SugarCRM vs Salesforce: Which CRM Software Is Better?

Salesforce and SugarCRM are two of the most popular customer relationship management (CRM) software options. Both get four out of five stars when reviewed by TechnologyAdvice users. But when it comes to SugarCRM vs Salesforce, which is better, in which circumstances, and for which type of user?

What Is Salesforce?

salesforce logo

As the most popular CRM app around, Salesforce boasts more than 150,000 companies in its client roster. It is a cloud platform that can be tailored to customers’ needs, as well as tailored to specific industries.

Salesforce Customer 360 brings sales, service, marketing, commerce, and beyond into a single, shared view of the customer. This integrated CRM platform, powered by AI, enables employees to work together to build relationships and deliver personalized experiences.

Salesforce is happy to provide customer platforms for large and small organizations alike. It can run in the cloud, on mobile devices, on social media, and it even supports voice. Moreover, it can help businesses accelerate sales, automate tasks, and make more informed decisions.

Read more on SoftwarePundit: Salesforce Review, Pricing & Features

What Is SugarCRM?

SugarCRM logo

Back in the early 2000s, Salesforce captured the attention of the world with its updated approach to traditional on-premises client/server CRM platforms (offered by the likes of Oracle, Peoplesoft, and SAP). SugarCRM has since emerged as one of the leading Salesforce alternatives.

SugarCRM serves businesses of all sizes and focuses on ease of use and rapid support response. The platform offers access to a unified contact database, customer journey overviews, G Suite syncing, and workflow automation. Further, it provides the ability to identify and track leads; organize contact databases; and add a consistent brand experience across marketing, sales, and the customer experience as a whole. Customers include Tyson Foods, AGFA, and Audio Visual Design Group.

Read more on TechnologyAdvice: Best CRM Software and Tools for 2022

What’s the Difference Between Salesforce and SugarCRM?

There are many ways in which Salesforce and SugarCRM are similar. But let’s try to differentiate them by going over how each vendor approaches the essential CRM feature set.


Pricing for Salesforce starts at $25 per user, per month for sales functionality. The overall model seems to start inexpensively for basic functions, but the price tag mounts as more features and modules are added. However, a common user complaint is that it’s hard to gauge how Salesforce pricing will pan out for a given company as its needs change.

Other plans include:

  • Professional starts at $75 per user, per month
  • Enterprise starts at $150 per user, per month
  • Unlimited starts at $300 per user, per month

Our best advice is to do a deep dive into pricing in Salesforce to see how it works out for your specific organization.

SugarCRM pricing goes as such:

  • Sugar Professional starts at $52 per user, per month with a 3-user minimum
  • Sugar Enterprise starts at $85 per user, per month with a 3-user minimum
  • Sugar Serve starts at $80 per user, per month with a 3-user minimum
  • Sugar Sell starts at $80 per user, per month with a 3-user minimum
  • Sugar Market starts at $1,000 per month for unlimited users and up to 10,000 contacts

At first glance, it appears SugarCRM is cheaper, but it is difficult to compare the platforms and determine what you are getting for your money. Again, the best advice is to find out how SugarCRM pricing works for your specific needs.

Contact Management

SugarCRM does very well in sharing and organizing its data. It makes migration from another contact database easy via an API. SugarCRM also offers an intuitive GUI that makes finding information easy by linking relevant data points together for context. Users can connect their email account to SugarCRM to send emails without having to leave the system. Further, users praise SugarCRM for making contact management easy and fast.

In contrast, The contact management tool offered by Salesforce lets users store and organize contact information, manage tasks, and identify potential deals. Salesforce stores communication and activity history with contacts, and social listening lets users find contacts on social media. It also offers opportunity management and lead management, which can score leads and assign them to the right team members.

Read more: 5 Types of CRM Software — What’s Right for You?

User Experience

The design of SugarCRM facilitates open communication and collaboration between marketing, sales, and customer experience teams. SugarCRM offers well regarded community, phone, email, and chat support. Along the same lines, SugarCRM eases the pain of manual data entry through Hint, an embedded tool that pulls information on contacts found in SugarCRM’s own contact database — in addition to scraping popular social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

On the downside, small companies may struggle to get the most out of the SugarCRM platform if they lack in-house developers that can work with the vendor and its open-source community to adopt the solution to their needs.

For its part, Salesforce gets high marks for its user interface, easy availability of features, and ease of customization. Salesforce also wins when it comes to breadth of features and access to real-time customer information in one place. Sales Cloud, the standard CRM offering from Salesforce, can be used to manage leads and contacts, sales opportunities, and workflow rules and automation. In addition, it offers forecasting.

Salesforce recently enhanced the user experience by making Slack core to the product and customer experience. All aspects of Customer 360 are available in a Slack-first format, helping every department and industry improve collaboration across organizational boundaries.


SugarCRM generally gets slightly higher marks than Salesforce on support. SugarCRM support personnel are easier to reach on the phone. Comparatively, Salesforce has layers of automation and voice prompts that slow the vendor’s responsiveness. The company tries to make up for that with plenty of self-help options, as well as training and certification from Salesforce University.


Salesforce offers many of its analytics capabilities through Sales Cloud, which includes features like marketing tools, a mobile app, a data cleaning tool, and Einstein for analytics. Einstein is an AI feature that provides predictive analytics, natural language processing capabilities, and machine learning.

Salesforce uses analytics for such things as:

  • Streamlining and targeting customer actions and decisions
  • Engaging customers with the most relevant digital marketing content and actions
  • Selling smarter and growing the business faster by launching and scaling e-commerce built around the customer
  • Providing better customer service
  • Bringing about more rapid digital transformation

In comparison, SugarCRM’s SugarPredict AI engine drives business predictability and performance by:

  • Continually analyzing customer data
  • Comparing it to a store of secure data sources
  • Providing AI-driven predictions about sales, marketing, customer service, and the next-best action

Einstein may be larger and more encompassing, but SugarPredict does well on immediate AI time-to-value.

Read more: How to Create a CRM Strategy (Step-by-Step Guide)

Partners and Integrations

Salesforce has been working hard on its partner ecosystem to make it easier to integrate with other popular business apps. The Salesforce AppExchange includes many applications in areas such as ERP, BI, office productivity, collaboration, and general cloud services.

SugarCRM also supports a wide variety of integrations. The company uses easy integration with third-party software to compete with the immense feature set of Salesforce. Instead of paying more for advanced CRM functionality for things like calendaring, for example, it is possible to integrate SugarCRM with Google Calendar, Outlook, or another calendar application.

SugarCRM vs Salesforce: Who Is the Ideal User?

Salesforce is most popular for very large organizations handling large amounts of data, which can slow down loading times on SugarCRM. Salesforce also comes out ahead in terms of AI sophistication, again making it an ideal choice for enterprise customers and companies that make heavy use of analytics.

The basic functions of Salesforce Essentials will be enough for many SMBs. However, the ideal user for Salesforce would probably encompass one of these categories:

  • Large organizations that need the scalability and customization capabilities on offer
  • Any organization with a laser focus on sales and marketing analytics

The ideal user for SugarCRM, conversely, would be:

  • Midsize enterprises that are looking for an easy-to-deploy and easy-to-use cloud CRM solution
  • Those wanting a CRM with some bells and whistles, but needing the core CRM functionality at a reasonable cost

Read next: Microsoft Dynamics vs Salesforce — Who Is Better?

Drew Robb
Drew Robb
Drew Robb has been writing about IT and engineering for more than 25 years. Originally from Scotland, he now lives in Florida.

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