Our cloud software specialists are here to help you determine which CRM software is better: NetSuite or Salesforce?

Choosing the right customer relationship management (CRM) software for your business is a big deal! This program is responsible for keeping track of all of your team's interactions with leads, existing customers, and all of the data associated with them. 

It's a decision that shouldn't be taken lightly and there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach. The right CRM for you and your business depends on many things, including your sales cycle, the size of your business, product depth, and exactly what you're looking for in a software. 

While no article will be able to tell you exactly what CRM is right for your business without knowing any details about the company, our team of cloud software experts has been working with these programs for years and we're at least able to give you a solid comparison. 

NetSuite

Created by Evan Goldberg in 1998 and purchased by software industry giant Oracle in 2016 for approximately $9.3 billion, NetSuite is a pioneer of "the cloud computing revolution."

Known as the first cloud-based business software, NetSuite boasts over 24,000 customers in more than 200 countries. NetSuite has evolved from cloud-based software to a fully-integrated program that handles every aspect of business operations including, finances, CRM, supply chain management, ecommerce, and more.   

Is NetSuite a CRM system? 

While NetSuite does have CRM built into its functionality, NetSuite is not solely a CRM software — it can do virtually everything! In addition to being a CRM, NetSuite also handles eCommerce, Professional Services Automation (PSA), and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). 

Salesforce

Started only a year after NetSuite in 1999, Salesforce claims to be the world's #1 CRM tool. With over 150,000 customers and nearly a 20% market share of CRM applications worldwide, they're able to back up that claim. 

Salesforce was named as the leader in Gartner's CRM Customer Engagement Center Magic Quadrant for the 12th year in a row. If you're unfamiliar with the CEC Magic Quadrant, it's an annual study that analyzes software applications used to provide customer service and support on a number of core functionalities, including scalability, real-time analytics, automation, and digital workflow. 

The image below shows Gartner's Magic Quadrant. As you can see, Salesforce is the clear industry leader, with Oracle (who owns NetSuite) trailing behind, though they are still in the "Leaders" quadrant. Gartner's Magic Quadrant

Customization: Salesforce AppExchange vs NetSuite's SuiteApp 

One of the most important aspects of choosing the right CRM is how customizable it is. You need to make sure whatever software you onboard is able to successfully handle every lead flow, sales funnel, marketing campaign, and customer lifecycle. You also need to make sure it's comparable to whatever reporting you already use (or are looking to start gaining insights from). Not all CRMs are created equal, especially when it comes to customization. 

There are some pretty notable differences between NetSuite and Salesforce when it comes to customization and integrations with third-party programs and tools. 

Salesforce offers the Appexchange, which contains thousands of solutions that are ready to be installed. From apps that help with agile project management to lightning data and flows, the Appexchange holds an impressive collection of Salesforce add-ons. They contain a mix of free and paid solutions, plus a community platform that allows you to seek advice as needed. 

NetSuite's Suiteapp integrations, on the other hand, leave a bit to be desired. Featuring hundreds (instead of thousands) of solutions. They also feature learning resources including videos and case studies. While NetSuite's integrations pale in comparison to Salesforce's, with the help of experienced NetSuite consultants, you can customize NetSuite as much as you want to make it fit your business needs. 

Salesforce is customizable too, but it usually requires the addition of third-party integrations, whereas customizing NetSuite can mostly be done natively with the help of developers. 

NetSuite vs Salesforce Cost

One of the biggest differences between NetSuite and Salesforce is the pricing. NetSuite does not publicly list prices, as they can vary greatly depending on how it's set up, how much customization is required, training required for employees, etc. 

Salesforce Pricing

Salesforce is very transparent with its pricing, offering four different editions

  • Essentials: $25/user/month 
  • Professional: $75/use/month
  • Enterprise: $150/user/month 
  • Unlimited: $300/user/month 

The essentials package is a great place to start, though it doesn't provide features such as lead scoring, sales forecasting, and workflow automation. To take advantage of all Salesforce has to offer (including  24/7 support and configuration), you'd need the Unlimited package. 

