The “Top 5 reasons to choose SalesForce.com over Microsoft Dynamics CRM” myths debunked

Do you know the difference between a SalesForce.com sales person and a car salesman?

The car salesman knows they are lying.

At least this is what I choose to believe when I hear that these are the top 5 reasons SalesForce.com sales people use to force organizations into selecting SFDC over Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Some of them probably know they are lying but it doesn’t stop them from trying these over and over.

Myth #1: Microsoft doesn’t use Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Fact: Microsoft created Microsoft Dynamics CRM because they were using Siebel, and as Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner pointed out during his keynote during Microsoft Convergence 2012, “There are no happy Siebel customers”.

Microsoft wanted to create a CRM solution that was easy to use, scalable, and flexible, which in terms translates into a higher chance for User Adoption. The result is the only CRM solution truly built into Microsoft Outlook (which is the applications most users work on) and that truly allows organizations to leverage the entire Microsoft stack they already have in place. Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft SQL Server, etc.

Microsoft not only uses Microsoft Dynamics CRM internally, they have the oldest and largest Microsoft Dynamics CRM organization in the world.

This myth makes as much sense as saying that SFDC employees don’t use SFDC.

Myth #2:
There are just a few enterprise customers on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online platform

Fact: Notice how carefully phrased this statement is. They limit it to “Online” because it is the only way they can sort of justify using it.

The reason for “the small amount” of enterprise customers on Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online is that unlike SFDC, Microsoft Dynamics CRM is also offered as an On-Premise solution. Large enterprises have their own facilities and even data centers to store their own deployment so they choose to go for the On-Premise or Private Cloud version instead. Microsoft delivers cloud in your terms. 57% of Fortune100 companies use Microsoft Cloud services.

Even with the option of having Microsoft Dynamics CRM deployed On-Premise or in their Private Cloud, some enterprise customers have selected Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online over SalesForce.com for multiple reasons. The most popular reasons are:

  • Cost: Today (August 2015), a Full Professional Microsoft Dynamics CRM license plus Office365 costs $85 per user per month. Similar capabilities in SalesForce.com will cost $255 per user per month:

    Another thing they won’t mention is that all users must be on the same license level within a SFDC organization. If your organization has 100 users but most of the users don’t need access to the “enterprise functionality”, you are out of luck, you will be $255×100 per month out of pocket. With Microsoft Dynamics CRM you can mix user license levels, you could have 20 Professional, 40 Basic, and 40 Essential licenses if that is all you needed.

  • Functionality and capabilities of working with the rest of the Microsoft stack: Microsoft Dynamics CRM integrates with other Microsoft Business Solutions an organization utilizes. Being able to configure ‘Server Side Sync’ and have your Microsoft Dynamics CRM organization communicate directly with Microsoft Exchange and/or Microsoft SharePoint is a huge benefit.
  • Privacy and Security: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online is hosted in data centers around the world operated by the most talented cloud professionals in the world. Physical security is top notch, you wouldn’t be able to drive a tank into one of these datacenters. Whenever data is saved in CRM Online, a copy of the data is stored in 5 places, ensuring that your data is protected against disasters.

    When it comes to privacy, Microsoft signed the standard contractual clauses created by the European Union in addition to the European Union Safe Harbor. Even sub-contractors who work on the data centers have signed these clauses.

    This is important because the EU Model Clauses are standardized contractual terms approved by the European Commission that allow for the transfer of personal data out of the EU. SalesForce.com doesn’t guarantee where your organization’s data is stored and how the privacy of your data is protected.

Myth #3:
Microsoft is not committed to CRM

Fact: Microsoft has been committed since Microsoft Dynamics CRM’s creation. Some people might not be aware that the current CEO of Microsoft was the senior vice-president of research and development (R&D) for the Online Services Division and Executive Vice-President of Cloud and Enterprise group. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online was “one of his babies” and those of us in the industry knew that Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online as well as other cloud services were going to be one of his biggest items to focus on when he was named CEO back in February 2014.

Less than 6 months before he was appointed CEO, Satya set the scene for the next 12 months presenting Microsoft’s vision: “A mobile-first and cloud-first world”. This vision was presented during the World Partner Conference 2014 in July 2014.

