Salesforce launches simplified software aimed at small businesses

On Tuesday, Salesforce.com Inc (NYSE:CRM) launched new sales and customer service software tailored specifically for small businesses, a market the company has struggled to address.The apps, called ‘Essentials’, are simplified versions of Salesforce’s Sales and Service Cloud products, said Salesforce Executive Vice President, Mike Rosenbaum.
On Monday, Rosenbaum said that they want to make sure they have a product that works for every segment of the market.In the past, small businesses, complaining that the software was too complex and too expensive, have struggled to use Salesforce’s products.
Door Director of Product Chris Keegan said that a Dallas-based real estate brokerage marketplace, tried using Salesforce software but found it difficult to configure, adding that employees reverted to using spreadsheets to log customer data. In 2016, the company replaced Salesforce with ProsperWorks, which caters to small and mid-sized businesses.
Keegan told that one of the issues they were having is that no one on their team was using Salesforce to its full capabilities.
Rosenbaum said that with Essentials, Salesforce will offer products that are ready to use “out of the box”.
Essentials is priced at $25 per user per month for teams of up to 10 people, which is $50 less per user than the professional versions of Salesforce products.
Rebecca Wettemann, an analyst with Nucleus Research, said that as Salesforce has continued to add features to their products they’ve become more complex and also more expensive. “This is a way to make those core features much more accessible to small and mid-size businesses.”
Kate Leggett, an analyst with Forrester Research said that Essentials, however, lacks marketing features and is still more expensive than other customer relationship software aimed at small businesses.
Leggett said that not all the small businesses will consider Salesforce because there are cheaper options out there, pointing to ProsperWorks, Zoho, Freshworks and Infusionsoft.
Salesforce also said that from March 2020, it will retire SalesforceIQ and Desk.com, two products that cater to small businesses.
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