Salesforce License Types – A Comprehensive Guide for 2024

The main Salesforce license types include:

  1. Salesforce User Licenses: Determine access to baseline features.
  2. Salesforce Feature Licenses: Provide additional features not included in the user license.
  3. Salesforce Platform Licenses: For Enterprise and Unlimited editions, include Accounts, Contacts, Reports, and automation tools.
  4. Salesforce Identity Licenses: Enable Salesforce single sign-on access.
  5. Salesforce Einstein Licenses: Integrate AI technology into Salesforce products.
  6. Salesforce Experience Cloud Licenses: Offer external user access to Salesforce org.
  7. Marketing Cloud Licenses: Tailored for various marketing needs.
  8. Pardot Licenses (Account Engagement): Focus on B2B marketing automation.

Understanding Salesforce Licensing

Understanding Salesforce Licensing

Salesforce licensing can be likened to a lease agreement. In this scenario, Salesforce is the property manager, and the customer organization is the tenant.

A Salesforce license, or a license definition, is a metadata description outlining the Salesforce features and services accessible to your organization.

The licensing agreement is responsible for defining the functionality of the customer organization.

It encompasses specific details such as:

  • Start and end dates
  • The number of users who can access Salesforce
  • The number of custom objects the organization can create

Activating your licenses and enabling functionality in your organization is known as provisioning.

This process occurs when:

  • You make an initial purchase to set up a Salesforce organization.
  • Purchase an upgrade or add-on.
  • A Salesforce patch release includes changes to a license definition

Salesforce License Types

Salesforce License Types

Salesforce offers a variety of license types that provide different levels of access and functionality.

The license type determines the Salesforce products and features a user can access, the user’s permissions, and the number of custom objects that can be created.

Here is a comprehensive list of Salesforce license types:

  1. Salesforce User Licenses: Determine the baseline of the features a user can access. A user may only have one user license. Examples include Salesforce, Identity, and Platform Starter.
  2. Salesforce Feature Licenses: Entitle users to access an additional feature not included with their user license (base edition). Users can be assigned multiple feature licenses. Examples include Marketing User, Flow User, Knowledge User, and Service Cloud User.
  3. Salesforce Platform Licenses: Available on Enterprise and Unlimited editions. They include Accounts, Contacts, Reports, and automation tools like Process Builder, Flow, and Apex. They also have standard individual and mass emailing functionality. There are two types of platform licenses:
    • Platform Starter (Formerly known as Lightning Platform) – access to 10 custom objects.
    • Platform Plus (Formerly known as Lightning Platform Plus) – access to 110 custom objects.
  4. Salesforce Identity Licenses: Enable a user to log in via the Salesforce single sign-on (SSO) without requiring a full CRM license.
  5. Salesforce Einstein Licenses: Salesforce Einstein is not a single product – it’s a technology layer woven into the Salesforce Lightning platform and various Salesforce Cloud products. There are different approaches to getting hold of Einstein features.
  6. Salesforce Experience Cloud (Community) Licenses: Experience Cloud gives external users (customers or partners) a window into your Salesforce org. There are five license types: External App, Customer Community, Customer Community Plus, Partner Community, and Channel.
  7. Marketing Cloud Licenses: Marketing Cloud pricing can be challenging to understand, with many modules available (Studios and Builders) according to your organization’s needs. Each bundle is split into editions, following a per-org billing model.
  8. Pardot Licenses (Account Engagement): Pardot (Account Engagement) follows a ‘per org billing model,’ sometimes called a ‘bucket’ license. This means that by purchasing one license of Pardot, you can give as many users access as your organization requires.

Salesforce User Licenses

Salesforce User Licensing

Salesforce User Licenses are crucial in defining access levels within the Salesforce platform.

Here’s a breakdown:

  1. Salesforce License: Standard access to core CRM functionalities.
  2. Identity License: Allows user login via Salesforce Single Sign-On (SSO) without a full CRM license.
  3. Platform Starter License: Access to 10 custom objects, suitable for users needing limited CRM functionalities.
  4. Platform Plus License: Similar to Platform Starter but with access to 110 custom objects, catering to users requiring more extensive CRM tools.

Each license type caters to different user needs, from primary access to more specialized functionalities.

Salesforce Feature Licenses Explained

  • Additional Access: Provide extra features beyond the base user license.
  • Customization: Tailor user roles with specific functionalities.
  • Flexibility: Assign multiple feature licenses to a single user.
  • Examples:
    • Marketing User: Access to advanced marketing tools.
    • Flow User: Enables the creation and management of workflows.
    • Knowledge User: Manages knowledge base and articles.
    • Service Cloud User: Access to service cloud features for customer support.

These licenses allow businesses to enhance the capabilities of their Salesforce users according to specific role requirements within the organization.

