SugarCRM vs. All About the Benjamins

Posted by Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth is Vice President of Marketing for and founder and Director of eMatrix Media Comm...
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on Tuesday, 25 October 2011 in Contact & Lead Management

Undercutting one's competitor on price is a time-honored business strategy, practiced by companies selling everything from milk to bread to oil to beer—to software.

In the online CRM market, SugarCRM has been marketing against its chief target, market leader, with a fury. The SugarCRM website guarantees that customers will save 50% by switching to SugarCRM.

And indeed, in the range of features and number of users in which these systems are chiefly targeted, the Professional level, SugarCRM’s pricing is less than one-half that of’s, at $30 per user per month vs. $65 per user per month.

As an example of "do unto others" or karmic poetic justice, we see that’s original selling proposition was in undercutting traditional on-premises packaged solutions like Siebel's by making CRM more affordable as a SaaS product. 

SugarCRM markets its software as more flexible, open, and affordable—meaning less expensive and more customizable than's. SugarCRM’s promotion of these messages has been aggressive and pervasive, with its “The Top 10 Reasons Customers Switch to SugarCRM” infiltrating all corners of cyberspace.

CRM analysts generally agree that SugarCRM’s open source model gives it a compelling proposition in pricing and the involvement of a worldwide development community. For some users, SugarCRM’s open source nature is attractive, while to others being open source is seen as too murky and scary a risk.


Recognizing that price was a key factor in CRM decision making, Chris Bucholtz,s editor-in-chief of CRM Outsiders, conducted a CRM TCO study released in 2011 that examined all hidden costs and fees. Bucholtz’s study found that the cost of a 10-user Professional version of was more than double that of a SugarCRM Professional version, at around $22,000 vs. $10,000, respectively.

The weak link in SugarCRM’s armor for small businesses is its 5-user minimum requirement, which makes its $360 per user per year license actually five times that amount, at $1,800, regardless of whether you have one or five users. This is a show stopper for many small shops. However, one way around this is through resellers like BrainSell, which say they can offer single-user licences of SugarCRM.


For some small businesses, SugarCRM and may be a bit more complex and challenging than other products in this category to set up and customize.


Bottom Line:  SugarCRM and both have good reputations, full features sets, and are highly customizable. If price is your determining factor, SugarCRM is generally less expensive and worth consideration.


Comparz provides user reviews and rankings of software services and tools for small and mid-sized businesses. Click here to view Comparz' business software reviews and rankings.

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Michael Neubarth is Vice President of Marketing for and founder and Director of eMatrix Media Communications. Michael has a comprehensive marketing, communications, PR, analytical, and editorial background, including strategic marketing, communications, and market intelligence roles at IBM, FatWire Software, and Brodeur Worldwide, and as an analyst at Meta Group covering advanced technologies. His experience includes roles as editor-in-chief of Internet World, NetGuide, and Windows magazines, and expert contributor to Michael is a well-known writer on information technology, digital marketing, and social media issues, and his articles and blogs are cited widely online.


David Faye Saturday, 29 October 2011

There isn’t really a 5 user minimum for Sugar anymore. Anyone can sell single user licenses (not just the guys mentioned above). And, yes, there is a per user per month fee for the rest of your life, but for that you get no IT infrastructure costs, free updates and upgrades, free email support, and a bunch of other things. Sugar is a pretty sweet deal.

David Faye, Faye Business Systems Group" rel="nofollow">

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