10 Reasons Not to Adopt Salesforce.com for Customer Relationship Management

By Partho, Gaea News Network
Wednesday, March 3, 2010

salesforce_com-logo-e200915434-seeklogocomAfter having done with the brighter side of Salesforce.com, we decided to delve into the darker side of the CRM service. Salesforce.com is a pioneer in successfully selling the idea of hosting software and delivering it as a service via the Internet on any different scale. While it is the leading on-demand CRM software, there are equally competitive services like Netsuite that offers edge in several factors. Salesforce.com CRM application is not the strongest contender in the online CRM software industry, however the company tries to downplay the limited value of the off the shelf business systems. Evidently, the tools used in Salesforce.com seem daunting for some users and might be overly flexible and complex in some cases. There are several loopholes in Salesforce.com that need to be addressed. We assorted a list of 10 reasons that would help you to decide whether to adopt Salesforce.com.

1. Integration and extensions

The biggest effort related to a new SaaS CRM system is the implementation or customization. While the basics of integration or even hooking up the pipes are easy, but the data semantics and transactional context involve intricacies and some data rework. As in case of other complex systems, integration exposes data problems. Cleaning up data and integrating with the existing systems might cost more than the first-year license fees.

2. Dashboard

Salesforce.com offers dashboards with limited visibility. The dashboards are not quite role-based and locked down that prevents personalization and limits productivity of users.

The tab in Salesforce.com representing dashboard is a page of drill-able graphical reports.  It just refreshes the reports created by saved search. However, its not the home destination page for users that has nothing beyond graphics from saved searches. The dashboard is not the home destination page for the user, and has nothing beyond graphics from saved searches. The administrator has to create the dashboard from scratch. Moreover, any customization or even simple personalization requires permission.

3. Functionality

The company uses tools approach to compensate for the missing functionality that exists in the competitors solutions such as Oracle on Demand and Aplicor. Salesforce.com requires the customers to pay extra for the additional AppExchange products. They also need to pay for the customization tools that helps to accomplish several other SaaS CRM system that is delivered out of box. In Salesforce.com user needs to pay for each additional application that requires evaluation, purchase, and implementation. In addition to your Salesforce.com seat licenses, you need to pay for AppExchange.

Salesforce.com lacks an automated upgrade mechanism for AppExchange software. When the third party upgrades their functionality, your account is not updated automatically. You are required to de-install and reinstall new revisions of the gadgets available.

4. Not apt for sell services

Salesforce.com shows major shortcomings for companies that sell services. Salesforce.com is more feasible for product companies. The CRM service fails to offer inventory visibility/available-to-promise, discount management, volume pricing, order commitment, sales tax and landed cost, order status, backorders, shipment tracking, returns management, issue management, or upsell/cross-sell automation.

5. System downtime

The CRM service provider shows instances of system downtime. Salesforce.com was plagued by a series of intermittent system interruptions that afflicted the software’s system, uptime assurance. Salesforce.com was even hacked that resulted in compromise of thousands of customers’ personal information.

6. Back office functionality

One of the major drawbacks of Salesforce.com is the that it lacks back office functionality.  Salesforce.com offers no accounting, inventory management, or order fulfillment functionality,  Salesforce.com cannot run your entire business.

7. No SLA(service level agreement)

The practice of selecting the customers to provide SLAs is not justified. Salesforce.com should also consider SLAs for small and midsized business.

8. Multi-tenant architecture

This is said to be one of the strength of Salesforce.com. For most analyst, it is just a cost savings feature for the CRM hosting company, as it provides reduced autonomy, flexibility and customization capabilities as compared to a single tenancy alternative.  There is an increasing demand for single tenant hosting solutions such as SAP and Aplicor.

9. Data Quality

In case of large systems, data pollution is inevitable. There are instances of corrupted or duplicate data creeping into the system over time. There are certain instances where the executives start showing contradictory or confusing results. This issue can seriously hamper CRM system’s credibility. In case the CRM system is integrated with other production systems, there are higher chances of data quality issues. You might have to spend more than $3000 (approx) per year or more for data cleansing issues.

10. Add-ons

There are several core functions provided in a CRM solution that are added to bolt-on’s in Salesforce.com. Some functions that sales people need to accomplish by gluing together disparate applications.

