Salesforce Sales Cloud Lightning Professional Review (2024)

Salesforce is more than just one of the pioneeringcustomer relationship management (CRM) solutions, it is the gold standard competitors and newcomers measure themselves against. Much of Salesforce's success has come from expanding its functionality beyond CRM and into back-office applications. Salesforce leads the market with innovative features and an ever-increasing ecosystem of partners and add-on functionality. Salesforce has also endeared itself to its users by engaging them and helping solve their problems in various stages of business growth. Because of its great depth of features and solid foundation, Salesforce retains an Editors' Choice honor in our CRM roundup along withApptivoandZoho CRM.

While the Sales Cloud is where the CRM product lives, we tested the version that costs $75 per user per month, which is called the Lightning Professional tier. This tier is deployed as a cloud service and includes Salesforce Lightning technology, which allows for deeper customization around each customer's unique workflows. The Lightning Professional tier sports a streamlined sales pipeline,lead managementfeatures, instant alert and best practice recommendation pop-ups, and improved drag-and-drop dashboard functionality.

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The company'sSalesforce Einstein Analyticsproduct uses artificial intelligence (AI) to automate time-consuming tasks that occupy sales teams, such as data entry, lead scoring, and forecasting. You can add Einstein to a Salesforce Lightning implementation for an additional monthly subscription cost.

All that makes for a great platform, but Zoho CRM, another top pick, offers many of the same customization options and even some of the advanced features at a far lower cost. If you don't need all of the features Salesforce has, remember that the CRM space is large enough that it can pay to look around. Be it a standalone CRM tool for smaller businesses or a platform-facing component that drives other business functions, the segment is wide open.

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Salesforce Pricing

Salesforce started as a CRM company, but now has many different Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings, which can make it confusing to get started. For this review, we tested Sales Cloud, Salesforce automation, and CRM software. Service Cloud is a separate product intended for running a customer service desk. Marketing Cloud providesemail marketingand campaign management, Community Cloud enables customer self-service, and Einstein Analytics offers business intelligence and analytics. The Salesforce Platform lets you build apps without coding expertise, Lightning Data cleans leads and contacts, and Pardot offers marketing automation. Finally, Chatter is the social network for the organization.

There are several tiers within Sales Cloud:Salesforce Essentials, Lightning Professional, Lightning Enterprise, and Lightning Unlimited. The Essentials plan ($25 per user per month billed annually) offers sales and marketing for up to 10 users. It comes with guided onboarding, account and contact management, opportunity monitoring, lead scoring and assignment, email and event tracking, customizable reports and dashboards, and mobile access. It's relatively basic feature-wise, so you should consider cheaper and easier-to-use options such asPipelineDealsor Zoho CRM if this is all you need.

The Lightning Professional plan we reviewed ($75 per user per month with annual subscription) has no user limits and offers campaigns, customizable dashboards, products, quotes and orders, mass email, and role-based access for users. This plan is the one best suited for small businesses, and it has some advanced features, such as collaborative forecasts. Overall, however, it feels expensive compared with other software. Based on price alone, it's still tempting to go with the $12 per user per month Zoho CRM, though once you dig in, you'll find that there are some under-the-hood reasons that more than justify paying more for Salesforce.

The Lightning Enterprise plan ($150 per user per month with annual subscription) is the company's most popular and shows why Salesforce is still at the top of the heap. Along with all of the features mentioned above, this level includes more extensive workflow and approval automation, report history tracking, enterprise territory management, profile pages, custom app development, and access to the web services API. The Enterprise plan also includes Salesforce Identity and Salesforce AppExchange. The former allows for single sign-on to all enterprise apps, and the latter is for creating a corporate app store.

The Lightning Unlimited plan ($300 per user per month with annual subscription) allows unlimited customizations, multiple sandboxes, custom apps, 24/7 toll-free support, and unlimited training. If you need Service Cloud, you can get it with the Unlimited edition.

Salesforce Sales Cloud Lightning Professional Review (17)

Getting Up and Running

Salesforce offers a free 30-day trial of its software, which we think should be the industry standard. Sales processes can be complicated enough that you want sufficient time to step through all phases to be sure you are comfortable with how the software works. As withInsightly CRM, you don't need a credit card to sign up for the trial; if you don't buy a plan at the trial's end, make sure you export your data. Salesforce has a robust import/export tool to simplify this process. To cancel your account, you need to contact your account manager over the phone. The good thing is that there are no cancellation fees, and you get a refund of the unused portion.

