CRM Software Guide

How much does Salesforce (really) cost?

Published , Updated 6 mn
Profile picture for Quentin Sureau

Quentin Sureau

Co-fondateur

Quentin Sureau heads Cartelis, a CRM and Data consulting firm. With almost 10 years of experience, he's helped many clients, from scale-ups to big companies. As a co-founder of Salesdorado, he shares top B2B sales and marketing practices.

The actual cose of implementing and maintaining CRM software like Salesforce doesn’t stop at the license cost. You’ll also have to take into account the usual suspects: selection, training, integration, customization, and maintenance.

But there are also a few hidden costs specific to Salesforce, mostly around customer service, data storage, API quotas, and offline and / or mobile access.

In this post, we dive deep into Salesforce’s cost structure and partner network to get a reliable estimate of the bottom line when implementing SFDC.

Going further

To get you started, we’ve put together a complete guide to the main cost centres of a CRM project.

How much will Salesforce cost me based on my profile?

Try Salesforce for free

Salesforce offers a 14-day free trial with access to all features to give you a good idea of the tool’s capabilities.

How to negotiate the cost of the licence?

It is possible to get a discount margin of between 15% and 50% in your Salesforce contracts. In our experience, the most successful negotiations focus on a win-win compromise rather than a lower price.

  • Discounts through organisational growth: the need for additional licences is the best lever a company can have to negotiate discounts.
  • Discounts through product expansion: If you haven’t planned for organic growth, you can create leverage by adding new Salesforce products to your initial offering. This can also happen when Salesforce launches a new product like Einstein and offers massive discounts – you can even leverage these discounts to get more on your base license.

The cost of implementation

The standard version is included in the licence, but to get access to discounts on Salesforce training (offered by Salesforce) or even a pro-active account manager, you need to opt for one of the Premier or Signature packages.

For the Premier package, an additional 30% must be added to the price of the licence. The prices for the Signature offer are only available on request.

The cost of integration

Salesforce is a very comprehensive solution that supports a huge number of marketing and sales functions. This makes it infinitely customisable – which can be expensive to integrate.

In concrete terms, this means that to implement Salesforce software in your company, you may need to call on an integrator to optimise it as much as possible and adapt it to your business processes.

This is not mandatory: companies can decide whether they want to do the integration themselves, use Salesforce services (by adding them to their contract), or use a third-party consultant. All these solutions have advantages and disadvantages.

A typical Salesforce CRM implementation process includes business process analysis, data transfer from previous systems, custom development (if required), user testing and quality assurance, deployment, and ongoing user training and support. This is a big job, even for large companies.

Go further
Read our comparison of Salesforce integrators.

The ecosystem of CRM integrators can be difficult to understand, but it is just as important as the choice of CRM itself. The role of the integrator is to deploy your CRM software but more importantly to integrate it with the tools you use.

There are three types of CRM integrators:

  • Digital Services Companies (DSCs) with technical profiles, or consulting firms.
  • Integrators specialising in CRM software, in this case Salesforce.
  • Experts in CRM but also in broader fields: ERP, payroll management, accounting and financial management, etc.

On Salesforce specialists, note that Salesforce training and certification is numerous, expensive, and difficult and that there are few Salesforce certified consultants (which makes them even more expensive). Prices for freelance consultants can range from €500 to €900 per day.

In fact, it is estimated that Salesforce integration will cost you at least €5,000 for a single user in the first year and you could pay up to €50,000 per year for a relatively small sales team. This wide range varies depending on the size of your organisation, the sector in which you operate, the type and complexity of your operations and finally your business objectives.

Customisations and add-ons

Salesforce is a very complete solution that offers many complementary services. The strength of Salesforce in terms of customisation also comes at a cost that can be very high and should not be overlooked, both in terms of development, maintenance and licensing (where applicable).

