HOWTO: Change Sugar from a B2B app into a B2C app in three easy steps

sugarcrmdevelopers —  September 8, 2011 — 13 Comments

Most SugarCRM customers are businesses that use Sugar to manage their sales, marketing and support interactions with other businesses. This is commonly referred to as a B2B, or business-to-business, model.

But Sugar can also be used in a B2C, or business-to-consumer, environment. This is where a business uses Sugar to interact not with other businesses but with consumers. A typical example is an insurance agency that sells insurance claims to individual consumers.

Sugar by default places the Accounts module front-and-center in key linkages to other modules, like Opportunities. For instance, an Account must first exist before you can create an Opportunity. This is in line with B2B requirements. Still, it is possible to configure Sugar to support a B2C model where the notion of Account is secondary.

Thanks to a few easy to do customization in Sugar, you can change the default B2B workflow and structure of the application to a B2C one. To do this, do the following:

  1. Hide the Accounts module in the ‘Display Module Tabs and Subpanels’ admin panel
  2. Add this directive to the config.php file:
    $sugar_config['require_accounts'] = false;
  3. Hide the account_name field from the panels on the Contacts, Cases, Contracts, Leads, Opportunities, Products, Targets, and Quotes modules

There may be other areas in the app to tweak based upon your business requirements and other modules you have loaded, but this should get you out of having the need of using the Accounts module throughout the app. Let us know in the comments on any other tweaks or tips for B2C app building on the Sugar platform.

13 responses to HOWTO: Change Sugar from a B2B app into a B2C app in three easy steps

  1. 

    We use Sugar for B2C, but we actually still use the accounts module as the hub for each client, as it makes sense to do so in insurance where each customer might be buying multiple products and it makes sense to attach the opportunities to an account in this fashion.

    My biggest issue is with the convert lead screen, and how it is laid out, and that it cannot be modified in studio, along with the way that email marketing is expected to work. Rather than marketing on a per lead basis, it wants to operate via target lists, which would also be good but lacks the individual nature of real time individual leads.

    The accounts field in of itself isn’t a big issue. In B2C we call those clients. One of the major failings of other CRM systems intended for B2C is that each lead has a single note system attached to it and a single opportunity, and limited ability to nurture client relationships, where Sugar is specifically designed to do that for B2B, however if you take away the accounts module you remove a good deal of that functionality.

    This ignores an important part of sales. Who is easier to market, a current client, or a new lead who has no prior relationship with you?

  2. 

    I am a new startup that sells one software application on-line to PhD students and University Professors on an international scale. I have tried and quit several CRM’s including SalesForce because none can seem to understand or provide a B2C version. Within the past year, I have consulted with a Sugar sales person who advised that Sugar is not able to operate in a B2C format. 

    Happy to find this Tip, but the first comment suggests that this B2C modification might not be a complete fix.  I visited Sugar after receiving a notice that Sugar and ConstantContact can now integrate. I use ConstantContact for lead, trial, and purchaser drip marketing because their email autoresponders work.

    If anyone can understand why the CRM’s cannot see the huge market for a B2C marketing/sales/case management format. How difficult can it be to reconfigure?

    If anyone knows an alternative way that small businesses who deal with individual human leads/customers handle CRM, please let me know. Every Doctor, Attorney, retail organization, and small business selling to the individual consumer…..there must be a path to CRM that I can’t find……or a vast untapped market for CRM’s.

    Please reply before my CRM needs outstrip my excel spreadsheet! 🙂  …….Thanks, Dr. Bob

    • 

      Bob: Our company, Cynergy Solutions (http://www.cynergysolutions.net) has configured SugarCRM for numerous B2C clients. The key is to have someone who understands how Sugar’s configuration tools can be best leveraged to alter the workflow or relationships between modules to best suit the B2C company’s needs.  Feel free to give me a call at 949-309-5099 if you’d like to discuss. I’m in California and we do most of our projects via remote delivery, so location is usually not an issue.

  3. 

    I agree with Dr Bob – why is finding a B2C CRM so difficult?
    Perhaps this type of product is not called ‘CRM’ but ‘sales tracking’ or ‘quote tracking’.
    – MarkF

  4. 

    Hi John,

    The Accounts module is useful to have for B2C implementations. One example is of a travel company dealing with customers and transport / activity providers.

    In this scenario, Accounts Opportunities have a many – many relationship. This has been implemented as a many to many in Sugar, but yet we can only add one account per opportunity.
    I find this quite frustrating, there should be an easy way to turn it off via Studio.

    -Jesal

    • 

      Jesal, Please could you advise me as to whether you have found a system app workaround, and if not, how have you managed your business workflow for such scenarios, do you record the items elsewhere? We are about to implement SugarCRM, however as per the theme we are working with our developers to create a B2C workflow. Chinasa

  5. 

    This is a useful configuration, unfortunately it does not disable the required Account on the Lead Conversion form – anybody else seen this and come up with a handy fix – would this be a bug?

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