After signing up for the trial, a prompt asks what your role in the organization is: sales representative, company owner, IT professional, sales manager, and so on. Answering this question helps Salesforce customize the product tour to show applicable features, which is a simple but powerful way to get users started. On the left-hand side of the screen is a tray marked Walkthrough, which lists tasks you should perform. These helpful pathways for new users include creating a custom dashboard, integrating with other apps, and managing your pipeline. The Getting Started tab also takes you to a video tutorial and a PDF of the user guide, as well as the links to download the mobile app from the App Store or Google Play.

The Lightning dashboard is well organized, with menu options at the top in a tabbed interface. The Home tab displays the news feed, with updates and notes from other users as well as lists of tasks and scheduled activities. The bottom half of the screen shows a dashboard that you can customize via drag-and-drop. By default, you can see graphs showing your pipeline, number of open activities, and closed sales.

The bottom section of the page shows your tasks and calendar with scheduled events. You can customize this page completely, and move objects or add widgets to create a self-contained sales experience. The interface makes Salesforce easier to navigate and puts every aspect of the contact, lead, sales, and deal process in one place for business users.

The rest of the menu is fairly standard: Contacts, Accounts, Leads, Opportunities, Reports, Dashboards, Chatter, Files, Products, and Forecasts. You can create new tabs to bubble up specific tasks to the top level, which is helpful if there are pages you go to regularly. A universal search bar is at the top of the screen. It's unobtrusive, so it doesn't feel like it's taking up valuable real estate.

The new user's page notes whether the user can access data offline, use mobile devices, or have access to forecasts. The Color-Blind Palette on Charts checkbox is particularly clever—this is a company thinking about the best way to get data to all its users. You can define roles to restrict what kind of data each user can see and the sort of tasks he or she can perform. The admin also has a simple way to send a mass email to all the users, a useful feature if you need to, say, notify all employees of downtime.

As the administrator, you create new users under Setup. To do so, you need to provide the name, an email address, a username, and the user's role. Salesforce makes it easy to track the number of users you are allowed to have under your license. Admins can create users who use only Chatter and don't count toward the number of paid Salesforce users, which is an excellent cost-saving detail—you can have non-sales and marketing personnel using Chatter without driving up licensing costs. A bulk edit page is handy for creating multiple users at once with basic information.

If you integrate your account withGoogle Workspaceor Microsoft Exchange, you will see all your contacts listed under the Contacts tab. There is a simple New Contact button if you want to create a new one manually, or you can import data from other sources via a comma-delimited file.

Salesforce Sales Cloud Lightning Professional Review (18)

Salesforce Sales Dashboard

You can see contacts belonging to everyone across the organization in All Contacts, or look at your own list under My Contacts. You can easily click on users and add them to new opportunities. When you click on a contact to view the record, you see the contact information, all open activities, activity history, saved emails, and files attached to the record. The status update box for the news feed can also be used to add notes about the contact.

You don't have to scroll to the bottom to see all the open activities; rather, you can hover over the quick links at the top of the record. Like the dashboard and everything else on this platform, this page's look is customizable.SugarCRMis the only other CRM software we've tested with this level of customization, although Zoho CRM comes close.

A big focus for Salesforce is its Einstein AI platform, which includes Einstein Activity Capture, Einstein Email Insights, Einstein Lead Scoring, Einstein Opportunity Scoring, and Einstein Forecasting. Activity Capture automatically pulls customer interactions from a user's email and calendar so entries are up to date. It also has a calendar manager for easy scheduling without switching between software. Email Insights uses natural language processing to surface emails, recommend responses, and bring reps to "inbox zero" much faster. Likewise, the Lead and Opportunity Scoring tools use machine learning to prioritize the user's time. Finally, Forecasting mines your Salesforce data to help your company see what's on the horizon.

You can track accounts, leads, and opportunities under each tab. Salesforce provides a consistent interface for creating accounts, leads, and opportunities, making it easy to use the platform after the initial learning curve. Each tab points you to detailed reports so you can see the status at a glance, which is a nice touch.

Quality Lead Management

Salesforce also offers quality lead management. Creating a lead generates a task by default, but you can create other tasks and activities. You can also automate your workflow so that it always assigns certain leads to the same user or automatically creates tasks when you add new opportunities.

