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Sales Cloud vs. Service Cloud – What Are the Differences?

By Rachel Garton

You may be exploring Salesforce for your business and are wondering about the differences between Salesforce’s two main clouds – Sales Cloud and Service Cloud. Sales Cloud and Service Cloud are both built on the core Salesforce Platform, so there are critical features they share, but they are also fairly unique.

Sales Cloud is focused for sales reps and sales managers, with all key functionality geared towards account acquisition, the sales funnel, and closing deals. Service Cloud is geared towards service agents and service managers. Key functionality is focused on agent efficiencies, customer experience, and managing customer service issues in line with your company’s processes and service level agreements (SLAs).

First we’ll take a quick look at these core, shared features before looking at what makes Sales Cloud for sales teams and Service Cloud for service teams.

Shared Features

There is a certain amount of overlap between Sales Cloud and Service Cloud, which can make things a little confusing at first. Before we dive into Sales or Service Cloud specifically, let’s look at what feature they share. These are core Salesforce concepts that almost all industries need.

Accounts and Contacts

Whether you’re in sales or service, the common thread is the customer, which is why one of Salesforce’s core features is the ability to manage your accounts and key contacts within that account.

Accounts and contacts allow you to manage organizations you work with as the key people within those organizations. The Salesforce data model allows accounts to be part of a larger hierarchy if needed, and you can associate a single contact to multiple accounts if they are a key person across many interrelated institutions.

READ MORE: How to Build a Salesforce Account Hierarchy

Basic Case Management

While Service Cloud provides many more features for a robust and personalized service experience, Salesforce recognizes that keeping existing customers happy is just as critical for sales as converting new leads.

Sales Cloud, therefore, also offers some very basic case management features, so you can provide your sales team with visibility into their customers’ support issues and give people the service they need to become returning customers.

Sales Cloud

The following features are the bread and butter of what makes Sales Cloud unique from Service Cloud. Let’s take a look.

Lead Management

The very beginning of the sales funnel is all about nurturing prospects to find viable deals! Prospective customers are captured as Leads in Sales Cloud and nurtured by sales reps to move them through the lead funnel.

  • Lead Assignment Rules will automatically assign new leads to reps or teams based on certain attributes, such as geography or product of interest.
READ MORE: Salesforce Lead Assignment Rules Best Practices and Tricks
  • Lead Auto-Response Rules provide automated follow-up for eligible leads. For example, if a lead comes in from an online information request form, then Sales Cloud can automatically send the prospect an email thanking them for their interest and letting them know a rep will be in touch soon.
  • Web-to-Lead: Speaking of leads coming in from online forms, Sales Cloud has a native feature called Web-to-Lead, which allows you to automatically generate a web form to capture prospects that can be added to any site, even if it isn’t a Salesforce page.
  • Path: A visual representation of major steps in a process, such as the lead nurturing process or lead funnel. As a part of Paths, you can add customized Guidance for Success notes to give advice and coaching for moving the lead further through the Path.
READ MORE: Enable Salesforce Path In 6 Easy Steps
  • Lead Conversion: Finally, when a lead has expressed interest in moving forward, a rep can qualify them as a strong prospect and Convert the lead to a full account. Once a lead is converted to an account (or person account, depending on your model), and related records you can manage all relevant information about that company and person using the customer management features we covered.

Opportunity Management: Pipeline and Forecasting

We’ve now moved down the pipeline to actual qualified potential sales. These potential sales are captured as opportunities.

  • Path: Just like with leads, you can define a number of sales processes which are in-line with the sales methodology your company uses. A Salesforce Path can be added to opportunity pages to help guide your reps through every opportunity stage.
READ MORE: Complete Guide & Tutorial to Salesforce Opportunity Stages
  • Forecasting: Monitoring pipeline is a huge part of any sales organization. How can you predict how much money each rep will close in a given period? And how can you track performance against quotas? Enter Forecasting! Salesforce has native forecasting tools to give sales managers and their reps visibility into projections and performance.
  • Quotes: Many industries have a sales process which require complex quote building. Basic Sales Cloud Quote building allows you to add in products, their quantity, pricing, and any discounts. A single opportunity may have multiple quotes as your Sales rep negotiates the deal, but you can always pick which quote will “sync” to pipeline reports and forecasting. You can also just add products underneath an opportunity if you don’t need to go the route of formal quotes.

