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Small Business Owners; Beware the $695 Offer!

If you are a small business owner that is considering the use of Saleforce.com, don’t get seduced by their $695 for five (5) users per year on Team Edition; it is simply a bait and switch tactic like a crack dealer to get you hooked and unable to quit!

Anytime you implement a system that is critical to your business such as accounting or customer relationship management you’ll put significant effort into making it work for your business. Once implemented your business processes will usually become so intertwined with the app it will be almost impossible to switch to something else! And that is what Saleforce.com is preying on.

Although you may have only budgeting $695 for a year of Salesforce.com you’ll have to ante up for more than five (5) times that if you later realize you need features not included with Team. That’s $3900/year for the Professional Edition with five (5) users, or worse it’s $9000/year for the Enterprise Edition. That’s a 561% increase from Team to Professional, and a 1295% increase from Team to Enterprise!

It only gets worse if you have more than five (5) people that need to access Salesforce.com. And note that they don’t have less expensive access for sales assistants, everyone with a login has to pay for a seat based on the full price for the Edition.

How bad is it? Let’s take a look at the features you DO NOT get if you are on Team Edition as per Saleforce.com’s own edition comparison (think you might need any of these?):

  • Salesforce Automation
    • Salesforce Console
    • Customizable Forecasting
    • Contract and Renewal Management
    • Integration with Third-Party Methodologies
    • Product Catalog
    • Revenue Schedule Management
    • Account and Opportunity Team Selling
    • Client Lifecycle Management
    • Advanced Call Scripting
    • Territory Management
    • Mass Quota Updates
    • Worklow and Approvals
  • Marketing Automation
    • Mass Email
    • Lead Management, Routing, and Assignment
    • Web Site Lead Capture
    • Web Site Lead Tracking
    • Campaign Management
    • List Management
    • Advanced Call Scripting
    • Worklow and Approvals
    • Salesforce for Google AdWords
  • Customer Service and Support
    • Document Management
    • Case Queues and Auto-Assignment
    • Advanced Case Escalation and Notiication
    • History Tracking
    • Suggested Solutions
    • Multilingual Solutions
    • Agent Console
    • Service Dashboards
    • Call Center Edition
    • Web and Email Case Capture
    • Self-Service Portal and Knowledge Base
    • Asset Management
    • Service Entitlements
  • Real-Time and Historical Analytics
    • Dashboards
    • Analytic Mash-Ups
    • Read-Only Report Access
  • Desktop and Mobile CRM
    • Offline Edition
    • Desktop Solution Administration
    • Apex Mobile
  • Data Model Customization
    • Custom Object Sharing Controls
    • Smart Field Defaulting
  • User Interface Customization
    • Global Translation Workbench
    • Rename Tabs and Labels
    • Multiple Custom Page Layouts
    • Record-Dependent Page Layouts
    • AJAX Toolkit
    • Standard Button Overrides
  • Enterprise Administration
    • Account-Based Sharing Controls
    • Record-Level Security
    • Field-Level Security
    • Multidepartmental Administration
    • Profile-Based Departmental Security
    • Delegated Administration
    • Opportunity, Lead, and Case-Sharing Controls
  • Business Process Controls
    • Lead and Case Routing
    • Multistep Approval Processes
    • Worklow Automation Rules and Tasks
    • Multiple Business Processes
  • On-Demand Database
    • Weekly Export Service
    • Real-Time Database Mirroring
    • Data Loader
    • Salesforce Sandbox
  • Integration Platform
    • Apex Web Services API 8.0
    • Single Sign-On—LDAP Integration
    • Salesforce Connector for SAP R/3

How about of you are on Professional? These are the things you don’t get on Professional Edition?:

  • Salesforce Automation
    • Account and Opportunity Team Selling
    • Client Lifecycle Management
    • Advanced Call Scripting
    • Territory Management
    • Mass Quota Updates
    • Worklow and Approvals
  • Marketing Automation
    • Advanced Call Scripting
    • Worklow and Approvals
  • Customer Service and Support
    • Service Entitlements
  • Real-Time and Historical Analytics
    • Read-Only Report Access
  • Desktop and Mobile CRM
    • Desktop Solution Administration
  • Data Model Customization
    • Custom Object Sharing Controls
    • Smart Field Defaulting
  • User Interface Customization
    • Multiple Custom Page Layouts
    • Record-Dependent Page Layouts
    • AJAX Toolkit
    • Standard Button Overrides
  • Enterprise Administration
    • Field-Level Security
    • Multidepartmental Administration
    • Profile-Based Departmental Security
    • Delegated Administration
    • Opportunity, Lead, and Case-Sharing Controls
  • Business Process Controls
    • Multistep Approval Processes
    • Worklow Automation Rules and Tasks
    • Multiple Business Processes
  • On-Demand Database
    • Real-Time Database Mirroring
    • Data Loader
    • Salesforce Sandbox

And here’s the list of things that even Professional Edition customer have to pay extra for:

  • Salesforce Automation
    • Product Catalog
    • Revenue Schedule Management
  • Marketing Automation
    • Web Site Lead Tracking
    • Campaign Management
    • List Management
  • Customer Service and Support
    • Asset Management
  • Desktop and Mobile CRM
    • Offline Edition
    • Apex Mobile
  • On-Demand Database
    • Weekly Export Service

But then here’s another "gotcha"; let’s assume your business is limping along on a Team Edition license because you can’t really afford to pay for Professional and then you hire an 11th person needing access to Saleforce.com, you are screwed! Time to ante up $8580 for a year allowing 11 people access to Saleforce.com!

