What is the best CRM for Sales Teams? Salesforce vs. Dynamics 365

Choosing the best CRM for sales teams is a challenge for companies both big and small. The right system can be an invaluable tool, and the wrong one can be a waste of money and time. This article provides a side-by-side comparison of the two leading CRMs for sales teams and answers some of the big questions to help you choose the best CRM for your sales team.

What is Customer Relationship Management (CRM)?

Any company that interacts with clients on a regular basis has a significant amount of information associated with those relationships. Customer Relationship Management, or CRM, is an approach to managing a company’s relationship with current and potential customers designed to improve the way that teams function and build lasting relationships with clients.

CRM also refers to a category of software designed to manage customer information and interactions with representatives with the goal of forming better business relationships. Furthermore, it provides a wealth of information for managers to make better informed and faster decisions.

Certainly, CRM systems have become increasingly popular in the last few decades and the pool of options has grown extensively. Two of the long-standing, leading CRMs for sales teams are Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365. With a little help from two experts in these CRM solutions, we reviewed the pros and cons of each platform and set out to answer the question: Which is the best CRM for sales teams: Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics 365? Let’s get started!

What is Salesforce?

A bit of background…

Born in San Francisco, California in 1999, Salesforce is the leading cloud-based CRM software. While the solution was created first with sales teams in mind, Salesforce set out to be a CRM that integrates the management of many different areas of a business into one platform. It is designed to help track the path of each customer throughout their whole journey with the company.
What does Salesforce do best?

What does Salesforce do best?

“Salesforce is designed entirely to help build strong relationships with customers. It has some awesome business intelligence tools to help you keep updated with all your leads, and identify the exact right time to close a deal. It also helps you to track orders, develop selling strategies, and view all your important information custom Dashboards.”
– Nicolás Maran, Salesforce Expert.

Training & User Experience

One of Salesforce’s strongest points is its attention to user training and onboarding. Salesforce has its own online course on a platform called Trailhead that provides a full learning path for different knowledge levels. This course consists of different Trails (modules) that include both theoretical and practical challenges to test your concepts. Salesforce also offers access to a robust community with forums where you can ask questions and discuss any aspect of Salesforce with other users and experts.

Salesforce is a powerful solution with lots of capabilities. Even so, the platform is relatively streamlined and user-friendly making it usable for CRM administrators, sales managers, and sales representatives alike.

Customization

In many cases, Salesforce can be configured directly to fit business needs. In the case of needing custom dashboards, views, integrations and more, customization is an option for those willing to invest in development. Salesforce has a lightning low-code development platform that can be used to extensively customize the cloud application based on client needs.

Integrations

Salesforce has taken full advantage of the global growth of tech development. With more than 3,000 apps available in Salesforce’s AppExchange, businesses from nearly any industry can browse Salesforce compatible tool, or integrate many of the ones they already use for everything from lead prospecting, to sales leaderboards, and much more.

Reporting

Basic plans allow users to create custom reports with charts, while lightning professionals and higher plans have even more customization options. Salesforce can even send automatically generated reports via email to users, a great feature for sales managers who want updates delivered to their inbox.

Workflow and Automation

Salesforce offers Workflow Rules, as well as Flows and Process Builder, which provides more graphic assistance for workflow building. Salesforce’s robust automation capability lets users preset specific conditions to automate anything from sending an email follow-up to scheduling a sales call, or updating an account status.

Customer Service

Salesforce is known for outstanding customer service. According to Maran, training and customer care is one of the company’s strongest assets.
“The customer service is available at any moment, you just contact them and receive a phone call. Depending on the topic you need assistance with, an agent will reach out and help you solve whatever issue you have.”

Salesforce Users Highlight

  • The Salesforce mobile app available for iOS and Android lets users take CRM on-the-go.
  • Sales reports are easy to create, detail-oriented and have precise tracking metrics.
  • Salesforce has an intuitive, easy to use UI.

What is Microsoft Dynamics 365?

A bit of background…

Dynamics 365 is the latest iteration of Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM, which launched in 2003. This latest and more cutting edge version was introduced in 2016 and re-branded in 2017. Originally a more niche product within the Microsoft portfolio, its popularity has been on the rise. Dynamics 365 has earned serious praise among major businesses worldwide, becoming a very real competitor to Salesforce in the last several years.

What does Dynamics 365 do best?

“Dynamics 365 it’s a platform created to offer corporate solutions for a wide variety of business processes. With Dynamics 365 you have the flexibility to customize the life-cycle of different operations inside your company. Things like purchase approval, provider selection, project management, bank loan approval, sales processes, etc. can all be made to fit specific needs.” – Alejandro Morales, Dynamics 365 expert.

Training & User Experience

Dynamics 365 offers an extensive knowledge base with help articles, video resources, and blog posts. They also have an active community site with forums to discuss all things Dynamics with other users and experts.

One of the areas in which Microsoft Dynamics has most improved is in the usability of its UI. “Microsoft has recently launched Unified User Interface (UUI) which enables a better multi-device usability, a cleaner, friendlier look, and the possibility of creating visual components that can be aligned with current design patterns,” says Morales.

Customization

Dynamics 365 is available both as a cloud-based and an on-premise solution, and it can also be a combination of the two. This is often an important feature for companies with internal data systems and security requirements.

