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Deciding to implement a new CRM system is a big step for your business. It’s exciting too - the new tool could transform change the way your business works and take your efficiency, productivity and more to the next level.

However, there’s a lot hinging on making the right choice. One of those factors is choosing the right vendor. Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM and Salesforce are two of the most popular CRM options. This blog will compare the two to help you pick the right one for your business.

 

Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM vs Salesforce: Let’s compare

Dynamics CRM benefitsPhoto by Will H McMahan on Unsplash

The platform and deployment options

Salesforce was designed and built for the cloud. Great if your business is completely on-board with storing your data on a remote server and switching to browser-based and/or mobile-friendly software.

Dynamics 365, on the other hand, is much more flexible and offers both cloud and on-premise. For example, Sales and Service is available in a fully cloud-based version while other options like Finance and Operations are also available as on-premise. Perfect if your business is still on the fence about completely moving your core systems to the cloud.

Winner: This is a tough call. Both are great as it depends on what your business needs. However, we’d say Dynamics 365 wins, thanks to its flexibility.

The variety of integrations

The out-of-the-box software isn’t enough? Not to worry! Both Microsoft and Salesforce offer plenty of application add-ons to help you tweak the system to how you need it. If you need more than their native add-ons, there are a variety of third-party applications and integrations available for you to browse on Microsoft’s AppSource and Salesforce’s AppExchange.

Generally, it’s said that Salesforce has the upper hand when it comes to optimising your out-of-the-box CRM for specific industries/business models. This is mostly because Salesforce offers more than 3,000 apps and has its own partner program and connected platforms. Handy if your in-house developers want to build custom solutions on the Salesforce platform.

Comparison of Salesforce and Dynamics 365Photo by israel palacio on Unsplash

However, Microsoft have invested heavily in their app connections and is fast gaining on Salesforce. Plus, Microsoft’s native integrations with their other popular, market-leading products, such as Microsoft Power BI and PowerApps (allow you to turn your data and current connections into custom apps), Office 365 and Teams.

Salesforce does connect to these popular Microsoft apps but the native integration you’d get with Dynamics 365 is much better as Microsoft own these products. So, if your company has invested heavily in Microsoft products, Dynamics 365 CRM could be the one to choose, thanks to smoother synchronisation and familiarity of the user interface.

Winner: Another close one. Salesforce offers more integrations (especially third-party) but Microsoft’s native integrations are much better. We’d call this one a tie.

Connecting with other business systems

Speaking of integrations, Salesforce is a standalone CRM system. This means if you want to connect Salesforce with your other business systems, like your ERP and business communication platform, you’ll need connectors. The more systems you have, the pricier this can be.

In contrast, Microsoft offers various other business systems as well as the CRM. Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations and Dynamics 365 Business Central, for example, are two popular ERP systems. Then, of course, there’s also Office 365 and Microsoft Teams.

All of these can easily connect with the Dynamics 365 CRM, no connectors required.

Winner: Dynamics 365, for sure.

A few specific features

Both products offer the core functionalities you’d expect from a CRM, such as sales force and marketing automation. However, there are a few differences. Let’s take a look at some of the main features…

Salesforce

Modules Features
Sales

Contact management

Opportunity management

Lead management

Reports and dashboards

Salesforce Mobile

Email integration

Sales forecasting

Workflow and approvals

Files sync and share

Data management

Data governance

Partner management

Performance management

Einstein AI

Territory management

Service

Lightning service console

Case management

Workflow and approvals

Omnichannel routing

Telephony integration

Social customer service

Automation with macros

Account and contact management

Custom reports and dashboards

Asset and order management

Einstein AI

Marketing

B2C journey management

B2B marketing automation

Email marketing

Data management platform

Data sharing platform

Social media marketing

Digital advertising

Mobile messaging

Einstein AI

Microsoft CRM

Modules Features
Sales

Customer data management

Opportunity and funnel management

Partner relationship management

Task management

Sales performance management

Contract management

Quote and order management

Marketing automation

Customer service

Knowledgebase management

AI-driven insights for market trends

Custom reports and dashboards

Seller-generated projections

Predictive forecasting

Survey insights from Customer Voice

LinkedIn Sales Navigator

Sales playbooks access

Contextual guidance for every sales cycle stage

Service

Cross-channel customer case management

Self-service portals

Knowledge base management

Service intelligence

Incident routing

Survey insights from Customer Voice

Marketing

Customer journey management

Landing pages

Email marketing

Built-in A/B testing

Multi-channel campaign management

Event planning and management

Lead management (e.g. lead scoring and prioritisation models)

Power BI

Social media management

Social listening

We know that’s a lot of information in those tables so let’s break it down. Here are some Salesforce features that are a little stronger than Dynamics 365:

