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Salesforce Pricing: How Much Does Salesforce Cost?

October 9, 2019

12:02 pm

One of the biggest names in the world of CRM is Salesforce, with a client roster that includes some of the biggest brands in the world right alongside the average small business owner.

This popular CRM platform comes with some upfront costs. Salesforce can cost from $25 per user per month, to over $300 — their monthly fee will vary depending on the needs and scale of each business. The smartest move you can make is to get a direct price quote for how much Salesforce (or rival suites) will cost for your business. You can do this by filling out our simple CRM software quotes form – it only takes a minute to put in a couple of details about your requirements.

In the guide below, we take a look at Salesforce's costs to help you figure out if this is the right CRM system for your company.

In This Guide:

Salesforce Pricing Plans

Salesforce divides its various services into what it calls “clouds.”

  • Sales Cloud, from $25, is the company's basic CRM system; it includes all the basics you need for client management, including client records, lead tracking, deals, notes, and more.
  • Marketing Cloud, price available on request, allows you to create one-to-one marketing campaigns.
  • Service Cloud, again from $25, allows for online customer service on any device, and the ability to integrate customer service data with client records in other Salesforce clouds.
  • Commerce Cloud, price available on request, helps companies build online shopping experiences.

Sales, Marketing, Service, and Commerce are the primary clouds Salesforce offers. Beyond that, the company has a variety of other services, including a development platform for building Salesforce-powered apps, online forums connected to CRM data, and more.

For those just starting out, however, Sales Cloud is the place to start.

For pricing, Salesforce offers a variety of pricing levels. Essentials is for teams of five or less, and applies only to the Sales and Service clouds. As you go up in pricing tiers, Salesforce becomes more customizable and adds higher levels of support.

There's also Lightning Professional, Lightning Enterprise, and Lightning Unlimited. The Lightning suite of services all use a different user interface than the classic versions of these plan tiers, but offer the basically same features (albeit with a few new productivity tools).

You can read more about the Lightning services here. Ultimately, while the “Lightning” name can be a little confusing, the services it offers are just a mildly revamped version of the services we discuss here, and come with the same benefits and price tags.

Salesforce Typical Pricing (per user, per month):

Sales CloudService CloudSales & Service Cloud
Salesforce Essentials$25$25
Standout features-Account, Contact, Lead, and Opportunity Management
-Email Integration (Gmail, Outlook)
-Mobile App
-Cross-company collaboration
-Customizable Reports
-Mobile App
No combo deal available in the
Salesforce Essentials tier
Lightning Professional$75$75$100
Standout features-Lead Registration
-Rules-Based Lead Scoring
-Sales Forecasting
-Developer Sandbox
-Orders Management
-Asset Management
-Developer Sandbox
-Asset Management
-Team Collaboration Tools
Lightning Enterprise$150$150$175
Standout features-Workflow Automation
-Approval Automation
-Field Service Tools
-Process Automation
-AI Tools
-Unlimited Roles and Permissions
-Workflow and Approval Automation
-Offline Access
Lightning Unlimited$300$300$325
Standout features-24/7 Support and Configuration Services-Unlimited Online Training
-24/7 Support
-Unlimited Online Training
-24/7 Support

 

We left Marketing and Commerce clouds off the table, since their prices are only available on demand. Marketing Cloud comes in four tiers — Email, Mobile, and Web Marketing; Social Media Marketing; Advertising; and B2B Marketing Automation — each of which is available at a set per-month price. In contrast, Commerce Cloud comes in just two versions — Salesforce B2C Commerce and Salesforce B2B Commerce.

See How Much You'll Really Spend on Salesforce or Other CRM Providers.

Salesforce Cost Per User

salesforce pricing

What you'll notice from the pricing table above is that Salesforce – like pretty much all CRM platforms – charges on a per user, per month basis. Salesforce Essentials for Sales Cloud, for example, charges $25 per user, per month. There's a set minimum of five users, but no maximum.

