It is time to finally compare two popular open-source CRM systems: SugarCRM against the mighty Salesforce.com. Which CRM is better? Which one is more affordable? What tools and features are superior in either Salesforce CRM or SugarCRM? Let’s find out.
The ultimate difference between SugarCRM and Salesforce.com often comes down to one perception: Salesforce CRM is better for large enterprises thanks to its sophisticated sales force automations, while SugarCRM is a good startup and small business platform.
However, this might no longer be the case, as the rest of this article will explain.
SugarCRM offers its customers the option to subscribe to various tiers of customer support packages (in some cases they are formerly called Sugar Ultimate but not really anymore). For example, the standard support is 12 hours a day, 5 days a week, while enhanced support is also 12/5 but with live chat support and phone queuing priority. The best support is globally 24/7, you get priority case routing and a dedicated senior support team.
Salesforce customer service also gives you choices. The standard support included in all plans is mostly self-service, and you can submit support issues online. Paid support plans include 24/7 support through online submissions and telephone service, coaching and account management.
With SugarCRM, you get slightly better customer service included as part of the standard package with whatever plan you subscribe to, and therefore, we say that SugarCRM has the better customer support.
Salesforce offers all of its users access to a variety of self service options. They are called the Salesforce Success Center, and include Trailhead, Trailblazer Community, and other customer success events. The Success Center has many FAQs, guides, tutorials and other useful resources.
SugarCRM has something they call the Sugar Club for their users. This also acts as a sort of knowledge base full of information and tutorials. You can communicate with other Sugar subscribers to exchange questions and tips, and even participate in Q&As with product developers.
After spending a good deal of time with both of these knowledge base and other self service features for both SugarCRM and Salesforce, it has been determined that it is easier and more efficient to find the answers you are looking for with the Salesforce system, though this is not to say that Sugar’s learning tools are ineffective, because they are.
When it comes to being user friendly, it is obvious that the people behind both SugarCRM and Salesforce have taken this factor very seriously when designing their platform and various tools. However, it is simply not possible that every single feature can be instantaneously learned and easy as pie to use. The more tools, and the more advanced they become, it is natural for the ease of use factor to slide.
That being said, here is a quick rundown of the ease of use rating. SugarCRM will definitely appear simpler when you first get started, and as you go on, the level of difficulty can be hard to remark. Salesforce, on the other hand, might seem like it requires a bit more effort to learn and master, but once you do, you could find yourself feeling like a natural pro once you get to the more advanced stuff.
We know ties can be frustrating when all you want are straight answers. However, it is just not possible to give the number spot for user friendliness to either SugarCRM or Salesforce, as both are relatively easy, but will also have their difficult moments. It all depends on the user.
Now that the broad strokes are out of the way, it is time to turn to the specific tools of each system and see who does better in each category.
Marketing is often considered the first step in the three-part system of: marketing, sales and support. Both SugarCRM’s Sugar Market and Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud offer many of the basic tools, including marketing automation workflows, email marketing, templates, audience segmentation, and analytics on marketing campaigns.
SugarCRM’s marketing campaign builder is really easy and fun to use, and you can create amazing email marketing ads or other marketing templates. There is good multi-channel marketing automation, and solid interactive marketing dashboards to get feedback and review your ROI. Salesforce can do a lot of this too, but its marketing tools like Pardot, the B2B engagement tool, are sold in separate products like a data platform or an audience engagement platform, and for this reason, SugarCRM wins.
Contact management deals with every individual name, contact, customer or client in your CRM’s network database. Common tools include detailed customer profiles, full communication and engagement histories with each contact, and tools to pull more data off social media to keep your records up to date in real-time, like when someone updates their job or company on LinkedIn.
Again, both SugarCRM and Salesforce will be great tools for contact management. Salesforce wins this time because it provides amazing holistic and detailed views of your contacts, has an excellent social media data collector, and makes it easy to collaborate with sales team members in dealing with contacts. Sugar Sell’s contact management does get you great 360 degree contact information views.
After the work of marketing is done, you hope that your efforts have produced some new leads. Leads are contacts, or potential contacts, which have engaged with your marketing or sales team, but are still primed to travel down the sales life cycle to become actual paying customers.
Once again, Salesforce wins the lead management category in our comparison review article. New leads in Salesforce can be automatically routed to the best sales rep to increase the chances the lead will become an active opportunity, and you get good lead scoring. Salesforce’s lead management also feeds data back to your marketing analytics. SugarCRM’s lead management does the trick, however, when it comes to prepping leads for the sales journey.
If a lead has taken the first bite and has shown some interest in becoming a paying customer for your goods or services, that lead has become an active opportunity. It means they have entered the sales pipeline, and now it is a matter of tracking them, keeping them engaged, watching out for the drop-out points in your sales experience, and converting them to loyal customers.
It should be no surprise that when it comes to contact, lead and sales opportunity management, we have the same winner for all three, as these modules follow one from the other in an almost linear or sequential fashion. So Salesforce is the winner once again. However, SugarCRM’s tools for opportunity management are no weak sauce.
In business, everything is money. Time is money, but also, information is money, because with the right information, you can not only understand the past, but work more effectively in the future. For example, with solid marketing or sales forecasting, you will plan more accurate marketing campaigns with higher ROIs. Both Salesforce and SugarCRM offer comprehensive sales pipeline forecasting features.
SugarCRM analyzes the activity in your pipeline and can then provide decent forecasting on metrics like likelihood to buy, likelihood to drop out, as well gauge the seriousness of seller commitments. Salesforce’s pipeline forecasting also leverages real-time data and has customizable KPIs. In the end, however, SugarCRM’s various forecasting tools edge out Salesforce in this category, though you will not find Salesforce too lacking.