier to navigate and use than Salesforce.com.  Commence has incorporated a number of repetitive daily tasks right within the product’s home page or CRM dashboard. This enables the user to quickly read and compose email, schedule follow-up activities, manage leads and sales opportunities, review projects, even add service tickets without leaving the home page. Users comment that Salesforce.com is more complex and cumbersome to use.  Advantage Commence CRM

3) Cost – Salesforce.com offers five specific product versions in what appears to be an attempt to offer a solution to every size customer and every budget. The offerings vary significantly and range from $5 per user per month to $250 per user per month.  As expected, each offering adds additional functionality. What’s a bit perplexing about the different versions is that each one offers a fixed set of features at a fixed price. There is no flexibility in selecting the functionality in any of the versions. In addition, the lower cost offerings also limit the number of users you may have.  The $5 dollar and $15 dollar versions for example only support a maximum of (5) users.  If you wish to add an additional user, you must then upgrade to the next higher version for all users. This represents a price increase of several hundred percent to simply add a user.  In addition, if you look close enough you will discover that it’s not what you get in the lower cost version, but what you don’t get that really matters.  Basic functionality such as security or role permissions is only available in the $65 dollars and up versions. And here is a fun one, you get a dashboard in the lower cost programs, but a customizable dashboard in the higher cost editions.

Commence CRM offers four specific editions designed to meet the requirements of small and mid-size firms. However customers can select any application from the higher cost editions and add it to theirs for an additional $10 per user per month. This gives customers the flexibility to build a solution that is best suited for their organization. Commence does not take away basic functionality in the lower cost editions that force people to upgrade to the higher cost ones as mentioned above.  With Commence while the lower cost editions are similar to the functionality and cost of Salesforce, the higher-end editions are half the price.

Both companies require a one year subscription agreement.  A feature to feature comparison of the functionality and versions however will result in a significant cost advantage for Commence CRM.  Advantage Commence CRM

4) Product Platform — Salesforce.com has been designed for enterprise level companies. Its platform has proven to support several thousand users with very good performance.  It also offers multi-language and multi-currency support. Commence CRM is designed for mid-size and smaller enterprises and is scalable to hundreds of users. If support for a large number of users with multi-language and multi-currency is required, Salesforce.com wins this comparison. Advantage None – Depends on Requirements.

5) System Deployment – Certain businesses are either legally precluded from hosting their data outside their own “four walls” or internal data center, or simply are not comfortable doing so. Many larger companies also have the IT infrastructure and resources to host a CRM system on-premise and would prefer this deployment model. Commence CRM may be hosted via Commence Corporation or deployed as an on premise CRM solution.  This is not an option with Salesforce.com.  Advantage Commence CRM

6) Data Security – One of the most important aspects of engaging a provider of cloud based CRM solutions is the comfort of knowing that your data is properly secured and protected.  Both firms offer a hosting service that is “best in class” and far superior to many lower cost solutions whose price points simply do not allow for this level of service.  Commence CRM has a strategic business partnership with Rackspace, the number one rated provider of hosting services. Salesforce.com uses their own hosting facilities and they are comparable in scope and quality. They also list Rackspace as a hosting partner Advantage None

7) Customizability – Both solutions are customizable, but the level of customization and the resources required for customization are uniquely different. Salesforce.com offers a developer or engineering toolkit called Force.com that enables professional developers to perform detailed customization of the product. The toolkit is only available with the higher cost product offerings and adds an additional expense per user.  Commence places much of its customization capabilities right within the user interface itself.  This enables the CRM administrator or an authorized user to quickly add custom fields, custom views or reports without developer intervention.  Customers looking to tailor the software to their unique industry requirements via the use of custom fields, views and reports will find Commence CRM very easy to use.  Those looking to do more extensive but costly customization using a professional development staff may prefer Salesforce.com   Advantage None – Depends on Requirements.

8) Customer Service – Both companies have highly qualified internal staff as well as relationships with third party companies that can provide additional training and value added services.  Commence assigns an account representative to every customer and provides telephone support as well as e-mail support, regardless of the product version selected. Salesforce.com offers basic support and premier support at an additional charge. Basic support provides a two day business response while premier offers a two hour response. Account representatives are only assigned for customers of more than 50 users. Advantage Commence CRM

The Final Score

As outlined above, both of these firms provide customers with a compelling reason to select them as your partner for Customer Relationship Management software. Both have a strong history and proven track record for delivering a world class solution and a high return on investment. These solutions are scalable to a large number of users and their cloud or hosting service which protects your data is “best in class”.  The largest organizations tend to favor Salesforce.com, and if they have multi-language and multi-currency requirements and an extensive IT and programming staff for customization, Salesforce.com is their best choice.

Mid-market companies and small enterprises lean towards Commence CRM and like the product’s ease of use and the flexible pricing enabling them to select only the CRM functionality they require for their business.  If cost is a factor, Commence CRM is the clear winner. Take a moment to learn how Commence CRM can help grow your business in our online CRM videos or by taking a free CRM test drive.