Investing in an excellent customer relationship management (CRM) platform can help small businesses better manage their sales and marketing efforts. CRM systems organize customer data and communications, helping sales teams execute consistent follow-up strategies, track in-progress deals, and identify additional sales opportunities.
Salesforce and NetSuite are two of the best CRM software packages available today. We highlighted crucial information from our in-depth Salesforce CRM review and NetSuite CRM review to compare their pricing, features, implementation, service and more. Our goal is to help small businesses choose the right CRM software for their needs and budget.
Salesforce offers a wealth of marketing and sales features, including customer contact management, customizable dashboards, opportunity scoring, email marketing, a customer journey builder and sales forecasting.
NetSuite offers a unified solution with sales, marketing and e-commerce features, including sales automation, marketing automation, reporting and analytics, upselling recommendations, commission tracking, and an e-commerce customer portal.
Starts at $25 per user per month
Custom pricing only
Ease of use
The platform is relatively easy to use after you get past the initial learning curve.
While there are clear dashboards and a user-friendly mobile app, the system does have a learning curve.
24/7 support via email, live chat or phone
24/7 phone support, online form submissions and self-help resources
Implementation is straightforward for starter plans but can be lengthy and complex for businesses seeking advanced customization.
CRM implementation requires NetSuite ERP implementation. The process can take several weeks or even months based on business needs and selected modules.
We recommend Salesforce for small businesses in search of a relatively affordable yet scalable CRM solution with comprehensive features. Salesforce is one of the most popular CRM vendors around and is used by thousands of companies worldwide. The company is best known for its Salesforce CRM Sales Cloud, which offers a broad range of tools to help improve sales, including customer data management, sales forecasting, AI sales recommendations, email templates and more.
Salesforce offers various plan options with essential CRM features, which range from straightforward, affordable plans for $25 per monthly user to expansive — and expensive — enterprise tiers. The service is highly customizable to meet the needs of businesses of varying sizes across any industry. Businesses can pick and choose the CRM services they need and add features as they grow.
Notable Salesforce features and facts include the following:
Salesforce provides AI-powered insights for sales teams to predict which leads will convert. Source: Salesforce
We recommend NetSuite for small and midsize businesses seeking an all-in-one CRM solution. It’s an ideal choice for businesses that want to handle accounting, sales activities, marketing, and HR all in one place. In contrast, businesses that rely on existing software tools may prefer a more traditional CRM with robust CRM integrations like Salesforce or HubSpot.
NetSuite CRM provides a centralized platform to help businesses manage customer relationships and communicate with prospects and suppliers. NetSuite’s CRM product operates as an added module to the core Oracle NetSuite enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform. The ERP platform provides access to various tools, including accounting software, inventory management features, and HR software alongside CRM functionality.
Unlike most CRM vendors we reviewed, NetSuite doesn’t have transparent pricing tiers or plans. This lack of pricing transparency may be a downside for many small businesses shopping on a budget. However, this approach will benefit businesses that want a higher degree of package customization.
NetSuite excels in the CRM arena because of the following features:
NetSuite tracks key sales activities, including deals and revenue, to help organizations manage their sales efforts. Source: NetSuite
Both vendors offer feature-heavy CRM services. However, NetSuite offers more robust e-commerce-focused features along with additional services, such as accounting and finance tools.
Salesforce offers several plans to accommodate businesses of different sizes and varying needs. The most popular small business plans include the following (prices reflect monthly charges with annual billing):
If you’re invested in Salesforce and want to get the most from this comprehensive platform, check out podcasts for Salesforce fanatics that share the latest company and platform news, along with tips, tricks and insights.
NetSuite does not provide publicly available pricing data. Our research indicates that you can expect to pay around $1,000 per month as a base price with an added per-user fee of around $100. To get a price quote, businesses must contact Oracle NetSuite and meet with a sales team member.
Salesforce wins this round because many businesses prefer vendors with clear and transparent pricing tiers and service packages. This is particularly important for small businesses with limited budgets. With Salesforce, you can choose packages and add-ons and understand your cost obligations immediately. Additionally, NetSuite’s base pricing may be too expensive for many businesses, while Salesforce provides some relatively budget-friendly starter packages.
