Salesflare, a customer relationship management (CRM) application, is designed for the same small-to-midsize business (SMB) audience segment as its closest direct competitor, Insightly. In fact, Salesflare shares the same pricing scheme as its rival, but lacks many of its features (and has design issues of its own). Salesflare has a few useful tools, but for a top-notch CRM package, check out our Editors’ Choice winners for customer relationship management software, Salesforce Sales Cloud Lightning Professional and Zoho CRM.
Getting Started With Salesflare
Unlike most other CRM apps, Salesflare’s sign-up process starts with email integration. To sign up, you can use your Google Gmail, Microsoft Outlook, or Microsoft Office 365 credentials. There’s also an Other option that lets you enter your own IMAP and SMTP settings. We chose the Google Gmail option, which made integration a snap. That’s not always the case with CRM software, most notably with Act!.
Unfortunately, we quickly encountered our first hiccup. As part of the CRM testing procedure, we import a test CSV file that contains 50 contacts. Salesflare failed at this, even after four tries at defining custom fields to match the CSV. Just two contacts correctly imported, and only on the first import attempt. We manually added 10 contacts to finish the review. That worked, but it was a frustrating experience compared with Insightly and Zoho CRM’s easy data importation. You expect to quickly get up and running with SMB-focused CRM software, not ring up phone support at every stage.
Once the contacts are imported, you’ll find that the basic contact view is similar to what you’ll find in other simple-to-use CRMs. However, Salesflare lacks an all-up landing page. You’ve got Tasks, Accounts, Contacts, Opportunities, Workflows, and Insights running down the left-hand nav, and that’s it.
There’s a Notifications tab, but rather than a landing page, it’s a pop-up list of what you’re working on at the moment, such as deal activity and tasks. That’s close to a landing page, but a little condensed. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; you can click the view you’d like to see upon startup. However, many CRM users have come to expect a landing page that shows them everything they need to know on that particular day, including their favorite dashboards.
A Mixed-Bag UI
Salesflare’s UI is designed to be simple, but we found it almost simple to a fault. For example, Contacts is a basic list view that only shows the contact’s name, email, phone number, and company name by default. To the product’s credit, that information paucity is probably designed to keep things easy on the eyes, unlike Act! and Zoho CRM, software that stuff as much data into their list views as possible.
Clicking a contact brings up additional, detailed information on the right of the screen, but the interface lacks an immediate, one-button link that takes you to that contact’s Account or Opportunities entry. Insightly has that feature. You can find those entries by clicking on their respective options, but it’s better and easier to see them all in one place.
It’s easy to add a task and attach it to an account, but it’s a bit cumbersome to view it. You see, the task shows up attached to the account, but only if you click on a Tasks tab in the Account module or Task modules. By contrast, Insightly makes all of this visible anywhere a contact is attached, including the contact’s Organization and Opportunities entries.
On the other hand, clicking the Tasks view gives you all the basic tools you need. You can filter by tasks due today, or those that are overdue. Likewise, you can view upcoming and completed tasks. Any tasks you create here show up in the Accounts module, and a user’s Tasks tab (if you’ve assigned it to that person). There are additional options that let you define parameters that cause Salesflare to automatically create a task, such as sending an email reply. The process is simple to pick up, which is a point in Salesflare’s favor. Still, we’d like to see more data associations throughout the app.
Email is another area that’ll take getting used to if you’re unfamiliar with Salesflare. As previously mentioned, email syncing is enabled by default as part of the sign-up process. Most competing apps provide a separate inbox-style view where you can see both incoming and outgoing messages, but Salesflare slips this into the Accounts view.
All your accounts are listed on the left, and you can sort them by date or name. If you click Timeline, the center pane in Accounts turns into a message list that spans all contacts. Click a specific account, and the center view displays your emails, event history, and tasks. You’ll also be able to cycle through attached files, tasks, and any social media data in the Feed view. The condensed feature set will initially leave new users confused.
One potentially neat feature is Email Finding. This is a powerful tool in the event you’ve reached out to a contact, but don’t know their email address. Salesflare claims it can find their company email address if you give it the contact’s name and the company web domain. We weren’t able to test Email Finding, as Salesflare charges extra for this service (see below). Still, the feature could be useful if it works as advertised.
