What it is, how much it costs, and why it’s going to help your business beat the competition
- Highly scalable, and its modular pricing structure means you’ll only pay for the features you need
- Its interface is easy to use, and nice to look at
- Generous free plan
- Highly-rated by its customers
- Free training, courses, and research reports available online
- Email and phone-based customer support not available with a free plan
- Adding extra integrations and contact storage is expensive
- One-off setup fees may be involved
At a glance:
Offering an impressive free version, remarkable ease of use, and a wealth of online customer support resources, HubSpot represents CRM at its finest.
- 01 | What is HubSpot?
- 02 | What are HubSpot’s features and benefits?
- 03 | How much does HubSpot cost?
- 04 | What’s HubSpot’s customer support like?
- 05 | Is HubSpot right for my business?
- 06 | What do HubSpot’s customer reviews say?
- 07 | How does HubSpot stack up against the competition?
- 08 | What other CRM software could I consider?
- 09 | Expert verdict
What is HubSpot?
HubSpot provides leading Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software for businesses in the US and beyond. It’s easy to get the hang of and use, and can help your team boost the quality and scale of its sales, marketing and customer service efforts.
HubSpot acts as a central hub for all your company’s lead, deal, and contact information. You can view everything that’s in your pipeline at a glance, and easily visualize and manipulate crucial data via a series of intuitive, drag-and-drop dashboards.
Plus, HubSpot is all cloud-based, meaning there’s no bulky downloads to manage, or lengthy installations to get bored over. You or your team can log in from wherever in the world you’re working, and all instantly be on the same page.
So, how does HubSpot work? What are its features, and how much does it cost? Is HubSpot’s customer support up to scratch, and what are its customers saying about it online? Read on, as we shine the spotlight on one of the world’s leading CRM systems – and how it can benefit your business.
HubSpot: Quick Facts
- Founded in 2006 by Dharmesh Shah and Brian Halligan
- Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts
- Used by more than 64,500 customers in over 100 countries
- Registered $163 million in revenue in Q2 2019 alone
- Employs almost 3,000 people around the world
What are HubSpot’s features and benefits?
HubSpot follows the golden rule of any and all CRM software – you get what you pay for. HubSpot offers a fairly robust free plan, but if you want the really juicy features (you know, the ones that are going to help your business thrive, grow, and make money) you’ll need to shell out for one of the paid plans.
Skip to our pricing section below to find out more about the costs involved, or scroll on for HubSpot’s features and benefits.
HubSpot’s free features
As well as several paid plans, HubSpot offers a version that’s completely, 100% free. While understandably lighter on features, this plan is excellent if you’ve just started out in business, or manage a small team. So what’s included?
- Contact and company management
- Deal, task, and activity reporting
- Gmail, Outlook, and HubSpot Connect integrations
- Reporting dashboards
- Email templates, plus tracking and notification features
- Conversational bots and live chat functionality
- Ad management and email marketing
- Meeting scheduling
✔ Contact and deal management
Keeping track of clients, leads and deals as they develop isn’t always easy – especially if you’re using spreadsheets or tatty notebooks to get by. With HubSpot, though, it is easy. Create and customize new contacts with ease, or import them in bulk from elsewhere.
When they’re in your database, you can group them based on company, or by labels such as “in progress” or “qualified”. Through this, you can avoid an important relationship ebbing away, or a vital deal slipping through the cracks.
✔ Email integration and templates
No CRM is an island – therefore, it’s important that the software you choose integrates seamlessly with your existing systems and processes. Fortunately, HubSpot boasts intelligent integration with both Gmail and Outlook. HubSpot connects to your current inbox, so you can quickly send emails through the CRM.
Better still, HubSpot’s pre-programmed email templates (pictured) let you create beautiful communications, send them en masse to your clientele, and then monitor how many people have opened them.
The catch? You’re limited to five email templates on a free plan, and will also need to upgrade to make the most of HubSpot’s smart email marketing tools.
✔ Live chatbots
HubSpot offers you the opportunity to integrate a live chat feature into your website, completely gratis. Turn casual browsers into leads (and later, hopefully, into sales!) by engaging with them in real-time, as soon as they land on your site.
Chat with prospects at your desk from within the CRM, or on the go via HubSpot’s mobile app. Alternatively, use HubSpot’s smart Slack integration to get live chat notifications, and carry on the conversation without having to exit Slack.