NetSuite’s monthly price may seem high. However, the service can replace other software, such as accounting software, HR software and more. You could end up saving money by switching to a unified solution like NetSuite.
Salesforce is a complex CRM. However, many users find it relatively easy to use after an initial learning curve. Users with prior CRM software experience tend to fare better. We appreciate that the platform does a great job visually displaying data and key insights, along with providing personalized AI insights and sentiment analysis. This makes the platform more intuitive. Additionally, your Salesforce package’s complexity level (basic vs. advanced features and add-ons) will affect your ease of use.
Most businesses should expect a learning curve when using the Salesforce CRM; understanding the platform and its functions may take a while.
Salesforce offers intuitive dashboards with key insights to help sales and marketing teams work more effectively. Source: Salesforce
NetSuite is also one of the more complex CRMs to navigate. Those with experience using other Oracle products will have an easier time. When we researched customer feedback and reviews, we found that users were split on NetSuite’s ease of use. Some found it fairly straightforward, while others cited a steep learning curve and a challenging interface.
In our testing, we found the user interface a bit clunky and outdated. However, information is presented in a relatively clear manner on each dashboard or screen. Reports are easy to customize and export, which we appreciate.
Ultimately, the NetSuite CRM isn’t the most modern or intuitive system. However, with the right training and some patience, users should pass the initial learning curve and navigate the platform without problems.
NetSuite’s customer dashboards are straightforward and present detailed information. Source: NetSuite
Neither vendor necessarily comes out on top as the best CRM for ease of use. However, we found Salesforce to be the more user-friendly option. Salesforce’s AI tool, Einstein, adds significant usability value via personalized coaching and insights, writing and task assistance, and automating complex processes.
Salesforce’s customer service team is available by phone, email and chat 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Higher plans gain access to premier support with extended support for noncritical issues, expert guidance and tailored resources. Premier support is also available as an add-on; this service costs 30 percent of your net license fees.
Salesforce also provides an online form where users can open a tech support case.
NetSuite includes 24/7 basic customer support in all plans. You can also access extensive online self-help resources, including an online tech support forum and how-to guides. NetSuite Premium Support is a higher support tier with additional assistance, including support for noncritical issues, priority case queuing, and commerce response services.
Both vendors offer solid customer support and self-service options. They’ve both received mostly positive customer support ratings from current customers. We appreciate that both vendors offer 24/7 support but acknowledge that accessing a higher support tier for more comprehensive support can be costly with both plans.
The Salesforce implementation process will vary based on your selected plan and customization needs. Salesforce is a highly customizable platform; businesses with advanced customizations or complex CRM workflows will face a longer implementation process and should consider working with a Salesforce consultant for added support.
However, average small businesses with the Starter plan will have a reasonably quick and easy setup process. Your primary task will be importing existing customer data and setting up minor customizations. Salesforce provides guides and to-do lists to help businesses navigate the setup process.
NetSuite’s implementation process can be quite lengthy because it also requires the implementation of NetSuite’s ERP software. The company charges a one-time setup fee for the initial implementation process. The setup period requires significant planning, data migration, configuration, testing and employee platform training, so the process can take several weeks or even months. According to Oracle, businesses with more basic needs can get set up in around 30 days.
Your company must assign a staff member to act as a project manager to work with the NetSuite team throughout the process. Many companies opt to work with a NetSuite consultant for advanced customization or additional training support. NetSuite maintains a partner directory where companies can find certified consultants.
Salesforce can be implemented more quickly than NetSuite for many customers. Small businesses choosing a more affordable plan with basic CRM features can get up and running reasonably quickly. We appreciate that Salesforce provides plenty of self-help resources.
Choose Salesforce if:
Choose NetSuite if:
NetSuite is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software with a CRM add-on.
Salesforce is used by thousands of businesses globally, including IBM, Mercedes-Benz, NBCUniversal, Herman Miller, Morgan Stanley, PayPal, AT&T, 3M, ADP, Adidas and Asana.
NetSuite CRM is used by many major companies, including Crumbl Cookies, LoveSac, ActivePDF, Epicuren and more.
Yes. Businesses can set up a 30-day free trial to test Salesforce’s CRM products.
NetSuite offers various modules, including CRM, payroll and advanced financials. Businesses can choose which modules to license, but all modules require the core NetSuite ERP.