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SugarCRM Review: Best CRM Software for Startups

SugarCRM is our 2018 choice for the best CRM software for startups. Tech savvy startups are sure to appreciate its developer-centric focus, rich set of features and stellar customer service. This solution is highly customizable and offers users more learning resources than nearly any other SaaS CRM out there.

To understand how we selected our best picks, you can view our methodology, as well as a comprehensive list of CRM software, on our best picks page.

SugarCRM offers startups the opportunity to craft a fully customized customer relationship management solution, without starting from scratch. While many CRM products have an open API, SugarCRM knocks the competition out of the park by providing a veritable tome of developer resources in the form of learning guides and technical documentation.

This SaaS product also has a highly active online dev community, which is invaluable for startup tech professionals who may not have a lot of support in-house. SugarCRM even has a separate open source Community Edition, specifically for developers, and it's supported on Linux, Unix, Mac, IBM and Windows.

SugarCRM's customer service is wildly impressive as well. It's easy to get a live customer service rep on the phone, and the reps we spoke with could answer highly technical questions and direct us to additional relevant training guides without a ton of transfers or holds.

Editor's Note: Looking for information on CRM software for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our sister site Buyer Zone connect you with vendors that can help.

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In addition to being built for customization, SugarCRM offers all the features end users look for in a CRM solution. Here are a few the outstanding developer and user features this CRM offers: 

  • Limitless third-party integrations through open API, including e-commerce and call center capabilities, integrations with legacy systems, JAVA and PHP-friendly, and SKD for mobile development
  • Contact management
  • Lead management
  • Workflows and approvals
  • Robust project management
  • Reports and dashboards, advanced analytics
  • Active forum of developers, Community Edition
  • Sales forecasting
  • Great admin tools for managing roles and security

SugarCRM offers an add-on called Hint, which costs $15 per user, per month (billed annually). It allows users to import a customer's social information just by entering their name and email. Hint also offers additional business intelligence features through advanced analytics and automated data gathering.

SugarCRM isn't the best fit for every business. This solution does not offer point-and-click integrations through a marketplace; instead users will have to access the API to integrate third-party solutions. While this isn't necessarily a negative for all businesses, like tech-driven startups, it may prove challenging for businesses that don't have an in-house tech team. Plus, not all businesses require advanced customization options; companies that want an inexpensive CRM that's ready to use out of the box, would be better off with a lightweight solution that's easy to implement and cheap to maintain.

Ready to choose a CRM solution? Here's a breakdown of our full coverage:

Mona Bushnell

Mona Bushnell is a New York City-based Staff Writer for Tom’s IT Pro, Business.com and Business News Daily. She has a B.A. in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College and has previously worked as an IT Technician, a Copywriter, a Software Administrator, a Scheduling Manager and an Editorial Writer. Mona began freelance writing full-time in 2014 and joined the Purch team in 2017.