For instance, incentive management (commissions) can only be accommodated through a third party, bolted-on product, which adds to the expense and complexity.


Lacks website/web store

Salesforce.com lacks website or web store functionality. There are a large number of companies that run their web store or website.


Jeff T
May 17, 2010: 9:16 pm

This is the worst Salesforce critique I’ve ever read. I’ve read critiques that are far more informative and logical. I’ve been a Certified Salesforce Administrator and Level II Consultant for seven years. I could shoot this critique full of holes. But what’s the point? If you’re considering Salesforce, don’t pay attention to this article, and don’t listen to what the sales guys tell you it can and can’t do. Quite simply, they don’t know, and c’mon, they’re SALES guys. It takes years to learn all the Salesforce features and limitations. And its upgraded three times a year. So whatever someone tells you about Salesforce today may not be true in four months. I could shoot this critique full of holes. But why? I’ll just say that Salesforce is an INCREDIBLE product with a few key drawbacks in terms of being able to customize (such as roll-up summary constraints and no cross-object workflow - but again, this could change before the year is out). A letdown with most of the companies that I’ve consulted with is the mediocre reporting capabilities. And by FAR, the biggest Salesforce issue has and will always be Support. DO NOT pay extra for premium support. And unless you have a simple question (i.e. one that is answered in their online help documentation), don’t bother logging cases with tech support. I can’t count the number of times they’ve replied (five or six days later) with “you can’t do that”, and after further research I’ve found that you can.

Hope this helps someone. If you buy Salesforce and need an analyst/administrator, let’s chat to see if I can help you. Jeff at seven oh seven 260 two six nine six.

March 9, 2010: 2:21 pm

I tried salesforce and really didn’t like the experience at all. Continued use of their system felt more like a lobster squirming further into a trap. The most unforgivable aspect was the dishonesty of their sales staff. They weren’t honest about what kind of features that I would be getting and once they had me on the hook they were only too glad to gloat about how there was nothing I could do about it.

Sadly I’m stuck in a contract with them until August then it’s good riddance.

March 4, 2010: 9:24 am

Glad to see Mark Benioff has nothing better to do with his time or for his customers than to comment of blog posts. Get real Mark. Maybe you should be spending your time developing a business strategy wrapped around retaining your customers instead of selling them and walking away. Great marketing, miserable service, support and product.

Rasmus Mencke
March 3, 2010: 8:44 pm

There are a few points in your article which are not accurate or add a comment.

#10 Salesforce do provide websites, a product called Sites, lets you build and run websites on the Force.com platform - if you are interested in seeing what has been built: developer.force.com/sitesgallery

#2 AppExchange applications are often built by partners who have made a business out of adding functionality and features that Salesforce do not natively provide, very common with most vendors like SAP, Oracle etc. they come with a price and integration cost.

#8 Where do you get $3000 from? Seems random.

#2 you can add dashboard to the homepage of a user, so they will become the home destination of most users, that is generally what most organizations do. There are also a large number of free dashboards that comes with Salesforce or you can can install from AppExchange.

March 3, 2010: 5:49 pm

This is a very interesting post on salesforce.

March 3, 2010: 3:28 pm

This article has quite a few inaccuracies. For instance point 10 is not true. Salesforce does provide website hosting capability.

March 3, 2010: 2:48 pm

A nice article! I agree with most of the points barring a couple.

Point 2 is repeated twice..
2. Dashboard
2. Functionality

Guess time to change the title to, “10 Reasons Not to Adopt Salesforce.com for Customer Relationship Management”..!! ;-)

March 3, 2010: 2:18 pm

Check out the salesforce.com customer success stories here salesforce.com/customers/?viewType=summary&Industry=industry-manufacturing to read about how service companies have experienced success with Salesforce CRM. Salesforce.com has many industry specific solutions also that cater to service and product businesses. You can see some industry solutions at salesforce.com/industries/

In regards to salesforce.com’s system downtime comment above, salesforce.com champions customer trust with real-time 24/7 transparency into system performance and security on their trust website trust.salesforce.com/trust/

Marc Benioff
March 3, 2010: 1:05 pm

what a load of uninformed crap.

March 3, 2010: 12:56 pm

What a wasted and lie of article…

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