If you have highly customized product configurations and pricing models, Salesforce CPQ may be worth exploring. You can read more about it in the guide below:

READ MORE: Salesforce Products and Pricebooks vs. Salesforce CPQ

Service Cloud

The following features are the foundation of what makes Service Cloud unique from Sales Cloud. Let’s look at how Service Cloud supports customer service teams.

Robust Case Management

One of the critical features Service Cloud offers is the ability to automatically handle incoming cases to make sure nothing gets missed, just like how Sales Cloud has the Lead Auto-Response and Assignment rules.

  • Auto-Response Emails: When a new customer ticket comes into the system, Salesforce can automatically provide the customer with an auto-response email acknowledging their issue.
  • Assignment Rules: These configured rules run to route the ticket to the right agent or team.
  • Email-to-Case: Another nice feature in Service Cloud routes emails coming in to a specific inbox to Salesforce directly. For example, if customers frequently email in to a support email like, you can have inbound emails to that address sync automatically to a case in Salesforce so you don’t have to worry about a person manually monitoring that inbox. Once the case gets created, your Auto-Response and Assignment Rules will run normally!
READ MORE: Email-to-Case Best Practices: Case Assignment Rules, Queues & Auto-Replies
  • Entitlements and Milestones: Beyond handling incoming cases, Service Cloud has native ways to track what types of support your customers are entitled to, known as Entitlements. You can also define key Milestones of that process. Your team can keep track of which cases need immediate attention by defining appropriate service levels and outlining steps within a service process.
READ MORE: Complete Guide to Salesforce Entitlements and Milestones in Service Cloud

More Customer Support Channels

Service Cloud also lets you take customer support beyond cases. Customers want to be able to get support on their terms, whether it’s via email, a support portal, online chat, or SMS.

  • Omni-Channel: Connects all of your support channels, providing consistent support to your customers and giving your agents work in one consolidated place. Omni-Channel can assign incoming customer service issues based on agent capacity by checking their workload.
READ MORE: An Admin’s Guide to Salesforce Omni-Channel
  • Omni-Channel Performance Dashboard: Monitors agent work performance to maximise efficiency. Metrics include agent work by service channel, average response time by agent, and average handle time by agent. Install this pre-configured, free dashboard from the AppExchange listing.
READ MORE: Service Cloud Dashboards Pack (Free and Preconfigured!)
  • Live Chat: Embed a chat window on any webpage, not just Salesforce pages.
READ MORE: An Introduction to Salesforce Chat (Live Agent)
  • SMS Support: Your customers can text from their smartphone while your agents stay in their Salesforce console.

  • Service Cloud Voice: The CTI tool for handling and routing incoming calls through Salesforce.
READ MORE: Service Cloud Voice: Unifying Telephony and CRM in Real Time

Self-Service Options

Beyond case management, Service Cloud has several features to help deflect cases and provide self-service options to your customers.

  • Lightning Knowledge: Easily build a knowledge base within Salesforce to provide easy answers and critical information. You can make a public knowledge base or one for registered customers only. The Case Deflection component that Salesforce provides out-of-the-box enables customers can type-ahead search in the Submit a Case fields, and the component will recommend knowledge articles to your customers that could help solve their issue.
READ MORE: The Ultimate Guide to Setting Up Salesforce Knowledge
  • Einstein Bots: Chatbots act almost like triage and can handle more rote issues such as FAQs, checking on order statuses, or asking basic company questions. Customize the Bot’s name and personality and the bot sits right in the normal Chat window that your agents use. If the bot can’t find the answer, it can route to an agent or create a case for the customer, providing a seamless service experience.
READ MORE: Complete Guide to Salesforce Einstein Bots


Now you know about the differences between Salesforce’s two main clouds – Sales Cloud and Service Cloud – you’ll feel more confident when may be exploring Salesforce for your business.

Sales Cloud and Service Cloud are both built on the core Salesforce Platform, so there are critical features they share, namely accounts, contacts, and case management (although basic in Sales Cloud compared to Service Cloud). However, they are also unique, with Sales Cloud focusing on lead management, opportunity management (pipeline and forecasting), and Service Cloud focusing on case management, opening up more support channels, and self-service options.

The Author

Rachel Garton

Rachel is a 15x certified Salesforce Solutions Architect with over 8 years of Salesforce experience. She enjoys tackling technical challenges and exploring the possibilities of new technologies.