Upgrade to a paid plan to benefit from HubSpot’s conversational bots, which save you time by routing your customers to the right advisor or online support resource.
Lead-ing you on: HubSpot’s flirtatious lead qualifying bot does your job for you
HubSpot’s premium features
We’ll level with you. While it offers big benefits for smaller teams, HubSpot’s free version won’t satisfy the sales, marketing, and relationship management needs of ambitious businesses.
If you’re looking to grow your team and client base – or increase the dynamism and scope of your marketing campaigns – then you’ll need to embrace the power and scalability offered by HubSpot's paid plans. But what do you get for your money?
- Blog and search-engine-optimized content creation
- Enhanced social media integration
- Social listening tools for monitoring mentions of your brand and industry
- Automated customer service issue resolution
- Unlimited document uploads
- Better marketing metrics and revenue tracking
- Attractive, web-optimized calls-to-action (CTAs) for your website
- Multiple deal pipelines for segmenting sales data by region or vertical
✔ Social media integration
HubSpot advertises integration with five social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn (pictured), Twitter, and YouTube.
However, the smaller print tells us that you’ll need to have a subscription to HubSpot's Marketing Professional plan to benefit from the first four social sites – and for YouTube, you’ll need the pricier Marketing Enterprise package.
With social media integration, you can easily curate and share blogs, content, and landing pages from within the CRM, adding synergy to your marketing and social campaigns. You’ll also benefit from HubSpot’s automated post scheduling feature, as well as its in-built social listening tool.
Respond to customer complaints or mentions of your brand on social media in real-time, measure engagement with your posts, and create custom streams for the keywords that mean the most to your business.
✔ Email tracking and analytics
Marketing campaigns hit a wall when you’re not accurately tracking their progress and efficacy. With HubSpot’s premium marketing features, though, you’ll get detailed insights into your email opens, clicks, and reads – and the revenue they’re bringing in.
Make your mark(eting): HubSpot lets you craft targeted email campaigns with ease
What’s more, HubSpot’s marketing automation features let you tailor emails to your lead’s behavior, and target them with offers and content that’s sure to hit the spot. And for sales teams, HubSpot lets you schedule emails to go out at the date and time your prospects are most likely to read them.
✔ Automated customer service
The importance of treating your customers right can’t be overstated – poor customer service alone costs US companies $62 million every year. That said, it’s not always easy to find the time to provide the requisite level of attentiveness to your customers… that is, unless you have a paid subscription to HubSpot’s Service Hub.
Its premium features automate your customer service workflow with smart task creation, ticket routing, and escalation features. Leverage poor feedback responses to ping an instant, automated marketing email to the customer, or let the right person in your service team know.
The golden ticket: HubSpot lets you automate, prioritize, and effectively deal with those all-important customer issues
So there you have it – not all of HubSpot’s myriad features and benefits, but certainly a few of the important ones. By now, though, you’ve probably only got one thing on your mind…
How much does HubSpot cost?
HubSpot is made up of three products, or ‘hubs’:
- Marketing Hub: Contains all the features you need for capturing leads and turning them into loyal customers with engaging, targeted marketing
- Sales Hub: Perfect for busy sales teams, this product helps your team close more deals and better manage their emails and calls
- Service Hub: Empowers your team to provide excellent customer support, and turn customers into ambassadors of your brand
Each product is available in three ascending tiers: Starter, Professional, and Enterprise. Which one you go for will depend on the number of paid users you require, as well as the level of features. It’ll also depend on your budget – because HubSpot’s pricing plans get… well, pricey – and fast. Let’s take a look at the damage.
|Marketing Hub||Sales Hub||Service Hub||Growth Suite||Additional 1,000 contacts||Try it now|
|Starter (1 paid user, 1,000 contacts included)||$50 per month||$50 per month||$50 per month||$113 per month||$20 per month||Try HubSpot Starter|
|Professional (5 paid users, 1,000 contacts included)||$800 per month||$400 per month||$400 per month||$1,200 per month||$50 per month||Try HubSpot Professional|
|Enterprise (10 paid users, 10,000 contacts included)||$3,200 per month||$1,200 per month||$1,200 per month||$4,200 per month||$10 per month||Try HubSpot Enterprise|
The Growth Suite gives you the Marketing, Sales, and Service Hub all rolled into a single package, and with a 25% discount.
