Background

Dynamics 365

Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement is Microsoft’s flagship CRM application. Released in 2003 as Microsoft CRM, Dynamics 365 has gone through many iterations over the years that have added functionality and accessibility upgrades. In 2013, Microsoft launched Dynamics CRM Online, allowing users to integrate Office 365 and their CRM system. Rebranded in 2017, Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement is a fully integrated online solution built to work with Microsoft’s other cloud business applications.

Salesforce

SalesForce is a cloud-based CRM system founded in 1999. SalesForce’s goal is to “make software easier to purchase, simpler to use, and more democratic without the complexities of installation, maintenance and constant upgrades.” SalesForce has since expanded support and functionality, making it one of the most popular CRM systems on the market. In 2014, SalesForce began bundling its product verticals including Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Service Cloud and Commerce Cloud into a single subscription called the Customer Success Platform.


Pricing and Considerations

Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement

Licensing: Starts at $115/user/month with add-ons available. Additional packages starting at $190/user/month and $210/user/month.

Billing Frequency: Monthly

Implementation: Varies depending on the Microsoft Partner implementing the solution.

Salesforce

Licensing: Salesforce Lightning Enterprise, the plan most similar to Customer Engagement, is $175/user/month.

Billing Frequency: Annual

Implementation: Varies

 

Other Considerations:

The most cost-effective Dynamics 365 plan is Customer Engagement starting at $115/user/month, which includes modules for sales, customer service, marketing, field service, project service automation, and social engagement. This package contains an unlimited number of personalizations/customizations, sandbox environments, and does not have a max amount of users allowed. Add-on apps from Microsoft AppSource may carry additional costs. System upgrades are both free and automated.

Other Considerations:

However, this plan only includes limited customization. In order to get an unlimited number of customizations, the Lightning Unlimited package is required for $300/user/month. With Lightning Unlimited, organizations get as many alterations as they need as well as live agent web chat, access to the Service Cloud, and most importantly, sandbox environments to test all the apps and customizations that are built.

These prices apply to both the sales and service modules, which are sold separately. For both Sales and Service functionality, it will cost an additional $25 on top of whichever package you choose. Training courses can also be purchased at $1600 for a two-day course.


Customer Reviews

Salesforce

Common Pros: : Customizable, great sales funnel management capabilities

Common Cons: High learning curve, overly complex in some areas

SalesForce is widely regarded as one of the most used, and most respected CRM systems. Users tend to agree that functionality and customization are extensive making it a great fit for their organization. The same complexities that make it easy to customize, sometimes make it overwhelming for users to learn and understand. This is a system that needs the right management.

Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement

Common Pros: Support for third party applications, process automation, ease-of-use

Common Cons: Overly complex, high learning curve

Dynamics 365 is a strong cloud CRM system built on Microsoft’s tried and true business application. Connecting to other Microsoft Business applications makes it very valuable to many users.


Trial options

Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement

Dynamics 365 30 day free trials are available through Microsoft on the Dynamics 365 website. A free trial includes access to a Dynamics 365 trial account loaded sample data (you have the option to import your own). The free trial also allows you to invite other users from your organization to test for the duration of the trial.

SalesForce

Salesforce offers a 30 day free trial available on their website. A free trial includes complete control over a test account with unlimited access to the application and ability to manipulate test data.


Release Schedule

Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement

Dynamics 365 receives two major update releases a year, one in October and the other in April or May. Microsoft has been moving many of its business applications to this semi-annual release schedule to keep things consistent for users. Updates often carry a theme or main focus of development with them, but fixes will always be made across the entire system.

Salesforce

Salesforce releases one more update per year than Dynamics 365. There is a Winter, Spring, and Summer update each year. The Winter update comes in October, Spring is usually in February or March, and the Summer update can be expected in June.


Customizations & Extensions

Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement

Dynamics 365 allows organizations to personalize, change, and extend the system to fit their needs. Nearly every entity, field, dashboard, report, or other aspect of the user interface can be modified at the user level. Hundreds of paid and free apps to extend the functionality of the system are available in Microsoft AppSource as well as the ability to create your own apps. These apps typically require little to no coding to build, test, and publish, but developers can also build deeply customized applications. Furthermore, administrators can manipulate the business process flows so that the system can accommodate the way your company specifically operates. Microsoft has focused on building Dynamics 365 and other newer business programs to be very flexible and let users customize in the ways they see fit.

Salesforce

Customization capabilities are a notable strength of Salesforce. Nearly every field and object in the system can be altered in some way or even replaced entirely by another item. The Salesforce alternative to Microsoft AppSource is called the AppCloud. The AppCloud runs as a separate environment for building, storing, and downloading the applications that increase the amount of Salesforce functionality. The AppCloud makes Salesforce similar to Dynamics 365 again by the ease with which users can build and test apps with little development knowledge or experience. Additionally, Salesforce allows for deep customization like adding new components and changing page and navigation layouts.


 

 Sales

  • Account and Contact Management

  • Opportunity & Pipeline Management

  • Sales Forecasting

  • Task & Activity Management

  • Sales Performance Management

  • Territory & Quota Management

  • Customer Contract Management

  • Product and Price List Management

Customer Service

  • Case Management

  • Call Center

  • Customer Support Portal

  • Knowledge Base

  • Support Analytics

Marketing

  • Email Marketing

  • Campaign Management

  • Lead Management

  • Marketing ROI Analytics

Reporting & Social

  • Forecasting

  • Reporting

  • Dashboards

  • Social Network Integration

  • Social Collaboration

  • Mobile User Support

IT & General

  • Document Generation

  • Sandbox Environments

  • User, Role, & Access Management

  • Workflows

  • Integrations API’s

 

Sales

  • Accounts/Contacts Management

  • Lead Management

  • Opportunities Management

  • Sales Forecasting

  • Reporting & Analytics

  • Territory Management

Customer Service

  • Accounts/Contacts Management

  • Service Queue Management

  • Case Management

  • Customer Self-Service Portal

  • Service schedules

  • Service Level Agreements

  • Reporting/Analytics

  • AI customer service assistants

Marketing

  • Accounts & Contacts Management

  • Marketing List Management

  • Marketing Automation

  • Email Marketing

  • Event Marketing

  • Lead Management

  • Reporting & Analytics

  • Surveys

Project Service Automation

  • Project management

  • Accounts/Contacts Management

  • Work breakdown structure

  • Project cost and revenue estimates

  • Project templates

  • View and send invoices

  • Resource management

  • Scheduling

  • Skill tracking

  • Time Tracking

  • Microsoft Project integration

  • Reporting & Analytics

Field Service

  • Accounts/Contacts Management

  • Work order management

  • Resource scheduling

  • Mobile access

  • Asset management

  • Reporting/Analytics

  • Inventory, purchasing, and returns

  • Time tracking

General/IT

  • Office 365 integration

  • Social CRM

  • Sandbox Environments

  • Enterprise Social Network

  • App Marketplace

  • Conferencing/IM

  • Email Interoperability

  • Custom Workflows

  • Cloud Platform

  • Onsite Available

  • Native Mobile App

  • Access Controls

  • Web Services API


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