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Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM) Review

Last updated: January 2, 2021

Zoho-review

Mike Markus
He is a CRM software enthusiast/analyst and the co-founder of CRMAdvice.org. He studied MC-IT Course from Melbourne University.

Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM) is a cloud based or on-premise solution for handling marketing automation, sales automation, account management, and general customer relationship management (CRM) needs.

After testing and reviewing all CRMs on our best CRM ranking list Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM) is best for customers who are seeking the most complex end-to-end customer processes simple to manage.

SugarCRM-first-page

The high number of current Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM) users are from industries such as financial services, insurance, wealth management, commercial banking, energy, pharmaceutical, and manufacturing.

The pricing of their service is less expensive compared to Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365, and I can say that Sugar Sell has many more features for the price.

All in all, it’s a very good premium CRM service, but rather complicated for small businesses on a budget.

Let’s dive into this Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM) review to see if Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM) really is the next-level and #1 rated sales CRM solution (as they say on their website) in our CRM ranking too.

SUGAR CRM Overview

Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM) Pros:

1. Dashboard and Timeline Viewer
2. Accounts, Contacts, Leads
3. Opportunities
4. Mobile CRM Functionality
5. Forecasting
6. Reports
7. Integrations

Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM) Cons:

1. Functions You Won’t Use
2. Good Old Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM) Free Version Goes Away

What is The Difference Between Cloud-based & On-premise CRM?
Cloud-based Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM) Pricing
Do I Recommend Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM)?
The Bottom Line

NEW USER EXPERIENCE: I wish the onboarding were easier for small businesses. You need a tech-savvy person to set it up.
USABILITY: User interface (UI) is far from being user friendly
CAMPAIGN BUILDER: Handle and create various campaigns for anyone – plus get a complete picture of them very easily
MARKETING AUTOMATION: Automation capabilities – definitely their strength and has a lot of potential here
EMAIL CONNECTION: Integrates with any email provider
EMAIL TEMPLATES AND EDITOR: They give you a list of main templates, and you can create your own for different purposes
COMMUNITY: They have a community forum
where you can learn and get help
REPORTS: A great feature where you can gather data from various models (accounts, contacts, calls, etc) to generate information for your organization
SUPPORT: 24/7 – if you allow it, they can get into your software and help you with what you are struggling with

Sugar University has tons of information, although it takes time to go through the long technical user guides and documents they’ve created.

MONTHLY RATES: $52-$1000 per user per month (billed annually + the minimal number of users is 10);
No monthly payment option!
TRIAL: 7-day free trial
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: www.SugarCRM.com

Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM) Pros

1. Dashboard and Timeline Viewer

The first thing you see when you open Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM) is your personalized dashboard, so you can start managing all your organizational responsibilities.

SugarCRM-Dashboard

You can start analyzing opportunities and quotes portfolios from different viewpoints. Diagrams like pipeline or forecast, report diagrams, and filtered list views help to see the current state of sales.

What else?

  • You can monitor the volume of monthly qualified leads entering your sales process
  • Set reminders to keep the pipeline up to date and make sure you don’t forget opportunities
  • Having a live Twitter feed in front of you to see all the communications going on

When you want to make your sales management work even more effectively, try using it with Timeline Viewer – a third-party Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM) add-on. It collects and manages significant changes in your data.

Saves you tons of time by turning raw data into powerful insight feeds that are easy to read. These are just a couple of benefits of using it.

SugarCRM-Timeline-Viewer

Note: The Timeline Viewer tool costs $9 per user per month, but it’s worth every cent as it saves you tons of time.

Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM) allows you to create different custom dashboards.

For example, this customer support dashboard below gives you more details about support activity such as new daily/monthly cases; cases by product; open cases by user with a status (New case, Case in Work, Case Closed, etc); cases by problems.

SugarCRM-dashboard

2. Accounts, Contacts, Leads

Firstly, what is the difference between accounts, contacts, and leads?