NetSuite Pricing

NetSuite isn't transparent with its costs, as it can vary greatly between different organizations. Figuring out NetSuite's price involves a few different steps, such as: 

  • Whether you're purchasing a NetSuite license directly from NetSuite or through a licensed provider
  • If you can use NetSuite's out-of-the-box integration or require custom development work 
  • The duration of your NetSuite license 
  • Implementation costs 
  • On-going training and support costs

It's recommended to purchase and implement NetSuite with a licensed NetSuite provider, like SCS Cloud, as we can provide the necessary up-front consultation, custom integrations, and on-going support needed to make your NetSuite integration as successful as possible. 

It's also not easy to provide solid pricing data for NetSuite because it can be different depending on who you choose as your provider. It's best to work with a licensed provider because they can provide potential discounts and incentives to sign up for a longer contract. 

NetSuite vs Salesforce: Pros and Cons

Now that we've taken a look at a few core components of NetSuite and Salesforce, here's a list of pros and cons for each software. 

NetSuite Pros 

NetSuite serves as a "one source of truth" by streamlining all company data 

It's not entirely fair to compare NetSuite as a software to Salesforce because NetSuite is a lot more than just a CRM. Whereas Salesforce is solely a CRM, NetSuite streamlines all of your business' data, combining sales, marketing, financial, and customer information into one central location.

NetSuite user Sonny Spencer's review on TrustRadius is a fan of NetSuite because of how it facilitates organizational transparency: 

"I am a huge advocate for NetSuite, because the system is user-friendly (after a little training) and because it is so customizable … NetSuite allows great transparency across an organization and adopts a "one source of trust" methodology. If you have Finance, Accounting, Marketing, Sales, Operations, etc. all working in the same platform and working with the same data, there is less room for data discrepancies and more reliance can be placed upon the system outputs."  

User-friendly after some training

While it will take some training to fully onboard employees to NetSuite, it's very user friendly once you understand it. Start by learning the basics of NetSuite, then figure out the shortcuts that will help you do your job more efficiently. 

NetSuite is more than a CRM: it integrates PSA, ERP, CRM, ecommerce, and more 

Probably the most obvious pro for NetSuite is that it's a lot more than a CRM. It also handles ERP, PSA, and virtually every other aspect of your business. 

Take it from Luke, whose NetSuite CRM review on g2 labels it as "Intuitive, Flexible and Good Customer Support:" 

"NetSuite CRM allows our company to have visibility into and quickly manage leads, revenue forecasts, time tracking information, and much more. The most valuable features for our company are NetSuite's abilities to automate otherwise manual processes, such as creating a project when a lead has been qualified and we have received commitment from a stakeholder, as well as be integrated with additional systems, such as Tableau or PowerBI, which has helped our company visualize the information within NetSuite." 

NetSuite Cons

Requires training for employees to successfully navigate the UI 

While NetSuite does become intuitive after you know how to use it, it does require training. Depending on your setup, it might not be easy to jump right in and know exactly how to find every piece of data or report you need. 

On-going support is needed (and it isn't free)

On-going support is needed for additional integrations, customizations, and updates. This is one of the reasons it can be more beneficial to purchase NetSuite through a licensed service provider instead of buying directly from NetSuite. With a third-party provider, you'll have a team of NetSuite consultants on standby for any additional required changes and support. 

NetSuite isn't always the most affordable option

While NetSuite isn't very transparent with its pricing, there is a lot more to consider when onboarding NetSuite than the monthly license and user fees. You'll also need to pay for integration costs, development costs, and any additional ongoing training and support needed. 

Salesforce Pros

Salesforce is the most popular CRM software by a landslide 

As mentioned earlier in this article, Salesforce is an incredible CRM software. They hold the highest market share for CRM software and they're the most popular tool for a reason. 

