Salesforce Editions: Which SFDC Edition is Best For Your Business?

Salesforce’s CRM platform offers customers various features to support modern business. As a result, customers around the globe leverage Salesforce for different business processes. In addition, an overwhelming variety of Salesforce extensions and partner add-ons extend the platform to support nearly every industry. Upon initial implementation, each Salesforce customer must decide which edition to use. Once selected, changing editions can be daunting, but increasing or decreasing editions is surprisingly common as business needs change.
Blue sky with overcast clouds and sun peeking out.

Before we examine why Salesforce customers upgrade or downgrade editions and what this process entails, let’s examine the three most popular Salesforce editions and why a person would select each one.

Salesforce Editions 

Professional Salesforce Edition 

The Professional Salesforce Edition is designed to support a small to medium organization with prebuilt Salesforce standard functionality like Account, Contact, and Opportunity management. This edition supports limited customization and does not provide the full-featured point-and-click automation that makes Salesforce a popular choice for declarative development. In addition, professional does not include Salesforce API access, meaning that external integrations are not supported. These limits mean that many Professional customers will, at some point, need to upgrade Salesforce editions as their businesses grow. 

Enterprise Salesforce Edition

The Enterprise Salesforce Edition is the most popular, and many businesses select this option because of the extensive amount of available customizations and integrations. Customers also gain additional control mechanisms to ensure that only the right people can access the correct data with features like unlimited profiles and roles. Data sharing is streamlined with essential sales tools like customizable forecasting, territory management, and advanced reporting features. The Enterprise Salesforce Edition also includes access to use Salesforce’s API.

Unlimited Salesforce Edition

The Unlimited Salesforce Edition is the highest edition option, which also comes with the highest price. Starting at $3,600 per user per year for the most popular Sales cloud option, the decision to select this edition is not taken lightly as it is double the cost of the Enterprise edition. The Salesforce Unlimited Edition does, however, add features that can be key to large enterprises, like additional data validation rules, custom fields, and custom objects. As each Salesforce app or vendor package can add dozens of new custom objects, these additional expansions are needed when an organization implements across a vast number of divisions that each need custom functionality. This edition also includes a 24/7 support tier, though the value of this service is something that each organization must internally analyze. 

Below are the up-to-date prices of edition, courtesy of Salesforce:

Salesforce pricing guide
Salesforce’s current pricing models, courtesy of

Why Upgrade Your Salesforce Edition?

The decision to upgrade is driven by the feature set available in each edition. For simplicity, the top three upgrade factors are listed below, along with the corresponding edition. Additional comparison information can be found here

Upgrading from Starter to Professional

Salesforce’s Starter edition was not highlighted above as it is the baseline starting point for startups; however, it does not contain the minimum feature set that makes Salesforce such a valuable solution for Sales and Support organizations. Moving from Starter to Professional adds many key items, including:

  1. Case & Quote Management – This enables the organization to support the entire lead-to-cash lifecycle, moving Salesforce from a Sales tool into a customer-centric solution. 
  2. Sales Features like Lead Scoring and Collaborative Forecasting – These features help your Sales team focus on driving sales revenue while adding objectivity and process to streamline operations. 
  3. Salesforce Customization – The Professional Edition supports a multitude of customizations allowing each customer to tailor Salesforce to meet company-specific requirements. Examples include customizable profiles, page layouts, and record types, all designed to curtail data visibility while increasing productivity. 
Salesforce Starter Edition
Saleforce Starter Edition, courtesy of Salesforce Starter Edition Demo

Upgrading from Professional to Enterprise

The most popular transition is to move from the Professional edition of Salesforce to the Enterprise edition. Enterprise is Salesforce’s most popular model for many good reasons, including the increasing level of app customization and support of many partner integrations.

  1. API Access – Enterprise supports the use of the Salesforce API. If you are unfamiliar with the term “API,” this is a technical abbreviation for application programming interface, or, in non-technical terms, it is how Salesforce communicates with non-Salesforce programs and systems. An example of this is CapStorm’s Enable solutions which connect to Salesforce via the standard Salesforce APIs to support off-platform Salesforce data control.
  2. Automation – Though this could technically fit into the category below, Salesforce customization, it would be remiss not to point out the additional level of automation that comes with the move to Salesforce’s Enterprise edition. Five flows are supported for Professional with unlimited numbers for Enterprise. These flows are critical for business process automation. 
  3. Salesforce Customization – Enterprise includes support for an unlimited number of profiles, roles, permissions, and record types. These Salesforce features streamline a customer’s use of Salesforce by customizing it to meet business requirements. Many of these features are available in the Professional edition, but only with strict limitations. 
A Knowledge migration, as seen on Salesforce Enterprise Edition

Upgrading from Enterprise to Unlimited  

Companies move from Enterprise to Salesforce’s Unlimited version to support enterprise growth or as additional divisions join the Salesforce implementation, requiring increasing customization. Enterprise comes with yet another set of features, but the most compelling reason is frequently the increase in custom objects, custom fields, lighting apps, and validation rules that are available as a part of the upgrade.

