Zoho vs. Salesforce – A Quick Guide on How to Decide

If you’ve been searching for an online CRM solution, there’s no doubt you’ve come across both Zoho and Salesforce. Initially, they are hard to compare – the pricing is vastly different and neither of them offer any sort of comparison chart. After some research, however, you’ll begin to notice some clear similarities and differences.

As far as the basic components of CRM are concerned, both Zoho and Salesforce offer what any user will need. Accounts, contacts, campaigns, Outlook and Office integration, collaboration tools, etc. are found in both services. And, of course, CompanionLink works great with either Zoho or Salesforce! So how do you decide which is right for you? Let us help by highlighting the unique benefits each service offers.

Zoho: Affordable, Quick, Easy

The most obvious benefit Zoho has to offer is its pricing. At $12 or $25 per user per month, it’s $100 less than Salesforce’s most popular offering. Zoho even offers a free version for users who need a very simple CRM solution.

Of course, price isn’t the only benefit Zoho offers. Zoho is designed to be quick and easy, allowing even the smallest businesses to jump in and get started right away. Zoho also offers integration with their complete suite of Zoho Apps, providing access to chat, docs, invoicing, projects, meetings, and much more.

In the end, you’ll want to look into Zoho if you’re a small to medium business looking for a full-featured, yet affordable CRM solution.

Salesforce: Powerful, Customizable, Expandable

Salesforce generally gets accused of being more expensive than Zoho or other CRM options. With its most popular edition going for $125 per user per month, this may seem to be the case. However, Salesforce accounts start at just $5 per user per month for their more basic CRM solution.

That said, most users generally opt for one of the higher priced plans. The question then becomes, “What do I get for my money?” In addition to all the benefits you’d expect from a CRM service, Salesforce offers the ability to customize your experience via custom apps and websites, a developer sandbox, and integration via a web services API. All that may sound a bit technical, but it essentially means that, with a little technical know-how, you can make Salesforce do exactly what you need it to do for your specific setup. To make customization even easier, Salesforce hosts a cloud-computing marketplace called AppExchange where you can find over 1,000 different apps that will help make Salesforce work for your setup!

Generally speaking, if you’re a medium to large business with custom CRM needs, Salesforce is a great option.

Hopefully this has helped narrow your search. In our experience, there isn’t a bad choice here.

Zoho vs. Salesforce – A Quick Guide on How to Decide was last updated May 20th, 2011 by David Z

12 thoughts on “Zoho vs. Salesforce – A Quick Guide on How to Decide

  1. We have been using Zoho for a few months and their support is TERRIBLE, no answers, zero transparency and when the email went down (fetching from all of our pop accounts) over a week ago, no one STILL has any answers. We are switching to Zoho. Cheaper IS NOT always better. If you are looking to run a professional organization and catering to follow up a client needs on a schedule, Zoho is sure to interfere with it. They have GREAT tools and a host of platforms and options, but the quirks and issues and non-transparency is a bit scary.

  2. Do remember that Salesforce has a huge catch. They only offer annual plans, so you are committed for a year even if your business fails. Zoho can revert back to free edition anytime. SF is horrible for start ups as you need to learn the software and it is not intuitive, its like learning a new language. Zoho lacks the polish but it is fast and instant to understand. Finally add on salesforce licenses are also on one year terms. Its inflexible and for businesses of 30 or less employees. I would suggest going with ZOHO and then migrating to SF later when you have the $ 1000 a month to spare on CRM for a mid sized team.

  3. Hi, I would agree. If I boil it down I say… You can pay less for zoho and get most of what you need. It’s a bit clunky, and there are a few things you wish you could do, but just can’t.

    Salesforce.com is slicker, more configurable, more add-ons and can be more expensive (and most likely will be).

    I don’t mind the idea of the nickel and diming that a user above mentions, as long as I’m clear on the value. And I currently use zoho, and have a bunch of add-ons, and am still happy with the price. But I wish I could pay the zoho price for all the options and slickness of salesforce.com.

  4. Been working with Zoho now for about a month and I think it sucks. Add a module and it doesn’t work. All their video tutorials are outdated and show an old user interface which is narrated by some woman from India and you can barely understand her. I’ve used salesforce in the past and it is complicated also but it does a good job and features do not break like in Zoho. JMO

  5. It really is hard to say what is best as they each have their perks and, in the end, it really boils down to the features you need and the workflow you prefer. I’d recommend taking a look at the pricing/features for each if you haven’t already (I’ve included links below) and even taking advantage of the free trials offered by both services.

    Zoho: http://www.zoho.com/pricing.html
    Salesforce: http://www.salesforce.com/crm/editions-pricing.jsp

    I know this isn’t a clear recommendation for one over the other, but I honestly don’t think it’s that easy. Hopefully the extra info above will help you decide which is best for you!

  6. Zoho’s interface looks cool and clean in their Demo video, but, like Salesforce, they probably charge for basic CRM services (email, Case management etc).
    All in all, for small and medium sixed business, which one is the best?
    p.s. Thanks for the review 🙂

  7. Maurice – I’m not personally familiar with either of these options, actually. I’ll have to look them up. Thanks for sharing!

  8. We are using BIGCONTACTS, looked into various other CRM app’s and Big Contact’s stands out, and … if you looking for a deal, we took advantage of a special deal, $ 10 per user per month, and this for only 5 users. on the accounting side i found a great incredible easy to work with app. Xero is the name. any opinions ??

  9. You’re right about the fees for various plug-ins. For those who don’t need all the various plugins, Zoho may be the better choice as it will likely end up being cheaper overall. That said, it’s not hard to get up to the same price level as Salesforce once you start adding in the plug-ins. At that point, you’ll need to more closely compare the two to see what service offers the specific features you need.

  10. And where are you getting $125/mo for Salesforce? I see the expensive professional version is $65/mo.

  11. Ya right. Zoho has added fees for Mail, Outlook plug-in, Office Plug-in, mobile access. The cloud business model allows companies to nickel and dime consumers.