RevOps Co-op Weekly #46 - The 2021 Rev-Ops Co-op CRM Product Review
We signed up for some freebies (and are enduring endless calls from salespeople) to give our community a comprehensive analysis of the most common CRMs.
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The 2021 Rev-Ops Co-op CRM Product Review
Customer relationship management software is something both users and admins love to hate. No system will ever meet user expectations until we develop a neural link capable of passively downloading data without asking people for any input whatsoever.
Yeah. We’re a little bitter. So many years of system administration will do that to people.
Because we’ve only had hands-on experience with Salesforce, Zoho, Hubspot, and tools no longer considered competitive in the market (Goldmine, ACT!, and Oracle Sales CRM, which are rated “older than dirt,” “gross,” and “never try it” respectively), we signed up for free trials and tested out how customizable, user friendly, and multi-functional the most popular tools on the market are in 2021.
There weren’t too many surprises. Despite our fervent hope that someone can disrupt the market and provide a CRM to rival the largest market shareholder, we haven’t discovered it yet. (If you’ve found it, let us know!)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Admin Required: Yes
Appropriate For: Late-Stage Startups through Enterprise
This behemoth has established so many integration and application partners that it’s possible to do just about anything in Salesforce. Between the ability to code your own functionality, purchase in-app add-ins for code-free customization, and their dedication to constant improvement, we don’t see them going away any time soon.
The new user interface is slick, intuitive (provided people don’t overcomplicate with customization), and pretty. They’ve even ironed out the biggest Lightning complaint and are now allowing admins to not only customize the detail page layouts, but have also added in conditional field visibility formatting and split views.
The training offered by Salesforce is unparalleled. They combine witty content writers, hands-on experience, and gamification to create useful training, even for a system that was made to be customized.
The Salesforce community is vast and active. Local user groups allow for networking and free advice. Combine that with Salesforce’s online community and dedication to incorporating feedback into their product development cycles, and you start to see why the product has continued to mow over their competitors.
Salesforce has set the bar with its intuitive interface, complex workflow automation, and plug-in options. Not only is it the best on the market, picking up administrative experience is an excellent way to improve your career.
When Salesforce upgraded to their pretty, new UI, things got slower. Users are not happy with how long it takes to update records and the hit-or-miss list view update functionality. Load time is very frustrating, and navigating URLs during troubleshooting got less intuitive with their new URL structure.
Which is why many admins are now leveraging tools like Scratchpad to make users log into Salesforce and use their UI as little as possible.
Salesforce puts a lot of limits in place to reduce the risk of server downtime. Rollup summaries are severely limited, some objects don’t link well to others (mainly activities), and dashboards don’t automatically refresh. That last point is particularly annoying for end-users who don’t understand why their reports run when they click on them, but their dashboards require an extra step.
Because Salesforce offers so many integrations, customizations, plug-in applications, and so on, they charge a premium for their product. Just because they can. Many of their upsells don’t work as well as they’d lead you to think (we’re looking at you, Pardot and Einstein), and their Tier 1 technical support team is terrible. It can be extremely painful to navigate through a persistent Tier 1 rep to someone who understands the problem for a major issue.
That said, because of Salesforce’s extensive partnerships, there are plug-ins and integrations for just about any problem we could list.
Hubspot Sales Hub
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
Admin Required: Yes
Appropriate For: Early-stage Startup through Small Established Organizations
Hubspot Sales Hub is pretty easy to run with once you sign up for a free license, provided you don’t need to do much customization. Their pricing options are reasonable (you can get away with a lot on a free license for quite some time), and they have newer pricing options that negate a lot of the complaints with older price plans.
Provided you also have Hubspot Marketing Hub, the campaign activity tracking is flawless, form activity is expertly captured, and better than decent workflow functionality.
Hubspot Sales Hub does what it’s supposed to do, but the UI looks very dated. It’s a solid tool for young startups and companies who are sensitive about maintaining low costs.
In-system reporting is nothing short of horrid, the UI looks fifteen years old, and something as simple as creating list views and sorting isn’t easy (particularly with Deals). Navigating the different tabs to see more information and log calls is clunky for end-users.
While you can create custom fields and sidebar cards, there isn’t such a thing as a page layout. If someone wants to see all properties, they don’t just see what’s applicable to them. They see everything.
Hubspot is one of the more clunky CRMs to customize. Settings tend to be hidden in odd places and require a lot of clicking around. Their help documentation is good but sometimes out of date, and chat support can be hit or miss--if you can get ahold of a human.
Some vendors do not natively integrate with Hubspot, so you may need to use Zapier, Workato, or some other workflow automation tool to do what you need to do.
Campaign interactions aren’t structured like Salesforce campaigns, and getting any kind of attribution reporting is nearly impossible unless you work with a customer data platform-based marketing reporting solution.
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
Admin Required: Yes
Appropriate For: Small Established Organizations through Enterprise Organizations
Microsoft Dynamics is a dream for people who like robust reporting functionality. The platform is built on a very powerful reporting infrastructure that can and will do things that Salesforce refuses to do.
Dynamics has the features and customization necessary to run a business, such as workflow automation, object configuration, and formulas.
Because Microsoft Dynamics is used by so few organizations (they have 4% of the market share vs. Salesforce’s 20%+), you may have problems finding an administrator who is experienced in the product. However, the functionality is similar enough to Salesforce that you should be able to find someone with enough technical skills to navigate any differences between the two systems.
During side-by-side comparisons, it’s easy to see why users don’t like using Microsoft Dynamics. Navigating between objects, data entry, and normally simple tasks can be confusing. This has a substantial impact on reporting. Your dashboards are only as good as the data going into your systems, and if your teams aren’t forced to maintain their book of business, you will have a pretty reporting tool with a lack of meaningful data.
Other complaints include slow load times, lots of end-user training needed to navigate the UI, and exact search rather than keyword search, and integrations that are hit-or-miss and sometimes stop working.
Disagree with our assessment, have a stellar setup in a lower-rated system, or want a CRM evaluated that didn’t appear on this list? Let us know!
🗣 From the Community
8/18/21: Hey everyone! We are in the process of revamping our CSOps and I'd love to pick someone's brain around how you track retention in Salesforce or where you track retention. Weigh in here.
8/19/21: Anybody here responsible for defining what a Product Qualified Lead (PQLs) if not, who should own the PQL? Would love to chat!! Share your experience.
8/16/21: We are looking at Gainsight from a CRM standpoint for Success. Currently we are with ChurnZero.Any strong opinion or thoughts about Gainsight - UI / and those who have used it earlier? Read 6 replies.
8/17/21: We are building a deal desk function at my current company. Currently we support Commercial through Slack which causes a ton of frustration for the supporting teams (Legal, Security, Sales Ops). We are exploring a few ticketing systems.Does anyone have experience with Halp or atSpoke? Or have any good recommendations for internal support ticket systems? Read 5 replies.
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With the rise of revenue operations, ops professionals are in higher demand than ever. In this environment, more go-to-market professionals are considering a move into ops. Particularly in high-growth startup operations, people are finding themselves being thrust into the role out of necessity. And many ops professionals are realizing that finding success in operations is no easy task.
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In this episode Breezy Beaumont connects with Brian Malkerson, the Chief Revenue Officer at Attentive, an SMS marketing platform. During the episode, Brian and Breezy discuss the past, present, and future of SMS marketing. They also dive into how the team at Attentive is using insights from their customer usage data to drive new revenue opportunities and help their customers be more successful.
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