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This week Salesforce released yet another version of its platform targeted at small businesses. I say “yet another version” because the company has been trying to penetrate this market for years. This time, the product is called Salesforce Easy and it’s a “new” and “simplified” version of its product. Its price point is $25 per user and it comes with additional functionality including one-step sign-on to Slack, Google and Microsoft 365, new data import tools and preset sales processes.
“Salesforce Easy is designed to help more and more companies help drive their businesses forward, tapping into Salesforce’s technology expertise and best practices accumulated over the course of more than two decades,” a representative told Vernon Keenan of publisher SalesforceDevops. “Salesforce Easy is a new simplified experience for companies of all sizes.”
Keenan himself seems a bit dubious about this product. I don’t blame him.
“It won’t, ahem, be easy for Salesforce Easy to succeed,” he writes. “Salesforce Easy may break some of the traditional Salesforce channel models and will require the company to beef up its technical customer service and direct account services. For Salesforce Easy to succeed, Salesforce customer service will have to look a little more like Intuit or Microsoft.”
Even the name “Easy” seems slightly offensive. Like it’s been specifically dumbed-down for small businesses. Or maybe I’m being too sensitive. Keenan’s perspective is accurate. Let me also elaborate by giving a few reasons why Salesforce may not be your best CRM option, particularly if you’re a small business.
The first reason is that Salesforce is not a small business-focused company. It’s a company that has many products which includes a small business product. If you’re a small business, be wary of this. It’s like buying a salad at a McDonalds – they offer it but you know it’s not the restaurant chain’s main focus.
The CRM platforms that best serve the small business market are focused on serving only the small business market. You know some of these already. They include Zoho, Insightly, Sugar, Nimble, Copper and others. For Salesforce, the company’s bread and butter comes from its largest enterprise customers. And the enterprise market is completely different from the small business market.
As Keenan notes, the company’s support infrastructure isn’t setup to handle the types of support requests that will come from small businesses. For example, small business owners are less informed about technology, are often ignorant and impatient when tech problems occur and can be more demanding than larger corporate employees who have less stake in resolving an issue timely. I say this with peace and love as a small business owner myself that behaves in exactly this way. To really serve this market, Salesforce would need to overhaul its support infrastructure, change how it provides its services, figure out a more affordable service model, and probably hire a thousand psychiatrists to handle the crazy personalities of small business owners like myself. I don’t see that happening.
The second reason: Salesforce lacks a channel that can serve small businesses.
Software vendors in Silicon Valley love to say how “easy” and “simplified” their products are to setup and use. Oh sure. Try telling that to the person running a distribution business in Oklahoma City. People have different skill sets and what’s easy and simple for …….