Why Salesforce.com Vs Zoho?

Jason’s podcast episode with Gary Vaynerchuck inspired me to rethink a lot of things tonight and a few minutes later, I get this email from Salesforce. I don’t mean to be rude, but I just listed my comments in front of her email.

-Start Mail

Hi Sesiri,

Thank you for the update and explaining where you are in the evaluation process with Zoho and Salesforce. I understand that it seems as though you have chosen Zoho based on the costs difference. I did want to be sure to send you this email which I have developed five reasons to choose salesforce.com over Zoho CRM. This information serves only to ensure that you are 100 percent confident in choosing your CRM applicaiton. Please let me know if it makes sense to discuss further, otherwise I will close your file.

I personally don’t believe in such a thing called ‘Closing a file..’ If that is the case, most likely, it would be your loss; lot of other people have been successful WITHOUT SF I guess.

If you have any questions, please contact me at your convenience.

Best regards,

Mxxxx Mcxxxxxx
(415) xxx-xxxx

1. Market Leadership
With more than 25 releases of our application, Salesforce is the most functionally rich on-demand application in the world. Salesforce.com continues to receive considerable recognition for our CRM vision, including:

– Winner, Small Business Suite CRM — CRM Magazine 2007, 2009
– Winner, Sales Force Automation — CRM Magazine 2007, 2008, 2009
– Gold Award, “Products of the Year” —  SearchCRM.com 2008
– Editors’ Choice Award — PC Magazine 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007
– Innovation Award, Salesforce CRM Call Center & Customer Portal — TMC Labs 2008
– Technology of the Year — InfoWorld 2004, 2005, 2006
– CRM Excellence Award — Customer Interaction Solutions 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006
– Top 100 Innovators Award — BusinessWeek 2006
– Best CRM Solution Award — CODIE 2002 to 2009

It is great that you have reached all these achievements; that is one of the reasons I had narrowed you down to last 3 or 5.

2. Commitment to CRM Success

Salesforce.com is the market leader in on-demand CRM, and our subscription-based pricing forces us to create more innovative programs to foster customer success. According to salesforce.com customer surveys, 94% of current customers would recommend our on-demand service to a colleague.

Zoho CRM is one of many applications offered by Zoho. Zoho’s parent company AdventNet, a provider of software development services, has also has invested in another CRM offering. How much innovation and focus on CRM success can be expected from such a diverse company with limited resources?

I think it is VERY unfair for you to make this statement. They have been a great business for years now. What is wrong with investing in another product? There are many businesses out there who have done it. May be that is what some of these major players should try to do too.

3. Search Engine Marketing

Salesforce for Google AdWords helps businesses grow by generating new leads and turning those leads into new customers. This allows companies to manage their search engine marketing campaigns and measure their impact on revenue at a keyword level directly from Salesforce.

This does not impress me. Google Adwords is just one and plays a very limited effect in my business.

Zoho CRM does not offer search engine marketing integration, leaving customers with limited visibility into the effectiveness of their search marketing programs.

4. Best of Breed Email Integration

Salesforce.com offers complete Microsoft Outlook integration at no additional charge. Outlook users can add incoming or outgoing emails to the appropriate record in Salesforce with a single click, and synchronize contacts and calendars with Salesforce automatically. Integration with Apple Mail, Entourage, Gmail, Google Calendar are also available with Salesforce.  Salesforce.com also allows customers to track when an email sent from the application is opened and how many times it’s read, providing immediate feedback into the impact of your messages.

Zoho CRM offers limited Outlook integration at an additional charge, but lacks the ability to create contacts from emails, link emails to opportunities, or schedule automatic calendar synchronization.  Zoho CRM forces customers to use its Zoho Mail product at an additional cost in order to integrate to more popular email applications like Gmail.  Finally, Zoho CRM does not offer the ability to track when email messages are read, leaving users wondering if their emails are received at all.

Considering the price, I think Zoho still beats in several hundreds, or may be more than a grand.

5. Document Management and Integration

Salesforce increases productivity by providing access to essential documents and content directly from the application, including Google Docs. Comprehensive Microsoft Office integration populates Word mail merge templates and Excel reports with data directly from Salesforce.

Zoho CRM does not offer a central repository for vital documents directly in the application. Further, Zoho CRM cannot generate a mail merge document into its own Zoho Writer product.

Technology-wise, Salesforce is light years ahead of its competitors. Beyond that, we offer a community of shared success to help you get ahead — and stay there. Check it out here: http://www.salesforce.com/community/

Please let me know if you have any questions. I’m happy to help out in any way I can.