  • Einstein AI is said to be more powerful than Dynamics 365's built-in AI (which we discuss properly in the next section)
  • Territory management
  • Marketing features have been around longer (first created in 2000 in comparison to Dynamics 365 Marketing which was released in 2018) so are said to be more 'developed' and well-known in the CRM landscape 

And here’s what Dynamics 365 offers that Salesforce doesn’t:

  • AI-driven insights so you can monitor emerging market and customer trends
  • A deeper look into how your customers are feeling, thanks to Dynamics 365’s Customer Voice feature
  • Native integration with LinkedIn via the LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Dynamics 365 for Sales and LinkedIn Sales Navigator combine to create Microsoft Relationship Sales which uses LinkedIn data to identify leads and build relationships through personalised interactions
  • Dynamics 365 for Field Service is a lot more developed, advanced and integrated within the CRM than Salesforce’s alternative (Field Service Lightning)

Salesforce might be better known as leading the CRM market, but Dynamics 365 offers a more comprehensive package when it comes to satisfying sales, service and marketing requirements.

Winner: Dynamics 365, thanks to its all-in-one approach.

AI features

Salesforce and Dynamics 365’s AI features are what really help these two stand out from the CRM market. Both offer intuitive AI capabilities, plus additional enterprise-level resources so you can build custom AI tools to enhance your sales and service tools.

Dynamics 365 CRM vs SalesforcePhoto by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Dynamics 365’s AI features:

  • Ability to track emerging market trends and customer needs
  • Sales predictions
  • Recommends the next best actions and talking points based on previous sales interactions
  • Relationship health notifications so you can proactively flag at-risk deals
  • Contextual guidance during every stage of the sales cycle

Salesforce’s AI features:

  • Advanced AI learning algorithms that understand each company’s unique selling habits and proactively suggests improvements
  • Recommends answers to customer questions
  • Recommends effective marketing strategies and tactics
  • Recommends next best actions for sales teams

Although they’re very similar, Salesforce’s Einstein AI is said to just beat Microsoft’s by a hair. Einstein uses advanced AI-infused learning algorithms to understand your company’s selling habits, right down to the nitty gritty. Then, it suggests improvements so your business can always be evolving.

The only downside? It’s available as an add-on cost while Dynamics 365’s AI features come packaged with the CRM. You just pay for the number of users.

Winner: Salesforce, though you’d have to pay extra for Einstein.

Cost

Salesforce’s pricing can be quite complex as there are lots of apps, licensing levels and optional add-ons to consider. Generally, it’s charged based on the number of users and features included within a package.

Dynamics CRM or Salesforce

Dynamics 365’s pricing can be easily accessed. However, it doesn’t mean it’s set in stone. Remember, unlike Salesforce, Dynamics 365 isn’t a standalone CRM - there are also ERP apps available as well as CRM. Many vendors will also offer custom pricing and discounts based on the specific package/number of products being licensed.

For this reason, Dynamics 365 is a lot more flexible than Salesforce and typically more cost-effective. Plus, it’s arguably easier to ‘build’ the perfect package for your business with Dynamics 365, thanks to the variety of apps.

In addition, Salesforce is significantly more expensive than Dynamics 365. For example, if you upgrade to Enterprise with Salesforce to access workflow and automation capabilities, it'll set you back £120 a month per user. With Dynamics 365, it's £71.60 per user for Enterprise Sales so for just over half the price, you can access the aforementioned features.

Winner: Dynamics 365 as it’s more suited to businesses of all sizes and is more cost-effective.

Training required

When you change business systems, you’ll likely have to train your users. With Dynamics 365, getting the right level of knowledge, training and support lies with your choice of Microsoft partner. Microsoft don’t typically handle CRM implementations as their network of partners will have more expertise across different industries.

Salesforce, however, manages its customer orientation in-house. They have both the expertise in implementations and a network of partners to refer customers to.

Winner: Salesforce.

Service Level Agreement

Salesforce’s Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are only available on request and have to be negotiated. However, Microsoft is committed to providing a 99.9% uptime via its SLA.

Winner: Dynamics 365.

 

The ultimate verdict: Who wins?

It seems like Dynamics 365 reigned supreme in more categories than Salesforce, right? However, if we’re honest, neither is truly ‘better’ than the other. Both solutions are market leaders and offer intuitive features on a scalable platform. And you have the ability to customise your CRM, thanks to a variety of integrations.

It just depends on what you want from your CRM and what would best fit with your existing business processes. For example, if your business is ready to move completely to the cloud, Salesforce might be the one. But if your business is on the fence and you already have some Microsoft software installed, such as Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations, the Microsoft CRM sounds like the right call.

Want more advice on how you can pick the right CRM for your business? Check out our guide via the button below.

Here's how to find the right CRM

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