Salesforce Platform Licenses

  • Access Level: Platform licenses offer access to fundamental Salesforce functionalities like Accounts, Contacts, and Reports.
  • Types:
    • Platform Starter: Access 10 custom objects designed for basic platform needs.
    • Platform Plus: Access to 110 custom objects, catering to more extensive usage.
  • Additional Tools: Includes automation tools like Process Builder, Flow, and Apex.
  • Email Functionality: Standard individual and mass emailing features are included.

Salesforce Identity Licenses:

  • Purpose: Identity licenses allow login using Salesforce Single Sign-On (SSO) without a full CRM license.
  • Usage: Ideal for users requiring access to specific Salesforce applications like Pardot.
  • Flexibility: Enables access without the need for a comprehensive Salesforce license.
  • Allocation: Often bundled with specific Salesforce products.

Salesforce Einstein Licenses:

  • AI Integration: Infuses AI capabilities into various Salesforce products.
  • Features: Includes Einstein Search, Opportunity Scoring, and other AI-driven tools.
  • Editions: Varies with Salesforce editions; some features are standard, and others are expensive.
  • Bundled Licenses: Different bundles for Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, and Marketing Cloud Einstein.

These licenses extend Salesforce’s capabilities, with Identity Licenses focusing on access flexibility and Einstein Licenses enhancing the platform with AI features.

Salesforce Experience Cloud (Community) Licenses:

  • External Access: External users (customers/partners) access to
  • Types: External App, Customer Community, Customer Community Plus, Partner Community, and Channel licenses.
  • Customization: Designed for portals or communities with heavy branding and design flexibility.

Marketing Cloud Licenses:

  • Functionality: For advanced marketing needs, with modules like Studios and Builders.
  • Editions: Basic, Pro, Corporate, and Enterprise, with pricing varying per organization.
  • Bundles: Offers various bundles tailored to different marketing requirements.

Pardot Licenses (Account Engagement):

  • Billing Model: ‘Per org‘ model, allowing multiple user access with one license.
  • Usage: Focused on B2B marketing automation.
  • Additional Licenses: Includes B2B Marketing Analytics and options for non-Salesforce users.

Salesforce License Costs

Salesforce License Costs

As of 2024, Salesforce pricing begins at $25 per user per month for the Sales Cloud and Service Cloud platforms, with more comprehensive plans reaching up to $500 per user per month.

The pricing tiers offered by Salesforce are as follows:

  • Essentials: For small businesses at $25/user/month.
  • Professional: Suitable for sales forecasting, priced at $80/user/month.
  • Enterprise: Offers customizability at $165/user/month.
  • Unlimited: Includes generative AI features at $330/user/month.
  • Unlimited+: Provides extensive third-party integrations, costing $500/user/month.

The pricing structure varies significantly between the tiers, with the higher tiers offering more advanced features, such as AI capabilities and better integration options.

Comparing Salesforce Licenses

Choosing the proper Salesforce license is crucial for businesses to meet their needs.

The key elements to consider when comparing licenses include the features they provide and their associated costs.

Here’s a simplified comparison:

License TypeFeaturesCost
StarterOffers basic CRM features suitable for small businessesMost affordable
ProfessionalProvides a complete CRM for any size teamModerately priced
EnterpriseOffers deeply customizable sales CRM for businessesHigher cost
UnlimitedProvides the most comprehensive set of featuresMost expensive

For instance, while being the most budget-friendly, the Starter license provides fewer features than the Professional, Enterprise, and Unlimited licenses.

Conversely, despite being the priciest, the Unlimited license offers the most extensive features.

Top 5 Recommendations for Choosing Salesforce Licenses

Choosing the proper Salesforce license is crucial for fully leveraging the platform’s capabilities.

Here are the top 5 recommendations for choosing Salesforce licenses:

  1. Understand Your Business Needs: Before selecting a license, understand your business needs and objectives. This will help you identify the features you need.
  2. Consider Your Budget: Salesforce licenses come at different price points. Choose a license that fits your budget without compromising on the essential features.
  3. Evaluate the Features: Each Salesforce license comes with a different set of features. Evaluate these features and choose a license that offers the ones you need.
  4. Consider Scalability: As your business grows, your CRM needs will evolve. Choose a license that can scale with your business.
  5. Seek Expert Advice: If you’re unsure which license to choose, seek advice from Salesforce experts or consultants.

FAQs on Salesforce License Types

FAQs on Salesforce License Types

What about Salesforce Inbox licenses?

We have written a blog for you to find out everything about Inbox.

How do I optimize my Salesforce licensing?

t requires reviewing your users and what they need access to; read our salesforce optimization guide.

Does Salesforce offer enterprise agreements?

Yes, Salesforce offers enterprise agreements; they are called SELA.

How to negotiate with Salesforce?

Salesforce is known as one of the most challenging vendors to negotiate with. However, we are sharing our experience and expertise in our negotiation guide.

How does Salesforce licensing operate?

Salesforce licensing is like a lease agreement between Salesforce (the property manager) and the customer organization (the tenant).

A Salesforce license, or a license definition, is a metadata description of the Salesforce features and services available to your organization. Activating your licenses and enabling functionality in your organization is known as provisioning.

