Save your money – a clever way to manage your salesforce licenses

• Date: May 2020 •
Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
CEO, Co-Founder of Twistellar
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NOTE! In spring`21 Salesforce Community Cloud was renamed Experience Cloud
to better reflect the many types of connected digital experiences you can create — including portals, websites, help centers, forums, and mobile apps.
Decrease the mid- and long-term expenses
A typical budget of a Salesforce implementation project consists of two important parts — the cost of implementation services of a Salesforce consulting company (usually paid once) and the cost of Salesforce licenses (paid yearly to Salesforce).

As we know, the bread and butter of Salesforce — Sales and Service Cloud licenses have the basic price of $75/month for Professional Edition and $150/month for Enterprise Edition, paid per seat on an annual basis. A direct approach of multiplying the price by the number of your employees gives a significant amount. That, especially compared directly to other CRMs on the market, makes you think well to select people who will actually be using the system, or even look at the proposals of other CRM vendors.
Sales and Service Cloud license plans
We often notice that straightforward approach on many Salesforce projects we're dealing with, so we'd like to remind of a very effective way to decrease the mid- and long-term expenses on Salesforce implementation, and maximize the engagement of Salesforce within your organization. And that's internal Community.
Partner Central
Salesforce Community Cloud is an effective technology that allows you to build interactive web-portals to interact with your partners and customers. The typical aim of building communities — to share exclusive content, leverage gamification, create customer forums, and improve support to increase your customers' adoption and get loyal followers of your brand. Or if we're talking about partner communities — to provide access for your business partners directly to your database via web-interface tailored to your needs and permissions, and thus to enable placing orders, tracing their fulfillment and stock updates, getting reports on collaboration metrics — and all that without spending efforts on manual information processing.
Help Center
To use Community Cloud you have to purchase and allocate Community Licenses to all these customers and partners, so that they have their personal credentials (login and password) to control access, permissions, and personalize UX.

So Salesforce Community Cloud enables people to use their browsers to log in under their personal credentials to your interactive web-portal, to input information directly into your database where it's processed, and to get feedback and reports on their activities. But wait a minute, that's exactly what many of your employees do when they work in the "standard" Salesforce interface!
Account Support
Save up to $130 for every user!
What's so interesting about Salesforce Communities? It's the price of Community licenses — from $5 to $20 per seat per month! Which puts them in the row of the most affordable CRM systems in the market, but with powerful capabilities of the leading cloud platform.

What exactly can you achieve with Salesforce Communities within your organization? Let's take a look at the most popular examples.
Sales Cloud with Community Cloud
Sales Management

You can build a portal that will provide your salespeople with all necessary tools to plan and report on their activities:

  • All standard sales pipeline entities that you're used to: Leads, Accounts, Contacts, Opportunities, Quotes, Products and more — everything that sales reps need in order to plan and report on their commercial activities.
  • Performance reports with necessary metrics of a sales rep — enabling him to track progress and, if needed, calculate bonuses and conduct plan/fact analysis. All that with proper visualization.
  • Any custom object you're using in your daily activities (Shipment, Site, Budget, Portfolio, etc.) — all of them can be exposed to Community and your people can work with these objects as if they would work with them in Salesforce Lightning or Classic.
  • And yes, you can attach and download files, use Chatter, and all other great collaboration tools of Salesforce.
So if you can clearly define the basic sales flows that need to be automated for your sales reps — Community is a great choice. It can also help you start using Salesforce if your budget is tight. We'll show that later.

This approach becomes even more attractive if you have a distributed network of sales commission agents, or brick and mortar shops with your representatives who need to work with the system. Quite often to provide them with full access to Salesforce is too much, but a Community web portal is a right thing to do. So you can embed Community into your overall sales management system. Your office sales reps and managers will use full Salesforce licenses, and remote agents will use Community licenses — and they all will be working with one database.
Service Cloud with Community Cloud for Support
Technical Support Service

Most often an organization that thinks of implementing Salesforce, possesses an already existing landscape of IT solutions used by different departments and services. For instance, an IT service desk can use Jira or a similar tool to track technical tickets. How to help them get connected to the Line 1 customer service that creates Cases upon customer requests? Create a Community for them that will provide your technical support service with access to filtered Cases, allow to modify, escalate, or resolve them. And all that will be immediately reflected in the interface of your customer service.
Service Cloud with Community Cloud for HR Management
HR Management

What's the most typical need for managing daily requests of people in your organization? Of course, to let them apply for vacations or sick leaves, renew contracts, and to generate and print the needed paper forms. Also onboarding of newcomers gets really effective with necessary materials stored and timely updated in Salesforce.

There's another type of Salesforce Community licenses — when you pay per login session, and not per month. The basic price for such licenses is $2 per 24-hour session. And obviously, that becomes really effective in case you need to process relatively seldom applications of your employees. No need to provide them with full access to Salesforce — instead allocate the needed number of per-session licenses and make an internal Community work with such HR functions.

One of the challenges that any organization is facing is how to prevent information to be distributed in disconnected silos. And using Salesforce Communities with per-session licenses helps to collect information even on service processes in one place, and make it accessible and reportable for the needs of management.