Sales and Lead Generation are two separate apps, although the UI is, as mentioned before, similar enough to make it easy to switch from one to the other. You also have access to the same data—the listing of leads, accounts, and so forth in the Sales app will be reflected in the Lead Generation app. The difference is in some of the tabbed features that are available. For example, the Sales app includes tabs for Notes, Tasks, and other activities, while the more narrowly focused Lead Generation app has one for Campaigns.

Being able to filter your view to prioritize leads is essential. You can also see your list of leads either as a traditional list table or as a Kanban table, making it easy to move leads along your pipeline.

A significant source of analytics is Sales Cloud Einstein Lead Scoring, which uses the Salesforce Einstein Analytics Platform to score each lead. It uses historical data from your company to discern success patterns. (To use Lead Scoring, you need to be using Sales Cloud Lightning.) Salesforce recommends that, in order for lead scoring to work, the company should have had at least 1,000 leads created in the past six months, with a minimum of 120 conversions. Sales Cadences let businesses create customized activity sequences to guide reps through the prospecting process.

Lead scoring is especially useful for large operations, which can have higher-scoring leads (indicating a higher likelihood of conversion) sent automatically to more experienced salespeople. Smaller organizations can use the ratings to sort their lists of leads (available as part of Sales Cloud) and decide whom to contact first.

Similarly, Einstein Opportunity Scoring keeps sales reps on top of low-performing opportunities. Einstein Opportunity Insights gives reps a close look at successful and at-risk opportunities.

Salesforce Sales Cloud Lightning Professional Review (19)

Third-Party Integration and Reporting Options

Salesforce Sales Cloud Lightning Professional lets you have multiple dashboards, each assigned to its own data set. The Sales Executive dashboard can display the current pipeline by product family, recent sales activity, the biggest deals on the board right now, and neglected accounts. The Marketing Executive dashboard can focus on unspent marketing dollars and the current pipeline by account type. Users can sort the top three marketing channels by total value opportunities for each and leads driven in by campaign for the current quarter. Here you can create custom reports as summaries, tables, or matrices.

In comparison,Pipedrive CRMoffers a workflow-based dashboard geared specifically at the sales pipeline, showing a straightforward way to track deals and activities but without as many built-in features or reporting. Zoho CRM also does a good job of customizing the dashboard to display data analytics, but not to the scale that Salesforce does.

No Shortage of Add-ons

Salesforce has one of the largest third-party app marketplaces. You will likely be able to integrate the CRM with every business app you use, includingQuickBooks, RightSignature, andZendesk. Launched in 2006, the Salesforce AppExchange now offers more than 5,000 available apps and, according to Salesforce, has facilitated more than 6.5 million business app deployments.

At the Professional, Enterprise, and Unlimited tiers, there is also a wealth of add-ons available to layer additional functionality atop the business CRM experience. The SalesforceIQ Inbox gives users a suite of mobile and desktop productivity apps, including email and calendar integrations with smart reminders of pressing deals and leads. Einstein Analytics adds morebusiness intelligence (BI)to the sales process with natively integrated dashboards showing quarterly and year-over-year performance, risk indicators, and forecast metrics through its pipeline trending functionality.

Another useful add-on is called Salesforce CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote), an automated quote-to-cash engine for configuring products and pricing for cross-sells, up-sells, contract and proposal generation, and billing processing of invoices and payments. Salesforce Billing enables seamless subscription renewals, contract renewals, and flexible invoicing.

The list of add-ons goes on and on, and they all cost somewhere between $25 and $75 each for the basic functionality. These costs can add up quickly on top of the premium you're already paying for Salesforce, but for specific use cases, the add-ons can make a valuable addition to your CRM capabilities.

For social media, Salesforce has Chatter, its social networking platform. Chatter lets you set up a profile and update your colleagues on your status; a Share button sits at the top right side of the main page. You use Chatter to update project status or give other users notes on a lead, opportunity, or account.

Nearly everything you can do on the website can be done on Salesforce's mobile apps for Apple iOS and Android, which puts it head and shoulders above the competition. Insightly, for example, only lets you look up contact details on its mobile app.

Salesforce's support options are stellar as well. You can fill out a form on the site, call the toll-free phone number, or look at the help tips dispersed throughout the software. You also have the option to log into Salesforce Success, a support portal that gives you access to training videos, webcasts, knowledgebase articles, and user forums.

