The Top 8 Reasons Professional Services Firms Choose Dynamics 365 Over Salesforce

When you think of CRM platforms, what’s the first name that comes to mind? For many business leaders, the answer is Salesforce – and with good reason. Salesforce owns a large percentage of the CRM market, accounting for nearly 25% of active CRM instances. As one of the industry leaders in CRM, Salesforce has offers many of the most critical features and benefits businesses look for when selecting a new solution for managing customer data and relationships.

Despite the platform’s popularity, it isn’t the right choice for everyone. In fact, some industries and business types, including professional services firms, are likely to obtain more benefits and ROI from an investment into another CRM platform, such as Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Why is Dynamics 365 becoming an increasingly popular choice for professional services firms over Salesforce? Here are the factors that likely contribute to the decision:

Comparing Dynamics 365 and Salesforce: Optimized for professional services firms

While most CRM systems were built to help organizations sell “widgets”, professional services organizations have a unique use case for CRM software. The ability to leverage relationships and highlight unique intellectual capital, experience, and qualifications should be the centerpiece of a professional services firm’s CRM strategy.   

Many CRM systems are designed to track relationships with current and prospective customers. However, the modern CRM goes well beyond simply maintaining contact information to support marketing engagement and sales outreach.

Dynamics 365 makes it possible to gain a 360-degree view of client relationships, both for employees of the firm and for relationships that exist within their professional networks.  externally and internally. In tandem with projects360 from HSO Proserv, Dynamics 365 provides unique relationship intelligence capabilities that automate the capture of relationship and activity data through an integration with Outlook/Exchange. The system then connects those relationships across the firm, providing deep insights into all aspects of the relationship, from who knows whom, to who’s communicating with whom, and who’s worked with whom in the past. This valuable information can be used to make introductions, facilitate cross-practice selling initiatives, and put the best possible pursuit teams together.

The ability to track and articulate the firm’s experience is another invaluable benefit of this solution. Dynamics 365 offers an embedded experience management module for tracking detailed information about a firm’s projects and engagements, including what they did, who they did it for, and which team members were involved.  Further, employee experience and qualifications can also be tracked and mined to highlight the unique capabilities of your potential project team.  This data is critical to conveying expertise and experience and can be used to win similar projects.

While Salesforce can be customized to incorporate these features, the process would require a third-party vendor and significant investment. Dynamics 365 gets the edge due to its configurability and native integrations with popular enterprise applications involved in the capture of data such as Outlook/Exchange and Microsoft Teams.

Comparing Dynamics 365 and Salesforce: User experience and adoption

Many professional services organizations employ a seller/doer model, with key employees sharing responsibility for developing new business.  Ensuring a seamless user experience is key to gaining user adoption and making the most out of your CRM investment.

While the user interfaces offered by Dynamics 365 and Salesforce are similar at a high level, Dynamics 365 gets the edge for user experience due to its process-driven-interface. Anyone who has used a Microsoft product will likely have little difficulty learning the nuances of Dynamics 365.

Salesforce, on the other hand, is its own animal. The system may require additional training for the average user to grasp.

Of course, each system can be customized to individual users. However, Dynamics 365 offers the more extensive customization options. Dynamics 365 also offers mobile access options for iOS and Android users.

Comparing Dynamics 365 and Salesforce: Analytics and reporting

CRM data is only valuable if it is easy to access, analyze and share across the organization.

Salesforce offers limited reporting functionality without additional investment. While you can export static reports to Excel, Salesforce requires an Analytics Cloud subscription – at an additional expense – to enable advanced functionality.

Dynamics 365 offers many analytics and reporting features without additional investment. The platform enables immersive Excel experiences embedded in list views and interactive report exports, and the option to export to Excel from CRM for tablets and phones. Power BI users will benefit from pre-built and shareable reports templates to make it even easier to share mission-critical data.

Comparing Dynamics 365 and Salesforce: Productivity

Achieving high levels of productivity is important for professional services firms, where every hour of billable revenue counts.  Using a CRM platform can be a time-consuming task – entering information, updating contacts or building reports takes time and effort. Any boost in productivity is worth its weight in gold, especially when that boost is seamless and effortless for users.

Dynamics 365 benefits from its integration with the entire Microsoft ecosystem. Power Automate and PowerApps help automate routine time-consuming processes. Microsoft’s Common Data Service (Dataverse) provides seamless integration with other applications used daily by many professional services firms, including Outlook, Office 365, Power BI and more. This integration ensures the efficient and accurate capture of data into Dynamics 365, and truly extends the system’s functionality beyond a simple CRM platform.

Salesforce lacks this extensive ecosystem and requires costly add-on connecters to support integrations and extended features.

Comparing Dynamics 365 and Salesforce: Flexibility and customization

Few attributes of a software platform are as important as its flexibility. The ability to do many different things and be customized to a user’s exact needs is a major draw for many companies when comparing CRM platforms.

While Salesforce is certainly capable of executing many different functions, the system’s ability to adapt to an organization’s unique needs is limited. In many cases, businesses find themselves attempting to adapt to their Salesforce instance, rather than adapting the instance to their business.

Dynamics 365 benefits from nearly endless customization opportunities, which are further extended by the integration of Microsoft Power Automate and Microsoft PowerApps – not to mention the rest of the Microsoft ecosystem like Office 365 and Microsoft Teams. These tools and integrations make is easy to customize Dynamics 365 to fit the exact needs of a business, even the unique requirements of a professional services firm.

