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Which Salesforce Edition is Right For Your Business?

4 min readMarch 20, 2018

What are the Differences Between Salesforce Editions?

In today’s world a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform is no longer optional, it’s a business requirement. It simply has become impossible to operate without one. By now you know that a CRM system like Salesforce empowers your organization to collect, analyze, store, and retrieve information that is essential to make better business decisions, drive sales, and keep every customer satisfied.

Salesforce is the Most Popular CRM

With a market share of 19%, Salesforce holds the largest portion of any CRM provider and its prevalence continues to grow. The company’s commitments to innovation, flexibility, and support, as well as it’s cloud-based architecture attracts and retains customers. In fact, 86% of users believe that the CRM drives innovation within their businesses.

The world of Salesforce is massive, however, and with so many options and editions, it is hard to understand which is best for your business. We took a look at the four main editions of Salesforce Sales Cloud: Essentials, Professional, Enterprise, and Unlimited to help you find what’s best for you.

Salesforce Editions

Salesforce Essentials

Who uses it:

Small Businesses in need of a basic CRM.

What it is:

Salesforce Essentials is the first level of Salesforce’s most basic offerings. Essentials is a stripped-down version of Salesforce that has only the functionality a small business would need. Imagine Essentials as a sales and marketing oriented version of Excel (which is exceptionally powerful). You can store, manage, search, and analyze data but won’t have access to the extreme flexibility that it provides.

Essentials is great for small business who want a complete out-of-the-box CRM that they can install and run quickly. It’s kept “light” so it doesn’t require a significant amount of attention, since most small businesses do not have a dedicated CRM person. It also should be noted that Essentials has a maximum of five users, and is excellent for companies that plan to grow and may want to step up to another edition later.

What it has

  • Automated basic tasks – Less busywork.
  • Trailhead – Salesforce’s interactive training environment.
  • Einstein – An AI that automates basic sales activities and reduces workload.
  • Cloud/mobile framework – Use on any device.

Salesforce Professional

Who uses it:

Growing business with multiple employees, some salespeople, and maybe marketing as well.

What it is:

Salesforce Professional builds upon the features of the Essentials edition, but is still considered a more basic CRM. Professional gives you full featured functionality, but without the flexibility of the more advanced editions. It is still simple to use, yet provides some customization, integrations, and administrative features. Because of this, you’ll want someone who has Salesforce knowledge, or is willing to dedicate time to it.

What it has:

Everything in Essentials, plus:

  • Validation rules – Ensure that user-entered data fits a specified standard.
  • Increased sales automation and productivity components:
  • Intelligent Lead Management – Lead routing and tracking.
  • Integrated Campaigns – Manage lead lists, identify and manage leads based on their sources.
  • Chatter Collaboration – Allows all users to communicate within the secure environment of Salesforce itself.
  • Salesforce Mobile App – Dedicated mobile app for iPhone and Android.
  • Record Tabs for Custom Processes – Customizable tabs within the record pages.

Salesforce Enterprise

Who uses it:

Medium to large businesses with larger sales and marketing teams. These businesses also likely need custom functions, access to an API, automations, the ability to send emails, and integrations.      

What it is:

Like its name describes, Salesforce Enterprise meets the need of complex businesses with large scale deployments. It has full flexibility and customization, and has options for sales, marketers, and executives alike.

What it has:

Enterprise opens the door to all of the power and functionality Salesforce can provide. It has all the features that the Professional Edition contains, plus:

  • Automated workflows – Create paths for leads to follow automatically.
  • Action Plans with tasks, categories/hierarchies
  • Email Marketing – Send marketing emails from Salesforce.
  • API – Easily connect Salesforce with your organization.
  • Complex territory management – For multiple sales teams and reps.
  • Custom Dashboards – Control what and how you see charts, gauges, metrics, tables, etc.
  • Case Tracking
  • Privacy settings for individual users
  • This is also where you can start integrating tools like Revenue.io to increase the effectiveness of your organization.

It should be noted that Enterprise is a complex version that will require an experienced Salesforce Admin. If you do not have the ability to bring a dedicated Salesforce person onboard, it may be worth it to upgrade to the Unlimited because of the dedicated one-to-one support it provides.

Salesforce Unlimited

Who uses it:

The biggest players or those that have a requirement for a large amount of custom applications, multiple sandboxes, or bespoke business needs. It is also for companies who plan to lean heavily on support and will need priority access.

What it is:

The complete Salesforce product without any restraint. Enterprise is without limits and customers have full access to Support.

What it has:

Similar to Enterprise, but has no limits on functionality or customization. Everything in Enterprise, plus:

  • Increased flexibility for data/info analysis
  • Unlimited custom applications
  • Unlimited custom tabs
  • Increased storage limits
  • Complete integration for every aspect of your organization
  • Multiple Sandboxes – Lots of space for your developers to test.
  • Full support with priority access – Everyone else has to start a ticket, you can just pick up the phone and talk to someone.

Ultimately, it all comes down to your unique businesses needs. Essentially the different versions provide increasing levels of customization and the amount of flexibility your organization requires will dictate what edition you choose.