Head to head: Microsoft Dynamics vs Salesforce


Foosball table representing Microsoft Dynamics vs Salesforce

Ready to get started with CRM?

Deciding that it’s time for your business to implement a CRM is a big step. It’s an exciting moment; you’re on the cusp of rolling out a tool that’s going to change the way you work, and hopefully, help take your business to the next level.

With so much hinging on making the right choice, however, it can be a pretty daunting time too. With an abundance of CRM products to choose from in today’s market, it can be tricky to know where to begin your search.

There are CRMs out there for every company type, size, and niche; if you let your individual requirements inform your search, you should be able to find a good match for your circumstances. But if an inclusive, established vendor is what you’re after, you might want to start by looking at market leaders.

CRM is currently the fastest-growing type of business software, but that doesn’t mean it’s a newfangled concept. The notion of customer relationship management has been around since the 1970s, and some of the biggest names on the CRM software market today have 15 years of experience under their belts.

To help you find the perfect software vendor for your organization, we’ve put together a series of guides comparing some of the largest and most popular CRM vendors available today.

In this edition, we’ll be comparing two giants of the business software market; Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce.

Microsoft Dynamics vs Salesforce

In terms of market share, Salesforce is the most popular CRM software in the world. Up until recently, product rankings in the CRM market were essentially Salesforce, then everyone else. Now Microsoft Dynamics is marking itself out as a clear competitor to Salesforce in the ongoing CRM war, and while it still has some way to go to close the gap, it appears more and more like a credible threat to Salesforce’s position.

Hundreds of CRMs can perform core functions like managing customer information, tracking sales, offering customer service, and analyzing data, but the reason that big vendors like Microsoft and Salesforce have managed to climb to the top is the depth and extent of their capabilities. Both Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Salesforce have developed broad functionality to offer much more than the core functions you’d expect from a CRM solution.

Microsoft Dynamics vs Salesforce: features


Salesforce’s CRM service is made up of many individual modules, or Clouds. Businesses can pick and choose which of these Clouds to implement in their business, depending on what they’re hoping to achieve. These modules cover all the basics of CRM functionality, including sales, data management, and marketing, and can be completed by adding smaller specialist modules to introduce capabilities such as marketing automation and field services.

The three key components to Salesforce CRM are:

  • Sales Cloud
  • Service Cloud
  • Marketing Cloud

Additional modules include:

  • Commerce Cloud Digital — an e-commerce platform
  • Pardot — marketing automation service
  • Field Service Lightning — an app for managing employees and workflows in the field
  • CPQ — a pricing management service
  • DMP — a data management platform
  • Community Cloud — a self-service portal builder
  • Einstein — an AI-driven analytics service

Here’s what Salesforce’s three main CRM modules can do:

Module Features include:
Sales Cloud Contact Management
Opportunity Management
Lead Management
Reports and Dashboards
Salesforce Mobile
Email Integration
Sales Forecasting
Workflow and Approvals
Files Sync and Share
Data Management
Service Cloud Lightning Service Console
Case Management
Workflow and Approvals
Omni-Channel Routing
Telephony Integration
Social Customer Service
Automation with Macros
Account and Contact Management
Custom Reports and Dashboards
Asset and Order Management
Marketing Cloud B2C Journey Management
B2B Marketing Automation
Email Marketing
Data Management Platform
Data Sharing Platform
Social Media Marketing
Digital Advertising
Mobile Messaging

Dynamics 365

Dynamics 365 also features three primary CRM-focused apps, with another due for release in early 2018. Each app can be used as a standalone service, or in conjunction with any of the other apps from the Dynamics 365 suite. All of Microsoft’s products, including Dynamics, Office, and Outlook, share the same data model and can utilize and learn from data from across all products.

The apps that make up Dynamics 365’s CRM service are:

  • Dynamics 365 for Sales
  • Dynamics 365 for Customer Service
  • Dynamics 365 for Retail

Microsoft also offers additional apps including:

  • Project Service Automation — project-based business management for resource planning and automation
  • Field Service — an app for managing employees and workflows in the field
  • Microsoft Social Engagement — a social media management and social listening app (included with both Sales and Customer Service at no additional cost)
  • Microsoft Relationship Sales — a sales navigator integrated with LinkedIn data

Here’s an overview of Dynamics 365’s main CRM features:

Module Features include:
Dynamics 365 for Sales Customer data management
Opportunity and funnel management
Partner relationship management
Task management
Sales performance management
Contract management
Quote and order management
Marketing automation
Customer service
Knowledgebase management
Reporting and analytics
Dynamics 365 for Customer Service Cross-channel customer case management
Self-service portals
Knowledgebase management
Service intelligence
Incident routing
Dynamics 365 for Retail Payments
Purchase orders
Sales tax
Call center
Channel setup and management
Modern Point of Sale (MPOS) and Cloud POS
Order fulfillment
Monitoring and analysis
Discounts and price adjustments
Products and merchandising
Loyalty scheme management
Inventory management
Human resources
Retail tasks
Retail development and administration
Dynamics 365 for Marketing Confirmed features:
Customer journey management
Landing pages
Email marketing
Multi-channel campaign management
Event planning and management, including event portals
Lead management
Marketing analysis with Power BI
Microsoft Social Engagement Social media management
Social listening
Social Selling Assistant
Social analysis and insight

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Microsoft Dynamics vs Salesforce: pricing


As with many market-leading vendors with several products under their umbrella, pricing for Salesforce can be complicated, with many apps, licensing levels, and add-ons to consider when trying to work out potential costings.

Personalized pricing is available for businesses who wish to license several modules together, so to get an idea of how much a Salesforce package will set you back, you will need to contact the vendor directly.

Salesforce does not publish pricing details for Marketing Cloud or Commerce Cloud, but you can get an idea of how much you’d be looking at per user from the pricing model for some of its other apps.

Module/Plan Pricing Includes
Sales Cloud
Lightning Essentials


$25 /user/month

(up to five users)


Lead management
Web-to-lead capture
Email templates
Contact management
Opportunity management
Task management
Mobile app access
Configurable reports and dashboard
Case management
Lightning App Builder
Unlimited online training
Lightning Professional


$75 /user/month


As above, plus:
Rules-based lead scoring
Duplicate blocking
Mass email
Rules-based lead scoring
Duplicate blocking
Mass email
Campaign management
Person accounts
Collaborative forecasting
Forecasting mobile app
Basic CPQ features
Lead registration
Developer sandbox
Lightning for Gmail or Outlook
Google Apps integration
Lightning Enterprise $150 /user/month As above, plus:
Custom forecasting fields
Opportunity splits
Enterprise territory management
Advanced reporting features
Workflow and approval automation
Lightning Unlimited $300 /user/month As above, plus:

Developer Pro Sandbox
Access to Premier Success resources
24/7 toll-free support
Developer support
Configuration services
Access to accelerators
Service Cloud
Lightning Professional $75 /user/month
Case auto-assignment
Web and email case capture
Case escalation rules and queues
Omni-channel routing
Knowledge (read-only)
Case milestone tracker
Order management
Lead-contact account management
Service contracts and entitlements
Social Customer Service starter pack
Asset management
Customizable reports and dashboards
Opportunity tracking
Task management
Salesforce mobile app
Email integration with Outlook
Google Apps integration
Developer sandbox
Custom profiles and page layouts
Lightning App Builder
Unlimited custom applications
AppExchange app integration
Email templates
Standard Success plan
Lightning Enterprise $150 /user/month As above, plus:
Advanced case management
Community starter
Work order management
Advanced reporting features
Offline access
Integration via web service API
Salesforce Identity
Lightning Unlimited $300 /user/month As above, plus:
Knowledge (read-write)
Snap-Ins for Live Agent chat
Developer Pro Sandbox
Unlimited online training
24/7 toll-free support
Developer support
Configuration services
Access to accelerators

Dynamics 365

Dynamics 365’s pricing is publicly available, though that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s set in stone. Many vendors will offer custom pricing or discounts when licensing multiple products, so always try to negotiate a better deal.

To license Dynamics 365’s CRM solutions, businesses can either purchase individual standalone apps, or opt to license bundles of apps through one of several plans.

The Dynamics 365 Plan is a full set of both ERP and CRM apps, giving users access to every module in the suite. The Customer Engagement Plan focuses on CRM functions, and does not include the major ERP apps. It should be noted, however, that as Retail is an e-commerce app, it could be broadly classified as both an ERP and a CRM solution. Microsoft has chosen to align it to its ERP arm, and therefore is not available as part of the Customer Engagement Plan.

