Microsoft Dynamics 365 vs Salesforce CRM: Which should you choose?


Customer relationship management (CRM) is a mature tool in most businesses, essential to maintaining contact with clients. All such solutions cover a range of channels, and there are many vendors in this highly competitive market – including SAP, Oracle, SugarCRM, Zendesk, Hubspot and Zoho. The largest names in UK CRM, though, are Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce CRM. The Microsoft vs Salesforce question is perhaps the biggest CRM challenge any senior IT leader – and their management team – will face.

Which CRM tool should I choose?

If you are looking to make a CRM platform comparison, this article provides a brief summary of the two market leaders, Microsoft vs Salesforce.

What’s the difference between Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Salesforce CRM?

  • Deployment: Salesforce is pure cloud, while Microsoft has on-prem and hybrid deployment options
  • Ease of use: Microsoft is perceived as an easier solution to use in anger for non-technical staff
  • Pricing: Microsoft is significantly higher, starting at more than double that of Salesforce’s basic tier, but ‘Base and Attach’ licenses add flexibility
  • Addons: Salesforce’s AppExchange portal is more populated than Microsoft’s AppSource but Microsoft is gaining fast
  • Integrations: Dynamics 365 integrates with all existing Microsoft applications, such as Outlook, Excel and PowerBI. Salesforce’s connections to Microsoft are more limited.

Microsoft Dynamics vs Salesforce CRM – the background

Firms in every sector now acknowledge that data is a valuable resource, with a significant and measurable effect on success. Over time technological tools have evolved to make this information easier to access and analyse, even for non-technical staff.

CRM is one tool classically used in every part of an organisation, primarily by employees in sales and marketing who deal with clients as part of their day-to-day roles. Because of its importance to many departments – in addition to these key revenue generators – CRM is increasingly perceived as core to business growth, as well as a way to uncover new opportunities.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is primarily a web application, focusing on the sales, marketing and service sectors, with integrations into the wider Dynamics ecosystem. It provides CRM services through five of the 11 core modules forming Dynamics 365: Sales; Customer Service; Marketing; Field Service; and Project Service Automation. Two more modules (Finance & Operations and Business Central), add ERP capabilities.

Salesforce CRM is entirely cloud-based solution, offering significant scalability. Like Dynamics 365, much of its functionality is modular and based on four separate Salesforce products: the Salesforce Platform, Sales Cloud, Service Cloud and Marketing Cloud. The Salesforce Platform acts as a base layer and the Cloud modules add additional functionality, such as automation and cross-channel customer communication.

Both companies have their own particular areas of strength, such as Microsoft’s simplicity and Salesforce’s continual investment in improving its product. Both companies also have weaknesses in the ongoing Microsoft Dynamics vs Salesforce CRM brawl, with respondents pointing to Microsoft’s high costs and Salesforce’s lack of agility.

Microsoft Dynamics vs Salesforce CRM – pricing

Both Microsoft and Salesforce share public pricing information, charging subscriptions on a per-user, per-month basis.

Pricing for Microsoft’s core CRM module, Sales, starts at £49 and includes basic features such as sales execution, limited customisation and limited reporting. The next tier, Sales Enterprise, begins at £71.60 and includes more robust versions of these features, as well as additions such as embedded intelligence and social engagement. The Relationship Sales Plan adds LinkedIn Sales Navigator Enterprise and starts at £91.30.

Previously Microsoft offered a Customer Engagement plan, adding the other four CRM modules. As of 2019 the company offers new ‘Base and Attach Licenses’, enabling an a la carte licensing model.

Salesforce prices its Sales Cloud the core CRM module, in four tiers, billed annually. The first is Essentials, suitable for up to five users and starting at £20. The Professional tier is for all team sizes and starts at £60. The Enterprise tier starts at £120 and adds additional features like workflow automation, multiple sandboxes and custom app development.

Finally, the Unlimited tier adds 24/7 support, live video chat, more data storage, expanded sandbox environments and a variety of other Salesforce tools, like Sales Data, SalesforceIQ Inbox and Salesforce CPQ. It starts at £240.

Adding additional modules and services not included in a subscription can significantly increase the amount a customer pays, although bulk discounts are available.


Both Microsoft and Salesforce hold a prominent position in the CRM market, making the Microsoft Dynamics vs Salesforce CRM question a difficult one to answer. Both cover all the expected areas of CRM, with some ERP in the mix as well from Microsoft Dynamics; have excellent integrations with their own products, but struggle when connecting to tools outside their ecosystems; and consistently ranked well on their support for customers.

The major difference in these tools is in price – with Microsoft more expensive than Salesforce – and their approach to the cloud. Salesforce has a longer history in cloud CRM, while Microsoft is a more recent entrant. However, Microsoft is closing the gap rapidly and there has been a lack of innovation to Salesforce in recent years.

Ultimately your choice will come down to the business systems you have in place, the features you need and even personal preference.

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