In terms of customer relationship management (CRM) software, SugarCRM is arguably the most well-known brand, only being surpassed by Editors’ Choice winner Salesforce Sales Cloud Lightning Professional. Its 2004 premiere makes it one of the oldest, in large part.

Like Salesforce, SugarCRM is transitioning from a simple CRM to an all-encompassing platform for customer engagement that addresses features for marketing and customer support in addition to sales. On the negative side, SugarCRM is nearly as complicated to use and nearly as expensive as Salesforce, despite having features that aren’t quite as deep at the very high end (but they’re close).

SugarCRM stands out for being very customizable. SugarCRM is the most developer-oriented CRM we’ve studied thus far, with roots as an open-source project. With this CRM, developers are given facilities for changing each module, report, and portal in addition to an API.

Complexity is the compromise. SugarCRM is not an instant-access CRM. If you’re looking for something compact and straightforward, one of our CRMs with a stronger focus on small businesses, like Insightly, or a brand even smaller, like Salesflare, might be a much better choice.

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1 (Credit: PCMag) VIEWS OF SUGARCRM’S LIST SugarCRM exposes the majority of its original portals as lists, including Accounts, Contacts, Opportunities, and Leads, staying true to its developer-centric roots. These listings can be changed using filters. While there are pre-built filters (such as My Contacts versus All Contacts, for example), you can also create your own by combining filters using the drop-down boxes at the top of the list. You can save these views for subsequent use and the list will automatically adapt as needed. Individual rows can also have text emphasis or color coding added.

SugarCRM has added frozen initial columns, header rows, and pagination to these lists to make them more resemble spreadsheets. It is now much simpler to navigate through lengthy lists, but given how list-loving the software has always been, it is somewhat strange that these features weren’t available from the beginning.

A user-definable dashboard box is also present in list views on the right. You can keep it blank or create a connected dashboard that will dynamically update information for you without requiring you to search through the list. Consequently, you may, for instance, set up the right-side dashboard field to include graphical dashboards for “Leads by Likelihood to Convert” and “Leads by Lead Source.” That may be “Currently Open Deals,” “Deals About to Close,” and so forth for Opportunities.

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3 (Credit: PCMag) You can add the Product Catalog dashlet to your Opportunities module once the product catalog has been setup. This enables you to check the product’s description (or, if it’s a service, a picture or a detailed overview) to be sure it’s the appropriate one. You can also view a list and choose the item you want from it. That is slightly superior to several of our outside-the-box contenders, which just provide a list. If your user role has the necessary rights, you can also alter the product data in the dashlet, and any changes you make will be visible to other users. To prevent their team from unintentionally attaching an outdated product to a record, a manager might, for instance, delete an outdated product.

Your Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive accounts are integrated and synced using the new Sugar Cloud Drive dashlet. Inside SugarCRM, your cloud storage service will be visible, and you can upload, download, or arrange files there. You can manipulate or edit a file directly in the UI by downloading it, copying a link, or converting it into a Sugar Document.

Dashlets are useful, so you’re right to think that. Just keep in mind that users will only have access to the dashlets that are provided to them, with the exception of individual dashboards. You should hire a developer if you want a personalized dashlet that contains more information than just standard reporting data.

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5 (Credit: PCMag) You can get all the contact details, a health indicator, a pipeline view of the account for each open deal, and even a Google Maps-style representation of the location by drilling into a record for a deeper perspective. You can also include the Sugar Hint option, which uses your basic account or contact information to search third-party, external data, such deeper company data and public social network information, to further elucidate your record. Although this functionality is not exclusive to SugarCRM, it can be helpful if you need more in-depth data for marketing as well as sales-related objectives.

Your developer and administrator decide what you see in any of these modules. They will need to arrange these options according to roles and team permissions as well as modules. That indicates a large number of potential variables, thus the more customisation you undertake, the more programming and testing time you’ll need to implement it.

