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Small Business Owners; Beware the $695 Offer!

If you are a small business owner that is considering the use of Saleforce.com, don’t get seduced by their $695 for five (5) users per year on Team Edition; it is simply a bait and switch tactic like a crack dealer to get you hooked and unable to quit!

Anytime you implement a system that is critical to your business such as accounting or customer relationship management you’ll put significant effort into making it work for your business. Once implemented your business processes will usually become so intertwined with the app it will be almost impossible to switch to something else! And that is what Saleforce.com is preying on.

Although you may have only budgeting $695 for a year of Salesforce.com you’ll have to ante up for more than five (5) times that if you later realize you need features not included with Team. That’s $3900/year for the Professional Edition with five (5) users, or worse it’s $9000/year for the Enterprise Edition. That’s a 561% increase from Team to Professional, and a 1295% increase from Team to Enterprise!

It only gets worse if you have more than five (5) people that need to access Salesforce.com. And note that they don’t have less expensive access for sales assistants, everyone with a login has to pay for a seat based on the full price for the Edition.

How bad is it? Let’s take a look at the features you DO NOT get if you are on Team Edition as per Saleforce.com’s own edition comparison (think you might need any of these?):

  • Salesforce Automation
    • Salesforce Console
    • Customizable Forecasting
    • Contract and Renewal Management
    • Integration with Third-Party Methodologies
    • Product Catalog
    • Revenue Schedule Management
    • Account and Opportunity Team Selling
    • Client Lifecycle Management
    • Advanced Call Scripting
    • Territory Management
    • Mass Quota Updates
    • Worklow and Approvals
  • Marketing Automation
    • Mass Email
    • Lead Management, Routing, and Assignment
    • Web Site Lead Capture
    • Web Site Lead Tracking
    • Campaign Management
    • List Management
    • Advanced Call Scripting
    • Worklow and Approvals
    • Salesforce for Google AdWords
  • Customer Service and Support
    • Document Management
    • Case Queues and Auto-Assignment
    • Advanced Case Escalation and Notiication
    • History Tracking
    • Suggested Solutions
    • Multilingual Solutions
    • Agent Console
    • Service Dashboards
    • Call Center Edition
    • Web and Email Case Capture
    • Self-Service Portal and Knowledge Base
    • Asset Management
    • Service Entitlements
  • Real-Time and Historical Analytics
    • Dashboards
    • Analytic Mash-Ups
    • Read-Only Report Access
  • Desktop and Mobile CRM
    • Offline Edition
    • Desktop Solution Administration
    • Apex Mobile
  • Data Model Customization
    • Custom Object Sharing Controls
    • Smart Field Defaulting
  • User Interface Customization
    • Global Translation Workbench
    • Rename Tabs and Labels
    • Multiple Custom Page Layouts
    • Record-Dependent Page Layouts
    • AJAX Toolkit
    • Standard Button Overrides
  • Enterprise Administration
    • Account-Based Sharing Controls
    • Record-Level Security
    • Field-Level Security
    • Multidepartmental Administration
    • Profile-Based Departmental Security
    • Delegated Administration
    • Opportunity, Lead, and Case-Sharing Controls
  • Business Process Controls
    • Lead and Case Routing
    • Multistep Approval Processes
    • Worklow Automation Rules and Tasks
    • Multiple Business Processes
  • On-Demand Database
    • Weekly Export Service
    • Real-Time Database Mirroring
    • Data Loader
    • Salesforce Sandbox
  • Integration Platform
    • Apex Web Services API 8.0
    • Single Sign-OnóLDAP Integration
    • Salesforce Connector for SAP R/3

How about of you are on Professional? These are the things you don’t get on Professional Edition?:

  • Salesforce Automation
    • Account and Opportunity Team Selling
    • Client Lifecycle Management
    • Advanced Call Scripting
    • Territory Management
    • Mass Quota Updates
    • Worklow and Approvals
  • Marketing Automation
    • Advanced Call Scripting
    • Worklow and Approvals
  • Customer Service and Support
    • Service Entitlements
  • Real-Time and Historical Analytics
    • Read-Only Report Access
  • Desktop and Mobile CRM
    • Desktop Solution Administration
  • Data Model Customization
    • Custom Object Sharing Controls
    • Smart Field Defaulting
  • User Interface Customization
    • Multiple Custom Page Layouts
    • Record-Dependent Page Layouts
    • AJAX Toolkit
    • Standard Button Overrides
  • Enterprise Administration
    • Field-Level Security
    • Multidepartmental Administration
    • Profile-Based Departmental Security
    • Delegated Administration
    • Opportunity, Lead, and Case-Sharing Controls
  • Business Process Controls
    • Multistep Approval Processes
    • Worklow Automation Rules and Tasks
    • Multiple Business Processes
  • On-Demand Database
    • Real-Time Database Mirroring
    • Data Loader
    • Salesforce Sandbox

And here’s the list of things that even Professional Edition customer have to pay extra for:

  • Salesforce Automation
    • Product Catalog
    • Revenue Schedule Management
  • Marketing Automation
    • Web Site Lead Tracking
    • Campaign Management
    • List Management
  • Customer Service and Support
    • Asset Management
  • Desktop and Mobile CRM
    • Offline Edition
    • Apex Mobile
  • On-Demand Database
    • Weekly Export Service

But then here’s another "gotcha"; let’s assume your business is limping along on a Team Edition license because you can’t really afford to pay for Professional and then you hire an 11th person needing access to Saleforce.com, you are screwed! Time to ante up $8580 for a year allowing 11 people access to Saleforce.com!

Now many of you might be thinking that I’m offbase and that I’m begrudging Salesforce.com for trying to make its profit. But please realize most small businesses by definition are scraping to get by and every little expense can be a killer. Small businesses typically just cannot afford to pay for a Professional license let alone an Enterprise license. Yet many of the features small businesses need are simply not available in Team edition are import for small businesses.

Saleforce is trying to position itself as a leader. Leaders don’t implement strategies designed to trick their customers. Instead, leaders focus on meeting their customer’s needs at a price that is fair to their customers. Companies selling intangibles like that which Saleforce offers set their prices based on their market and then focus on meeting their customers needs, not on milking them more then they can typically afford.

What should Saleforce.com do differently?  Drop the 10 user limit on Team Edition and make sure that the features needed by small business are included in Team Edition. Things like SAP integration; well, they can leave that to the Entreprise edition. Then focus on getting as many users as possible, not just milk the users they have. They have a chance to be "it" for SaaS, but their policies are designed to give their competitions as much ammunition against them as possible.

Now don’t get my wrong, there are many companies where it is well worth $150/month to improve your sales team’s productivity, but for many others it’s just not cost effective. In either case, Salesforce.com should rely on selling their value and not trying to set traps; this is just indicative of the general disdain which Saleforce.com has for its customers.

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