Sugar-contact-lead

Basically, if accounts are companies, then contacts are people working for those companies. Leads are companies and accounts that are not yet interacting with your company; you haven’t done business with them yet.

One of the main purposes of SugarCRM is to serve as a place to store all your accounts, contacts, and leads.

You have an All Activity Stream list view there which displays all posts for records being followed in the current module as well as user posts created.

SugarCRM-all-activity-stream

You can quickly add, edit, and search for various accounts, contacts, leads in your database.

These features give you all the crucial information about your accounts customers right when you need it.

The same with leads.

SugarCRM-leads

You can open Judy’s profile, dig deeper, and pull up a whole different view of her record.

A lot more information can be seen, for example that you acquired her from the Monthly Customer Newsletter.

SugarCRM-campaigns

Again, these SugarCRM tools give you an overview of all the interactions you had in the past: notes, quotes, cases with all support tickets, attachments, documents, PDFs, emails.

Past-interactions

3. Opportunities

What I like about the Opportunities feature is the simplicity.

You have an overview of all the projects you have in the pipeline, tracking individual sales from start to finish.

Then you have bar charts and graphs where you have different phases and so can see how many deals you have at each stage.

All this is important information, which helps predict revenue for upcoming months and quarters.

The closer to Proposal/Price Quote (Won or Lost) you get, the fewer people/leads you’ll have there, which is kind of logical.

SugarCRM-opportunites

Taking the probability of the job getting signed up goes up as you change sales stage. So the CRM knows as the lead gets further down the stage, the probability will change.

SugarCRM-sales-stages

This opportunity feature is convenient to have, as by updating any type of information on your leads profile it automatically updates everything throughout Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM).

4. Mobile CRM Functionality

Let’s say that you or your salespeople spend a lot of time on the road.

The SugarCRM mobile version gives you complete flexibility for Android and iOS, apps are easy to use, and the features are great.

When using Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM) on desktop and mobile devices, they ensure that all the workflows are always up to date.

I personally don’t understand how hard it is to download an app, although Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM) allows you to get all vital customer information from a mobile browser as well.

The downside is that when using Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM) both on mobile and desktop, the menus across both versions are inconsistent. They should be more homogenous.

As when you get used to one or the other, then switching between them could be a bit confusing.

SugarCRM-mobile-look

Note: Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM) support rep told me that the mobile application would automatically log both incoming and outgoing calls, but it only auto logs outgoing calls if you use the app to make the calls.

I hope they fix it asap so that you don’t have to manually log incoming calls.

5. Forecasting

New to sales forecasting? Simply put, companies of all sizes use sales forecasting to predict business performance such as sales and revenue figures for the next period (monthly, quarterly, yearly).

For example, pipeline forecast is not even based on the amount of opportunities in your sales funnel and their perceived value. It might be something as easy as an expected win rate, average days to close, or a simple multiple, such as a 2x goal.

Keep in mind when creating accurate forecasts that according to SiriusDecisions a good forecast is within 10% of the actual outcome of a quarter. An excellent forecast is within 5%.

I’ll show you how to create a proper Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM) forecast.

When setting up the forecasts, you have four steps:

  • Time periods
  • Ranges
  • Scenarios
  • and Worksheets columns.

SugarCRM-orecasts-view

Here I chose a yearly period.

Then choose future and past time periods, which will determine the number of visible subperiods in the Forecasts module. You’ll be able to view and edit the Forecast numbers in the visible subperiods.

Image of Time-periods
LACRM-tasks-teammates

Ranges are a way to club the probabilities to happen in the future (over a certain period of time).

Forecast-ranges

You can predict best, likely, and worst case scenarios with SugarCRM.

In addition, you can see in real time how you are performing against your quotas.

Real-time-scenarios

***The values in Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM)’s forecast dashlet are calculated based on the most recent updates from you.

