Get to know Salesforce

Today, Salesforce is more than just a CRM app. It's really more of a platform comprising several applications. For example, the Salesforce1 Platform is a CRM-centric online database that you can use to power custom apps you build yourself. If you choose not to build your own apps, you can instead use Salesforce's default apps, which are powered by the same platform. One of these default apps, Sales Cloud, is a customizable CRM with contact-tracking, reports, email integration, and other features you'd expect to find in any CRM software. Another default app is the Service Cloud, which helps you provide better support to your customers by giving you important information about their history.

Other apps include Marketing cloud, for simple email support, Chatter for team chat, SalesforceIQ (formerly RelateIQ) for simple email CRM, and Heroku for hosting your own web apps. Many of these apps are sold via stand-alone subscriptions.

Still, Salesforce's primary goal is to give and your team tools and information that help you keep a positive relationships with your clients, customers, and potential future clients and customers. The apps are built on the same online database system, and you can customize each one to get the features your team needs. Thanks to API integrations and its inclusion in the Zapier network of apps, Salesforce can be your central storage point for all your data even if you use other apps and services to run your business.

Detailed analytics and customizable reports are included, too, along with forecasting tools that help you plan for the future, based on recent sales and growth. There are customizable permissions and workflows, marketing automation to help you pick out the best leads automatically, and special consoles and dashboards for each of the different parts of your team so everyone can work the way that makes the most sense to them.

While Salesforce takes time to learn and customize, it has a lot of potential for big return on investment in both time and money. If you need a powerful sales CRM app suite and database, Salesforce should be a top consideration, especially for large and growing organizations, as it is expensive for small businesses compared with other options. (Our list of the best free CRM apps has some excellent alternatives for micro-businesses.) That said, Salesforce does offer an approachable basic plan that can introduce a team to the Salesforce system, and you can always upgrade when you need more features.

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Facebook Lead Ads

Ads & Conversion +2Ads & Conversion, Facebook, Premium

Gravity Forms

Forms & Surveys +1Forms & Surveys, WordPress

Google Sheets

Google +1Google, Spreadsheets

105 Integrations

Salesforce Pricing

  • $300/year per person for Lightning Essentials plan, for up to five team members with basic features

  • $900/year per person for Lightning Professional plan with complete CRM features including campaigns, customizable dashboards, and permissions

  • $1,800/year per person for Lightning Enterprise plan with workflow automation, custom apps, and web services API

  • $3,600/year per person for Lightning Unlimited plan with unlimited customizations, custom apps, and 24x7 toll-free support

Prices shown are for Salesforce Sales Cloud. See Salesforce's pricing page for other options.

Salesforce Features

  • Manage relationships with customers and leads with a suite of apps and services

  • Customize a suite of apps and fields within them to track anything you need

  • Generate quotes, proposals, and contracts to potential clients

  • Gather data from dashboards, analytics, and reports

  • Support customers better by pulling essential information into support channels

  • Native apps for iOS and Android, and integration with Microsoft Outlook

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