CRM Software Solutions Throwdown — Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE Vs. HubSpot and Oracle Features and Price

HubSpot, Oracle & Microsoft D365 CE are the top CRM solutions in today's market. Our review covers: Cost, Deployment, Ease of Use and more.

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    Customer Relationship Management, (CRM), is a must-have in today’s competitive marketplace. In fact, if a company has 10 or more employees, CRM is used 91% of the time. CRM solutions help organizations satisfy customers and improve their loyalty, help get rid of rotten sales leads, spike sales revenue, and much, much more.

    Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement (Microsoft Dynamics CE, formerly Dynamics CRM), HubSpot and Oracle CRM are top CRM software solutions in today’s marketplace. CRM systems are very similar in many ways — they will get you texting, searching, and lunching. But in other significant ways, Microsoft Dynamics CE HubSpot and Oracle CRM are very different. Here we compare elements of the solutions’ pricing, features, and functionality to help you make the most informed decision for your organization.

    An important note before we begin — Microsoft Dynamics CE is available in multiple versions or editions. For example, Microsoft Dynamics CE has a Professional, Enterprise and Sales Premium edition of Dynamics 365 Sales.

    Oracle has a Professional Edition, Standard Edition, Enterprise Edition, and Premium Edition.

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    HubSpot has Starter, Professional and Enterprise levels.

    Pricing: The bottom line

    It almost seems like CRM tools deliberately make their pricing and licensing models complex enough to confuse us and make them challenging to compare. But let’s give it a try.

    The most intuitive way to compare would be the price per user. However, since each vendor includes a different set of features in each of its editions, a straight across price per user comparison isn’t particularly useful. We’re not including pricing in this article for just this reason — to be fair you need to make an apples-to-apples comparison which isn’t possible without understanding an individual company’s needs and goals. Our team can help you perform a detailed cost comparison based on the features and functionality your company needs.

    However, to provide a high-level pricing assessment, we can say that the CRM consultants we know, who are familiar with CRM software solutions, agree that HubSpot (since it’s FREE at the start) has a lower entry point than Microsoft Dynamics CE. Oracle’s entry point is similar to CE. But, as a company’s needs, level of sophistication and user count grow, Microsoft Dynamics CE quickly turns into the most cost-effective option.

    Deployment: On Premise or in the cloud CRM Software Solution Implementation

    Today, 87% of CRM solutions are deployed in the cloud (as compared to just 12% in 2008). Microsoft Dynamics CE, HubSpot and Oracle CRM are available as cloud-based, hosted SaaS applications. However, Microsoft and Oracle additionally offer on-premise and hybrid deployment models.

    A recent Software Advice report found that businesses estimated their monthly cost to be between $50 and $90 per user to operate their CRM.

    But operational costs can be more deceptive than simple month-to-month expenditure. To get the full picture for how much your CRM solution might cost, there are several additional factors to consider:

    Cost of infrastructure: Supporting a cloud-based CRM solution doesn’t require as much tech infrastructure as an on-premise solution that necessitates in-house servers that are data redundant and scalable. With an estimated growth of storage demand over 5 to 10 years, brands can compare the cost of expanding in-house tech versus bumping up to a new level of service with a cloud-based provider.

    Human resources costs: As demand for CRM software in business continues to grow, the market for capable developers and administrative staff likewise becomes more competitive. Depending on your business’s choice of CRM, you may need to hire additional in-house staff, invest in wide-scale training, or retain a consultancy to meet ongoing needs. All these options affect the overall operating cost of your CRM solution.

    Business dependency costs: While on-premise CRMs seem more expensive upfront, they provide your business with the ability to control ongoing service. With cloud-based services, businesses expose themselves to potential outages or slow-downs that are out of their control. Thinking about how your business would operate or possibly suffer in the event of an outage can help gauge the risk-related costs of adopting either a cloud-based or on-premise solution.

    Mobile capabilities: As sales teams work remotely and sales representatives need access to data on-the-go, mobile CRM capabilities are in the spotlight. Does your proposed solution support mobile access or does mobile access require customized setup and maintenance? It’s also important to look at device capability issues, from tablets to smartphones with different OS environments.

