The Top 3 CRM Systems in Comparison

Estimated reading time: 17 minutes

We have compared and tested 3 CRM Systems: What can each provider do? Which system is suitable? And what are the advantages and disadvantages?

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The Top 3 CRM Systems in Comparison - Introduction

If your customers are not satisfied, no one is. This makes Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems the key component for the success of any company. The CRM market is constantly growing and Salesforce is, of course, no longer the only company offering excellent software solutions for all customer management activities. We have taken a closer look at Salesforce's most important competitors for you and show you the most important differences between the providers and Salesforce in our comparison series. 

CRM Systems in Comparison - Salesforce vs. Microsoft Dynamics 365

In the world of customer relationship management systems, Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365 are the undisputed leaders. Both CRM systems offer a comprehensive selection of tools and are suitable for companies of all sizes. Thanks to add-ons and flexible price plans, they can also be flexibly adapted to individual, possibly industry-specific business requirements. 

But what distinguishes the two systems? Is one better? This much can be said in advance - there is no clear winner here. We at Salesfive have compiled an overview of important differences, advantages and disadvantages of the two systems for you. 

As leaders in the field of CRM, the core functionalities and areas of application of the systems from both providers are very similar, covering all areas relating to customer management. However, while Salesforce is an exclusively cloud-based CRM system, Microsoft Dynamics offers both cloud and on-premise deployment. Consequently, Microsoft Dynamics is the only option should you prefer on-premise deployment. 

While Salesforce has a much larger ecosystem of third-party solutions, Microsoft offers the better interface to Microsoft products.

Often, the needs of the business require functionality that is only offered by third-party vendors. Both Microsoft and Salesforce allow third-party vendors to run applications natively on their platforms. 

Probably the biggest advantage Salesforce has over Microsoft Dynamics 365 is Salesforce's gigantic ecosystem called the AppExchange. AppExchange is Salesforce's own B2B appstore, consisting of more than 5,000 third-party integrations/solutions that can be integrated into all Salesforce products. Through this, Salesforce offers companies the possibility to extend their Salesforce solution into all industries and areas and thus solve any business challenge. For example, with the AppExchange software flair.hr, a solution can be connected to Salesforce that can be used to digitize and optimize all HR department processes such as payroll export, document management, shift planning, time recording, recruiting and much more. 

Microsoft's partner ecosystem, called Microsoft AppSource, is younger and significantly smaller than that of Salesforce. However, this network now also consists of thousands of third-party providers that extend the functionality of the CRM system with numerous apps. 

Since Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a Microsoft product, the system works perfectly with classic Microsoft products such as Office 365, Outlook or SharePoint. This makes it particularly interesting for companies that work with many Microsoft-based workflows. For example, the CRM interface can be operated within Outlook, allowing users to access CRM functions without leaving their email platform. Salesforce also integrates well with Microsoft products, but not as seamlessly as Microsoft Dynamics. 

Since Microsoft has now acquired LinkedIn, LinkedIn can be seamlessly connected to the system. This seems particularly attractive for B2B companies with complex products, which constantly collect information about their prospects via LinkedIn and are in contact with them there. Furthermore, Microsoft's CRM system offers a good starting point for companies that are considering additionally relying on Microsoft as an ERP solution. 

With Trailhead, Salesforce offers a great learning platform to build Salesforce skills for free.

With Trailhead, Salesforce offers an excellent, free learning platform. On the various Trailhead learning paths, users can playfully acquire all skills themselves, from advanced user to administrator or developer. Thanks to Trailhead, Salesforce has a huge network of administrators and developers who can help companies to Implementation and adapting Salesforce to specific business processes.

The learning and training platform also helps Salesforce customers to achieve a certain degree of independence. 

Microsoft is trying to create a similar learning environment to Trailhead with "Microsoft Learn for Dynamics 365". However, this is much less mature and its offering is nowhere near as good as Trailhead. 

