Salesforce.com CRM Software Review
Products and Pricing
Salesforce.com only provides their CRM software in a hosted model – there is no option for an on-premise implementation. SFDC also uses a multi-tenant hosting model with regard to database sharing between customers. This means that although your data is logically separate from other SFDC clients it is also part of a shared multi-tenant data store. While not a significant issue for small business customers, larger enterprises sometimes reject a shared data technology strategy.
SFDC packages their CRM solution into a series of “editions”. Each edition is priced separately but all editions follow SFDC’s “per user per month” subscription pricing model. Evolution through different editions typically provides a broader set of functionality, greater customization opportunities and wider access to the broader SFDC sForce and third party solution offerings. Salesforce.com is often criticized for the inherent “up-sell” that exists in this model. While there is some validity to this assertion, there is also an element of Caveat Emptor (let the buyer beware). It is more important with SFDC to ensure you understand the totality of your requirements (both current and future) before making a decision on which software edition is appropriate. The SFDC multi-tiered structure is in contrast to other leading SaaS vendors such as NetSuite or Aplicor who tend to price their products in a less piecemeal manner.
A summary of the editions is provided below.
| Hosted Solution
||On Premise License
Source: Salesforce.com 2008
Group Edition (£5 $9)
Professional Edition (£45 $65)
Enterprise Edition (£85, $125)
Unlimited Edition (£170, $199)
At the present time SFDC does not offer an on premise version of its solution.
The company has made no public statements about any intention to offer an on-premise solution in the foreseeable future.
Each of the editions is highlighted below:
SFDC’s most basic offering is the Group Edition (formerly Team Edition) which is priced at approximately $99 per user per year. This base level solution provides basic sales functionality for contact management and opportunity tracking. The solution also includes SFDC’s partnership with Google for AdWords and a “web-to-lead” tool to allow web site enquiries to be created directly in SFDC. Integration and other SForce functionality at not available with this software edition.
SFDC’s most popular offering is the Professional Edition and is priced at approximately $65 per user per month. A significant step up from Group Edition, Professional Edition provides functionality to support lead management, account and contact management, activity management, opportunity tracking and forecasting. In addition to the basic sales force automation functions there is also the addition of a basic Case Management (help desk or customer support) solution. This includes tracking of customer requests and a “solutions” knowledgebase. Surprisingly, this version of the CRM offers no Marketing functionality. As is typical with the SFDC pricing model, marketing capabilities can be added for an additional per user per month fee. Other notable absences from this edition are workflow, self service customer portal and integration support through the Force.com web services API.
Salesforce.com Enterprise Edition is priced at approximately $125 per user per month. This edition includes much more functionality and bridges most of the critical gaps found in the professional edition. The marketing solution is included and supports basic campaign management. Functionality to support email based campaigns is still fairly limited without the addition of one of SFDC’s popular partners such as Elouqa. These solutions however can add a significant expense to the overall cost per user. There are many useful features added in this edition such as territory management, workflows, self service portal and web services API for integration. There are however still some notable gaps such as Mobile access (PDA / Blackberry), which is again available for an additional fee of $50 per user per month.
Salesforce.com Unlimited Edition is priced at approximately $199 per user per month. This edition includes almost all that SFDC has to offer. This edition includes full access to the Force.com solution from the AppExchange. The primary items missing from the “unlimited” edition are Partner Relationship Management (PRM), Customer Portal and Content Management.