Customer relationship management (CRM) software is a big deal these days. Companies are aligning their sales, marketing, and customer service teams into one seamless unit, ready to meet the needs of current and potential clients.
If your business is deciding on which CRM platform to use, you'll definitely have come across Salesforce. As the market leader, and a company with healthy marketing and PR teams behind it, Salesforce is one of the first destinations when researching a CRM.
Another popular name is Zoho. Well known for its Google Docs competitor, Zoho Docs, this company also has its own CRM platform.
The question is, out of Zoho or Salesforce, which is the best CRM platform to choose? Both have their merits, but according to our research, Salesforce is the best because of its industry-leading features and notable scalability. Zoho, however, still has an ace up its sleeve – compellingly affordable plans for smaller businesses.
Let's take a closer look at both platforms in our Zoho vs Salesforce table, below:
Data cap in basic plan
Social media integrations
Live chat support
Free Trial Version
Cheapest paid plan
Price quoted is per user, per month
Most expensive plan
Price quoted is per user, per month
A market leading CRM for good reason and a great all-rounder – should always be considered first.
Flexible, friendly and effective, Zoho also starts at low price plans
1GB base + 512MB/user
Both Zoho and Salesforce are capable services that have a lot to offer – however, the question really isn't which of these companies is the best choice, but whether either of them is the right fit for you. A good way to discover a CRM that can be customized for your needs is to use our handy CRM Quotes Tool to receive tailor-made, zero-obligation CRM cost quotes, which take into account your company's individual needs and scale.
In this Guide:
- Lots of G Suite Integrations
- Supports 20 different languages
- Free trial available
- No data backups in free plan
- Shorter than average trial period
- Not great for larger companies
- Wide feature set
- Frequently updated
- Robust support & training
- No free plan
- On the more expensive end of the industry
- Basic plan caps data at 612 MB/user
When you first sign in to Zoho and Salesforce, you are greeted with a dashboard containing large rectangular tiles that display key information such as current quarterly performance, open tasks, and deals closing this month. What you see on either CRM's dashboard is customizable to a certain degree, although the “quarterly performance” tile is specific to Salesforce's default view.
Both CRMs use navigation menu tabs at the top of the screen and basic headings such as Leads, Contacts, Accounts, Deals/Opportunities, Documents/Files, Reports/Dashboard, and so on. Both also have a social networking style section where team members can share information in the form of posts.
Contacts is a key section for any CRM, and both Salesforce and Zoho cover the basics here. Zoho, however, has some nice integrations that are available by default – the key one being if a sales person adds their Twitter or Facebook account, and then adds the corresponding social account for their contacts, they can view their contacts' social activity within Zoho's CRM. This is a great feature if you run a business where most of your interactions happen on social media.
Salesforce can do something similar with a lot of powerful tools for social media monitoring, but it requires Marketing Cloud, which is a service beyond Sales Cloud, Salesforce's basic CRM. Plus, with Salesforce and Microsoft teaming up, you can seamlessly add functionality to the platform through Microsoft Teams.
Ease of Use
Looking at both services from an ease of use perspective, there's no question that Zoho wins this face-off.
Salesforce has a ton of features and options to tweak. The basic categories are easy enough to understand, but there are many ways to customize the service and many extra features to explore – not to mention a thriving third-party app marketplace.
Zoho is more straightforward, with a cleaner look and about the same number of menu tabs as Salesforce. Zoho's third-party integrations aren't as deep as Salesforce, but if you're looking for simplicity, then that may be less of an issue unless there's a particular third-party tool you absolutely must use.
Click to expand
Artificial Intelligence and Automation
If you're interested in harnessing computing power with your CRM to help provide insights into your business, improved workflows, and other suggestions, both services offer this kind of powerful feature in the upper pricing tiers. Zoho's is called Zia AI, and you can use it as a chatbot to surface key data on demand, including record data, dashboards, and reports. Zia can also predict the probability of success for leads and deals based on historic performance.
Salesforce, meanwhile, has Einstein AI, which can also surface predictions and recommendations based on the data saved in the CRM. Like Zia, Einstein has predictive capabilities to examine the likelihood of successfully converting leads and opportunities, as well as forecasting sales data.
Both Salesforce and Zoho offer their AI features with their higher-priced Enterprise tiers, though Zoho does offer Zia's automation intelligence features starting with its Standard package.
Click to expand
Standout features (Salesforce Essentials)
Standout features (Lightning Professional)
Standout features (Lightning Enterprise)
Standout features (Lightning Unlimited)
Sales and Service Cloud
No combo deal available in the Salesforce first tier
Zoho or Salesforce - Which CRM Should You Choose?
For extremely small teams, however, Salesforce does have some pretty good pricing with its Essentials packages, as long as Sales and Service Cloud are all you need. But Salesforce Essentials is still more expensive than Zoho's two starter pricing tiers. If you have a five-member team filled with Salesforce veterans, then perhaps that extra cost is worth it – but most small businesses should take a long look at Zoho before opting for the “trendier” solution.
And don't just stop at these two platforms: there are a ton of other companies besides Zoho and Salesforce that can offer a capable CRM. To make sure you're getting a CRM that suits your company, grab a quote using our simple CRM software quotes form that takes into consideration your company's particular situation and needs.
Tech.co is reader-supported. Using Tech.co's comparison form, you can receive quotes from various suppliers, tailored to the needs of your business. If you enter into a contract with a provider, we may receive a payment for the introduction. Equally, if you make a purchase through the links on our site, we may earn a commission from the retailers of the products we have reviewed. This helps Tech.co to provide free advice and reviews. It carries no additional cost to you, and doesn’t affect our editorial independence.