Back to   |   Support   |   1-866-356-2654
Contact Us:1-866-356-2654
BrainSellBrainSell Blog

SugarCRM vs. Salesforce Comparison – The Facts

< Back to all posts January 29, 2015 | By Sonja Fridell
Tags: ,

Last updated January 4, 2016 –

SalesforceVsSugarCRMIn 2016, SugarCRM remains the most popular CRM to compare versus Salesforce. Sugar became the arch-nemesis of Salesforce by having similar features and a lower price tag. Salesforce is still the industry standard, but if you look at what each platform is capable of, they’re not all that different. SugarCRM now has many more enterprise level clients with thousands of users per instance. Sugar has also instituted a 10-user minimum to the paid version of the product.

Make no mistake though, Salesforce is still a super solid product and is the “industry standard”. Although Sugar doesn’t have the name recognition Salesforce has, it is capable of almost every feature that the Salesforce is capable of.

We’ve created a fresh Salesforce vs. Sugar Comparison Chart for 2016

1. SugarCRM / Salesforce Features —

Customizable Deployment Capabilities – With SugarCRM 7.6, you can drag and drop modules around to customize them and resize any available columns. With Salesforce, modules are controlled from behind the scenes from the admin panel. SugarCRM is open-source, meaning that any developer has access to the source code Sugar is built on (thus they can develop the source code).


Developers can create their own integrations in PHP with Sugar (the web’s most-taught language). Meanwhile, although Salesforce can be just as customized, it is not open-source and is written in APEX (a proprietary language). This means that a much smaller group of developers can customize Salesforce (only those that know APEX), making a customized deployment much more affordable in Sugar. Creating APIs in Salesforce can only be done within the parameters of their closed-source language.

2. Mobile Editions —

Salesforce behaves a bit better than Sugar in their mobile editions, which you would expect for a higher cost. Sugar’s mobile client is not as good as Salesforce, but because it is lightweight (written in PHP), it can be used on any mobile device and is completely free of charge. We’re still going to give Salesforce the edge on mobile clients, but at an extremely high cost.

4. Salesforce vs. SugarCRM Pricing —

SugarCRM Professional Edition = $40/user/month

Salesforce Professional Edition  =    $125/user/month

SugarCRM Enterprise Edition =    $65/user/month

Salesforce Enterprise Edition  =     $125/user/month

Download our SugarCRM vs. White Paper Here

5 . Consider 
Deployment Methods —

Salesforce and Sugar differ in deployment in that Salesforce is deployed in a single-tenant fashion (everyone uses one URL), while SugarCRM is a multi-tenant architecture, meaning everyone gets their own URL to log into. There’s no real advantage to this, but because Sugar is multi-tenant, it can be deployed on an individual basis, and thus can be deployed on-premise. Salesforce can only be hosted in a single-tenant cloud, making it impossible to ever own the software yourself.

One nice thing about Salesforce being deployed in single-tenant environment is that everyone is updated at the same time, so it behaves like an ever-changing product. SugarCRM updates are automatic as well, but the updates are far more infrequent than Salesforce, happening once or twice a year instead of daily like Salesforce.


  1. Sugarcrm professional is 360×5=$1,800.00

    Where do you get $30.00 a month?


    Comment by Sean — May 16, 2010 @ 2:52 am

  2. Hi Sean, Sugar is $30 per user per month. It is correct that you need to buy a minimum of 5 licences; still, it’s a fraction of SF. If you only need one user, both Sugar AND SalesForce may not be appropriate options for you.

    Comment by Sonja Fridell — May 17, 2010 @ 1:53 pm

  3. Its never easy shelling out $30 for each required license and trying to swallow this price as a bargain. It pays to be frugal these days and to think hard about your CRM software as a whole. There are other choices out there, this is another stubborn fact to consider when choosing the right CRM for your biz.

    Comment by MaureenHaigh — May 26, 2010 @ 5:50 pm

  4. Hi Maureen, most find Sugar to have tremendous value for the modest price. It’s always good to learn about new products! Sign up for our free trial of Sugar today

    Comment by Sonja Fridell — May 26, 2010 @ 6:02 pm

  5. @Sonja If you only need one user, Sugar has the OPEN SOURCE FREE community version. Sugar would still be an option, but if you only need it for one person, then your a small company and sugar would be best to help you grow as a small company.

    Comment by Joey — June 29, 2010 @ 6:21 pm

  6. Thanks for the reply Joey. The Community edition is nice, but very limited compared to the paid version. Talk to a reseller like us to get less than 5 users, it’s known to happen sometimes (-=

    Comment by Sonja Fridell — July 1, 2010 @ 5:47 pm

  7. Our company uses Salesforce and have quite a few licenses. the thing with Salesforce (not sure if this is the same as Sugar) is that it is so complicated?!! Plus their after sales service has been pretty poor.

    I haven’t been impressed. I used an old style crm at a previous company (non cloud) and it was awesome! So simple to use and fool proof. Does anyone else find SF or Sugar complex?

    I don’t mean to knock them, but I am not convinced that SF is the best CRM at all. (Of course it is handy because it is cloud…)

    Comment by CRMUSER — March 12, 2011 @ 1:03 am

  8. Thanks for the input! We’ve been hearing some gripes about SFDC being complicated to customize simple things like drop downs. Check out Sugar! People have been telling us it’s much more user friendly. You might have used ACT! in the past, it’s mostly on premise but they have ACT! for web now, and it’s been getting good reviews!

