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According to a report by Fortune Business Insights, the global customer relationship management (CRM) market is projected to grow from $58.04 billion in 2021 to $128.97 billion in 2028 at a CAGR of 12.1%  

From the Coke Vs Pepsi brand rivalry in the 80s to direct brand competition between top ecommerce conglomerates Amazon and Alibaba to neck on neck competition between market leading  Customer Relationship Management (CRM) providers Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Salesforce; competition exists everywhere at any time in human history.

Usually, consumers take any purchase decisions based on their needs depending upon the trust shaped by the brands over the years. But choosing the best technology is a challenging task. And since being attentive to minor customer needs has been a crucial factor in staying relevant in the market today, choosing the right CRM is critical as it can take your business to new heights.

Choosing between two reigning solutions Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Salesforce to make your business prosper is a herculean task. However, we are here to make things easier by measuring the pros and cons of both so that you can choose the best-fit solution for your business needs.

Defining a ‘leading’ CRM

CRM solution has become the fastest adopted segment in enterprise application software. CRM helps in developing better client relationships, develops the company’s ability to cross-sell, automates mundane tasks, enhances team collaboration and many more.  However, implementing a CRM system in any organisation is a vital undertaking as it transforms overall processes and affects all the employees. So, which software is the best in terms of advantages and risks?

There are a few points; from the onboarding to extensibility and roadmap, and user adoption to generating useful insights, all these are critical components while choosing CRM solutions.

Similarly, total cost of ownership, hidden costs, data location, configurability, future roadmaps are significant things to understand before you decide to purchase any CRM solutions.

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When you purchase any CRM software, you will get a lot of out-of-the-box functionality, however, you need to configure those features to adapt to the existing functions. This comes under configurability.

Similarly, the future roadmap of a CRM solution is also a key factor as it shows the purpose and goal of the CRM company. “The questions like how your CRM is investing, how are they developing over time, how is the actual product lifespan of the product are crucial before choosing any solution,” shares Chris Lightely, CRM Functional Consultant of Dogma Group in a webinar titled ‘Salesforce vs Microsoft Dynamics CRM Where do their strengths lie?’.

Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics 365?

Weighing each CRM solution can be confusing, so, we have analysed the benefits and drawbacks of two market leaders in the CRM market.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Salesforce, the best-in-class solutions, have both made hefty investments in Research and Development and lead the CRM market share.

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Both Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Salesforce have comprehensive sets of work tools and on the surface, they appear to be similar. They coordinate information on sales lead and existing customers, offer services support applications, and have similar functionality through Sales Modules, Marketing Modules, Service Modules and so on.

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Nevertheless, they have differences in terms of integration, deployment, AI capabilities, license agreement and others which are the major factors that will help you to decide the best solution for your company.  The following are some areas where we can compare the two giant CRM players:

1. Deployment

Salesforce is one of the standalone CRM products that unifies data on the cloud whereas Dynamics 365 unifies data and connects to other Microsoft products.

Salesforce is cloud-based software whereas Dynamics 365 has both cloud service as well as on-premise solutions.

2. Artificial Intelligence

AI-based CRM helps you make intuitive and actionable sales decisions by using data and insights effectively, increase your sales through personalised sales strategy, creates upsell/cross-sell opportunities, retain customers, and automates manual tasks.

artificial-intelligence

Dynamics 365 uses Dynamics 365 AI for AI capabilities and Salesforce is powered by Einstein AI. The capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics AI include sales forecasting, tracking customer needs and market needs. Similarly, the capabilities of Salesforce Einstein are advanced AI learning algorithms, recommendations on effective marketing strategies and actions to sales team.

The features are similar; however, the AI-based assistant of Salesforce ‘Einstein’ is stronger in terms of depth, research and it uses advanced AI algorithm which understand the pattern of the company and suggests insights for betterment. But the point is Dynamics 365 has built-in AI, Salesforce’s AI capabilities are available at an additional price.

3. Service Level Agreement

Service Level Agreement (SLA) in CRM is crucial as it sets clear and measurable guidelines and obliges the service provider to provide alternatives for their errors or unmet customer needs. Thus, they have a critical role in the software evaluation process.

While talking about the SLA of these two giant players, the SLA for Microsoft Dynamics 365 is 99.9% financially backed and easily obtainable. On the other hand, Salesforce’s SLA are not readily available.

4.Integration

A CRM solution can work up to its full potential when it is integrated with other applications or software.

Both Salesforce and Dynamics 365 have a lot of options when it comes to integration.

Dynamics 365 is a perfect option for those who are already using Microsoft products. Dynamics 365 CRM integrates with other Microsoft solutions such as Outlook, Office 365, Power BI as other third-party applications including BI applications, ERP systems.

Similarly, Salesforce offers 3,000 plus applications. Salesforce system integrates with Mulesoft composer, platform events, Salesforce Connect, Apex, Platform APIs, Google Cloud, QuickBooks, Dropbox and others.

5. Cost & License Agreement

Both the CRM software Salesforce and Microsoft charge on gigabyte basis. “They do this because they don’t want you to be naïve about data. They want you to understand about the total cost of ownership and want you to have a proper strategy,” says Eddie Harford, CEO of Dogma Group in the webinar. 

On the license agreement side, Salesforce binds you to long-term contract plans from 3-5 years whereas you can take a monthly subscription for Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

In terms of cost, Salesforce provides discounts whereas Microsoft Dynamics is not flexible in terms of discounts.

6. User Adoption

User adoption is considered the most crucial element in CRM success.

“If the users don’t use CRM, the reports and insights don’t work and it can be a waste of money, no matter how good the solution is. Change management is a key to user adoption,” explains Eddie.

Online training, compatibility, office 365 integration are some of the major considerable factors in user adoption.

Online resources in Trailhead help you get started with learning about Salesforce. You can follow guided learning paths, get hands-on step by step instructions, learn directly from Salesforce experts in Trailhead. Similarly, you can find the courses for Dynamics 365 in Microsoft Learn. Microsoft Learn has learning paths, modules, video sessions and other learning material.

When talking about how learning friendly each medium is, Salesforce’s learning content are interactive and interesting compared to the learning resources in Microsoft Learn, which are limited to being informative.

Concerning integration, while Salesforce has limited integration with Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics 365 has full integration with it.

What’s the verdict?

As both SalesForce and Microsoft Dynamics 365 hold commanding market share in the CRM realm, choosing between these two needs in-depth analysis and consultation from technology advisors. Because, at the end of the day, the key to deciding a fit CRM solution for the company depends on the company’s need.

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You surely would not want to invest in new CRM just to discover after a few months that it is not scalable or is no longer supported. So, what you will need is a well invested, adaptable and scalable solution. As your trusted advisors, Dogma Group is there to help you choose and implement the right technology. You can watch this webinar to understand the functionality of Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365 in detail.

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