Salesforce Sales Cloud Lightning Professional Review (20)

Powerful CRM for Small Teams

As the standard-bearer in full-featured and layered CRM solutions, Salesforce Sales Cloud Lightning Professional is more expensive than the competition. SMBs, however, are buying more than just a standalone solution that can cover their basic CRM needs, but investing in an expansive platform solution. Because it is so flexible, businesses can modify Salesforce to suit their needs and workflows, instead of having to adjust to an existing interface. Operating the service feels remarkably smooth, given the massive amount of power beneath the surface. It's not as modern-looking as some of its smaller competitors, but its top-notch features prove why Salesforce Sales Cloud Lightning Professional remains an Editors' Choice.

Salesforce Sales Cloud Lightning Professional


Editors' Choice

See ItVisit Site at

Per User, Per Month, Starts at $25.00


  • Wide range of advanced features and customizations

  • Powerful social collaboration options and third-party app marketplace

  • Outstanding workflows and solid performance


  • Comes with a steep learning curve

  • Pricey

The Bottom Line

Salesforce has long been the CRM solution to beat. This pioneering platform excels with a stellar feature set, as well as an ever-widening set of innovations, including AI, and ease of interoperability with many Salesforce partners.

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It seems you're diving into the world of Salesforce, a CRM behemoth that's expanded far beyond its initial purpose. Salesforce is renowned for its comprehensive functionalities, innovative features, and a vast ecosystem that accommodates various business needs. Here's a breakdown of the concepts mentioned in the article:

  1. Salesforce: A CRM solution that evolved beyond customer relationship management to encompass back-office applications and various specialized cloud services like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, and more.

  2. Sales Cloud: Salesforce's core CRM product, available in different tiers: Essentials, Lightning Professional, Lightning Enterprise, and Lightning Unlimited. Each tier offers varying features and pricing, catering to different business sizes and needs.

  3. Lightning Professional: One of Salesforce's tiers within Sales Cloud, priced at $75 per user per month, offering advanced features like campaigns, customizable dashboards, products, quotes, and role-based access.

  4. Einstein Analytics: A Salesforce product leveraging AI to automate tasks such as data entry, lead scoring, and forecasting within the Salesforce Lightning implementation.

  5. CRM Market: The article compares Salesforce against other CRM solutions like Zoho CRM, Apptivo, and others, mentioning their respective features, pricing, and suitability for different business requirements.

  6. Salesforce Pricing Tiers: Varying plans with different functionalities and costs, ranging from Essentials to Unlimited, each designed to accommodate specific business needs and budgets.

  7. User Interface and Dashboard Customization: Salesforce's interface, its navigational aspects, customized dashboards, and user-friendly features like drag-and-drop functionality.

  8. Einstein AI Platform: Salesforce's suite of AI-powered tools encompassing Activity Capture, Email Insights, Lead Scoring, Opportunity Scoring, Forecasting, and Sales Cadences to enhance sales efficiency.

  9. Lead Management: Salesforce's robust lead management functionalities, including workflow automation, lead assignment, prioritization, and insights through Lead Scoring and Opportunity Scoring.

  10. Third-Party Integrations and Reporting: Salesforce's capability to integrate with various third-party apps through AppExchange and its robust reporting functionalities, allowing businesses to gain insights from their data.

  11. Add-ons: A wide array of add-ons available in the Salesforce ecosystem like Salesforce CPQ, Salesforce Billing, SalesforceIQ Inbox, and more, each adding specialized functionalities at an additional cost.

  12. Chatter: Salesforce's social networking platform integrated into the CRM, enabling communication, updates, and collaboration among users.

  13. Mobile App: Salesforce's mobile app availability for iOS and Android, allowing users to access CRM functionalities on the go.

  14. Support and Training: Salesforce's comprehensive support options, including online resources, customer support, and training materials.

  15. Overall Assessment: The article evaluates Salesforce Sales Cloud Lightning Professional as a powerful yet expensive CRM solution, highlighting its strengths in feature sets, innovation, AI integration, and interoperability while noting its learning curve and cost implications.

This comprehensive overview reflects a strong understanding of Salesforce's functionalities, pricing structures, AI capabilities, customization options, third-party integrations, and its positioning in the CRM market.

Salesforce Sales Cloud Lightning Professional Review (2024)


Salesforce Sales Cloud Lightning Professional Review? ›

Salesforce is regarded as one of the best customer relationship management (CRM) solutions for large-scale enterprises, with its Salesforce Sales Cloud Lightning Professional tool earning our Editors' Choice award. However, that enterprise-grade CRM is too complex and costly for smaller businesses.