Per-user pricing schemes are typical for business software. It ensures the pricing structure is scalable, so it won't break the bank for the smallest companies that only need Sales Cloud for a few users, while still charging a fair price for larger companies.

If you need a CRM system for a full five users, you'll be paying around $1,500 per year for Salesforce. If you're a small company of 10 users moving up to the Lightning Professional tier, then you'll be paying about $9,000 per year.

When you're considering which clouds to pay for, keep in mind the number of current employees as well as how quickly you plan to expand. Keeping the per-user pricing in mind means you'll always know how much you'll be paying for Salesforce at any given time.

Salesforce Sales Cloud Costs

Salesforce Sales Cloud DashboardThe Sales Cloud is the most basic Salesforce software: The main features will allow every employee in a company to easily manage their accounts, contacts, leads, and opportunities, all from a single interface. AI-powered tools and customizable templates can further streamline and automate daily chores, cutting down on costs and helping agents focus on what matters.

Each of the four tiers offers more features and functionality than the last. Sales Essentials costs $25 per user, per month; Lightning Professional is $75 per user, per month; Lightning Enterprise is $150 per user, per month; and Lightning Unlimited is $300 per user, per month.

Salesforce Service Cloud Costs

Service Cloud is a key part of Salesforce's products. It's a fully functional customer service platform that integrates seamlessly with Salesforce, putting your customer data at the fingertips of all those in your company that need it.

The Community 360 feature, for example, allows customer service agents to see if your clients have looked for help already on your website or filed any support tickets. This helps the agents get a better picture of what's going on with any given client.

With Service Cloud, Salesforce says you can reach any customer on any device to meet their needs as they arise.

The costs for Service Cloud are the same as for the Sales Cloud. Essentials is $25 per user, per month, Lightning Professional starts at $75 per user, per month, Lightning Enterprise costs $150 per user, per month, and Lightning Unlimited starts at $300 per user, per month.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud Costs

Marketing Cloud, Salesforce's one-to-one marketing platform, integrates with other Salesforce “clouds” for a more complete understanding of your customers' history.

Salesforce marketing cloud dashboardThe idea with Marketing Cloud is to meet your customers wherever they are. You can use Salesforce's platform to send out marketing emails, advertise to them online, send them mobile alerts, and encourage them to land on your e-commerce pages.

Salesforce says this can all happen at scale, giving your customers a more personalized experience without handcrafting every single message that goes out the proverbial door.

Marketing Cloud's pricing is a little different from the Sales and Service Clouds, which have standard tiers. Salesforce doesn't publish any public pricing for Marketing Cloud; instead of pricing tiers, there are packages based on what you want to do. One package, for example, is for email, web, and mobile marketing.

Then there's a separate one for social media, another for online advertising, and another for business-to-business marketing automation. Each tier offers specialized tools for the needs of each user case.

Salesforce Commerce Cloud Costs

Finally, the Commerce Cloud helps businesses build better online buying experiences for their target audience: If it's a consumer-facing business, the B2C Commerce solution is the best option, and if it sells directly to other businesses, the B2B Commerce cloud is the best tier.

B2C Commerce allows for one-touch payment, customer segmentation, social integrations, mobile-responsive design, merchandising tools, marketing tools, and management features for product, pricing, and catalog. Pricing for the service is customized based on gross merchandise value.

B2B Commerce's core features include customer and segment catalog entitlements, pricing guided by customer and segment specs, multi-account and contract ordering, multiple payment methods, shipping to multiple locations in a single order, and real-time dashboards and reports. Pricing is again only available through a custom quote, and Salesforce uses order volume to determine their pricing.

Does Salesforce Have a Free Plan?

No, Salesforce does not offer a free plan. The cheapest basic plan is the Sales or Service cloud, either one of which starts at $25/user/month.

