Are you currently in search of the best CRM platform for your business? Undeniably, using the most reliable customer relationship management (CRM) platform plays a major role in ensuring business success.
In this article, you can learn about two of the most famous and sought-after CRM platforms, namely HubSpot and Salesforce. You will also gain a clear HubSpot vs Salesforce comparison, which will help you identify the key differences between the two and determine the right platform for you.
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What is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System?
For you to have an easier time comparing HubSpot and Salesforce, it is advisable to have a clear idea of a CRM system or software. A CRM system consists of the software tools needed by the sales team or the sales reps of a company or business.
The team needs CRM systems to manage, organize, and use customer information. The marketing tools in the CRM suite also aid in managing client information. It promotes better relationships not only with present customers but also with prospective and future ones.
With the help of your chosen CRM platform, it would be easier for you to build and strengthen your relationships with everyone who forms part of your business. You can maintain such strong customer relationships, too.
Your CRM tools can also help find and group contacts, monitor customer contact points, and track crucial messages. All these functions allow you to get a clear idea of how and when to communicate with business partners and prospects.
With the proven importance of a customer relationship management system, you must be very critical in selecting what you have to use for your business. Choose a well-structured one that can offer the following:
- Helps develop handoff processes and procedures between service and sales
- Provides a clear perspective of client/customer database
- Automates the lifecycle of a sales process
- Enhances the sharing of intelligence and functionality across each team within your business
Considering all the mentioned functions, it is safe to say that Salesforce and HubSpot are among your top choices. Before diving into their key differences, it would be a great idea to learn about the definitions of the two first.
HubSpot CRM Defined
HubSpot refers to a cloud-based CRM platform, which provides only one instance to manage not only your sales process and service but also the marketing and content of your company. It only has one database used in powering all the tools that you and your sales reps and marketing team can use for sales, marketing, service, and operations, among many other functions.
The fact that there is only one database is actually a good thing as it means that all the people in your organization will have an easier time working seamlessly on just one system of record. For starters, the HubSpot CRM was created and distributed by a renowned company that has the same name, HubSpot.
One remarkable fact about HubSpot is that it does not only provide CRM. It also offers other products, like systems designed for marketing automation and content management.
When Was the HubSpot Launched?
As for the time HubSpot CRM started, it was during its launching last 2014. After just around six years, it became one of the top-rated CRM solutions available for anyone who needs it.
The company also seems to supply businesses with most of the marketing and sales tools and services they need to succeed. These include content management, lead management, emails, and sales pipeline-data viewing.
The HubSpot CRM platform also consists of the Sales Hub, which the members of your sales team can use. It is in the Sales Hub where your team can access useful data and sales and marketing tools, like custom objects, conversation tracking, sales analytics, and sales engagement software.
The CRM software from HubSpot has a free version. Even if what you are availing of is only the free CRM, it has the ability to deal with the CRM requirements of various businesses, regardless if it is a small or a medium-sized enterprise.
You also have the option of upgrading to the complete marketing suite once your business expands and scales. The upgraded version provides you with an enterprise CRM, which works with you in gleaning actionable insights and growing your business.
Pros and Cons of HubSpot
To give you a quick overview of the capabilities and a couple of weaknesses of the HubSpot CRM software, here are its pros and cons:
- Offers a free basic plan – There are also paid plans with pricing structures that many consider reasonable and affordable.
- Simple, user-friendly, and easy to navigate marketing and sales tools, features, and interface
- Provides impressive customer support
- Works well even for beginners and small business enterprises who are still starting in the field
- Provides the sales and marketing tool needed in obtaining a clear picture of the interactions of customers with the website, sales team, and marketing materials.
- Puts all your sales, customer service, and marketing data in just one place, thereby preventing disorganization and confusion
- The number of integrations is lower compared to Salesforce.
- Not as configurable and customizable compared to other solutions
Salesforce CRM Defined
There is also what we call the Salesforce CRM, a platform based on a sales cloud. The main focus of this platform is to bring together companies and customers through key factors, like service, sales, and marketing and promotional applications.
The platform was developed using acquisitions. This gives all Salesforce users various connections and experiences. Such will greatly depend on the products used by the company availing of the Salesforce platform.
Sales team members who use Salesforce CRM have access to the Sales Cloud. In this Salesforce marketing cloud, they can monitor progress, access sales reports, utilize tools for sales automation, and manage leads.