Opportunities and Workflows
The Opportunities tab is a little easier to pick up than the other sections. It lacks a list view option, which isn’t a problem unless you’ve got many deals in the works. However, Salesflare’s Opportunities default to a Kanban card view for deals that show the basic information. It also groups the cards into their current pipeline stages. You can drag and drop the cards along the pipeline, just as you could use Insightly or Zoho CRM’s similar tools. There are also options for pipeline customization, exporting, and importing.
Salesflare’s workflows are email autoresponders, and something that Insightly lacks due to not having email marketing features built into the app. Setting up workflows is an easy and intuitive process. We were able to build a basic automation that covered an email response to a new deal creation without any training at all. It’s a step-by-step setup based on boxes, so it has more limitations than Salesforce or Zoho CRM. However, that’s all that Salesflare’s SMB customers will need if they’re just after automatic email responses. Onpipeline, a cloud-based CRM service, has more options in its workflow menu. Salesflare should consider renaming its limited workflow feature, so users don’t feel like they’ve been hit with a bait and switch.
Reporting and Dashboards
Insights is another area where Salesflare has condensed the robust features you’d usually find in competing CRM software This is where you create reports and dashboards, but there’s no real distinction between the two.
Dashboards are nothing more than a graphical view of your reports. Each is displayed as a card, with a list or chart containing the current report data. Most other CRMs are similar, except reporting usually has a more standard view that lets you build reports by field, and then schedule them to run and be distributed as needed. Dashboards typically refer only to current information.
Salesflare has these features, but you’ll need to click around a bit to find them. Reports are configured in a not-too-intuitive report designer that’ll require you to fire up a tutorial. You don’t “run” a report. Instead, you add it to a dashboard, and make that dashboard viewable to yourself or a team. It’s not quite as easy to understand when compared with the usual reports vs. Dashboards design. That said, if you combine report creation with role permissions in the Settings tab, you can get pretty close to what competing CRMs offer.
Although you’ll end up with reports that are mostly serviceable, they’ll rank well behind what you’ll find in Insightly or Zoho CRM. The latter separates dashboards and reports, but it’s designed for either tool to be a little easier to pick up than Salesflare’s offerings. In addition, it lets you push everything to Microsoft’s Power BI data visualization software, which is reasonably easy to use and far more flexible than either Insightly or Salesflare’s internal tools. If you need to learn analytics and reporting software, you might as well make it something with all the features you need.
Like Insightly, Salesflare has three tiers, starting with an entry-level plan that costs $29 per user per month. Unfortunately, this Growth tier lacks custom dashboards, workflows, and even user permissions support. It also only comes with 25 Email Finding credits.
Salesflare also has mid-range (Pro) and high-end (Enterprise) plans that cost $49 and $99 per user per month, respectively. Pro adds Growth’s missing features, plus 500 email-finding credits. However, you’ll likely want the Enterprise tier, as it comes with the white-glove customer support that you’ll probably need if our testing is any indication. That covers training and, more importantly, data importing, two of Salesflare’s weaker aspects. The Enterprise plan includes unlimited Email Findings.
Salesflare’s pricing is only really competitive at the growth tier. The Pro tier is decent, but other CRMs, even Insightly, offer more custom reporting and data migration features. Enterprise is the best Saleflare tier, but it still doesn’t have advanced analytics, flexible workflows, or integrated digital marketing, which you’ll find in our Editors’ Choice picks, Salesforce and Zoho CRM.
Competent CRM, But Pricey
Overall, it’s difficult to recommend Salesflare over the competing CRM apps we’ve reviewed. Salesflare Enterprise is about twice as expensive as Zoho CRM’s top tier, and Zoho CRM has many more features. Still, if you heavily rely on email for campaigns, Salesflare’s built-in email marketing and Email Finder tools could prove useful.
If you’re looking for a more general-purpose CRM with a broader range of configurable features, there are better options than Salesflare. Check out Insightly, which is Salesflare’s closest rival, and Zoho CRM, our Editors’ Choice winner for customer relationship management.
For more on CRM, check out 5 Must-Haves for Your CRM Buying Checklist and A CRM Might Be More Important to Your Business Than Phones.
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