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
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.
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…
Reports and dashboards
Workflow and approvals
Files sync and share
Lightning service console
Workflow and approvals
Social customer service
Automation with macros
Account and contact management
Custom reports and dashboards
Asset and order management
B2C journey management
B2B marketing automation
Data management platform
Data sharing platform
Social media marketing
Customer data management
Opportunity and funnel management
Partner relationship management
Sales performance management
Quote and order management
AI-driven insights for market trends
Custom reports and dashboards
Survey insights from Customer Voice
LinkedIn Sales Navigator
Sales playbooks access
Contextual guidance for every sales cycle stage
Cross-channel customer case management
Knowledge base management
Survey insights from Customer Voice
Customer journey management
Built-in A/B testing
Multi-channel campaign management
Event planning and management
Lead management (e.g. lead scoring and prioritisation models)
Social media management
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.
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’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.
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 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.
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.
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.