6. Reports

With Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM)’s Reports module you can build, generate, and manage different reports for modules such as Accounts, Contacts, Calls, etc.

The first thing that Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM) will ask you is what type of report you want to create.

You have four types of reports available. They are:

  • Rows and columns report
  • Summation report
  • Summation reports with details
  • and Matrix report.

SugarCRM-reports

I will show you what they all look like and what you can do with those Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM) reports.

Rows and Columns

Their Rows and columns report is the most basic one where you can simply define filter to determine which records the report will include or exclude, and then you can choose the fields (Name, Email, Address), which you want to be displayed in the report result.

You’ll have tabular reports containing the values of the selected display fields.

Labels

Tabular-report

The Summation Report

This report groups and provides computed data for records that meet specific criteria.

You can choose a number of group-by columns to group the data in the report and define group-by data for related modules.

Expected-close-date

SugarCRM-summation-report

The Summation Report with Details

The difference from the Summation report is that it groups and summarizes data with detailed information related to the records in the report and you can group the report based on one or more fields from the target or related module.

For example, this report captures closed-won opportunities in 2016 grouped by month:

Display-column-fields

Sugar-closed-won-opportunities-2016

The Matrix Report

This report is used to display a grid of summaries for grouped data similar to a spreadsheet pivot table.

The numeric field values for all display summaries appear on the table along with the total amounts for each row and column.

The following Matrix report captures closed-won opportunities in 2016 grouped by assigned user and the month it was closed:

SugarCRM-assigned-user

7. Integrations

Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM) and its cloud-based integration platform provide built-in integrations to over 200 business applications.

The list of integrations they offer is long, for example for accounts you have Xero, Quickbooks, Avalara tax, and Sage.

The payment getaway list includes Stripe, PayPal, and Authorize.Net.

Social media platforms include LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

The list goes on and on. Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM) integrates with Google Apps: Gmail, Calendar, Maps, Drive, etc.

SugarCRM-Zapier-integration

It is good to know that it integrates well with Zapier so that you can get access to 2,000+ apps to automate your work.

Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM) Cons

1. Functions You Won’t Use

The thing with enterprise level CRM software solutions is that there often are too many difficult functions that a small or medium business won’t really use.

And for a small business owner it might be way too much.

Firstly, it’s simply because your business doesn’t need all those features.

Secondly, lack of education on the Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM) software.

Again, the potential Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM) has is tremendous, but it requires a lot of work and training to implement.

A less tech-savvy organization will encounter pushbacks as the features in general can be somewhat counterintuitive until you’re completely comfortable with them.

Ideally, you need a basic-intermediate level programmer to customize this software in house.

2. Good Old Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM) Free Version Goes Away

The free version 6.5 is still there. They let you self-host the platform so that you can keep your costs down, as you don’t need to pay for a hosted solution.

However, they released a notice saying that they “have no plans” to release Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM) Community Edition version 7.0 which means that it’s been discontinued.

LACRM-tasks-teammates

They no longer fix bugs, update security, and have new patches on their free plan.

Bear the following in mind before getting started with Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM) Community Edition:

  • Do it only when you have necessary tech skills!!!
  • Use it only when you work on a small scale
  • Managing marketing reports and campaigns are missing

Take into account that on the Community Edition plan you will not get responses to support requests – they don’t offer call center services.

You can customize Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM) Community Edition in several ways:

SugarCRM-Community-Edition

Note: If you don’t have a lot of experience using the typical CRM data modeling (means process of creating a data model for the data to be stored in the database), using Community Edition can be hard to figure out.

As a result, Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM) CE might not give you the best output.

If you want a CRM that is user friendly and free to use, check out our top ranking HubSpot CRM.

What is The Difference Between Cloud-based & On-premise CRM?

Sugar Enterprise and Sugar Professional plans are on-premise products meaning that with those plans you’re hosting CRM software on your company server where ‘cloud CRM’ or ‘on demand CRM’ is housed on the cloud.

