The platform of Salesforce was introduced in the market to provide automation and efficiency to business enterprises pertaining to their Customer Relationship Management (CRM). For more than two decades, Salesforce has been helping small, medium and large enterprises in recording, storing, processing and assessing their valuable customer database.
There are various tools, platforms, components and add-ons pertaining to Salesforce, each providing specific services to the users in making sense of the seemingly random and complicated customer data. With the help of Salesforce, the marketing and sales department can close the sales cycles faster and more effectively by efficient lead management. Right from the process of scouting potential leads, Salesforce helps the sales representatives in approaching the leads, persuading them, scoring them based on their responses, qualifying them, servicing them by undertaking the transaction and keeping a track of their requirements throughout their relationship with the business organization.
For a considerable period of time, the look and feel of Salesforce CRM was more or less constant. The user interface has minor changes and updates that did not really affect the user experience. However, Salesforce introduced a fairly new and upgraded user interface in 2015 called Salesforce Lightning. Lightning is the latest version of Salesforce with a functionality that is fairly different from that of Salesforce Classic.
As the name rightly suggests, Salesforce Lightning takes the speed and efficiency of the tasks performed by the sales team of an organization a notch higher. The platform is loaded with several new tools that provide increased automation in performing specific business activities. With a more enhanced and aesthetic dashboard and more extensive sales pipeline, Salesforce Lightning is certainly the need of the hour. One of the most popular features of this new Salesforce version is its artificial intelligence component called Einstein. Salesforce Einstein essentially scans through the data stored in the system, analysis the same and comes out with valid predictive analysis. At this stage where customers are demanding personalized services, such components can be used to gauge potential customer behavior.
Salesforce is a highly customizable platform. You can get the platform developed and implemented strictly according to your needs and preferences. It is a popular myth that Salesforce development is only restricted to business giants. However, business organizations pertaining to all scales of operations and all industrial sectors can get the platform of Salesforce implemented.
Based on these specific business requirements and the scales at which enterprises operate, four major Salesforce editions are available in the market – Essentials, Professional, Enterprise and Unlimited. All of these editions are similar in look and feel but differ in their functionality and pricing. Generally, a new and growing business would start with the basic Salesforce edition having all the fundamental features and would upgrade to advanced editions with more features as the business diversifies.
Here are the four Salesforce editions explained in detail along with the kind of businesses they are suitable for to help you compare the editions and make the right choice. You can also undertake effective Salesforce license comparison by examining these editions in detail:
This is the most basic edition of Salesforce having all the basic and default features. This edition is essentially developed to cater to the needs of the basic sales of an organization.
One of the key features of Salesforce Essentials is that of lead management. It helps users in generating potential leads through efficient web-to-lead capture. You can perform all the basic lead management activities of servicing and nurturing the leads according to their responses and preferences. You can also manage your basic sales pipeline effectively by getting this edition implemented in your organization.
Salesforce Essentials also provides the users with all the basic services pertaining to contact, Account and opportunity management. You can create, store, move and track details pertaining to an Account handled by your organization and the contacts belonging to an Account. The platform would also help you in identifying the opportunities that can be efficiently trapped by your sales team and allow you to keep a track of the same.
With the help of these basic features, Salesforce Essentials can be used for efficiently managing specific sales tasks performed by your sales team in real-time, along with providing sales process automation through Process Builder. It also allows you to manage important events such as meetings and customer calls in an organized and automate manner. You can schedule these events, send notifications regarding the same and keep records of the meetings for future references with the help of Salesforce.
When it comes to making productive conclusions, Salesforce Essentials also allows the users to create robust and informative reports and dashboards based on the activities performed by the sales representatives over a period of time. This data is considered important for senior management to make key business decisions. This edition also facilitates the free flow of information and documents within the organization through the interactive platform of Chatter, which is essentially a social media platform designed for corporate.
Salesforce Essentials can be seamlessly customized for mobile and allows the users to access the same using Salesforce1 Mobile application, sufficiently increasing work flexibility.
Priced at $25/user/month (billed annually), this basic version of Salesforce is best suited for business organizations that are new in the market with no more than ten CRM users. Companies that do not require advanced and more personalized CRM functionality can get Salesforce Essentials implemented successfully.
Salesforce Professional is the edition that is a little more advanced as compared to its predecessor, Salesforce Essentials. This Salesforce edition will suit your requirements if you require a CRM platform for managing products, contracts, quotes, and orders in an automated and efficient manner.
The platform of Salesforce Professional includes all the features offered by Salesforce Essentials, with a few more notable additions. One of the most prominent features of this edition is that provides rule-based scoring of leads. With the help of this feature, you can score the leads generated by your sales team on the basis of their behavior. You can ascertain the manner in which your leads have behaved in the past and assign attributes to them accordingly, ultimately helping you in scoring them within your sales pipeline. This is a major difference in lead management when it comes to Salesforce Essentials vs Professional. Managing leads in this edition is more systematic and precise.