On the subject of cost, there is no clear winner. Costs: Various price options exist for both products. For both systems, license costs are usually paid per user and can be completely different depending on the edition and solution. Unfortunately, it is not possible to say across the board which of the systems will ultimately be the more cost-effective option. As always - it depends and companies must find out for themselves (usually together with a consulting firm) which solution offers the best price-performance ratio for them. However, for long-term success, the estimated return on investment of the CRM system and business requirements should always take priority over the initial cost of the system. Conclusion: Salesforce VS. Microsoft Dynamics

With AppExchange, Salesforce has the largest ecosystem in the industry and therefore a larger selection of products. Analysts agree that the importance of AppExchange in the decision between Salesforce and Dynamics 365 cannot be overstated. In addition, thanks to the Trailhead learning and training platform, Salesforce has a huge network of administrators and developers who can help companies with the Implementation and customization of Salesforce to the specific business processes and provide an advantage in training the workforce on the new technology.

AppExchange and Trailhead have repeatedly been referred to as Salesforce's non-secret weapons. 

The great advantage of Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM is the fast interface to other Microsoft applications. This enables companies that work predominantly with Microsoft to seamlessly integrate business processes and employees to easily use their familiar user interfaces. 

In summary, there is no universal answer to the question of which CRM system is right for you. This always depends on the specific requirements of each individual company. 

CRM Systems in Comparison - Salesforce vs. SugarCRM

The market for CRM systems is growing steadily, with providers such as Salesforce, Microsoft and SAP having long since emerged as leaders. In addition to the big names, however, there are also a number of others - comparatively smaller - providers worth mentioning. Today, we would like to turn our attention to the CRM system SugarCRM and have compared the two systems, Salesforce and SugarCRM for you as part of our comparison series. 

SugarCRM - brief overview

The Salesforce alternative SugarCRM, which has been on the market since 2004, is a lesser-known CRM solution with a much smaller, albeit still considerable, market share of 2% (compared to Salesforce as the top dog with 20%). SugarCRM and Salesforce both cover all core CRM functionality, but Salesforce offers a broader set of features overall. SugarCRM includes four different products: Sugar Market (For Marketing Automation), Sugar Sell (For Sales Teams), Sugar Serve (For Streamlined Customer Service), and Sugar Discover (For Data-Driven Insights). Originally, SugarCRM was developed as open-source software. However, in 2019, the open-source project was discontinued. 

Salesforce 

Larger range of features 

  • Cloud Deployment Only 

  • Wider choice of out-of-the-box integrations 

  • Largest B2B App Store with over 5000 third-party solutions 

  • Better customizability and scalability 

  • Well suited for companies of any size 

  • Slightly more expensive overall 

  • SugarCRM 

Coverage of all core CRM functionalities 

Cloud and on-premise deployment 

  • Limited choice of out-of-the-box integrations 

  • Small B2B App Store with approx. 250 third-party solutions 

  • Limited customizability and scalability 

  • Well suited for small start-ups, public administrations or freelancers 

  • Comparatively, cheaper alternative 

  • While SugarCRM is available as an on-premise as well as a cloud solution, Salesforce is only available for the cloud.

  • While SugarCRM can be deployed both as an on-premise solution and as a cloud solution, Salesforce is only available as a SaaS solution in the cloud. However, since an on-premise deployment is usually associated with high costs, which are incurred for the company's own in-house servers and the IT department that has to implement and maintain the software, this type of deployment is preferred by fewer and fewer companies. However, for companies that still want to keep their data in-house, SugarCRM is a good choice between the two CRM systems. 

Integrations - SugarCRM as well as Salesforce offers a wide range of out-of-the-box integrations, with Salesforce having the advantage with native support for SAP, Oracle and NetSuite.

One of the most important considerations when selecting a CRM system is how it can be linked to your existing application landscape. After all, the right integrations are essential for collaboration between sales, marketing, support and other core business functions. Therefore, a reliable CRM system should be a central database that integrates seamlessly with any other application you use. SugarCRM, as well as Salesforce, offers a wide range of out-of-the-box integrations (Outlook, Gmail, etc.). However, Salesforce offers significantly more integrations and has the advantage, especially with native support for SAP, Oracle and NetSuite. 

Ecosystem - Compared to Salesforce's App Exchange, the SugarCRM marketplace cannot compete with its comparatively few solutions.