    March 30, 2021 5:43 am
    Please suggest any app to get updated
    Salesforce Petr
    March 30, 2021 10:17 am
    Please give an overview how you can tell that Service Cloud is installed. Licensing is very confusing. Is Service Cloud an add-on to Sales Cloud or can it exist without underlying Sales Cloud?
    Christine Marshall
    April 01, 2021 11:23 am
    Service Cloud includes Sales Cloud functionality, and adds additional service related features. The easiest way to tell if your have Service Cloud (in addition to Sales Cloud) is in Setup | Administration Setup | Company Profile | Company Information. Then look under your Feature Licenses section. In that section you'll see if you have any Service Cloud licenses.
    D L Reeves
    April 07, 2021 12:31 pm
    Thanks for this information1
    Christine Marshall
    April 08, 2021 10:02 am
    Thanks for reading!
    Rick Sumner
    May 05, 2021 5:22 pm
    Knowledge is available in Sales Cloud license as well. Is Assignment and Escalation Rules available to Sales Cloud license as well? I know Service Console, Entitlements, Bots are only available with Service Cloud license but the actual differences in functionality is unclear. Is there a comparison chart?
    October 14, 2021 7:20 pm
    Hi Rick -- limited Knowledge access is available to Sales Cloud users but for full Knowledge content lifecycle management and authoring, Service Cloud licenses are necessary. In other words, Sales Cloud users can see articles and have access to them for information that may assist with sales processes (product specs, etc.) but with Sales Cloud alone you will be limited on authoring and publishing article versions, etc. The best way to quickly compare key features is to look at the Sales and Service Cloud product pages that Salesforce keeps. Sales Cloud: Service Cloud:
    December 17, 2021 12:04 pm
    This comment completely contradicts the whole blog post though? "Service Cloud includes Sales Cloud functionality, and adds additional service related features" - but this post is about the differences - "The following features are the bread and butter of what makes Sales Cloud unique from Service Cloud". The licensing of sales cloud is very confusing - It feels like you can buy a mix of the two but in reality, all your service users have access to all of Sales Cloud anyway?
    Christine Marshall
    December 17, 2021 1:55 pm
    Hi Jamie, I could have phrased my response better. Service Cloud includes much of the Sales Cloud functionality but not all. Both Sales and Service Cloud have overlapping features such as Leads, Accounts and Contacts. In the same way that Sales Cloud comes with Cases, Service Cloud includes sales features such as Opportunities. That said, Service Cloud users do not get access to all sales features such as quotes or opportunity splits. I agree that it can be hard to work out what features you get with each cloud.
    Tim Sullivan
    December 17, 2021 8:42 pm
    How do I know who is assigned to Sales Cloud and who is assigned to Service Cloud? I just can't figure out where to make the distinction.
    Christine Marshall
    December 20, 2021 9:59 am
    Hi Tim, Service users will have the 'Service Cloud User' checkbox enabled on their user record. To see all users with this permission, you could create a list view on users?
    April 08, 2022 7:08 am
    So, is Serivce Cloud license org based, or user based? I am confused too. I just subscribed to 30 day trial Service Cloud, checked the org licenses(including Feautre licenses) and they are totally subsets of my work org, which doesn't have Service Cloud subscription. Service Cloud User license appears in both orgs.
    Christina Quinones
    September 28, 2022 11:45 pm
    Sales and Service Cloud are now part of one UPC from Salesforce, meaning, you are paying for 1 license per user and that user gets access to both clouds (from a licensing standpoint), so no extra cost. The access difference is the checkbox on the User record which marks them as a "Service Cloud User". So, by default, all users will be Sales Cloud only until you mark the checkbox, per user, to give them Service Cloud too. Checking the box gives the user access to features like advanced case management, knowledge, and other service specific features.
    Raiane Pereira Guedes
    October 31, 2022 6:45 pm
    Olá, a empresa ja tem Sales cloud e esta querendo adicionar vendas com whatsapp e chatbot tem como contratar so essa parte do Service ? ou o Sales tem como adicionar ?
    Alekhya Mandadi
    March 10, 2023 3:41 pm
    Email-to-case, Web-to-Case, Case Assignment Rules, and Case Auto-Response come with Sales Cloud too. You don't need Service Cloud licenses.
    May 20, 2024 6:29 am
    what are service cloud liscenced objects by default?

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