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April 23, 2020 Business Software

Expanding the Sugar Ecosystem

Heather Mellinger
By Heather Mellinger

When it comes to CRM, the variety of software available can make it challenging to decide on the right one for your company. However, I’m a fan of SugarCRM, not only because of its ease-of-use but because it is one of the most flexible and powerful CRMs in the marketplace. Sugar is the only CRM platform offering time-aware analytics to understand performance trends, historical comparisons, staffing recommendations, and more.

The Sugar roadmap is focused on no-touch innovation, meaning that its usability features focus on the reduction of manual data entry, automating business processes, providing intelligent insights, and guided analysis at every step in the customer journey—all while using continuous cloud innovation. But Sugar’s investment as an AWS platform goes beyond enterprise-class security and reliability. They leverage AWS cloud services to innovate at incredible economies of scale, provide faster time-to-value for customers, and reduce maintenance costs.

If that’s not enough, Sugar takes customer experience to heart in its product planning and as a solemn business promise. While the CRM industry is known for powerful software companies that under-deliver on promises, SugarCRM strives towards a lifelong commitment to customers. In 2020 they were awarded the SoftwareReview CRM Emotional Footprint Champion; they are a 4-time PCMag Business Choice Award Winner and they have industry-leading churn rates and NPS (Net Promoter Score)

Over the past two years, Sugar has been growing from just a CRM to a Customer Experience platform. There are lots of new facets of Sugar, so let’s delve into the ecosystem of SugarCRM and see how this software offers so much more than a way to manage customer relationships.

SugarCRM logo

 

Expanding the Sugar Ecosystem

To begin, let’s look at the logo of SugarCRM. You’ll see three colorful blocks on top of each other. Each block represents one of the core products of SugarCRM’s Customer Experience Platform: Sugar Market, Sugar Sell, and Sugar Serve.

sugar market logo

Sugar Market

Sugar Market emerged from Sugar’s acquisition of Salesfusion, a popular marketing automation platform. As a part of SugarCRM, it effortlessly syncs to your customer and lead database to create marketing campaigns without the headache of data migration or third-party integrations to other platforms. Sugar Market integrates with a number of leading salesforce automation solutions, including Sugar Sell, Salesforce, Infor CRM, and more. It is a solution built for marketers to increase their lead quality, volume, and throughput; to quantify and amplify their return on the marketing investment; and to improve customer experience and retention. Sugar Market comes stocked with a number of tools including its state-of-the-art campaign builder, advanced automation, and superior reporting.

As with all Sugar products, it’s time-aware capabilities mean you can track your prospect and customer behaviors across the entire customer lifecycle and create multiple scoring profiles for prospects and buyers. It includes no-touch innovation including automated alerts and views of the buyer-journey within the CRM. All these tools lead to more timely handoffs to sales and the ability to discover repeat business opportunities to drive even higher revenue per customer.

However, its abilities don’t stop there. With inbound and outbound email marketing tools, social media management capabilities, a state-of-the-art nurture builder, and Google AdWords management tools, Sugar Market’s powerful marketing abilities keep delivering additional value to Sugar customers.

Sugar Sell logo

Sugar Sell

The next block in the SugarCRM logo is Sugar Sell, which is the core CRM. Sugar Sell allows users to map out individual customer journeys from the very first contact helping salespeople to stay on top of their game and deliver the right message to the right person at the right time.  With features that include lead, opportunity, account and contact management, reporting and dashboards, sales forecasting, quote management, and email integrations including tracking, social media monitoring, and calendar synchronization, it’s a powerful way to manage and automate essential steps in the sales process, record customer interactions, and set reminders for tasks and upcoming opportunities. Sugar Sell is also one of the most flexible platforms in the marketplace. Augmenting and integrating data to your CRM has never been more simple with Sugar’s open API and new Integrate IPASS Solution.

In addition, Sugar Sell is the only CRM on the market to offer duration-based product features (subscriptions and services). If your company has recurring revenue, Sugar Sell helps to manage and automate the renewal process through features in the product catalog and quotes. Through Sugar Sell’s Renewals Console users can automatically filter and sort opportunities, so the most important items are at the top. Sugar Sell can also automate and manage a renewal pipeline, reducing data management for existing businesses. 

Sugar Serve Logo

Sugar Serve

The final block of the Sugar logo is Sugar Serve, the customer support solution built into the core CRM. Designed to resolve customer service inquiries promptly and proficiently, Sugar Serve aims to keep your hard-earned customers satisfied. From accessible at-a-glance dashboards to robust self-service portals, Sugar Serve has everything you need to create and track outstanding customer experiences.

One of the most unique features of Sugar Serve is the user experience. Because Sugar Serve is built on the philosophy of “no-touch information management,” there are many usability features that help users prioritize their time on high-value work. My favorite is the Service Console where tickets and approaching SLAs are displayed. From the console, users can quickly drill in to see customer details, account history, and collaborate with their colleagues. This minimizes context switching, allows for a more seamless customer experience, and allows an agent to focus on resolving cases. Sugar Serve also offers several time-aware reports out of the box to understand common support metrics like time to resolution.

