GoldMine and Salesforce.com are both applications that were originally designed to help salespeople become more productive and ultimately sell more. GoldMine has historically been a very popular contact manager among salespeople and has provided years of business benefit to many users and companies.
Salesforce came to market in 1999, years after GoldMine was originally released. Salesforce was developed with a very different design and delivery concept and has demonstrated a consistent pace of innovation. Here are some of the key differences between Salesforce.com and GoldMine Corporate and Premium Editions.
Update: we have recently released a free, 35+ page report that illustrates the differences between GoldMine and Salesforce in greater detail, along with screen shots.
GoldMine vs Salesforce Comparison
1. Windows-Based vs. Web-Based
GoldMine Software Corp. was founded in 1989, at a time when business use of the Internet was in its infancy. Applications at the time of GoldMine’s initial launch were almost exclusively designed to run as locally installed software on network PCs and on remote laptops that synchronized back to a main server. Versions of GoldMine through the current 9.0 release continue to be Windows-based and remote users still synchronize their data in many cases. The back-end database normally runs on an in-house server. GoldMine offers browser-based access via iGoldMine.
Salesforce does not require software to be installed and maintained. Salesforce is served up from redundant data centers in the “cloud”. All a user needs to access Salesforce is a browser such as Internet Explorer, FireFox or Safari. This means that it does not matter whether a user is on Windows, Mac, Linux, iPad or some other platform. Extensive security measures, both physical and logical, keep data safe and protected.
Some end-users still prefer Windows navigation over browser navigation and management at some companies still prefer to run an application in-house vs. in the cloud.
2. Pricing Model
GoldMine licenses can be purchased for a one time cost of $695 per concurrent user. Concurrent users must be network users who are directly connected to the main database. Offline, synchronizing users must be named users — named user licenses are also $695. There is a 20% annual software maintenance fee that’s charged on top of the user license fee. Customers must be current on software maintenance in order to be able to purchase new licenses and receive support. Customers are responsible for the cost of needed server hardware and software components.
Salesforce is priced as a per user, per month subscription. The monthly subscription fee ranges from $5 per user to $250 per user, depending upon which edition is deployed. Several of the Salesforce features referenced herein require the Enterprise Edition.
3. Software Upgrades
Most GoldMine customers upgrade GoldMine periodically in order to receive: support for new versions of Windows and MS Office; new features; and bug fixes. Upgrading GoldMine requires installing a new version of software on each user’s local PC, as well as on remote user laptop or desktop machines.
Salesforce.com provides three major releases per year. These upgrades occur in background and, with minor exceptions, are seamless — they just happen. As with other cloud-based applications such as Google Apps, this type of transparent upgrade allows for a rapid pace of innovation and does not come at any extra cost.
4. Contact-Centric vs. Account-Centric
Salesforce.com’s default mode is account-centric, which was the original design for business-to-business selling and customer interaction. As such, a user must first create an Account record for a company and then separately add Contact records under this Account record. Company data, such as “Industry”, lives in the Account record. Individuals’ information, such as “email address”, lives in the Contact record.
GoldMine is generally considered to be a contact-centric application. It does not have the concept of an Account (Company) record that Contacts are related to. Secondary Contacts can be added to a primary Contact record — however, users can only do a basic lookup on these Contacts and they can’t do any extended profiling of these Contacts, as custom fields are not available in the Secondary Contacts list. In addition, an organizational tree can be created in order to display related Contacts under a Company.
Here is some further insight into the differences between account-centric and contact-centric applications.
5. Flat File vs. Multi-Object Database Structure
GoldMine has a relatively flat database structure. There’s a main, Contact1 table with an accompanying one-to-one Contact2 table that together hold most data about companies and contacts. A secondary, one-to-many ContSupp table with a dozen or so text fields provides a level of relational capability. ContSupp is a multi-purpose table that can be used for both secondary contacts and for other data that relates to a contact in a one-to-many fashion.
Salesforce has a multi-object database structure. Salesforce allows for adding custom fields to standard tables (called objects in Salesforce parlance) and also allows for adding custom objects for a wide variety of purposes. For example, a custom object can be added to track: properties; inventory; installed products; warranties; or any other collection of records. Salesforce customers often consolidate many disparate databases (contact managers, Excel, Access, FileMaker, custom databases) into a single Salesforce database (called an “org”).
Here’s an example of how a given set of data is managed in both a flat file database and a multi-object database.
6. Customization Tools
GoldMine has a design tool that lets an administrator add custom fields (date, text or numeric) to the Contact2 table, which has a one-to-one relationship with the main, Contact1 table.
