Salesforce Sales Cloud vs Act! Growth Suite vs Zoho CRM: Who Wins?

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You’re on the hunt for CRM software, but with the market flooded with hundreds of products, finding the right one is a difficult job. Features, price, hosting — it’s a lot to take in. We get it. To make the process easier for you, we’ve put together a detailed comparative analysis of Zoho vs Salesforce vs Act! Growth Suite.

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Zoho vs Salesforce vs Act!

The Process

Our analysts gathered a list of 16 key CRM features and evaluated Act! vs Salesforce vs Zoho based on these factors:

Breaking Down Zoho vs Salesforce vs Act!

Zoho vs Salesforce vs Act! Feature Comparison

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Contact and Account Management

Salesforce Sales Cloud offers a 360-degree view of customers, including activity history, communications, internal account discussions and social data. Sales reps can collaborate, share insights and relevant documents, follow up with leads, and track conversations and deal movements. The mobile app offers insights into contacts’ social profiles.

Act! Growth Suite stores customer data in a central repository so you can easily share updates and customer information with colleagues. Accounts and contacts can be prioritized by applying filters and views. It’s also possible to interact with customers’ social profiles directly.

Act! Customer Management

A contact profile in Act!.

Zoho CRM offers a wealth of customer information – pending deals, associated contacts, latest activities, ongoing projects and more, from a single location. Sales reps can manage communications, respond on social platforms and engage prospects through emails, calls and live chats. They can also receive and segment post and ping notifications from prospects, customers and leads, as well as communicate through Twitter and Facebook from within the CRM.

Zoho CRM Contact Management

Messaging in the contact management feature of Zoho CRM.

Winner: All three contenders have robust contact management, so consider this a tie.

Advantage
Salesforce, Zoho & Act tie for #AccountManagement & #ContactManagement capabilities in SelectHub’s research & analysis of these #CRM tools.

Lead Management

Salesforce Sales Cloud lets you track lead information, access contact information and relevant insights, and write and track emails. Marketing campaign performance, configurable automatic lead scoring and routing, and lead tracking from marketing campaigns are included as well.

Salesforce Sales Cloud Lead Management

View of an opportunity in Salesforce Sales Cloud.

Act! offers lead management capabilities including capturing, nurturing, scoring and campaign tracking. It enables you to create response-based activities and opportunities, capture leads through forms and surveys, and notify sales reps when responses come in.

Zoho CRM’s lead management capabilities include lead generation, scoring, automatic assignment, analysis, data enrichment with Zia AI and campaigns. Integration with LinkedIn Sales Navigator lets sales reps connect with prospects and view complete information about them.You can generate leads from Facebook and sync those with Zoho CRM, with the option to set leads individually or in combinations.

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Zoho CRM Leads Source

A list of lead sources in Zoho CRM.

Winner: Once again, we’ve rated all the three products equally for lead management.

Advantage
Act!, Zoho & Salesforce tie for #LeadManagement capabilities in SelectHub’s research & analysis of these #CRM tools.

Opportunity and Pipeline Management

With Salesforce Sales Cloud, users can track and manage opportunities that are created manually on lead conversion or import. They can create pipelines with custom stages and move opportunities as needed. An opportunity record contains customer details, files, notes, products, calls, tasks, activities and more, and can be viewed in a tabular format or on a Kanban board.

Salesforce Sales Cloud Opportunities

The opportunity pipeline in Salesforce Sales Cloud.

Act! helps create and manage opportunities with a list view, detailed view and pipeline view. Customization gives you flexibility to configure existing sales processes or create multiple processes with custom stages. Users can associate contacts, groups or companies with opportunities and communicate with all parties involved. Other features include deal data, quote creation, task and activity scheduling, and the ability to add products.

Act! Pipeline Management

View of the sales opportunities pipeline in Act!

Zoho CRM makes it easy to generate, score, convert and monitor leads as well as move them through the sales funnel. Apart from tracking, managing and prioritizing deals, you can access key information such as teammates, deal amount, associated contacts, expected close date and more. It supports notes, meeting and activity scheduling, notification configuration and quote creation. You can visualize deals on a Kanban board or customize the layout by using templates or creating one of your own.

Winner: It’s a tie when comparing Salesforce vs Zoho vs Act! for opportunity management.

Advantage
Zoho, Act! & Salesforce tie for #OpportunityManagement and #PipelineManagement capabilities in SelectHub’s research & analysis of these #CRM tools.

Workflow Automation

Salesforce Sales Cloud’s Process Builder automates business processes through a point-and-click interface. Workflows can guide sales reps through qualified conversations, recommend next best steps and automate manual tasks. You can also automate approvals for things like deal discounts, and travel and expense reports.