Dynamics allows the configuration of some aspects of its CRM, but for more complex customization projects they provide a development kit. Dynamics 365 uses common web standards, like Java, HTML or .Net, which makes customization relatively more accessible. Still, like Salesforce, extensive customization typically requires an investment in development.

Integrations

“Not only is it a complete, stand-alone platform that helps digitize and track business processes and information, but it also has the advantage of seamless integration with the rest of the Microsoft suite of products including Outlook, Word, Excel, Team, SharePoint, Onenote, etc., all of which are very popular among companies.”
– Alejandro Morales, Dynamics 365 Expert.

Many products beyond Microsoft’s own offering integrate with Dynamics as well. Find everything from Gamification software for Dynamics, to digital contract signing solution, and more. Dynamics 365 users can browse other Microsoft software integrations as well as many third-party add-ons on the Microsoft AppSource site.

Reporting

Dynamics offers a Report Wizard to help users customize their reports within the CRM. End users also have the ability to select dashboard views where they can see their most important metrics in one place. Dynamics real-time reports can also be integrated with Excel and business analysis via PowerBI for more appealing and complete data visualization.

Workflow Automation

Dynamics Workflows let you set up rules to automate business processes. One advantage that Dynamics has is that all actions, business process flows, dialogs, and workflows run across different entities like leads, quotes, opportunities, sales, etc. This means, for example, you can have a deal enter different workflow automations as they are updated and change from one stage to the next. You can also show different information fields depending on what stage the deal is in.

Customer Service

The Microsoft standard of excellence in customer service translates to Dynamics 365. According to Morales, Dynamics provides ample customization services and implementation of business logic through its customer service center. Agents help companies complete integrations between different areas within their company, as well as with external parties such as clients.

Dynamics 365 Users Highlight

  • Dynamics offers fully-integrated PSA (Project Services Automation) application that helps manage project-based services from sale to billing.
  • User-friendly layout and functionalities for end users.
  • Simple and efficient storage of client information for sales departments.

Comparison Sheet

 

Salesforce

Dynamics 365

Pricing

High-end

Mid to High-end

 

 

Login & Security Options 100% 100%
  • Two factor authentication
  • Restrict login access by profiles
  • Companies can set their own specific password policies
  • Two factor authentication
  • Login via Microsoft account
  • Access can be limited via Azure to trusted IPs only
Deployment Options 100% 100%
  • Cloud
  • Native Mobile App
  1. On premise
  2. Mixed on-premise/cloud
  • Cloud
  • Native Mobile App
  • On premise
  • Mixed on-premise/cloud
Integrations 100% 100%
  • App Store 
  • Integration with Office 365 (via third party apps)
  • App Store
  • Integration with Office 365
CRM Customization 100% 100%
  • Advanced CRM configuration options
  • Development platform for customization
  • Advanced CRM configuration options
  • Development platform for customization
Workflows 100% 100%
  • Custom workflows
  • Custom workflows
Training & Resources 100% 100%
  • Video learning resources
  • Community forums
  • Knowledge base & Blog
  • Online learning course platform & certifications
  • Video learning resources
  • Community forums
  • Knowledge base & Blog
  • Online learning course platform & certifications
Sales Management Features 100% 100%
  • Leads Management
  • Accounts & Contacts Management
  • Territories Management
  • Sales Forecasting
  • Sales Performance Management
  • Time Tracking
  • Leads Management
  • Accounts & Contacts Management
  • Territories Management
  • Sales Forecasting
  1. Sales Performance Management
  2. Time Tracking
Reporting & Analytics 100% 100%
  • Custom Reports
  • User Dashboards
  • Advanced Reporting (lightning professionals and higher plans)
  • Custom Reports
  • User Dashboards
  • Advanced Reporting (Business analytics via PowerBI )
Artificial Intelligence for sales 100% 100%
  • Sales Cloud Einstein add-on
  • Dynamics Sales Insights add-on

 

The Best CRM for Sales Teams: Final Considerations

When asked about the areas for improvement for each CRM system, both experts pointed not to limits on functionality, but rather accessibility. 

While Dynamics typically is more affordable than Salesforce, both companies aim at medium to large companies with revenue streams that can accommodate an expensive CRM solution.  Morales considers that Dynamics, by offering such a complete platform and the price tag that goes with it, it fails to be accessible for smaller companies and sales teams. In this market, they lose out to more basic CRM solutions that offer simpler, but much cheaper alternatives to Dynamics.

Maran similarly comments, “In my opinion, one of the aspects in which Salesforce could improve is pricing. It is often very hard for companies to accommodate the cost of Salesforce, and even once they get to it, they sometimes face the issue of not being able to completely integrate Salesforce with their workflow due to the functionality restrictions on lower-lever plans. This leads to many companies opting for other CRM Systems that partially meet their needs, but offer a much less expensive solution.”

Nevertheless, many medium and even smaller businesses have made the investment to implement these platforms for their company, and overall the feedback is positive. Ultimately, each has its own strengths, and the one that’s right for your sales team will depend on your specific needs. Both are industry powerhouses and are in the business of offering the best, most complete solutions on the market today.

Making the Most of Your CRM

No matter what CRM you settle on for your sales team, it usually involves a significant investment of time and money.  Once a CRM is set-up, many sales teams still struggle with CRM user adoption and ROI. Hurrah! Leaderboards is a performance broadcasting solution that is helping sales teams of all sizes improve their CRM user adoption and data quality. Learn more about Hurrah! Leaderboards for sales teams!

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