Regardless of the specific ‘hub’ or pricing tier you select, what you pay will depend on the amount of contacts you plan to store, as well as the number of people you’ll need using the software.
And, if you opt for the more advanced plans, HubSpot will charge one-time fees to get you set up. Here’s what they look like, by hub:
Marketing Hub one-time fees:
- Starter: None
- Professional: $3,000
- Enterprise: $6,000
Sales/Service Hub one-time fees:
- Starter: None
- Professional: $250
- Enterprise: $3,000
Want to start mixing and matching, and put together the HubSpot CRM package that’s right for your business? Click here to get started.
What’s HubSpot’s customer support like?
HubSpot limits phone and email support to its paying customers only. Free HubSpot users, however, still have a huge arsenal of online customer support resources at their disposal.
HubSpot’s Knowledge Base is an online hub packed full of recent articles, blog posts, and how-to guides to help you get to grips with every aspect of the software. Whether you need a hand getting started, or just a bit of help overcoming a gripe with a rogue feature, you can be confident the key lies somewhere within the Knowledge Base.
HubSpot also offers Twitter-based support (@HubSpotSupport), as well as free, on-demand webinars for its users. You can also sign your team up for complimentary courses in the HubSpot Academy, for online training in sales, customer service, and inbound marketing.
And if that wasn’t enough? Access to pages and pages of relevant business research and reports (pictured) to help you grow your small business, too. Not bad!
Is HubSpot right for my business?
“I’m a sole trader looking to try CRM – it’ll be my first time using the software.”
Good news! HubSpot is the ideal tool to help you get established in business. Its free version is ideal for sole traders, and should provide everything you need for contact management, customer service, and basic marketing. And in terms of usability, HubSpot is simply one of the simplest CRM systems on the market.
“I manage a small team of 10 people – but we’re looking to double that by the end of the year. Can HubSpot help?”
If there’s one thing HubSpot has downpat, it’s scalability. Its range of products and pricing tiers mean that its capacity (and functionality) grows alongside your team, customer base, and (hopefully!) your profits.
And, as your team grows, you’ll have the option to upgrade your HubSpot subscription to a higher tier. If you’re not hiring more people right now, but your client list is ballooning, you can add extra contact storage in lots of 10,000 at a time, for between $10 and $50 per month.
Alternatively, you could stay on the free plan. It offers unlimited users, although you’ll be missing out on a lot of features. And it’s not fun to miss out!
“I’m a realtor and I’ve been thinking about getting a CRM system. Is HubSpot the one?”
While HubSpot is excellent for businesses of all types and sizes, it’s not an industry-specific solution. And if you’re in a specialized field, such as realty, healthcare, or construction, you’ll want a CRM that reflects the niche demands of the industry.
Realty CRM software is built by experts in the field, and is tailored exclusively to helping you manage the rigours of real estate. Our top recommendations for real estate CRM are Freshsales, Salesforce, Lion Desk and Wise Agent.
▶ Read more: Best CRM Software for the Real Estate Industry
What do HubSpot’s customer reviews say?
No HubSpot review worth its salt would be complete without a roundup of what the CRM provider’s own customers are saying. We took to the wonders of the world wide web to get the downlow on how HubSpot stacks up. So what did we find?
Well, one thing that comes up a lot is how easy HubSpot is to use, as well as its impressive range of CRM tools and solid customer support:
“HubSpot has many features that I like. It makes it easy for me to create a blog, email, or landing page, and navigation is simple on the platform. Customer support is very good – they always help me with problems, and their answers are quick.
“The function of being able to download free images from iStock is excellent, as it contains many relevant images, and I can adapt them on the landing pages. Without a doubt, HubSpot is a very useful platform.”
- Lisandro, HubSpot customer
“[HubSpot has] clearly been designed by people familiar with the job; the tool includes lots of great features, and is easy to use. Also, its support is absolutely fantastic. Their team really works hands-on with you to solve anything you can throw at them.”
- John, HubSpot customer
However, some reviewers did point out that there are areas in which HubSpot can improve. Most online reviews in this vein center around HubSpot’s analytical features – mainly its dashboards, and the depth of its features for attributing the correct source of leads:
“Its dashboards and analytics aren't quite as robust as a standalone solution like Google Analytics, although I note that it has been building them out lately (HubSpot frequently upgrades the platform, and makes it easy to learn about new features).”