How about a free working demo for 30 days? Or may be a light-version of  the application instead of being forced to pay over a grand at the very first step..

-End Mail

I truly, honestly, do not mean to be harsh, but this had to be said! I am sorry if I disappointed anyone.

Update: 4/23/2011

Though I did not mean to get any attention for this post from Zoho, they have anyway went ahead and published a great blog post about explaining their view point to SF’s email. Thank you Sridhar and Team for making things even clearer. SF very harshly talked about Sridhar funding Vtiger. Then I was thinking to myself, why on earth would Marc Benioff offered to buy-out Zoho back in 2007 or 2008? Here’s a better post from Sridhar himself.

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9 thoughts on “Why Salesforce.com Vs Zoho?

  1. Sesiri, thank you for posting this. As you have found out, Salesforce invests heavily in marketing to convince customers to pay their bloated price, which they then invest back in marketing! We have a really good product offering, we invest heavily in engineering, and we have a huge base of happy customers. We would be very happy to have you as a customer.

    Sridhar Vembu
    CEO
    Zoho Corp.

  2. Salesforce is very good at showing, not just telling, so I’m quite surprised they didn’t suggest a trial and a custom demo… You can have a trial of all SFDC products for 15 ou 30 days depending on the version.

  3. @SFDCuser Yes, I am aware and I did mention that to them on my last email. But that said, if you are a business owner and need to train your sales staff to use a software, specially that deals with the customers, you will understand that 15 days is nowhere enough.. AND why pay yearly? SaaS has to be pay as you go. If it’s good enough that the customers won’t leave you, they should be able to pay monthly in my view..

  4. I had success using writingscore.com for an essay I needed to hand in last minute. I actually got a pretty good grade if I remember correctly lol. What are some other good writing services you guys have success with?

  5. Howdy everyone. We evaluate software for clients as part of our core business offering. I’ve looked at Salesforce.com many times over the years – starting with their very first public release (can’t remember if it was a beta or a full release, but no matter…) It has become a very robust, reliable product and the platform (Force.com) is also a great tool for developers. That said – they are, IMO, insanely over-priced. I don’t know if Zoho is profitable or whatever – but I do know I can equip a company with roughly FIVE seats of Zoho for every seat of Salesforce.com The $65/user/mo edition of SF is roughly equiv. to the $12/user/mo edition of Zoho… and the $125/user/mo edition of SF is roughly the same as the $21/user/mo edition of Zoho. Zoho does have some nickel-dime costs – you’ll pay another $6/mo for a seat of the MS Office add-in and a seat of the Outlook Add-in, and to be fair – those integrations are 2-3 versions behind in Zoho. Salesforce does do a much better job with Outlook integration.. but seriously, is it worth over $100/mo/ user – $1200/yr difference to not have to re-enter 15 seconds worth of data? Probably not for most users. I’m sure there are times when only Salesforce.com will do – but I haven’t come across one yet . Instead, it’s more likely that a client of ours would go toward an industry-specific CRM product vs. a generic product . And even then they probably wouldn’t get anywhere near $125/user/mo. Verdict? If cost was no object, no doubt I’d favor Salesforce -it’s more mature yadda yadda… but cost always is a constraint. And Zoho offers a pretty darned good value for the money – warts and all. Oh and BTW – I’ve had my share of tech support requests with Zoho – and they’re always handled quickly and professionally. No major complaints so far.

    1. Zoho has almost all operations in India and that is why their costs are down to 12 per month. SF would have to charge that much to cover its millions of advertising expenditure..

  6. Nice Reply for each of the points from Salesforce but I see that your points always end up at Pricing which i don’t see as the only or the most important factor to consider Zoho over Salesforce. I’m an ex-SF user and currently Zoho, i feel that something is missing. The feel is similar like missing iOS while using Android. Yes, I saw Sridhar’s comment saying that they heavily invest in Engineering, it’s good for them to use their money in Engineers but it doesn’t yield if they aren’t delivering, if all their works don’t deliver in such a way that users love it. And apart from all these conversations, SF’s Force.com is a huge plus and the vast variety of apps that SF App store has – very similar to the iOS ecosystem apps while Zoho has almost nothing compared to that. Apart from Pricing, Zoho doesn’t win much over Salesforce. This is not meant to be harsh (even i’ve my friends working at Zoho) but the fact that i experienced in my profession.

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