Plan Price Modules included
Dynamics 365 Plan Full user — $210 /user/month

Additional Users:

  • Team Members — $8 /user/month
  • Operations Activity — $50 /user/month
  • Operations Devices — $75 /device/month
Finance and Operations
Finance and Operations
Customer Service
Project Service Automation
Field Service
Social Engagement
Relationship Sales
Customer Engagement Plan Full user — $115 /user/month

Additional Users:

  • Team Members — $8 /user/month
Customer Service
Project Service Automation
Field Service
Social Engagement
Relationship Sales
Standalone Apps
Dynamics 365 for Sales Full user — $95 /user/month

Additional Users:

  • Team Members — $8 /user/month
Social Engagement
Dynamics 365 for Customer Service Full user — $95 /user/month

Additional Users:

  • Team Members — $8 /user/month
Customer Service
Social Engagement
Dynamics 365 for Retail Full user — $175 /user/month

Additional Users:

  • Team Members — $8 /user/month
Retail only

Microsoft Dynamics vs Salesforce: pros and cons

Though their core functionality is similar, as we can see from both their additional features and licensing models, both products score extra points in particular areas. Let’s take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of each solution:

Pros: Salesforce

  • With Dynamics 365, getting the right kind of knowledge and training on your side means picking the right Microsoft Partner. Salesforce, on the other hand, manages its customer orientation in-house, and is well-known for its customer-centric attitude. Trailhead, the education network for Salesforce users, is often lauded as one of the company’s most significant assets.
  • The company’s AppExchange is one of the largest B2B stores in the industry, featuring thousands of third-party integrations to help businesses get more out of the platform.
  • Both Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud and Pardot services are mature and ready to use. With Dynamics 365, users will likely have to ride out some initial bumps in the road once Dynamics 365 for Marketing is released.
  • Salesforce features robust e-commerce facilities that are only going to improve now that Salesforce has acquired retailer eCommerce platform Demandware.

Pros: Dynamics 365

  • Dynamics 365 is competitively priced and flexible in its licensing model, making it more cost-effective and accessible for smaller businesses.
  • Dynamics 365 has native integration with LinkedIn. Dynamics 365 for Sales and LinkedIn Sales Navigator roll together to create Microsoft Relationship Sales, which uses LinkedIn data to identify leads and help build relationships through personalized engagement.
  • Dynamics 365 also benefits from seamless integration with other Microsoft products, such as Office 365, Outlook and Microsoft’s mighty business intelligence tool Power BI. Not only can synchronization between platforms drive productivity, but the familiarity of the Microsoft interface can provide a more positive user experience.
  • Microsoft is committed to offering 99.9% uptime through its Service Level Agreement. An SLA with Salesforce is only available on request and must be negotiated.

Cons: Salesforce

  • Salesforce is a standalone CRM software. If you want Salesforce to share data with any other business software, such as your ERP solution, you will need to install connectors. If you use a lot of other software, the costs for these integrations can mount up.
  • Due to increasing costs and extended contractual obligations, some smaller and mid-market organizations may find themselves priced out by Salesforce.
  • Some users report that Salesforce’s field service management module, Field Service Lightning, leaves a lot to be desired, and is not as integral to the overall CRM solution as Dynamics 365’s Field Service app.

Cons: Dynamics 365

  • Although Dynamics 365 for Sales does feature some marketing automation capabilities, Dynamics 365 does not currently have a purpose-built marketing model. Dynamics 365 for Marketing is expected to be released in early 2018.
  • Dynamics 365 is still very new, having only been released in late 2016. Although it is growing in popularity, some businesses are still wary of investing in such a green product.
  • Dynamics 365 can be customized, but organizations may find the customization process challenging to master without development knowledge. It also supports fewer third-party integrations that Salesforce.

What’s next?

With extensive, mostly comparable features, it’s easy to see why Dynamics 365 and Salesforce have become market leaders. The critical differences between them, however, lie primarily in their purchasing models, so identifying which one is right for you will depend on your circumstances, and what’s most important for you to get out of your CRM.

If pricing, flexibility or user experience are vital issues, Dynamics may be the right choice. If you’re more concerned with user education, and having a robust, ready-to-go marketing solution at your disposal, Salesforce could be worth a try.

If you think either of these products could be right for you, get in touch with the vendors to ask for a tailored business proposal. The vendor will also be able to give you a clearer idea of costs, particularly as Salesforce does not publish pricing for many of its products.

In the meantime, you can get a feel for how both Salesforce and Dynamics 365 might fit in with your team by taking up a free trial.

Want to see how Microsoft Dynamics compares to other giants of the business software world? We’ve stacked it up against NetSuite, Oracle, and HubSpot to help you make the right choice for your business.

Thinking about implementing Dynamics 365? Browse our candidate database for free, and find talented Dynamics professionals who can help you make your implementation a success.

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