by Suzie Blaszkiewicz
Published on 10 March 2016
As part of the popular Dynamics collection of business solutions from Microsoft, Microsoft Dynamics CRM is one of the leading enterprise solutions for customer management. Launched in 2003, the fully featured CRM has been developed predominantly for sales, marketing, and customer support teams, becoming one of the most comprehensive solutions on the CRM market.
Since then, the company has released Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, adding a cloud element to its offering aimed at growing businesses looking for a more manageable solution. But is there a better Dynamics CRM alternative for your business?
The latest version, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016, offers more functionality, intelligence, and mobile enhancements than ever before, but that doesn't mean that it's the best solution for your business. Whether it be your business size, the cost, or your business needs, there may be solutions better tailored to provide your company with more effective customer relationship management.
Depending on your biggest concern, look to see if one of these Microsoft Dynamics CRM competitors is better tailored to your business.
Dynamics CRM has a fairly intricate pricing structure depending on whether you're using its on-premise or online solution. On-premise Dynamics ranges from $99 for a basic client access licence, to $1,249 for the professional licence, as well as additional costs for the server, running you up another $6,249.
Dynamics CRM Online won't run you quite as dry, ranging in price from $15 per user per month for the 'Essential' package (limited functionality), to $65 for 'Online Professional' version with full services.
Alternative: Zoho CRM
Starting at only $12 per user per month, Zoho CRM is an affordable Dynamics CRM alternative that offers many of the same features that you'd find in more advanced (and pricier) CRM systems. According to reviewer Carlos Molina Artigot, VP of Innovation at IZO, "Zoho CRM… has more than enough functionality and flexibility to adapt to your business and yet a very accessible price for this range of products." They even offer a stripped down freemium option for up to 10 users.
Given its high cost, Dynamics CRM is generally better suited for enterprises. Dynamics CRM Online, on the other hand, is intended for users in small and medium sized businesses.
A joint CRM and project management tool, Insightly is ideal for small businesses of up to 200 people, with affordable pricing starting at $12/month, and integration with other small business favorites like Google's suite of apps. As GetApp reviewer Gabriel Stein writes, "[it's] great for use in a small business with a couple employees. It can provide a good solution to keeping all the data and info in a single place, and is pretty quick to get up and running."
As part of the Microsoft family, Dynamics CRM integrates with the entire suite of Office 365 tools including Word, Outlook and Excel, as well as other Microsoft products like Skype for Business. It also integrates with tons of third-party apps.
If you're looking for something that integrates with almost everything, Salesforce is one of best the Dynamics CRM competitors. The behemoth SaaS CRM and sales automation tool offers hundreds of integrations to products spanning the entire cloud-software horizon including Zendesk, Net-Results, and Yammer. Says GetApp reviewer Andrew Driscoll, Full Stack Marketer at PSMJ, "The integration across many platforms is […] a major advantage of Salesforce over competitors since it is the most widely used CRM software."
Dynamics CRM has apps for iOS, Android and, of course, Windows Phone, although none of them get stellar reviews. The Android app has a ratings of 3.5 out of 5 in Google Play, while the App Store and Windows Phone store each get 3 star ratings from mobile users.
Alternative: Base CRM
Base CRM gets high scores for its iOS and Android apps, scoring a 4.5 star rating in the App Store and a 4.3 rating in Google Play, with an overwhelming number of 5 star ratings. Salespeople using Android are especially happy with the CRM for helping them keep up with leads and track their pipelines. According to one reviewer on Google Play, "I've come to rely on this app above most others […] not only [to] track sales, but communicating [with] team members and routing."
With mixed reviews, Dynamics CRM is a good option for the experienced user. It's noted as a powerful tool that is highly customizable with lots of functionality, but with a steep learning curve and a hefty price tag. As one support manager in the IT sector notes, "[it's] difficult for new users to learn, [and] support documentation and resources are scattered and not always relevant to your issue.."
Pipedrive leads the pack when it comes to positive user reviews. Noted as an affordable option with an intuitive interface, flexibility, and that is easy to use, Pipedrive has over 98 reviews on GetApp with an average rating of 4.7 out of 5. As reviewer Raphael Labbe, Founder of Wiztopic says, "I love pipedrive, it's easy to use and very evolved for such a price."
Dynamics CRM is built for the enterprise organization, meaning that it may be less user-friendly (and unaffordable) for small organizations using a CRM for the first time. Dynamics CRM Online is a bit more scalable, but can still be a bit too cumbersome for very small organizations.
Previously known as RelateIQ, Salesforce bought the company in 2014 and rebranded it as SalesforceIQ in 2015. Made for growing businesses, SalesforceIQ offers flexible CRM plans for 'Starters', 'Growth' and 'Business'. If you do happen to outgrow even the 'Business' plan, you can upgrade to Salesforce's popular Sales Cloud as part of the same family with less hassle. David Hopkins, founder and CEO at Creative Expansion writes, "RelateIQ is an extremely user-friendly, customizable, more fun, and customer-service approach to everything we're looking for in a CRM. We're very pleased with our choice, and look forward to scaling our growth with this solution moving forward."
With a steep learning curve, Dynamics CRM is probably not the best solution for beginners, although they do offer plenty of training courses, which you'll need in order to make proper use of all of its powerful features.
Nimble's noted for its easy-to-use and intuitive interface, making this system a quick and simple Dynamics CRM alternative. It also provides weekly training sessions to get users up to speed on new or existing features, as well as a daily, open Q&A session. Says reviewer Goran Strangmark, head of business development and Sales at ROKITT, "The Nimble widget is very easy to work with and overall it provides a great CRM for us. I also like the Nimble training sessions every Wednesday. I attended few in the beginning and they really accelerated my learning curve."
Dynamics CRM offers plenty of options for customization, but you'll be sacrificing time and effort for what's been reported by some users as a cumbersome implementation process. One reviewer notes, "if you are a small business and you are only looking for an excellent CRM this software might be a little bit too complex for your needs." If you're using tons of Microsoft products already, however, Dynamics CRM will integrate nicely within your existing app ecosystem.
Pipeliner has been noted by users for how easy it is to get started with, especially given the number of features that it offers. According to reviewer Eva-Bettina Gruber, head of operations at Three Coins, "for a micro-company… it's very easy and user-friendly because core-features are great and set-up is very simple… it's not overwhelming and complex from the start, as many other tools are."
Dynamics CRM has a full host of support options- including self-support- that you can log into on various portals, depending on whether you're using its on-premise or cloud solution. According to one reviewer, however, its "customer support is hard to reach and not very helpful."
Teamgate's gotten plenty of rave reviews for its quick and reactive customer support. Says one GetApp reviewer, "the customer service was exceptional, well above anything experienced," while another reviews says, "TeamGate helped me to save time. Support helped me start working and explained all questions."
Dynamics CRM offers frequent updates known as "Rollups" roughly once every two months, as well as a new Roadmap site that offers details about new features, previews, what's in development, what's been postponed, and previously released updates. While constant updates is a good thing, it does mean constant re-training for an already difficult system to learn.
Alternative: Work[etc] CRM
Work[etc] CRM provides frequent updates based on user feedback and requests, making it a comparable Dynamics CRM alternative when it comes to updated features. As one user noted on the Work[etc] blog, "[I] love the commitment to continuous improvement. Am looking forward to using the new and improved features."
There's no doubt that the powerful Microsoft brand frontloading the Dynamics CRM name is an appealing option when looking for a CRM for your business. But don't let that deter you from the variety of CRM options available in what is one of the most developed sectors in the cloud-app market. If you're still looking for something different not featured here, check out our list of the top 25 CRM apps on the market.