Office365 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online are at the center of Microsoft’s immediate vision where Microsoft is the productivity and platform company for the mobile-first and cloud-first world. Microsoft aims to reinvent productivity to empower people and organizations to do and achieve more, and they are committed more than ever to Microsoft Dynamics CRM with Satya Nadella leading the charge.

Myth #4:
Microsoft “doesn’t get” mobile and social

Fact: This one is the one they are probably most aggressive about. And I don’t really understand what SFDC “gets” about mobile and social that Microsoft “doesn’t get”. When asked for an explanation, Alex Dayton, president for applications and platform at SFDC, said “we are really focused on customer engagement, whereas most of our competitors are stuck into the infrastructure and selling the database…they are not really about what it means for the customer.”

Does that make any sense to you?

Me neither.

I think he is implying that Microsoft loves to talk about the technical side of things whereas SFDC focuses more on “the experience for the customer”.

Since Microsoft acquired Yammer, MarketingPilot, NetBreeze, and most recently Parature, I have never attended a presentation or webinar where the focus is the technology behind these solutions instead of the customer experience.

The conversation is always about the functionality and how these solutions help organizations using Microsoft Dynamics CRM do more.

Microsoft Dynamics Marketing (formerly known as MarketingPilot) helps organizations manage their marketing efforts and synchronize the data with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Microsoft Social Listening (formerly known as NetBreeze) and Social Insights are used to track social activities leads and customers perform, helping sales resources close more deals or helping the organization quickly identify customer satisfaction issues. Microsoft Parature gives organizations the ability to provide customer self-service amongst other things, greatly reducing the cost of support while increasing customer satisfaction.

All these solutions are built to improve the user experience and to increase productivity.

If increasing productivity, revenue, and customer satisfaction, while decreasing overhead, cross-team collaboration conflicts, and frustration on the customer side equals “not getting mobile and social”, then I rather never “get” what Mr. Dayton and SFDC think it should be.

Myth #5:
Microsoft is not a cloud leader and innovator

Fact: Gartner Magic Quadrant positions Microsoft and Amazon Web Services as the leaders in the Cloud space in May 2014. Microsoft was only considered by Gartner in the cloud space after the debut of Azure Infrastructure Services in April 2013, 4 years after the Azure platform was released. Last year (August 2013), Microsoft was listed last place as a visionary on the Gartner Magic Quadrant behind Rackspace and in less than 12 months they’ve made the climb to only one of two leaders bypassing the “Challengers” quadrant completely.

Recently, Pacific Crest Securities asked CIOs of 152 companies with 1,000 or more employees (most of them with over 5,000 employees) to list the services they intended to increase spending in the coming year. Microsoft’s Azure and Office 365 for business beat both Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud. Microsoft was also the second most preferred supplier for public and private cloud services behind VMware (VMW).

When it comes to innovation in the CRM space, Microsoft continues to amaze with a product that not only is easy to use, flexible, and scalable, but that users love to use.

For a comparison, take a look at the user interface evolution of Microsoft Dynamics CRM and SalesForce.com over the last few years:

Which one looks like it has improved more over time?

The biggest “Innovation” introduced by SFDC recently is “Salesforce1″ which was announced in November 2013, as an “evolutionary Customer Platform” allowing an organization to “Connect all your apps. Connect all your devices. Connect all your customer data. All with one Customer Platform designed for the new hyper-connected world of customers. With complete and open APIs, developers can build the next generation of apps today.”

In simple terms, this is SFDC’s Private Cloud offering.

Microsoft Windows Azure platform was launched in November 2009. Ray Ozzie, Chief Software Architect at Microsoft announced it this way: “Customers want choice and flexibility in how they develop and deploy applications. We’re moving into an era of solutions that are experienced by users across PCs, phones and the Web, and that are delivered from datacenters we refer to as private clouds and public clouds. Built specifically for this era of cloud computing, Windows Azure and SQL Azure will give developers what they need to build great applications and profitable businesses.”

Sounds familiar?

When it comes to making a decision between SalesForce.com and Microsoft Dynamics CRM for your organization, be aware of these myths, they keep being repeated over and over around the world to force organizations to make a decision based in emotion and pressure.

Don’t get forced.