Salesforce Edition Comparison: Choosing the Best for you


Karina Dalhunova

Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: February 8, 2021

After you’ve made up your mind to adopt Salesforce Sales Cloud software as your primary platform for customer relationship management, the next step is to choose the appropriate Salesforce edition for your company. To make the right decision, you should understand your current needs, have a vision how far you want to go in the future and compare the functionality of each edition. Still, when examining various editions of Sales Cloud, you may easily get puzzled with the rich number of features and which of them are essential for your company. That’s why ScienceSoft’s Salesforce consulting team has prepared a Salesforce edition comparison to help you choose the most suitable Sales Cloud edition.

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Salesforce CRM edition: Feature Comparison

Salesforce currently offers the following editions of its Sales Cloud CRM platform:

  • Lightning Essentials
  • Lightning Professional
  • Lightning Enterprise
  • Lightning Unlimited

Let’s explore them from the first-tier, basic one to the most comprehensive and advanced option.

Option 1: Lightning Essentials (25$/user/month)

This Salesforce CRM edition is suitable for small companies that need basic CRM software services with standard features.  Lightening Essentials may be enough to solve the vital needs of your marketing and sales teams with the following functionality:

  • Account management
  • Contact management
  • Opportunity management
  • Customizable sales process
  • Task and event tracking
  • Lead management and web-to-lead capture
  • Salesforce mobile app
  • Customizable reports and standard dashboards
  • Chatter for employees’ collaboration
  • Case management

Why you may need a more comprehensive edition:

  • your marketing and sales team exceeds 5 people
  • your company is steadily growing and you may require more advanced functionality in less than a year.

Option 2: Lightning Professional (75$/user/month)

Unlike the previous version, Lighting Professional has no user limits. This edition is an appropriate solution for mid-size companies with the finite product or service offerings and a single sales unit.

It extends the previous version with additional features, such as:

    • Campaign management
    • Rules-based lead scoring
    • Lead assignment and routing
    • Mass emails
    • Contract management
    • Products and price books
    • Quote and order management
    • Case management
    • Google apps integration (Gmail, Calendar, Sheets, etc.)
  • Process builder to automate your business processes, such as tasks assignment, record updates, etc.
  • Developer sandbox to develop and test new functionality in an isolated environment without affecting your production org.

As you see, with this upgraded edition you have much more flexibility and possibilities to be effective in managing your relationships with customers. At the same time, Professional Edition has some significant limitations. For example, this edition allows a limited number of record types, profiles, and permission sets that are used to control user access to certain data. This fact can place limits on your security model with time.

Another drawback of Professional Edition is process automation constraints. Building out complex automation processes can save employees’ time as well as reduce the probability of human error. Still, Professional Edition allows automating only 5 processes with the Process Builder, which may not be enough for companies that see process automation as one of their major goals. Other powerful and simpler automation tools, such as Approval Processes, Workflow Rules, and code-based Apex Triggers are included in higher editions.

The third major drawback is the integration limitation that restricts your ability to connect your CRM with other software systems.

While higher editions offer a powerful suite of APIs out of the box, organizations with Professional Edition of Sales Cloud should purchase for all requests to implement integration with third-party systems through APIs.

If you feel that these limitations will significantly affect your effectiveness, you can opt for a more sophisticated edition.

Option 3: Lightning Enterprise (150$/user/month)

The choice between Professional and Enterprise Edition is usually the toughest one. To make an informed decision, we advise considering the following questions:

  • Do you have different sales groups with distinct sales processes, customers, and products?
  • Do you have a lead-generation or service team that relies on call scripts when dealing with prospects and customers?
  • Do you need to integrate Salesforce with other applications?
  • Do you plan data migration into Salesforce?
  • Do you have a specific security model with refined user access control?
  • Do you have to manage various sales teams?
  • Do you have any specific workflows or approval steps that you would like to automate?

If the answer to these questions is a definitive Yes, you should opt for Lightening Enterprise Edition. As a result, you’ll get all Lightning Professional features plus some edition-specific capabilities, such as advanced forecasting and reporting, team selling, opportunity splits, and enterprise territory management. However, this level of customization requires an equal level of responsibility and skills to implement and adopt all features. In this regard, you’ll need to hire a Salesforce consulting team and a sysadmin to maintain your system.

Option 4: Lightning Unlimited (300$/user/month)

Salesforce Unlimited is a suitable edition for large companies with thousands of users. If you want the ultimate functionality, customizability, and support, Lightning Unlimited is exactly what you’re looking for. Comparing with Enterprise Edition, Unlimited gives you much more freedom for ongoing innovation. In particular, Enterprise and Unlimited editions have the following limit differences:   

  • 100 vs. 500 validation rules
  • 500 vs. 800 custom fields per object
  • 200 vs. 2000 custom objects
  • 25 vs. an unlimited number of lightening apps, etc.

Apart from the ultimate functionality, you’ll get 24/7 toll-free support, access to the premier knowledge database, developer support to succeed with custom code development as well as multiple Developer Pro Sandboxes for development and testing of new functionality without disrupting other users. However, despite an impressive functionality set, there’s a high probability that you’ll not actually use all provided features. That’s why we advise thinking twice before purchasing the Unlimited of Salesforce CRM edition.

Sales Cloud editions: Price Comparison

Though feature comparison is a reasonable starting point to choose a suitable Sales Cloud edition, your CRM budget can bring in certain adjustments. Ideally, you should find the delicate balance between user-functionality and available budget. That is why we advise determining if the value of extra features justifies the additional spend. In other words, you should estimate how much will each additional dollar you spend on Salesforce bring back into your business?

For example, you’re considering to automate a number of routine tasks for your 15 sales reps. Features that can automate them cost, say, $15,000 per year and can save up 1 working hour for each employee per week. To estimate whether they’re worth implementing, you should compare their annual price with the cost savings they can potentially bring back to you. So if you pay your sales reps $40/hour, you can save $30,000 per year in increased productivity (15 (sales reps) x 1 (hours/week) x 40 ($/hour) x 50 (weeks/year)). Since the functionality cost is less than the cost savings, you should obviously consider the edition with this functionality.

What decision will you make?

To choose the correct Salesforce edition you should thoroughly analyze the functionality and limitations of each Salesforce edition to avoid purchasing software with insufficient functionality as well as spend the excessive amount of money on features that you’re not likely to utilize.

Karina Dalhunova is a Salesforce Consultant and Business Analyst at ScienceSoft, a software development and consulting company headquartered in McKinney, Texas. As a certified business analyst, Karina contributes to ScienceSoft’s Salesforce projects by gathering requirements, creating functional specifications, user guides and manuals, and performing UI prototyping. As a Salesforce consultant, Karina designs sales-related processes and helps ScienceSoft’s customers raise their revenue with Sales Cloud. Karina has contributed to a number of successful Salesforce projects.

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