How to pick the right Salesforce user license
Here is a quick overview of the different Salesforce user license alternatives and what to expect
When it comes to picking the proper Salesforce user license there are things we should consider and keep in mind. The primary goal of licenses is to offer extended scalability and flexibility to our business in the cloud. Starting up small we get to explore the Salesforce system and learn while we are still on a tight budget. That is an extraordinary opportunity because it allows us to adjust to a different business mindset. It represents the shift away from various dedicated software solutions that we struggle to integrate towards the robust unified data platform that is Salesforce.
The primary business application for our Salesforce Org would probably be the first thing to pick. We get to decide between Sales, Service, both or other Salesforce cloud modules as a matter of strategy and vision. In any case what we should keep in mind is that there is no right or wrong Salesforce user license to start with. What really matters at this point is to get going and explore.
Is Salesforce Essentials good enough?
Salesforce Essentials is the entry level user license and it packs a bunch of features. Nevertheless, it also lacks a lot of what makes Salesforce the great versatile platform that we know and love. Bottom line here is experience. This user license is built for small businesses, solo-preneurs, people who are just starting up and don’t have a dedicated CRM budget. Coming at the monthly expense of a pizza with a drink, Salesforce Essentials is a great pathway to a digital business culture. It is not simply a highly restricted entry-level solution built solely with marketing in mind. It is a fully-fledged business tool that could work if we do. The greatest benefit with Salesforce Essentials by far is the introduction to how Salesforce works. The power of the platform enables businesses to transform their processes, workflows and most importantly their mindsets. The rest is simply a matter of scale. Climbing the license ladder, Salesforce makes it easy to get more when we need it.
As a starting point we get the basics with Salesforce Essentials. It only offers standard objects like Accounts, Contacts, Leads and Opportunities. No fancy custom objects are possible here. But we don’t really need them at this point. What we need is a way to handle, group and manage data. Furthermore, we also need good communication around data and business processes. Luckily, we get Salesforce chatter out-of-the-box even with this entry-level Salesforce user license. Salesforce Essentials is a great solution for what it is - a gateway to a business ecosystem. It is worth noticing that we also get the chance to automate processes at this entry level although we are not completely able to automate email campaigns for example. Keeping in mind that Salesforce Flow got a significant productivity boost with the Salesforce Summer 20 edition, that is something really special at this rate. Apart from automating up to 5 processes we also get up to 2 custom profiles and up to 5 permission sets, which is great for building up the Salesforce Org’s unique structure and hierarchy.
As business is growing, we would probably soon recognize the need for managing products, price lists, quotes, orders, contracts etc. This is when Salesforce Professional comes handy.
Stepping up the game with Salesforce Professional
Salesforce Professional is indeed a big step up from Essentials. It allows us to create up to 50 custom objects, form them into custom apps and begin to explore the functionalities of the Salesforce platform. At this user license level we can start engaging with forecasting and use up to two record types, which would allow us to differentiate the way we empower the team’s sales efforts. Furthermore, we could now use Campaign management to keep track of our marketing efforts as well.
Salesforce Professional may look a lot like Essentials but it offers a completely different experience once we start playing with all the bells and whistles that we get. The chance to customize how we structure data through custom objects does in fact offer a ton of opportunities to explore new insights and build unique data relationships.
The level of engagement is yet another differentiator when we compare Professional to Essentials. While with Essentials we could pay monthly and test the water, the only option for Salesforce Professional is an annual prepaid investment. It makes sense though. Picking up the right data management platform for our business is quite a challenge and migrating between different solution vendors is never a wise decision because the risk of dramatically decreasing data health and integrity.
Once you feel comfy with Professional you would probably want to explore ways to modify the Salesforce platform further through custom development.
Does Salesforce Professional support APEX?
You would be in for a surprise. Salesforce Professional does not support APEX. That is the programming language Salesforce developers use to create triggers and write code that builds up custom functionalities on the Salesforce platform. At this point the only option for a fully customized solution would be a managed package or a custom built Salesforce component from the AppExchange market. It is a bummer even more so because we are not able to just opt in for a simple add-on like we would with APIs for example. APIs don’t come out-of-the-box with Salesforce Professional but there is a chance to order the functionality separately. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with APEX.
Unlock the full platform potential with Salesforce Enterprise (SE)
As the name suggests Salesforce Enterprise is probably the most popular user license for larger enterprises. It combines up to 100 custom objects with API integration capabilities and APEX. Furthermore, SE opens up the opportunity to use approval process automation as well as account/opportunity/case teams and opportunity splits for improved team selling.
Salesforce Enterprise is also suitable for using features like Lightning Scheduler for booking events into Salesforce and Einstein Analytics for data insights and predictions.
Another benefit of the Salesforce Enterprise edition is that it allows us to get additional Salesforce Platform licenses that come at the same rate as the Salesforce Essentials user license. In other words we get to explore the full potential of the Salesforce platform, building up custom apps and generating dedicated teams of users.
Unlimited CRM experience with Salesforce Unlimited
There are three words that describe what Unlimited brings to the table - Scale, Support and Sustainability. We get six times the data storage for records, five times the amount of API calls compared to Enterprise combined with 24/7 support and configuration from Salesforce. The number of custom object is also double compared to Salesforce Enterprise. Salesforce Unlimited comes at a monthly rate that is what a Essentials user would pay for a year but it really offers an unlimited Salesforce experience.
To sum up, picking the right Salesforce user license could be tricky. Therefore, it is part of our mission as a registered Salesforce Partner to help businesses with consultation and advice. Feel free to reach out and share your situation with us and we would be able to consult you on the most optimal Salesforce license for your organisation based on your budget, unique expectations and requirements.