SugarCRM Review: Is It as Good as It Claims?
A good CRM system (Customer Relationship Management) is essential for businesses.
If you’ve ever spent time exploring CRM tools before, you’ll know how valuable they can be when it comes to improving and boosting your sales process. After all, with a CRM tool, you can do a lot more than just keep hold of customer contact records. Also, you can automate things like lead scoring, follow-up, or tracking deal storage.
To continue our CRM review series, today we’ll focus on SugarCRM, which claims itself as “#1 rated customer experience platform.”
We’ll cover its features, ease of use, pricing plans, and many more to determine whether it’s as good as it claims. Once you’ve finished reading this guide, we hope you’ll find something useful for your business.
Let’s get started right now!
Table of contents
- What is SugarCRM?
- SugarCRM key features
- SugarCRM ease of use
- SugarCRM pricing plans
- SugarCRM security
- SugarCRM integrations
- SugarCRM customer support
- Pros and cons of using SugarCRM
- Alternatives to SugarCRM
- The bottom line
What is SugarCRM?
SugarCRM is, in fact, a customer relationship management (CRM) platform that helps companies craft a highly-personalized experience.
Established in 2004, SugarCRM has been trusted by more than 2 million users across 120 countries. The company is headquartered in California, with other offices across the US, Mexico, Australia, Germany, and the UK.
With SugarCRM, companies can execute marketing programs, retain customers, grow sales, and create business applications. These business applications can be used in different ways, such as to power sales teams, manage customer information databases, and run customer support organizations.
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SugarCRM key features
SugarCRM breaks down its services into 3 main categories to make them more digestible:
- Sugar Market
- Sugar Sell
- Sugar Serve
And boom! It is as simple as that. Marketing, sales, along with customer support are the three most vital parts of any CRM system. Let’s have a look at each one in a little more detail.
Sugar Market is the all-in-one marketing automation solution for you. Its goal is to help mid-sized marketing teams improve their reach and track results along the way. With this feature, you can attract visitors using built-in ads and social tools.
There are also many ways to get your website noticed using both SEM and SEO. All of this is actually built right into the Sugar Market product.
Plus, you’re able to create marketing campaigns with easy drag-and-drop editors, landing page templates, and email and conversion forms. With CRM, personalization is at the center of everything, so you can personalize your emails and copies to make your leads feel like these things are specifically written for them. Also, you can score leads based on their likelihood of converting.
Sugar Market allows you to track and analyze your performance. Regardless of which pricing plan you choose, you’ll get highly visual analytics with charts and graphs to make the data easy-to-digest.
This solution aims to make every salesperson a top performer. By typing a name into the software, a sales rep can instantly see all information about that individual, such as insights, scores, social data, and business data, along with live notifications when things change.
You can map out each customer’s journey from the very first conversation until they send in their customer satisfaction survey. Actually, keeping track of everything is the best way to ensure an optimal customer experience.
Sugar Sell integrates well with many other apps and tools. You can easily sync your calendars, emails, online meetings, and social media apps to track the most important interaction while managing everything from the same dashboards. This eventually creates a seamless experience, as well as requires fewer clicks and less time.
Lastly, with SugarBPM (Business Process Module), you can get quotes checked, approved, and then routed to the proper department. This can eliminate bottlenecks, hence improving the customer experience.
Sugar Server ensures that you can resolve customer inquiries faster without having to run through sloppy policies. Intuitive, easy-to-read dashboards and self-service portals make the process straightforward and seamless.
The self-service portal and knowledge base make it much easier for customers to solve their own problems and answer their own questions. This minimizes your resources and costs, while preventing support calls for simple things. Meanwhile, your customer support team can view more complicated inquiries, complaints, and open tickets on the easy-to-find SugarCRM dashboards.
As a business owner, you can check your team’s performance with real-time reports. By doing so, you can be aware of issues before they really become a problem.
SugarCRM ease of use
Although it isn’t the prettiest CRM out there, SugarCRM is quite intuitive to use once implemented. It provides shortcuts for frequently used features at the top toolbar so that users can access them easily. Below that, users can easily navigate through tabs to view Home, Accounts, Contacts, Opportunities, Knowledgebase, Leads, Reports, and more.
However, many users complain SugarCRM has so many features that it can get overwhelming. It might take a long time to learn everything in SugarCRM. If you are a small business owner without any prior tech experience, it wouldn’t be worth your time to try to understand it.
Finding information through SugarCRM documents is not hard, but it’s really a matter of time and resources for most business owners. Plus, if you have never implemented a software product before, you might have a hard time with SugarCRM.
That said, in case you have an in-house techteam, or even one person who can handle the implementation and training, you will have almost no problem with SugarCRM.
SugarCRM pricing plans
SugarCRM offers five different pricing plans, all of which are billed annually. This means you have to make a significant initial investment, and can’t cancel if it doesn’t meet your needs.
Plus, as it’s a relatively complicated system, you also need to budget for implementation, customization, training, as well as maintaining the solution over the cost of the year’s contract.
Sugar Professional: starts at $52/ user/ month, including:
- Standard support SLAs
- Support via SugarCRM Support Portal
- 2 Support-authorized contacts
Sugar Enterprise: starts at $85/ user/ month, including:
- Advanced workflow with SugarBPM
- SQL-based reporting
- Accelerated support SLAs
- Support via phone and SugarCRM Support Portal
- 4 Support-authorized contacts
Sugar Serve: starts at $80/ user/ month, including:
- 2 sandbox instances
- 60GB storage
- Phone support
- 4 Support-authorized contacts
Sugar Sell: starts at $80/ user/ month, including:
- 2 sandbox instances
- 60GB storage
- Phone support
- 4 Support-authorized contacts
Sugar Market: starts at $1,000/ month for 10,000 contacts, including:
- Unlimited users
- Unlimited emails and landing pages
- Phone support
- 4 support-authorized contacts
Every level of service of SugarCRM requires a minimum of 10 users. The minimum number of users required, along with the extremely high starting prices, make SugarCRM quite costly and not appropriate for startups or businesses on a limited budget.