Probably the biggest advantage Salesforce has over all other CRM software vendors is Salesforce's gigantic ecosystem called the App Exchange. App Exchange is Salesforce's own B2B App Store, consisting of more than 5,000 third-party integrations/solutions that can be integrated into all Salesforce products. Through this, Salesforce offers companies the possibility to extend their Salesforce solution into all industries and areas and thus solve any business challenge.

For example, with the App Exchange software flair.hr, a solution can be connected to Salesforce, which can be used to digitize and optimize all HR department processes such as Payroll Export, Document Management, Shift Planning, Time Recording, Recruiting and much more. 

With SugarExchange, SugarCRM also offers a marketplace for third-party applications. On this, Sugar customers can add previously missing functions to their existing SugarCRM system. However, while there are more than 5,000 certified apps to choose from in the Salesforce AppExchange, Sugar's SugarExchange offers only about 250 certified apps. As a result, the SugarCRM marketplace offers very few solutions and will not meet the needs of customers looking for a robust ecosystem of self-service CRM apps. Consequently, Salesforce is significantly better positioned than SugarCRM on this point. 

The implementation of both solutions requires specialized consultants and/or developers who adapt the product to the individual processes of the respective company.

Both the SugarCRM and Salesforce platforms are very flexible and customizable. However, both solutions require specialized consultants and/or developers to adapt the product to the individual processes of the respective company to be able to use all features optimally. Overall, however, Salesforce is much more scalable and is therefore clearly the better alternative, especially for large companies and companies that are planning to grow. SugarCRM, on the other hand, is well suited for small start-ups, public administrations or freelancers. 

Always keep an eye on the future needs of your business and make sure your solutions and budgets can scale with your business.

Although price should generally not be the deciding factor when it comes to choosing the right technology for your business, it is still important. However, you must always keep in mind the likely future needs of your business. This is the only way to ensure that you can scale your solutions and budgets with your business. 

Both SugarCRM and Salesforce use the typical paid licensing model: you get more features when you upgrade to the more expensive editions. SugarCRM advertises its products as less expensive overall than Salesforce, but the price difference only becomes apparent in the Professional versions. The actual costs of both systems are always dependent on the individual solution, which is adapted to the company-specific requirements, and can therefore only be estimated after intensive advance planning and discussions with implementation partners. However, SugarCRM tends to be a more favorable alternative for smaller companies with less complex processes. 

Conclusion: Salesforce VS. SugarCRM

With the AppExchange, Salesforce has the largest ecosystem in the industry and thus a significantly larger selection of products than SugarCRM. Analysts agree that the importance of the AppExchange cannot be overstated. Further, Salesforce offers significantly more out-of-the-box integrations and has the edge, especially with native support for SAP, Oracle and NetSuite. Salesforce is thus easier to integrate into companies' existing application landscapes and enables smooth cross-departmental processes. 

SugarCRM, while offering a smaller overall selection of features, third-party applications and out-of-the-box integrations, is well-suited to small businesses with less pronounced growth intentions with its simple user interface and slightly lower pricing. 

All in all, we at Salesfive cannot stress often enough that you must always keep your potential future requirements and needed integrations in mind when choosing your future CRM system. Thus, there is no universal answer to the question of which CRM system is the right one for you. This always depends on the specific requirements of each individual company. 

CRM Systems in Comparison - Salesforce vs. Hubspot Marketing Hub

Whether it's content, inbound or performance marketing, social selling or e-commerce - thanks to marketing automation software, companies can get their elaborately produced content to the right people at the right time. Through targeted, optimized and automated email or social media campaigns, detailed analytics, lead qualification, behavioral tracking and more, they turn prospects into leads, leads into customers and customers into fans. If the wrong tool is chosen for this, companies risk losing new prospects, alienating existing customers, and ultimately damaging your expansion in the long run. But what is the right tool? 

In the field of marketing automation, two complete solutions stand out: HubSpot Marketing Hub and Salesforce Pardot. The functional scope of both solutions is extremely comprehensive and without a doubt, an enrichment for every marketing team. We at Salesfive would like to give you an overview of selected differences between the two companies and systems and point out what you should definitely pay attention to when deciding on your suitable marketing tool. 

