Thursday, January 13, 2022

Salesforce Chatter review

Salesforce Chatter is the enterprise social network to increase your team’s productivity in Salesforce, one of the best CRM software solutions today. Read our full Salesforce Chatter review below.

Salesforce Chatter review: Snapshot

If you’ve got a Salesforce subscription, then Salesforce Chatter helps your team become more productive through social networking tools including group discussions, file sharing, and CRM record collaboration. Though it can also be purchased as a standalone, Chatter is free with any Salesforce software license and accessible on the Salesforce desktop browser and mobile app. 

Viewing news feeds and creating posts in Chatter is reminiscent of the LinkedIn interface. You can add photos, videos, and files, as well as reference Salesforce records—such as particular leads or accounts—which your team can then easily access via hyperlink. Groups can be set up to include colleagues without a Salesforce license, and even customers or contractors.

Solutions like Slack or Zoho Connect boast a broader range of collaboration features, topped by audio and video calling, and task automation. While Chatter isn’t competitive enough to warrant a standalone purchase, it does make your CRM efforts more effective if your team already uses Salesforce.

Score: 3/5

Read on for our full and detailed review.

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Salesforce Chatter is a customizable social business instant messaging software which allows your employees to collaborate and share data, files and expertise from anywhere.  Chatter is currently free for up to 5,000 employees with the purchase of another Salesforce CRM license, or it is billed separately at $15 per user per month. 

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Salesforce Chatter’s competitors

How does Salesforce Chatter compare to its main competitors?
Salesforce Chatter Zoho Connect Slack
Score 3/5 4.5./5 5/5
Pros Direct access to Salesforce records; personalized news feed; adding users without purchasing new licenses Live chat, audio/ video calls, and screen sharing; task automation; document and project management Live chat, audio/ video calls, and screen sharing; task automation; multiple integrations, including Salesforce
Cons No live chat or audio/video calls; no workflow automation; pricey without Salesforce subscription Free plan limited to 25 users and 3 groups; no external users on free plan; most integrations are with Zoho products Message history limited to 10,000 messages on free plan; 15-participant limit on audio/video calls on paid plans
Verdict Salesforce Chatter works well for medium-to-large businesses already using Salesforce. However, its collaboration and file management functionalities are basic relative to competitors. Zoho Connect has an impressive toolkit, from news feeds to video calls and document management. Its free plan has limitations, but its enterprise plan can be purchased for a bargain price. Slack makes real-time communication simple and effective. It also integrates with numerous third-party apps to share files and automate tasks, at a reasonable price.
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Salesforce Chatter key features

Salesforce Chatter combines the basic features of a social networking tool—such as posts, newsfeeds, and followers—with CRM productivity hacks, like linking to Salesforce records and tagging coworkers in tasks.

Your newsfeed can be set up to display only the objects that you follow, such as users, accounts, and opportunities. For instance, if a particular deal moves from negotiation to won, this could appear in your feed. 

Another top feature in Chatter is collaboration. You can use groups to organize coworkers based on projects or interests. The content of public groups can be seen by the whole organization, while private group content is only accessible to that group’s members. You can add posts, files, and records to groups, but the lack of live chat functionality means communication can be delayed and ineffective.

Chatter users with a Salesforce license can provide one another with quick access to CRM records, such as contacts, call notes, or support cases. So, if a colleague tags you and links to an opportunity needing a follow-up, the record is just a click away. This feature can help avoid miscommunication and close more deals.

Using Chatter may bring larger benefits to medium-to-large enterprises with multiple Salesforce licenses and a complex pipeline, while smaller teams may find real-time communication solutions more effective for lighter customer bases.

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Salesforce Chatter review

You can access Salesforce Chatter from desktop and mobile at any time (Image credit: Salesforce)
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Salesforce Chatter review

Choose what you see on your Chatter feed by following specific topics (Image credit: Salesforce)
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Salesforce Chatter review

Stay in the know about your team’s progress on Salesforce (Image credit: Salesforce)
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Salesforce Chatter review

Tag your coworkers on Salesforce Chatter to make sure tasks get done (Image credit: Salesforce)
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Salesforce Chatter review

Screenshot on Salesforce Chatter when creating a new group (Image credit: Salesforce)

Salesforce Chatter: What’s new?

To improve teamwork and productivity, Salesforce Chatter now features co-worker profiles, which summarize users’ activity, both on Chatter and on Salesforce as a whole. For instance, you can see colleagues’ recent group posts, shared files, and associated accounts and opportunities—so long as you’ve been granted access to this information.

Chatter also now supports Copy + Paste support for images (rather than having to save and upload a screenshot or image). In addition, you can click Share from any insight to share it to Chatter (or export to Salesforce Anywhere or download the insight).

Salesforce Chatter: Pricing

You get Chatter for free with any Salesforce plan, including Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, and Marketing Cloud. All Salesforce Sales Cloud and Service Cloud subscriptions are billed on a per-user, annual basis, with Essentials starting at $25/user/month, billed annually.

If you don’t have a Salesforce license, you can use Chatter as a standalone service for $15/user/month, billed monthly only. However, this plan doesn’t allow you to link to or collaborate on CRM records from Salesforce.

