Best CRM: Microsoft Dynamics 365 vs. Salesforce — Reporting

Salesforce vs. Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM

The question is inevitable: “What is the best CRM for my business?” When considering options for your organization, the choices of CRM software can seem overwhelming, with every vendor promising the latest update and innovative new feature. How do you sort through all the marketing talk to really understand which system will best support your unique business processes?  As both a Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics certified partner, Datix Inc., has a rare, unique insight into two of the most popular CRM systems on the market today. In light of this, we will be conducting a four part series in which we will compare and pit these two powerful pieces of software against each other in order to help you determine which might be the best CRM for your business. Considering the fact that both Salesforce and Dynamics received flashy updates this year in order to better equip themselves against the other in features like email integration and mobile capability, it is harder than ever to decipher what you really need out of CRM and which vendor will help you achieve that. Our updated ‘Software Showdown’ series is designed to help you start picking the best 2015 CRM system for you.  You can also take our free test below to help determine which may be a fit for you.

Comparing Salesforce and MS Dynamics

In our series we will be comparing these tools in 3 separate categories:

  1. Reporting
  2. Mobility
  3. Microsoft Products Integration
  4. Comprehensive Overview
  5. We’ve added a Development Comparison as well

To get the comprehensive review of both systems access our free report above.

After comparing and contrasting both CRMs in these 3 categories, we will conduct a final review in which we will breakdown all of the other important elements to consider in a CRM system, like organizational interest in cloud solutions, license costs, ideal environments, and more.

Prior to digging into all the details, it’s probably important to mention that these two tools are ever-evolving in a heated “best CRM” arms race that is constantly occurring between both Microsoft and Salesforce. After all, the latest 2015 updates have made it clear that the two companies are scrambling to add in features that the other has already announced. We will continue to keep these posts updated – and relevant – as changes are made to each respective CRM system.

As you might expect, neither Salesforce or Dynamics offers an overall best CRM solution; each system excels at certain features or lacks in specific areas. However—depending on your specific business processes and preferences – there is a good chance that one will be a much better fit for your company than the other. Our goal is to help you drill that down. Our first area of focus? Reporting.

Part 1: Reporting

User experience

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The user interface for reporting functions in both Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce are very friendly to the end user. MS Dynamics CRM offers the familiar Microsoft software product look and feel that many may already be comfortable with. Dynamics also features some beautiful drill down functionality that is easy to use for beginners, and provides very aesthetically pleasing reports. For example, users can created graphs to filter key data in grids. The 2015 update has also added new UI themes and options that allow faster navigation to records, encouraging user adoption by streamlining the processes of using the software effectively. The main menu page has direct links to crucial work areas (sales, service, marketing etc.) which means that you can get where you need to be within the software in fewer clicks. Microsoft has also added a ‘Recently Viewed’ Items page, making it easier for users to access what they’ve been working on that week and return to crucial contacts and communications whenever they need to.

On the other side of the ring, Salesforce Sales Cloud is famous for providing users with an award-winning streamlined user experience that has become a new standard in how software products are designed today. We’ll find, as we move forward, that this simplicity in user reporting capability goes beyond just user friendliness and into overall functionality. The main Sales Cloud interface recently received a huge overhaul which includes a graphic sales pipeline and the option to add on customs apps which will filter and display data the way you want them to—no coding expertise required. Additionally, Salesforce has just begun to roll SalesforceIQ, a product developed with relationship intelligence technology devoted to collecting and extracting data automatically from company calls, emails and meetings; no entry required. SalesforceIQ can use this data to craft reports in your Sales Cloud interface at the click of a mouse. To learn more about SalesforceIQ, read our post here.

Separating Dynamics and Salesforce reporting functions at a usability and interface level actually proves very difficult, especially when taking the new 2015 updates into account. Both offer great performance in this area and ever-improving navigation and customization features. If it’s lightning-fast data entry you’re after and an automation tool that will automatically collect client info and communication data, then Salesforce is the best CRM on this frontier. To get specific into usability, however, interface simply comes down to personal preference. If this is a deciding factor for your organization, we’d suggest having key decision-makers inside the organization use a demo of both reporting functions for usability.

The Biggest Reporting Difference


Where Salesforce and Dynamics CRM really separate in this category is in their flexibility and ability to design custom reports. It is currently much easier for a technical user to design, build, and modify custom reports in Salesforce than it is for the equivalent user to perform the same tasks in MS Dynamics. Salesforce simply provides access to more powerful and flexible reporting for large, data-driven businesses. The all-new Salesforce Lightning platform extends the company’s reach into customization even further. The data-driven product comes with a Lightning Design System that makes gives every dev the tools it needs to build those custom apps and functions within your Sales Cloud.

Salesforce  thus offers a very user-friendly way for the technical user to build and create specialized reports without requiring them to modify code or have an expert level understanding of the software. On the other hand, MS Dynamics will be  much more rigid in its ability to allow technical users to generate these same types of reports that Sales Cloud fosters. While it is possible, you’re going to need a dedicated team member who knows the ins and outs of coding for MS Dynamics. Even with the new 2015 updates, customization still just isn’t as feasible as it is with Salesforce and Sales Cloud.

One example of this  is in the form of grouping and summing. If you simply want to view a report that demonstrates total sales per quarter, but underneath that big-picture report you’d also like to show all the deals each rep has in place, Salesforce can provide users a means of grouping and viewing a list of this data easily, or breaking a large graph into subsets for each different team member. This type of usability is not currently available in Dynamics; which can only  provide this data in the form of dashboards (not in a list or group), and requires work with code to create customized charts beyond the basic functions offered with the software. If this kind of data or report would be vital to your business operations and you see your business requiring more flexible options for CRM data entry and reporting, Dynamics would be difficult to work with.

Bottom Line: Reporting

If you’re a large organization with a sophisticated sales department that is heavily reliant on data, there’s a good chance that Salesforce would offer more effective reporting options for your business. However, if your business does not have a rigid sales process and is not dramatically reliant on data and the ability to manipulate it every which way, it’s very possible that the differences in reporting functionality wouldn’t be an overly important factor for your organizations decision. The same goes for new businesses and those who may be implementing a CRM for the first time. In this case, either CRM could potentially be an equally good fit, and your decision may ultimately come down to other factors. Looking at the 2015 updates for each system shows that not much has changed in this aspect: while both UIs have received overhauls to become more user friendly and easily navigable, it will come down to which system will fit your employees better and how they work—MS Dynamics may suit a company that is already used to using Microsoft products and their generalized interfaces, for example.

In a Nutshell – Download Our Report to Get the Full Review

Join the conversation below, or drop us a line at for more information about which CRM system might be the best CRM for your business.

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