7 min read

Microsoft Dynamics 365 vs. Salesforce

Microsoft Dynamics 365 vs. Salesforce
Microsoft Dynamics 365 vs. Salesforce
14:15

Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365 are two of the market’s leading CRM solutions—and the two our team is most frequently asked about. We thought it would be beneficial to share an analysis of both systems, comparing five key categories:

  • Customization
  • Integration
  • Resources and Support
  • Cost
  • Deployment

Comparing Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365

Most CRM systems perform the same core functions: managing prospect and customer information, tracking sales and customer service history, and providing basic data analytics. Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365 are fairly comparable here—but take a look where Microsoft Dynamics 365 jumps ahead of Salesforce and other CRM systems.

Customization

Neither Salesforce nor Microsoft Dynamics 365 come perfect “out of the box”—they both require configuration to fit the unique needs of your business processes. However, the degree of customization and flexibility is a notable strength of Microsoft Dynamics 365.

When it comes to customization, Microsoft Dynamics 365 excels with its use of standard development tools such as Javascript, .Net and HTML, rather than proprietary tools —which makes customization easier and more affordable, whether you’re using an in-house resource or are engaging a third party.

Salesforce, conversely, uses its own proprietary programming language–Apex. That means any customizations or app integrations have to be done with Apex, a particular skill set harder to find among developers. Many organizations find themselves “stuck” when their CRM needs change, due to the heavy investments made into using Salesforce’s proprietary language.

Integration

When comparing systems, integration of third-party tools and applications is arguably one of the most important factors to consider. Both Salesforce and Microsoft provide a wide range of complementary add-on applications via their respective app stores. And both CRM solutions can integrate with third-party solutions, including marketing automation platforms. However, when it comes to connecting with external systems, they differ in the ease and affordability of doing so. Ultimately, Microsoft Dynamics 365’s greatest advantage is that it was designed to make integrations easy; in fact, many of today’s most popular business applications and tools are native Microsoft platform integrations—meaning your business won’t incur fees to leverage these tools seamlessly within the Dynamics 365 platform.

Salesforce, however, is a standalone CRM solution. To connect with other Microsoft business solutions, including Microsoft Office, Azure services, Power BI, or other Dynamics 365 solutions, you’ll incur the cost of installing connectors for each. Depending on your business, the number of connectors needed can become quite costly—and non-native integrations typically are not seamless.

Popular integrations that are native to the Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform include:

Office 365: A software suite including popular applications Excel, Outlook and Word.
Power Automate: A service that allows employees to create and automate workflows and tasks across multiple applications and services.
Forms Pro: A tool that enables users to quickly create a form, collect responses in real time, and view automatic charts to visualize data.
LinkedIn: A Microsoft-owned social media platform that provides data to identify leads and help build relationships through personalized engagement.
OneDrive: An online cloud storage service from Microsoft.
PowerApps: Allows users to build mobile and web apps leveraging their organization’s existing data.
Power BI: Microsoft’s business analytics service providing interactive data visualization BI tools.
SharePoint: Microsoft’s document management system.
Teams: A collaborative app that include business messaging, calling, video meetings and file sharing.

Resources and Support

Salesforce and Microsoft have both invested heavily in customer support for their CRM solutions. Salesforce fields customer orientation in-house, providing users with access to Trailhead, an education network, while Microsoft provides extensive online resources and access to a support community. And both have extensive partner networks to provide customers with additional support options. However, we’ve found that resources and support for the Microsoft stack is easier to find and often more affordable, as it uses universal web standards rather than a proprietary programming language like Salesforce’s Apex.

Additionally, Microsoft is committed to offering 99.9 percent up time through its Service Level Agreement (SLA), while an SLA with Salesforce is only available upon request and must be negotiated.

Cost

Of most importance to businesses when evaluating a CRM solution is the cost. Here again, we’ve found that Microsoft takes the lead. Most small and mid-sized businesses find themselves priced out by Salesforce due to high initial costs, numerous add-on fees for custom features and integrations, and extended contractual obligations. Salesforce has developed a reputation for hidden costs and “premium pricing” to take advantage of its full functionality. Additionally, some organizations may find perpetual licensing more advantageous or economical in certain scenarios as opposed to the more modern subscription licensing option. Between Microsoft and Salesforce, only Microsoft offers traditional perpetual licensing. Ultimately, Microsoft Dynamics 365 is more competitively priced and flexible in its licensing model, making it more accessible for small to midsize businesses, in particular.

Basic Pricing Comparison Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales Enterprise vs. Salesforce Lightning Enterprise

Description Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales Enterprise Salesforce Enterprise
Base Price $95 per User / Month $150 per User / Month
Lead Management Yes Yes
Account & Contact Management Yes Yes
Opportunity Management Yes Yes
Activity Tracking Yes Yes
Outlook Integration Yes Yes
Office 365 Integration (Word,
Excel, OneNote, SharePoint,
Power BI, Flow, etc.)
Yes Third-party Add-on at Additional Cost
Mobile App Yes Yes
Sandbox Unlimited sandboxes and/or production environments as you have data storage available Full copy Sandbox available for 30% of Net monthly Salesforce cost
Data Storage 10GB of Data Storage included. Each user adds 250MB 10GB of Data Storage plus 20MB per user included
Extra Data Storage $40 / 1GB / Month $250 / 1GB / Month
File Storage Dynamics 365 includes 20GB of File Storage. Each user adds 2GB to this total. Office 365 Includes 1TB of File. Storage which can also be used for Dynamics 365 File storage using SharePoint Integration Includes 10GB of File Storage plus 100MB per User
Extra File Storage $2 / 1GB / Month $5 / 1GB / Month

Deployment

Salesforce CRM and Microsoft Dynamics 365 cloud-based SaaS options are similar from a deployment standpoint. Cloud hosting is the most popular deployment method used today. Cloud hosting means the CRM solution hosted on the vendor’s (Salesforce or Microsoft) multi-tenant servers and accessed by users through a web browser.

