NetSuite CRM Review 2020

netsuite crm review

By Rob Binns | Senior Writer

Is Oracle’s complete CRM solution the right choice for your business? 


netsuite logo large

Pros:

  • Brilliant sales forecasting capabilities
  • Makes it easy to create effective lead generation webforms on your website
  • Highly customizable, with in-depth reporting and analytics features
  • Offers a set of robust API (Application Programming Interface) integrations

X Cons:

  • Expensive!
  • Dashboards can be difficult to interpret
  • Patchy customer support
  • Tough to get the hang of
At a glance: NetSuite is a comprehensive, feature-rich CRM software designed to invigorate your sales, marketing, and customer service efforts but its hefty price tag may alienate small businesses.

NetSuite (also known as Oracle NetSuite, following its acquisition by the tech giant in 2016) is a cloud-based platform designed to help businesses grow. With a range of software solutions for accounting, omnichannel, and business intelligence, NetSuite certainly has its fingers in plenty of pies. 

The only solution we’re looking at today, though, is NetSuite’s CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software. By automating key sales, marketing, and customer service processes, NetSuite CRM streamlines your workflow, cuts down your workload, and frees you up to focus on what matters your customers. 

So, how does NetSuite work? Is it affordable, and is it highly rated by its customers? And most importantly, is it right for your business? Let’s take a look.

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oracle netsuite logo

NetSuite and Oracle: A Quick Timeline

1998: NetSuite was founded in California, under the name ‘NetLedger’

2002: Zach Nelson took over as CEO, leading the company from $1 million in annual revenue to a billion dollar run-rate

2008: NetSuite acquired its first company, Professional Service Automation (PSA) enterprise OpenAir

2016: Multinational tech corporation Oracle acquired NetSuite, in a deal worth around $9.3 billion

2020: NetSuite today powers the businesses of over 19,000 customers, in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide


What are NetSuite’s Features and Benefits?

Three categories make up the bulk of NetSuite’s sharp suite of features: sales, customer service, and marketing. Let’s break each one down, and take a look at how your business can benefit. 

Superior Sales Automation and Forecasting

Sales, sales, sales – they’re the backbone of all businesses, and without them… well, you wouldn’t have one! That’s why it’s so crucial that NetSuite’s Sales Force Automation (SFA) software gives your team unfettered, 360-degree visibility into every stage of the customer relationship and sales funnel. 

Your sales team will be able to use insights from support cases and back-office information (including contracts and inventory) to better understand the customer. From this, your reps and managers can upsell and drive renewals, while keeping the customer’s goals and expectations firmly at the summit of their priority lists. 

Oh, and your team will do all this from a series of real-time dashboards, which also provide accurate sales forecasting going forward. With fully customizable forecast categories and sales ranges, NetSuite takes into account pending opportunities, orders, and quotes, letting you plan for the future with confidence. 

More Effective Marketing Campaigns

NetSuite also offers an array of extensive features for automating your team’s marketing efforts. With NetSuite’s user-friendly, drag-and-drop webform builder, you can create touchpoints to generate effective leads, as soon as potential customers land on your site. 

Then, once you’ve built up a database of customer details, you can develop and deliver targeted marketing campaigns to them. From contact lists to emails, you can personalize every step of the process – ensuring your customers only receive the deals, discounts, and products most relevant to their preferences.

And, once you’ve launched your latest campaign through NetSuite, you’ll be able to quickly track its effectiveness. Measure the amount of clicks, opens, and reads of your emails, and analyze lead-to-lead revenue, along with total ROI. And the best part? You can do it all from a series of customizable dashboards, from your phone, tablet, or computer. 

netsuite crm interface

NetSuite analytics: Your business’ key figures, at a glance… and at your fingertips


Handy Customer Service Portal

You can make sales and run ad campaigns to your heart’s content, but if you’re not looking after your clients, well… your business won’t be around for long! That’s why NetSuite provides an intelligent customer service portal to help you prioritize the client. 

Through the portal, your customers can ask questions, browse your online knowledge base, and submit tickets to get support. Customers can also easily access their own order histories, place new orders, and view the status of current orders, via a wide range of self-service tools.

And as for you, NetSuite’s automation of small customer service queries will free up your support team’s time to handle the bigger issues. By using the portal to instantly acknowledge and escalate consumer requests, you’ll keep the communication lines open, and ensure complete customer satisfaction.

Did You Know?

NetSuite is widely acknowledged as being the first cloud computing software company, predating Marc Benioff’s Salesforce by about a month.


