Why Microsoft Dynamics® CRM 2011 is a Better Choice than Salesforce.com

If you’re exploring the benefits of a CRM system and learning how it can improve business productivity, you may have noticed that two top contenders are in a head-to-head battle right now. For years, Salesforce.com has been an economical solution for small businesses, but this has all changed with the introduction of Microsoft Dynamics® CRM 2011, which many people view as being far superior to Salesforce.com.

First, if your company is considering Salesforce.com, it means you’re interested in a cloud-based CRM solution, which is a great idea.  Cloud-based applications are an excellent way to get access to powerful, robust solutions at a lower cost. Both Salesforce.com and Dynamics CRM 2011 fit into this category.  But, let’s explore some ways they differ.

Price and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
Salesforce.com offers its customers several different levels of functionality.  Three of these are comparable to Dynamics CRM 2011, listed below.

  • Salesforce Professional – $65/month/user. Includes 20MB of data and 600MB of file storage per user.
  • Salesforce Enterprise – $125/month/user. Includes 20MB of data and 600MB of file storage per user.
  • Salesforce Unlimited – $250/month/user.  Includes 120MB of data and 600MB of file storage per user.
  • Dynamics CRM 2011 Online – $44/month/user. Includes 5GB of total storage across all users for data and files.

As you can see, Dynamics CRM users have access to much more storage space, included in the monthly fee per user. Salesforce.com customers have to pay additional storage fees to get the same amount.  Regarding functionality, the Salesforce edition that most closely matches with Dynamics CRM is the Enterprise edition, which costs more than three times the price of Dynamics CRM.  You can do the math on what your total cost of ownership would be.

Cost Comparison for 5 Users
As you can see, Salesforce.com costs significantly more than Dynamics CRM for comparable functionality and includes less storage space.

Salesforce Enterprise Edition
$125/user/month x 5 = $625/month (or $325 for Salesforce Professional)
Total storage across 5 users = approximately 3.1GB

Microsoft Dynamics® CRM
$44/user/month = $220/month
Total storage across 5 users = 5GB

Though Salesforce.com’s prices are presented as a monthly fee, you are expected to pay for the whole year up front. For growing businesses that need a scalable solution, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is far more flexible with its pay as you go model that allows you to scale up or down as business dictates.  For companies who regularly need to add new users or remove users, Salesforce.com simply is not an option. It does not allow you to change the number of users once under contract.  With Dynamics CRM, changing the number of users is not a problem.

Choices and Flexibility
Web-based CRM solutions are a great option for many businesses. However, this is the only option available from Salesforce.com.  If you start using CRM in the cloud, but later decide to manage the data on-premise, it won’t be possible with Salesforce.com. Microsoft Dynamics® CRM allows you the flexibility of multiple deployment options, including cloud-hosted and on-premise.  Want to work offline if you’re not connected? This is readily available in Dynamics CRM, but with Salesforce only the Enterprise or Unlimited editions offer this option, and they cost much more.

If your business is large enough to qualify for volume licensing and has an Enterprise Agreement, you can easily add Microsoft Dynamics® CRM Online. You also have the choice to transition from the online version of CRM to the on-premise version, and the terms of your Enterprise Agreement cover these changes.

Integration with Microsoft Outlook®
Salesforce.com claims to integrate with Outlook.  If this is true, then why are there so many third-party applications available to help Salesforce.com customers do this?  Salesforce.com customers often have to pay more to get the email functionality they thought they were buying in the first place.  Once the contract is signed, customers are stuck and have to find a way to make it work. Why pay additional fees for a third-party app when you can get more functionality out of the box (or, out of the cloud) with Dynamics CRM?

Microsoft Dynamics® CRM 2011 has a native Outlook client that allows it to live in Outlook. The two are fully synced, which means you can create an opportunity, case or lead directly from a customer’s email. Users get the convenience of using Outlook’s familiar interface while their correspondence is being tracked by CRM. Instead of logging emails, managing contacts and paying additional money for third-party apps, your sales team should be focused on adding client value!

Service Level Agreements
When you start doing business with a provider who will be hosting your organization’s confidential customer data via the cloud or software-as-a-service (SaaS), you need to know exactly how it will be stored. For Microsoft customers who enter into a hosting contract, both parties sign a Service Level Agreement (SLA) that clearly outlines how the data will be treated, where the liabilities lie, and who is responsible for what. OmniVue clients are provided with an SLA for all hosting services, including CRM and hosted ERP solutions.  Even though Salesforce.com calls their solution “platform-as-a-service” (PaaS) as opposed to SaaS, similar rules should apply.  We are not aware that Salesforce.com provides its customers with an SLA.

Conclusion
Microsoft Dynamics CRM® is clearly the best choice. It grows as your business grows, integrates with Office products you already use, and has a lower total cost of ownership.  Feature for feature, it either matches or exceeds the capability of Salesforce.com at a much lower price (we’ll explore more technical details in another blog).  Microsoft spends a lot more time and money on research and development than Salesforce.com, and its products are some of the most essential solutions for business. Welcome to the family, Dynamics CRM 2011!

Author Jeff Pyden

Jeff Pyden is President and CEO of OmniVue, which he founded in 2003. For more than 20 years, Jeff has been following his passion for improving business execution and efficiency through technology.