- John, HubSpot customer
“We are finding the attribution reporting to be a little challenging. It would be great to be able to identify which leads were coming from Google Display vs. Search, and Facebook vs. LinkedIn. Right now, the reporting is broken out at a higher level: Paid Search, Paid Social. If we could get one level deeper in our source reports, that would be amazing.”
- Erika, HubSpot customer
All in all, HubSpot comes out pretty well – it’s well-rated by its customers across the board, and is constantly working to upgrade its software to remove any bugbears.
That’s how HubSpot does with its users. But how does it compare to its peers?
How does HubSpot stack up against the competition?
CRM software is big business – the market is expected to be worth more than $81 billion by 2025. So, unsurprisingly, there are a lot of CRM companies out there – and they’re all competing for your business. Choice is great if you’re ordering takeout, but when trying to choose between different CRM software options… well, not so much.
We’re here to help you decide. Read on to see how HubSpot weighs in against three of its fiercest rivals: Zoho, Marketo, and industry-leading CRM Salesforce.
HubSpot vs Zoho
Zoho is a popular CRM choice for small businesses, and for good reason. It’s extremely easy to use, and, like HubSpot, offers a free version. Zoho has four different paid plans – offering flexibility, and opening the door for even the tightest of budgets.
Zoho is also one of the cheapest CRM systems on the market – its cheapest plan will set you back just $12 (per user, per month), and it’s most expensive plan prices up at a paltry $100 per month for each user. When compared to HubSpot, you’re looking at a difference of between hundreds and thousands of dollars a month.
That said, you get what you pay for – and what HubSpot’s premium plans lack in affordability, they make up for in pure, unadulterated functionality. When looked at through this lens, Zoho seems a little basic – especially when it comes to marketing automation, and tracking revenue from social and ad campaigns. HubSpot wins!
HubSpot vs Marketo
Adobe-owned Marketo isn’t strictly a CRM system – more a marketing tool for email automation and nurturing. It’s excellent for larger businesses looking to streamline workflow, and, like HubSpot, is relatively quick to set up and use.
Unlike HubSpot, however, Marketo’s reporting and analytics features are limited. Marketo also requires deep integration with another CRM for your team to be able to make the most of its automation features. In other words, you’re having to pull together things from different places to get the result you want.
With HubSpot, though, you get both CRM and marketing rolled into one, with advanced sales and customer service features to boot. Plus, this duel is one that HubSpot actually wins when it comes to the price point. Marketo starts at a whopping $895 per month, and goes up to a huge monthly fee of $3,195.
HubSpot comes out on top again. But it’s about to face its biggest test…
HubSpot vs Salesforce
Salesforce is the undisputed kingpin of CRM software. With 19% of the CRM market share and over 150,000 customers globally, it’s cemented its status as a CRM celebrity. And for good reason – it offers the best sales reporting in the industry, and its advanced, AI-powered analytics are unparalleled. It also beats Hubspot on price, with a basic package available for as low as $25 per user, per month.
With all that said, HubSpot is no pushover. It’s easier to use, and has a more accessible, aesthetically-pleasing interface. Plus, HubSpot has a trump card…
A free plan. Yep, Salesforce offers a 30-day trial, but then you’ll have to either quit or upgrade. HubSpot’s free version stays free, forever – for an unlimited number of users. We’ll call this one a draw.
What other CRM software could I consider?
Read this far, and still not convinced that HubSpot is the right answer to your business’ CRM question? Take a quick look at how HubSpot compares to other popular CRM alternatives, and click into the table to browse more expert reviews.
|CRM||Data cap (basic plan)||Cheapest paid plan (per user, per month)||Most expensive paid plan (per user, per month)||Free version?|
|Microsoft Dynamics||10GB + 5GB/20 users||$80+||$255||No|
|amoCRM||200MB per user||$15||$45||No|
|Salesforce||612MB per user||$25||$300||No|
|Zoho||1GB base + 512MB per user||$12||$100||Yes|
▶ Read more: Compare CRM Software Prices
At the start of this article, we said HubSpot represents CRM at its finest – and we stand by it. Sure, the pricing plans do get steep a little quicker than we’d like, and it could be more generous with its email and phone-based assistance. But ultimately, HubSpot is one of the finest CRM systems available today.
Keen to try it? Click here to go through to HubSpot’s website and get started. Alternatively, keep reading to get hub close and personal with some CRM alternatives, or return to the top of the page and do it all again.