Comparing Dynamics 365 and Salesforce: Future proofing

Professional services firms must continually adapt to meet the changing needs of their clients. As the firm evolves, its CRM system must be capable of evolving at the same pace. No one wants to invest in a software solution, only to have it be obsolete or unwieldly in a few years or have to dump another capital investment into updating the system to meet the firm’s changing needs.

When it comes to future proofing, Dynamics 365 has the edge over Salesforce. Dynamics 365 is extendable and responsive, which makes it ideally suited for the growth and evolution of a professional services firm.

Comparing Dynamics 365 and Salesforce: Pricing and licensing

Getting the most value for your investment is another important factor when considering a new CRM solution. Finding a vendor that offers the right product, at the right price, with the right terms is critical to your budget and ROI.

There are many things to consider when determining the true cost of a CRM solution, including the licensing fees, implementation expenses, support costs and the price of any required add-ons or customizations. You should also consider the number of licenses you need, as well as the different types of users throughout your organization.

Overall, Dynamics 365 offers a lower cost per user and includes many of the features and functionality professional services firms require without additional investment or subscriptions. Dynamics 365 also offers a lower total cost of ownership for storage, support, and sandbox, and the unified service dashboard and admin come with Office 365. Finally, Dynamics 365 offers more flexible licensing options than Salesforce to accommodate different user types and budgets.

Comparing Dynamics 365 and Salesforce: Support

Any issue that delays service delivery to its clients can significantly impact a professional service firm’s reputation and bottom line. This includes technical issues with enterprise software platforms.

When a technical issue arises with any software platform, including CRM solutions, it is crucial to resolve the problem as quickly as possible, or better yet, to avoid the issue altogether through proactive management of the software solution.

Dynamics 365 users are often treated to superior support than that offered to Salesforce users. Dynamics 365 has 99.9%-backed SLAs, while Salesforce does not. Which says it all where the quality of support is concerned.

Is Dynamics 365 the right fit for your firm?

Choosing the right CRM platform for your professional services firm can be difficult. Hopefully, the factors we’ve outlined will help. Contact us today to speak to a professional services expert and begin exploring your options.

Gary Mills serves as Senior Vice President of Finance, Planning & Analysis for HSO | ProServ. Gary’s diverse industry background brings a unique perspective to the company, with more than 30 years in corporate finance, banking and commercial real estate.

In his role as CFO of HSO | ProServ, Brian Lounds leverages deep experience implementing Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions to drive excellence into the organization’s financial and practice management practices. Having worked with Dynamics solutions since 1998, he has a strong understanding of technology solutions and their application
to business initiatives.

Whit McIsaac is CEO of HSO | ProServ and brings over 20 years of leadership experience in the Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem to drive the group’s overall business strategy. Whit was Co-founder and CEO of aec360 and legal360 prior to merging these practices into sa.global, where he served as CEO of the Americas prior to launching HSO | ProServ.

Andy Yeomans brings nearly 20 years of Microsoft Dynamics sales and marketing experience to lead the HSO | ProServ sales organization. Under Andy’s leadership, the organization has shown strong growth and has consistently been recognized by Microsoft as a top performing partner, winning multiple Microsoft Inner Circle and Partner of the Year awards.

Jan Dahl Sorensen’s deep experience with Microsoft Dynamics gives him a unique foundation to guide the HSO | ProServ client success team. As part of the original development team under Damgaard Data, Jan has been working with the Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions since 1995.

Joe Stuckey is EVP and Director of CRM Product Development for HSO | ProServ, leading the company’s CRM product development efforts across the legal, AEC, consulting, and accounting markets. Joe leverages the power of Microsoft Dynamics and Power Platform technologies to design and develop purpose-built industry solutions.

Paramesh Rajan is VP, Technology at HSO | ProServ. Paramesh has served in many Microsoft Dynamics project and program management roles over the past 20 years, and currently drives the development of the organization’s vertical ERP and HR solutions and outsourced development services.

A highly respected Microsoft Dynamics veteran, Jen Wisemore serves as CAO for HSO | ProServ. Jen was instrumental in the launch of sa.global’s US subsidiary in 2007 and has served in a wide variety of roles within Microsoft Dynamics consultancies across sales, pre-sales, program management, and leadership capacities.

John Aschenbrener is Director of Delivery Services for HSO | ProServ. John brings over 20 years of Microsoft Dynamics project and program management, consulting, and architect experience to his current role where he is responsible for driving PMO standards, methodology, and overall project delivery.

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In his role as Chief Operating Officer, Sean Skiver brings nearly 25 years of broad Microsoft Dynamics experience to provide strategic leadership around product development and client delivery services across the organization’s solutions and industry segments.

Amy Spencer leads the team that is responsible for go-to-market strategies, messaging, and demand generation in the US.

Amy earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from The College of New Jersey and has 25+ years of experience in marketing management for technology and professional services companies.

As Vice President of Human Resources for HSO, Kristen Ramerini is responsible for initiatives including recruitment, onboarding, professional development/career progression, performance management, culture, and employee retention. Prior to her position with HSO, she worked in human resources and recruiting for Seviroli Foods on Long Island and CCN, Inc. in New York City. She holds an MA in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Hofstra University and is PHR certified.

Darren Gooding is VP of Delivery for HSO | ProServ, leading the company’s CRM delivery across the legal, AEC, consulting, and accounting markets. Darren applies his 25 years of experience and HSO’s industry focused intellectual property to successfully deliver large-scale, global engagements that ensure customer success.