Comparison: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement vs. Salesforce CRM

 

Salesforce Background

SalesForce is a cloud-based CRM system founded in 1999. The goal of SalesForce since the beginning has been to “make software easier to purchase, simpler to use, and more democratic without the complexities of installation, maintenance and constant upgrades” Source. SalesForce has expanded support and functionality with regular updates over the years 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.

Dynamics 365 Background

Dynamics 365 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 marking the first time the service was available as an online service. Since that point, upgrades and user interface changes have greatly increased the user experience making it available on almost any device. Now, Dynamics 365 is a fully integrated online solution built to work with Microsoft’s other cloud business applications.


Customer Reviews

Softwareadvice.com features software reviews from validated users and ranks software in categories based on these reviews. Each review is given an overall score of 1 to 5 stars and is based on the following categories: ease-of-use, value for money, customer support, and functionality.

Salesforce

Overall rating: 4.5/5 (8,613 reviews)

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

Overall rating: 4.5/5 (2,480 reviews)

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.


Pricing

Dynamics 365

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 offers 4 licenses for Sales + Service starting at $25/user/month for limited functionality. Full use licenses start at $100/user/month, up to $300/user/month with available add-ons.

Billing Frequency: Annual

Implementation: Varies


Additional Price Considerations

For this guide, we will focus on pricing for the two most vital aspects of any CRM system, the sales and customer service modules and the package plans that they come included in.

Salesforce

The least expensive SalesForce plan, Lightning Essentials, only allows for 5 users or less. Any user count higher than that will need to move on to the next plan, Lightning Professional, for $75/user/month. This plan offers more capabilities and an unlimited number of users, but does not allow for customizations to the environment.

In order to customize Salesforce, the Lightning Enterprise plan for $150/user/month is required. 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.

Dynamics 365

The most cost-effective Dynamics 365 plan is Customer Engagement starting at $115/user/month, but 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 as Salesforce does with their cheapest plan.

The other two Dynamics 365 plans called Unified Operations and the Dynamics 365 Plan offer additional modules of Finance and Operations, Talent, and Retail. The only additional costs associated with Dynamics 365 are the 3rd party apps and extensions that you may or may not choose to download from Microsoft AppSource.


Trial options

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.

Dynamics 365

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.


Release Schedule

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.

Dynamics 365

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.



Customizations & Extensions

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.

Dynamics 365

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 CRM Features

 

 Sales

  • Accounts & Contacts Management

  • Lead Management

  • Opportunities Management

  • Sales Forecasting

  • Sales Performance Management

  • Reporting & Analytics

  • Territory Management

Customer Service

  • Case Management

  • Customer Self-Service Portal

Marketing

  • Marketing Automation (add-on)

General

  • Social CRM

  • Enterprise Social Media

  • App Marketplace

  • Conferencing & IM

  • Partner Management

  • Email Interoperability

  • Custom Workflows

  • Time Tracking

IT

  • Cloud Platform

  • Native Mobile Application

  • Access Controls

  • Soap API

  • Data Governance

 

Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Features

Financials

  • 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

  • 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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