Smart Tasks in Act! Growth Suite lets you create a series of configurable, connected steps for situations like scheduling activities, sending emails and sharing Act! or Swiftpage marketing email blasts. You have the option to run them manually, use triggers or schedule them at regular intervals.

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Act! Visual Workflow Designer

The workflow design feature in Act!

Zoho CRM is equipped with predefined workflow actions such as updating fields, sending emails and scheduling tasks. Defining custom actions lets you meet specific business requirements such as notifying customers with personalized SMS texts for order confirmation, dispatch or delivery. Webhooks let users trigger actions in third-party apps on event occurrences and Zia, the AI assistant, helps analyze workflows further.

Zoho Workflow Automation

The workflow automation pane in Zoho CRM.

Winner: Salesforce Sales Cloud and Zoho CRM rate higher as compared to Act! when it comes to workflow automation.

Advantage
Salesforce @salescloud & Zoho CRM rate better than Act! for #WorkflowAutomation in SelectHub’s research & analysis of these #CRM tools.

Security

Salesforce’s advanced security tools include detailed reports that account for every action, weak password identification, session settings and network configurations. Two-factor authentication and identity verification methods such as fingerprints or facial scans ensure authorized access. A community hub offers real-time data on system performance and security. The platform uses transport layer security to encrypt data in transit and Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) with 256-bit keys using CBC mode to encrypt the data at rest.

Swiftpage, the parent firm of Act!, implements technical, administrative and physical security measures to protect personal data from unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration or destruction. It protects CRM data through database security, role-based access, encryption, field-level security, compliance and more. The software also works in compliance with Service Organization Controls Type 2.

Zoho offers robust data, operational and physical security as well as strong identity and access controls. Secure protocols help keep customer data logically separated. 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) supports data at rest, and data at transmission is kept secure using Transport Layer Security (TLS 1.2/1.3) encryption.

Winner: Salesforce Sales Cloud wins this round thanks to its robust data security and controls.

Advantage
Salesforce @salescloud rates better than Zoho CRM & Act! for #security in SelectHub’s research & analysis of these #CRM tools.

Reporting and Analytics

Salesforce Sales Cloud gives you a real-time view using prebuilt or custom reports, which you can create using drag-and-drop fields, filters, groupings, and charts. Track conversion rates, lead volume, sales forecasts and other metrics using built-in dashboards, or dig into advanced analytics with Einstein Analytics.

Salesforce Sales Cloud Dashboard

A dashboard view of data for sales reps in Salesforce Sales Cloud.

Act! Growth Suite offers more than 30 pre-designed report templates for printing or displaying group, contact, company and opportunity data. A report designer has custom templates for personalizing reports. Dashboards provide dynamic snapshots of productivity and performance, pipeline health, top-performing products, win and loss analysis, and more.

Zoho CRM offers prebuilt and custom reports with matrix, summary and tabular views. These reports offer scorecards that follow top deals to a dashboard which monitors current growth indices and KPIs. You can embed static or interactive live reports in your company intranet.

Winner: Salesforce Sales Cloud has the strongest reporting functionalities and wins this round.

Advantage
Salesforce @salescloud offers better #reporting & #analytics capabilities than Act! & Zoho CRM in SelectHub’s research & analysis of these #CRM tools.

Team Collaboration

Salesforce Chatter, the system’s collaboration platform, displays live feeds, facilitates real-time team communication, offers updated content and makes recommendations on the discussed subjects. Users can post, comment and @mention people and groups, share files, join public or private groups and collaborate on opportunities or account records. It’s also possible to add notes to accounts, contacts, leads and opportunities with texts, lists and images.

Act! supports adding notes to CRM records, including groups, companies, contacts and opportunities. Users can mention teammates through Act! Companion, the mobile app.

Zoho CRM facilitates collaboration through notes, mentions, tags and social feeds. You can discuss deals, collaborate on ideas, broadcast announcements, post updates and share collateral. The platform integrates with chat tools to create commands and bots to pull up CRM records, reports and analytics.

Winner: Salesforce Sales Cloud is rated higher than Act! and Zoho CRM for team collaboration.

Advantage
Salesforce @salescloud provides better #collaboration than Zoho CRM & Act! in SelectHub’s research & analysis of these #CRM tools.

Task and Activity Management

Salesforce’s Sales Productivity module provides activity tracking in customizable timelines for accounts, leads, opportunities, contracts and activity-enabled custom objects. Sales reps can set activity reminders and notifications, drill down into events for relevant records, feeds, files and contracts, view assigned tasks and schedules, and invite people to collaborate. Creating to-do lists and associate them with other CRM records is supported as well.

