Salesforce is one of the biggest names in customer relationship management software. That's thanks to its ease-of-use, its app marketplace, and its customizability. In recent years, Salesforce has taken that customizability a little further by allowing customers to choose between two user interfaces (UIs): Salesforce Lightning vs Salesforce Classic.
As their names imply, Classic is the original Salesforce interface, now in its most up-to-date incarnation. Lightning, meanwhile, is the brand new UI that completely changes the Salesforce experience.
If you don’t already have Salesforce, you should pick the Lightning version, as it offers the most modern features. If you already use Salesforce, you'll likely still want to upgrade to Lightning from Classic, as the learning curve should be outweighed by the intuitive interface and smoother workflow. Some may chose to stick with Classic, however, if it's working great already and they don't want to risk losing some functionality.
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All of Salesforce's new features are now built for the Lightning UI. Classic exists largely in an “as is” state for those companies that cannot yet make the switch. This may be due to customized interfaces, workflows, or just the general difficulty of making a big switch with thousands of users.
A few years ago, it made sense for smaller businesses to stay away from Lightning, since the feature-set wasn't as fully-formed as what you could use via Classic. That's becoming less and less the case, as most key features have migrated to Lightning from Classic.
Salesforce Lightning Benefits
Comparing the major feature differences between Classic and Lightning is like hitting a moving target, with new updates happening all the time. Here's a quick look at a few of the biggest benefits Lightning offers over Classic:
- Home features — Both interfaces offer Events, Calendars, and customizable dashboards, but only Lightning includes news, key deals, and a performance chart on the homepage.
- Activity timeline — Lightning includes a timeline to help users keep track of their history of activity for each account or each lead, but Classic does not.
- Workspace page layout — Lightning enables users to design new types of pages, from App Pages to Home Pages to Record Pages, while Classic just offers one basic type of page.
Those looking for even more in-depth guidance should check out Saleforce's feature comparison chart – spoiler alert, it's very favorable towards Lightning.
- Wide feature set
- Frequently updated
- Robust support & training
- No free plan
- On the more expensive end of the industry
- Basic plan caps data at 612 MB/user
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