Zendesk vs. Salesforce Comparison 2021 (Which Is Better?)

Zendesk and Salesforce both offer a customer support portal so that your customers can log support tickets and agents can track and support customer issues through the entire support process. 

The major difference between Zendesk and Salesforce is that Zendesk is entirely geared towards supporting customer issues and resolving problems. Salesforce is a sales tool that has included a customer support portal.

As a support organization, you need to see how important the support process is and how tightly it is integrated with sales. Below we’ll review the two products so you can pick the right one for your support team.

ZendeskSalesforce
Ticket ManagementIndividual TicketsCase Management, full timeline of cases coming in.
Multi-Channel SupportYesYes
Self-Service PortalYesYes
Customer Satisfaction SurveysYesNo
Integrate with Other ProductsYes
Webex
Zoom
Dropbox
Google Drive
Yes
Webex
Zoom
Dropbox
Google Drive
Setup EaseEasy SetupComplex Setup, especially for customizations.
All-in-one SolutionNoYes

Zendesk vs. Salesforce: Pricing 

The pricing between Zendesk and Salesforce can be very confusing, especially when you’re not totally comparing apples to apples. But we can compare the Enterprise plan between both companies.

ZendeskSalesforce
PlanEnterpriseEnterprise
Price per agent/month$150$150
Support channelsEmail, Chat, Web Portal, Voice callsEmail, Chat, Web Portal, Voice Calls
Community forumsYesYes
WorkflowsYesYes
Monthly BillingYesNo

Comparing the enterprise plans between Zendesk and Salesforce shows they are comparable on the surface for features and price. The most significant difference is Salesforce requires yearly payments.

As a pure support tool, it’s challenging to use the cheaper salesforce plans to fully support customers, whereas Zendesk has much better cheaper plans that will provide most of what you need, even the $79 Suite Growth plan. As a result, you just lose some of the bells and whistles that aren’t entirely needed. 

The cheapest Zendesk plan, while not providing everything you need to give great support, still offers more from a support perspective than what Salesforce can provide in their cheaper plans.

Zendesk wins the price comparison before you can get more for less when you’re purely talking about a support tool.

Who is Zendesk Best Suited For?

Zendesk is best suited for a large support organization that is handling multiple different products with a large number of customers. If there is limited consulting between the sales team and support, you’ll have a much better experience through Zendesk.

Zendesk also shines for smaller support teams that still want to provide professional support to their customers. If price is a factor and you need more features, Zendesk may not be a good option.

Zendesk Pros
  • Dedicated support portal that is only focused on providing support to customers.
  • Internal and external knowledge base so you can turn support tickets into documents to share with other agents or customers.
  • Excellent ticket management between agents, where agents can give or take tickets to other agents directly.
  • Fantastic user experience for both agents and customers, a very intuitive interface.
  • Omnichannel support, with email, web, chat, voice all being available and integrated.
  • Free trial
Zendesk Cons
  • You need to integrate Zendesk to other systems to manage customers fully, as it’s only involved in the support process.
  • It can be relatively expensive for only being a customer support portal.
  • Zendesk support is somewhat limited and not open to new features.

Who is Salesforce Best Suited For?

Salesforce is best suited where support is not a significant factor, but something added for the customers that may need a little help. For example, if you’re only supporting a limited number of products and don’t need to customize or integrate your support with other products, then Salesforce is acceptable for you.

Salesforce has a superior ability to store information about your customers’ entire journey, so where support isn’t the only team that follows up with or needs to deal with customers, then Salesforce can certainly be better to get an overall picture of the customer.

Salesforce Pros
  • A fully integrated portal that stores all customer data, a central location for everything to do with your customers.
  • Easy handoff between all teams, including presales, onboarding, and support.
  • The default system is reasonable to use for a small number of products.
  • Free trial
Salesforce Cons
  • The user interface is not intuitive
  • With so much data available, it’s difficult to find specific information or can take a long time to drill down to the information.
  • Expensive if you’re not using all of the features
  • Modifying default templates or customizing anything for support is complex and can often break other components.

Zendesk vs. Salesforce: Features

The features you can get for Zendesk and Salesforce are incredible and too numerous to list and compare individually. From a support perspective, we care about a few specific features.

Ticket Management

Both systems provide customer support, Zendesk focuses more on individual tickets and issues. Salesforce tries to combine cases so that there is a timeline of issues, which is also mixed with other sales and consulting activities.

Salesforces timeline is helpful when you need to understand who all the different parties are that interact with the customer and what they’re doing. But it’s a lot of information to sort through.

Multi-Channel Support

But Zendesk and Salesforce allow you to accept tickets from customers in numerous different channels so that your customers can choose which they prefer.

Self-Service Portal

Zendesk and Salesforce allow you to create communities and portals so you can let customers help each other and provide articles instead of tickets. The ability for an agent to generate this information is much easier through Zendesk and can be linked to customer tickets to help build the information.

Neither system has a fantastic-looking community forum option for customers.

Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Zendesk is the only system that allows you to send and track customer satisfaction. As a result, you have the ability to track all kinds of metrics from the customer, whether that’s a simple “yes or no” on if support was good, all the way to surveys that gather more information on the entire process and satisfaction of customers, at the end and during support tickets.

All-In-One Solutions

Salesforce is the better option for a fully integrated overall solution. Salesforce has a sales, marketing, and support component for their solution so that it’s all easily accessible for everybody with an account.

Zendesk can provide integration with other systems to pull or push information, but it requires customization and work to get it set up. So it’s not ideal unless you’re dedicated to support and not sales.

Zendesk vs. Salesforce: User Experience

Zendesk has a highly intuitive and well-designed interface, and it takes many of the newer components that most SaaS products have, so we can’t say it’s innovative, but it’s familiar to anybody that uses these products.

The different components of Zendesk are easily tabbed between, so you can quickly switch between writing tickets, chatting with customers, looking up information in the knowledge base, and even talking to incoming callers and creating tickets for them.

Salesforce has a much older feel to the interface. As a result, it comes across as outdated and is not intuitive to navigate around. Your most significant issue is that it’s too many different components pushed together as a single product. 

With Salesforce, you have to deal with the overall information on the customer, which includes all of the sales information, followups from other teams, and a variety of other sources of data. If you’re supporting a customer with post-sales issues, then a lot of this information is not required and gets in your way.

My preference and most online reviews agree that Zendesk has a superior user experience for both agent and customer when handling tickets.

Zendesk vs. Salesforce: Verdict

Comparing Zendesk and Salesforce from the perspective of a support organization, you can see that Zendesk is a better solution when you’re trying to support customers with their post-sales issues and questions. 

Zendesk provides specific features for support, and that’s all they do. The features available in all plans from Zendesk are great for supporting customers. Whereas Salesforce, you really need to pay more to provide the same features.

Zendesk vs. Salesforce: Which is Better?

I’ve used both Zendesk and Salesforce for around seven years, but more so, working with Zendesk on a day-to-day basis and using Salesforce for pre-sales support and finding additional information on customers.

Zendesk is the far superior solution for supporting your customers, it’s easy to use, more intuitive for agents and customers. In addition, the search features are much better when tracking problems that affect multiple customers. 

Click here to try out Zendesk now.

Salesforce is a better option where you need to track the overall customer experience, where everybody needs access to see who is doing what with the customer. This would include a combined effort from sales, consulting, and support.

Click here to try Salesforce.

If you’re not constantly selling to the customer and want to provide better support, then Zendesk is the best solution for you. Your only big issue will be where cost is a factor, and you need both Salesforce and a support portal; getting both Salesforce and Zendesk can be a costly solution as you’re doubling up on licenses.