  1. Salesforce Customization – Enterprise edition supports 200 custom objects, with Unlimited supporting 2,000. Similarly, with the upgrade, the number of custom fields jumps from 500 to 800 on a per-object basis. This increase is significant enough to push many large enterprises towards the Unlimited edition.
  2. Sandboxes for Development – Unlike other editions, Enterprise is the only Salesforce edition that includes a carbon copy replica of the production Salesforce organization for no additional cost. Known as a “full copy sandbox,” these environments provide an arena to thoroughly test CRM changes before promoting these changes to the production environment.
  3. Support Tier Increase to Premier – It should be unsurprising that the costliest Salesforce edition comes with a higher support tier than other offerings. The Premier Success Plan is the mid-tier option offered by Salesforce, surpassing the Signature option. Without the Unlimited edition, Premier support is available at a premium of 30% of a customer’s net license fees. 

Why Downgrade Your Salesforce Edition? 

Upgrading a Salesforce edition is a simple task that can be done in many cases without requiring a Salesforce customer to perform any manual effort. Conversely, an edition downgrade like moving from Unlimited to Enterprise is a complex task that requires a customer to migrate data and customization from the current Salesforce Organization to the new one. Before we examine the steps you need to take to downgrade, let’s look at the top two reasons why a customer would choose to downgrade their edition of Salesforce.

  1. Cost – Overall pricing is the primary drive for a Salesforce edition downgrade, as the pricing per Salesforce user doubles as you increase from edition to edition. The long-term cost savings can be substantial as long as the selected Salesforce version still supports the core features set that the business requires. 
  2. Process Segmentation – It is deceptively easy to overbuild a Salesforce organization when the Enterprise contains many divisions working out of the same core CRM. This can lead to data model complexity and technical debt, with the end outcome being a re-start of the CRM implementation via segmentation into multiple Salesforce Organizations. This one-to-many migration typically involves an edition downgrade as the overall number of customizations is less per-division.

How to Downgrade your Salesforce Edition

Downgrading a Salesforce edition can be a daunting task as it requires both a feature analysis and data or even metadata migration. Both of these are key steps to ensure project success, requiring the skillset of a Business Analyst and Salesforce Administrator at minimum, with most downgrades also needing the involvement of a Salesforce Architect, Developer, and even a consultancy to enable lifting and shifting the data, is required to downgrade Salesforce editions.

Step #1: Feature Analysis 

The first step is a full analysis of the feature set that will no longer be available to determine if the lower Salesforce edition supports the business needs. These downgrades can require the consolidation of processes or customizations or even the addition of new technical solutions. 

For example, a development team accustomed to testing and building in a full copy Salesforce sandbox may need to add a sandbox seeding solution if their primary development environment is removed as a part of a move from Salesforce’s Unlimited edition to Enterprise edition. In addition, evaluating the Salesforce data model is necessary to determine if reducing the number of objects or fields or pruning the data volume is needed to account for a lower storage tier. 

Step #2: Data Migration

The second step involves a Salesforce data and customization migration. An edition downgrade requires manually moving all data and metadata from the old Salesforce org into a new Salesforce production organization. This article provides a sample migration framework by CapStorm’s Rebecca Gray and Sam Roberts of Equifax.

 Perhaps the best advice is to consider this project a full data migration so you can plan and budget accordingly. These Salesforce edition changes tend to reduce costs in the long term; however, they come with high, short-term expenses to support the data migration from an established Salesforce organization to a greenfield environment. 

How CapStorm Supports Salesforce Edition Changes

CapStorm’s proven Salesforce data, and metadata migration solutions streamline a Salesforce edition transition. The technology replaces manual data import and export operations with technology that supports Salesforce data hierarchies and easily moves data from one org to another. This technology also supports the movement of complex Salesforce data types like Knowledge, Chatter, Images, Custom Settings, and more. Metadata like profiles, reports, dashboards, and even Apex Classes can also be migrated from one Salesforce Organization to another. 

Ready to learn how to streamline your Salesforce upgrades or downgrades? Schedule a demo with one of our experts! 

Rebecca Gray

Rebecca Gray

Rebecca is 5 year Salesforce fanatic and certified Salesforce Admin, Service Cloud Consultant, Sales Cloud Consultant, and App Builder. She volunteers in the Salesforce community, leading the Saint Louis, MO Salesforce Admin Group and is a former Lightning Champion. In her day job, Rebecca supports Customer Success, helping CapStorm customers achieve their goals for Salesforce data management.

About CapStorm

CapStorm is the most technologically advanced Salesforce data management platform on the market. Billions of records per day flow through CapStorm software, and our solutions are used in every industry from credit cards, telecom providers, insurance agencies, global banks and energy providers.

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