Review of SugarCRM — the Best Startup Customer Relationship Management Software

SugarCRM is our pick for the best startup customer relationship management software. What began in 2004 as an open source project has since developed into a market-leading customer relationship management solution that has earned a stellar reputation for its superior customer service and straightforward implementation.

SugarCRM is an excellent choice for any small business that requires a CRM product that is simple to use. However, due to its developer-centric focus and extensive feature set, it is an especially appealing option for tech-savvy startups that are looking for a customer relationship management solution. SugarCRM may look like a run-of-the-mill cloud customer relationship management system, but it is incredibly adaptable and provides users with a greater number of educational resources than virtually every other SaaS CRM on the market today.

When it comes to pricing and the primary focus of the product, the SaaS solution is also a welcome change of pace. SugarCRM continues to focus solely on customer relationship management, in contrast to competing business software companies that are attempting to combine all possible types of products into a single package and then further muddying the waters by introducing complex pricing structures and additional features. Users who don’t require a great deal of customization will find the product simple to comprehend and relatively quick to implement; however, it is still powerful enough to be fully customized if your development team is interested in getting their hands dirty.

Why is it great to use SugarCRM?

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Fantastic for developers and users

SugarCRM gives new businesses the ability to create a fully bespoke customer relationship management solution without having to start from scratch. SugarCRM offers a veritable tome of developer resources, including learning guides and technical documentation, in contrast to other customer relationship management software products, which only offer an open API. Because of the nearly limitless scope of available customizations, customer relationship management software can easily be adapted to meet the requirements of startups and other types of businesses that have highly specialized requirements and a significant amount of in-house technical expertise.

It doesn’t take much digging to discover that the vast majority of online support communities for customer management software solutions consist of hundreds, if not thousands, of questions, plenty of views, and very few answers. This is despite the fact that most of these communities are accessible online. SugarCRM really shines when it comes to its community features because a forum is only as helpful as the people who participate in it. This software as a service product boasts of having a very active online developer community, which is extremely beneficial for startups that have small tech teams and require additional guidance and support. In point of fact, SugarCRM offers a distinct open source Community Edition that is tailored to the needs of software developers. This edition is compatible with Linux, Unix, Mac, IBM, and Windows operating systems.

SugarCRM is a product that was developed with the needs of developers in mind, but it also provides value to end users. The interface as a whole is approachable, intuitive, and well designed, despite the fact that it has a bit of a dated feel to it. This is despite the fact that the resources and the process of setting it up are definitely geared toward the tech set. The customer service that SugarCRM provides is also extremely impressive. In point of fact, none of the other CRM providers that we looked into even came close to matching the quality and reliability of SugarCRM’s customer service. This is a win for busy sales and marketing professionals who need their questions to be answered quickly and succinctly. It is also a win for startups that want their tech teams to focus on high-level issues rather than day-to-day helpdesk questions.

Pricing & Plans

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SugarCRM is an extremely transparent company, and this extends to the pricing structure of the company’s products. SugarCRM, like other companies, offers a tiered pricing structure, but in contrast to other companies, it is blissfully easy to follow, and there is a handy comparison matrix with every feature listed for easy side-by-side comparison. SugarCRM is a customer relationship management (CRM) software company.

Because SugarCRM’s pricing model requires a minimum of 10 users for every level of service, the entry-level cost of $40 per user, per month (billed annually) actually amounts to $4,800 per year. This is the only semi-odd aspect of SugarCRM’s pricing model. This stipulation, on the other hand, is clearly written out, which means that there are no hidden fees or surprises. This is a plus.

Professional Sugar

SugarCRM’s entry level is Sugar Professional, which, as previously stated, starts at $40 per user, per month, and is billed annually. While the starting price is higher than that of many other CRMs, Sugar Professional is extremely feature-rich. This level of service includes nearly every SugarCRM sales, marketing, lead management, and customer support feature; however, cloud document storage is limited to 15GB, there is no sandbox, and most workflow functionality is not available.

Enterprise Sugar

Sugar Enterprise costs $65 per user per month, with a minimum annual total of $7,800. You’ll get more in-depth analytics at this level of service, such as product-level forecasting, SQL-based reporting, and full workflow functionality. Users can automate sequential and parallel workflows, create reusable business process rules, and personalize email templates. Sugar Enterprise also includes 60GB of cloud document storage and two sandboxes, as well as access to the SDK dev kit.