What is the cost of a single Salesforce license?

The cost of a Salesforce license varies depending on the type of license. For instance, the Starter license costs $25 per user per month, the Professional license costs $75 per user per month, the Enterprise license costs $150 per user per month, and the Unlimited license costs $300 per user per month. All these prices are billed annually.

What are the differences between various Salesforce licenses?

Different Salesforce licenses offer different levels of access and functionality. For example, the Starter license is designed for small businesses and includes basic CRM features.

In contrast, the Unlimited license offers the most comprehensive features and is suitable for large organizations with complex needs.

What does a standard Salesforce license entail?

A standard Salesforce license provides access to the core features of Salesforce, including Account, Contact, Lead, Opportunity Management, Email Integration with Gmail or Outlook, Workflow and Process Automation, Forecast Management, and Pipeline Management.

What is included in the Salesforce Sales Cloud license?

The Salesforce Sales Cloud license provides access to Sales Cloud, Salesforce’s flagship product for sales automation, contact management, and sales forecasting. It includes features like Account and Contact Management, Opportunity Management, Lead Management, Email Integration, Reports and Dashboards, Mobile Access, and more.

Additional FAQs on Salesforce licensing

  1. How do I determine which Salesforce license type is right for my business?
    • Assess your business needs, user roles, and required functionalities. Consider consulting with a Salesforce representative or a certified partner to identify the best fit.
  2. Can I upgrade or downgrade license types after purchase?
    • Yes, Salesforce allows license upgrades. For downgrades, it’s best to contact Salesforce support for guidance due to potential feature limitations.
  3. Are there any discounts available for nonprofit organizations?
    • Salesforce offers discounts and grants through its philanthropic arm for eligible nonprofit organizations and educational institutions.
  4. How does Salesforce enforce license compliance?
    • Salesforce has mechanisms to monitor and enforce compliance with license terms, including audits and system checks.
  5. Can multiple users share a single Salesforce license?
    • No, Salesforce licenses are assigned per user and cannot be shared between users for security and compliance reasons.
  6. What happens if I exceed my license limit?
    • You may receive notifications from Salesforce and purchase additional licenses to accommodate the extra users.
  7. Is there a minimum purchase requirement for Salesforce licenses?
    • Minimum purchase requirements vary by license type and contract terms. It’s advisable to check with a Salesforce sales representative.
  8. How do I add or remove licenses from my Salesforce account?
    • Licenses can be added or removed through the Salesforce Setup menu, under “Company Information” or “Users”, or by contacting Salesforce support.
  9. Are Salesforce licenses transferable between users?
    • Yes, licenses can be reassigned to different users within your organization as needed.
  10. What is the difference between Salesforce User Licenses and Feature Licenses?
    • User Licenses determine the base level of access a user has to the platform, while Feature Licenses grant additional capabilities on top of a User License.
  11. Do Salesforce licenses include access to customer support?
    • With Salesforce licenses, basic customer support is included, with options to upgrade to more comprehensive support plans.
  12. How do I manage and monitor license usage within Salesforce?
    • Salesforce provides tools and reports within the Setup menu to help administrators monitor license usage and compliance.
  13. Can I negotiate custom license terms with Salesforce?
    • Large enterprises or customers with specific needs can often negotiate custom terms with Salesforce, including pricing and functionalities.
  14. What training resources are available for new Salesforce users?
    • Salesforce offers a wide range of training resources, including Trailhead, webinars, documentation, and certified training programs.
  15. How does Salesforce’s pricing compare to other CRM platforms?
    • Pricing varies based on the complexity and scale of your CRM needs. Salesforce is known for its extensive features and customization options, which may be reflected in its pricing compared to simpler CRM solutions.

Salesforce License Management and Advisory Services at Redress

At Redress, we offer specialized Salesforce License Management and Advisory Services designed to maximize your Salesforce investment.

Our services include:

  • Tailored License Audits: Comprehensive analysis of your current license utilization.
  • Cost-Effective Strategies: Identifying opportunities to reduce excess spending on licenses.
  • Customized Optimization Plans: Aligning licenses with your specific business requirements and goals.
  • Dynamic Adaptation: Regularly adjusting licenses to keep pace with your organization’s evolving needs.
  • Expert Guidance and Support: Providing ongoing expertise to navigate the complexities of Salesforce licensing.
  • Enhanced ROI: Ensuring you get the most value from your Salesforce investment.

Contact Redress for expert assistance in navigating and optimizing your Salesforce licensing strategy.


  • Fredrik Filipsson

    Fredrik Filipsson brings two decades of Oracle license management experience, including a nine-year tenure at Oracle and 11 years in Oracle license consulting. His expertise extends across leading IT corporations like IBM, enriching his profile with a broad spectrum of software and cloud projects. Filipsson's proficiency encompasses IBM, SAP, Microsoft, and Salesforce platforms, alongside significant involvement in Microsoft Copilot and AI initiatives, improving organizational efficiency.

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