    Ease of Use: It Depends

    The best CRM software is the one that gets used. Unfortunately, CRM implementations have historically been plagued with low user adoption rates. And if our users aren’t using it, the business value of CRM plummets. We know that things like being intuitive and easy to use naturally promote higher user adoption rates, so which CRM software solutions is easier to use?

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    Let’s start by acknowledging that “ease of use” and “intuitive” are highly subjective terms. What seems intuitive for some of us just isn’t for others. But we can work with subjective opinions since they seem to even out with enough input. Here’s where G2, the peer-to-peer review site that gathers input directly from those subjective users, can help.

    In a head-to-head G2 comparison, Microsoft Dynamics CE received 3.8 stars out of five with over 1,500  reviews. Oracle received 3.7 stars out of five with only 100 reviews, and HubSpot received 4.4 out of five stars with over 9,000 reviews. While this assessment gives the win to HubSpot, avid Microsoft Dynamics 365 users — those using other Microsoft applications — tout the benefits of a consistent user interface across the applications. Oracle’s interface is not as sleek and user-friendly as Dynamics, and can be tough to navigate, so unless a company is already using Oracle software, the learning curve may be steep.

    Integration: Microsoft casts a long shadow

    Many companies take the best-of-breed approach to business management software. They find the best financial management application for their operations, the best HRMS, the best business intelligence, the best warehouse management system, and the best CRM. This approach can work exceptionally well — if (there’s always an if, right?) the applications are integrated. Without integration, companies end up with data silos, little visibility, and plenty of manual workflows to combine the data.

    Here’s one area where Microsoft Dynamics CE gets the definitive nod. Microsoft Dynamics CE not only integrates with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, but all the other Microsoft productivity tools companies rely on, including Outlook, Office 365, OneNote, and even LinkedIn (owned by Microsoft).

    Oracle uses an open API capable of providing integration with many applications, just not the native integrations offered by Microsoft Dynamics CE.

    Due to its comparative lack of features and non-customizable platform, users may find that they need more functionality than HubSpot natively offers. Additional features can be added through third-party integrations, but HubSpot does not currently provide broad support for other software bolt-ons without paying extra for API.

    Reporting: All under one roof

    This point of comparison is somewhat related to the integration capabilities we talk about above. While all three CRM applications provide robust reporting capabilities, the native integration between Microsoft Dynamics CE and the balance of the Microsoft 365 Suite makes it simpler to combine data from different business areas – including any of the Dynamics 365 modules, Office applications, Teams, and more.

    Sure, third-party data analysis tools can bridge disparate applications, but there’s nothing disparate about Microsoft Dynamics 365’s suite of business solutions.

    AI: It doesn’t take an Einstein

    No longer a novelty, Artificial Intelligence (AI) delivers real, strategic value to CRM software solutions. For example, AI can help identify market trends, make sales probability predictions, and recommend next best actions for sales teams. The PwC 2022 AI Business Survey found that 40% of businesses identified as “AI leaders” use AI to improve their companies’ customer experience.

    While Oracle and HubSpot have AI, but (there’s always a but, right?) you’ll need to pay for it while AI capabilities are included in Microsoft Dynamics CE.

    Bonus: Teams-work really does make the dream work

    CRM software collaboration

    Improved collaboration is one of the primary objectives of CRM buyers. Sharing data and resources is simply good for business, and Microsoft Teams serves as a direct communication and collaboration channel in many companies.

    Microsoft recently changed its licensing model surrounding Microsoft Teams and CE. The change allows Dynamics 365 users to invite anyone in the organization to view and collaborate on customer records right within the flow of a Teams chat or channel, without the need for additional CE licenses for those users. As you might have guessed, this is unique to Microsoft and other CRM solutions don’t offer anything similar.

    Final thoughts

    Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE, HubSpot and Oracle are powerful, highly regarded, feature-rich CRM applications. In many instances, they will serve a company well. Selecting the ideal CRM software solution for your organization involves many considerations, of which price and feature set are the most critical. We believe Microsoft Dynamics CE wins on long-term pricing, customer care from its solution providers, native integration with other Microsoft products, and ease of use. We are happy to provide additional pricing and feature information based on your specific needs. Contact us to find out more information.

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