Customer relationship management (CRM) software is an essential tool for any high-growth B2B business. Unlike an Excel spreadsheet, which acts as a mere repository for contact information, CRM software enables users to more effectively manage the customer journey from first-touch to long after a deal closes.
But there are a number of CRM tools out there, and there's a lot to consider when choosing one for your business. HubSpot, Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics are three of the most well-known options. Let’s discuss how they compare:
One of the biggest benefits of HubSpot is that the platform enables you to combine every aspect of customer engagement into a single place through the various hubs. You don’t need to rely on integrations to implement your marketing, sales and service strategy because all of HubSpot’s technology was built from the ground up to seamlessly work together. Additionally, the Marketing, Sales, Service and CMS Hubs being part of the same platform means that all of your customer data is easily combined into the HubSpot CRM with no silos.
HubSpot is also the most user-friendly of the three CRMs discussed in this post. It’s designed for ease of use so that marketers, sales reps and CSMs want to use it. This also means it has a high adoption record.
While HubSpot may not have as robust reporting capabilities as Salesforce, they’re reporting and analytics tools are the easiest to leverage. Additionally, with a Marketing Hub Enterprise license, HubSpot users have the ability to do revenue attribution reporting, which isn’t possible in Salesforce without integrations.
With the release of custom objects, HubSpot made it possible to customize their platform to your company’s needs. Additionally, they have offerings that work for companies of all sizes, making them ideal for scaling businesses who want to continue to leverage the same tech stack.
From the pricing standpoint, HubSpot also performs better than Salesforce and Dynamics with its CRM being free, and seats for the Sales Hub costing less than the equivalent Salesforce and Dynamics seats once all the add-ons needed for the same functionality are factored in.
HubSpot also offers the best customer support with a dedicated in-house support team that can provide personalized assistance around the clock in addition to an extensive partner network.
While HubSpot has been making concerted efforts to grow their integrations, they still don’t have as many integration options as Salesforce.
Additionally, while custom objects did increase the flexibility of the platform, standard objects like contacts don’t have the same customizability which can make it unideal for specific use cases like hospitals and higher education.
HubSpot is the best choice for you if:
- You’re looking for a platform that can grow with you
- Multi-team alignment is a major priority for you
- You use other HubSpot products
Through integrations with other software, including Pardot which they own, Salesforce can achieve the same all-in-one functionality HubSpot has natively. Salesforce also has the most options for integrations.
Salesforce offers the most powerful and robust reporting tools. Its reports have the most options in terms of variables, it allows more granular reporting than either HubSpot or Dynamics and it has the most options for data visualization.
Salesforce is also the most customizable. Everything within Salesforce can be adapted to match your business’s needs, including standard objects like contacts and leads. For example, a hospital can use “patients” instead of “customers” and a university could have “prospective students” instead of “leads.”
That customization extends to user management abilities. From the admin perspective, Salesforce has the best options for overseeing user permissions at both the individual and team level. Administrators can build out role-specific permission sets to assign to users instead of manually adjusting each individual user’s permissions.
While they’ve made improvements with Lightning, Salesforce is slow to load and not intuitive for users. Advanced certifications are required in order to manage the platform effectively.
Additionally, implementation is a costly and time-consuming process, in part because of the customizability of the platform. Because of that, it’ll take longer to see ROI from the tool than it would for HubSpot or Dynamics and adoption rates tend to be lower.
Salesforce’s included support is entirely ticket-based, unlike HubSpot’s. If you want 24/7 phone support and guaranteed response times you’ll need to pay for a support package.
Salesforce is also the most expensive option of these three CRMs overall.
Salesforce is the best choice for you if:
- You’re on other Salesforce products
- You need a lot of customization for standard objects
- You have a large team and need advanced admin capabilities
In combination with all of the Microsoft 365 products, Dynamics can be an all-in-one single platform solution. Additionally it was tools specifically for field agents and project management that don’t have equivalent Hubs in HubSpot.
For people familiar with the UI of other Microsoft products, Dynamics is intuitive and easy to adopt — though it can be complex in terms of implementation and administration.
Microsoft Dynamics also has more to offer in terms of business intelligence features than the other CRMs, including AI-powered analytics.
Microsoft Dynamics is also the only one of these CRMs to have an on-premise version, which can be beneficial to businesses with security needs that prevent them from storing customer data in the cloud.
While Dynamics is more affordable than Salesforce, many of its features require paid add-ons, making the cost of use higher than the initial sticker price. 24/7 support is one of the things that does require an add-on to have access to, whereas that support is free for all HubSpot users.
Like Salesforce, you do need specially-trained administrators to get the maximum functionality from the tool, which can pose an obstacle for implementation and adoption.
Additionally, Dynamics is meant mainly for medium and large businesses, so it’s not a good choice for companies looking to scale on a single CRM.
Microsoft Dynamics is the best choice for you if:
- You’re using the entire Microsoft suite
- Your organization’s security requirements prevent using cloud-based software
There is no single CRM that’ll be the best option for everyone. To decide which CRM is best for your company, consider the size of your business, the current systems you have in place, your sales process, any specific needs or customizations you might have, the technical acumen of end-users and your budget.
Regardless of which solution you choose, a CRM will be an invaluable addition to your tech stack, offering additional insight into your funnel, alignment between your marketing, sales and service teams and scalability for your business.