Service Cloud with Community Cloud for Budgeting
Budgeting Systems

Another example of internal collaboration in a company is the budgeting process. It usually requires people to exchange budget applications and approvals on a regular basis, and use the tools of actual plan/fact tracking for all expenses for employees and management.

So, Community licenses are also a great tool for that, as it enables all Salesforce collaboration means: files exchange, Chatter, approval process, spreadsheets, and forms necessary to automate any process, including Budgeting.
So, with all these benefits of collaboration within an organization using Salesforce Communities, let's discuss what's required to achieve that from a technical and financial standpoint.

To enable Salesforce Communities you still need to have at least one full Enterprise Edition license (Sales or Service Cloud) on your Salesforce org. That means that if you're using Professional Licenses, unfortunately, you don't have access to this useful tool, so maybe that's a great reason to consider an upgrade.

On second hand, initial configuration of the internal interactive portals (that includes building forms and controlling elements, markup and styling, permissions management) will require certain investments.

Let's consider a typical case for a mid-sized organization of 200 people, that has the Sales department of 70 sales reps (external sales team and customer support), and a network of 20 partner and agent companies (B2B sales), but also a Service department that's dealing with service requests coming from customer support (20 people, usually working on customer premises), and an internal logistics service (warehouse, transportation) of 60 people, distributed between 6 geolocations of our stocks. The rest staff are different services such as procurement, HR, administration and others.
Please always consider that the actual use of Salesforce licenses is defined by MSA that's agreed between Salesforce and your company
We'll calculate two options:

Option 1: Enterprise licenses for limited number of people in organization

  • we provide 70 Enterprise Sales Cloud licenses to sales people (all of them)

  • for Service department we'll allocate 10 Enterprise Service Cloud Licenses (because due to budget constraints we'll have to agree with mutual use of one license by two engineers in different shifts)

  • and for internal logistics we'll still have to rely on "traditional" ways of information exchange, such as google sheets.

  • with our partners we'll again have to exchange emails, phone calls and google sheets

Not that optimal, but we hope to save costs on licenses.

The price of an Enterprise License is $150/month = $1800/year. That makes our yearly licenses cost of 80 x 150 x 12 = $144K.
Option 2: Combination of Enterprise and Community licenses for extended use

  • we'll provide 40 Enterprise Sales Cloud licenses to sales people, 30 licenses will be Community (as it's sufficient for certain sales roles in our company)

  • for service engineers we'll allocate 18 Community licenses (and won't have to deal with combined use of one license) and 2 Service Cloud Enterprise licenses for the head and deputy head of service department

  • and for internal logistics we'll provide 6 Community licenses - one for each warehouse, and additionally one full Service Cloud Enterprise license to the Head of logistics

  • we'll also allocate 20 Community licenses to the rest service departments (HR, administration, etc)

  • and we'll provide additional 20 Community Licenses to our Partners, enabling remote collaboration with them in Salesforce.

As you see, that will involve all our departments in working with Salesforce, so that we have all our information properly collected and processed. Management of the company will have all needed reporting on all processes.

The price of Enterprise License is $150/month, and let's take Customer Community Plus for $15/month (in certain cases we could use Customer Community licenses for $5/month, but let's handle a more expensive case). Our yearly license costs will be: (40 x 150 + 30 x 15 + 18 x 15 + 2 x 150 + 6 x 15 + 1 x 150 + 20 x 15 + 20 x 15) * 12 = $95K
With the use of Community Licenses we managed to cut the direct IT costs by 20%
You see? With the use of Community Licenses we managed to actually cut the direct IT costs by 20%, and involve all departments in mutual collaboration on the Salesforce platform. And stay assured, the overall increase of efficiency of the organization will be even greater than that.
Sales Cloud: 90 users
Sales + Community Cloud: 137 users
User Engagement is Higher by 50% at 20% Lower Cost
Also you need to consider the discounts that you can get from Salesforce, which will make the figures even more attractive, and that the actual cost of Communities configuration may start from about $20K depending on the complexity of processes, and we hope you get your picture. It's really worth to consider this alternative when you're thinking of Salesforce implementation.
As usual, there can't be just pros of any IT solution, and with Communities you also have certain limitations that you need to evaluate, and here they are:

  • you won't be able to configure IP telephony within the Community interface, so if your employees will need it - they'll have to use the interface of IP telephony provider. However, the integration can be built so that all the phone calls will still be recorded in the system, and reporting enabled for management

  • if you'll need changes in your Community portal you'll most probably have to refer to a Salesforce Consulting Company. There's a Community builder in Salesforce, but it won't probably cover all needs of customization

  • you'll have to specifically cover the expenses to make the Community web portal mobile-friendly (and you'll most likely need that)

  • you get your org upgraded to Enterprise, and it increases the cost of your existing licenses (if you used Professional Edition), but that provides a huge number of benefits such as enablement of Apex, integrations with third party systems etc, so it's totally worth it.

However, with a competent Salesforce Consulting Partner, such as Twistellar, it's easy to properly evaluate all the pros and cons of a particular Salesforce implementation, and make a well argumented decision on the best approach to licenses.
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If you have ideas, questions about Salesforce implementation - Twistellar employees will be happy to discuss them and give prompt answers
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