What is the pros and cons of Salesforce sales Cloud? ›

Salesforce advantages and disadvantages
  • It comes with customizable options. ...
  • It's an all-in-one CRM, sales, and marketing solution. ...
  • It integrates well with other tools and platforms. ...
  • The pricing plans can get expensive. ...
  • The costs to implement it can stack up. ...
  • It can take a while to see results.
Feb 28, 2023

What is the difference between Salesforce starter and professional? ›

Starter/Essentials: Ideal for small businesses, offering basic contact, lead, and opportunity management. Professional: Tailored for mid-sized companies with enhanced sales forecasting and automation capabilities.

Why did you choose Salesforce sales Cloud over these alternative products? ›

If you need to improve your sales operations, Salesforce Sales Cloud would be the ideal solution for you. It will help your sales team manage leads and opportunities, automate sales processes, track customer interactions, forecast sales, and provide insights into sales performance.

How much does Salesforce Lightning cost per user? ›

Essentials is $25 per user, per month, Lightning Professional starts at $80 per user, per month, Lightning Enterprise costs $165 per user, per month, Lightning Unlimited starts at $330 per user, per month, and Lightning Unlimited+ costs $500 per user, per month.

What do you dislike about Salesforce sales Cloud? ›

Salesforce Marketing Cloud (Social Studio) is outdated and unfortunately a rip-off. We have been trialling the system for 4 months now and find more and more bugs. For a system that has been on offer by Salesforce for more than 10 years, this is just pathetic.

How hard is Salesforce sales Cloud certification? ›

The Salesforce Service Cloud Consultant test is not a cakewalk, and as a prospective candidate, you will need to study and prepare thoroughly. It's always recommended to complete the Service Cloud Trailhead modules and trails after thoroughly reviewing the official guide.

What does Salesforce call their employees? ›

And that's by design. We call our community of Salesforce employees, customers, and partners "Trailblazers." We're a one-of-a-kind family.

Is HubSpot better than Salesforce? ›

HubSpot offers an easier-to-use interface than Salesforce. Salesforce offers better analytics and reporting tools than HubSpot. HubSpot has better sales and marketing features than Salesforce.

Who uses Salesforce sales Cloud? ›

Top Salesforce customers in the USA are U.S. Bank, Amazon Web Services, American Express, Walmart, and T-Mobile. Overall, more than 59% of Salesforce clients come from the USA, as of the end of 2022.

Is Salesforce sales Cloud same as CRM? ›

Because they're both from the same Salesforce CRM suite, Sales Cloud and Marketing Cloud overlap. Both are used to track leads with the ultimate goal of converting them into customers. However, the solutions emphasize different parts of the customer lifecycle.

Which Salesforce Cloud is more in demand? ›

Sales Cloud: Sales Cloud is Salesforce's flagship product and is their most popular CRM software. It helps sales teams manage their customer relationships and provides them with powerful tools to increase productivity and close more deals.

Is Salesforce Lightning hard to learn? ›

A novice can quickly become proficient in Salesforce with some study, practice, and access to useful resources. So we believe Salesforce is not that tough, but it isn't easy at the same time to learn and use unless you have certain skills or thought processes in place.

Why is Salesforce Lightning better? ›

Lightning provides enhanced features, improved navigation, and better customization options compared to the more traditional and now-deprecated Salesforce Classic.

Who uses Salesforce Lightning? ›

Customers of Salesforce Field Service Lightning
CustomersEmployee RangeCity
Eaton Corporation plc10,000+Dublin
Wipro Ltd10,000+Bengaluru
AT&T, Inc.10,000+Dallas
6 more rows

What are the pros and cons of Salesforce CRM? ›

No CRM is as customizable and can integrate with more than Salesforce can. Salesforce CRM Is Not Recommended For: Businesses that have a small budget or that do not have overly complex sales processes will not likely find Salesforce to be the best solution.

What problems is Salesforce sales Cloud solving and how is that benefiting you? ›

In that respect, Salesforce Sales Cloud offers a major helping hand – one of its most impressive features, “Macros”, helps businesses to automate manual tasks in bulk, so that their sales team are able to better concentrate on interacting with real-time customers, improving productivity and shortening the sales cycle.

What is the purpose of sales cloud in Salesforce? ›

Manage Contracts and Renewals Sales Cloud allows you to create contracts you have with your accounts and prospects. You can set different workflow alerts to remind your salespeople of renewals. Salesforce can also be configured to handle your internal approval processes for contracts.


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