How does SugarCRM compare to Salesforce overall?

3.3 Salesforce vs. SugarCRM


In a nutshell

There are many different paths to be taken when deciding on a CRM system. There are not just one or two options, there are many more. We would like to introduce two important CRM systems to you at this point - we will weigh up the advantages and disadvantages as well as the differences for you in this article. But one thing is already certain: There is no general answer as to which CRM system is best for you. This always depends on the specific requirements of each individual company.

CRM systems in comparison - SugarCRM vs. Salesforce

If your customers are not satisfied, nobody is satisfied. This makes customer relationship management (CRM) systems a key component for the success of any company. This gives companies a central overview and a uniform database of all customer and customer interactions and, ultimately, the opportunity to optimize the purchasing and service results for their customers.

The CRM system market is growing steadily, whereby providers such as Salesforce, Microsoft and SAP have long emerged as leaders. In addition to the big names, there are also a number of other notable - comparatively smaller - providers. Today we would like to turn our attention to the CRM system SugarCRM and have compared the two systems Salesforce and SugarCRM as part of our comparison series for you (read here Salesforce vs. Microsoft Dynamics 365).

SugarCRM Brief Overview

The Salesforce alternative SugarCRM, which has been on the market since 2004, is a lesser-known CRM solution with a much smaller, albeit considerable, market share of 2% (compared to Salesforce as the top dog with 20%). SugarCRM and Salesforce both cover all core functionalities in the CRM area, but Salesforce offers a broader range of features overall. SugarCRM comprises four different products: Sugar Market (for marketing automation), Sugar Sell (for sales teams), Sugar Serve (for optimized customer service), and Sugar Discover (for data-driven insights). SugarCRM was originally developed as open source software. In 2019, however, the open source project was discontinued.

  • Larger range of features
  • Cloud deployment only
  • Greater range of out-of-the-box integrations
  • Largest B2B app store with over 5000 third-party solutions
  • Better adaptability and scalability
  • Well suited for businesses of all sizes
  • Overall a bit more expensive


  • Coverage of all core functionalities in the CRM area
  • Cloud and on-pemise deployment
  • Limited selection of out-of-the-box integrations
  • Small B2B app store with around 250 third-party solutions
  • Limited customizability and scalability
  • Well suited for small startups, public administrations or freelancers
  • Comparatively cheaper alternative


While SugarCRM is available as an on-premise and cloud solution, Salesforce is only available for the cloud.

While SugarCRM can be implemented both as an on-premise solution and as a cloud solution, Salesforce is only available as a SaaS solution in the cloud. However, since an on-premise deployment is usually associated with high costs, which are incurred for the in-house servers and the IT department that has to implement and maintain the software, this type of deployment is preferred by fewer and fewer companies ( Read here: 5 reasons for the cloud). For companies that still want to keep their data in-house, SugarCRM is a good choice between the two CRM systems.

Integrations - SugarCRM as well as Salesforce offer a wide selection of out-of-the-box integrations, whereby Salesforce has the advantage with its native support for SAP, Oracle and NetSuite.

One of the most important considerations when choosing a CRM system is how it can be linked to your existing application landscape. Because the right integrations are essential for cooperation between sales, marketing, support and other central corporate functions. A reliable CRM system should therefore be a central database that can be seamlessly integrated into any other application you use. SugarCRM as well as Salesforce offer a wide range of out-of-the-box integrations (Outlook, Gmail, etc.). However, Salesforce offers significantly more integrations and has the advantage above all with the native support for SAP, Oracle and NetSuite.

Ecosystem - Compared to Salesforce's AppExchange, the SugarCRM marketplace cannot keep up with its comparatively few solutions.

Probably the biggest advantage of Salesforce over all other CRM software providers is the gigantic ecosystem Salesforce called Appexchange. Appexchange is Salesforce's own B2B appstore, consisting of more than 5,000 third-party integrations / solutions that can be integrated into all Salesforce products. In this way, Salesforce offers companies the opportunity to expand their Salesforce solution in all industries and areas and thus solve any business challenges. For example, with the appexchange software, a solution can be connected to Salesforce with which all processes of the HR department such as payroll export, document management, shift planning, time recording, recruiting and much more can be digitized and optimized.

With SugarExchange, SugarCRM also offers a marketplace for third-party applications. Sugar customers can use this to add previously missing functions to their existing Sugar CRM system. While there are over 5,000 certified applications to choose from on the Salesforce AppExchange, SugarExchange only offers around 250 certified applications. The SugarCRM marketplace therefore offers very few solutions and will not meet the needs of customers looking for a robust ecosystem of self-service CRM apps. In this respect, Salesforce is therefore much better positioned than SugarCRM.

The implementation of both solutions requires specialized consultants and / or developers who adapt the product to the individual processes of the respective company.

Both the SugarCRM platform and Salesforce are very flexible and customizable. In order to be able to use all features optimally, both solutions require specialized consultants and / or developers who adapt the product to the individual processes of the respective company. Overall, however, Salesforce is significantly more scalable and is therefore a clearly better alternative, especially for large companies and companies that are planning to grow. SugarCRM, on the other hand, is well suited to small startups, public administrations or freelancers.

Always keep an eye on the future requirements of your company and make sure that your solutions and budgets can scale with your company.

While price shouldn't generally be the deciding factor when it comes to choosing the right technology for your business, it does matter. In doing so, however, you must always keep an eye on the likely future requirements of your company. This is the only way to ensure that your solutions and budgets can scale with your company.

Both SugarCRM and Salesforce use the typical paid license model: you get more features when you upgrade to the more expensive editions. SugarCRM advertises its products as generally cheaper than Salesforce, but the price difference only becomes clear with the Professional versions. The actual costs of both systems always depend on the individual solution, which is adapted to the company-specific requirements, and can therefore only be estimated after intensive advance planning and discussions with the implementation partner. However, SugarCRM tends to be a cheaper alternative for smaller companies with less complex processes.


With the AppExchange, Salesforce has the largest ecosystem in the industry and thus a significantly larger selection of products than SugarCRM. Analysts agree that the importance of the AppExchange cannot be overestimated. Furthermore, Salesforce offers significantly more out-of-the-box integrations and has the advantage above all with native support for SAP, Oracle and NetSuite. Salesforce can thus be integrated more easily into the existing application landscape of companies and enables smooth cross-departmental processes.

SugarCRM offers a smaller selection of features, third-party applications and out-of-the-box integrations, but with its simple user interface and slightly lower prices, it is well suited for small companies with less pronounced growth intentions.

All in all, we at Salesfive cannot stress enough that when choosing your future CRM system, you always have to keep your potential future requirements and required integrations in mind. There is therefore no general answer to the question of which CRM system is the right one for you. This always depends on the specific requirements of each individual company.