When it comes to data privacy and cybersecurity, Sugar takes a holistic and systematic approach to safeguard customer data. The platform provides the option to deploy the solution on-site, in hosted and hybrid configurations. This aims to meet a range of security and regulatory requirements for its customers.
Sugar’s data centers are protected by powerful physical security mechanisms, including 24/7 secured access with motion sensors, security breach alarms, and video surveillance. The security infrastructure includes robust encryption, firewalled network, and sophisticated user authentication layers.
Thanks to its open API, there are unlimited third-party integrations available for SugarCRM. From call center and E-commerce capabilities to integrations with legacy systems, there is not much you can’t do with this platform.
Moreover, the guides on syncing with external systems and installing extensions are extensive, so your team won’t be flying blind. The system is also JAVA and PHP-friendly.
So, to be specific, SugarCRM can integrate well with:
- Popular Google apps, including Docs, Drive, and Gmail
- Social media channels
- Online meeting platforms, such as GoToMeeting and WebEx
…and many more.
As a matter of fact, in April 2020, the company launched Sugar Integrate, a cloud-based integration platform. This solution enables a cross-application view of the customer and supports automated business processes spanning various business systems, such as ERP, marketing automation, sales automation, E-commerce, help desk, etc.
Benefits of Sugar Integrate include:
- Reduce your time, cost, and effort of integrating Sugar with other business systems
- Reduce vendor dependency by making integrations interchangeable across alternative systems
- Support real-time integrations to cut down data lag and automate inter-system processes
SugarCRM customer support
The level of customer support that SugarCRM users receive depends on which plan they’ve purchased. Most users are encouraged to find answers for general problems on the Sugar Support website in their Documentation, Knowledge Base, Sugar University, and Community tabs.
For more complicated issues, each plan is allotted one or more support-authorized contacts. The specific number depends on the Sugar product you’ve subscribed to.
Many users rate SugarCRM’s support services as excellent. Despite having a relatively large user base, SugarCRM makes it easy to get a live customer service representative on the phone. Plus, the ability to get answers to technical questions and basic inquiries easily is good news for users and developers.
Pros and cons of using SugarCRM
Flexibility/ Extensibility. The extensibility of this platform is that you can customize the app whether adding some features to the stock application or some customize features. Each custom feature can actually be packaged and distributed as SugarApplication.
Automation. Users can handle most daily tasks automatically, helping eliminate manual work and save time.
Integration. SugarCRM features wide device deployment and complete social media integration.
Customer service. Its customer support is responsive, professional, and helps fix issues quickly.
Not budget-friendly. The system is quite pricey for the features offered, which makes it difficult for small businesses or start-ups to use.
Compelled updates. The automatic updates reconfigure the system, making it time-consuming to set up every time.
Data reporting. The system offers limited data reporting functionalities.
Learning curve. Learning and mastering SugarCRM will take time, especially for inexperienced users.
Alternatives to SugarCRM
We understand that SugarCRM is outstanding in many aspects, but chances are it might not fit your individual requirements or the specific environment of your niche. That’s why we’ve compiled the best 3 alternatives to SugarCRM for you!
Yetiforce is a cloud-powered, open-source CRM platform that is available on both iOS and Android devices. Its community proactively updates the platform with the latest, cutting-edge features that users can leverage module-wise.
The flexible engagement model allows you to buy add-on modules and individual models.
- A simple dashboard gives a panoramic view of all modules and widgets
- Obvious segmentation of leads, accounts, contacts, vendors, partners, and competition
- A robust Sales module with various sub-system for opportunities, inquiries, quotes, and calculations
- A customizable and powerful Calendar module for task allocation and monitoring
- A built-in Email module to maintain customer communications
Next, Snapforce CRM is a robust platform that can synchronize your customer database, phone systems, and email. Its Prodigy edition works seamlessly on mobile devices so that you can continue working on the road.
Many users found the system easy to use and describe its interface as refreshingly simple. Some did experience glitches, but in general, any issues were quite manageable.
Snapforce CRM’s highlights:
- Easy lead assignment to team members
- Automatic conversion of quotes to sales orders
- A robust enterprise account management module streamlines your accounts and contacts
- A quotes builder generates professional-looking and accurate quotes instantly
- Integrated secure payment gateways can receive and disburse payments
Lastly, Apptivo CRM is a cloud-based platform with a full stack of features and services. An intuitive interface and strategic partnerships have made Apptivo CRM a sought-after tool on the market. Users can enjoy its premium features and seamless support at a reasonable price.
Apptivo CRM’s highlights:
- Varied lead capture mechanisms, including web-to-lead and email-to lead forms
- Sales tracking monitors the performance of individuals and teams
- Apps focus on converting a contact into a lead, and then into a paying customer
- Integration with G Suite, Office 365, and Slack for easy data import and team management
The bottom line
Flexible, highly-customizable, SugarCRM lets you get the most of customer relationships. However, its costly pricing plans and steep learning curve might make you consider carefully before really opting for it.
Is there any other CRM tool that you want us to review? Please contact us and let us know! We’ll experience and review it as soon as possible!