When Was the Salesforce Launched?
Compared to the HubSpot, Salesforce CRM is older. It was launched and started its operations in 1999. From the moment it started to the present, though, Salesforce still holds a huge mark in the customer relationship management industry.
Salesforce was one of the first organizations to adopt the SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) model. The impressive reputation of Salesforce does not end there, as it was recognized as the first company that made the CRM (customer relationship management) concept famous.
Eventually, the software made steady updates, allowing it to keep up with the demands of the time. This also prompted Salesforce to start providing several more sales and marketing tools, particularly those used for marketing automation.
What’s great about these tools is that they operate based on detailed customization and insights based on artificial intelligence. All these factors and positive qualities are among the major reasons why Salesforce CRM continues to compete with HubSpot in terms of the quality of its offerings.
Pros and Cons of Salesforce
Now, let’s tackle the most common pros and cons of Salesforce, so you can have a glimpse of the capabilities of this CRM software and some of its downsides.
- A platform composed of numerous features with a high level of functionality and customizability
- Cloud-based, allowing it to operate from data centers that are available and accessible to users online
- Excellent training and support as the platform offers several avenues for organizations and users to gain help, improve their skills, and learn from the others in the community
- Good Salesforce integration capabilities, which means you can integrate it with several external systems
- Boasts of a complete CRM package, providing you with everything you need for effective customer relationship management
- Salesforce pricing is too costly for new and small business owners.
- Only has one tenant system, which means all clients use the same mainframe – This may result in forced updates since every client simultaneously receives updates.
HubSpot vs Salesforce: The Key Differences
For you to make a much better decision when it comes to choosing which is the best CRM software between HubSpot and Salesforce, here are some areas where you can compare the two.
HubSpot and Salesforce at a Glance
A quick glance at Salesforce and HubSpot will give you a brief idea of what the two can do. For instance, HubSpot CRM gains more recognition as a powerful tool for inbound marketing. Meanwhile, Salesforce CRM is more on sales automation.
Note, though, that the two offer almost the same set of features, including:
- Customer relationship management (CRM)
- Customer service tools
- Sales analytics and forecasting
- Contact scoring
- Marketing features
As for the differences, the biggest and most noticeable ones are the user interface and pricing. The two also tend to differ based on the exact features that are a bit more accessible or advanced to customers.
You will get to know more about other key differences between HubSpot and Salesforce in the next sections.
When comparing HubSpot vs Salesforce, it helps if you determine the specific audience they are targeting or catering their service to. HubSpot’s CRM is ideal for business owners and sales teams that prefer a hassle-free CRM solution, one that they can easily set up and is free to use.
This makes the CRM solution of HubSpot perfect for sole proprietorships and small business enterprises. Note, though, that this platform also provides a wide range of features that still make it appropriate for use in businesses that are on a larger scale.
Despite that, smaller businesses may still feel intimidated when planning to maximize all the functions of this CRM. On the other hand, the goal of Salesforce is to cater to the needs of all kinds of businesses.
This is the reason why you will notice its solutions being customized based on the size and needs of its clients. Note, though, that the learning curve in the CRM solution of Salesforce is quite big due to its plenty of features.
Salesforce made it a point to solve such a challenge by providing solid support to its customers. It even has a Salesforce University that caters to all concerns from their Salesforce customers.
Overall, most users recognize it as one of the most feature-rich and powerful software solutions that all types of businesses can use, though they have to make sure that they are also committed to spending time and exerting effort in implementing it.
Ease of Use
When it comes to ease of use, HubSpot CRM seems to be the clear winner. The main reason is that its overall design is clearly meant for small businesses. This means that even small business owners and beginners in using the CRM can easily adapt the software and the various HubSpot tools.
It is so user-friendly that it would be quick for you to determine how you can use and navigate the sales features in the system and optimize workflows. You can do so without seeking the help of technical support.
Upon expanding your platform use, there is classroom training that you can take advantage of. You can also access the HubSpot Academy, which is a great source of tips to improve your marketing strategy and sales overall.
Meanwhile, Salesforce is not that beginner-friendly, especially if you consider how heavy its platform is in terms of features. You may have to spend more time learning the basics of navigating each dashboard.
You can maximize your use of the Salesforce platform only with the aid of their technical support. Training your team is also a must. The good news is that Salesforce offers well-designed training resources online.