Salesforce user Abhinav's review on g2 says it all: 

"The user interface is really well designed. And it ultimately makes the business operations a lot easier. Salesforce gives us a view of every facet of our customer interactions. It’s the key to continuing to grow and nurture all of our relationships and deliver on our movement and mission."

It's better for smaller budgets 

If you're a small business that doesn't have a large budget for a CRM software, Salesforce pricing starts at $25 per user per month, which is much more affordable than NetSuite's starting price. 

It has thousands of third-party integrations

Where NetSuite has hundreds of solutions, SalesForce's AppExchange offers thousands of possibilities, making it easier to connect third-party tools and optimize business flows. 

Salesforce Cons

It's just a CRM and it can be costly to integrate additional data  

Unlike NetSuite, Salesforce is just a CRM. Out of the box, Salesforce doesn't have the capabilities to also serve as an ERP, PSA, or integrate other company data including finances, and internal business operations. If you were looking to integrate other data, for example from an ERP, you'd need to pay for additional connections which could make Salesforce significantly more expensive to use.  

Reviewers say the customer service isn't great

Many Salesforce users complain about the subpar customer service provided by Salesforce. If you're looking to get high-quality customer service, you'd likely need to seek outside help from a third-party Salesforce provider. 

As one Salesforce user noted in their review on g2:

"The greatest challenge is the lack of support … if you want help, you buy it (or spend hours and hours and hours researching)."

Customization gets pricey

Depending on what your company is looking to get out of using Salesforce, the setup might become complicated, requiring you to pay for additional help. If you chose Salesforce because of a tight budget, you might wind up having to pay for help to integrate third-party connectors, provide training to staff, and make sure Salesforce is customized to fit your business needs. 

CRM Software: NetSuite vs Salesforce 

  • NetSuite is best for companies looking to house all of their business operations in a single platform so it's easy to switch between cloud data. 
  • NetSuite isn't really a standalone CRM 
  •  Salesforce can be better for sales companies 
  • The right choice will be dependent on what your business is looking to integrate, plus how it works cross-departmentally and with external vendors. 

Can NetSuite Replace Salesforce? 

Yes, NetSuite can replace Salesforce. NetSuite's CRM software is only a portion of its entire functionality, meaning it is an effective CRM while also acting as a main data hub for all company data. 

If you're only looking to use a CRM without additional software such as an ERP, financial management, or PSA, NetSuite's capabilities might exceed your business needs. That said, NetSuite is an incredibly powerful tool that streamlines business processes and you might be surprised at what it's capable of.  

Can NetSuite Integrate with Salesforce? 

Yes, you can integrate NetSuite with Salesforce. This can be done by hiring a NetSuite developer who can write the code to connect the two softwares (NetSuite's API does allow integration with Salesforce) or using a cloud-based integration platform (iPaaS) like SuperSync's Salesforce and NetSuite integration app.   

Integrating NetSuite with Salesforce can be costly, as all of the options require development costs or additional annual licensing costs if you go with an iPaaS, but combining your Salesforce data with NetSuite can be beneficial for your reporting, 

NetSuite vs Salesforce: The Bottom Line 

There's no way we can tell you exactly which CRM platform will work best for your business without knowing exactly what you're looking for. 

The bottom line in the NetSuite vs Salesforce debate is that Salesforce is a global leader in the CRM space — it's a powerful CRM program and it's what they do best. However, if you're looking for anything beyond a CRM, NetSuite might be the best option. 

NetSuite isn't considered a standalone CRM. It was designed for businesses that want to keep all business operations and data in one program. NetSuite was designed to streamline business processes and scale as your business grows.

If you aren't sure which software is best for you and your business, SCS Cloud is here to help. Schedule a free consultation with our cloud software specialists so we can determine which software is best for your business needs. 

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