Salesforce Professional also provides efficient contract management services to its users, along with helping them manage their products and price books effectively. Another important service provided by this edition is that of Lightning sync. This is an exclusive feature that allows Salesforce users to synchronize necessary contacts and relevant calendar events between Salesforce and any device connected with Microsoft Exchange. This also helps in leveraging the overall functionality of Salesforce.
The Salesforce Professional edition would help your sales representatives in performing specific activities with the help of effective sales forecasting. With the help of this feature, you can make efficient predictions regarding short-term and long-term sales performances with respect to your current and potential customers.
Moreover, Salesforce Professional separates the process of development and testing with the help of Developer Sandbox. This allows the users to test new functionality in an environment that is separate from the one used for platform development.
However, the Professional edition of Salesforce would not allow you to customize specific solutions and automate sales processes with code. Though you can integrate Salesforce with third-party applications with the help of suitable API, enabling the same would cost you an additional sum of $25 for every user per month. This would make the platform way costlier for the functionality it provides.
Priced at $75/user/month (billed annually), the most ideal business organizations that can get the Professional edition of Salesforce implemented are small and medium enterprises having a sales team of 10-60 members. As you get a maximum of five sales-related processes, two custom user profiles, ten permission sets, and two roles, you can manage to take care of your customers if you are not looking for more customizations and better functionality. This edition can also be an ideal choice for you if your company has more sales members but the sales activities performed by them are less complicated.
The Enterprise edition of Salesforce takes the functionality offered by the Professional edition, leverages it and provides the users with several additional features.
Salesforce Enterprise edition comes with all the features included in the previous two editions, along with features like automated workflow and approval. With the help of this feature, you can design, execute and automate specific workflow based on the pre-defined business rules of your organization. This helps in getting your sales team’s work done faster without the team having to put more labor into the same.
This edition also helps the user in creating suitable Opportunity Teams that would assist the sales representatives while working on a specific sales deal. This team would be dedicated to identifying opportunities, work on them and keep a track of the team’s progress in real-time. The platform also comes with the feature of Opportunity Splits that allows the users to split and share the revenue generated out of an opportunity within the sales team based on every member’s contribution.
Along with efficient Enterprise Territory Management, this Salesforce edition comes with enhanced reporting features such as joined reports and cross filters. These features allow the users in creating more detailed, specific and informative reports that provide substantial insight into the activities performed by the sales team. Using these advanced reporting features, a user can also track the history of reports for reference or for making necessary corrections in the same.
One of the most beneficial features of this Salesforce edition is the fact that it provides you with unlimited automation capabilities via Process Builder. With Salesforce Enterprise, you can automate linear workflows with considerable ease and accuracy. Along with unlimited automation capabilities, this edition also provides you with unlimited user profiles page layouts, user roles, permissions and record types for every Salesforce object. This certainly expands the Salesforce canvas on which your sales team can operate.
As opposed to the Professional edition, Salesforce Enterprise edition provides the users with APIs for undertaking third party integrations without an additional cost. On subscribing to this edition, you will also get access to the Lightning Platform for building and managing robust applications, along with 100 Developer Sandboxes that would help you in testing new functionalities.
Priced at $150/user/month, the Enterprise edition is suitable for large scale businesses having more than one sales department and more than fifty members in a sales team, owing to its features that are ideal for collaboration between sales teams. This should also be an ideal choice if you are in need of increased automation for your sales-related processes.
This is the edition that possesses the features provides by all the previously mentioned Salesforce versions. This is the last and the most advanced option a business enterprise can opt for.
Apart from including all the features offered by the Essentials, Professional and Enterprise editions, the Salesforce Unlimited edition provides the users with toll-free support that is active 24/7. Moreover, on upgrading to this edition, you get exclusive access to premier success resources. These are essentially interactive webinars and resources that would improve your knowledge base pertaining to the field of data science in general and Salesforce in particular. You also get the privilege of being personally coached by Salesforce experts on a one-on-one basis if you subscribe to Salesforce Unlimited.
This Salesforce edition certainly provides you with ample developer support but is not devoid of shortcomings. One of the major Salesforce Unlimited edition limits is the fact that the user is not able to create more than 200 report types, 800 custom fields, and 2000 custom objects. Though these limitations are not likely to affect user experience, it is advisable to approach your Salesforce Consultant before making any major decision.
“Chitiz Agarwal also known as “Kumar” is a Salesforce.com evangelist and architect who has more than 13 yrs of IT experience. He has worked with big MNCs like Accenture and IBM and now running Techila Global Services from last 7 yrs and grown the company to size of 150+. He has delivered more than 700 projects on Salesforce.com till date and participated from initial requirement understanding to final delivery. His twitter handle is @ChitizAgarwal”