Salesforce vs. Microsoft CRM

Salesforce vs MS CRMAs the next chapter in the Salesforce vs Microsoft CRM competition unfolds, Microsoft appears to have made some significant product inroads. With new releases of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, to what extent will Salesforce be able to retain its competitive advantage?

One of the things that Microsoft is well known for is bringing a basic form of an existing technology to market and, over the course of several years, taking the application or device up to the level of competing technologies.

By taking this tenacious approach, Microsoft has gradually gained ground versus its CRM competitors over the years. However, with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, Microsoft has gone beyond just nipping at the heels of Salesforce from a feature/functionality perspective. It has made a significant leap toward addressing many of the capabilities that are most important to CRM buyers.

For its part, salesforce.com continues to innovate and iterate at a torrid pace. Each of its three seasonal releases has release notes that are in the 300 page range.

We have published a free report that is a factual comparison of Salesforce vs Microsoft CRM. Below are several text-only excerpts from the report, which also includes illustrative screen shots. These are just five of over 25 comparison points that can be found in the report.

Salesforce vs Microsoft Dynamics CRM Comparison Points

Editions and Pricing

Salesforce – Salesforce is currently available in five different editions, which range in price from $2 per user per month to $250 per user per month.  Each edition is the same underlying product, with specific features and functionality either switched on or off, depending on the edition (PDF). The most popular edition, Enterprise Edition, lists for $125 per user per month.  The Professional Edition lists for $65 per user per month.  Normally, a 12 month commitment is required. A longer term commitment, such as 24 months, can result in lower pricing.

Update: with the fall 2013 Winter ’14 release, salesforce.com will no longer make the Unlimited Edition available to new customers. There will be a new, Performance Edition that incorporates a number of advanced currently pay-for features. This edition will be $300 per user per month.

The Salesforce.com Foundation provides free and/or deeply discounted licenses to certain categories of organizations such as 501(c)(3) corporations and B corporations.

Microsoft CRM – There is currently only one edition of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. The subscription cost is $44 per user per month. A 12 month commitment is required, but billing can be monthly. The subscription auto-renews at the end of the subscription term.

Update: with the Fall 2013 release, there will be three pricing levels: Professional ($65), Basic ($30) and Essential ($15).

Microsoft CRM Online is also available under Volume Licensing through the Enterprise Agreement and Campus & School Agreement programs.

Browser Support

Salesforce – Salesforce supports recent versions of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Internet Explorer and Apple Safari. Salesforce publishes a list of supported browser versions.

Microsoft CRM – Microsoft CRM’s full Web client currently only runs under recent versions of Internet Explorer.  This is due to the fact that MS CRM relies on the behavior Property.

Update: As of late January, 2013, MS CRM Online runs in Safari on Mac.

For Windows XP and Windows 7/8 users, Microsoft CRM can run in other browsers such as Chrome and Firefox though the use IE tab plugins within these browsers.

Point & Click Configuration and Customization

Salesforce – In Salesforce, an administrator can add new fields to an object via point and click. Field types include: Auto Number; Formula; Roll-up Summary; Lookup Relationship; Checkbox; Currency; Date; Date/Time; Email; Number; Percent; Phone; Picklist; Multi-Select Picklist; Text; Text Area; Text Area (Long); Text Area (Rich); URL.

New objects (tables) can also be added. A new object can either have a lookup relationship with a parent object, a master-detail relationship or a many to many relationship.

Microsoft CRM – In Microsoft CRM, a System Administrator or System Customizer can add new fields to an entity via point and click.  Custom field types are: Single Line of Text; Option Set; Two Options; Whole Number; Floating Point Number; Decimal Number; Currency; Multiple Lines of Text; Date and Time; Lookup.

New entities can also be added.  An entity can be related to another entity or entities as one to many, many to one or many to many.

There is definable Relationship Behavior. Behavior can either be Parental or Configurable Cascading.

Email Merge

Salesforce – Salesforce allows administrators and users to create email templates. Templates can be text, HTML, or they can be defined using Salesforce’s Visualforce markup language.  A template can be used to send a single email to a Lead or a Contact.  A View can be created to merge from a template to multiple recipients.

Email merges are server side — they are processed and sent from Salesforce servers. Salesforce also offers tracking for HTML emails and will track each open by the recipient.

There is a daily mass email limit of 1,000.  There is also a per send limit of 250 for the Professional Edition and 500 for the Enterprise Edition.

Microsoft CRM – In Microsoft CRM, email templates can be created by users or administrators. Emails can be sent to one or more people. Email merge in Microsoft CRM is client side. Emails are sent via a user’s local, Outlook client.

Data Import Tools

Salesforce – Salesforce has a wizard for importing records into the Lead object. It also has a wizard for importing records as Accounts and Contacts as a single operation.

In the Salesforce Enterprise and Unlimited Editions, an application called the Data Loader can be used for importing data into any Salesforce object. The Data Loader has a graphical user interface, but can also be run in command line mode, which supports using relational databases as sources and targets.

Microsoft CRM – Microsoft CRM’s Import Data Wizard allows for importing data to any Record Type in the database.

Salesforce vs MS CRM

These are just a few of the comparison points between Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The year 2013 will be an interesting one for observing the online CRM industry. Corporate buyers will ultimately determine the outcome of the Salesforce vs MS CRM competition for CRM market share.






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