SugarCRM: A “Time-Aware” CX Platform

Tuesday, July 14, 2020
Michael Scheiner

A lot of CRM platforms out there promise to give you an instant glance at your pipeline: how many prospects are there, who they are, and at what stage is each one situated.

SugarCRM goes one step further… or backward? That is to say, the platform not only shows you where a prospect is now but also how they arrived there.

In essence, SugarCRM displays the customer journey as a history, believing the real secret to boosting ROI success comes from taking a historical approach with each contact as they become prospects, leads, paying customers, and loyal happy patrons of your business.

SugarCRM is a total package, with major modules of their platforms covering the big three— marketing, sales, and customer service—and an emphasis placed on the ‘handoff’ between departments, making sure each one gets all the relevant and useful intel from the other.

“Time-aware” CX

More than just a three-tiered CRM, SugarCRM is reimagining its platform as a “time-aware” customer experience. This title speaks to the importance of being aware of all the time and effort you’ve invested in each customer’s journey: both historical and forward-looking. 

This time-aware tool, called Sugar Discover, uses machine learning to study patterns and detect irregularities in a prospect’s journey and then suggests the next best actions based on this knowledge.

All this feeds into SugarCRM’s predictive powers, trying to show you the best way forward to turn present prospects into future customers. 

“When you’re only seeing a snapshot in time, you don’t really understand your customer or your business, and you certainly don’t have the ability to intelligently predict the future,” says Rich Green, SugarCRM Chief Technical and Product Officer. “You have to know what it took to get them to that state.”

Take a stroll through SugarCRM

The first thing to know is that SugarCRM can be used either on its cloud or on-premise. It works offline and updates any activity once you’re reconnected to the internet. There’s also a handy mobile app with GPS to help you navigate to and from client locations.


Inbound marketing tools help you attract visitors to your site, then when they arrive, you get a quick snapshot of who they are, how they got there, and how long they’re spending on each page.

You can manage your online marketing efforts on your social media accounts, or with Google paid ads and other SEO efforts. 

As for email marketing, there’s a simple email builder that uses drag and drop, and there are  templates that can be utilized right out of the box. You can try out options with A/B testing. 

Aside from ads, you can build email survey campaigns. All info generated in ads, surveys, and other emails sync with your CRM.

Marketing lets you score leads based on each one’s readiness to buy, using metrics like firmographic and demographic information, purchase details, and buyer’s intent.

You can deliver fresh content for leads relevant to their industry, demographic or actions, or based on where they are in their journey. 


Sugar Sell helps manage leads using business rules: you set them up to route each lead to the right sales rep based on territory, team or the rep’s specialty.

Sales teams get data on campaign effectiveness, with visibility on which campaigns created the most new leads, opportunities, or which had the best win rates.

A unique tool here is for sales forecasting. You can see the quotas for your teams, individual reps or for the whole organization. Based on the quota-versus-actuality data, you are presented with models that show you different cases: best case, most likely, and worst-case scenarios regarding meeting quotas.

You can also track relationships with specific customers if they buy on a regular schedule, frequently, or in large volumes.

Two other tools here are called Hint and Connect. Hint automatically scours social media, business, and other news sources to fill in missing contact data using nothing but a contact’s email. 

Connect lets you use Sugar with a sidebar of either G Suite or Office 365, giving you that sweet info when composing emails in either platform.

Finally, there’s a quote-building tool that's easy to use and handles multi-currency deals.


SugarCRM’s customer support module is good for both assisting human support agents as well as giving customers a quick and easy way to help themselves—freeing up humans for the more high-level issues.

The console is where support agents get all that CRM data, including the history of each customer’s journey, as well as any organizational issues (like multiple customers from one company).

More than just profile data and engagement history, the platform looks forward and suggests the next step the agent should take to assist a customer. It also routes tickets to an agent best suited for the task—ideally one who has experience with a specific company or industry. 

Managers can easily monitor how their team is doing or see when the workload is piling up on individual agents. You can also measure progress on an issue against its SLA terms. 

When handling specific cases, you can prioritize them so more urgent matters get seen quicker. Agents can easily share and collaborate on cases, too.

If a certain bug comes up more than once, you can track it or compare it to other bugs related to the same product or similar problem.

For those issues that can be resolved without a human, Sugar Serve has good FAQ and knowledge-base builders, and you can also create tutorials or step-by-step guides. These forms can be customizable to match your brand’s aesthetic.

Customers can also use the portal themselves to check on their issues, add notes, or upload relevant attachments.


You can get all three modules neatly wrapped into a single package, but you’ll have to contact the SugarCRM sales team to learn more. Otherwise, each module has its own price tag.

Sugar Market is $1,000 per month billed annually, which gets you 10,000 contacts.

Sugar Sell and Sugar Serve are $80 per user/per month billed annually, with a ten user minimum. 

Not sure? Take SugarCRM for a test drive. The platform offers both free trials and live demos. 

Well beyond starting up

Definitely not a startup, SugarCRM is a veteran operation with over 15 years of experience under its belt and serving a customer base of more than 2 million users in over 120 countries in 25 languages.

In the summer of 2018, SugarCRM secured a nine-figure investment that helps give the company leverage to compete with the likes of industry goliaths like Salesforce or Oracle. 

One way it’s spent some of that VC sweetness is purchasing Salesfusion, a marketing automation platform that’s already powering Sugar Market.

It’s clear that SugarCRM is maturing into a major all-inclusive digital business toolshed. If your business has got growth in its sights (and what business doesn’t?), then SugarCRM can help show you a thing or two on how to hit the mark.