You need to know how Salesforce is stealing your budget

George Brontén

For almost 20 years, one CRM platform has been in use by more sales organizations than any other. You know the one.

In its youth, this legacy software was scrappy, innovative, and the most effective customer relationship management software available. Nobody else offered anything like it. It moved CRM from on-site hardware to the cloud. Led by some of the technology sector’s big thinkers, it quickly overtook more traditional competitors and today this behemoth dominates the CRM market.

As a fellow producer of sales software, I admire their rise to prominence.

Unfortunately, I can’t admire what they have become: The 800-pound gorilla in the room or, as I like to describe it, the many-headed Hydra that is sinking sales organizations around the world.

How the Hydra is chewing up your profits

On the surface, Salesforce feels like a good investment to many organizations. For organizations that are already using it, with plenty of sunk cost - such as costly integrations and add-ons, it can feel daunting to consider switching to something else.

But what many don’t realize is just how much of their budget is being eaten up by the Hydra’s excessive complexity and "one-size-fits-none" platform. It makes me think of Lidl's $500 million SAP debacle.

Here are some of the ways Salesforce “gets you” with hidden costs:

  • Expensive custom coding to make it map to your way of working, if even possible
  • Lack of sales tools, requiring you to buy expensive plugins to enable your sales teams
  • Custom coding to fix the things that broke while making the plugins work
  • A price model where "the first shot is free" and then eats you up from the inside
  • High per-user fees for anyone who needs to do anything, including admin work
  • Ongoing coding by expensive technology consultants to make the software continue to work when your strategy, process, training, or methodology changes
  • Hidden costs for API calls (data-transfer between systems) and storage
  • An inefficient user interface that leads to low adoption and slow workflows
  • Internal operation staff to maintain and develop functionality

membrain-vs-legacy-crm-lightOver time, the budget for Salesforce grows and grows, eating up more and more money, whereas the price per user for Membrain would actually go down. In part because of lower customization costs and embedded tools tailored for B2B sales effectiveness, but also as a result of our price model, which contrasts the annoying industry standard, where each user is charged at a "tier" that you've been more or less forced to select.  

Many companies don’t see this problem clearly for three reasons:

  1. They feel like they can’t do business without it, so they keep swallowing the cost because they don’t realize they have a viable choice.
  2. They view technology spend as a separate issue from sales training and enablement, so they don’t consider how reclaiming this excessive technology cost could actually help them improve effectiveness.
  3. The've bought into the idea of "one system to rule them all," and that a large platform vendor is the only way to get a "360 degree view of the customer," which isn't true and hasn't proven to increase sales effectiveness, or quota attainment, if we look at CSO Insight's surveys.

Why you should reclaim your technology budget and apply it to sales enablement

Some leading organizations today are getting wise to the idea that technology spend is not a separate issue from sales effectiveness and operational excellence.

In conversations with sales consultants and trainers, I have learned that while they have historically been contacted by L&D departments, more and more they are being contacted by sales enablement departments.

And very often, these sales enablement departments are responsible for the complete picture–everything that goes into ensuring sales teams are enabled to do their jobs at peak performance. Including technology.

This is a good thing, in my view. Effective enablement technology is integral to effective sales enablement and the sooner organizations learn to integrate technology with all the other aspects of enablement, the better.

After all, imagine everything you could do with a reclaimed technology budget:

  • Invest in more training for salespeople
  • Invest in more training for coaches
  • Invest in ongoing support and reinforcement of training
  • Invest in the ongoing optimization of your process

And for consultants or trainers, the potential to integrate technology with their own offerings is equally promising. It can allow them to:

  • Better reinforce their training
  • Provide more services with the reclaimed budget
  • Better reinforce their strategy and process
  • Save time in implementing their services
  • Achieve better results for their clients
  • Earn repeat and ongoing business
  • Earn recurring income

How to reclaim technology budget to improve sales effectiveness

For most complex b2b sales organizations, Salesforce is no longer your best option. There is a simpler, more effective technology solution that will enable you to reclaim large portions of your tech budget and reinvest it in sales effectiveness training, methodology, resources, and reinforcement.

Membrain is the purpose-built Sales Enablement CRM that can take the place of Salesforce while simultaneously doing a better job of reinforcing your training, enabling process optimization, supporting effective coaching, automating analytics, and serving up valuable sales enablement content in context.

Because Membrain includes most of the tools and workflows a complex b2b sales team needs to fully execute their sales strategy and enable their team, it costs substantially less over time than Salesforce. Plus, while you’ll still pay per user for the platform, you can choose a lower level of access for users who don’t need all of its functionality and pay less for them.

Sales consultants and trainers love Membrain for the way it helps them reinforce their services with clients, and earn recurring income and repeat business–all while looking like a hero.

I’d love to show you how. Contact us for a demonstration today.

George Brontén
Published September 11, 2019, written by

George Brontén

George is the founder & CEO of Membrain, the Sales Enablement CRM that makes it easy to execute your sales strategy. A life-long entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in the software space and a passion for sales and marketing. With the life motto "Don't settle for mainstream", he is always looking for new ways to achieve improved business results using innovative software, skills and processes.

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