ASSESSMENT, PROJECTION, AND REPORTING The same fundamental tools are available in all of our competitors when you dip your toe into reporting. On a deeper level, SugarCRM is far more complex. When you select the Reports module, a standard spreadsheet-style list view of all your accessible reports appears along with some basic details like the type of report, when it was last run, and who owns it. On the right side of the Reports page, you may create dashboard-style views of your favorite reports. These views refresh automatically and provide a rapid, graphical snapshot of the data you need most frequently.

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7 (Source: PCMag) Your sales representatives and teams will be able to estimate success and revenue projections when the engine has had some time to process your findings. As a result, team leaders and individual sales representatives can set objectives knowing that SugarCRM can forecast the possibility of success. It operates on a commitments-to-results basis but considers history when estimating the likelihood of success or failure. If you include external data during setup, it can also take that into consideration, for example, general industry trends.

GETTING SUGARCRM HOW TO The product’s new pricing nomenclature shouldn’t be confusing. Like the majority of its rivals, SugarCRM has developed from a simple CRM program to a platform with tools for marketing and customer care. Through a single pane of glass, you can pool and process the data from all your different client touchpoints that are covered by that umbrella.

When it comes time to purchase SugarCRM, you will be given the option of Market, Sell, Service, or Enterprise. We’ve included some of the more advanced Enterprise features in the Sell module for testing. Although you’ll access them through the same UI if you purchase them, Marketing and Serve are SugarCRM’s digital marketing and help desk packages, which is why they’re priced separately. Each of these four platforms has its own set of price tiers.

That translates into Sell Essentials, Sell Advanced, and Sell Premier for Sugar Sell. For teams with up to five users, Essentials offers all the essential CRM capabilities (as well as team management and business process features). Each user on this tier pays $49 per month.

The cost of Sell Advanced increases to $80 per user each month, but it now includes an AI analytics layer and better customization and third-party integration options. The tier we tried, Sell Premier, goes up to $135 per user per month. It incorporates the advanced forecasting tools mentioned above, geo-mapping, and Hint.

SugarCRM is among the priciest CRMs we examined when compared to the competition, but it is also the most feature-rich outside of our Editors’ Choice winners, which include Apptivo CRM, Salesforce, and Zoho CRM. Out of those three candidates, it also possibly has the strongest integration between its CRM, marketing, and service desk modules, though you’ll need to use a lot of programming power to make that happen. While Zoho won’t incorporate those capabilities quite as well, it also won’t cost developers any money.

With its lowest tier costing just $14 per user per month and its Ultimate tier only rising to $52 per user per month, Zoho CRM outperforms SugarCRM in terms of affordability. The Salesforce comparison is preferable. The tier that is closest to Sell Premier costs $150 per user per month, despite the fact that its entry-level plan starts at $25 per user per month. The initial monthly fee for the Salesforce Unlimited tier is $300 per user.

COMPLEX, PRICEY, AND OUTSTANDING Customers who want to get the most out of their CRM should use SugarCRM. That entails investing not only a hefty price tag but also a sizable amount of implementation time (as well as development and business process talent that may cost extra).

SugarCRM is definitely not for you if you’re looking for a “quick-fix” CRM geared toward a smaller firm that simply needs CRM capabilities fast. If you want to make the most of this robust platform, you’ll need to invest money and time in it. This is a traditional CRM, thus in order to get the most out of your investment in SugarCRM, you’ll need to commit some time and find a reliable programming resource, though Sugar can assist with this at higher support levels. That time will be used to thoroughly comprehend the work that your salespeople do, the processes that your company supports, and the mapping and customization of SugarCRM’s features to make them more useful. Planning, creating, and testing will take time. And certainly, that implies that it will likely cost more than what is included in the base pricing tiers as well.

However, SugarCRM is a great alternative to Salesforce or Zoho if you’re looking to make a long-term commitment to a CRM that’s frequently updated with cutting-edge features and you’re ready to overcome those initial obstacles.

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excellent tools for developers to customize See More Negatives Complex enough for novice users to experience a sizable learning curve Unattractive list-based UI Extremely pricey, especially at higher price points the conclusion Although sophisticated and pricey, SugarCRM is one of the CRMs we reviewed with the most features. SugarCRM might be a good choice if you’re seeking for a long-term CRM commitment and you’re ready to make some big installation sacrifices to get there.

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