HubSpot vs Salesforce comparison will not also be complete without analyzing their pricing structures. The two are actually completely different in terms of pricing. Salesforce provides various packages, ranging from essentials to unlimited. Expect each package to consist of an extensive collection of functional and valuable features:
- Essentials plan for $25 per user monthly – This will be billed every year and provides all-in-one sales and support.
- Professional plan for $75 per user monthly – This will be billed yearly and offers complete CRM regardless of the size of your team.
- Enterprise plan for $150 per user monthly – This will also be billed yearly and provides a sales CRM, which is deeply customizable so it fits your business.
- Unlimited plan for $300 per user monthly – Billed yearly, this plan provides unlimited support and power.
What’s great about each plan is that it comes with a free trial for 14 days.
What About HubSpot’s Pricing?
Meanwhile, HubSpot has a basic CRM that is completely free. This is the reason why the company does not provide any free trials for their add-on plans that require a fee.
These add-on plans are the following:
Sales, service, and marketing hub
HubSpot CRM provides individual hubs for sales, service, and marketing. All these hubs offer starting plans with a price starting from $30 monthly.
Billed annually, the price will give you 1,000 contacts for the marketing hub, 5 users for the service hub, and 5 users for the sales hub.
You can also take advantage of HubSpot’s professional plans for each hub. You can get a plan starting at a fee of $800 for 1,000 contacts. You will also be getting 5 users each for the sales hub and service hub for $300 and $240 per month respectively. This will be billed on an annual basis.
There are also enterprise plans for all the mentioned hubs. These plans start from $3,200 monthly for 10,000 contacts for the marketing hub. The sales and service hubs will have 10 users each for $1,200 per month, respectively.
Most businesses also decide to seek the help of a CRM platform or software so they can automate certain business, sales, and marketing processes. The automation will surely be a welcome addition to their operations as such promotes utmost convenience.
Operated through artificial intelligence, you can expect the marketing automation features to contribute a lot to making the most out of the resources and time of every human employee in a company.
In terms of marketing automation, both HubSpot and Salesforce competed well. Despite that, many users still prefer the kind of automation they can get from Salesforce. The reason is that the AI-powered system works effectively in automating various processes, including customer onboarding and lead management.
The automation functions and features in Salesforce are also available at lower prices compared to HubSpot. Salesforce also has what they referred to as the Pardot marketing automation. It is an add-on functionality to its marketing cloud.
It is a very helpful feature as it works in automating sales funnels designed for new potential clients and further enhances the marketing capabilities of Salesforce.
HubSpot CRM offers solid options in terms of automation, too, but these features and functionalities are slightly less consolidated compared to Salesforce. In HubSpot, you can access tools, such as contact and lead management that offers automation capabilities.
In most cases, these capabilities and functionalities are more on letting you do the automation anytime and anywhere you see fit. Note, though, that these automation functions and features are not as good as the full-on automation suite of Salesforce. This means that in this area, the latter is the winner.
Plug-ins and Integrations
It is important to note that both Salesforce and HubSpot can be classified as comprehensive tools. Despite that, the two were also built while keeping in mind certain integrations.
HubSpot, for instance, consists of a lot of tools in their system – all of which are made in such a way that they work efficiently together. One example is the fact that transferring data to and from the CRM platform is easy and convenient once you start using its marketing suite.
Meanwhile, Salesforce seems to be on a constant quest for expanding its product offerings. This is to provide more dynamic experiences to customers. They also acquire startups and companies with a good chance of succeeding.
Salesforce also provides a kind of marketplace for their customers, allowing them to access plug-ins that help in expanding functionality and features. There are instances, though, when the additional features in Salesforce are quite difficult to use.
In other words, despite Salesforce’s robust and solid potential, it also involves a steeper learning curve.
In terms of the overall toolset, most users agree that Salesforce is the winner. The reason is that this platform has a higher number of tools, including Social Studio, Mobile Studio, and Marketing Cloud.
Using all these tools together makes it possible for your marketing team to offer support to any sales team and provide them with qualified leads. Note, though, that despite the better toolset and customization of Salesforce, it is more suitable for businesses on the enterprise level.
Meanwhile, HubSpot seems to focus more on making its tools and features more user-friendly. With that, expect businesses of all types and sizes to be able to use it. HubSpot even makes it possible for your business to customize your messages for each level of audience.
In addition, it has a few tools that you can use to automate marketing. Among them are collection forms and lead flows that can maintain your active sales pipeline.
