What is SugarCRM?
Sugar Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software provides users with a centralized, flexible system for tracking sales leads, managing customer accounts, and handling customer support.
It also supports project and campaign management.
What is Customer Relationship Management?
One of the most challenging aspects of running a business is the process of customer development and retention.
From developing leads to creating marketing campaigns to providing support for well-established customers you can’t afford to lose, the relationships you develop with your customers are a critical component of building a successful company.
To keep your customers happy and your business “on the grow,” you need a way to monitor every step of the process.
CRM software can help you do just that, and SugarCRM is one of the most popular CRM options.
Why Choose SugarCRM?
SugarCRM is a popular CRM because it’s provided on many hosting packages for free. It’s also very easy to set up; many web hosts offer it as a one-click installer.
Even if you have a small budget for hosting, you should have no problem finding a shared package that provides it.
SugarCRM is an open source customer relationship management (CRM) application. Organisations can store details for suppliers and contacts and keeps a central record of all interactions with those contacts.
There are a total of four versions of SugarCRM, both paid and a limited-use free edition.
The versions of SugarCRM are:
- Community Edition
Paid Versions of SugarCRM
There are three paid versions of SugarCRM: Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate. These are purchased directly from the company.
There’s also a free Community Edition, and that’s the software you’ll see offered with web hosting accounts.
Community Edition of SugarCRM
The Community Edition is a trimmed down version of the paid SugarCRM, but it still functions perfectly well for charities and non-commercial use.
This version is available under version 3 of the GNU Affero General Public License. It’s designed for non-profit organisations, and there is no limit to the number of users that can have accounts.
Non-profits can use the tool to stay on to of valuable contacts, manage funding and make sure they comply with any legal requirements around data storage and data protection.
Benefits of the Community Edition
The license gives non-profits and educational institutions the rights to customize the software.
There’s an expectation that customizations will be contributed back to the developer community so that other non-profits can benefit from their work.
SugarCRM is designed to run on Linux servers (specifically, servers running the LAMP stack: Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP).
However, it’s possible to run SugarCRM on other operating systems, including Windows with IIS. On Windows, you’d have the option of using MS SQL or Oracle for the database.
Users can interact with SugarCRM using a variety of browsers, including:
- Safari 7
- Internet Explorer 9
- Internet Explorer 10
Features of SugarCRM
As one of the leading customer management systems on the market, SugarCRM offers tons of features to allow thousands of companies to keep track of information related to their customers and streamline the sales process.
Some of the most popular SugarCRM features include:
- Multiple User Types
- Set Up Email
- Test Campaigns
- Report Filtering
- Integrated Calendar
Multiple User Types
There are a total of four different roles within the SugarCRM including Regular User, System Admin, Group, and Portal API.
This feature makes it easy to create personalized access based on how each user uses SugarCRM and limit activity when required.
Set Up Email Tool
In addition to managing leads and storing documents, SugarCRM also makes it simple to create and manage email campaigns or templates right from your dashboard.
Not sure how your email or newsletter will look on different devices?
Before you send, test your campaigns to make sure all your communications look their best no matter how users view them.
Filter by value, date, user, and much more.
This is a powerful tool for pulling statistics on very specific times or campaigns.
SugarCRM makes it easy to stay organized. This feature allows users to see an overview of planned activities as well as schedule tasks, meetings, or calls.
Features of Sugar CRM Community Edition
The SugarCRM Community Edition (or SugarCRM CE) is developed largely by volunteers in the open source community.
It has a slimmed down feature set compared to the paid versions, and includes the following features:
- Auditing tools
- Contact records
- Process management
- Document storage
- Lead tracking
- Tracking for opportunities
- Marketing tools, such as campaign tracking and email marketing measurements.
This edition is only designed for business-to-business (B2B) use, and it does not have business-to-consumer (B2C) utilities. It also has no ability to manage contracts, products, quotes or sales, either.
If you want more powerful features comparable to Salesforce or the Pipedrive CRM, you’ll need to upgrade to SugarCRM Professional, the lowest cost paid plan that SugarCRM offers.
Pros and Cons of SugarCRM
It’s quite rare to find free CRM software, since so many packages are provisioned in the cloud via a subscription model.
