Zoho vs Salesforce: What’s Right For You?

This is not exactly one of my training articles but as a Zoho consultant, I’m often asked about Zoho vs Salesforce so I thought I’d share some thoughts with you.

Getting a Salesforce renewal can be a bit painful at the best of times, but with a global downturn hitting most businesses not called Zoom or Amazon, you might want to consider a CRM system that will support your business but has a sensible total cost of ownership. And if you don’t want to lose the functionality you rely on if you have Salesforce already, you don?t have to sacrifice much at all really.

Zoho CRM is an excellent alternative to Salesforce because it offers all the features and in some cases, far more but at a significantly lower cost.

Monthly License cost

Let?s look at the cost difference between the two systems.

Zoho offers their CRM at a monthly pro-rata price which means that if you need to change user numbers as you grow or even reduce the number of user licenses, you can do it at any time. Zoho will adjust your bill accordingly. Salesforce only offers you an annual contract for their services. You can’t spread the license cost over the year, so you?re committed to the entire year contract.

To compare prices we’ll use the same pricing structure and versions even though with Zoho you get more features at the equivalent price, so it is difficult to match up exactly.

Edition Zoho CRM (Price/User/Month – billed annually) Salesforce CRM (Price/User/Month – billed annually) Savings for switching from Salesforce to Zoho for 10 users per year
Professional $16 $60 $5,280
Enterprise $30 $120 $10,800
Ultimate $36 $240 $24,480

Salesforce CRM licenses are typically 4x the price compared to a Zoho CRM!


Not only are Salesforce licenses more expensive, but the cost of setting up Salesforce CRM is higher too. Having dealt with clients who’ve started with Salesforce and moved to Zoho, I know it takes Salesforce consultants longer to implement Salesforce than it does for a Zoho Consultant to set up an equivalent system.

The lead time for a Salesforce CRM implementation can be anywhere from 50% longer to 300% longer to deploy in your business. If you price this using a consultant’s day rate, you’ll find that the cost can be painfully high.

Zoho CRM design and build

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The cost of training is broadly similar for both systems and Salesforce has more written resources if you’re taking a DIY approach. There are a variety of training packages available for both systems.

With on-site training on-hold for many organizations, online training is the better approach right now. If you want to explore Zoho a bit more, you can try my Sales Essentials course. For existing Zoho users and anyone who’s definitely moving from Salesforce, the Full CRM Training for Users and the Zoho CRM Training for Administrators are your best options.

Cost over the year

The chart below shows the typical costs over the first year for enterprise Zoho vs Salesforce CRM for ten users. The cost of implementation can vary; however, I’ve taken an average of what I typically see. A Zoho CRM implementation of $8,000 is on average equivalent to a Salesforce CRM implementation costing $16,000, which takes twice as long.

Zoho vs Salesforce CRM

Want more? Let’s look at some features

The basic version of Salesforce CRM has far fewer features than the equivalent Zoho edition which makes it difficult to compare. This is because the versions don’t line up in price. The Ultimate version of Zoho CRM is still cheaper than the Basic version of Salesforce CRM.

Both CRM systems do more than just manage leads and customers. However, Zoho CRM provides a lot of extra built-in functionality that you’d need to purchase as add-ons to Salesforce CRM. It’s not called Ultimate for nothing you know 😉

More Salesforce vs Zoho features compared

Artificial Intelligence

If you want help understanding your data and finding smart insights using Artificial Intelligence in Salesforce CRM, you’ll need to get Einstein. This will likely mean an add-on on top of your monthly license cost. Zoho gives you ZIA, the Zoho Intelligent Assistant, out of the box.

Phone System

Salesforce CRM doesn’t have an out-of-the-box phone system. Zoho CRM has a built-in phone system called Contact Center, which is powered by Twilio.

Microsoft Office 365

Zoho CRM integrates with Microsoft Office 365, but Salesforce CRM requires a paid add-on to get going with Office 365.

Social Media Channels

Zoho CRM comes with social media integration built-in. Salesforce requires an additional service called Social Cloud which has an equivalent price of $3,200 per month billed annually. That’s $38,400 per year for something free in Zoho CRM Professional and Enterprise!

Conclusion: Zoho vs Salesforce

I could go all Zoho fanboy here, and say if you like getting more “bang for your buck” then for similar amounts of money, Zoho CRM gives you a warehouse of fireworks compared to Salesforce’s box of assorted crackers.

But in reality, Salesforce also has a warehouse full of things that go bang and consultants who can make them light up the sky like its New Year’s Eve. But you’ll be paying more than you should at almost every stage of your project, and then every year after that.

If you’ve got other things you need to spend your budgets on and still want an all-singing all-dancing CRM system that can be tailored to do what you want and work how you do, then it’s Zoho CRM every day.

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Certified Zoho Trainer

Tabish Alam

I’m a Senior CRM Consultant with a leading Zoho Partner in Europe and hold a Level 2 Certification in Zoho CRM which is currently the highest level possible.  Learn more.

Disclosure: This content is reader-supported. This means if you click on some of the links, then I may earn a commission. See how The CRM Trainer is funded, why it matters, and how you can support us.

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