With Act! Growth Suite, you can create, schedule and manage activities, build custom activity types for specific business requirements, set a sequence of related and scheduled activities and events, and prioritize activities with filters. Its iCalendar feature organizes tasks and activities on a customizable calendar view and sends email invitations to customers through MS Outlook, Gmail, Facebook and more.

Zoho CRM lets you create and associate business tasks, activities, events and calls. Set reminders and configure time intervals for recurring tasks, manage invitations, view tasks and events on the built-in calendar, set preferences, and check others’ calendars based on organizational hierarchy. Each activity offers information on date, time, priority level and notification parameters.

Winner: Salesforce Sales Cloud offers the best activity and task management capabilities.

Advantage
Salesforce @salescloud rates better than Act! or Zoho CRM for activity and #TaskManagement capabilities in SelectHub’s research & analysis of these #CRM tools.

Ecosystem

Salesforce’s comprehensive cloud ecosystem covers sales, customer service, communities, marketing, analytics and more through a set of products and services that integrate with each other. Notable products include:

Act! Growth Suite offers both CRM and marketing automation. Act! CRM is a self-hosted CRM solution, and the marketing automation tool comes as an add-on module.

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Act! Marketing Automation

Web designer tool in the Act! Marketing automation tool.

Zoho provides more than 45 of its own business products including CRM, email, commerce, accounting, supply chain, service, HR, billing, business intelligence and more. The apps and services integrate to ensure a collaborative business environment.

Winner: Zoho CRM tops the list for ecosystem.

Advantage
Zoho CRM rates better than Sales Cloud & Act! Growth Suite for #CRMEcosystem according to SelectHub’s research & analysis of these #CRM tools.

Application Marketplace and Extensibility

Salesforce AppExchange offers more than 1,200 integrations of free and paid applications including Slack, QuickBooks, Mailchimp, JIRA and DocuSign. It provides developer tools and multiple APIs such as REST API, SOAP API, Data API, Bulk API and Streaming API. Additionally, integration with Zapier offers access to more than 2,000 additional third-party apps.

Act! Marketplace provides add-on products across different categories such as accounting and finance, automation, reporting, quotes and proposals, and project management, along with common CRM categories such as sales, marketing, e-commerce and customer service. A web API enables data connections with other apps and systems. Act! Connect integrates with Google Contacts, Facebook, Instagram, Slack, QuickBooks, Freshdesk, SurveyMonkey, Shopify and more. Like Salesforce, it also supports Zapier to provide more than 2,000 additional integrations.

Zoho marketplace provides integrations to extend CRM capabilities and offers custom applications to perform specific activities. Notable integrations include G Suite, Office 365, Mailchimp, Shopify and PandaDoc. It offers REST APIs, Bulk APIs, Notifications APIs and Query APIs. Additionally, it integrates with Zapier to enable more than 2,000 integrations.

Winner: Salesforce Sales Cloud offers maximum integration possibilities when compared to Zoho and Act!

Advantage
Salesforce @salescloud rates better than Zoho & Act! for #AppMarketplace in SelectHub’s research & analysis of these #CRM tools.

Customization

Sales Cloud has extensive customization options – applications, search settings, the UI, tagging, personal display options, page layouts, views, records, filters and fields. Using the Lightning App Builder’s point-and-click tool, you can create custom objects, apps, buttons, pages and links to interact with Salesforce data as well as external websites and services. Mobile apps can also be personalized with menus, custom page layouts, navigation bars, branding and color schemes.

Act! Growth Suite lets you create custom fields, tables, toolbars, templates and layouts. However, it doesn’t provide customization support. You can personalize layouts with configurable appearances, drawings, properties, fonts, background colors and fields using a layout designer. It’s also possible to customize menus and toolbars by adding custom commands to the toolbar and moving or adding a specific item to the menu.

Zoho CRM provides a no-code environment for editing and customizing modules that can be configured with fields, actions and buttons. Sales reps can modify layouts to get a personalized view of data and create workflows, determine transaction currency, and create custom components and conditional fields. They can track deal status using prediction scores, build customized views and pull information from ERP software, accounting solution and order management software with low-code scripting. Zoho also supports creating custom widgets, as well as custom mobile and web apps.

Winner: Salesforce Sales Cloud and Zoho CRM are rated higher than Act!, as they offer more customization possibilities.

Advantage
Salesforce @salescloud & Zoho CRM rate better than Act! for #customization capabilities in SelectHub’s research & analysis of these #CRM tools.

Artificial Intelligence

Sales Cloud’s AI assistant Einstein offers key predictions, intelligent recommendations and workflow automation via machine learning. It drives insights based on text, image and voice-based engagement. You also get enriched contacts, intelligent activity management, forecasting, follow-ups, lead and opportunity scoring, and sales coaching. On top of that, you can create code-free custom AI models as well as build, train and deploy custom bots on digital channels.