That means SugarCRM is a good choice if you want to try a CRM to find out what it does.
Cons of SugarCRM
Analysts say that there are 1.5 million people using the software, and it’s likely that a huge majority are using the Community Edition, which does have limited functionality.
It also lacks an internal chat function, like Salesforce has through Chatter. The base storage amount is rather low, though you can purchase additional space.
And finally, though SugarCRM can be adjusted to your needs, most of those features need to be custom-built by a developer.
Pros of SugarCRM
If you run a non-profit or charity, even the basic set-up will give you all the tools you need.
The company behind CRM has received millions of dollars of investment, ensuring its continual growth and massive popularity.
While the basic feature list is small, SugarCRM doesn’t have to run with default settings alone.
SugarCRM can be extended with plug-ins from SugarForge, and it’s well worth playing around with these to unleash the real power of SugarCRM.
How do You Install SugarCRM?
If you don’t like the paid cloud version of SugarCRM, you’ll need to pick a suitable host, which you can find on this page.
Then, you have two options to install it on your hosting server:
- Download SugarCRM files from their website, edit the configuration files and transfer them to your hosting account through FTP.
- Use an auto installer in your host’s control panel. Most hosts provide you with a copy of cPanel, which almost always has an auto installer that lets you search for SugarCRM and install it with just a few clicks. It still takes a bit more effort than the cloud option but should be manageable for anyone.
Buying cloud software can get expensive, particularly when you pay a set price per month for a cloud service, and most CRM software would be unaffordable for a non-profit on that pricing model.
That’s probably why this free CRM solution has been downloaded more than 9 million times by companies around the world. But, when choosing a host, there are a few considerations to look for.
- Linux operating system
- Easy to install
- High up-time
- Appropriate level of storage/bandwidth
Linux Operating System
This is a almost a necessity for SugarCRM. Hosting on other OS makes the process needlessly complex.
However, most hosts use Linux-based servers so it shouldn’t be hard to find. As an added bonus, Linux hosting also tends to be cheaper than Windows.
Easy To Install
Most hosts make it super simple to install SugarCRM in just a few clicks. If for some reason it is more complicated, they might not be the right choice.
Since there are so many hosts that do work well with SugarCRM, it doesn’t make sense to choose one that makes installation needlessly complex.
It is hard to use SugarCRM if the host is constantly going down!
Once again, there are so many hosting options to choose from, so it doesn’t make sense to settle for a low up time.
Appropriate Level of Storage & Bandwidth
Resource use is worth mentioning. The storage and bandwidth offered with your hosting package applies to all of the applications you’re using.
A CRM can be a drag on those resources, particularly bandwidth, and uploading large documents will have an impact over time.
Top 3 Hosts for SugarCRM
Ready to get started unleashing the power of SugarCRM?
First, you need to find a great host.
As we’ve mentioned above, most hosts will support SugarCRM.
However, a few hosts rise above. Let’s analyze the best of the best.
If you’re looking for a solid, reliable host for SugarCRM hosting, SiteGround is a great choice. They offer everything from low-cost shared hosting plans to top of the line dedicated servers. All plans come with cPanel for free, which makes SugarCRM installation easy.
Additionally, you can generate free SSL certificates in cPanel using the Let’s Encrypt integration.
You get free daily backups to avoid losing any customer data. Finally, I should mention that their support is excellent.
Their customer service team is available 24/7 through live chat and phone, plus they have a great knowledgebase to guide you through common tasks.
If speed is the most important thing to you, for any reason, A2 Hosting is probably the SugarCRM host for you.
A2 Hosting is a well-known host who focuses on server speed above all else, ensuring that you’ll be able to quickly look through different parts of your CRM with minimal delays.
Most plans, except the cheapest, come with “turbo” servers, which are higher performance servers configured for speed.
You also get free SSD storage and a free SSL certificate. Again, you can install SugarCRM through cPanel.
Finally, if you’re looking for the highest performance Sugar CRM hosting option possible, Liquid Web will meet or exceed all of your expectations.
Their plans are more expensive, but it’s worth it if any downtime or slow servers could cost you significant amounts of revenue.
