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A real-world look at digital transformation.

Which is the Better CRM Platform for Sales – Dynamics 365 or Salesforce?

By Natasha Spurr | October 19, 2018

Thinking about a new CRM? Do you have an old system that just isn’t helping your sales team as much as you think it should? Are you getting enough from your CRM data? Does it not only help you to forecast, but help you to upsell and cross-sell? Can your sales teams seize each opportunity by understanding everything about a potential lead and how best to target them?

If not, you may be at the stage of thinking about which new CRM platform to consider. The two leaders in the field, according to The Forrester Wave of Sales Force Automation Solutions Q2 2017, are Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365.

On top of the Forrester Wave

Salesforce has traditionally held the largest market share for CRM but, according to the Forrester Wave, Microsoft Dynamics 365’s current offering is stronger than that of Salesforce.

When creating its Wave, Forrester looked at 11 categories and rated each vendor out of five. Microsoft outperforms Salesforce in five of these areas and is equal to them in four.

Three of these areas are directly related to sales support.

  • Seller productivity where Microsoft scores a full 5 compared with Salesforce’s 4
  • Role-based sales support where it scores 8 compared with Salesforce’s 3
  • Business intelligence where it scores 5 compared with Salesforce’s 3.4.

 forrester-sfa-2017-chart image (1)

Focus on seller empowerment through intelligent insights

Forrester highlights how a modern CRM should focus on seller empowerment. Solutions that do this successfully:

  • Provide contextual experiences for various sales roles.
  • Enhance seller productivity.
  • Cultivate an ecosystem of sales applications to boost seller effectiveness.
  • Use AI and machine learning to guide selling actions.

    Of these, AI and machine learning are of particular note, with Forrester saying: “For years sellers have been told they need to capture more data but, over that time, very few organisations have been able to understand the insights and even fewer have been able to drive actionable recommendations against them.”

It states: “Microsoft delivers on intelligent seller productivity. Microsoft delivers very strong analytics capabilities, including its machine learning and AI offerings, as well as Power BI. Microsoft shows considerable maturity in both its execution and vision for how advanced analytics will transform selling.”

Designed with sales teams in mind

But, as sales directors, what you will really want to know is how Microsoft Dynamics 365 performs in the field. How has it helped our customers to sell more efficiently and effectively?

Paul Sweeney, Chairman of cloud services provider ANS, says: “The new Dynamics system is a revelation to the management team. It gives us information that we couldn’t see before. It is easy to use and easy to configure. It is designed with the sales guys in mind.”

For ANS, Microsoft Dynamics CRM has certainly enhanced seller productivity, boosted seller effectiveness and provided intelligence and insights that have guided seller actions.

Empowering data-driven decision-making

This is not the only sales team to benefit from the business intelligence and analytics built into Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Barry Andrews, Group Commercial Director for high-performance polymer manufacturer Victrex, says: “The benefits of (Microsoft Dynamics 365) CRM is that it allows us to look at a set of metrics that are mutually connected, so that’s transformational for the business. It allows us to think a different way.”

He adds that Microsoft Dynamics 365 has given Victrex a measurable method of understanding customer satisfaction, which has made the organisation change some of its strategic decisions.

Streamlining effort and boosting sales

This was also the case for the Horizon Discovery Group, a gene editing company. Dr Jürgen Harter, VP of Information Systems, explains: “We used to work for weeks to produce the quarterly sales forecasts. Whereas now you just look at the dashboards inside CRM and you can already see all the data right there. All the conversations have shifted. It is now less about struggling to get to the numbers and it is more about interpreting the numbers and making some actionable decisions.”

Horizon now has much better insights into customer behaviour. Dr Harter adds: “We can cross-sell and upsell and we can nicely streamline that whole effort and be much more effective as a team and as a company. Sales have definitely grown.”

Winning the hearts and wallets of modern buyers

As Forrester says: “Vendors that can drive efficiencies and provide intelligent recommendations to sellers, position themselves to successfully help their customers win the hearts and wallets of modern buyers.”

If you want to learn more about how Microsoft Dynamics 365 can transform the way that you sell, download our free guide here.

GET THE GUIDE

Source: The Forrester Wave: Sales Forces Automation Solutions, Q2 2017 https://explore.dynamics.com/i/894847-the-forrester-wave-sales-force-automation-solutions-q2-2017/8

About Natasha Spurr

Natasha is an experienced CRM professional with a unique ability to work across both marketing and sales functions. As CRM Marketing Manager at Edgewater Fullscope, Natasha has helped the organization to achieve multiple global partner awards and leadership status across the UK and beyond.

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