The Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software conversation isn’t really complete without the mention of Salesforce such has been the success of one of today’s leading CRM solutions. However, the cost of its products has often proven a bit of a hurdle for smaller businesses.
In response to this, Salesforce launched Salesforce Essentials, a more focused version of the comprehensive platform, with a set of features meant to cater to the CRM needs of small enterprises.
With over two decades of industry experience as a certified Salesforce Partner in the USA, OMI has been instrumental in guiding businesses of various sizes through their CRM implementations across a variety of business sectors.
We thought we’d share our experience and give you our take on the Salesforce Essentials CRM, everything from its major features, how it differs from other Salesforce offerings to its pluses and minuses, and pricing.
What is Salesforce Essentials?
Launched in 2017, Essentials is a solution specifically meant for businesses with fewer resources, both financial and personnel. It supports a maximum of 10 users and is clearly crafted with the needs and budgets of such businesses in mind. This emphasis differs from their previous offerings, which generally proved a better fit for medium and larger enterprises.
The product is sometimes labeled as Salesforce Lightning Essentials, which might lead to confusion with another separate product named Salesforce Lightning.
Salesforce Lightning is simply the latest iteration of the Salesforce platform, succeeding Salesforce Classic. According to Salesforce, the Lightning edition is meant to enhance efficiency and productivity for CRM users by providing significant improvements over numerous features found in the Classic version.
Use Cases of Salesforce Essentials
- Small Business Management: For small businesses or start-ups seeking an affordable yet powerful CRM to improve the processes that relate to customer interaction, enhance visibility into sales insights and processes, and manage data efficiently.
- Customer Support: An excellent platform for managing customer queries, tracking issues, and ensuring effective resolution.
- Sales Process Improvement: Essentials offers a comprehensive suite of sales tools, such as lead management and opportunity tracking, that can help refine sales strategies and improve conversion rates.
- Email Marketing: Great for implementing or making enhancements to your email marketing strategy. Essentials provides email marketing tools to facilitate personalized and targeted communication with the client base.
- Social Media Integration: For businesses that have a significant social media presence or want to develop one, Essentials’ integration with social platforms allows companies to integrate their social media interactions into the CRM for better efficiency.
Salesforce Essentials Features
The platform has a set of features that go beyond the mere storage, management, and use of your customer data, to provide a better, more in-depth understanding of your customer relationships and their collective impact on your business.
With Salesforce’s automation features reducing the need to enter data manually, information from business cards and other sources becomes readily accessible to your entire team. You also gain the ability to track each customer’s activity feed and get a comprehensive view of your interactions with them.
To top it all off, you can run reports and use list views to better understand the dynamics between your customer base and your business success.
With these features, you can monitor ongoing deals, tracking their progress through different stages like Prospecting, Proposal Sent, Negotiation, and Contract Signed.
This lets you assess potential future revenue and the effectiveness of sales strategies and facilitates the understanding and improvement of sales processes based on reports of won or lost opportunities.
Use these tools to re-engage inactive customers. An inactive lead or customer is someone who hasn’t interacted with your product in roughly 30 days.
It often turns out that they just need a well-thought-through, unintrusive reminder about your products and services. Essentials helps you create email templates for such reminders, manage email opt-out preferences, and keep track of your last interaction.
The platform can also automate the process of reaching out to these leads using tools like the Process Builder to schedule periodic emails to inactive leads.
There are various Salesforce Essentials features that allow for a seamless connection between your business emails, events, and Salesforce.
Einstein Activity Capture provides for the incorporation of all related emails and events into your Salesforce deals, cases, and contacts.
There is also the Email-to-Case tool that can convert the support emails you receive into Salesforce cases and the Social Customer Service feature that creates cases for mentions, posts, or direct messages from your company’s social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.
Guided setup flows smooth out the setup, making the whole process an effortless one.
The Salesforce Mobile App adds convenience and flexibility to the Salesforce experience. Staff that are on the go, like service or sales team members, can get the data they need to fulfill their tasks efficiently.
It includes many of your organization’s customizations, thereby catering to your specific business requirements. Available for both iOS and Android devices, you can find the Salesforce mobile app on both the App Store and Google Play.
READ ALSO: The Complete Salesforce Implementation Guide
Salesforce Essentials vs. Other Salesforce Editions
Salesforce Essentials differs from other Salesforce packages in a few key areas:
- Ease of Implementation: Salesforce Essentials streamlines the setup process by leveraging Trailhead, a free online learning platform. This results in faster and simpler implementation, with less technical know-how required due to fewer features in this version.
- Affordable Pricing: Priced to attract small businesses, Essentials costs $25 per user per month for up to 10 users, when billed annually. This provides access to both Sales Cloud Essentials and Service Cloud Essentials. Monthly billing is available at $35 per user.
- Upgrade Path: Essentials acts as a starter tier within Salesforce’s Lightning line, making it easy for businesses to upgrade to more advanced services as they grow.
- User Cap Considerations: Essentials has a user cap of 10. Companies expecting rapid growth may find themselves needing to upgrade to the next tier, Professionals, at $75 per user per month. This potential cost should be factored into budget planning.
Integrations with Other Salesforce Products
Essentials integrates with other Salesforce products to enhance its scope and effectiveness. This includes Pardot, Salesforce’s marketing automation tool. It also works with Service Cloud, which supports customer service teams with detailed case management. There is also interoperability with Tableau for data analysis and visualization, allowing businesses to monitor business health and performance metrics.
Advantages of Salesforce Essentials
- User-friendly, intuitive interface
- Advanced calendar and email capturing for contact management
- Provides a systematic way to manage CRM tasks
- Highly efficient mobile applications
- Entry into the expansive Salesforce technology ecosystem
- Comes with lead generation and assignment tools
- Includes customer support features
- Offers comprehensive setup guides and tutorials
- Access to all contact records and sales opportunities
- Customizable reports and dashboards
Disadvantages of Salesforce Essentials
- Starts at a higher price point
- Limited range of reports
- Potentially perplexing workflows for new users
- No free plan is available
- Restricted to a maximum of 10 users per account
- Absence of workflow automation tools
- Lacks tools for managing quotes and billing
- No customization options for roles and permission access
Salesforce Essentials Pricing
Essentials provides complete CRM solutions to meet a variety of requirements.
Initial pricing: $25 per user per month. Ideal for small businesses.
Sales Professional and Service Professional: $75 per user per month. For complete sales and service solutions.
The Pardot Growth suite: $1,250 per month. For digital marketing automation costs, serving up to 10,000 contacts.
Essentials stands as a premium CRM product due to its higher pricing compared to other similar tools.
In this review, we explored Essentials’ robust CRM functionalities, from its intuitive interface to superior mobile apps. Despite limitations, it stands out as a premium choice for small businesses.
However, harnessing its full potential requires expertise. This is where OMI, a trusted partner, comes in. With OMI’s support, the transition to Salesforce Essentials becomes seamless and rewarding, allowing your business to maximize the benefits of this dynamic CRM platform.