Salesforce Expands Starter CRM Horizons

In August 2023, Salesforce launched Salesforce Starter, a new CRM solution tailored for businesses lacking CRM expertise. This platform simplifies the process of trying, buying, and deriving value from Salesforce’s CRM solutions.

As discussed in this post, Salesforce Starter is designed for small and medium businesses (SMBs) with limited CRM experience. Since its launch, Starter has garnered positive reviews from PC Magazine and Business News Daily, and according to Salesforce, has achieved a significant increase in market conversions compared to Essentials (details on specific increases are confidential).

Building on this success, Salesforce has enhanced Starter with new features and recently introduced the new Pro Suite, part of the Starter family of products that aim to make it easier for new users to try, buy, and get value from CRM. This next-level option caters to growing customers seeking a unified CRM with enhanced customization and automation capabilities.

New Pay Now Functionality for Salesforce Starter

The Winter ’24 release introduced the Pay Now feature for Starter, developed in partnership with Stripe. Users can embed a checkout link into a closed opportunity, enabling immediate customer transactions on digital platforms. This feature is particularly beneficial for small businesses facing cash flow challenges.

Launch of Starter Pro Suite

Pro Suite is available for a 30-day free trial on the Pro product page. During the checkout process, customers can compare Starter and Pro Suite features. Both options offer self-service checkout with guided setup.    

Pro Suite includes all Starter features, plus enhanced personalization, flexibility, and automation, and is priced at $100 per user per month.

For instance, while Starter provides users with configuration options, it doesn’t allow users to create custom objects and apps. With Pro Suite, users can create custom apps and objects, and automate and streamline workflows to meet different business requirements. They can also test changes and try out new features in a testing environment before going live.

Customization capabilities enable Pro Suite users to integrate many applications on Salesforce’s AppExchange marketplace with their CRM. In contrast, Starter users are limited to applications that don’t require custom objects.

Additionally, Pro Suite offers advanced sales and service functionalities. These include:

  • Quoting and forecasting functionality, allowing users to create and manage price quotes, and use forecasting tools to monitor and predict revenues.
  • Pay Now for Quotes, enabling users to send a secure payment link to quoted customers.
  • In-app and web messaging, so that users can provide customers with real-time support directly from their websites or applications.
  • A service console agent desktop for dedicated service people.

Pro Suite also features a left navigation bar to ease navigation across these expanded capabilities.

Like Starter, Pro Suite includes only two AI-powered tools, Einstein activity capture and send time optimization.


It’s taken a few iterations, but Salesforce is now on a solid path to deliver an entry-level, turnkey CRM platform with Starter. 

The addition of Pro Suite caters to users needing more advanced features, bridging the gap between Starter and Salesforce’s separate Sales, Marketing, Service, and Commerce clouds, giving Salesforce a viable contender in the integrated CRM platform market.  

Determining what additional functionality to bring into both offerings and what to make exclusive to Pro Suite will be tricky. Salesforce must carefully balance its two CRM Suite offerings, maintaining simplicity for Starter and more sophisticated, yet straightforward functionality for Pro Suite.

The company must also define how to best integrate AI capabilities, like Einstein Copilot, Salesforce’s out-of-the-box conversational AI assistant, with Starter. It will need to figure out how to monetize the value of AI-driven benefits without making customers feel like they’re being nickeled and dimed.

Finally, as Salesforce integrates more features into Pro Suite, it must also consider its impact on its discrete cloud solutions regarding product, positioning, and marketing strategies.

© SMB Group 2024

Note: Salesforce is an SMB Group client.