SugarCRM vs – The Facts – Part 2 – Cost


As SugarCRM celebrates its 10th birthday, over a decade of innovation has lead to the product becoming a major player in the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) space. Indeed, Gartner now ranks the product in the “Visionary” quadrant (details here).

As someone who has kept a close eye on the product over that time, and who runs a company dedicated to supplying and servicing SugarCRM, I have watched the product mature and gain huge ground on its closest competitor –

So what exactly are the differences between Sugar and SalesForce?

Well, funnily enough, the main differentiators are the same now as they’ve always been – price, control andflexibility. But with the release towards the end of 2013 of Sugar 7, we can now add one more item to that list –usability.

I’ve already covered the differences in how the two platforms manage your data in my previous post (SugarCRM vs – The Facts – Part 1 – Data) – this post deals with the impact the two systems are going to have on your wallet.

Part 2 – How much does it cost?

When comparing costs between the two solutions, there is one important fact to bear in mind. You need three separate SalesForce (SF) products to make jut one SugarCRM product. SugarCRM, right out of the box, provides you with features to manage sales, marketing and customer service. With SF, however, you’ll need to buy your team a subscription to at least three (and perhaps more) products.

Fortunately, both product websites list some prices – so you can check what I’m going to say here for yourself. To ensure a like for like comparison, I’ll use the US websites for both and therefore quote prices in US dollars.

At the top of the SugarCRM page, you’ll find this statement:

“With Sugar PurePrice™ you can always count on clear, predictable pricing; with no hidden fees or forced upsells to more expensive editions.”

For the SugarCRM Professional Edition – which covers Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Reporting and Mobile Access – the price at the time of writing is $40/user/month or $480/user/annum (both companies actually bill annually).

Now let’s take a look at SF – specifically at the Sales Cloud – for the Professional Edition, which at least approaches the functionality in SugarCRM Professional, the price at the time of writing is $65/user/month or $780/user/annum.

So we’re already looking at significantly more cost.

However, let’s look at what’s in SF Enterprise a moment:

  • Workflow automation – the ability to automate your business processes
  • WebServices API – the ability to connect other applications to your CRM
  • Page Layouts  – changing the layout of screens
  • Custom App Development – building your own “bolt-ons” and extending the application
  • App Exchange  – a marketplace of third party “bolt-ons”

All of the above are already bundled as core parts of the SugarCRM Professional Edition as part of your $480/user/annum but the equivalent in SF is $1,500/user/annum.

But what if you want to also manage Customer Service? That’s included in SugarCRM but you’ll see no mention of that on the SF Sales Cloud. That’s because its in a different cloud – the Service Cloud. That’s another $65/user/month – or $780/user/annum.

And what if you want to also see something as simple as your customer’s tweets within the CRM? Again, it’s included at no extra charge in SugarCRM but you’ll need to subscribe to SF’s Marketing Cloud for that. There’s no price listed for that – you’ll have to contact them for a quote.

Finally, take a look at the “Platform” section on the SF site – again, that’s quoted separately yet much of what is available is already included in SugarCRM – customisable mobile app, workflow and approvals, real time APIs, reporting and dashboards, app exchange, cloud database.


Comparing apples with apples – SugarCRM v

SugarCRM is one product, one price. is (at least) three products.

The key message of this post is not that SugarCRM is almost half the cost of SF. Rather, the key message is that, when comparing the two products, make sure you’re comparing apples with apples. Because your investment in SugarCRM is going to work out at around the cost of a cup of coffee per day per user. By contrast, your investment in SF may be more akin, even at the low end, to treating each user to lunch every day; and at the high end, buying them a slap up meal.

Of course, we are talking investment – and a good CRM deployment should earn a return on your investment. So base cost is only one factor. But ultimately, that year-on-year saving adds up. And just maybe it would be better spent at tuning the application to your needs with a little customisation?

Well, that’s the topic of the next post in this series – SugarCRM vs – The Facts – Part 3 – Customisation.

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