Microsoft Dynamics 365 vs Salesforce: CRM Comparison

You’ve identified that you need a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, and you realise that implementing one has the potential to transform the way your business works and take your efficiency, productivity and more to the next level. It’s an exciting idea, but which CRM provider do you choose? There are plenty of CRM products to choose from and making the right choice for you and your team can feel like a daunting prospect.   

There are CRM solutions available for every type of company, regardless of size or industry; but if you’re looking for an established brand, a market leader, then you’ve more than likely considered Microsoft Dynamics 365 or Salesforce.  

At first glance, these two competitors may look like they’re offering the same thing, but there are some significant differences. Within this blog, we explore and compare several elements of these two solutions in order to help you choose the best-suited platform for your business needs... 

Dynamics 365 and Salesforce

What is Microsoft Dynamics 365?

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is an end-to-end business platform comprised of multiple applications that provide CRM and ERP functionality. Each specialist application seamlessly integrates with each other and a range of third-party applications, ensuring your business is centrally managed via one platform.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 on laptop and mobile

What is Salesforce?

Salesforce is a cloud-based Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platformwith a wide range of CRM applications including sales, service, marketing, and commerce. 

salesforce dashboards

Comparing key elements:

Dynamics 365 vs Salesforce: Applications

Each Microsoft Dynamics 365 application is specifically designed to play its own part in managing specialist areas of the business which include Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales, Customer Service, Marketing, Field Service, Project Operations, Business Central, Finance and Operations, Talent, Retail, and more. Additionally, Microsoft Dynamics 365 benefits from the Power Platform, which consists of Power BI, Power Automate, Power Apps and Power Virtual Agents.

Salesforce spreads its applications into separate clouds. Similar to Microsoft they offer; Sales Cloud, Service Cloud and a Marketing Cloud Einstein. Each of these applications is broken down into smaller components. For example, the Service Cloud is then further split into Customer Self Service, Digital Channels, Field Service and AI for Service.

Dynamics 365 vs Salesforce: Deployment

When it comes to deployment, Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers a host of options; on-premises, cloud or hybrid. Depending on your current needs, your business can suit the model that meets them best.

Although Microsoft still offers an on-premise option where necessary, they have adopted a ‘cloud-first’ approach over the last couple of years and continue to lead with this model. By offering multiple deployment options, Microsoft Dynamics 365 is more accessible to businesses who need alternative options to a cloud-only approach.

In contrast, Salesforce is a purely cloud-hosted, subscription model and does not offer an on-premise version.

Dynamics 365 vs Salesforce: Pricing and Cost

Microsoft Dynamics 365 licenses are flexible and scalable which enable your business to start with what you need and add applications as your business grows. Users of other Microsoft products such as Outlook, SharePoint, Microsoft Office 365 and Power Platform receive discounted pricing when Microsoft Dynamics 365 licenses are also combined.

Pricing for Microsoft’s core CRM module, Sales, starts at £49 per user/per month and includes basic features. The next tier, Sales Enterprise, begins at £71.60 and includes more robust versions of these features, as well as additions such as embedded intelligence and social engagement. Additional Licenses can then be added at just £15.10. Team Member licenses are also available for as little as £6 per user/per month, which includes light use of the applications.

Unlike Salesforce, there is no minimum contract term – it’s a rolling monthly subscription.

Salesforce’s Sales Cloud is available in four editions (Lightning Essentials, Lightning Professional, Lightning Enterprise and Lightning Unlimited) with licenses ranging from £20 to £240 per user/per month. The Lightning editions are the same underlying product, with specific features and functionality either switched on or off, depending on the edition.

The minimum contract term is 12 months. Longer-term commitments (such as 24 or 36 months) can result in lower pricing. Given the extensive contractual obligations and functionality limitations of the Salesforce packages, some smaller or medium-sized companies many find themselves out-priced.

Dynamics 365 vs Salesforce: Integration Possibilities

Both Microsoft and Salesforce offer a variety of third-party applications and integrations to help you get exactly what you need from the system, Microsoft has AppSource and Salesforce have their AppExchange.

Despite Microsoft’s AppSource not being quite as extensive (yet) as Salesforce, they have invested heavily in their app connections and is catching up fast. Additionally, the Microsoft Platform is designed to seamlessly integrated to work together with all the Microsoft tools you already know and use: Outlook, SharePoint, Teams, Word, PowerPoint, etc. If your company has invested heavily in Microsoft products, Dynamics 365 offers a smoother synchronisation and familiarity of the user interface.

Additionally, Microsoft Dynamics 365 can be easily extended, with no connectors required, across the other applications within the Dynamics 365 eco-system, such as Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Project Operations, Field Service and the Power Platform.

Salesforce AppExchange offers more than 3,000 apps, so there are plenty of third-party app integrations available. However, given that Salesforce is a standalone CRM, you will need an integration for almost every additional software you wish to enable. For example, if you want to do accounting tasks using Salesforce, you’ll have to connect to QuickBooks for more functions. If you work in customer service, you may need another third-party product such as Zendesk.

Dynamics 365 vs Salesforce: Ease of Development

Both D365 and Salesforce come with standard off-the-shelf functionality, which can then be customised and built on top of to create a bespoke solution for an organisation.

Dynamics 365 has a comprehensive customisation engine where a considerable amount of changes can be made to the platform to meet the customers’ requirement, using standard functionality. However, there are times where development work is needed and D365 leverages universal web development tools such as Javascript, .NET and HTML that enable the solution to be developed based on individual business needs, without being restricted too much by a specific programming language. If you do not have technical capabilities in-house, Microsoft has an extensive network of Partners that can implement, customise and manage your technology.

On the other hand, Salesforce have more limited customisation options, which coupled with slower speeds (given that Salesforce is built on a multi-client cloud environment), makes development more complex than D365. This can be overcome, however, it means developers will often need to carry out more advanced customisations, which is time-consuming, costly and highly resource-dependent.

Dynamics 365 vs Salesforce: Business Intelligence Capabilities

Both Dynamics 365 and Salesforce platforms have built-in reporting, enabling non-technical users to build reports and charts around their business data and gain critical insights. Additionally, both platforms also have additional business intelligence technologies enabling organisations to get more from their data; Microsoft Power BI and Salesforce Analytics Cloud.

Each of these platforms enables businesses to generate and analyse reports, gather real-time data, provide actionable insights, display information in interactive dashboards. However, for 13 consecutive years, Microsoft has been recognised in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence platforms. This demonstrates the capabilities of the tool in comparison with other tools and how advanced the software is, supporting your organisation with data visualisation.

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics and BI platforms

Conclusion

As you can see from this blog post, the functionality and features that Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Salesforce offer have similarities. Due to this, it can be difficult to decipher which one is necessarily ‘better’ than the other. Both are industry-leaders, offering extensive features and a scalable platform, the ability to build bespoke, unique solutions fit for your organisation with additional modules and integrations from their online stores.

However, overall, it appears that Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers more flexibility and affordability in terms of licensing options which enables SMEs as well as mid-market and enterprise organisations to benefit. On top of this, if your business is already invested in the Microsoft eco-system (such as Microsoft Outlook, SharePoint, Word etc) then implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365 makes more business sense, as everything is supported by one vendor and connects seamlessly for an end-to-end solution.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Microsoft Dynamics 365 and would like to speak to one of our experts, please get in touch by emailing us at [email protected] / calling us on 01908 038110. 

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