Getting started with Salesforce Essentials

Salesforce Essentials is the CRM for small businesses. Compared to the more popular Enterprise and Professional editions, Salesforce Essentials, launched in 2017, is much lower priced and has some advanced features missing. It is built as a stepping stone to the other editions of Salesforce. In this article we look at twenty things you must know before starting with the Salesforce Essentials.

If you are currently using Excel sheets to store your prospects, customers and opportunities, then it is time to take a quick look at Salesforce Essentials. The screenshot below captures the first look of a new Salesforce Essentials install without any customizations.

Salesforce Essentials first look
Salesforce Essentials: first screen that comes after registering

The following video gives a quick overview of Salesforce Essentials:

Let’s look at 20 things you need to know before starting your Salesforce Essentials journey.

  1. Salesforce Essentials is priced at USD 25 per user month, when purchased annually. So for one user you may need to pay USD 300 per year, and for ten users USD 3000. Alternatively it can be purchased at USD 35 per month without the annual commitment.
  2. Salesforce Essentials is available in the modern sleek Lightning interface as well as Classic. However any new users should use Lightning, as all new development features of the product are focussed on Salesforce Lightning. Users have the option to switch between Classic and Lightning. Users have the flexibility to create custom report types if needed.
  3. A 14 day free trial is available for Salesforce Essentials.
  4. Salesforce Essentials is accessible through your favorite browser. You do not need to install any software on your desktop to use.
  5. A new edition of Salesforce Essentials includes dummy data of Accounts, Contacts, Leads etc. You can delete this data before you start using the product.
  6. There are two products in the Essentials family: Sales Cloud Essentials and Service Cloud Essentials. You may choose any one of them based on your business needs.
  7. Sales Cloud Essentials includes standard CRM features like: Managing your accounts and Contacts, Manage the sales process by updating the Opportunities, Planning tasks and activities, integrating with popular email tools using Einstein Activity Capture, Capturing leads from the website, Manage customer issues using Cases, Collaborate with other users using Chatter, support for mobile app, and powerful analytics using reports and dashboards.
  8. Service Cloud Essentials includes features like: Managing your accounts and Contacts, Planning tasks and activities, integrating with popular email tools using Einstein Activity Capture, Manage customer issues using Cases, Collaborate with other users using Chatter, support for mobile app, Case assignment and escalation rules, functionality to create a Case from website or eMail, agent console, macros to automate commonly performed tasks, and powerful analytics using reports and dashboards.
  9. Salesforce Essentials customers can extend the functionality of the platform using AppExchange, a robust marketplace of free and paid apps published by Salesforce partners.
  10. Service Cloud Essentials include support for setting up self-service portal using Knowledge.
  11. Salesforce Essentials includes support for Chatter. This tool allows users to share progress and collaborate with each other on Opportunities, Accounts and other objects.
  12. Each business is unique. Salesforce Essentials allows users to customize the application by adding custom fields to standard objects, custom list views, custom reports and several other features.
  13. Essentials includes features to make a dynamic email template that can be used to send mass emails to clients as part of campaigns.
  14. Essentials include an app builder that allows you to customize your pages of the Salesforce instance.
  15. Salesforce provides free tools like Data Import Wizard to import your client details, and other data into Salesforce.
  16. Salesforce Essentials provide a mobile app for Android and iOS that has most of the features available on the desktop version.
  17. Analytics: Reports and Dashboards help companies analyse the performance, and make plans for the future. Salesforce Essentials includes a large number of out of the box standard reports. Additional custom reports are available using a drag and drop interface. Dashboards are built based on custom data.
  18. Resources: There are two main resources available for learning about Salesforce Essentials: Salesforce Essentials Youtube channel, and Trailhead. Trailhead is a free eLearning tool with extensive resources.
  19. Limitations: Salesforce Essentials does not allow users to create new custom objects. This makes it difficult to model new entities of your business into Salesforce. Essentials does not support Apex. This makes it difficult to automate complex business processes.
  20. Bonus point: Salesforce Essentials includes support for Process Builder, Flows and Workflows. These are very powerfool tools for Business automation. Once you are comfortable with basics of Salesforce Essentials, then focus on building expertise on Flows and Process Builders. These will help you in automate your business process and lead to improvements.

Feel free to reach out to the author for any additional queries on Salesforce Essentials.

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Naveen Gabrani

Naveen is a CEO at Astrea IT Services, a Salesforce partner based in India.