If you are in the process of evaluating CRM it is very likely that you are aware of two of the big dogs; Salesforce.com, the long-time CRM leader and Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Annually, Gartner Research conducts a study on CRM, primarily focusing on sales force automation. This intensive study covers a wide variety of categories analyzing and comparing their strengths and weaknesses.

But what exactly do they mean when they talk about sales force automation?

Sales force automation (SFA) applications within CRM support the automation of sales activities, processes and administrative responsibilities for B2B organizations’ sales professionals. Core functionalities in CRM systems include account, contact and opportunity management.

Additional add-on capabilities focus on improving the sales effectiveness of salespeople. Among those capabilities are sales configuration, guided selling, proposal generation and content management, and sales performance management support, including incentive compensation, quota, sales coaching and territory management.

2014 Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation Overview

2014 Gartner SFA CRM report

When it comes to Sales Force Automation (SFA) for CRM systems Salesforce.com, Microsoft CRM On-Premises and Microsoft CRM Online are sitting comfortable and alone in the top right “Leaders” quadrant.  While CRM offers extensive functionality to sales, marketing, customer service and much more, the SFA applications support the automation of sales activities, processes and administrative responsibilities for B2B organizations’ sales professionals.

Ledgeview Partners does sell Microsoft Dynamics CRM and does provide consulting services for both Salesforce.com and Dynamics CRM so this chart really makes us proud that the products we represent are leading the pack and setting the standard for sales force automation within the world of CRM.

Reviewing the “Leaders”

Salesforce.com

According to Gartner, Salesforce.com continues to lead the market in both new business and customer deployments.  However, the functional and usability gap has closed the past 12 months with some of the competition like Microsoft Dynamics CRM who shares the leader quadrant with Salesforce.com.

Their strengths include a broad ecosystem through the AppExchange, the proven quality and reliability Salesforce.com has provided users over the past 15 years and the well received Salesforce1 platform.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online

Microsoft continues to close the gap on Salesforce.com and is clearly putting a greater emphasis toward the cloud with new features that appear in Dynamics CRM Online before the on-premises CRM version.  With a recent price adjustment, Dynamics CRM Online is no longer targeted for just small or midsize businesses but winning a number of large scale customers (700+ users).

Strengths for the Microsoft Dynamics Online CRM are its price value (one of the main reasons users will shortlist Dynamics CRM Online), overall usability, Microsoft centricity and (what we like best) it’s exceptional partner network.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM On-Premises

With Salesforce.com a strictly cloud based CRM or SaaS, the Microsoft Dynamics CRM On-Premises product leads the quadrant for those companies looking to keep their CRM grounded and not in the cloud.  With features and functionality virtually the same as its Dynamics CRM Online companion, many companies may look to implement Dynamics CRM On-Premises because they like the attractive total cost of ownership versus a SaaS model.

Like its online version, the Dynamics CRM On-Premises offer similar strengths which is why it sits in the leaders quadrant.

The latest release has really improved usability, with a significant reduction in mouse clicks to perform actions compared to prior versions. Additionally, the on-premises version shines with Microsoft centricity as it fully and easily integrates with the Microsoft technology stack. Companies who are already a ‘Microsoft shop’ will find this very appealing and a super strength. Rounding out the strengths, again like the online version, is the superior partner network that is available to companies to assist them by offering vertical expertise for design, implementation, deployment, support and more.

See what CRM is best for you

At the end of the day, whichever CRM you decide to deploy will be based on factors such as company culture, business requirements, budgets and more. If you are struggling with CRM (any CRM) or starting out on a new search, Ledgeview Partners can be your expert CRM resource.

We encourage you to read the full study (don’t worry, it is a quick and very informative read) at Gartner – Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation

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