SalesForce vs. SugarCRM: A Quick Guide

SalesForce vs. SugarCRM: A Quick Guide

Are you weighing the pros and cons of various customer relationship management (CRM) solutions? If so, you probably want to take a look under the hood of Salesforce and SugarCRM.

Solution Similarities

Both Salesforce and Sugar have the essential engine to manage your customer relationships. For example, they each enable you to record and track the history and activity for each of the following:


You’ve determined these people could have an interest in your offering, but you haven’t assessed their level of interest, ability to pay, and whether they fit your customer profile. They’re not qualified and you haven’t started to build a relationship with them.


These are businesses that include contacts with whom you are building relationships with and perhaps even doing business.


A contact is someone who is qualified lead or customer.


Opportunities are, of course, potential sales outcomes.

Also, in either solution, whether you company sells to businesses or consumers, you’ll find plenty of features for sales-pipeline management, lead nurturing, and keeping on top of prospect and customer needs. Whether you need to manage quotes and contracts, or set up telephone and email marketing campaigns, you’re covered. And with all your data in one place, sales forecasting is easier than ever before.

Sharing information is simple. For example, if a rep needs information to help a client, they can find it in a couple of clicks in the content library. Or, empower the client to find it themselves through the customer portal.

You can keep track of your sales force’s results, with a snapshot of what’s in each rep’s pipeline. With this information, you can ask the right questions and guide their success. And, of course, a little motivation always helps. Dashboards and reports that sales people how they’re doing and where they rank, spurring their natural competitive instincts.

Application programming interfaces (APIs), such as REST and SOAP, can act as the doorways between either Salesforce or SugarCRM and mobile devices. So they support mobile access as well as multiple languages, and numerous currencies. This means your people across the globe—in the office and on the go—have access.

And if you want to customize either solution so it caters specifically to your needs, your technical gurus can experiment in the developer sandbox, without interfering with production, to create a tailored solution.

Salesforce Advantages

You’ll find many more apps to extend the capabilities of Salesforce than you will for SugarCRM. More than 1million apps, created by partners and customers, are available on AppExchange.

Also, in Salesforce Enterprise and Unlimited Edition you can:

Set up approval workflows for any of your sales or business processes.Create joined reports that, for example, give you the big-picture view of your sales pipeline including opportunities created, sales closed, and those you expect to close in the next few weeks.

Finally, you can leverage advanced features. These include:

Analytic Snapshots, which enables you to create reports on historical data.Chatter, which brings information users need about people and projects directly to them, making collaboration easy.Partner communities that help you share records and information with your partners easily.

SugarCRM Advantages

Host it where you want it—on your premises or up in the cloud. Self-hosting is perfect if you’re in an industry such as defense or finance and cannot host data on external servers, or if you just want a little more customization to improve usability and performance.

It’s feature rich. Workflows, page layout modification, and APIs are available in all SugarCRM editions, but you’ll only find them in the higher-level versions of Salesforce. This keeps development costs lower.Good integration solutions—there are, for example, plug-ins for Lotus Notes and online meetings such as WebEx, GoToMeeting and LotusLive.

A project management module combines with the sales management, marketing automation, and customer support to manage all activities surrounding your leads, prospects and customers.Provides a relational database backup which, compared to the flat-file (CSV) output from Salesforce, avoids data duplication, inconsistencies and makes changes easier.


Enables a multi-instance database.

There’s a lower cost to customize SugarCRM as it does not require learning proprietary languages and tools.Unlike with Saleforce there are no limits! Salesforce has set up many constraints on what you can do within each edition, obviously with the hopes that you’ll want to upgrade. See Salesforce’s guide to limitations.

Calculating the Costs

While there is some overlap in costs, Salesforce goes much higher. The cost per user/per month is:

SugarCRM – 35 to $100

Salesforce – $5 to $250

Making the Decision

Your choice of a CRM solution is critical to your future sales and marketing success. Weighing the pros and cons is a tough job. I cannot say in general that either Salesforce or SugarCRM is better. However, one of them will certainly meet your enterprise’s specific needs better.

To discover which one is right for you need to step back and look at the big picture. What are your objectives? Where do you want to be in five years? And in order to achieve your goals, how does your sales and marketing department need to function? Once you know these answers you can determine the required features for your CRM solution, and complete a cost-benefit analysis.

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