Microsoft Dynamics CRM vs.

The salesforce application is an easy-to-use tool with deep SFA capabilities. The product also boasts strong functionality in partner relationship management and sound support for customer service. Where the solution is weaker, however, is in support for marketing, field service, customer analytics, and eCommerce.

The application is built on top of a modern architecture, allowing for robust scalability, reliability and availability, and openness to connect to other applications via Web services. However, the product is only available in SaaS deployment, so organizations selecting salesforce must be committed to the SaaS deployment model. It lacks industry-specific vertical solutions, with the exception of Wealth Management in the financial services segment. Along these lines, the vendor relies on its partner ecosystem (AppExchange) to complement its shortcomings in the areas where the application is not robust. Salesforce is an application best suited for businesses that are looking for an easy-to-use, rapidly deployable sales management and customer service CRM application, and who are committed to the SaaS as deployment approach.

  • Very large established customer base
  • No on-premise CRM capability (on-demand only).
  • No vertical functionality and few vertical add-ons available for customers.
  • Limited integration capabilities with existing productivity software and line-of-business (LOB) applications.
  • The pricing is about twice that of Microsoft Dynamics CRM's Online edition.
  • According to Nucleus Research, "38% of customers are planning to or would consider moving to another solution."

Microsoft Dynamics CRM:

Buyers have a full range of deployment options: on-premise, SaaS, on-premise hosted, or hybrid.  The solution’s code is the same regardless of deployment choice, so migration from one deployment type to another is relatively easy. There are no industry-specific solution sets although Microsoft is working with its extensive network of ISVs to develop industry solutions on the Microsoft Dynamics platform. Enterprise buyers will be attracted to Microsoft Dynamics CRM if they have made a commitment to a Microsoft infrastructure in order to lower their TCO in buying and managing business technologies. Buyers also like Microsoft Dynamics CRM’s usability, lower price, and its quick time-to-value compared with traditional CRM applications.

  • Choice of Deployment Model. Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers a hosted, on-premise, or hybrid deployment models.  Not locking in their customers gives Microsoft a unique advantage here.
  • Native Outlook Interface. Makes training easier.
  • Choice of Client. Native Outlook, Web browser, mobile, or online/offline.
  • Ease of Configuration and Customization. Microsoft Dynamics CRM has been designed to allow customers and solutions partners to easily customize data types, workflows, role-based views, and more, through solution capabilities and standard Web services.
  • Vertical Solutions and ISV Support.  Microsoft Dynamics CRM is supported by a global network of resellers, integrators, and ISV partners worldwide.  These solutions partners have deep experience building the custom and vertical solutions demanded by many customers.
  • Low TCO.  Customers and solutions partners can take advantage of existing IT investments and in-house expertise to help minimize the total cost of ownership because Microsoft Dynamics CRM is built on the scalable and secure .NET platform and utilizes standard Microsoft tools and technology such as Microsoft SQL Server and Visual Studio.
  • Space: 20 gigs of storage that Microsoft offers for free
Group Edition
Professional Edition
Enterprise Edition
Unlimited Edition
Microsoft Dynamics
CRM Online Professional
Microsoft Dynamics
CRM Online
Professional Plus
On-Demand Service  
Full CRM Suite
Custom Reporting
Highly Configurable    
Web browser
Native Microsoft
Outlook interface
Dedicated database        

Group Edition
(5 users)
Professional Edition
Enterprise Edition
Unlimited Edition
Microsoft Dynamics
CRM Online Professional
Microsoft Dynamics
CRM Online
Professional Plus
Monthly Product Fee $1,200/YR $65/mo $125/mo $195/mo $44/mo $59/mo
Setup Fee
Minimum 5 user
Unlimited users  
Storage 1GB 1GB or 20MB/user 1GB or 20MB/user 1GB or 120MB/user 5GB 20GB

Group Edition
(5 users)
Professional Edition
Enterprise Edition
Unlimited Edition
Microsoft Dynamics
CRM Online Professional
Microsoft Dynamics
CRM Online
Professional Plus
Account, Contact,
Opportunity, and
Marketing Lists    
Mass Emails  
Field Service and
Case Escalation  
Knowledge Base  
Notes and
Data Validation
Product Catalog    
Mass Quota
Microsoft Excel
(Ad-hoc Reporting)
Microsoft Word
Standard and
Ad-Hoc Reports
Microsoft Windows
Live ID - Security
Web services
Instant Messaging
Conversion to
Data Migration
Offline Data Access      

A Business Level Comparison: MS CRM versus

See a visual summary and comparison of MS CRM Online versus Salesforce here.

Notes and Observations

  • When you have Salesforce's Outlook client installed, you have to enter your username, password AND every time you access Salesforce from a new IP address (like a hotel's internet connection or through your Sprint wireless card) you have to click an activation link in your e-mail before you'll be able to log into SFDC. This is a real pain, and users hate it. The activation process is similar to what you'll find when signing up for a double-opt-in e-mail list.
  • Every time you open Outlook (with the SFDC plugin installed) you'll need to enter your username, password, and security token. You can't remember this stuff. You have to enter it each time you enter Outlook, Word, Excel, etc. A real security token, by the way, looks like this: nDzDMJMdSrvQB9taDSdsI1zNX. You have to re-enter that string of text each time you open Outlook, and you can't save the password or change it to something easy-to-remember. It's really effective to read out the security token to a prospect. By the time they get to the end, they don't ever want to think about security tokens again.
  • You cannot pay for SFDC monthly. Pricing is quote monthly, but yearly payment is expected upfront. With the approval of a VP-level person within SFDC, you can pay quarterly. Never monthly.  Microsoft CRM is monthly.
  • If you renew your contract with SFDC, you have to renew the contract for an additional year.
  • If you cancel your contract before getting your data out of SFDC, they charge you upwards of $5K to get the data out.
  • As long as you are at least on the Professional Edition, it is easy to get your data out of SFDC and back into something like Dynamics CRM Online. In Salesforce, click Setup
  • Administration Setup
  • Data Management
  • Data Export. This will deliver a copy of all data files in CSV format to your inbox.
  • Salesforce has more add-ons available in the AppExchange than Microsoft CRM. However, the vast majority of these apps have fewer than 10 downloads.

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