Salesforce, HubSpot, Microsoft, or None of the Above: Finding the Software That’s Right for Your Business
CRMs are a crucial tool for any business to unify their communications, manage the customer journey, and track user data across platforms. If you’re still using spreadsheets to manage customer data, it’s time to upgrade to a true CRM, but which one? HubSpot, Salesforce, and Microsoft Dynamics are three of the biggest powerhouses in the CRM world — let’s talk about how they measure up.
HubSpot’s primary selling point is that it enables you to combine every aspect of your customer engagement strategy into one centralized dashboard. Marketing, sales, content management, service, and analytics are all built from the ground up in the HubSpot ecosystem with no silos for easy integration — no need for third-party apps.
HubSpot is also the easiest to use of the three pieces of software we’ve mentioned here. It’s designed for ease of use so that marketers, sales reps, and CSMs can jump in and use the data they need to do their jobs with a minimum of extra training or expertise.
HubSpot’s reporting and analytics tools aren’t as in-depth as those of Salesforce, but they’re more intuitive. Notably, HubSpot does offer the ability to conduct revenue attribution reporting with the addition of a Marketing Hub Enterprise license, which is something Salesforce can’t do without third-party integrations.
In 2020, HubSpot also added a feature called “custom objects,” which allows users to customize their HubSpot experience by adding objects beyond the original four categories: deals, contacts, companies, and tickets. While HubSpot doesn’t have quite as many integration options as Salesforce, they’re generally the most affordable option as well, making them ideal for growing companies with a focus on multi-team alignment.
Salesforce achieves the bulk of its functionality through third-party integrations, of which it offers a much greater variety than either HubSpot or Microsoft. While the base Salesforce software isn’t as fully featured as HubSpot, users can create a more tailored experience by integrating only the tools they need.
Salesforce’s reporting and analytics tools are more robust than its competitors, allowing a very granular look at your data and more options for data visualization. Salesforce also allows the most customization, adapting everything including standard objects like contacts and leads to match your company’s specific needs. A university might prefer “prospective students” to leads, for example.
Salesforce is designed for large companies with structured hierarchies, offering powerful tools for building user permissions at the individual and team levels. Administrators can assign specific roles within Salesforce and only grant access to certain datasets and privileges within each role.
The downside of Salesforce is its complexity and iterative pricing. Integration and implementation can be unintuitive, and there’s a significant learning curve before a user can start to generate useful data from the platform. Unlike HubSpot’s 24/7 support, Salesforce’s support is handled through a ticket system — if you want an immediate response, you’ll need to pay extra for a premium support package. Due to its unmatched customizability, Salesforce is typically the most expensive option
Microsoft Dynamics is designed to integrate with the rest of the Microsoft 365 suite of products — if your company already uses Office, Outlook, OneDrive, Teams, and so on, the interface and integration with Dynamics will go much more smoothly.
Dynamics offers several features that the other two options don’t, including AI-based business intelligence feature and an on-premise option for businesses with security concerns about cloud-based software. Dynamics tends to be more affordable than Salesforce, though paid third-party integrations and upgrades can push the price higher.
Finding the Right Software For Your Business
There’s no one CRM that’s best for every company — every option will be a trade-off of price, features, ease of use, and other factors. You can reach out to the Salesforce sales staff and go through their training and onboarding, but they won’t tell you that one of their competitors (or another option you’ve never heard of) is a better fit for your company.
For a truly objective assessment of your software needs and recommendation, you need an independent technology consultancy like Madison Taylor Technology. We can assess your company’s goals, the type of data you’re working with, and recommend which of these tools — or another one altogether — is best suited to your organization. We don’t partner with specific providers, allowing us to make solution-agnostic recommendations depending on your needs. If you need help choosing the right software for your company, get in touch with Madison Taylor Technology today.
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