A CRM system is a pretty hefty investment for a company. Not just in terms of the costs of the system itself, but for the time that you’ll spend configuring the system initially, maintaining the system as you use it, and training your staff to help them get the most out of it. But before you get to all of that, you still have to start by picking the CRM that’s right for your company and needs.
Salesforce has 5 levels of service, or “Editions.” In this post, I’m going to give you a quick overview of what’s included in the various editions of Salesforce, and offer some advice for which might be the right fit for you. Remember that this is just a general overview; if you want very specific information about what’s involved in the various editions, you can check out their pricing editions page, or get in touch with Salesforce directly.
I’m going to go over the editions in order of least to most features. This also orders it by least to most price. But one of the nice things about this is that the changes in functionality for this ordering are always additive; you don’t lose anything by going to a higher edition of Salesforce.
Salesforce Contact Manager
The most basic edition of Salesforce is Contact Manager ($5/user/month). It allows you to keep track of your accounts and contacts in the cloud, sync with Microsoft Outlook, and create custom reports. It’s limited to a maximum of 5 users. Salesforce Contact Manager has its uses, but they’re limited. I always try to encourage my clients to take a “we live in Salesforce” mentality, and there’s not enough here for that level of usage. But if all you need is a cloud-based record of accounts and contacts for a small business, this fits the bill.
Salesforce Group Edition
The next step up is Group Edition ($25/user/month). You’re still limited to 5 users here, but now you’ve got leads, opportunities, and cases. This is where the system starts getting a bit more full-service. You’ve got enough functionality with this edition to track the full life-cycle of a client, without having to go to outside systems for data. If you’re a small business and you’re looking to get started in Salesforce, this could be right for you.
Salesforce Professional Edition
Professional Edition ($65/user/month) brings enhancements in the form of campaigns, mass e-mails, and customizable dashboards. With this you’ve got more visibility into your data, more ability to interact with customers, and you’re no longer restricted to a certain number of licenses. This makes it the entry-level edition for small- to mid-sized businesses. You also gain access to user roles in this edition, which will help you begin to set up your company’s data visibility hierarchy.
Salesforce Enterprise Edition
But if you ask me, Enterprise Edition ($125/user/month) is really where it’s at. From my experience, this is the edition of Salesforce that most people are using. It’s also the baseline edition referenced in most Salesforce certification training. And perhaps most excitingly, for me at least, this is where you start to get into the real power of Salesforce. The first big thing you get with Enterprise is Profiles, which, when combined with roles, give you fine-grained control over what parts or the system users can and can’t access. This lets you configure the system to meet just about any security needs your company may have. The other major feature with this edition is workflow automation. Salesforce isn’t just about holding your data, it’s about presenting that data in a useful way, and doing things with that data that save you time and effort. The workflow capabilities you get with Enterprise make Salesforce into a whole other kind of beast, and their power is not to be overlooked.
Salesforce Performance Edition
Finally, Performance Edition ($300/user/month) is Salesforce’s top-end offering. Until recently it was known as Unlimited Edition, and the biggest difference between this and Enterprise Edition is that you get more. More data storage, more API usage, a higher tier of customer support. If Enterprise is the Ford Fusion of Salesforce editions, Performance is the BMW 5-series. For the most part, I don’t recommend Performance to my clients; not because it’s a bad product, but because most of my clients simply aren’t big enough companies doing enough volume of data and business to make it a worthwhile investment. But if you’re a Fortune 1000 company looking to globally integrate your company’s systems and processes, this is a serious contender.
So Which Salesforce Edition Is Right For You?
Like I said before, choosing the right edition for your company’s CRM needs isn’t a small decision. It starts by taking a good hard look at the needs of your business and comparing them to the options available. Proper analysis and planning will help you to make sure that you’re getting as much system as you want and need, without spending unnecessary budget on features that you’re not likely to use.
Do you have questions about which edition is right for you? Or is there a feature that you feel I failed to mention in my list above? Feel free to leave a question in the comments below, or get in touch with us via e-mail or social media.