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Ken Jacobsen, The TM Group

Industrial Services Company Finds Reliable Success “Living” in Outlook with Microsoft Dynamics CRM vs. Salesforce.com

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It took just over a year of using Salesforce.com before managers at our client, an industrial services company that sells purification and fluid management services to the manufacturing sector, determined that a new and more robust CRM system was necessary. Recently, this company found success by replacing Salesforce.com with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Better data

Company managers had poor visibility about sales contacts and opportunities — salespeople would fill out Excel reports on potential clients, but the information didn’t flow consistently because each user had his own way of doing things.

“It was a little cumbersome,” says the controller of the company’s holding company. “The data in Salesforce wasn’t being used effectively due to a lack of training and understanding of the system. What was coming out of it wasn’t reliable or complete in any way.”

The company’s sales process features many steps — including lab testing the fluids of the potential clients — and a long lead time. Having offices spread across several states further complicated the process.

To ease this burden, our CRM consulting team fashioned a Custom Entity called a Lab Request Form which tied together communication among the company’s various arms.

“It’s done a lot to help us connect the pieces together,” the controller says. “There’s a lot of business management information that we will be able to glean from using the system.

“With Salesforce there was no workflow at all around it, and no way to monitor or data mine any of the fields.”

Even out of the box, Microsoft Dynamics CRM comes with easy-to-use workflow and customization tools.

 

Outlook Integration

The primary reason this company’s Salesforce.com rollout failed was the absence of a truly native integration with Outlook. Most users stated they “lived in Outlook,” and while e-mails and contact records could be connected to records in Salesforce.com, they found it inconvenient to bounce between the programs.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM, the users discovered, was much more intuitive.

“It’s got the look and feel of what they’re used to using,” the controller says.

Bolstered with an Outlook toolbar, The TM Group’s customized Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution allowed end users to fully utilize the dynamic functionality of the CRM system within their own e-mail accounts. 

“Our sales guys love it because they can go off-line and even if they’re not connected to the Internet or our internal network, they can keep up on their data and it will sync. It’s quick and easy to do,” the controller says. “They can be on the road and pop open their laptops and add information based on what they just did for a client, and they don’t have to be connected to the Internet to do that.”

 

Partner support

While the Salesforce.com sales pitch was effective, the training fell short. The TM Group provided a constructive one-day Microsoft Dynamics CRM training session where all users were taught together.

“It was very helpful because everyone was hearing the same thing at the same time,” the controller says.

“We’ve been very happy with the TM Group. They not only helped teach us, but were also willing to show us how to do it. That keeps our fees down, but also we have experts to go to if we get hung up.”

 

Lower costs

The standard pricing for Microsoft Dynamics CRM was less than Salesforce.com’s premium support cost.

The company was paying $65 per month per user for Salesforce.com with an additional $16.25 per month per user for Premier Support & Administration. Microsoft Dynamics CRM is just $44/month per user.

“It was easy to implement,” says the controller. “It was cost-effective, and it was easier to use. Even if we paid the same, between the two, it’s easier to use. End of story.”

 By The TM Group, a Michigan Microsoft Dynamics CRM Partner and SharePoint Partner, and Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Dynamics SL and Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

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