    Comment by Sonja Fridell — March 14, 2011 @ 6:10 pm

  9. We bought our CRM from one year ago and it works great. We use the Pro Edition for our 5 users. It works fine, but what I see as very valuable was the assistance I received from ApexTwo. Brian made sure my edition was made to my liking and that all of my reporting was in place.

    Great Service, BTW we saved a bunched agaisnt SalesForce

    Comment by Mike — May 19, 2011 @ 7:09 pm

  10. I will follow the above guidelines. Thank you so much for this great contribution.

    Comment by CRM software — May 24, 2011 @ 11:57 am

  11. I am so disappointed after evaluating SugarCRM against Salesforce and others to find out that there is a five user minimum. Its not anywhere on the site. I had to add a subscription to my cart to find this out. I only need one user and have been using ACT. Had decided Sugar CRM was for me, but due to the five user minimum looks like its Salesforce for me…

    Comment by Scott Horsfield — August 18, 2011 @ 9:22 pm

  12. Hi Scott,
    Too bad!!! Partners like us sell less than 5 users of Sugar. We even wrote a blog post on it!

    Comment by Sonja Fridell — August 19, 2011 @ 12:58 pm

  13. What kind of API does sugarCRM expose… i develop on the salesoforce platform and i can pretty much develop any type of application on platform using their Apex scripting language (java-like) and i can expose whatever through their APIs, so i can write external apps in any language and integrate with salesforce effortlessly… through these APIs I can Do my own backups (so i can have my data in my data center), I can create new tables (via meta data api), I can create work flow rules, I can even create a nice drag drop interface for clients that want rich UI, i can do offline mode on mobile…. The only thing sugarCRM has on salesforce is pricing…Not sure if having customers on separate databases is a good idea from a maintainability point of view for sugarCRM… I can go on and on, but I don’t have any experience with sugarCRM, can someone give real advantages of sugarCRM over salesforce…

    Comment by Kunle — October 24, 2011 @ 5:28 pm

  14. Hi Kunle,
    Your perspective as a developer is a great one. Sugar has a totally complete API as well, and the language is PHP. From a customer standpoint, it’s easier and usually less expensive to find a PHP developer than an Apex developer. Sugar does their own backups for customers, at no charge, and they will give customers a relational database if they choose to leave (something tough to get from SFDC). There are lots more apps for Sugar than SFDC (due to more people knowing PHP and Sugar’s open source nature). You can create the same workflows, dropdowns and edits in Sugar. You’re right, the biggest difference besides the code is Price. And our clients are loving that. Sugar is 1/4 the price of SFDC. Can’t beat that.

    Comment by Sonja Fridell — October 24, 2011 @ 5:43 pm

  15. Fair enough Sonja, thanks for the information. Much appreciated.

    Comment by Kunle — October 24, 2011 @ 10:00 pm

  16. Nice Post. SugarCRM is more cost effective than salesforce CRM. Thanks for posting.

    Comment by SugarCRM Developer — December 15, 2011 @ 10:55 am

  17. Thank you! Glad you found it helpful.

    Comment by Sonja Fridell — December 16, 2011 @ 2:36 pm

  18. I have been using SFDC for about 3 years now, and I am pretty happy with it.

    Our problem is that we work outsourcing sales people, and one of our biggest contracts is about to expire. SFDC requires for us to buy licenses for 1 year, and our customer might not renew or drop the contract at any time. W

    e have about 120 users, enterprise edition + mobile in that project, and thinking about loosing that amount of money makes me think twice at this moment. Does Sugar CRM allow to work on a month to month Software as Service modality or it also sells as annual contracts? can you lower the amount of licenses at any moment or as is SalesForce the only way to go is up? thanks.

    Comment by Metalsilor — December 18, 2011 @ 10:57 pm

  19. You can’t go month to month with Sugar, but the cost savings with Sugar over SFDC is incredible.

    Sugar Pro (about same feature set as SFDC Enterprise) is $30/user/mo
    120 users @ $360/year = $43,200/year
    120 users @ $1500/year = $180,000/year

    That’s a savings of $136,800 per year. Not including the cost savings of mobile, since that’s included in Sugar Pro for free (a read/write version, which is a vast improvement from SFDC’s read-only free version).

    Comment by Sonja Fridell — December 19, 2011 @ 2:57 pm

  20. It should be noted that SugarCRM have just announced there are removing workflow features from the professional version, and forcing customers to almost double their outlay on the Enterprise version. This makes edges SugarCRM closer to salesforce costs.

    Comment by Nathan — November 15, 2015 @ 4:46 pm

  21. Hi Nathan, good point, but Sugar is still half the price for Enterprise ($65 in Sugar) compared with Salesforce Enterprise at $125/user/month. SFDC is also increasing their price next year! More on that soon (-=

    Comment by Sonja Fridell — February 22, 2016 @ 11:49 am

  22. @ Sonja Fridell
    regarding comment from Nathan on workflows being removed from Sugar Pro, your response needs updating in that Salesforce have decided the opposite — they are adding workflow feature to their Pro version.

    Comment by Melina — November 19, 2016 @ 5:47 am

  23. Its never been easy to choose the right one among two of them because they having their own advantages. After reading this article organisations can choose the right one..

    Comment by cloudchillies — December 26, 2016 @ 6:47 am

  24. It seems that people are getting confused that while implementing cloud based solutions in their organisations. This comparison help them to choose the best solution for managing their business in well manner..

    Comment by Cloudchillies — December 28, 2016 @ 5:03 am

We would love to hear from you. Please share a comment below.

Email address is not displayed with comment.