They offer the choice between cPanel and Plesk control panels, both work fine for installing SugarCRM.
Finally, Liquid Web has a customer service team that goes above and beyond what most others will.
Even if you’re having trouble with something not directly related to their server performance, they still try to help in my experience.
Other features in CRM
SugarCRM Frequently Asked Questions
- What is SugarCRM?
SugarCRM is a premium Customer Relationship Management application as well as the name of the developer of the SugarCRM application.
The application provides users with a way to track sales leads, manage customer accounts, and provide customer support, all from a single centralized application.
- What is a CRM?
CRM is an acronym that stands for Customer Relationship Management.
CRM software is designed to handle sales, marketing and customer relations, with the goal of automating the process as much as possible and providing a single centralized store of customer information accessible to all customer-facing employees.
- Is SugarCRM easy to use?
SugarCRM is designed to solve two ease-of-use problems: a reluctance on the part of sales and support personnel to use a CRM and the expense and challenge of deploying a CRM.
SugarCRM is designed to be an intuitive solution that sales and support personnel can easily use and it is priced to make it affordable for companies to give every customer-facing employee access to the software.
- Is SugarCRM free?
Until version 7, SugarCRM released commercial and open source (free) versions of the software. However, with the release of version 7, SugarCRM decided to discontinue development of the open source version, called Sugar Community Edition (CE).
SugarCRM promised to continue maintaining and supporting CE version 6.5, but there would be no new development. This promise led to the creation of a new open-source CRM, SuiteCRM, built on the last open source version of SugarCRM.
If you’re looking for a free CRM, check out SuiteCRM.
- Why did SugarCRM stop developing the open source version?
The company says that the open source version was primarily attracting developers who wanted to build on top of Sugar, as well as new users who were exploring options and primarily interested in a free CRM solution.
The company expressed their belief that the open source version did not properly meet the needs of both groups and wanted to look at other options.
Regardless of their reasons for discontinuing SugarCRM CE, the net result has been positive for users of free and open source CRMs, as the discontinuation of SugarCRM CE spawned SuiteCRM, which has quickly become one of the best free CRMs available today.
- Can I switch SugarCRM deployment plans if my company’s needs change?
The company touts the software’s flexibility as a major selling point, pointing out that SugarCRM is one of the industry’s most customizable CRM applications.
In particular, it offers the widest range of options for on-premise and cloud deployment. Just as important, customers are not locked into their initial choice.
As an organization’s needs change, data can be moved between different deployment models.
Whether on site, in the cloud, or on SugarCRM’s private cloud service, customers can easily adapt to changing circumstances.
- If I switch SugarCRM deployment plans, will users of the application have to learn a new interface?
In addition, developers have access to the underlying platform, enabling them to extend and modify SugarCRM to suit their needs. This extensibility has helped foster the creation of hundreds of commercial integrations with other business applications.
For many organizations, this “future-proof” approach is a significant selling point when evaluating SugarCRM vs other CRM solutions.
- What are SugarCRM hosting requirements?
SugarCRM is optimized for the LAMP stack — Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP — the most common website and web application hosting stack.
SugarCRM can also run on other operating systems, provided they support PHP, including Mac OS X, Solaris, and Windows.
It can also use Microsoft’s IIS web server instead of Apache, as well as alternative databases, such as Oracle or MS-SQL.
- How many people use SugarCRM?
SugarCRM has established itself as a leading CRM solution. The software has well over 1.5 million users in over 120 countries.
Its partner network consists of 350 partners on six continents.
While headquartered in Cupertino, CA, the company also has locations in Raleigh, Munich, Sydney, London, Paris, and Minsk.
- Why should I pick SugarCRM?
If you’re looking for a full-featured CRM that is flexible and customizable, and you don’t mind paying for your CRM, then SugarCRM is a compelling option.
Although some users felt understandably disenfranchised by the sudden decision to stop developing and releasing new versions of the open source Community Edition, there is a reason that SugarCRM consistently ranks among the top CRM applications on the market.
In addition, by focusing solely on a commercial product, it stands to reason that the company will be able to better add the features that paying customers want and need.