Salesforce Communities – Licence Types Explained…

by James Campbell - March 20, 2018
Salesforce Communities – Licence Types Explained…

If you are new to Salesforce Communities, it can be a little tricky getting your head around which type of community licence is right for your organisation.

To start with, there are fundamentally three types of Community: 

Customer Community – allow your customers (B2B and B2C) engage with both your organisation and other customers via an online portal.

Partner Community – give your resellers, distributors, brokers limited access to your Salesforce to pass you leads and work on deals with your sales team.

Employee Community – give certain employees limited access to information in Salesforce. Use this licence type to build custom applications for your employees who don’t require a full Salesforce licence.

Customer Community

For Customer Communities, you have two options:

  • Customer Community (typical use case = B2C with large numbers of external users)
  • Customer Community Plus (typical use case = B2B support and non-sales scenarios)

The ‘Customer Community’ comes with loads of great features however if your users need access to records not linked to their own Account, view Reports & Dashboards, or have delegated administration rights, then the ‘Plus’ version is for you.

Partner Community

There is only one type of Partner Community and main difference between this and the other Community Licences is that these users can access elements of your Salesforce org that relate to your sales process. This includes:

  • Leads
  • Opportunities
  • Quotes
  • Campaigns

In simple terms, if your community users need access to any of the above objects, then this is the community for you.

Employee Community

If you want your own employees to have access to a community, then you must choose this licence type. Users will have access to some standard objects such as Accounts, Contacts and Activities however all the objects related to the Sales process (described in previous section) are not available. This licence type does give users access to Cases however this is only to track internal and employee issues – it is not allowed to be used to manage customer cases.

There are two types of Employee Community licence:

  • Lightning Platform Starter
  • Lightning Platform Plus

The main difference between the Starter and the Plus edition is the number of Custom objects available, therefore the complexity of your data structure is likely to be the deciding factor here. You also receive other increased usage limits such as an increased daily API limit with ‘Plus’.

Pricing Structure

For both your Customer and Partner Communities you have the choice of either:

  • Buying a set number of Users for your community (in the same way you do for Salesforce CRM) –  this option is generally more cost effective when you have smaller numbers of users with a high level of engagement in your community.
  • Buying a set number of ‘Logins’ for your community (based on the total number of times your user base logs in) – this option is generally more cost effective when you have large numbers of users but you don’t expect them all to be logging in very often.

With Employee Communities you only have the option buying a set number of Users for your community.

It is worthwhile spending time to try and come up with accurate usage projections to ensure that you chose the most appropriate pricing structure for your organisation.


If you would like to find out more on this topic, please refer to this: Salesforce help pageAlso, if you would like to discuss your Salesforce Community requirements with us, please get in touch as we have a wealth of experience in this area.

Related Content

Get In Touch

Whatever the size and sector of your business, we can help you to succeed throughout the customer journey, designing, creating and looking after the right CRM solution for your organisation