Military AutoSource sells cars that go 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds. But the speed of the company’s homegrown, desktop-based CRM system was more like a four-cylinder car going uphill: slow and uncertain. Data integrity was lacking. Crucial platforms couldn’t talk to each other, and some that did, left gaps that impacted financial forecasting.


Military AutoSource test-drove Salesforce and Sugar – comparing total cost of ownership, customization, hosting options, modification costs and mobile use. Military AutoSource easily gave the checkered flag to Sugar Enterprise, with integrations for Marketo and the company’s back-office and quoting systems. “On balance, we saw superior value in Sugar,” says John Cannon, Military Autosource’s IT director.


  • Resolved data synchronization issues
  • Reduced CRM orientation time for new sales staff and developers
  • Delivered time-saving mobile functionality without customization costs
  • Improved contact tracking
  • Standardized multiple lead management solutions


One of the world’s largest automobile sellers, Military AutoSource works exclusively on sales to U.S. military, government contractors and diplomats stationed outside the United States. The 70-year-old company operates without a showroom, displays vehicles on overseas military bases and ships, and uses a distributed sales staff at on-base and off-base locations in more than 100 offices in 30-plus countries.

Up and Running within Four Months

With sales agents all over the world, Military AutoSource needed a reliable CRM that could improve sales tracking and forecasting, be easily customized and integrate seamlessly with most business software applications. The company also was looking to reduce time-to-value for new hires and add value with mobile apps for field-based personnel.

“We were certain from the start that we had made the right choice and it was reinforced when we had time-to-value of four months with our first business unit up and running,” says John.

Having on-premise or third-party hosting options with Sugar gave Military AutoSource more choices than Salesforce, which requires hosting in its cloud. And Salesforce charges extra for data entered from mobile devices, while Sugar doesn’t. “Sugar has no limitations to the number of custom modules and workflows, while Salesforce does,” says John. “Our sales team found Sugar intuitive to use, right out of the box.”

Marketo Integration Is Important

The company had been using an automated marketing program with its old platform, but there were shortcomings. John explains: “We needed to close the leaky funnel between Marketo and multiple lead management systems, so we could consolidate numbers into one source.” Now when a customer interacts with the website, reads content or comments on social media, Marketo tracks the activity and pushes it into Sugar. “Anywhere the customer starts with us, it will land in Marketo or Sugar or both. That’s how we closed the leaky funnel,” John says.

The company also created a Marketo activity dashboard in Sugar, so sales staff can see a customer’s web navigation choices, emails and other data without leaving Sugar. “This gives the agent good insight into a lead before they even talk with the prospect. It’s helping our sales force pretty dramatically,” says John.

Getting the Most Out of CRM

Mobile functionality, which comes at no extra charge, was an important element in the Sugar choice, and Military AutoSource has begun using mobile to input sales leads.

As its use of Sugar evolves, John sees the CRM taking over more functions. He plans to integrate the company’s quoting and deposit-capture system and its VOIP system. As it looks to create the entire Customer Journey portrait, Military AutoSource also plans to add its production tracking, delivery and finance aspects.

“We see Sugar becoming our corporate CRM, not just our pre-sales CRM,” John says.


  • Marketo, marketing automation
  • IBM AS400 server
  • MilQuote, proprietary CPQ software
Industry Automotive
Location New York City