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 sales process 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. In today's post, we'll compare and contrast three of the top CRM tools available — Dynamics 365, Salesforce and HubSpot — and discuss how to choose the right one for your business.
Salesforce vs. Dynamics vs. HubSpot: CRM Comparison
When it comes to cloud-based CRMs, Salesforce has been the incumbent for a long time, and many B2B businesses turn to it first when searching for a CRM solution. Generally better suited for Enterprise businesses, Salesforce offers a number of integrations and an interactive database which allows you to shape page layouts for optimal displays for sales representatives. Reports can be tailored, scheduled, and sent to individuals, and there's tons of flexibility when it comes to building automation around workflows and sales management.
The implementation for Salesforce can take around six to eight months, and there are some limitations to how relationships between certain records can be set. Customizations can drive up costs, so that's something to consider when configuring it to meet your unique needs. For some users, there may be a significant learning curve to using Salesforce, and you may need additional technical support. Additionally, while Salesforce may be the front-runner for enterprise companies, it has a lot of features that a small-to-medium business won't need right way.
Salesforce might be right for you if...
- You need an enterprise solution right away; generally Salesforce is better for companies with upwards of 100 employees.
- You need a solution that can be configured to meet your unique business challenges or needs.
- You're using other Salesforce products and want an easier implementation and integration process.
Like Salesforce, Dynamics 365 is generally more Enterprise-facing, optimal for companies with more than 100 employees. While Salesforce and HubSpot are great for marketing automation, Dynamics 365 has more to offer within the business intelligence realm. It also allows you to host your data on-premises or adopt a hybrid cloud strategy for more security.
Dynamics 365 is optimized for integration with other Microsoft products, such as Office 365, Sharepoint and Outlook, but its performance may take a hit when integrated with non-Microsoft products. It requires a well-defined sales process for it to function well, so it may not be the right choice for small businesses just starting out. Although Dynamics 365 is less costly than Salesforce upfront, add-ons and special customizations will drive up the price.
Dynamics 365 might be right for you if...
- You need an enterprise CRM right away.
- You already use Microsoft products and want a familiar look and feel.
- You need a hybrid cloud and on-premises solution.
Without a doubt, the HubSpot CRM was built with the user in mind. Within the platform, it's easy for the sales representatives to see tasks and contact information. HubSpot has free starter features that work great for small companies, but it also offers enterprise features that can be added on as your business grows; that way, you're only paying for the features that you actually use. Of the three platforms, HubSpot has the quickest implementation, generally taking around six to eight weeks. The best part: the HubSpot CRM is natively integrated with HubSpot's marketing automation tool, enabling a smooth transition between marketing and sales, as well as a seamless communication of data.
From a back-end administration perspective, there isn't much customization and flexibility available. Rather, the HubSpot platform can be tailored only to need-to-have functionality. While the form fields themselves are customizable, the specific objects within HubSpot, such as contacts, deals, accounts or activity, are fixed. Companies with highly complex sales processes may find the platform too inflexible for their needs. However, HubSpot recently introduced more customizable reporting features that puts it on par with the more Enterprise-facing solutions.
HubSpot might be right for you if...
- You're a small-to-medium sized business that is looking to scale; the sweet spot for HubSpot tends to be around 10-200 employees.
- You have straightforward needs and want a CRM that won't hurt your bottom line.
- You want marketing and sales data to be truly unified for a more holistic approach.
Which CRM solution is right for you?
Ultimately, it's up to you to decide which CRM solution is right for your business. 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 sales and marketing teams and scalability for your business.