The add-on modules are as follows:

  • Pardot: the B2B marketing automation tool – there are 3 offers, ranging from 1250 to 4000 euros / month and from marketing intelligence and lead generation (included in the 3 plans) to the use of AI for sales.
  • Tableau (formerly Einstein Analytics), the tool for analysing and reporting on your business: here again, you can choose between 3 offers, from 75 to 150 euros / month / user, which includes, depending on the offer, predictive tools, AI or analysis services with integrated KPIs.
  • Platform, the tool for creating custom applications: there is an offer at 25 euros / month / user that allows you to create 10 applications and another at 100 / month / user that allows you to create 110.
  • CommunityTools that connect you with other businesses like you:
    • Self-service: you pay either €2/connection or €5/member/month for Community or €6/connection or €15/member for Community plus, which allows you to go further in sharing roles and delegating tasks.
    • Partner Relationship Management: Partner Community costs €10/connection or €25/member/month and allows you to manage your indirect sales teams, resellers and distributors.
    • Quip, the collaborative tool: at €100/user/month

    There is also a Salesforce AppExchange marketplace where many plugins are available for free or for purchase to customise your Salesforce installation.

    Going further

    To make your life easier, check out our comparison of applications in the Salesforce AppExchange.

    Customer support

    Salesforce provides basic support in its starter plans, such as a two-day response guarantee and a gateway to the Salesforce community. Sales managers are often reluctant to purchase a premium plan without really realising the importance of customer service and support to the success of their CRM implementation.

    To get the most out of Salesforce, you need 24-hour phone support, developer support, fast response time, and success support. And to access these privileges, you need to purchase Premier or Premier+ Success plans at an additional 20-30% of the total cost of your licence.

    Hidden costs on Salesforce

    In the case of CRM software, it is often expected that the price will explode with licences. But in fact the price will increase with hidden costs, such as limiting various features – and it goes up much faster than you think.

    The volume of data available

    Although crucial, data and file storage is virtually the most expensive add-on option, regardless of the Salesforce license you choose. The basic storage limits granted by Salesforce are as follows:

    • 1 GB of data storage: accounts, item types, contacts, Google documents, tracks, etc.
    • 10 GB of file storage: for all documents and attachments used by the organisation.

    If you purchase Professional or Enterprise as an add-on, you will have access to 20MB of data storage per user, 612MB of file storage per user and 120MB of data storage if you purchase the unlimited edition.

    But as your business grows, you will need to purchase additional storage: this is available in blocks of data storage, 50MB and 500MB, at a price of $125/month for 500MB. File storage can be purchased for USD 5/month.

    Attention

    As this storage is no longer charged per user but per amount of data used, be prepared to pay an exorbitant amount, much higher than the price of the licence.

    The limit in API calls

    The API call limits literally decide the future of your CRM.

    Salesforce limits the number of API calls, i.e. the total number of system interactions, such as queries between your CRM and external data sources, to 15,000 calls per 24-hour period.

    It sounds like a lot, but every request you make is an API call, and the total number of requests from all your applications in Salesforce can reach that limit faster than you can imagine.

    In this case, you may need to purchase more user licenses or upgrade all users to the more expensive Salesforce Performance Unlimited edition.

    Offline access to Salesforce

    This is another crucial aspect to consider when analysing the cost of Salesforce. Offline access to CRM is essential as you may need your CRM information on the move, even if you don’t have an Internet connection.

    Salesforce offers a feature called briefcase, which is an online and offline edition of Salesforce CRM. It is free for Enterprise and Unlimited customers. But if you want to buy the Professional edition, be prepared to pay £25 per user per month.

    The complete mobile application

    If you want to access Salesforce CRM on the move, you can do so with Mobile Lite, a free mobile solution provided by Salesforce. But this service has limited functionality and does not include key features such as custom objects, configuration customisation, etc.

    Alternatively, you can purchase the full version of Salesforce Mobile Lite, so you can customise the whole solution to your liking. If you’re already a Salesforce Unlimited customer, you can get it for free. But for the Professional and Enterprise plans, you’ll have to pay an additional upgrade fee of £50 per user per month.

    Try Salesforce for free

    Salesforce offers a 14-day free trial with access to all features to give you a good idea of the tool’s capabilities.

About the author

Profile picture for Quentin Sureau

Quentin Sureau

Directeur @ Cartelis

Quentin Sureau heads Cartelis, a CRM and Data consulting firm. With almost 10 years of experience, he's helped many clients, from scale-ups to big companies. As a co-founder of Salesdorado, he shares top B2B sales and marketing practices.