How much do Salesforce licences cost?

In a Salesforce solution, the cost of the Salesforce licences depends on the number of users, and which edition of Salesforce is being used. Salesforce is licensed on a “named user” basis, which means that each person who logs in to Salesforce should have their own licence. Having three individuals share a login as “marketing@customer.com” is a breach of the Master Services Agreement. On the other hand, if we need one user in accounts who will be responsible for logging the successful close of a sale into the accounts system, and then updating the Opportunity when the invoice is paid, then they can use their own login to do so, and the rest of the accounts team can do whatever mysterious stuff it is that accounts do all day… 

In terms of the editions, these break down as follows:

Salesforce Essentials allows the systematic management of leads, customers and opportunities straight out of the box, and is a great place to start if you’re currently tracking leads and sales using Excel, paper, or even your inbox! It isn’t really customisable, so there isn’t a lot of scope for a Salesforce consultant to help beyond a little training.

Professional Edition is definitely worth consideration if your requirements extend beyond pure sales, particularly for early implementations, as fewer available bells-and-whistles can help focus on the fundamentals and getting the business processes right. For example, it would be perfectly feasible to build out a basic project management solution using custom objects in Professional Edition, which would allow management to track the real-time progress and profitability of any number of ongoing projects previously sold through Salesforce, without requiring the expense and complexity of full-blown automation and customisation available through Enterprise Edition.

Professional Edition can also be used as the initial development platform for “Phase One” of a more complex project. This allows the business to get up and running quickly, at half the licence cost, and to adapt to their new way of working. Once the new system has been used for a while, the lessons learned could form the basis for a more complex solution to be built on that foundational layer in the next phase of development.

Enterprise Edition allows automation and customisation at any level from custom fields and workflows to custom user interfaces and java-like coding. With great power comes great responsibility, though, and we need to apply common sense to our designs. Also, while Enterprise Edition licences are twice as expensive as Professional Edition, we should consider whether roles can be served by Platform licences. For example, we might have a requirement that, at the end of the sales process, Salesforce should automatically build the project for delivery to the customer, with key deliverables and milestones being defined by the products and services that made up the sale. But the team who are responsible for managing and delivering that project will never need to know the details of the Opportunity itself. The delivery team, needing visibility of the basic customer details and four or five custom objects around the project, could be set up with Platform Starter licences, costing £20 per user per month, but taking full advantage of the automation and customisation available on the Salesforce platform. 

Ultimately, it’s our role, as the Salesforce consultant, to design the most functional and cost-effective solution to meet your requirements, taking into consideration whatever constraints apply. Where appropriate, we’ll help you work out the best combination of licences for your needs. 

List price for Salesforce licences is as follows:

  • Salesforce Essentials: £20 per user per month (£240 per annum per user)
  • Professional Edition: £60 per user per month (£720 per annum per user)
  • Enterprise Edition: £120 per user per month (£1,440 per annum per user)
  • Unlimited Edition: £240 per user per month (£2,880 per annum per user)
  • Platform Starter / Platform Plus: £20 / £80 per user per month (depending on requirements; only available on Enterprise and Unlimited orgs.)

If you’re careful with your timing (buying at quarter-end, for example) and negotiate well with your Salesforce Account Executive, it’s possible to improve on these prices somewhat, but for budgeting purposes it’s best to assume full price.

One of Salesforce’s strengths is the rich biosystem of third-party solutions and tools available in the AppExchange, which can often provide a handy turnkey alternative to spending time (and money) rolling your own solution. Most AppExchange apps come with an additional licence cost, though, which can be per-user, per salesforce licence, per org, or a combination of these. For example, OwnBackup (the best-of-breed backup solution) charges a fairly low fee per user in theory, but their “minimum contract charge” means that for any org with fewer than 150 users, they’re still going to charge $500/month, or $6,000 per annum for their service. But anyone who’s tried to restore a database from last week’s .csv files will tell you that’s cheap at twice the price… 😉

If you’ve any questions, or you think I might be able to help, I’d be delighted to hear from you! You can always email me, call me on +44 2393 96 06 42, request a (virtual) meeting or, if you prefer, fill out and submit the form on my Contact page and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

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