However, where Salesforce lacks additional options, Microsoft steps up. Microsoft offers private hosting as well as on-premise CRM options. While on-premise is not the norm, some companies still prefer it over cloud-based access. Microsoft provides this option; Salesforce does not.

The Final Verdict: Microsoft Dynamics 365

In terms of market share, Salesforce is still the most popular CRM software in the world—however it’s clear to see why Microsoft’s offering, Dynamics 365, is a fast-growing threat to this position. Microsoft Dynamics 365 is the more cost effective, high-performing CRM choice for businesses. From its deep integrations, with Microsoft solutions ingrained in nearly every facet at the enterprise level, to its lower long-term cost of ownership, it’s simply the best value—sharing the same core capabilities of Salesforce, without the higher price tag behind the brand name.

Learn more about Microsoft D365

 

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Microsoft Dynamics 365 vs. Salesforce FAQ

  1. How do the mobile capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Salesforce compare, especially in terms of offline access and synchronization? 

    Microsoft Dynamics 365’s mobile capabilities are indeed designed to empower teams on the goIt provides a seamless mobile experience that ensures productivity is never hindered by location.

    Dynamics 365 provides robust offline access and synchronization features, allowing users to access and interact with CRM data even when they are not connected to the internetOnce online, the system automatically synchronizes any changes made offline, ensuring data integrity and consistencyThis functionality is particularly beneficial for sales and field service personnel who require uninterrupted access to critical business information.

    The mobile application of Dynamics 365 is built with a user-friendly interface, mirroring the familiarity of other Microsoft productsThis enhances user adoption and reduces the learning curve, making it a highly effective tool for businesses with mobile workforces.

    However, it’s important to note that as of April 2024, Dynamics 365 for phones and tablets (iOS and Android) will be deprecated for online usersOnline users must migrate to the Power Apps mobile appThe Power Apps mobile app provides updated capabilities, a modern user experience, and fast load times.

  2. What are the specific differences in the reporting and analytics capabilities between Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Salesforce? 

    Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers robust reporting and analytics capabilities that empower businesses to generate insights and enhance their performance. Here are some of the key features:

    • Integration with Power BI: Microsoft Dynamics 365 integrates seamlessly with Power BI, a business analytics tool that provides interactive visualizations and business intelligence capabilities. This integration allows for more in-depth analysis and reporting.

    • Advanced Data Analysis: Microsoft Dynamics 365 is known for its advanced data analysis capabilities. It delivers the right information to the right people at the right time, so they can make better decisions faster.

    • Customizable Reporting Solutions: Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers tooling to support basic reporting requirements such as Excel Integration, Embedded Analytics, and Reporting Services. This allows for a wide range of reporting options, from simple status updates to complex financial analyses.

    • Analytics Strategy: Microsoft Dynamics 365 helps you plan your analytics strategy, defining how you’ll provide accurate and timely information to your users. This includes the tools and types of reporting you’ll use, how you’ll secure and share the information with your users, and the standards, processes, and best practices you’ll follow2.

    • Deeper Insights from Data: Business intelligence and analytics are crucial for growth and digital transformation. Microsoft Dynamics 365 helps you get deeper insights from your data, turning data from different sources into insights that help you stay ahead of the market.

    These features make Microsoft Dynamics 365 a highly effective tool for businesses seeking to leverage their data for informed decision-making and strategic planning. It’s worth noting that the exact capabilities can vary depending on the specific Dynamics 365 applications you’re using, as well as any customizations or extensions you’ve added. 

  3. Can you elaborate on the learning curve and user adoption rates between Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Salesforce?

    Microsoft Dynamics 365 is designed with user adoption and ease of learning in mind. Here are some key points that highlight its strengths:

    • User-Friendly Interface: Microsoft Dynamics 365 has a user-friendly interface that mirrors the familiarity of other Microsoft products, which enhances user adoption and reduces the learning curve.

    • Integration with Familiar Tools: Dynamics 365 integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft products like Office 365 and Power BI, making it easier for users to adopt because they are already familiar with these tools.

    • Customizable Learning Paths: Dynamics 365 offers customizable Learning Paths, which guide users through the specific features and capabilities they need to perform their job. This targeted approach to learning can improve user adoption rates.

    • Adoption Guide: Microsoft provides a comprehensive Dynamics 365 Adoption Guide. This guide walks users step-by-step through the best way to roll out Dynamics 365 to their organization.

    • Community Support: Many organizations are currently launching Dynamics 365 technologies and users can connect with them in the Microsoft Dynamics community of experts and peers.

    • High Adoption Rates: Studies indicate that high user adoption in CRMs can be transformative, bringing about significant improvements across various aspects of operations.

    Remember, the successful adoption of new technology requires behavior change. And change can be hard. It takes more than learning a new app. It’s a fundamentally different way of working. This change is about people. And Microsoft Dynamics 365 is here to help.

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