Business Central vs Dynamics 365 for Sales.

We frequently get questions from prospects about options for CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solutions. The Microsoft Dynamics 365 applications can be confusing and deciphering which one is the best fit for your business can be a tricky task. One area which causes confusion, in particular, is the difference between the Sales capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central and Dynamics 365 for Sales, and which one a business might need.

business central dashboard
dynamics 365 for sales dashboard

In this blog, we will start with an overview of both products, a comparison of the two, and when a business might use one as opposed to the other. Let’s dive into it… 

What is Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central and Dynamics 365 for Sales?

Business Central is Microsoft’s cloud-based ERP offering, suitable for small and mid-size organisations who are looking to upgrade their entry-level accounting software or legacy ERP system to one single, comprehensive solution. Dynamics 365 Business Central is designed to help businesses manage their financials, manufacturing, projects, inventory management, shipping and more. Within Business Central, there is Customer Relationship Management (CRM) functionality to help support sales teams, however, this is basic and limited in comparison with specific CRM systems. 

Dynamics 365 for Sales is a cloud-based CRM solution, purposely designed and built to support sales teams, and sits on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Platform. The solution allows businesses to qualify leads, manage sales opportunities, build relationships, structure and automate elements of the sales process and more.  

Both Business Central and Dynamics 365 for Sales are two separate products and must be purchased and licensed individually, although they can be integrated using a standard connector. However, there are similar CRM capabilities in both, which has caused some confusion around the most suitable for a business.  

Should I use Business Central or D365 Sales as a CRM Solution?

The CRM capabilities within Dynamics 365 Business Central are fairly limited in comparison to Dynamics 365 for Sales. Whilst this option may be enough for some companies’ contact and opportunity management needs, those looking for an end-to-end, purpose-built CRM solution, may not be satisfied with this.

The basic sales management features within Business Central include:

  • Contact Management
Contact Card Business Central
  • Opportunity Management
Opportunity management - business central
  • Account Management
Account Management Business Central
  • Quote & Order Management
  • Campaigns & Segments

If we compare this to Dynamics 365 for Sales, which is built as a CRM solution, the capabilities are much more extensive and is a better choice for companies who are looking for the above features and more. Below are some reasons why Dynamics 365 makes a better choice for CRM: 

  • Flexibility to customise the platform

Dynamics 365 for Sales is built on the Dynamics 365 platform and therefore makes it easy to customise to support a diverse range of needs and processes. Should your business want to build, extend current process or create new ones, the solution can be easily configured to fit around you. 

Business central is not as simple to customise as D365 for Sales and therefore the development costs may be higher if customisation is required. 

  • Marketing automation functionality

Marketing Automation tools such as ClickDimensions, Dot Mailer, MailChimp, to name but a few, are either integrated or work natively with Dynamics 365 for Sales. Having all your customer data in one place eases the segmentation of data and therefore makes it more powerful for targeted marketing. Another benefit of working within one platform means it is easy to link up your website and track customer journeys, providing you with more insight into how your prospects consume information and make your marketing efforts more effective. 

  • Ability to leverage other Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement functionality such as Customer Service, Field Service, etc 

Companies who adopt Dynamics 365 for Sales and have other areas of the business related to Customer Service, Field Service (Technicians) and project management can easily adopt the other apps in the Dynamics range whilst using the same platform and having all the data in one place. 

  • Account Management capabilities such as tracking activities 

Dynamics 365 for Sales can easily track activities such as emails, tasks, phone calls, appointments which gives a holistic view of customers and contacts within those customers for account management and Business Development purposes. 

  • Telephony integration

There are many telephony solutions that work with Dynamics 365 for Sales (8×8, Gamma Horizon etc). These solutions provide excellent functionality such as auto-tracking activities, screen pop-up call ins and call recordings, enabling businesses to get a single truth of the customer and track all correspondence. 

  • Microsoft 365 integration, Outlook, SharePoint, Microsoft Teams 

Dynamics 365 for Sales has a strong integration to many products in the Microsoft 365 suite (previously Office 365); SharePoint for document management, Teams for collaboration and modern ways of communication between departments, Outlook for productivity and organisation such as tasks, emails and appointments, Word and Excel for templates, etc. 

Find out more here: Microsoft 365 + Dynamics 365: The Perfect Pairing [Blog Post]

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Microsoft have invested heavily in Sales AI to help Sales teams become more efficient and effective. Tools like Relationship Assistant are designed for D365 for Sales and are supporting teams to build better relationships and in turn sell more. 

When to choose Dynamics 365 for Sales…


You see significant change in your CRM requirements in the future, meaning you would need to move to a more fit-for-purpose solution in a few years

Management of sales activities and the end-to-end sales process is essential

You require additional Customer Engagement functionality, such as Customer Service, Field Service, etc

You have more advanced marketing requirements

An integration into Outlook is important

When to choose Business Central…


You want to manage by opportunities and related quotes

It is important for you to have a full integration into all product detail sales history

You have basic marketing requirements

An integration into Outlook and management of sales activities is not a top priority

Most of your sales cycles are straightforward

Any Questions?

Within this blog we have only covered a brief overview of the features available within both solutions. However, hopefully we have provided enough details to help you work out the solution which is the best fit for your business.  

If you have any questions about Business Central or Dynamics 365 for Sales, or are unsure which would work best for you, please get in touch and we can answer any queries.  You can fill out the contact form below and a member of our team will be in touch shortly, or if you’d prefer, call us on 01908 038110.