SugarCRM vs Salesforce – Which Is the CRM for You?

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SugarCRM VS Salesforce 1 1

Customers are the single most valuable asset of any business, making customer relationship management a vital part of the marketing strategies of various businesses. The significance of customer relationship management has, hence, made CRM as one of the most talked about software in the business industry, since CRM software acts as a major aid during customer relationship management. But the presence of dozens of CRM software out there in the market makes the selection process very complex and intriguing.

If you’re trying to find a CRM system for your business, you’ve probably already heard of Salesforce. There’s no doubt that it is a major player, but is it the right choice for your business? Other players have also sprung up in the digital market. One of the major players in competition with Salesforce is Sugar by SugarCRM. Adoption of Sugar is on the rise since customers are finding great value in it. Choosing the right CRM is critical to your business success, hence giving rise to a SugarCRM vs Salesforce debate. Therefore, let’s just take a moment to think about this and start by taking some factors into consideration which tend to affect the choice of CRM for businesses.

User Experience

Since its inception, Salesforce has become the industry standard. Companies looking for a reliable CRM solution without any bells and whistles would immediately go for it. However, all is not sunshine and daisies with Salesforce. There are hidden costs, complexities, and lack of control associated with Salesforce. Moreover, as Salesforce is built on a closed source platform, users have very little say in the deployment and management of the system.

Unlike Salesforce, however, Sugar’s open source architecture has more room for creativity and customization. It is equipped to be more responsive to the actual needs and requirements of different businesses. It allows companies to easily integrate their customer-facing business processes in order to build more profitable relationships. For example, Sugar aligns your sales and marketing teams to deliver a consistent message throughout the entire customer journey. Furthermore, along with the ability to modify your CRM according to your own needs, it offers multiple choices with regards to deployment, hosting, and enhancement – allowing more control to the customers. As a result, companies enjoy more variations and options that come with Sugar.


SugarCRM customization and integrations lead to robust business growth. Every element of Sugar is available for code-level inspection by a developer and can be augmented and replaced as deemed necessary for your organization. Therefore, Sugar brings far more value and control to the business as compared to Salesforce.

However, that is not to say that Salesforce is extremely rigid, offering little to no customization. Salesforce can be configured to align with the business processes of the implementing organization. Furthermore, Salesforce offers a number of cloud solutions that cater to the needs of businesses belonging to various industry verticals, hence, increasing the functionality of the CRM. Although these cloud solutions do, at most times, tend to solve business problems, however, they still do not offer the customize-ability nor the flexible integrate-ability of open-source CRMs such as Sugar.


The Sugar platform is designed to help businesses manage the entire customer life cycle. Each sales representative can access system information (accounts, tasks, products, etc.) through a personalized homepage available online, on-premise, or via native mobile apps. As is customary, contact and account management is at the core, supported by lead routing, quote management, forecasting, and other features.

The Salesforce Sales Cloud is built around contact and opportunity management. It’s designed to help salespeople stay productive from any device, whether it’s a laptop, a smartphone, or even a smartwatch. Your team can collaborate on projects, topics, and sales opportunities through a central news feed and an enterprise social network via Salesforce Chatter.


If you’re looking for the best CRM software with out-of-the-box marketing tools, SugarCRM is a clear choice. All three Sugar editions provide a complete range of features for marketing teams, including drip campaigns, lead routing, web forms, a landing page builder, email marketing, newsletters, and campaign dashboards. Although you may not get some of the advanced capabilities of a dedicated platform, there are more than enough marketing automation tools in Sugar.

Beyond lead management, most of Salesforce’s marketing tools are available through various applications in the Marketing Cloud (ExactTarget, Social Studio,, and Pardot). That means you’ll have to pay extra, but it also means you’ll get some very powerful features like social listening, predictive intelligence, lead scoring, and ROI reporting. For full-scale marketing automation, the built-in features in SugarCRM can’t compete with ExactTarget and Pardot.

Apps & Integrations

Sugar manages a third party applications site, which is called the Sugar Exchange. Sugar Exchange is a marketplace where Sugar users can download applications that provide additional functionality. Certified listings undergo a 90-point certification checklist. There are approximately thirty certified listings on Sugar Exchange and many other applications listed. Applications can be browsed by category, by edition (Enterprise, Professional, Community) or by Sugar version.

Salesforce also has its own third-party applications site, the AppExchange. There are over one thousand applications listed on AppExchange. All applications must be certified and pass a periodic security check. All AppExchange applications are installed with the same series of clicks. Some of the applications are free and some are paid. Not all applications are compatible with all editions of Salesforce. For example, many applications require Professional Edition or higher.

Data Storage

SugarCRM Professional Edition starts you off with 15GB of storage space which can be used for either data or documents. SugarCRM provides 30GB in the Corporate Edition and 60GB in the Enterprise edition while Sugar Ultimate comes with 250GB.

Salesforce starts off with 1GB of data storage and 11GB of document storage in all of their editions. They then have a formula for allocated data and document storage based on the number of users subscribed to the account. For example, in the Salesforce Enterprise Edition, the formula is 20MB of data storage plus 612MB of document storage per user.

Online Support Options

With SugarCRM, a support portal that houses community forums, live online classes, webinars, a developer blog, and certificate programs are included in the subscription fee for all packages. Advanced live online training classes can be purchased.

With Salesforce, a help website, knowledge base and community are included in the subscription fee. Content for improving user adoption, productivity and access to a dedicated success representative can be purchased.


One major consideration to be made when choosing either of the two, SugarCRM or Salesforce, is that of the prices charged for both the CRMs. Both SugarCRM and Salesforce follow the typical paid licensing model: you get more features as you move up to the more expensive editions. Salesforce Editions range from a basic Contact Manager program that only costs $5 per user per month, to an unlimited program that for $300 per user per month. Salesforce Sales Cloud, however, needs two additional apps; Service Cloud and ExactTarget Marketing Cloud to supplement its rudimentary support and marketing features. Salesforce also offers CRM for Nonprofits

SugarCRM Subscriptions include Sugar Professional ($35 per user per month), Enterprise ($60) and Ultimate ($150).

Deployment Methods

For some of the people having a hard time making the decision of SugarCRM vs Salesforce, the deployment methods of both the CRM offered might just hold the answer. Salesforce and Sugar differ in deployment in that Salesforce is deployed in a single-tenant fashion (where everyone uses one URL), while SugarCRM is a multi-tenant architecture, meaning everyone gets their own URL to log into. There’s no real advantage to this, but because Sugar is multi-tenant, it can be deployed on an individual basis, and thus can be deployed on-premise. Salesforce can only be hosted in a single-tenant cloud, making it impossible to ever own the software yourself.

Bottom Line

Salesforce and SugarCRM are both excellent choices, making it very hard to find a solution for the SugarCRM vs Salesforce debate. However, even though Sugar entered the market five years after Salesforce, it has still managed to carve a place for itself in the market and gain immense popularity and recognition. Moroever, if you are considering other CRM software for business, SugarCRM is the best one out there.  If you’d like more information on either of the products, you can schedule a FREE Business Analysis Session with us at Rolustech. Our CRM experts can help you decide which solution is best for your needs.

In its decade long journey, Rolustech has helped more than 700 firms across the globe in successfully implementing CRM solutions including SugarCRM and Salesforce. Rolustech holds immense experience in SugarCRM Integration, Customization and Support while it is also capable of Salesforce Implementation, Migration and Training.