When it comes to listing the top 3 CRM systems, it’s clear that HubSpot, Salesforce, and Dynamics 365 should feature. But out of these three, which is best suited to your needs?
When doing your CRM software comparison, you’ll first need to consider a never-ending list of criteria. These include usability/UX, user permissions, self-service, integrations, customisation, security, sales automation, marketing automation, service automation, CMS integration, costs, and scalability - to name a few!
With so many criteria to consider, it can be difficult to know where to begin. We cover some of the most important selection criteria for you to think about, below.
CRM selection criteria
First, it’s important to think about how easy the system will be to set up, use, and maintain in the future.
Second, you’ll need to assess the requirements of each of the functions within your business, from sales to operations to marketing to service, and get their buy-in.
The ultimate goal is that your CRM creates a better experience for your customers and employees. Depending on your choice of platform, it can either lead to increased efficiency, user adoption, and improved customer satisfaction, or a world of pain!
To ensure you avoid the latter, there are 3 key CRM elements you need to consider:
User permissions: Your CRM system needs to be simple to administer.
Reporting: You need to be able to report effectively.
Marketing: You need to be able to communicate via CRM.
Let’s look at these in more detail below and see how HubSpot, Salesforce, and Dynamics 365 fare in these areas.
3 key CRM elements to consider
Effective user and team permissions are vital when choosing a CRM platform, as incorrect user permissions can quickly lead to internal security and/or data integrity issues within an organisation.
When evaluating CRMs, ask yourself the following questions:
How many users do you plan to have on the platform?
Of these users, how are they broken down into teams?
In terms of security, how important is it to regulate who can view and edit records or properties?
How critical is it for you to avoid duplicate records?
Let’s see how the top 3 CRM systems handle user permissions with an easy task:
A sales rep has left the company, but a new one has joined. Set up a new user, assign them to a team and grant them a ‘sales rep’ user security role.
Move all the deals/opportunities, leads/contacts, and companies/accounts to the new user from the previous sales rep user.
As you can see, while it is relatively easy to create a new user in Salesforce, moving all the deals, leads, and accounts from one user to another isn’t possible without the use of a custom class.
While this task is possible with Dynamics 365, the process is much more convoluted compared to HubSpot, with the filtering of deals, leads, and accounts by the user requiring the use of boolean statements.
Additionally, HubSpot includes custom ownership properties that allow one to easily create user permission and object visibility concepts, such as giving 4 different teams all access to a single deal in HubSpot, as shown in the example below. When comparing how HubSpot vs Dynamics handles this area, it becomes apparent that such a setup isn’t possible in Dynamics 365 without compromising data security.
When evaluating CRMs, ask yourself:
Do report and data visualisation features come at an extra cost?
If you use multiple products (Hubs/Clouds) from a vendor, do you need a different product to build reports or do they include data from each other?
How easy is it to build and evolve reports, do you need an expert to do this?
Are there pre-built reports that can increase the time to value?
If you have a data warehouse, how easy is it to get your CRM data into the warehouse?
Let’s see how the top 3 CRM systems handle reporting with another simple task:
Create a dashboard with 25 best practice reports (no custom reports) for yourself so that you can monitor the status of your pipeline, prospects, and customers and give your team access to this dashboard.
As you can see, reporting setup and maintenance is no easy feat in Dynamics 365 and Salesforce. In Dynamics 365, for example, reporting isn’t possible without the use of custom-built reports. Similarly in Salesforce, while it does include prebuilt reports, setting them up is cumbersome thanks to its UI.
Typically the IT department is the gatekeeper for all things reporting.
This means marketers and sales reps need to open IT tickets, describe the report they want, wait for it to be implemented, QA it back and forth, etc.
In HubSpot, reporting is in the hands of the people who need the reports, and with HubSpot Pro and above we can have individual dashboards that each contain up to 30 different reports.
Why do we need to focus on marketing? Besides recording interactions with a customer or prospect, one of the primary CRM functions should always be to allow you to communicate with them.
When evaluating which CRM to go with, ask yourself:
Do you need to buy a separate product and integrate it just to be able to communicate with your customers and prospects?
How easily can you use the data to personalise marketing campaigns?
Let’s see how the top 3 CRM systems handle marketing with a final everyday task:
Send all contacts an email that explains your company values when deals/opportunities reach the “proposal” stage.
Create an automation with the first step being a good-looking email that includes greeting the contact person by their first name.
The second step should be enrolling the contact into a Facebook audience so that they start seeing a banner ad campaign for 3 days.
The third step should be a text message to the contact that says “we can’t wait to start working with you”.
Lastly, create a task for the sales rep to let them know that the proposal stage campaign is now complete for this deal.
As you can see, while Salesforce can execute email automations, more complex automations such as enrolling the contact into a Facebook campaign or sending them a text message aren’t possible with third-party apps or custom integrations.
Similarly, Dynamics 365 does not natively support Facebook or SMS, meaning that the only way to complete this task is with custom integrations.
HubSpot, on the other hand, natively integrates with a host of apps and solutions out of the box, including a wide range of text message providers, allowing you to easily work with the SMS platform of your choice.
Finding the right CRM for you
Having compared Salesforce vs HubSpot vs Dynamics 365 in a range of simple, everyday tasks, it quickly becomes apparent which platform is best in terms of usability, features, and integrations.
While both Salesforce and Dynamics 365 are powerful solutions, many everyday tasks can’t be completed out of the box and require custom integrations. HubSpot, on the other hand, includes a wide variety of features, allowing you to easily build complex automations, workflows, and other solutions.