Salesforce Chatter pricing plans
Plan type/feature Free Paid Zoho Connect—Enterprise plan Slack—Pro plan
Cost per month $0 (included in all Salesforce subscriptions, which start at $25/user/month, billed annually) $15/user/month (only in absence of Salesforce subscription, billed monthly) $1/user/month (billed annually) $8/active user/month (billed monthly)
Cost per year $0 (included in all Salesforce subscriptions, which start at $300/user/year, billed annually) $180/user/year (only in absence of Salesforce subscription, billed monthly) $12/user/year (billed annually) $80/active user/year (17% discount, billed annually)
Personalized news feed X
File sharing
Salesforce data integration X X

Testing Salesforce Chatter

Below, we test Salesforce Chatter’s ease of use and effectiveness both on desktop and mobile. These tests aim to conclude whether the product makes your CRM efforts more productive by asking whether it’s quick and intuitive to use basic tools.

How intuitive is Salesforce Chatter in use?

Using Chatter will involve a learning curve despite not having an overwhelming set of features. You are, however, guided through these features—for instance, when writing a new post, you’re reminded that the / symbol links to a Salesforce record, such as an opportunity or a note.

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The posting feature is the most intuitive, mirroring LinkedIn’s, and includes basic text formatting, which aids message structure and clarity. A useful feature is being able to @mention users and groups, which helps tagged colleagues stay accountable for tasks. 

Overall, Chatter can be quite difficult to navigate, especially if you’re multitasking across Salesforce. This could be improved, for example, by having a back arrow to navigate pages or by making recent tabs available in Chatter’s quick-access menu, thus helping users stay on top of groups, records, and tasks.

Desktop screenshot of Salesforce Chatter when creating a post

Creating new posts and adding files is intuitive on Salesforce Chatter (Image credit: Salesforce)

Does Salesforce Chatter work well on mobile?

Collage of three mobile screenshots while using the Salesforce app

You can use Salesforce Chatter on the go with the Salesforce mobile app (Image credit: Salesforce)

Salesforce Chatter is accessible from the main Salesforce mobile app, two clicks away on the menu bar. The home screen features the news feed in the center, a top toolbar, and a corner notifications icon. You can also pin four Salesforce shortcuts at the bottom, such as Contacts, Cases, and Reports.

From the home toolbar, you’re a click away from creating a new post, sharing a file, and creating a new event. More actions, such as creating a poll and adding a new opportunity, are available via a dropdown list. 

The mobile app feels easier to navigate than the desktop version, but there’s room for improvement. For example, creating a post and sharing a file lead to the same interface, which can feel confusing.

How easy is it to collaborate on Salesforce Chatter?

Screenshot of creating a new follower stream in Salesforce Chatter

Stay updated on colleagues’ activities on Salesforce Chatter (Image credit: Salesforce)

Creating a group takes about three clicks and you can invite coworkers to it, whether they’ve created a Chatter account yet or not. Adding users outside of your company’s email domain is a bit trickier—groups need to be set to private, with a ticked box for Allow customers. 

Tagging users, adding files, and linking to Salesforce records is pretty seamless and intuitive. But, overall, collaboration functionality is limited—you can’t, for example, edit documents in real-time or live chat with individuals. You’d still need to use external communications software for day-to-day business, like Slack or email.

Alternatives to Salesforce Chatter


(Image credit: Trello)

Salesforce Chatter sits at the intersection of CRM productivity tool and social network, and can be substituted with other products in this area. Zoho Connect is a close match, as it integrates easily with Zoho CRM, another best CRM software pick. Similarities between the two include customizable news feeds and engagement with posts and polls, but Zoho CRM is more feature rich as it additionally offers audio and video calls, online document management, and a wider range of third-party integrations, including Trello and Asana. Read our Zoho CRM review for a full evaluation. 

Slack, acquired by Salesforce in 2021, is a match for Chatter, and not just because it can easily integrate with your Salesforce records. It can set up customized workflows—such as automatic messages triggered by a record change—and can integrate with numerous products, including Google Workspace and Mailchimp.

While the flagship Salesforce software integrates with multiple third-party solutions and enables complex workflow automations, Chatter features have limited customization and can only link back to Salesforce internal records.

That said, if you’re already using Salesforce, Chatter is the easiest collaboration tool to use on specific sales opportunities while staying in app.

Salesforce Chatter’s features compared to the competition
Salesforce Chatter Zoho Connect Slack
News feed Yes Yes No
Third-party integrations Limited Multiple Multiple
Support Toll-free phone, live chat, email ticketing, knowledge base Online ticketing, forums, knowledge base Live chat, online ticketing, knowledge base
Paid plan $15/user/month (billed monthly) $1/user/month (billed monthly) $6.67/user/month (billed annually)

Salesforce Chatter: Final verdict

It takes some time and team commitment to reap the benefits of Salesforce Chatter, so it’s most appropriate to medium-to-large enterprises with multiple Salesforce licenses and a growing pipeline. When purchased outside a Salesforce plan, Chatter does not offer users access to CRM functions, such as updating contact records, and there are better, cheaper alternatives on the market for standalone enterprise social networks.

Slack and Zoho Connect, for instance, have similar features to Chatter, but additionally offer video and audio calls, workflow automations, and live chats, all for a lower monthly price and with the option of a free plan. 

With a growing Salesforce pipeline, though, Chatter is fit for purpose. You can add non-licensed users and customers to groups, create polls, and share documents, photos, and videos. 

Individual news feeds can be personalized according to topics, which can include account names, types of opportunities, and specific colleagues. Tagging co-workers to specific requests and records is also useful, ensuring significant deals don’t fall through the cracks.

Further CRM inspired reading

Learn more about CRM software from our features on What is CRM software and Why you need a small business CRM.

Also, our buying guides for the best free CRM software, best CRM for small business, and best CRM for real estate outline some of the best solutions on the market today.


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