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SugarCRM vs. Salesforce: The Race for the Leader

sugarcrm vs salesforce

Equipping yourself with the motto “Consider all opportunities, but choose what is best for your business”, the path to success will be much shorter. When the business strategy is clear, all that remains is to choose the right tool for implementation. The only question is how to make a rational choice among the current variety of platforms?

Modern CRM offers the best customer service management tools. But business development and return on investments are only possible with the proper range of functionality and a reasonable budget.

The top cloud CRM provider Salesforce and its competitor SugarCRM offer high-quality sales and marketing software. While Salesforce focuses on large and medium-sized enterprises, startups and small businesses traditionally become Sugar users. The question is, which CRM system is more justified in the long run? Useful information about SugarCRM and Salesforce will help you understand what you’ll be getting for your money.

Salesforce vs. SugarCRM: Deep Dive On Two CRM

These two niche tools have been competing in the market since the early 2000s. SugarCRM has recently stepped up its fight against Salesforce by focusing on the availability of its software. For the sake of fairness, at one time Salesforce also bypassed Siebel for the availability of its CRM solution as an SaaS product.

SugarCRM is a CRM company, and this is the only product that they have come to grips with. Salesforce is a platform company, and they not only have CRM but also offer products for quote customization, marketing automation, business intelligence, and more. The company has adopted a tactic of continuous innovation and all-around customer service, which also contributes to brand awareness.

About Salesforce

Salesforce provides enterprise software apps through the cloud computing model. CRM is one of the company's flagship products. About two-thirds of potential customers have listed Salesforce Service Cloud as their first, second, or third choice, according to Gartner. Over the past year, Salesforce has added over 125 new features and enhancements to the Service Cloud, including WhatsApp, skill-based routing, AI-based real-time case classification, and much more. The company manages an assortment of integrated third-party apps on the AppExchange platform, works on the Ignite customer innovation program, and develops the Trailhead learning platform.

About SugarCRM

SugarCRM's business model is a balance between keeping the company viable and delivering the inherent benefits of open-source program solutions. Its new CEC solution is Sugar Serve, part of the Winter ’20 release, which was presented in 2019 as a standalone offering. SugarCRM has strengthened its customer service ecosystem by announcing integrations with Genesys, 8x8, and Amazon Connect.

Both SugarCRM and Salesforce are great because of their flexibility and customization. You can acquaint yourself with them on your own using the knowledge system and help from the community. However, getting the full benefit will require a developer or team with deep knowledge of the product. This means you will need resources to hire assistants or your IT department to set up yourself.

SugarCRM vs. Salesforce Comparison Chart


Who is this software for?

Salesforce is ideal for middle-sized companies and large enterprises. The platform offers several important tools, such as account and pipeline management, lead scoring, user permissions, collaborative forecasting, and team management.

SugarCRM is optimal for freelancers, public administrations, and small startups. CRM is also suitable for businesses looking for an on-premises CRM solution with enterprise-grade features.

Mobile Functionality

SugarCRM and Salesforce have spared no expense in developing intuitive mobile apps for their CRM. However, the Salesforce mobile platform is more powerful than the SugarCRM mobile app. It can be expanded to best suit your company's mobile needs.

The SugarCRM mobile app is lightweight, but it limits functionality. In addition, Salesforce offers a built-in social CRM app, which SugarCRM currently lacks.

User interface

SugarCRM and Salesforce have switched to new UI structures and improved basic navigation within the system. Sugar has perfected the navigation, while Salesforce has adapted the Tab/Twitter Bootstrap navigation.

SugarCRM's user interface is very easy to learn: if you know one thing, you know everything. In comparison, Salesforce offers more features that may overload the user interface.

Marketing and Sales Experience

Most of the marketing tools that Salesforce offers through the Marketing Cloud (Pardot, Social Studio, and ExactTarget) are powerful, but social eavesdropping, predictive analytics, lead assessments, and ROI reporting come at a price. Salesforce offers a full suite of customer support tools, social media access, bulk email, and customization. Therefore, many companies consider Salesforce a more-than-adequate solution.

Sugar editions provide a ready-made set of functions for marketing teams, including lead routing, drip campaigns, web forms, email marketing, newsletters, landing page builders, and much more. They design the platform to help companies manage the entire customer lifecycle and provide an accurate position of customers in the sales funnel. This allows you to focus your marketing efforts on potential clients without being overwhelmed with lazy users. But SugarCRM’s built-in features can't compete with ExactTarget or Pardot. In this aspect, Salesforce is ahead of SugarCRM.

Customization and Extensibility

Salesforce deploys in the cloud, making it impossible to do it yourself. But a pure cloud environment is not a disadvantage if it enhances the functionality of the CRM. Salesforce offers over 3,000 compatible add-ons developed on the SalesForce platform, while SugarExchange only has around 250.

Aside from the Business Process Engine, SugarCRM uses technologies such as PHP and JavaScript. Each element can be expanded and replaced as needed. Multi-user architecture means the user gets a login URL. SugarCRM gives you the flexibility to choose where you want to host your database: Sugar Cloud, private cloud, or on-site. The local version gives access to all data, even if teams want to switch to another tool - which Salesforce does not have.

