Comparing CRM Software: Microsoft Dynamics CRM vs. Salesforce

September 7, 2018   //   Customer Relationship Management,

This content has been updated for 2018.

Today’s customers expect relevant content in relation to what they’re doing anytime, anywhere, and in the format of their choosing. In response to changing customer expectations, businesses need to enable a dialogue with customers using information that is relevant and accurate. This makes investing in the right Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system an important decision.

As you narrow down your options, it’s not surprising that Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Salesforce have landed at the top of your list, both leaders in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for sales force automation.

So, which one is best? The answer to that question is that, well, it depends. One of the major benefits of vendors who provide cloud software solutions is that they are constantly improving and innovating. But this can also make it that much more difficult to determine which solution is going to be best at meeting both the current and future needs of your business.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Vs. Salesforce

Whether you’re looking into a CRM system for the first time, or you’ve outgrown your existing platform and desire a solution that can meet the modern needs of your business, here are some of the key features you’ll want to consider when deciding between Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Salesforce.

PRICING

 
Microsoft Dynamics CRM: You can purchase Microsoft Dynamics CRM as a single tool, or you can bundle it with other enterprise tools from Microsoft to get more bang for your buck. Microsoft Dynamics 365 is available for cloud-based deployment where you pay a monthly fee. It can also be deployed on-premises where you pay a license fee upfront for each user. Given the range of sophisticated tools within the Microsoft bundle, Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers some of the most competitive pricing in the market for what you get.

Salesforce: In terms of the number of features you get for the price, Salesforce is one of the most expensive SaaS CRM solution out there. As a SaaS offering, Salesforce is only deployed in the cloud for a monthly fee. In general, that fee can be nearly double that of Microsoft’s pricing for a similar stack of features. That being said, Salesforce does have an impressive portfolio of add-on features that make it an incredibly robust product. Keep in mind, these add-on features also come at an additional cost of their own.

INTEGRATION

 
Microsoft Dynamics CRM: Perhaps one of the most significant areas of improvement we’ve seen in Microsoft Dynamics CRM is the enhanced integration with other Microsoft products, specifically Office 365. Microsoft Dynamics CRM’s tight integration with Office 365 provides a more seamless experience as users communicate and collaborate across multiple platforms. If you’re already using Microsoft products, or have plans to switch over, this can be a huge advantage for boosting workflow and process automation.

Salesforce: Integration has long been one of the biggest strengths of Salesforce. Through the Salesforce AppExchange marketplace, organizations have access to one of the largest B2B app stores, offering a wide range of solutions to integrate third-party apps. For example, Outlook Integration for Salesforce is a popular app which enables users to view Salesforce data directly in Microsoft Outlook. However, as a standalone solution, you won’t get the native connections with Microsoft that you get with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Additionally, customizing your integrations may require a robust team of internal IT experts who understand the proprietary programming language – Apex – that’s unique to Salesforce. Then again, if you’re only looking to integrate with apps outside of Microsoft (SAP, Oracle, IBM, etc.), then Salesforce is a great choice.

DATA VISUALIZATION

 
Microsoft Dynamics CRM: Microsoft Dynamics CRM not only provides robust built-in dashboard capabilities for at-a-glance insights in real-time, but it can also leverage other integrated tools within Office 365 such as Power BI to provide even more comprehensive and powerful analytics capabilities.

Salesforce: Salesforce offers basic dashboards as part of their base solution. The Lightning Professional or Higher price point is what you’ll need if you want to customize dashboards. One drawback to Salesforce is you won’t find real-time data visualizations, at least not yet. The dashboards only update 1 to 2 times per day.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

 
Microsoft Dynamics CRM: In September 2017, Microsoft announced its plans to release AI tools. The integration of AI with Microsoft Dynamics CRM products provides natural parsing and intelligent sales predictions. These tools increase the speed of business for many companies.

Salesforce: While both Salesforce and Microsoft offer enterprise-level AI resources, Salesforce may still have Microsoft beat by a hair thanks so some pretty sophisticated AI tools – namely a feature called Einstein. If you want to get your hands on this intelligent feature, it’s available as an add-on, so expect to pay more.

SOCIAL

 
Microsoft Dynamics CRM: Microsoft acquired LinkedIn in 2016. In the age of social selling, this acquisition shows that Microsoft is making significant investments in stepping up their social selling features, including a direct connection to the business social platforms. Microsoft Relationship Sales solution brings together LinkedIn Sales Navigator to empower sellers to drive more personalized and meaningful engagements with buyers.

Salesforce: Salesforce also offers an impressive integration of social media channels. Increasingly, Salesforce is supporting social media alongside traditional channels so customers can interact with the business via their preferred channels. That being said, the company is facing stiff competition from Microsoft in recent years since being outbid by the $26.2 billion dollar acquisition of LinkedIn.

SPEED OF INNOVATION

 
Microsoft Dynamics CRM: Given the size of Microsoft and their ongoing investment in AI and machine learning, they continue to be a leader in the Digital Transformation movement. Their mission statement demonstrates their commitment to innovation on a wide scale: “Our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.” The Microsoft Dynamics 365 Roadmap provides you information about what is being made generally available to the public and what is in development.

Salesforce: Unlike Microsoft, which offers a wide range of computer technology and business software, Salesforce is dedicated specifically to being a customer relationship management platform and has led the CRM industry for decades. Many people look to Salesforce as a strategic advisor in the CRM industry, and their investment in innovation is not slowing down. Given the deeply interconnected world we live in today, only time will tell how Salesforce will compete in the future with Microsoft’s strong foothold in the Microsoft Office 365 integrated product line.

The Verdict

The marketing engines of both Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Salesforce are powerful and well-funded. What companies do find is that both solutions provide a significant amount of functionality compared to other vendors. The decision to go with one over the other comes down to your specific business needs.

When to Consider Microsoft Dynamics CRM:

  • You’re a midsize company looking for an enterprise-level solution, but you don’t want to pay enterprise-level prices
  • You already have a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement – CRM licenses can be added creating licensing management efficiencies
  • You’re accustomed to working with other Microsoft products, such as Outlook, Word, Excel, etc. – Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers seamless integration with other Microsoft productivity products
  • You need on-premises custom system integration – Salesforce is only offered in the cloud
  • You’re looking for real-time analytics

When to Consider Salesforce:

  • You need a highly sophisticated Marketing Automation solution
  • You’re a large organization with a large budget for a top-of-the-line solution and add-ons
  • You’re not committed to Microsoft products or are looking for integration outside of Microsoft
  • You prefer an “a la carte” pricing model where you can purchase additional features and functionalities based on your needs

SWC provides expertise in both Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics CRM systems. If you’re not sure whether your current system is working for you, SWC will review your environment and provide you with options to evaluate the modern tools in the marketplace to put you on the path to improved customer relationships. Sign up for a free consultation to get started!

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