Salesforce edition comparison: key differences, limits, and pricing



Salesforce edition comparison

If you are looking to begin using one of the many Salesforce products in your business, then a Salesforce edition comparison is vital.

It’s one thing building a business case for Salesforce, but there are several different iterations of the platform available, and each are suitable for companies of varying sizes. If you choose the wrong option, however, you could end up spending more money than you need to, or alternatively, not receiving a high enough level of service for your needs.

In this guide, we will tell you everything that you need to know about Salesforce editions and pricing, as well as how to upgrade Salesforce edition, should your company outgrow its current setup.

What is Salesforce?

Salesforce is a cloud-based CRM product that strives to provide better data management, improving relationship interaction and, in turn, boosting sales and other important metrics. Salesforce has become a highly valued product among businesses of all sizes for these very reasons, and with a huge range of features included (not to mention the AppExchange, where you can buy specifically developed add-ons and plug-ins), it’s not hard to see why.

“As a popular CRM across various verticals, Salesforce is prevalent among mid-size organizations that include software, business services, and manufacturing industries,” explains Viktar Gordeuk, Salesforce Implementation Specialist at ScienceSoft.

“Mid-size companies using Salesforce see a profit of $1–$50 million per annum. What’s more, 63% of these companies are in the manufacturing, software, and business services vertical. Research has proven that organizations using Salesforce CRM have a strong significance in sales and marketing. Adding on, these organizations have powerful customer service teams. Salesforce enables you to manage every aspect of your business.”

Thanks to its versatility, different types of Salesforce editions are used across many varied industries, including retail, financial services, healthcare, life sciences, government, manufacturing, consumer goods, and communication and media.

Are you interested in which Salesforce products are being embraced by professionals in your industry?  Download your copy of the 2019/20 Mason Frank Salary Survey, the largest independent study of the Salesforce ecosystem.

Mason Frank independent Salesforce Salary Survey

Salesforce edition differences and limits

Once you are comfortable with what Salesforce is, and how it can help you reach your business goals, then it’s time to look further into Salesforce editions and pricing. The first step is a Salesforce edition comparison, which will help you to find the instance that best provides for your company’s needs.

Ajeet Singh Algoworks

Ajeet Singh


Ajeet Singh is the Co-Founder and Director at software development company Algoworks, and has kindly outlined the variations in functionality across the different editions of Salesforce:

Lighting Professional: This edition has no user limit. It is a suitable solution for mid-size organizations that have finite product/service offerings and only one sales unit.

Professional is built upon Essential’s features but is still regarded as a basic CRM. It is easy to use, yet offers few customization, administrative, and integration features. You will require someone who has Salesforce knowledge to work on it dedicatedly.

Professional edition has some notable limitations. For instance, Professional edition enables a finite number of record types, permission sets, and profiles that are used to manage users’ access to certain information. This has the ability to limit your security model with time.

Lightning Enterprise: This edition meets the requirement of complicated businesses with large-scale arrangements. It has full customization and flexibility, along with options for sales, executives, and marketers alike.

Lightning Unlimited: This edition is appropriate for the biggest players or those that require a large number of custom apps, multiple sandboxes, or significant business needs. It is also for organizations who plan to heavily rely on support, requiring priority access. If you want the ultimate functionality, support, and customization, Unlimited is exactly what you need. In comparison to Enterprise edition, Unlimited provides more freedom for ongoing innovation.

Both the editions have the following limit differences:

• 100 vs. 500 validation rules
• 200 vs. 2000 custom objects
• 500 vs. 800 custom fields per object
• 25 vs. an unlimited number of lightning apps, etc.

As well as these core editions, there is also another option when it comes to purchasing and implementing Salesforce; Salesforce Essentials.

As explored in our blog post on the product’s launch, Salesforce Essentials is a stripped-down version of the program that is geared more towards small businesses. Using Salesforce Essentials, SMEs can better harness the power of Salesforce thanks to specialist applications for sales and service that are easier to deploy and manage.

New functionality is added to Salesforce Essentials every four months, so small businesses don’t have to worry about being left behind, or having to put in extra time and resources just to keep up as a trade-off for using a ‘lite’ system.

“The initial level of Salesforce, it is the most basic offering.” explains Anjeet. “It is a narrowed-down version of Salesforce that caters to small businesses. It allows you to store, search, manage, and analyze information, but won’t let you access the extreme flexibility.”