On-premise CRM comes with open source code access, meaning that it can be customized in a way cloud CRM cannot. Some companies use on-premise CRM because they want to have total control over their data.

Note: For on-premise plans you need a tech-savvy person who will set them up.

The future (already present) is on a cloud though…

In 2020 more than 85 percent of CRMs are cloud hosts while 88 percent of CRMs lived on premise in 2008.

Sugar Professional (on-premise solution) most basic plan comes at $52 per user per month (customization included), although it requires a minimum of 10 users. So the annual price will be $6,240.

Cloud-based Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM) Pricing

Note: Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM) plans require a minimum of 10 users.

Want to read about CRMs for teams of 1-9? Head over to our best CRM list.

Their customer service CRM platform is Sugar Serve ($80/per user/month billed annually). This translates into the minimal annual price of $9,600.

The sales focused CRM is Sugar Sell ($80/per user/month billed annually). With a minimum of 10 users the annual price goes up to $9,600.

…and the marketing automation product Sugar Market (starting at $1,000/per user per month billed annually) comes with 10,000 contacts per month, where 10,000 additional contacts are extra $150/month.

Besides, Sugar Market can have unlimited users, unlimited emails and landing pages.

SugarCRM-Pricing

SugarCRM is at the higher end of the scale when it comes to pricing, particularly when compared to the marketing automation platform HubSpot CRM (has a free version with all the main features without a minimal number of users) or sales-focused Pipedrive CRM which charges less than triple the price of SugarCRM subscription. Plus both have monthly payment options.

Do I Recommend Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM)?

It depends…

Guys and girls from Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM) say that they are a one-size-fits-all CRM for businesses of all sizes.

On the other hand, Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM) position themselves as a main competitor to market-leading vendors such as Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365, which are enterprise level CRM solutions.

So if you are looking for an enterprise level solution, Sugar Sell (like most of its competitors on enterprise level CRM market) is very flexible and efficient at analyzing data.

Before you make a decision on which CRM will suit you best, here are our unbiased Salesforce CRM and Microsoft Dynamics 365 reviews.

If you are a small or medium business, go through our best CRM reviews ranking and you will find yourself a more new user friendly, easier to use, and cheaper CRM with free trials longer than 7 days.

The Bottom Line

I spent a lot of time using, researching, and testing Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM), and confidently recommend it to medium businesses. (Ideally have a couple of tech-savvy people on your team who can help with setup.)

It has all the different modules and complex features, plus a lot of flexibility in setting it up to fit your business.

Most importantly, it actually works as it claims to work.

What I liked about Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM):

  • The personalized dashboard gives a great overview
  • Easy to update and track individual sales in the Opportunity feature
  • The Forecasting feature helps you predict best, likely, worst case
  • The mobile app is (now) easy to use
  • Robust reports feature
  • 200+ business applications for cloud-based platform

What I don’t like about Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM):

  • Many functions a small business won’t use but still pay for
  • Free Sugar Sell (formerly SugarCRM) Community Edition is no longer updated
  • Can’t use if you have fewer than 10 users (Theoretically you can, but you’ll pay for 10)

Although SugarCRM has a lot to offer, its pricing is pretty high.

If you want a CRM that is only sales focused and budget friendlier (even if you have fewer than 10 users), check out Pipedrive CRM.

On the other hand, if you want a CRM that delivers similar features with no minimal user requirement and is cheaper, check out HubSpot CRM.

Our CRM Software Review Process:

  1. Using Each CRM Software for 5+ Years.
  2. Ran Businesses With All of Them.
  3. Attended their Events.
  4. Tested for Consulting Industry,
  5. Business or Life Coaching,
  6. Authors,
  7. Blogging,
  8. E-commerce,
  9. B2b Marketing & Sales,
  10. Offline Business,
  11. And for Pipeline Based Sales Model Business.
  12. Compared Usability, Cost & Value.