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Why People Hate Salesforce (but still use it)

Salesforce is the classic overconfident high school football quarterback. They know that they are the best athlete in school, and they know that people want to be friends with them. That’s their advantage.

With more market share in the CRM space than any competitor, Salesforce has a product they know people love. Maybe that’s led to a bit of overconfidence on their part; the kind that makes your sales reps a bit arrogant in their conversations with prospective customers. How could anyone say no to the best?

I’ve witnessed more than a few interactions with Salesforce staff that were, shall we say, tactless. People often describe their sales process as bullying; and I can’t say that I disagree. It’s the last minute discount offers, the pushiness to close or forfeit services you’ve had for years, the myriad of calls you’ll get from every person on the food chain if you don’t make a decision within their timeline. 

It’s one thing to have quotas to meet, it’s quite another to use high pressure tactics combined with the threat of migration of expenses if one chose to go with a competing product. No one wants that. That doesn’t win loyalty. It leaves a bad flavor, and a distaste for the product and the company.

So why do people stay with Salesforce? Why do people choose them in the first place when they even experience this on the front end of things? Are they crazy?

No, they’re smart.

How do you handle the cocky high school athlete? You identify their weaknesses, and lean on their strengths. Salesforce is the best CRM on the market.Their sales numbers, retention rate, and client satisfaction numbers prove that. But first, you need to identify those strengths and their weaknesses, and play them to your advantage.

  1. They’re the best, so use them. This is simple. If you want the best CRM product that is evolving faster than any other to meet the needs of a modern world, Salesforce is for you. If you want a CRM company that isn’t going to fold in 3 years, that’s going to offer good support and have tons of partners that can help you, Salesforce is unmatched.
  2. Salesforce reps can be frustrating to talk with at times. They’re very corporate, and think they know exactly what you need. Solution: don’t talk to them. Once you sign your first contract, you only need to talk to them at renewal time. And all of those conversations can happen via email. If you’re the type who can’t stand the sales song and dance from big organizations, don’t stand it. Avoid it until renewal, then docusign your contract and keep moving forward.
  3. Every year Salesforce renews their annual contracts in December. Be ready. They’re going to start talking to you in November, and two weeks out from Christmas, it’s going to be high pressure selling, with your phone ringing off the hook. Get your ducks in order early then. Secure your Salesforce budget in October so you know what you have to work with. Then, wait. Let them sweat if you want, or close the deal early. Knowledge is power, and if you know precisely what you have and need, wait until that mid-December sweet spot, get the regional Sales manager on the phone, and tell them what it’s going to take. Use their pressure against them.

No one benches the all-star quarterback because he’s cocky. You play him when you’re down by 6 with 30 seconds left. He thinks he can do the impossible, so you let him try. You leverage his strengths to win the game.

Don’t skip out on using the best CRM tool available because they’re aggressive. That very aggression is what has made them the best. Use it to your advantage, while mitigating the weaknesses on your own terms.


Cornerstone Insights is a Salesforce consulting firm that specializes in custom implementations, enhancements and administration.

Andrew Dunlap