September 28, 2016

Why choose Microsoft Dynamics CRM over Salesforce?

As a small business, you know the importance of maintaining good customer relationships. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software provides an objective view of the inner workings of your business. These days, the CRM field is crowded with options and with teams which support this or that deployment. At present, two competitors dominate the CRM landscape: Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce. Today we’re going to look at the question: Why choose Dynamics CRM over Salesforce?

1. Microsoft-style User Friendly.

When selecting a CRM, you are looking to streamline your customer service, and for that you want you want the kind of software you can use out of the box. Both Dynamics and Salesforce provide attractive, user-friendly dashboards which give you the power to monitor sales performance end-to-end. That means you can track how your products, ad campaigns, sales associates, etc. are doing.

However, Dynamics is made by Microsoft, who probably also runs your personal computers and your servers, which means you already know how how their user interfaces function. With Microsoft software, you help overcome some of the trickiest usability problems up front because just about everyone knows how to work with Microsoft Windows. When you get Dynamics together with a reliable partner, you’ll have a usable implementation that will serve you well for years to come.

2. The LinkedIn Connection.

As you may have read, Microsoft has recently purchased LinkedIn, the social network famous for connecting small business professionals. This purchase will have such a positive effect on Dynamics in particular that Microsoft must and will share that data responsibility with its competitors, including Salesforce. That said, direct access to LinkedIn will almost definitely prove a priceless benefit to Dynamics, and to its users.

If you are not on LinkedIn or if you are unfamiliar with its features, and especially if you already are, bear in mind that LinkedIn is the place where professionals put themselves to be seen by other professionals. Via LinkedIn, you can recruit and track new clients, share leads, and even be rated in terms of your abilities. Imagine integrating that data and functionality with your CRM.

3. The Future is AI.

On a related note, there is an old saying among software developers: garbage-in, garbage-out. Even the best software design relies on data that is correct, sound, and thorough. The best intentions cannot substitute for facts. In order to have facts, you simply need to have data and the longevity to have studied how that data functions in real time. Salesforce touts Einstein, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) which learns and adapts to suit your implementation. Well, maybe. On the other hand, Microsoft points out that they have been developing AI “over multiple decades,” putting billions of dollars into AI which functions in multiple, actual implementation. Again, Microsoft has the size and breadth of data and user experience which Salesforce lacks in this area.

Let’s take a look at AI and how it relates to the ever-changing digital landscape. According to Gartner Research VP Peter Sondergaard, we are looking at the evolution of “a new digital platform with intelligence at the center.” No wonder Salesforce is eager to implement AI in its design and to advertise the fact that they are doing so. That said, in order to simulate human behavior and therefore automate tasks which can ultimately streamline, for example, CRM software, the data needs to be there. This is not magic, after all, although it may seem that way at times. For Microsoft, the data is there, in decades of user experience and research, in a multinational business which touches on every level of the business world. Their artificial intelligence is called, simply and honestly, Customer Insights.

4. Cost – and Cost Flexibility.

Yes, there is more. In addition to the above benefits, Dynamics will probably cost you less. Get some cost comparisons and see for yourself, but do not forget to take into consideration the extra costs for customer support and warranty. Also bear in mind that Microsoft has essentially declared a price war with Salesforce, which they consider overpriced. Do not be afraid to leverage that rivalry for the benefit of your business, and you may want to do so as soon as possible too, while Microsoft is fighting hard for your business.

That is great for today, you may be thinking, but what about the future? Will Microsoft Dynamics become more expensive over time? Well, unlike Salesforce, Dynamics offers a broad range of subscription options depending on how many people will be using the software and also how they will be using the software. Do not forget to discuss these options while getting your pricing estimates.

5. Dynamics 365.

Last but not least, Microsoft Dynamics is going places and those places are being mapped out to meet user needs. Dynamics 365 (like Office 365) signals the direction Microsoft is taking their CRM. Basically, they are positioning themselves to make CRM accessible, user-friendly, and subscription-based but affordable. Dynamics 365 has been newly released on November 1st, and it packages together the many apps that comprise the Dynamics CRM suite, together with new applications such as the intelligent analytics of Customer Insights, which uses Microsoft’s artificial intelligence to drill down into your customer behaviors to see trends and predict outcomes.

While Salesforce offers much of the same functionality as Dynamics, and while it does represent a solid option for CRM, there are many reasons to ultimately go with Dynamics. Mainly, Dynamics will save you money, will hold out for the long term, and will give you access to all of the benefits that come from going with Microsoft on this one.