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How to Choose the Right Salesforce License for Your Company in 2017

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Geraldine Gray

March 28, 2017

Salesforce mascot Astro riding on the wings of an eagle


If you have a sneaking suspicion that it’s time to ditch your old system of disjointed spreadsheets, emails and sales call logs in favor of a sleek Salesforce customer relationship management (CRM), welcome! We’ve been waiting for you.

Although the idea of switching over to a whole new world in terms of the way you do business can be daunting, it will absolutely be more than worth it. One of the first steps you’ll need to take after making the decision to adopt a CRM is to determine the appropriate Salesforce license for your company. Luckily, we’ve been there and back plenty of times and we can provide you with a few shortcuts.

There are many different services to choose from depending on your software needs. Salesforce offers specialty solutions for marketing, sales, quote-to-cash, health, service and everything in between. For those looking for information on a first-level sales solution, you’ve come to the right place. Salesforce offers four unique tiers for its Sales Cloud software. Let’s see which one fits you best.

Option #1: Salesforce IQ CRM Starter - $25/user/month
The first-tier option for Sales Cloud starts at $25 per user per month for up to five users. This option is ready-to-go right out of the box, which offers excellent time savings and less fussiness for small companies. This is a smart choice for companies that have one list of leads and don’t need a ton of add-ons. For that one list, you can customize your sales tracking, get automatic data capture, and seamlessly collaborate with your team. As with all Salesforce products, you’ll get incredible online training resources for your team. This is a great option if you are a small company and just want to dip your toe in the water of CRM before you dive in.

Option #2: Lightning Professional - $75/user/month
Lighting Professional starts at $75 per user per month and offers a respectable amount of flexibility and functionality for the price. If you prefer a lot of transparency across your sales team’s activities and love the idea of AppExchange product add-ons, this might be the right choice for you. This choice also offers many useful and customizable dashboards and reports, as well as the option to go mobile. With available add-ons, you can also set up Salesforce CPQ, mass email, Sales Data and more. The main drawbacks are a lack of API access (which restricts your ability to integrate other databases), as well as an absence of automation and workflow.

Option #3: Lightning Enterprise - $150/user/month
Lightning Enterprise is the most popular option for Salesforce customers at $150 per user per month. You get all of Lightning Professional’s features plus powerful capabilities, like advanced forecasting, team selling and enterprise territory management. This is the tier where you really start realizing some big wins. Lightning Enterprise can leverage native workflow and automation capabilities while integrating with other data sources.

Efficiencies and visibility of data at multiple levels skyrockets while the inefficiency of redundant data entry plummets. Lightning Enterprise is especially great for companies who want to customize solutions for nagging issues. Developers can use Apex triggers to solve issues simply. End-user experience can also be matched to the end-user process with record types, page layouts and automation. Automatic task assignments and approval processes can help the management process for company policy and best practice adherence feel effortless.

There’s no denying that Lightning Enterprise is highly powerful and customizable, but if you’re easily distracted by small, infrequent problems, you can lose sight of your core functionality. Enterprise is sure to fit your needs for the long haul.

Option #4: Lightning Unlimited - $300/user/month
If you want the ultimate in power, customizability, and support, Lightning Unlimited could be exactly what you’re looking for. At $300 per month per user, it’s an investment that’s worth it for large companies that rely heavily on top CRM functionality. If you can dream it, you can do it on this powerhouse platform—with tons of storage and space to boot. In addition to all of the Enterprise features, you’ll get unlimited online training, admin services and around the clock support—along with tons of capabilities that large, complex and powerful companies need. Plus, Unlimited comes with multiple Developer Pro Sandboxes for development and testing of new processes without disrupting other users—a valuable plus for those who are constantly innovating.

Even with all the incredible innovations, there are a couple of drawbacks. Obviously, the high price tag is a hefty one for most companies. You also may not be able to actually use all of the features and classes available even if you chip away at them everyday.

What decision will you make?
We totally understand that this is a tough decision. At Endiem, we use the Enterprise. It gives us the integration and transparency that we need with a lot of great time-saving automation. Enterprise is a popular choice because it’s a great deal.

If you make a choice that you end up feeling isn’t best for you, you can upgrade anytime or downgrade at license renewal. Get the features you need and don’t be afraid to start a little small.

Choosing the right Salesforce edition paves way for a successful, efficient and relevant CRM system. Contact us should you require any assistance from an MVP in choosing the best-fit Salesforce edition.

Note: This post was originally published in July 2015 and has been completely revamped and updated with the most accurate information as of March 2017.

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