Switching from ACT to Salesforce
I was recently asked by a client if she and her team should switch from ACT (a contact manager) to Salesforce (a cloud based CRM). I have personal experience with both products. I used ACT for over ten years. I have also implemented Salesforce for clients on five occasions and used it in my own business for the past two years. The key to determining whether to switch from ACT to Salesforce is clarifying what you are not getting from ACT and then determining if Salesforce will meet your needs. In summary here are some key pluses and minuses of Salesforce I suggested she consider before making a decision:
Upsides of Salesforce:
- Shared, integrated database that is maintained for you (I am speaking about database integrity, not inputting of data)
- Available on all major mobile devices (ACT is yet to implement an iPhone version for instance)
- No updating of the software – all done for you.
- Relatively easy to set up custom fields, reports, etc.
- Great set of stock reports
- Sales person focused in the way it works and the information available. It is more intuitive than ACT in my opinion.
- Great set of training videos for each role in the organization (sales, mgt, admin)
- Third party add-on applications (both free and for fee) – ACT does not come close in this arena.
Downsides of Salesforce:
- Potentially the software fees, depending upon the number of users. A highly attractive Salesforce version for small businesses is Group Edition. However, it only allows a maximum of 5 users. If you need 6 or more users you will have to go to Professional Edition which is considerably more expensive.
- If you decide to migrate away from Salesforce it is not easy to export your data. It is doable but not particularly intuitive for someone doing it for the first time.
- It is not integrated with any ERP system. So, if you need to share data with your accounting system you have some data manipulation to do.
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