As many small businesses do not have any person working dedicatedly with CRM, the software is kept “light” in that does not need much attention. It is great for companies that want to grow and may want to go for a higher edition in the future.

Salesforce Essentials provides support for up to five users (maximum), and thanks to its streamlined-yet-comprehensive service, it provides the tools necessary for:

• Account management
• Opportunity management
• Contact management
• Customizable sales process
• Lead management and web-to-lead capture
• Task and event tracking
• Salesforce mobile app
• Chatter for employees’ collaboration
• Customizable reports and standard dashboards
• Case management

With all of the different types of Salesforce editions, with their benefits and limits laid out, you should have a better understanding of which will best suit your business. If you are still unsure, however, then Salesforce experts can provide invaluable guidance.

Here’s what three such experts, Ajeet Singh, Rajeev Gupta, and Matt Mountain, say about advising clients on Salesforce edition differences…


Rajeev Gupta



“We recommend Salesforce Enterprise version to most of our customers. It provides all the necessary features, including API access that enables them to get an Integrated CRM with other systems like ERPs, Accounting systems etc.

“Lightening essentials are a good start. I do not recommend adding a lot of features, as most customers learn a lot about Salesforce within their first 6 months. They should get started with 1 module, wait 6–9 months and then start adding more modules.”



Ajeet Singh Algoworks

Ajeet Singh



“After reviewing all these editions, we concluded that the Lightning Enterprise edition is the best because it provides all the functionality that a company needs to run its business.

“In addition to Professional edition’s functionality, Lightning Enterprise edition offers administration tools and advanced customization that can support large-scale arrangements. Enterprise edition also incorporates access to Salesforce APIs, making it easy to integrate with back-office systems.”


Matt Mountain NexGen Consultants

Matt Mountain

Nexgen Consultants


“We don’t sell the software or recommend. However, Enterprise edition is what we would recommend, as it provides all of the capabilities that an enterprise would need.

“We implement all new clients on the Lightning interface. Starting someone on Classic and migrating them will cost the client significantly more money.”



Salesforce editions and pricing

Salesforce editions pricing

Matt raises a valid point that has not been considered up to this point in our Salesforce edition comparison. So far, we have focused solely on the levels of functionality that separate the various Salesforce editions, but of course the cost for users must also be considered.

While in an ideal world cost would never outweigh the number of features and user allowance provided by a software version, we must recognize that it is a huge contributing factor in the decision-making process, particularly for small businesses and SMEs.

It is recommended that businesses purchase a sales and service license when choosing their Salesforce edition, as this gives you access to the widest range of features for the CRM, enabling you to better manage your customer relationships and sales journeys (Salesforce Essentials is available as either a Service or Sales package, and will cost $25 per month, billed annually).

Here’s what you will pay for the core Salesforce editions outlined above. All costs are monthly, but billing occurs annually:

  • Salesforce Lightning Professional – $100 per month
  • Salesforce Lightning Enterprise – $175 per month
  • Salesforce Lightning Unlimited – $325 per month

Of course, these are the prices for the more complete Sales and Service option, and it is possible to buy a package for either individually.

Read our detailed Salesforce pricing guide for a better idea of the total cost of Salesforce ownership.

How to upgrade Salesforce edition

How to upgrade Salesforce edition

If your company hits a period of rapid growth, or you find yourself needing greater functionality from your Salesforce instance, then it may be that you decide to upgrade to a higher Salesforce edition.

When it comes to the question of how to upgrade Salesforce edition, the answer is actually quite simple. All that you have to do is call or email your dedicated Salesforce Account Executive and ask to be upgraded from your current edition to the one that suits your redefined needs. You will be required to pay the difference in cost between your current license and the one you are moving to for the rest of the year of course, but you won’t be required to wait until the end of your current contract.

If you are unsure of who your Account Executive is, you can find their name and contact details either by contacting Salesforce or clicking on the Checkout app or Checkout Summary options found in ‘setup’.

Salesforce is an immensely versatile platform, thanks in no small part to the number of customization options with which it provides its users, so you are sure to be able to find the right set up with relative ease. 

Hopefully, this Salesforce edition comparison has given you all of the information you need to choose the best product for your business. Contact us for a free consultation on how to staff your Salesforce project.