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Experience Cloud: The One Where we Compare Licensing to Parfaits

As Digital Transformation continues to drive momentum, more of our customers and prospects are looking to create a connected, digital experience for customers, partners, and other key stakeholders. In the Salesforce space, this translates to one of the core features of Experience Cloud, Sites (formerly Communities).

One of the most common conversations I have with our customers and prospects is in the early stages of their Site (or community) implementation, which tend to go something like this:

An early conversation with a prospect about creating a new Site.

Two major things pop out to me as key points to talk about in a conversation like this:

  1. Defining the use case you’re solving for is critical, but sometimes this is hard when you “don’t know what you don’t know” about Experience Cloud and what the Salesforce platform offers
  2. Understanding what type of licenses are needed from Salesforce is also top of mind during the conversation

Here comes my analogy: Salesforce Site user licenses are layered (yes, like parfaits, but not as delicious). If you were to call me up and ask me on the fly what kind of licensing you need, I would pepper you with questions:

  • What is the makeup of your community user base? Are these customers, partners, employees… a MIX?
  • What kind of community is this? Are you using this for partner relationship management? Customer case deflection? Collaboration? Knowledge base?
  • Will your content be available to the public? Or does it need to be gated?
  • What does your roadmap look like? Maybe today you are using it for case deflection for your customers, but maybe someday would you want to open it up to support partners?
  • How often are your users logging in? Is there a need for a customer to log in multiple times a week? Or will this user only log in when they need things?

The list goes on and on! Ok, it’s not that long of a list, but I had to say it for effect.

To start making some decisions, begin with asking yourself this question: do my users need to authenticate, or log in, to use this site? Some companies, for example, require customers to log in for access to manage their support requests but they might have a public Knowledge Base that does not require authentication in order to access it.

If you are offering a fully public user experience, you have your answer… you don’t need licenses. We can go on our merry way of helping you with your digital experience strategy (yes, Sites really should have strategies, more on that later!)

If the answer is that your content and experience need to be behind a login, then we need to consider the layers of the parfait to determine which type of license you need. There are two main types of licensing:

  • Customer: If you’re looking to accomplish Case deflection, Customer support, Knowledge Base, Collaboration… you are most likely looking at a Customer License
  • Partner: If activities are more around partner relationships, such as deal registration, co-selling (lead and or opportunity management), marketing distribution funds, spiffs… you are most likely looking at Partner Licenses.

So, about now is when my customers will ask me…

“Is that it, Jill? Is that where my decision-making stops? Can we PLEASE start scoping our new, super-awesome, and purposeful Site?”

Because everyone loves parfait

And this is where I remind everyone that licenses have layers!

  • The foundation of your parfait: Will you have public facing content / activities or authenticated (or both)?
  • Next, consider your audience. Based on what you’re trying to accomplish, is your primary audience made up of Partners, Customers, or Employees?
  • The next layer is tricky and in reality, this is more like a matrix than a layered parfait, but work with me here. This is where you need to have a realistic handle on what actions your Users will be performing in your Site. Advanced features like creating their own reports and dashboards, or managing new Users will require advanced licensing.
  • And finally, the whipped cream on top is to consider how often your Users will be logging in. For some scenarios, it may only be an occasional log in throughout the year. For others, you have Users logging in to the Site multiple times a week. There are licensing implications here that should be considered, and the threshold we commonly see is 3 logins per month – after that, you should look at pooled logins. The good news is that you can buy a mix of licenses to support your needs, and we can help you make your decision.

I promised lots of layers, and I gave you four of them! Hopefully, this helps to provide some food for thought in gearing up for a rollout of Experience Cloud. I know this can be confusing, and if you’re still unclear that is OK – that’s what we’re here for! Please feel free to reach out in the comments or via our website and we would be happy to help answer your questions!

Lastly, I promised to touch on purpose, and anyone who contacts us with a clearly defined purpose for their Site will get brownie points! We really dive into setting a clear purpose for your digital experience in our webinar, Secrets to Launching a Successful Community, and spoiler alert: you can jump to 10:59 to catch that specific topic. Although I highly recommend you watch the entire webinar if you want your rollout to be successful… your choice… no pressure!

And of course, we can also help you define your Site’s purpose too, so feel free to reach out to discuss, we love to geek out over Experience Cloud!

Jill Penfield

Jill is a 4x certified Solutions Architect, Experience Cloud Specialist, and Principal Client Director at GearsCRM. She is passionate about helping customers achieve their goals in new implementations and ongoing enhancements. Jill is knowledgeable in all the Salesforce clouds and loves finding the perfect solutions to fit her customers' internal processes, as well as meet the needs of their external audiences (Sites!). She has been working with Salesforce for 10+ years.

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