Another area where you can find major differences between HubSpot and Salesforce is in customer support. HubSpot gives customer support via community forums, online training, and conventional channels providing one-on-one support.
They also provide various certifications with inbound lead generation as their primary focus. You can also gain additional support if you go for either the enterprise-level and professional plans – both of which are paid. This comes in the form of dedicated phone support.
Meanwhile, Salesforce offers support to users through certification infrastructure and well-designed online training. This kind of support will give you access to CRM tools’ technical aspects.
Furthermore, you can take advantage of the standard multi-channel support channels and community forums. This is where you can gain solutions and advice in case you need to troubleshoot certain issues.
You will also be pleased with Salesforce’s 24/7 customer support and configuration. You can get it from the enterprise plan, the highest among the tiers offered by Salesforce.
Reporting and Analytics
In this particular area, Salesforce tends to provide more benefits to its users. It is mainly because of their robust and solid feature catalog, which also has a corresponding robust analytics and reporting functionality.
The platform boasts of its widely customizable built-in system. This is the kind of customization that you can get from the entire platform, thereby providing you full control of what exactly you should track and how to do it.
In addition, you can take advantage of Tableau, a new analytics add-on, which provides a complete 360-degree view of the manner of interaction between your clients and your business. With that, you will get the chance to gain more actionable and better insights regarding how to boost sales.
Meanwhile, HubSpot provides plenty of reporting tools, too. As a matter of fact, the reporting tools they offer are comparable with those from Salesforce. The problem is that it provides limited metrics on each plan.
The only thing that you can get would be the capability of viewing revenue data. Other more useful features, such as sales forecasts and custom reports can only be accessed in costlier plans. This means there would be a need for you to pay more so you can access those features.
Level of Customization
In terms of customization, Salesforce is better than HubSpot. It gives full control, especially if you intend to customize process workflows and deal pipelines. You can also access its numerous options for customization.
If you are a Salesforce user, customizing processes and workflows without the need for dedicated developers is possible. You may need to spend more time on the customization because of the numerous features in this platform but it is manageable.
HubSpot also fares well in terms of customization, though, it is not on the same level as Salesforce. You can enjoy more options for customization only once you go for HubSpot’s paid plans.
Even those with limited technical capability and knowledge can modify views, deal stages, and pipelines based on their unique needs.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is HubSpot better than Salesforce?
With several CRM options available right now, the top-rated choices are HubSpot and Salesforce. The two offer huge sales teams and robust solutions capable of scaling growth. Note, though, that a lot of users prefer HubSpot over Salesforce.
This is especially true for smaller businesses that aim to achieve success and growth in the industry. The reason behind this is that HubSpot provides an accessible interface, which both beginners and expert HubSpot users can easily use.
Even if overall, HubSpot has less functionality compared to Salesforce, many still prefer the former because of its ease of use.
Are Salesforce and HubSpot the same?
No, they are not the same. Yes, the two are CRM platforms but they have plenty of differences, especially in the way they function. For one, many consider Salesforce a more robust and larger CRM composed of plenty of features.
A huge and reputable company is also behind it, making it possible for Salesforce to provide a high level of support and service to customers. With that, Salesforce is a good choice for bigger companies.
Meanwhile, HubSpot is ideal for smaller businesses. Their platform is more user-friendly and intuitive, which is why it works well for beginners and neophytes in marketing teams. In addition, HubSpot has a free plan that you can’t expect to get in Salesforce.
Is HubSpot bigger than Salesforce?
Salesforce is considered to be bigger than HubSpot, especially if you look at its features. The former is heavy on features, which makes it bigger compared to HubSpot. Despite that, HubSpot still seems to earn the interest of many as even if it is smaller, it is more user-friendly.
Is HubSpot more expensive than Salesforce?
No. HubSpot even provides a free plan, instead of a free trial, that lasts for a lifetime. Note, though, that some consider this free plan kind of weak as it only provides access to basic features, such as task tracking and contact management.
If you go for the free CRM plan, there is a possibility that you may miss essentials, like analytics and reporting. This makes it a great idea to test this software first before you commit to a premium plan, which requires a fee.
HubSpot and Salesforce are indeed among the most powerful and the best CRM platforms you can use. Just make sure to study the capabilities of each one, though, so you can better decide which one will fit your needs and requirements the most. Ensure that your sales and marketing teams can greatly benefit from your chosen CRM, too.