Commence CRM – Salesforce.com Alternative
Commence Corporation manufacturer of Commence CRM, has emerged as a high quality alternative to higher cost CRM solutions like Salesforce.com. The company has specifically targeted small to mid-size businesses that require more functionality and flexibility than traditional low cost CRM solutions can offer. Commence has become popular in companies of 10 to 100 users and has created a nice niche in the CRM sector.
“You can’t be all things to all people,” says Todd Pape, Chief Technology Officer at Commence. Pape ought to know, he has been part of the company’s engineering team for two decades. “Designing software solutions that support a few hundred users is very different than creating a system that can support a few thousand,” says Pape. “Enterprise CRM solutions like Salesforce.com, Oracle CRM, or SAP have complex architectures that are designed to perform well with high transaction volumes and extremely large data sets. These solutions also offer a level of functionality and administration that far exceeds that required by small to mid-size organizations. They are also by their own enterprise design more difficult to implement, more costly and harder to use.”
“While Oracle and SAP have focused their energy in the enterprise sector, Salesforce.com is trying to drive their solution into the small to mid-size community. Their approach to attracting these businesses has been to create separate product editions where they remove core functionality and lower the cost. I suspect this is because they realize that small businesses are more price sensitive than larger organizations. The challenge they face however, is that you cannot change the complexity of a solution designed for the enterprise market by simply removing functionality and lowering the price. What you are left with is a product that is still hard to use, costly to implement and offers no more functionality than competitive products like Commence CRM. We know this simply due to the number of inquiries we get from customers who have discontinued their annual agreement with Salesforce and are seeking an easier to use, less expensive alternative. This is not to say that Salesforce is not a good product,” continued Pape. “It is and as a chief engineer what they have achieved in the enterprise sector is admirable, but this does not make Salesforce.com the best solution for smaller businesses.”
“Small to mid-size firms worry about a product’s adoption and ease of use, and the total cost of ownership. This makes products like Salesforce.com a harder sell in this sector, particularly when there are several very good, lower cost, easier to use solutions like Commence CRM. It is hard to be all things to all people. No one that I am aware of has achieved this,” says Pape “not even Salesforce.com.”