A few big names in CRM – Apptivo, Hubspot, and Zoho – do offer free plans, although all of them come with one big caveat: a limited feature set. Apptivo's free plan only supports a maximum of three users, for instance, compared to Salesforce's minimum of five.

Cost is not the only issue to consider, of course: You also have to decide whether the CRM platform you pick has the right features, integrations, and storage capacity for your needs. Not all CRM systems are the same, and any free option is unlikely to have all the features you'll need, particularly if you plan to expand your operation in the future.

There are plenty of great Salesforce alternatives to choose – it isn’t the only name in the game. Here's a quick pricing breakdown of five popular CRM platforms, including Salesforce.

Top Five CRM Pricing Comparison

Scroll horizontally to view full table on mobile devices

 SalesforceHubspotApptivoMicrosoft DynamicsZoho
Salesforce logoHubspot logoApptivo logoMicrosoft Dynamics logoZoho logo
Free trial30 days30 days30 days30 days15 days
Free plan
Standard price range$25/user – $300/userFree – $50/user – $400/user$8/user – $20/user$80/user – $255/user$12/user – $100/user
Custom price plans available
Pros-Wide feature set
-Frequently updated
-Robust support & training
-Quick learning curve
-Offers core features
-Email marketing in free plan
-Cheaper than Salesforce
-Offers core features
-Integrates great with Microsoft products
-Offers a wide range of features on par with Salesforce’s feature set
-24/5 support even for the free plan
-Offers an AI on par with Salesforce’s Einstein AI
Cons-No free plan
-Basic plan caps data at 612 MB/user
-Limited mobile optimization under some plans
-More costly than Salesforce
-Fewer features than Salesforce across all plans-More costly than Salesforce
-No free plan
-Limited API, compared to Salesforce’s open API
-No data backups in free plan
-Shorter than average trial period

Salesforce Pricing FAQs

We'll answer a number of common questions about how Salesforce pricing works, how it compares to other CRM providers, and whether or not you can use the helpful software free of charge. Take a look!

Is Salesforce expensive?

Compared to other top CRM providers, Salesforce isn't expensive, but it isn't super cheap, either. With a price range of $25 per user per month to $300 per user per month depending on the plan, Salesforce comes in at about the average for the industry. As far as value for money is concerned though, Salesforce does offer a robust features package as well as impressive support options, so you're definitely getting some serious bang for your buck.

Can you pay for Salesforce monthly?

Despite Salesforce prices being broken down on a monthly basis, paying month-to-month is not an option. Each available plan is billed annually, so you'll have to sign up for at least a full year of service when it comes time to pay.

Can you use Salesforce for free?

Unfortunately, Salesforce does not offer a free plan. However, if you're wary about purchasing the software for a full year without having a chance to try it out first, have no fear. Salesforce does offer a free trial of 30 days, so you can decide whether or not it's the right CRM software for you and your business.

Is Salesforce the best CRM?

Salesforce is considered one of, if not the best CRM software choices on the market today. Between the robust customer support options, the vast catalog of CRM features, and the frequently updated platform to keep up with changing trends, Salesforce offers a high quality, efficient platform across the board.

However, it's always important to consider exactly what you need CRM software for at your business before making a decision, and Salesforce may not always match those needs, which is why a little bit of research on other CRM providers can go a long way.

Getting Started With Salesforce

Any CRM that offers all the features your employees need will quickly pay for itself in the time and resources that it saves every day. The sooner you get started with Salesforce, or whichever CRM you settle on, the faster your team will be able to close deals or address their customers' needs.

The best way to find a CRM platform that's right for you is to use our handy Get Quotes tool. After filling out a brief questionnaire about your business, you'll get customized price quotes from a number of CRM platforms to find the right one for your needs.

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Ian is an independent writer based in Israel who has worked as a technology industry reporter and critic for more than ten years. He’s written for PCWorld, Macworld, TechHive, Yahoo, Lifewire, and The Huffington Post. He primarily covers Windows, PC and gaming hardware, video and music streaming services, security software, and browsers.