This year has been quite a ride. It’s amazing to see how much SugarOutfitters and SugarChimp have grown in just a few months. SugarOutfitters has grown 300% YoY in revenue. In October, SugarChimp reached $8,900 in sales.

SugarChimp Revenue

It was only at the beginning of 2014 we acquired SugarChimp into the SugarOutfitters family. We wanted to show how exactly SugarOutfitters can help you drive integration and add-on sales to supplement and generate leads for your consulting practices.

Selling business software successfully requires having a great onboarding process and proactive support.

While working to build the best place for discovering SugarCRM add-ons, we’ve found that most people are able to develop solid feature sets, but there are two ways you can really differentiate yourself from the crowd and make a living selling SugarCRM modules: a great onboarding process and proactive support.

I hope to use SugarChimp as a use case more often, but in this post I’m going to talk specifically about onboarding because I believe this is where most SugarCRM solutions are lacking. It’s one thing to create the feature set needed to solve a business problem, but it’s an entirely different beast getting a company successfully up-and-running with your product and creating value for them.

Having a great onboarding process is just as important as the core functionality of your product.

After you’ve established what the core functionality of your module will be based on your customers’ needs and you’ve developed the product, it’s extremely important to take just as much time and care with the onboarding process.

The onboarding process is the experience your customer has with your brand and product as they are evaluating your product or service as a long term solution for their business.

The first part of a great onboarding process is offering free trials. Why create an artificial pricing barrier right out of the gates? With SugarOutfitters licensing and ability to offer 30-day trials, you are able to protect your code while allowing your potential customers see the value of your product for themselves.

Pricing is rarely a barrier to closing a deal when you offer free trials and have a great onboarding process.

Now that your customer has started a free trial, you’re goal is to get them up-and-running using your product on their own. This process needs to be as user-friendly and fast as possible. The sooner the customer is able to see the value your solution provides, the sooner they will decide to continue using your solution. This will also help you quickly identify who will actually be a paying customer and who will not, saving you time with the back-and-forth communication that comes with the sales process.

Two onboarding features that have made a big difference for us is a step-by-step setup process and a Health Status page.

The step-by-step setup process is a simple wizard that allows someone without much technical knowledge setup the SugarChimp integration. After the module is installed, the SugarOutfitters drop-in license library will validate their license and redirect them to our four step setup process. This short process is all that is needed for the user to try it out and have a successful trial. If they have more advanced needs, we have the capability to enable them to do those things, but there’s no need to bring all of that up during a trial.

SugarChimp Onboarding Setup Steps

The Health Status page helps our customers know exactly what that status of their integration is at all times. It’s also a great tool for supporting our customers. We can simply ask them to send us a screenshot of their Health Status page to get a basic idea of what’s going on.

SugarChimp Onboarding Health Status

To help with onboarding, we wanted to make sure that when you installed SugarChimp it just worked. Because of this, we wanted to make sure that it worked well in all Versions and Editions of SugarCRM: Community Edition, SuiteCRM, Sugar 7, Pro, Enterprise, On-demand, etc. etc.

With all of that to consider, we basically chose the most restrictive environment, the Sugar 7 On-demand servers, and made sure that we work flawlessly there. Once we accomplished that, we were 95% of the way there to support everything else (MSSQL support, firewalled-systems, etc.).

Abstracting this complexity from the user allowed them to immediately jump into the product. All they need is a MailChimp and Sugar account.

Showing signs of life during the onboarding process let’s your trialing customers know support is part of the deal.

This touches more on the support side of things, but I believe is still very important to the onboarding process. Constantly communicating with your trialing customer is very important. If you sell on SugarOutfitters, there are several notification mechanisms automatically put in place for you to help with this communication: welcome email, trial started email, 7-day check up, 3-days before trial ends email.

We wanted to make it even more personal so we also send out at least one personal follow-up email to help facilitate a conversation in order to make sure they are setup successfully and seeing the full benefit of SugarChimp. It doesn’t have to be anything long or complex, just something simple:

Hi there, thanks for giving SugarChimp a try.

Do you have any questions about the integration?


You can completely automate this process with SugarOutfitters Webhooks, an email service like Mandrill and a simple script like this:

Even though you may be selling a packaged product, businesses will decide to buy based on your onboarding process and customer service.

By having a great onboarding process you give yourself the best chance at converting a trialing customer to a paid.

If you’d like to read more about what we’ve learned selling SugarCRM add-ons for the last several years, check out our guide for growing a self-sustaining SugarCRM add-on business.