When it comes to making a decision on which CRM option to choose it can prove tricky, but we always say it is worth considering a CRM as an investment and to think more long term than short term.
In our latest blog article, we will compare two CRM options in the market: Dynamics 365 and Zoho CRM.
So, what is Dynamics 365?
Dynamics 365 is a portfolio of intelligent business applications that delivers superior operational efficiency and breakthrough customer experiences enabling businesses to become more agile and reduce complexity without increasing costs.
Dynamics CRM looks to target all businesses regardless of size and provides them with a user-friendly interface that easily connects with all of Microsoft’s applications. This helps to increase the levels of user adoption.
These systems are used across many different sectors including financial services, charities & not-for-profits, professional services and many, many more.
So, what is Zoho CRM?
Zoho CRM is a CRM which is used to convert more leads, engage with customers, and grow their revenue. Zoho CRM acts as a single repository to bring your sales, marketing, and customer support activities together, and streamline your process, policy, and people in one platform.
So now let's delve deeper into the specifics of both CRM platforms
The costs involved
You will find that this CRM is very much a low cost of entry. Zoho is free for businesses that have less than 3 users. However, past this point, the basic sales and marketing package costs around £9 per user month with the top end of the bracket being around £76 per user per month.
As well as this, if you decide to go down the finance route, you can expect to be paying around £79 per user per month for up to 10 users.
On top of this, if you want the HR related functionality, you will be paying around £34.50 per user per month.
Finally, the support offered by Zoho comes in at around $25 per month with no initial development needed to get started.
You will find that the cheapest way that Microsoft licenses are structured is at around £30 per user per month. If you are looking for some extra functionality, the cost of this under the Customer Engagement Plan licence is around £87 per user per month. This will become £158 per user per month for Dynamics 365 plan licence which has the more expensive finance and retail modules.
For most businesses, the cost of implementation starts from around £8,000 with Advantage, however you can get Dynamics 365 support within the licensing costs or choose to get quicker responses by choosing to sign up for a CRM support package with Advantage.
Zoho is an affordable choice if you are just wanting to have one set of functionality and are happy to have the platform as it comes.
However, it is worth pointing out that users would have to have Zoho’s top-tier licences in order to compete with the Microsoft Customer Engagement Plan. As well as this, it is worth noting that Dynamics 365 has so much more in terms of functionality and its slightly higher starting point can be justified through its extensive support.
The core features
You will find that the CRM features provided come to include core functions such as sales, marketing, finance and HR.
The sales and marketing features are the most widely used and have some advanced functionality including email automation as well as SalesSignals to follow engagements across social media platforms.
Within the finance module, you will find bookkeeping, expenses, inventory management and invoicing. HR is used to look after your employees as well as your recruitment needs.
In addition to this, Zoho has a sandbox environment that can be used for development and has an optional email solution if required.
Also, Zoho is based in the Cloud and includes 5GB worth of storage with additional storage coming at an additional cost.
Within the Customer Engagement Plan licence, Dynamics 365 includes sales, marketing, customer service, project automation, field service and social engagement functionality – which is more than suitable for any small and medium sized business.
As well as this, the licence also has PowerApps as part of the deal. This means that you are able to build customised apps powered by Dynamics 365 (the Zoho solution comes at an additional charge). In addition to this, Dynamics 365 has a sandbox environment but does have a cost attached to it.
Like Zoho, Dynamics 365 is cloud-based. It included 10GB storage per business along with a $50 per month charge for 10GB more, however there are a number of ways around this. Better still, all your data is fully secured by Microsoft’s data centres and is fully GDPR compliant.
Zoho’s CRM has been around since 2005 and has developed into a sales and marketing solution which includes additional features. This accounts for the advanced parts of the sales solution and the simplistic finance side.
When flipping this around and looking at Dynamics 365, you will find that it benefits from over 25 years of development. Microsoft has been keen to expand and develop Dynamics 365 in all facets where it might be able to build a business application. This also means that Microsoft would have also got this application tested by thousands of different businesses.
Although Dynamics 365 needs some training and setup initially, it can also provide revolutionary business intelligence options once up and running.
Customising and compatibility
Even though Zoho has some customisable choices available, you very much have to do it yourself. Most of these you will find are visual rather than functional, meaning that it begs the question as to how flexible the platform is if it doesn’t meet your needs from the outset. Also, given how important CRMs are for businesses, you wouldn’t want to trust the development to someone in your team who may have little or no experience in doing so.
Zoho does provide some customisation services, however they are very limited. With most seeming to cover integrations rather than specific things like customising workflows.
As Dynamics 365 is part of Microsoft, you will find that it easily integrates with Microsoft 365 applications as well as LinkedIn.
You will also find that other integrations are very easy. The vast majority of marketing automation and accounting platforms can work within Dynamics 365 through a third-party integration.
The great thing about Dynamics 365 is the fact that the market for customisation is much higher and more options are readily available. Better still, some businesses are able to provide verticalised solutions dependent on industry or the features needed. As well as this, our team at Advantage are able to provide such services on the development side as well as the implementation side.
Microsoft also delivers two major updates a year (Apr and Oct) which brings more features into the solutions. Zoho can do this but nowhere near on the same level as Microsoft.
When it comes to this element, Microsoft is light years ahead, with a much better ability to deliver a more customised solution for SMEs. As well as this, Dynamics 365 integrations can add extra functionality which is something that Zoho can’t achieve.
So, which option is better: Dynamics 365 or Zoho?
There are no doubts that many businesses explore the option of Zoho. Its lucrative pricing and core features will be tempting for smaller businesses and will largely be great as a CRM starting point.
However, the problems can start if a business starts to grow as Zoho’s platform is limited. You will find that a well-run CRM system is able to help businesses grow by up to 40% per year if used correctly. It’s quite difficult to not see a business struggling against Zoho’s limitations in just a few years. At this point, the likelihood is that the business would have to change CRM altogether. This would end up costing them more money as well as they would have to migrate all the data across from the old CRM to the new CRM.
This is probably why, you won’t find too many significant advocates banging the Zoho promotional drum. Even if businesses do use Zoho they are only using it for one or two elements. Whereas businesses using Dynamics 365 tend to go beyond the remits of just the CRM functionality. So, it depends whether you want to invest in a CRM for the short term or long term.
Despite the fact that this article could come across as slightly biased, the benefits are pretty evident. Dynamics 365 has the capability to serve businesses between 5 and 500,000 users easily. Furthermore, you will find that it includes almost every function within your business and can be shaped to work in the way you want it to do for your business.
Granted, there are costs associated with Dynamics 365 implementation, however this solution will be fully scalable as your business grows. Like with anything, see this as an investment for the long term rather than a quick fix. Zoho will be quick to implement, however Dynamics 365, will provide you with a leading solution that can run your business from top to bottom regardless of how big you grow.
If you are a business that has read the above article and are looking to invest in your long-term future by implementing a Quick Start Dynamics 365 CRM or wanting to discuss all of our CRM options that are available then please give our team of experts a call today.
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