Reports and Analytics

Salesforce offers a complete set of customizable dashboards with immediate updates on user behavior and predictive functionality with Einstein analytics. AI is a major innovation in the Salesforce arsenal, and it allows for increased sales opportunities and faster workflows.

Sugar lets you create reports with custom filters and use predictive analytics to discover and promote new audience segments. The Hint add-on from SugarCRM provides a lot of additional contact information with a few form fields.


Salesforce’s introductory plan includes custom reports, account and deal management, and email integration, which costs $25 per user/month. Versions with more advanced features, such as workflow rules, range from $75 to $150 per user/month.

SugarCRM markets its software as being less expensive than The starting price for Sugar Cell is $80 versus $25 for Salesforce per user per month. The difference in price becomes noticeable in the professional versions. Salesforce Enterprise costs $150, and the best version of SugarCRM is available for $85 a month per user. This gives SugarCRM some advantages when it comes to pricing policy.

Customer Service and Online Support Options

SugarCRM offers a wide range of in-app and interface support tools. Community forums, blogs, and support portals with certification programs are all included in every package.

Salesforce also includes a help website, community, and strong knowledgebase. Its Trailhead learning community is as popular as the tool itself. The introduction of Service Cloud Voice will enable customers to offer new, pre-integrated voice services through Amazon Connect. This will complement the ability to integrate with other voice offerings for contact centers.

Data storage

Sugar Professional Edition provides 15GB of disk space for both data and documents, 30GB in the corporate version, and 60GB in the Enterprise version, and Sugar Ultimate — 250GB.

All Salesforce editions come with 1GB of data storage and 11GB for documents. The formula is displayed based on the number of clients. For example, Salesforce Enterprise Edition offers 20MB of data storage plus 612MB of document storage for users.

Apps & Integrations

Salesforce can integrate itself with all popular line-of-business apps and native apps from the AppExchange. This makes it easier for companies that already use these platforms to migrate to Salesforce.

SugarCRM runs on Microsoft Outlook and has a teamwork mobile app. The SugarCRM marketplace SugarExchange offers very few solutions for technology partners and Sugar Enterprise will fail to meet the needs of customers looking for a robust ecosystem of self-service CRM apps. And at this point, Salesforce is better than SugarCRM.

Salesforce vs. SugarCRM vs. Microsoft Dynamics - Find Your Best Alternative

Of course, SugarCRM and Salesforce aren't the only options for adaptable CRM software.

Microsoft Dynamics is almost as good, but its combination with Office 365 and Azure brings out its full benefits. Plus Dynamics 365 is not only CRM but also ERP, which Salesforce is only striving for. Microsoft Dynamics is planning to bring a new class of AI solutions - Power Virtual Agents, Microsoft Bot, and Azure Cognitive Services, with the startup and Adobe. So, in the field of AI, both Microsoft and Sugar are far behind Salesforce.

Salesforce solutions, their impact on the market, and the vision of transforming customer service are not unmatched by other suppliers in this market. It's criticized only for inflated prices, a tie-in to the supplier after integration, and architectural differences between Salesforce clouds.

SugarCRM is the optimal solution for small to medium-sized firms looking for a CRM without a complicated interface at an affordable price. But SugarCRM lacks the advanced features and extensive app ecosystem that Salesforce offers.

CRM customer engagement


Zoho vs. Salesforce vs. SugarCRM: The essentials in brief

We've created a short SugarCRM vs. Salesforce vs. Zoho benchmark to help you choose the software that best suits your business needs. But your task is to articulate exactly what your CRM should do and how much money, time, and effort you will need to invest in its implementation.

Zoho is seamlessly supported and linked to the bundle and other Google products. You can access Zoho CRM from your Gmail account. Zoho Desk can also be contextually integrated with Zoho CRM, Creator, Forms, and Analytics, as well as Atlassian Jira and Microsoft Teams, Trello, and Slack. However, there are some doubts concerning Zoho's privacy management capabilities.

If you have a small business or startup and do not have complex marketing automation, we recommend you choose Zoho.

If you don't need advanced lead-tracking capabilities offered by other platforms and require more serious customization, consider using SugarCRM.

But if you have a growing business or a mid-large cap company, consider Salesforce. It is a powerful platform, and none of the competitors have yet come close to matching its capabilities. No wonder its solutions cover 80% of the market.


Salesforce is a recognizable brand with a loyal user base that has built its reputation by exploring new areas and expanding this tool. In this sense, the disadvantages of SugarCRM seem obvious. But if in the assessment process the limitations and costs of the company are taken into account, then in aggregate these two CRMs are not inferior to each other. The rivalry between SugarCRM and Salesforce continues and, fortunately, users will remain the winners.


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Written by

Dmitriy Ogol

Experience in various CRM systems as Zoho, SugarCRM, Hubspot and Pipedrive helped to reach the right expertise level in the CRM systems, which, consequently, lead to significant Salesforce potential. So now, Dmitriy helps to create various solutions on the Salesforce platform.
Starting from 2008, Dmitriy helps in the development of CRM solutions for such industries as Real Estate, Marketing, Insurance and Healthcare.

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