We get the question all the time: “which is a better CRM, Microsoft Dynamics or Salesforce?”
Before I address this, I want to be fully transparent: our company sells Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and not Salesforce. But this will by no means be an article trouncing Salesforce. Far from it. What I will discuss amounts to a difference of philosophy and approach between the two companies.
First, let’s give credit where credit is due. As of this writing, Salesforce is the leader in CRM market share world-wide. Over the past few years Microsoft has closely narrowed the gap, and I anticipate they will take the lead fairly soon; however Salesforce deserves praise for what they have achieved.
Dynamics CRM and Salesforce both launched around 13 years ago. CRM was in its infancy then. Large companies like Xerox and Rogers had their own homegrown CRM systems, but today’s out-of-the box CRM systems were just starting. Most companies didn’t have a good way to manage their sales forces, and Salesforce seized that opportunity, offering a simple way for sales managers and their teams to manage contacts, sales opportunities, and pipeline forecasting. Best of all, they made it easy: you didn’t need to involve your IT people in a complicated system…all you needed was a credit card and you could get started with their cloud service right away, before most people even knew what a cloud service was.
Microsoft followed shortly after with Dynamics CRM. Stemming from their burgeoning tradition of .NET applications, their CRM was designed as a platform for configuration. Out of the box it was very rudimentary, with the intention being that it would be configured for each business’ particular needs. Unlike Salesforce which was sold by a network of salespeople, Dynamics CRM was made available through a network of Microsoft partners, who could customize the product to do what the business required.
Our company, who had spent the previous 10+ years developing custom CRM’s for large companies, came to this new CRM era with open minded agnosticism. We had even considered offering both Salesforce and Dynamics CRM. However after taking a very careful look at both platforms, we decided that Dynamics was the superior choice on which to base our future as a company. Today, looking back on that decision, we feel more confident than ever that it was the right choice. Here are three of the top reasons we feel Dynamics is the superior CRM choice:
Dynamics CRM is an extension of Microsoft Outlook. Microsoft Outlook is the most popular email client in use. Other CRM’s, including Salesforce, have connectors to Outlook, but Dynamics CRM resides right in it and was engineered to be an extension of it. Contacts in Outlook automatically load into CRM. Calendar items automatically synch with CRM, and Outlook can send you automatic reminders to complete your tasks. Email can be tracked or converted to a case, lead, or opportunity in CRM with a single click. CRM also integrates perfectly with Excel, SharePoint, Lync and other Microsoft products many companies are already using every day.
Dynamics costs less. A hallmark of Dynamics’ licensing model its all-inclusive nature. Once you get your license, there is really nothing to add to it, because it comes with a tremendous amount of functionality right out of the box. Moreover, Microsoft includes more and more with each release. Today’s version, out of the box, is a powerhouse of functionality compared to its humble beginnings. And Microsoft keeps packing it with more. For example, Microsoft recently acquired FieldOne, the field service company. Now it is included free with CRM. As Microsoft develops more components for different vertical markets, they include them in subsequent editions of Dynamics, many times at no extra cost. Salesforce, conversely, charges for each different module, which can lead to rapidly spiraling costs. The reason is not hard to understand: Salesforce needs to make all their money from CRM. Microsoft, by contrast, sells a vast array of software products, many of which they know you’ll use with CRM.
You will always have access to an enormous partner community. A big part of our decision to go with Dynamics CRM all those years ago was to future-proof our business, based on our belief that Microsoft would continue to invest and grow the CRM platform, and dominate in typical Microsoft style. The future of other CRM companies isn’t as certain. You can rest assured that there will always be an extensive network of certified Microsoft partners to help you if you need it. Salesforce’s network is much more limited.
Thirteen years ago when we made the decision to go with Dynamics CRM vs Salesforce, naturally we had some uncertainty. Today, there is no doubt it was the right choice. Much of our new business comes from companies leaving Salesforce. We see that many companies’ requirements have evolved. Years ago, the main thrust of CRM was to manage salespeople. Today, people want so much more from their CRM, such as case management, estimating, invoicing—and there is just about nothing you can throw at Dynamics CRM that it can’t be made to do. More and more people want their CRM to mold to their business, not vice versa. One of Dynamics CRM’s most powerful features is that it’s designed to be customized and configured to do exactly what you want it to do. And there is no better CRM than Dynamics to give you a full 360-degree view of your customer on a single screen, including information brought in from your financial system and other databases.
Would you like to explore whether Dynamics CRM might be right for you? Contact us today for a free assessment.
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