Ultimate Sugar

Sugar Ultimate, at $150 per user, per month, is one of the more expensive CRM subscriptions available, especially when you consider the 10-user minimum, which raises the starting price to $18,000 per year. Sugar Ultimate was designed for advanced developers, and the subscription includes 250GB of cloud document storage and five sandboxes. Aside from these notable improvements, Sugar Ultimate is nearly identical to Sugar Enterprise, so only businesses that require additional storage and testing space should seriously consider it.

SugarCRM is located toward the upper end of the price scale for small business SaaS due to the requirement for a minimum number of users as well as the relatively high starting prices. We looked at a wide variety of different CRMs, and many of them offered comparable user functionality at a lower cost. It’s possible that this system is simply too pricey for your small to medium-sized business if you don’t intend to make use of the outstanding customer service and the development resources that it offers.

Ease of Use

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SugarCRM, despite not being the most aesthetically pleasing CRM available, is relatively easy to use once it has been implemented. The top toolbar that users see provides shortcuts to functions that are frequently used, such as the user’s email, calendar, and phone (with click-to-call capabilities). Users are able to view Home, Accounts, Contacts, Opportunities, Knowledgebase, Leads, and Reports, among other things, by navigating through the tabs that are located below that. SugarCRM is not particularly attractive, particularly when compared to some of the other CRMs that are available; the dashboard appears to have been taken straight from the decade of the 2000s, and the overall design is, at best, uninteresting; however, it is functional and accomplishes its goals.

During the initial setup process, SugarCRM is the only part that is not user friendly (for any user). With this customer relationship management (CRM), you won’t find a nicely curated marketplace of click-to-install extensions, and for non-technical people, the customization options can be downright overwhelming. If you’re looking for functionality that works right out of the box, you should look elsewhere because this isn’t the kind of system that you can just download and start using right away.

Customer Support

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It would be impossible for me to speak highly enough of the customer service that SugarCRM provides. This business is the gold standard when it comes to the manner in which one should respond to inquiries from the media as well as potential customers, and their consistency cannot be matched. In point of fact, each and every one of our inquiries was met with a satisfactory response.

Surprisingly little difficulty was encountered in connecting with a live customer service representative via phone, despite the fact that the platform serves a user base that is currently estimated to number two million people. Even calling the main customer service line puts you in touch with a representative in a very short amount of time.

Even more impressive is the fact that every sales representative with whom we spoke was able to answer highly technical questions. When customer service was unable to immediately outline the solution to our problems (due to the complexity of the situation), they would first provide a brief explanation and then direct us to additional relevant training guides, all without the need for multiple transfers and holds. On the other hand, when we asked customer service very basic questions to believe a lack of basic technical knowledge, we were met with equally friendly answers, and the representatives seemed to naturally scale their responses based on perceived user knowledge, which is extremely rare. This was an extremely positive experience for us.

SugarCRM was selected as the Best Startup CRM Software in large part due to its ability to easily provide responses to both technical questions and basic user questions. This is good news for both developers and users of the software, and it is one of the main reasons why we went with SugarCRM.

Company Features

SugarCRM is a customer relationship management solution that is a dream come true for developers. For innovative teams that want to fully customize their own SaaS product without having to start completely from scratch, the open-source, self-service approach is ideal. A very small portion of what SugarCRM has to offer can be summarized by the portals and documentation that we have highlighted in this article.

In the following, we will focus on highlighting a few of the most outstanding features that this CRM provides for developers as well as features that are focused on end users:

  • Endless third-party integrations: SugarCRM’s open API allows for an infinite number of third-party integrations. There isn’t much you can’t do with this CRM, from e-commerce and call center capabilities to integrations with legacy systems. Furthermore, the documentation for syncing with external systems and installing extensions is extensive, so your team won’t be flying blind. SugarCRM is also JAVA and PHP compatible.
  • Offline access at all levels: While many CRMs do not provide offline access or only provide it at high subscription levels, SugarCRM provides offline access at all price points. This can be a significant selling point for mobile users who may not always have service while traveling.
  • Customizable campaign management: SugarCRM users can use the Campaign Wizard to create highly complex (or simple) campaigns that allow them to execute, manage, and track the progress of campaigns across multiple channels. Campaign approvals and routing are simple to manage, and benchmarks can be set up to effectively optimize future campaigns.
  • SDK development kit: SugarCRM’s SDK developer kit (along with all supporting documentation) is a huge benefit for businesses looking to create white label CRM apps. Just keep in mind that this kit is not included in the entry-level subscription; if you want it, you must upgrade to Sugar Enterprise or higher.
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  • Self-service portal: Users with at least 100 concurrent portal users and a subscription at the Enterprise level or higher have access to the self-service portal, which allows outside clients to access information and submit orders and requests without going through a sales representative. Customers can also use the portal to create cases and upload data, and the layout and custom fields can be easily customized using Sugar Studio.
  • There are 26 languages supported: SugarCRM is currently available in 26 languages and is used in 120 countries around the world. Many low-cost CRM solutions are only available in one or two languages, causing international businesses to piece together CRMs to create a single system. SugarCRM makes it relatively simple to deploy a single solution in multiple languages.
  • SQL-based reporting: SugarCRM’s Advanced Reports module allows users to write SQL queries and generate reports. Admin-level users can also aggregate queries on a single report and add multiple data formats to a single report, both of which are great for visualization and sharing. This type of functionality is critical for startups with in-house data analysts or data scientists, and as with other SugarCRM modules, the step-by-step documentation on using said modules is extensive.

Other Advantages

SugarCRM provides an add-on service known as Hint, and the cost of using it is $15 per user, per month. Users are able to import a customer’s social information by simply entering their name and email address into the system. Hint also provides extra business intelligence features, such as advanced analytics and automated data collection.

Limitations

SugarCRM may not be the most suitable option for some types of companies. Users will need to access the API in order to integrate third-party solutions because this solution does not provide integrations that can be completed with a simple click of the mouse through a marketplace.

Although this is not necessarily a negative for all businesses, such as tech-driven startups, it may prove to be challenging for businesses that do not have an in-house technology team. In addition, not all companies have a need for advanced customization options. Businesses that are looking for a low-cost CRM that is ready to use right out of the box would be better off with a lightweight solution that is easy to implement and inexpensive to maintain, as SugarCRM can become difficult to use and expensive to maintain.

SugarCRM FAQ

What exactly does a CRM system do?

Customer relationship management (CRM) systems are utilized by companies of varying sizes in order to manage customer information, improve communication and accountability throughout the sales staff, and utilize real-time analytics in order to make educated business decisions. CRMs also make it simple for businesses to record calls, send automated follow-ups, and keep track of the history of their communication with both existing and prospective customers.

What is the price of a CRM?

Software for managing customer relationships (CRM) is readily available and affordable for any budget. Some customer relationship management software, such as Zoho, provides free limited versions for up to 10 users. However, even paid versions of Salesforce, the industry standard for large businesses as well as small and medium-sized businesses, begin at $25 per user, per month. There are also highly customized CRM solutions available, and just the implementation of these solutions can cost thousands of dollars. However, such systems are typically only purchased by businesses operating at the enterprise level.

What exactly is a SaaS CRM?

Any software product that is offered for sale on a subscription basis and can be accessed by users who do not host the software on their own servers is referred to as “Software as a Service,” or SaaS for short. The majority of business products on the market today are sold as part of a software as a service (SaaS) package. This is due to the fact that SaaS solutions are inexpensive to implement and simple for SMB customers to administer. HubSpot, SugarCRM, and Salesforce are a few examples of well-known SaaS customer relationship management systems.

The Conclusion

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SugarCRM provides access to powerful tools for business owners who have previous experience in development or coding. Although it is an effective answer for some companies, it is not an easy-to-use CRM system that is designed for owners of small businesses.

Techexplains Team

Techexplains Team

We are a team of digital marketing experts with years of experience in website builders. CRM tools, project management software helping businesses of all sizes achieve their marketing goals. We are writing about benefits of using SaaS for businesses, and sharing our top picks for the best tools currently available on the market. Whether you are a small business owner looking to streamline your marketing efforts or a larger enterprise seeking to improve your marketing efficiency, we hope that you will find this useful and informative.