It’s important to note that while Sugar can integrate with other popular customer experience platforms like Zendesk, Sugar Serve is a great “in house” alternative and offers many the same features. If you already have Zendesk but are thinking about switching, we weighed the pros and cons for you here.

What Else Can Sugar Do?

While the logo deals with the core features of almost any business: Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service, Sugar didn’t stop there, and this is where the true value from a leadership perspective is revealed. With Sugar Discover, Integrate, Connect, Hint, and Customer Journey, its abilities bring value to any business.

Sugar Discover

Sugar Discover is Sugar’s Business Intelligence platform. It’s exclusive to SugarCRM customers, meaning it cannot integrate with any other CRM platform. Through it, all aspects of analytics and insights are available to users from customer analytics, forecasting, and revenue predictions, all the way to the ability to identify sales and marketing opportunities quickly.

What makes Sugar Discover unique is that Sugar is the only CX platform built on a cutting-edge event stream database that records every change in the customer journey. Discover uses AI to surface intelligent insights, allowing users to continuously monitor issues and opportunities as well as understand root-cause. It also helps business leaders see trends and forecast ahead for residuals, staffing, revenue attainment, and more. It can even proactively alert users to status changes and new opportunities. Best of all, Sugar Discover boasts a faster time to value than any other Business Intelligence solution in the marketplace. It is purpose-built for Sell, Serve, and Market, which means setup and ongoing maintenance are easy. Sugar Discover is a powerful tool to add to your Sugar ecosystem.

Sugar Connect 

Sugar Connect is Sugar’s email integration tool for Google Suite and Office365. It brings your most important customer experience activities into the email and calendar apps that Sales and Services use every day. Keep your CRM, email, and calendar tools up to date without having to enter data manually. With Sugar Connect, your G Suite or Office 365 account can connect with your Sugar instance to surface relevant data as you interact with prospects and customers in real-time.

Sugar Connect is the only email integration tool to offer email tracking, full integration, and analytics around the effectiveness of your email templates, and calendar scheduling lists. Plus, it helps boost user adoption by surfacing important customer information to sales users who spend the majority of their time in your inbox. Sugar Connect is a quick-to-value opportunity to create personalized experiences that create and retain customers for life.

Sugar Integrate

Modern businesses run on hundreds of different applications that provide the right data needed to support different customer experiences. The challenge for companies of all sizes is that these applications are islands, meaning they operate independently and manage their data. Each application has a piece of the puzzle – critical data that must be combined to support an end-to-end business process seamlessly and building integrations to enable these cross-system processes can be cost-prohibitive. Enter: Sugar Integrate.

With Sugar Integrate, you access a cloud-based integration platform that provides pre-made integrations to over 200 business applications and growing, helping customers fulfill integration needs more efficiently and accelerate business benefits. Don’t believe me? Check out the current list of integrations here.

While Sugar Integrate shines in its capacity to integrate your business systems and eliminate data silos, it is also a useful tool simplifying the CRM migration process. Sugar offers a flexible licensing structure to help with all of your integration needs, whether it’s a one-time project or a more complex integration footprint.

Sugar Customer Journey

The Sugar Customer Journey plug-in can help salespeople guide a customer through the sales funnel. A customer journey in Sugar is the multi-stage process displayed on any Sugar record. It contains all the steps and the activities that make up those stages. Users can build, update, and track, and automate any interaction in a business process. Businesses use Customer Journey to manage processes like customer onboarding, lead qualification, the sales cycle, and more!  It is a visual and interactive way to enable your salespeople to move the customer from Awareness to Consideration to Purchase to Loyalty and ensure that your customers remain satisfied with your service.

Sugar Hint

Hint is Sugar’s Customer Relationship add-on that helps salespeople build better relationships. Hint helps reduce research time on new leads and existing contacts by automatically gathering data from a variety of sources. It then can be used to enrich data within Sugar and enhance their understanding before they ever make the first phone call. Hint also provides real-time alerts, so you’ll always be the first to know about breaking developments and important activities from your key accounts. It allows sales users to be proactive by identifying risks and opportunities early and often.

The best feature, however, is that Hint gives your users back their time. It allows them to focus on high-value work by uncovering key information with very little effort. Don’t take my word for it, in a survey of customers, Sugar saw a 30% increase in productivity from users of Hint.


Sugar continues to innovate every day, and that’s what makes them so great. With their acquisitions, partnerships, and continuous innovation, they continue to evolve as a company and deliver superior customer experiences to their clients around the globe.

If you’ve been rethinking your current CRM and are looking for one with advanced abilities applicable to almost any industry, SugarCRM could be the platform for you.

Contact us, and we’d be happy to help you take the first steps towards joining the SugarCRM ecosystem!

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