Salesforce.com is a great product. There's typically little debate about that. It's benefits are well documented. It's fan base is large and broad. Over 100,000 people attend Dreamforce, their annual user conference.
If you're reading this now you may likely be evaluating Salesforce for your own organization. And trying to determine if you can justify the somewhat steep cost. I'm not going to sugar coat it, it's expensive compared to other cloud-based solutions. Heck Google Apps for Business is only $5/user/month. For a 10 person organization that's only $600/year. Salesforce on the other-hand, is $125/user/month for Enterprise which is a very popular license tier. For that same 10 person organization, that's $15,000 per year. Not an easy number to swallow. Especially for smaller company with limited cash flow. Trust me, we get it. That amount could be a large chunk of an employee's salary, or new computers, or buying the next round of inventory. It's not an easy decision.
I want to share with you some stats that should demonstrate that buying Salesforce will help you make money not just deplete your bank account. Yes, Salesforce costs a lot. Usually it's #1 complaint, is the price tag. But it does a lot for the money.
The following infographic comes directly from Salesforce.com.
I know what you're thinking, of course they're going to publish numbers that make them look favorable, they want you to buy their tool. And you might be right to question, but also consider that there are over 2.5 million licensed users, which means they have enough statistically relevant information to make accurate claims.
So let's consider the numbers. If your 10 person organization does 1 million in gross revenue in a year and sees a 29% increase in sales, that's $290,000. Needless to say, that more than pays for that initial $15,000 investment. Realistically you would only have to see an increase of 1.5% to break even on your new expense. I think it's safe to say that's doable, even in the first year.
If you could increase sales productivity by up to 34% you could do more with a lot less. If three of the 10 people in your organization can reap the full 34% increase in productivity, that's the equivalent of having an additional sales person at a cost of $15,000.
If you are in the habit of keeping a lot of inventory on hand, accurate sales forecasting could reduce your inventory and warehousing costs. You will be better able to anticipate demand, and get out in front of it. Preventing dissatisfied customers who might have to wait on their orders if you're out-of-stock. Satisfied customers = repeat business = more $$.
That just scratches the surface of what Salesforce is capable of doing. If it becomes central to your business operations and ties in with all of your ancillary applications, mail, accounting, marketing, etc, there is less to manage, and obtaining information becomes effortless. Automated workflows in Salesforce streamline your business methods, allowing you to focus on more important things other than sending routine emails, and remembering to update certain data elements when an event occurs. If by using Salesforce each of your 10 employees gains a modest 10% gain in productivity that's like having a whole new employee.
There are intangible gains too, piece of mind knowing information is accurate, save, and in one place, rather than various spreadsheets, and sticky notes (We've all done it). Ease of communication and workflow. A clear and true understanding of your business operations. A comprehensive picture of each customer, their buying habits, their needs, their wants. This makes it easier to bring the customer back to the focus of your business. And like I said before Satisfied customers = repeat business = more $$.
Maybe the question isn't can you afford Salesforce? Maybe the question is can you afford not to have Salesforce?
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