Sunday, January 30, 2011

The ‘Fun’ Salesforce Becomes the FUD Salesforce


I am a little disappointed in Salesforce and lost a bit of respect for them today. This is the latest volley from Salesforce:

A return to old-school, lazy-thinking FUD. Now Microsoft have done their fair share of FUD in the past but I have not seen direct, unsubstantiated rubbishing of the competition like this for years. Microsoft, when they do talk about the opposition back up claims with references. Salesforce fail to back up their claims against Dynamics CRM. Where are the forum links of Dynamics CRM users echoing their statements? Where are the Gartner and Forrester reports highlighting the shortfalls in Dynamics CRM? If what is being said is true, they should not be hard to find. The simple fact is, again, Salesforce are all talk but no trousers.

The only ‘evidence’ they provide are the shadowy ‘Microsoft partners’ in the video. The video on the site is possibly the funniest thing I have seen in ages. Who are these people being protected from? The secret Microsoft ninjas that ‘remove’ those Microsoft partners which defect? Again, Salesforce fails to find anyone but actors to support their case. To save themselves a ‘Bernard’ moment they hide the actors’ faces.

Ninja Bill says “Gold partners can check out any time they like but they can never leave”

What is FUD?

FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) is a marketing tactic where you put doubt on your competitors offerings so they come flocking to you instead. It was very common in the 90s but is less prominent these days. The reason being it is poor marketing in that it is tactical, not strategic. In the short term you might be able to make a dent on your competitors’ sales but in the long term it says a lot more about you than the opposition. Short term market advantage at the cost of long term brand/reputation damage simply is not worth it.

Now it could be argued Microsoft’s ‘Don’t get forced. Get what fit’ ( is FUD but I disagree. Other than the cheeky pun, the campaign is all about what Microsoft offers. The only claim made on the page against Salesforce is in the customer testimonials which claim Salesforce’s integration to Outlook is inferior to Dynamics CRM’s. I actually agree with this based on the videos of the two.

In contrast, Salesforce make direct statements about the alleged lack of functionality in Dynamics CRM. However to be true FUD, the claims need to be false so let us examine the claims.

Real-time feeds

Salesforce says: With Salesforce, real-time feeds alert you of any data changes. Know instantly when a deal progresses, a case escalates, or an email is sent to a customer.

That is awesome. Nothing to back up their ‘big red cross’ but good to know. In Dynamics CRM we have workflows. These work like Outlook rules. Basically you tell CRM ‘when this happens do this other stuff’ and it happens. For example, you tell CRM “when a sales opportunity is opened, send an email to Bob” and this now happens automatically. Setting them up, like Outlook rules, is done through an easy to use wizard and the possibilities are endless. We also have dialogs which do similar things while guiding the user through a dialog. I recently wrote a blog on how dialogs can be configured, without code, to capture timesheets (

Here is an example of creating a simple workflow, based on a new lead being created.

Group Collaboration

Salesforce says: Get organized, share information, and work productively with your teammates using private group collaboration. Give every Salesforce record—from accounts, to opportunities, and cases—its own Chatter feed where your group can collaborate and see all interactions.

Again, nothing to back up the ‘big red cross’. As discussed in my last blog (, collaboration in Dynamics CRM is handled through SharePoint, which is now integrated with the product. Basically you say which records need a document store and every time a record is created, a document store in SharePoint is automatically provisioned and is accessible, from the record within Dynamics CRM. This works for any record type in CRM, not just accounts, opportunities and cases. Moreover, non-CRM users within your organisation, who have access to SharePoint, can access and collaborate on the same documents. Also, you can grant access to people outside of the organisation to work on the documents. As documents change, alerts can be set up to inform all interested parties.

Now, this is not as sexy as Chatter, no doubt, but to suggest there is no group collaboration is simply false. There is also Microsoft SharePoint Workspace ( and the skunkworks OfficeTalk project (

STOP PRESS: A fellow MVP has alerted me to an excellent ‘Chatter equivalent’ for Dynamics CRM called Vibe from Sonoma Partners. The community version is free. Check out the video here:

Any Mobile Device

Salesforce says: Follow your customers on your favorite mobile device. Salesforce runs native apps on the most popular mobile platforms: Android, BlackBerry, iPad, and iPhone.

The ‘big red cross’ is getting quite lonely with no statements to back it up. Dynamics CRM comes with Mobile Express out of the box. This is a mobile client which works with any web-enabled device. Configuring which record types and fields are exposed to the mobile client are configured through a friendly web interface. Here is a link with screenshots.

Any e-mail App

Salesforce says: Salesforce syncs with your favorite email apps, like Gmail, Lotus Notes, and Outlook 2010/2007. Capture all your customer interactions with no duplicated effort.