Salesforce.com provides graphical design tools for not only adding new fields to custom objects, but also for creating new objects and relating objects to one another. With Apex, Salesforce’s programming language, and with Visualforce, Salesforce’s markup language, advanced customizations can be developed. A coder can create fully custom views and business logic within Salesforce.com in order to address specific business needs that can’t be handled with point and click design tools.
7. Security Model
GoldMine allows for both record level security and field level security. This means that an administrator can control access to certain data on a per user basis. A record can be owned by everyone, by a single user or by a group of users.
Salesforce provides several layers of data security. Profiles allow for defining record level and field level security. Sharing rules can grant wider access to data, based on defined criteria. Territory Management is designed to handle even the most complex data security scenarios.
8. Sales Quoting
In order to create sales quotes associated with GoldMine Contacts, a third party quoting application such as QuoteWerks or QuikQuote is needed.
Salesforce.com introduced fully integrated Real-Time Quotes in the Winter ’10 release and has added new functionality to Quotes in the two releases since. Products are stored within the Salesforce database. Users can create Quotes within Opportunities and can then email quotes right from within the Salesforce interface. Discount rules can be set and Quotes can be subjected to an approval process if necessary.
9. Marketing Functionality
Traditional contact managers like GoldMine are good for “list marketing”, as opposed to closed loop marketing. Groups of contacts can be created based on various criteria and these groups can be mass mailed or mass emailed.
Salesforce.com has a number of advanced marketing features and can be set up for closed loop marketing. Campaigns can be created within Salesforce and then emails can be sent to campaign contacts by way of integration with an Email Service Provider such as VerticalReponse or ExactTarget. Responses are fed back into Salesforce.
10. Customer Support Features
GoldMine Premium Edition includes a customer support screen which allows users to log and work Cases. GoldMine has a VoIP phone module that includes IVR, call distribution with skills based routing, quality management with Whisper Coaching, voice recording that can be attached to the history record and more.
Salesforce.com leverages its cloud-based platform to provide support interaction with customer via all major channels, including phone, Web, email and social media. Customers in need of service or support can self-serve via the Self-Service portal or the full-featured Customer Portal.
11. Email Client Integration
Both GoldMine and Salesforce.com offer plugins for Outlook integration. The Salesforce Winter ’11 release introduced “Salesforce for Outlook”, which includes a number of advanced features, including: support for 25 languages; global control of synchronization direction; conflict settings; field mapping; contact & event filters; and more.
Salesforce.com also offers basic integration with GMail (for GMail that’s based on Google Apps). Both GoldMine and Salesforce have third party plugins for Lotus Notes email integration.
GoldMine also has its own integrated email client.
12. Reporting and Dashboards
GoldMine has an internal reporting tool with a set of pre-built reports. Contact filters can be created and used in reports. GoldMine comes with about 30 dashboards. These are interactive Dashboards, which means that a user can drilldown from one graph to another graph or to a grid for further analysis. A user can take various actions from a dashboard, including send an email or letter to the group, scheduling a follow up call or creating a campaign to the group.
Salesforce comes with a large set of starter reports and provides an easy interface that lets users create their own reports and dashboards. With Winter ’11, Salesforce released a redesigned report editor that added a tree view of tables and fields, a click and drag editor and other new report design features. Reports can be exported to a CSV file for further manipulation in Excel.
13. Mobile Access
An iOS client for GoldMine is available directly from GoldMine. Third party products are also available.
Salesforce.com offers a Free mobile solution for iPhone, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile. This solution is called Mobile Lite. A paid, mobile version is also available. The paid solution allows for a higher level of customization than the free version.
14. Employee Collaboration
In the Summer ’10 release, Salesforce added collaboration functionality called Chatter. Chatter can be viewed as “Facebook for the enterprise” and allows for easy sharing of information within an organization. This form of collaborative functionality is unique to Salesforce and isn’t available in any other contact manager or CRM system, including GoldMine.
15. Third-Party Applications
As with many software applications for business, GoldMine has spawned a cottage industry of third party add-on products. Many of these are indexed in a third party add-on store.
Salesforce.com took the approach of creating its own centralized marketplace for third party solutions — the AppExchange. These applications all have to go through an annual security review. Some AppExchange applications are free and some are paid for, but they can all be installed with just a few clicks onto a company’s Salesforce.com org.
Included among the hundreds of AppExchange applications are integrations with: HubSpot‘s inbound marketing platform; VerticalResponse‘s email marketing solution; Hoovers‘s online database of companies and people; Jigsaw‘s crowdsourced contact database.