I am evaluating the SugarCRM test drive called Sugar Professional On-Demand which is part of their open source product suite. This is the 2nd review of the series starting from this post â€“> Which CRM Vendor Provides the Best â€œTest Driveâ€ Experience?
SugarCRM is very different from all other CRM software providers since it’s software is considered open source. There is also some discrepancy as to how SugarCRM can call their product “open source” when it’s not part of the open source initiative. They claim to be the leader in “commercial open source CRM” which is probably true since there aren’t really any other open source CRM providers out there. Don’t be fooled however, since other CRM software providers like Salesforce.com and Siebel On-Demand allow you to completely customize their applications.
Let’s move on to the test drive review. Here are the 5 questions SugarCRM must answer:
- Is a free trial or demo available – Yes. SugarCRM provides a very easy to find test drive and role-based demo right from their home page.
- Ease of finding the free trial from their home page – Their main flash banner has rotating promotions one of which includes a free trial. They also have a small collection of call to actions beneath the flash piece. I count two fairly noticeable links to their free trial.
- Number of fields and/or steps needed to complete before accessing the trial – SugarCRM takes a different approach and requires you to create a user account before you can access the free trial. They only initially require you to fill out five fields which is nice but then on step 3 (or 4) you need to fill in another nine fields plus four checkboxes. Total sign up steps if you don’t already have a SugarCRM account is high at seven.
- Type of free trial or demo provided (30-days, white paper, flash demo) – Test drive, role-based demo, and you can actually download the entire SugarCRM product.
- Quality of the trial – After a long tedious registration process, it was time to finally get started. Right away I received an email instructing me how to login to my new SugarCRM instance. This made me happy and excited since I could immediately play around with my own instance without first dealing with a sales rep.
Here are the steps I needed to follow in order to complete a test drive registration. SugarCRM has a great free trial but does a poor job with guiding you from the home page all the way to the end of the sign up.
The good: Pretty easy to find test drive links from the home page and I only had to complete a small five field registration form (so I thought. It turned out to be 14 fields plus 4 checkboxes). What I really liked is getting an email explaining how to login to my 30-day test drive account. This is what all CRM companies should provide to their evaluators so you get instant gratification. Their role-based demo doesnâ€™t require any registration which gives you a nice overview of how you’d succeed based on each role.
The bad: Despite a somewhat short registration process at first, I got lost. Before you can access the free trial, you first need to create a SugarCRM account. Ok, no problem but after you fill out the form and click the register button, you are presented with a “thank you for registering” dead end page. You have to wait for a confirmation email, click on the link and then make your way back to the free trial sign-in page. It feels like the free trial was just dumped into their existing registration system without proper usability integration. On top of that, once I tried to access the free trial again it asked for me to complete nine other fields and 4 checkboxes. Clunky and not very user-friendly. The total sign up process took me 5+ minutes and a lot of back and forth from email to their website.
The bottom line: CRMSugar makes it easy to find their test drive from their home page but you cannot demo anything until you create a SugarCRM account. It’s five fields plus another nine fields later (total of 14) to fill out and a clunky “register –> get email –> click verification link –> find my way back to the free trial –> login to my new account” process makes it easy to get lost along the way.
Once I did get past all the roadblocks, I was pleasantly happy with an unlimited 30-day free trial account where I could do whatever I wanted. This is a strong selling point for SugarCRM and if they could shorten their sign up process, I’m sure a lot more leads would be in their queue.
Recommendations: If any SugarCRM marketing person happens to read this review, here’s my advice. First, pat yourself on the back for a great free trial experience once someone gets past all the registration roadblocks. Second, slap your hand because you need to try and focus more on the user experience than just getting more “leads” in your system. What good is a lead if they are totally frustrated by the time they get to your free trial? I know you’re targeting a developer community but if you want to reach further, make sure it’s easy to view a demo. The number of screen shots above just to get a free trial going is ridiculous. Shorten your reg process and watch your form completion rates increase by at least 20%.
Too many companies get caught up in trying to capture as much lead data as possible for the sales team and forget about the user experience. They have it all wrong. Prospects need to get their hands on something before they’d even consider buying your product so don’t make it so darn difficult to sign up. A five field registration form would be totally acceptable but don’t ask for the prospects entire profile right away. I’m not just picking on SugarCRM. This is a universal problem with all companies.
Despite a long and tedious registration process, I applaud SugarCRM for providing a full-blown free trial of their product. What better way for individuals to actually see what life would be like within their product. After your 30-day trial has expired, it’s easy to upgrade to a licensed version.
Final score: (4 out of 5)
Make sure to continue reading each review as it comes out. There are 8 reviews left and the first post is Which CRM Vendor Provides the Best â€œTest Driveâ€ Experience?
Update: Since completing the test drive, I received an email from their sales rep within the first 24 hours. Hereâ€™s the very detailed email I received from Shane the sales rep.
|Dear David Cowgill,
Thank you for your interest in Sugar Professional On-Demand. This email outlines what you need to know to get up and running quickly.
|My name is Shane Karlin. I am here to make you successful with Sugar Professional. Please contact me at any time for assistance. Here’s my contact information:Shane Karlin
About your evaluation
Your evaluation offers you a unique URL, administrative user ID and password and free email support. You should already have received an evaluation confirmation email from firstname.lastname@example.org. If not, please contact me immediately.
Important: Your evaluation will expire 30 days from 2007-05-13 12:08, PT.
Please save this email for your reference throughout the evaluation. The information below can be shared with other users who are helping you evaluate SugarCRM.
Become a “Sugar Ace”
Sugar University offers end-user training to ensure your company gets the most out of SugarCRM.
Sugar University offers several additional courses and training paths based on user roles.
In addition, the Sugar Professional’s User Guide provides documentation about the application.
Connect your Sugar On-Demand to Microsoft
Anyone who is evaluating SugarCRM has the opportunity to see how convenient it is to connect with Microsoft Outlook. The Sugar Plug-in for Microsoft Outlook allows users to merge and archive contact, account, calendar and email information into Sugar.
Take your Sugar solution to the next level
SugarCRM’s trained consultants can help your company fully leverage Sugar’s features and functionality in order to obtain maximum business benefits.
Get SugarCRM’s help with:
Get help from SugarCRM
Your sales representative is here to help you through your deployment. If you have any questions, please contact me: Shane Karlin at email@example.com.
Online resources for your reference:
I hope this gets your evaluation started on the right note. If there’s anything else that I can assist with, don’t hesitate to contact me at 408-454-6969 or toll free 1 87 SUGARCRM. Otherwise, I’ll check in with you soon.