Now many of you might be thinking that I’m offbase and that I’m begrudging Salesforce.com for trying to make its profit. But please realize most small businesses by definition are scraping to get by and every little expense can be a killer. Small businesses typically just cannot afford to pay for a Professional license let alone an Enterprise license. Yet many of the features small businesses need are simply not available in Team edition are import for small businesses.

Saleforce is trying to position itself as a leader. Leaders don’t implement strategies designed to trick their customers. Instead, leaders focus on meeting their customer’s needs at a price that is fair to their customers. Companies selling intangibles like that which Saleforce offers set their prices based on their market and then focus on meeting their customers needs, not on milking them more then they can typically afford.

What should Saleforce.com do differently?  Drop the 10 user limit on Team Edition and make sure that the features needed by small business are included in Team Edition. Things like SAP integration; well, they can leave that to the Entreprise edition. Then focus on getting as many users as possible, not just milk the users they have. They have a chance to be "it" for SaaS, but their policies are designed to give their competitions as much ammunition against them as possible.

Now don’t get my wrong, there are many companies where it is well worth $150/month to improve your sales team’s productivity, but for many others it’s just not cost effective. In either case, Salesforce.com should rely on selling their value and not trying to set traps; this is just indicative of the general disdain which Saleforce.com has for its customers.

They’ll Nickel & Dime you to Death

One of my biggest complaints with Salesforce.com is how they seem focused on ways to nickel and dime their customers. I was just reading one of their help files[1] and found the following example (emphasis mine.):

Salesforce.com recommends that all customers back-up their salesforce.com data. All customers are advised to perform a weekly export. An export should be generated prior to any data project performed by an organization via the import wizards or DataLoader imports, updates, or deletions).

A weekly export service is available to customers, and is outlined below.

The weekly export service allows organizations to export a complete set of their Salesforce data, including all attachments, for archival purposes. A system administrator can request a data export once every seven (7) days. The salesforce.com service will automatically extract the organization’s data into compressed .csv data files and send an email confirmation to the administrator requesting the export.

The email will contain a web address to a secure page, from which the administrator can download the series of compressed data files.

To request a data export, follow the steps listed below.

1. Click on:

Setup | Administration Setup | Data Management | Data Export.

2. Select the "Include attachments" check box (if desired).

3. Select any data that you would like to include by checking the box next to the name of the object. Selecting the "Include all data" box will include data from all tables.

4. Click the "Data Export" button.

A confirmation email will be sent when the export has completed, with a link to the export files, as mentioned above.

The weekly export service is available for all Enterprise Edition customers, and is included in your license fees.

The weekly export service is available to Professional Edition customers as an add-on service, for $50/month.

To purchase this feature, please contact your salesforce.com sales representative, call us at 1-800-NO SOFTWARE, or send an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Now isn’t it a little arrogant and self-serving to require customers to pay extra for data backup when the loss of their data will typically be because of Saleforce.com’s failure to protect the data, not their own?

Oh well, just another case of Salesforce.com nickeling and diming their customers…

  1. I would have linked to it, but the URL won’t work unless you are logged in to my account. Grrr.

What other company charges you for a test environment?


SalesForce.com Feature Comparsion By Edition

Gotta love it! See This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ’s comments on The Official Salesforce Blog in response to their post People are talking about the Salesforce Sandbox (emphasis mine):

I think the sandbox is over hyped and over priced, in my personal opinion. We
use the sandbox right now because we have a major migration going on. So we’re
migrating a lot of customer data but did we "NEED" Sandbox to do this.

We could of done sample testing with the Dev environment however we would
miss those data anomalies that always shows up. So I agree with the fact you
would need this area for this type of migration, however I think the price of
that is ridiculous. What other company charges you for a test environment?

As for downloading and testing applications… let’s be real. Salesforce does a
great job where you can put an application in development mode so only admins or
those selected profiles can see the app. You don’t need a Sandbox for that!

Shorten project cycle time… agreed. Again, what other company charges for a
dev instance?

Bottom line… Unless you’re doing migrations/integrations leave sandbox to the
bigger kids.

Ouch!

Personally I think it is really bad form and just plain short sighted when a software company’s pricing policy places features out of reach of customers that can benefit merely as a means to get the more well-heeled customers to increase their spend. Much better to meet the needs of all customers and move the higher end customers up the price curve by include feature they require but no one else needs in the more expensive options/editions. 

In the case of the Sandbox, anyone and everyone doing customization could probably benefit from using their "Sandbox" feature, not just their "Universal" customers. Personally, I wouldn’t know for sure because I can’t justify the expense of a Universal account, although I think the Sandbox could be really beneficial for me.

Or, let me remind you of a question I asked just yesterday; Can you trust Saleforce.com to look for ways to actually meet your needs and not just look for ways to increase your spend?

UPDATE
I just read this: Salesforce.com’s Sandbox is $25 per license per month (PDF). And, because it’s not explicitly stated, I’ve got to assume that getting Sandbox requires that you pay for *all* users on an account given Saleforce.com’s other policies, and that Sandbox is only available for Enterprise edition customers, not for Team edition or Professional edition customers. Of course Universal edition customers get for free, but big whoop there! Just who do they think they are kidding, anyway?!?