The ‘big red cross’ is crying because it is being shown no love. Now it is true that the Outlook client offers some great functionality with its tight integration to Dynamics CRM but you are not forced to use Outlook and Exchange. In fact you can integrate any SMTP/POP server with Dynamics CRM including those mentioned as well as linux sendmail servers or any other email server that can be set up as a SMTP/POP server.

For the technical amongst you, here are the details.

Please note, as it is not clear in the article, you do NOT need the Outlook client. The e-mail router handles the integration of Dynamics CRM and the mail server, without any pre-requisite for Outlook.

Collaborative Analytics

Salesforce says: Salesforce brings analytics to every user with easy drag-and-drop report building and dashboard creation. Track the metrics that matter to you and share your insights through real-time feeds.

The ‘big red cross’ has informed me it is getting counselling because it feels ‘used and dirty’. This is the dead giveaway that Salesforce have plucked their statements out of the air and not actually looked at CRM 2011. The videos can do the work for me.

One thing to note is that the charts are user-configurable through the client. No coding required and any chart created can be used in a dashboard (or added directly to a form).

Up-to-Date Contacts

Salesforce says: Out-of-date contact info slows down deals. Jigsaw for Salesforce automatically cleans your data, so you always have the latest phone number, email, even title, to help you connect to the right person the first time.

First of all let us tackle the '’big green tick’. I dispute Jigsaw has up-to-date data. I typed in the company I work for and six contacts came up (out of, say, 300 employees) and the company address was wrong. None of the six employees currently work at my company. All of them have moved on. In some cases up to two years ago. I did a ‘vanity search’ and I did not come up. I then typed in the details of a good friend and it told me he worked at a company he was at about five years ago. Even then it gave an address in the USA for him (he has only worked in Australia for the decade or so that I have known him). Hardly a scientific test though so go to and try it for yourself.

If you think out-of-date information slows down leads, try relying on a software that you think is giving you the latest information but is, in fact, polluting the good work of your marketing and sales team with rubbish.

Now for the lonely, forlorn "’big red cross’. Let me introduce Hoovers and its integration with Dynamics CRM.

This is a third party product so it does cost additional money but, again, the ‘big red cross’ has been subject to mutiny at the hands of good ship Salesforce.

So let us conduct my not-so-scientific test on Hoovers (go to to try it out yourself). I typed in my company and it got the address right. Hoovers did not give a list of general employees as part of the free search but it did show the directors. I am not intimate with who the directors are but of the three listed I know two of them are correct. The search on my name and my friend’s returned nothing. So while the information was incomplete, of the information listed there was no obvious bad information.

Incidentally, Hoovers integrates to both Dynamics CRM and Salesforce so if you are reading this and are frustrated with Jigsaw, try Hoovers instead. Also, this leads to the question if Salesforce are so ‘open’ where is the API for Jigsaw?

Customize With Clicks

Salesforce says: Do you call your customers “clients” or “accounts”? Name them however you like with Salesforce’s easy customization. Rename tabs, add fields, automate processes—it only takes a few clicks, no coding required.

The ‘big red cross’ comes in for another slapping at the hands of Salesforce marketers. I actually watched the video on this one as I had never seen the extent to which you can change Salesforce. There is no smoking gun here. In Dynamics CRM you can rename ‘entities’, as we call them, users can change languages on the fly and new entities can be added and linked to existing entities without using a single line of code. In Dynamics CRM we call it ability to do codeless changes the ‘Declarative Programming Model’ but it amounts to exactly the same thing as what you can do in Salesforce. Everything in the Salesforce video (and much more) can be done in Dynamics CRM without a line of code. For example, you can add iframes (web page viewers), grids of data and charts to forms in dynamics CRM all without code. Here is a video for adding a new field, a grid of related records and a chart. No curly braces were abused in the making of these configuration changes.


Why is Salesforce So Desperate?

FUD was employed quite liberally in the 90s and, arguably, quite effectively. The problem is with the internet levelling the information playing field, as can be seen in the videos above, it is not hard to undermine it with a few mouse clicks.

There is nothing I would like more than to know what advantage Salesforce has over Dynamics CRM. The web address of the Salesforce site suggests it is going to tell me. Instead it tells me misinformation and lies. What is Salesforce playing at? I can only conclude that Salesforce is drawing a blank on why people should pay more for their product and therefore is resorting to this kind of ill-conceived silliness. Salesforce simply is not more social, mobile or real-time than Dynamics CRM. As I blogged previously, to all appearances, they seem to be equivalent in these regards.

Other than the obvious deployment model difference i.e. Dynamics CRM can be implemented on-premise as well as on the cloud, the main difference I am seeing between the two products is how they are being sold to the public. Salesforce is playing the FUD and ‘evil empire vs maverick’ cards. Microsoft is focussing more on their own game, highlighting product features and case studies.

As a customer, the question to be asked is do you want your supplier to be constantly telling you how rubbish the competition is or do you want them to give you the facts on their product and what it can provide your business? Personally I would prefer my supplier to treat me as an adult, not a child.

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