Act! Growth Suite doesn’t incorporate AI into its software.

Zoho Zia, the conversational AI sales assistant, offers vital business information such as sales predictions, suggestions and alerts by optimizing data through AI, data mining and machine learning. It can answer questions, record voices to create reminders, take notes, update records and suggest the best time to reach out to customers. It helps enrich customer information, automate regular tasks and detect anomalies.

Winner: Salesforce Sales Cloud is the clear winner when compared to Zoho CRM and Act! on the AI front.

Advantage
Salesforce @salescloud rates better than Zoho & Act! for #AI in SelectHub’s research & analysis of these #CRM tools.

Mobile CRM Capabilities

The Sales Cloud mobile app lets sales reps view contacts, deals and events, get account updates, join conference calls, take meeting notes, and access and update CRM data even in offline mode. You can collaborate by creating, viewing and managing conversations, and sending photos or files as attachments.

Salesforce Sales Cloud Mobile

View of the Salesforce Sales Cloud mobile app.

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Act! Companion, the native app for Android and iOS devices, lets you access contacts, groups, calendar, activities, company details and other records on the go. Sales reps can find nearby places, access deals, see contacts’ locations and get driving directions through interactive maps. The dashboard offers insights into business and team performance.

Zoho’s mobile CRM, available for Android and iOS devices, helps sales reps manage schedules, track visits, share insights, keep track of customer communication and create tasks and follow-up activities. The app lets team members collaborate with feeds, compare performance through KPIs and modify information in offline mode.

Winner: Sales Cloud and Zoho CRM tie for the winner of mobility.

Advantage
Salesforce @salescloud & Zoho CRM tie as winners over Act! for #MobileCRM capabilities in SelectHub’s research & analysis of these #CRM tools.

Self-Service Portals

Salesforce Sales Cloud doesn’t provide this feature, but you can access it by integrating with Service Cloud. It helps create branded, mobile-responsive portals and communities that can be accessed by partners, customers and different business departments. Customers can reach an agent via chat or submit a case online and agents have a 360-degree view of that customer’s activities in the portal.

Act! Growth Suite doesn’t offer a self-service portal.

Zoho CRM lets you create branded self-service portals with a digital catalogue for partners, vendors and customers. You can determine permissions and displayed data, place orders, view products and services, and update contact information. Admins can control access to the invite-only portals while defining permissions to read, write, edit and comment on the available data.

Winner: Zoho CRM wins the self-service portal battle thanks to its native functionality.

Advantage
Zoho CRM rates better than Salesforce Sales Cloud & Act! for #SelfServicePortals in SelectHub’s research & analysis of these #CRM tools.

Performance Management and Engagement

Salesforce Sales Cloud helps you set and track data-driven goals. A performance chart logs individual and team performance against a customizable goal. Gamification tools help keep sales reps engaged.

Although Act! Growth Suite doesn’t offer sales goals, you can get visual snapshots of real-time metrics through built-in dashboard views that display individual, team and business performance.

Zoho CRM lets you set goals, track performance and build dashboards with custom views of pending, ongoing and achieved quotas. You can create hierarchy or territory forecasts to track the performance of a region, product or team. Sales reps can view forecast history, check past aggregate quotas and deal amounts. Activities like performing follow-ups, converting leads and taking notes let them earn game credits or points.

Sales Forecasting Zoho CRM

The sales forecast view in Zoho CRM.

Winner: Zoho CRM takes the performance management round as well.

Advantage
Zoho CRM rates better than Act! & Salesforce Sales Cloud for #PerformanceManagement capabilities in SelectHub’s research & analysis of these #CRM tools.

The Salesforce vs Zoho vs Act Winner

At the end of the day, comparing Act! vs Salesforce vs Zoho leaves a clear winner – Salesforce Sales Cloud. Not surprising given the breadth and depth of functionality. It claimed the win in multiple categories, including security, team collaboration, reporting and analytics, task and activity management, app marketplace and extensibility, and AI.

However, Zoho CRM excelled in ecosystem, self-service portals, and performance management and engagement. And there were several features where two or all three of the systems tied.

To go further in your CRM evaluation, download our free comparison report to see how our three competitors and dozens of other products stack up based on your unique requirements. Gaining a detailed understanding of what the market has to offer will help you make the perfect business decision.

Are you currently using (or have used) any of these CRM systems? What did you dislike and what are you looking for in your next solution? Leave your questions and comments below and we’d love to help.

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Pritha BasuSalesforce Sales Cloud vs Act! Growth Suite vs Zoho CRM: Who Wins?

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