A guide for selecting the best software for your organization.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software has changed how organizations do business. CRMs automate the time-consuming, manual data entry and tracking of customer information so customer service and sales departments have more time to focus on building customer relationships.
Two CRM giants are Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365. Each solution provides both small and large-sized businesses with leading features like sales tracking, lead ranking, case management, and much more.
To ensure you get the most from your CRM solution, we’ve broken down the capabilities, benefits, and pricing of each platform so you can choose the solution that best meets your needs.
Dynamics 365 and Salesforce: At a Glance
Both Dynamics 365 and Salesforce are cloud-based CRM platforms.
Salesforce includes tools that enable users to create unique customer experiences as well as capabilities for financing, human resource management, and marketing automation. The platform is based on a multi-tenant architecture that provides benefits such as configuration, API integration, low-cost ownership, and scalability.
Dynamics 365 combines both the features and capabilities of a CRM and ERP system and features more than a dozen apps in its portfolio. The platform comes in two editions:
Enterprise Edition: The solution is comprised of Microsoft Power Apps and Dynamics CRM applications. It’s typically used for larger or enterprise-level organizations.
Business Edition: Designed for small- to mid-sized businesses, the platform includes the Financials application and is slightly less robust than the Enterprise Edition.
To better understand the differences between the two platforms, we’ll dive into some of the key capabilities of each, including integration and compatibility, customization and flexibility, user experience, scalability and performance, and support options. We’ll also provide an overview of pricing.
Both Salesforce and Dynamics 365 offer competitive pricing suitable for a variety of business needs. Below is a breakdown of each platform’s pricing:
The pricing information above is the cost for specific modules. Additional pricing options for both Salesforce and Dynamics 365 are below:
Basic starting price: Salesforce’s most basic package starts at $25 per user per month while Dynamics 365 starts at $65 per user per month.
Pricing for small businesses: Salesforce has two options for smaller businesses: Salesforce Essentials is $25 per user per month and is limited to five users. Salesforce Cloud Lightning Professional can handle more users and is $75 per user per month. Dynamics 365 Sales Professional Edition is $65 per user per month and is comparable to Sales Cloud Lightning Professional.
Bundles: Bundled options provide organizations with more capabilities but at a better price.
When considering your pricing options, keep in mind scaling costs as the cheapest platform may end up costing more in the long-term. For example, while Salesforce does have a less expensive starting price, it may end up costing more to add users to the platform as you grow. Microsoft, on the other hand, offers additional discounts as you add products to your portfolio, saving you money in the long-term.
Integration and Compatibility
To extend the use of your CRM platform, there may be times when you need to integrate the system with additional tools or platforms. Salesforce provides the following integration architectures:
Point-to-point integration (1:1 relationship)
Hub-and-spoke integration (centralized hub that communicates with between two systems)
Enterprise Service Bus integration (ESB) (create connections between software applications and systems)
With Salesforce, you’ll have access to numerous integration capabilities though it may require some technical expertise to perform them.
A huge benefit to Dynamics 365 is its seamless integration to not only the extended Microsoft portfolio, but third-party tools as well. Developers can easily write extensions or applications to connect platforms.
Customization and Flexibility
Because you rely on your CRM solution for numerous processes, it’s crucial to be able to modify it to fit your specific business needs. While both CRM platforms are customizable and flexible, both platforms require technical expertise to modify and extend their capabilities.
Salesforce allows users to perform advanced customizations using Apex and Visualforce. The platform features multiple APIs, including SOAP Web Services, a Bulk API, a Metadata API, and REST. Users can freely test customizations and code in a sandbox environement provided .
Similarly, Dynamics 365 allows for outside integration and is compatible with numerous third-party tools. Microsoft developers can easily write and deploy applications and extensions to broaden the platform’s capability. For example, developers can build custom workflow assemblies, plugins, and business logic to support unique processes and business requirements.
Ease of Use and User Experience
Your CRM solution is filled with invaluable customer data—data that could potentially unlock your next big opportunity. A CRM platform with a simple, intuitive user interface wil make it so all users (regardless of their technical expertise) can access this data.
Dynamics 365 displays customized user information in the top navigation bar, enabling users to quickly access their frequently used tools or applications. The home screen also displays a list of tasks to be completed, customer records and entities, record summaries, and more.
Salesforce has a similar home screen layout to Dynamics with objects and applications displayed across the top for easy access. From here, users can access customer records and company-specific documentation; a search bar helps users find what they’re looking for.
While both platforms feature a modern, updated UI, there is a bit of a learning curve with Salesforce. The platform’s features are slightly more complex than Dynamics 365, which may require more time to learn. Microsoft, on the other hand, has the same look and feel as other Microsoft tools, making adoption easy for users familiar with Microsoft applications.
Scalability and Performance
As your business needs evolve, your CRM platform changes with it. As enterprise platforms, both are highly scalable.
Dynamics 365 is powerfully scalable and allows users to increase or decrease usage as needed. Dynamics 365 can easily adjust to your needs as headcount grows or shrinks. Additionally, companies with a myriad of business functions will find the scalability and performance capabilities needed to manage each individual process.
Support and Community
Disruptions and unforeseen problems happen. When they do, you need rapid access to customer support, resources, community forums, and more. Salesforce provides multiple support options, including:
Standard: Provides access to demos, community advice, and online learning methods. Users also have access to the Help Portal, Success Center, and Technical Support.
Premier: This is the most popular option and provides users with one-on-one guidance and support from Salesforce experts. 24/7 phone support, expert coaching sessions, and developer support is also available.
Signature: In situations where you need extra support, the Signature plan provides access to 24/7 customer support, an emergency hotline, a personalized roadmap with an action plan, early warnings on platform issues, automated, continuous monitoring of the solution, and technical health reviews.
Salesforce users will also have access to an extensive and active community where they can get answers to common questions or troubleshoot issues.
Similar to Salesforce, Dynamics 365 offers a myriad of support options detailed below:
Managed Dynamics Plan
This plan provides users with support of the Dynamics 365 ERP environment, including Power Apps, Power BI, SQL Server, and more.
Application Support Plan
User training, break-fix, and workflow administration is included in this plan and is offered at two pricing models:
Users also have the option of paying for pre-paid support hours. Hours and response times are as follows:
Finally, users can opt for the fusion plan which covers workflow administration, break-fix, data configuration, new enhancement, user training, and more. The plan is available via pre-paid hours:
Dynamics 365 also provides users access to extensive online communities where they can engage with fellow Microsoft users to discuss best practices or troubleshoot common issues.
While Salesforce and Dynamics 365 provide access to robust support options, Dynamics 365 has more options, enabling organizations to select one that best fits their needs/business size.