Microsoft Dynamics 365 or Salesforce: Which is the right choice for your business?
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:
- Resources and Support
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.
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.
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.
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,Outlookand 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.
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.
How do I switch from Salesforce to Microsoft Dynamics 365 for sales?
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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|
|Account & Contact Management||Yes||Yes|
|Office 365 Integration (Word,
Excel, OneNote, SharePoint,
Power BI, Flow, etc.)
|Yes||Third-party Add-on at Additional Cost|
|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|
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.