Pardot

The Salesforce ecosystem consists of so-called "clouds", each containing a group of functions that focus on specific business activities, e.g. the Salesforce Marketing Cloud, the Sales Cloud or the Service Cloud. Pardot can either be bought in as a B2B part of the Marketing Cloud solution or implemented as a standalone solution. As part of the Salesforce empire, Pardot can still be integrated very easily with all other Salesforce solutions. 

HubSpot Marketing Hub

The company HubSpot also offers software products for CRM, service and customer service. HubSpot Marketing Hub is a complete solution for marketing automation, which is what HubSpot specializes in. HubSpot Marketing Hub is optimized for integration with HubSpot CRM, but like Salesforce, it also offers interfaces to numerous other systems. 

HubSpot's attractive pricing offers low barriers to entry into the marketing automation space, but becomes more expensive as the number of contacts increases.

Both HubSpot and Pardot offer their users a variety of different pricing models for each of their solutions, with the more expensive pricing models obviously including a greater range of functions. For smaller companies, HubSpot, whose various models include a different maximum number of contacts, seems to be unbeatable as a significantly cheaper alternative. However, it's important to note that as your business grows and your contact list grows, HubSpot pricing models become more expensive and can quickly exceed Pardot's prices. 

Overall, HubSpot tends to be a better option for smaller companies due to its more budget-friendly pricing structure. Pardot, on the other hand, offers more comprehensive analytics that benefit large organizations with a large amount of data immensely. 

When choosing your marketing tool, always keep the rest of your company's tech stack in mind, and therefore the big picture.

Your marketing automation solution will significantly influence and be influenced by your future tech stack. Therefore, consider which systems need to be integrated with your marketing solution and which integrations are needed for the future. Consider which of the vendors also offers other attractive solutions for your business (for example, for HR, service, ERP, CRM) and which plug-and-play integrations are already in place for these. 

Pardot integrates seamlessly with the rest of your Salesforce landscape. 

For example, when using Pardot with Salesforce CRM, there are typically far fewer errors (e.g., data not syncing or different reports on the two platforms) and things like lead assignment work more easily. Further, for integrating Pardot with other Salesforce products, you get a variety of out-of-the-box automation options, such as triggers, record creation, and connector sync settings. In contrast, when integrating HubSpot Marketing Hub with Salesforce - which is entirely possible - you can expect at least some basic frustration. 

While Hubspot consultancies tend to have more expertise in marketing strategy, Salesforce consultancies are tech professionals.

Salesforce and HubSpot both have their own partner community. Hubspot consultancies tend to be somewhat smaller and specialists in marketing strategy and execution. Salesforce's consultancies, on the other hand, are tech professionals and tend to be less focused on marketing. In large organizations with a more complex application landscape, Salesforce consultancies seem better suited to the challenge of integrating a marketing automation solution. HubSpot partners, on the other hand, are often better able to advise companies on marketing strategy and optimization. 

Conclusion

When making your choice, consider how you want your marketing solution to fit into the rest of your current and future technology landscape, and which partner consultancies are better suited to meet your needs.

While there are many other marketing automation solutions on the market, few can match the functionality and integration capabilities of HubSpot Marketing Hub and Salesforce Pardot. When choosing your future marketing tool, always consider your potential future needs and required integrations - even if you're only looking for basic marketing automation features for now and have a limited budget. 

While HubSpot offers an extremely affordable entry point into the marketing automation space for small businesses compared to Pardot, covering elementary to advanced features, the costs here can also increase extremely as your business grows. Further, as this increases, so do your system requirements, and it is imperative that you ensure that the marketing automation solution you choose can efficiently grow with you, your business, and your customer base. 

The market for CRM systems is large. Various providers dominate the market - whether on-premise or cloud solutions, a CRM system for sales or for marketing. We have compared the three largest providers with Salesforce for you and thus try to offer you an overview of the solutions and advantages of the respective systems. 

Do you still have questions about Salesforce or are you ready to go digital?

We will be happy to assist you in an initial consultation.

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