How Much Does NetSuite Cost?

We’ll level with you – if you’re looking for a simple, low-cost CRM system, NetSuite isn’t the best option. That’s because NetSuite, built to serve larger businesses, is primarily an ERP (enterprise resource planning) solution with CRM built in.

What that means is that you can expect to pay a premium. NetSuite’s base license will set you back $999 per month, with additional access costs of $99 per user, per month. And the check won’t end there – you’ll have to take into account the costs of ERP configuration, and any add-on modules you select. 

This means that what you can expect to pay for NetSuite is a bespoke rate, unique to your business. Costs will also vary depending on the length of your contract, and the number of users who’ll need access to the software. 

Hence, it’s hard to know exactly what you’ll pay with NetSuite – we can’t give you an exact rate, but we can tell you that whichever way you spin it, it’ll be expensive. So, for that reason alone, we can’t recommend NetSuite for small businesses

What we can do, though, is help you compare other CRM software suppliers that may be a much better fit for your SMB. Here’s how:

  1. Click here to navigate to our free, 30-second webform
  2. Provide us with a few details about your business, and your CRM requirements
  3. Receive tailored quotes from industry-leading CRM providers (perfect for small businesses)
  4. That’s it!

Read this far, and still unsure whether NetSuite is the right fit for you? Keep reading, because we’re asking the question…


Is NetSuite Right For My Business?

Let’s answer some questions from our SMB audience, to help you find out if NetSuite is the right CRM selection for you.

“I’ve never used a CRM system before. Is NetSuite right for me?”

No, it probably isn’t. NetSuite is notoriously difficult to get to grips with, and to use (see the customer comments below). If you’re heading into your first CRM experience, you’re better off with a more user-friendly option, like Cloze or Zoho

The other good thing about these more intuitive CRM systems is that their pricing is often simpler, and much more affordable. Some CRM software (such as Insightly, at just $12 per user, per month) is available for around 1% of the cost of NetSuite – and if it’s your first time, it’ll be much more straightforward to use, too.

▶ Read more: Top 5 Cheap CRM Systems

“I work for an agency, and we want to start using CRM software”

Great! Whether you’re in travel, recruitment, advertising, or design, the good news is there’s a range of CRM software out there, and it’s already tailored to the needs of your agency. The bad news is that it isn’t NetSuite!

To get better acquainted with the right CRM solution for your agency, jump straight into our guide to the best agency CRM software.

“My large business has been using Salesforce for a while, but we’re thinking of changing to NetSuite. Thoughts?”

Ah, the age-old debate – NetSuite vs Salesforce. Who comes out on top?

Well, both are CRM systems gone big. Both are perfect fits for enterprise-level corporations, and are highly scalable approaches to customer relationship management.

Salesforce, however, wins out on price – its most basic plan comes in at a budget-friendly $25 per user, per month. And even Salesforce’s most expensive plan ($325 per user, per month) is still around a third of your monthly license fee just to use NetSuite ($999).

Add to this Salesforce’s excellent, top-of-the-range artificial intelligence reporting features in Einstein Analytics, and NetSuite’s solution begins to lose ground. Of course, NetSuite is primarily an ERP – and if this is what you’re looking for, it’s NetSuite all day. But if CRM is your sole focus, we’d recommend sticking with Salesforce. 

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What Do NetSuite’s Customer Reviews Say?

Though we pride ourselves here at Expert Market on our original research (we tested, rated, and ranked ten of the best free CRM systems in the US), we also have a healthy respect for the opinion of the people. With NetSuite’s customers at the forefront of our minds, we trawled the internet to see what they’ve been saying.

What we found confirmed our initial suspicions – that NetSuite isn’t all that easy to use.

“It can be very challenging to create advanced reports or searches”

  • Timothy, RVWC, NetSuite CRM customer

“The system is very complex, and could have more offerings for in-depth training”

  • Hannah, City of Omaha, NetSuite CRM customer

“Confusing dashboard”

  • Salwat, Get Beyond Limits, NetSuite CRM customer

The reviews also support our hypothesis regarding NetSuite’s eyebrow-raising costs:

“Annual [cost] increases will eventually outpace growth”

  • Jeffrey, EAP Innovations, NetSuite CRM customer

“Expensive and costly for a budget-constrained department”

  • Justin, IT Consulting, NetSuite CRM customer

That said, there seemed to be the underlying consensus that, if your budget can stretch to it, NetSuite is worth a try:

“Individual license costs can get expensive. Although well worth the cost, you’ll want to make sure you have a way to manage your user licenses”

  • Brian, iQor, NetSuite CRM customer

“It is a very expensive system. That being said, you get what you pay for”

  • Paul, Glowbiotics, NetSuite CRM customer

Usability and price point aside, NetSuite did gain plenty of plaudits in other areas:

“I like the flexibility and scalability! I really like the fact that I can log in on any device and run my company. I’m no longer bound to the desk, and can make informed, critical decisions as I drive the company towards bigger and better opportunities”

  • Tobi, Zingy Pet Inc, NetSuite CRM customer

“I like the visibility and the easily accessible information that NetSuite provides. If a customer calls with an inquiry and can provide only a few details, NetSuite’s tools allow you to quickly take that piece of the puzzle and see the bigger picture.”

  • Garrett, Matrix Design Group, NetSuite CRM customer

(Thanks to Software Advice for collecting the reviews!)

So, while NetSuite impresses in some areas, there’s no denying it falls short in other important areas of the overall CRM experience. With that in mind, then, what are your alternatives? Let’s explore.


What Other CRM Software Could I Consider?

As we’ve already mentioned, NetSuite’s price – and more expansive range of sales and marketing automation features – make it a better match for larger businesses and corporations. So, what’s next for the small and medium-sized enterprises out there? 

Fear not – we have you covered. Jump into the table below to get comparing. 

CRM providerBetter than NetSuite for:Pricing from:Free trial?Read More
amocrm logoTransparent pricing plans$15 per user, per month14-dayamoCRM Review
cloze reviewUltimate simplicity of use$17 per monthFree plan!Cloze Review
hubspot logo small transparentClean-looking, intuitive dashboards$50 per monthFree plan!HubSpot Review
Salesforce crm logo thumbnailAdvanced analytics and reporting tools$25 per user, per month30-daySalesforce Review
zoho logo small transparentPrice – it’s very, very cheap!$12 per user, per monthFree plan!Zoho Review

Choosing the right CRM software is probably the most important decision you’ll make for your business all year. That’s why you should take more than just the supplier into consideration, and have a think about the specific software needs of your business. Here are three quick things to tick off before you begin:

1. Deployment: Will you prefer your solution to be installed as an on-premise solution, or does your business demand the convenience and mobility of a cloud-based setup?

NetSuite’s CRM and ERP solutions are completely cloud-based, meaning they can be operated remotely, and all data is stored on NetSuite’s servers. This is perfect for teams with plenty of remote workers, and is completely secure. However, some businesses might prefer to have their data hosted on-site, on their own computers (on-premise). If this is you, you’ll have to look beyond NetSuite, to another provider.

2. Industry: Different sectors and industries will, of course, require different CRM solutions. Some of the industries covered by NetSuite include consulting, education, financial services, manufacturing, retail, nonprofit, and wholesale distribution.

However, for other industries, our guides give you everything you need to make the right software choice for your SMB. Find yours below.

3. Size: NetSuite is too big, too complicated, and (probably) too unnecessary for small businesses. So what do you need?

How many users will you require, which features can you benefit from, and which modules can you live without? Read our guide to the best CRM systems for small businesses to find out.


Expert Verdict

There are big benefits to having everything in one place – no more so than when it comes to your business. With NetSuite, you get support, reporting, retainment, fulfilment, marketing, and simplified customer service… all from a single interface. 

The drawback? NetSuite is expensive, not totally user-friendly, and may require some time (and a fair bit of technical knowledge) before you start to make the most of it. Yet, if you’re a large organization with a sufficient budget, and you know exactly what you want from an ERP or CRM software, then NetSuite is for you.

If you’re a small business with less expansive needs, we recommend looking elsewhere. If you mainly want to manage your deal pipeline, stay on top of your contact database, and run email marketing campaigns, there are plenty of other CRM systems that will do the job for less money, with a far flatter learning curve.

Better still, we can help you pick the CRM software that most suits your needs. Simply complete our free, 30-second form with a couple of brief details about your business. You’ll then receive tailored quotes for CRM software, and can get back to work growing your SMB. It’s a suite deal!

Rob Binns
Rob Binns Senior Writer

Rob writes mainly about the payments industry, but also brings industry-specific knowledge of CRM software, social media monitoring, and invoice finance. When not exasperating his editor with bad puns, he can be found relaxing in a sunny corner, with a beer and a battered copy of Dostoevsky.

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