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Hubspot Review 2019

September 15, 2019

8:49 am

Hubspot logo
  • Established: 2006
  • HQ: Cambridge, MA, U.S.
  • Available for free
  • Additional integrations can be expensive
  • Intuitive interface

A solid free CRM option, though some features are limited unless you upgrade to premium

Software developer Hubspot offers its CRM service for free, or more accurately as a “freemium.” Additional integrations with Hubspot's sales and marketing tools will cost you extra. Still, the CRM's free features beat every other free CRM option on the market. With over 48,000 customers across more than 100 countries since its 2006 launch, Hubspot is a force worth reckoning with, at a price that's hard to beat.

What Is Hubspot?

Hubspot is a CRM platform with an ace up it's sleeve – you can use it for free. There's actually a huge amount of Hubspot features available on the free tier, although you'll need to step up to one of the premium Hubspot plans to get the very best out of the system.

Any CRM service should offer a wide range of features that varies greatly depending on the company or industry. One thing stays the same – the CRM platform is the backbone of all daily operations, and is therefore tough to replace. Hubspot knows this, and this is why its freemium model works so well. A free software service would appeal to anyone, and once it becomes irreplaceable, businesses will eventually shift to the higher-priced tiers they'll need as they grow.

Is it worth it? Hubspot's CRM offers all the basics, making the free offering a great deal for any business on a budget. It comes with a solid support team and an intuitive interface. While initially designed for small companies, Hubspot now serves businesses with up to 1,000 employees.

Here's a description of what features to expect from the various plans, and how much your business may wind up paying should it grow beyond the free offerings.

In This Guide:

Compare Hubspot Plans – Or Try it for Free

Is Hubspot CRM Good?

Hubspot is an excellent CRM platform – perhaps surprisingly so, given how much you can do with Hubspot without having to pay. In fact, we're so impressed by Hubspot's software that we've ranked it among the Best Salesforce Alternatives to consider, particularly when you consider how they match up against each other.

Why is it so good? For one, the sheer number of features available without having to pay a cent is truly staggering. From allowing you to track and group contacts to customer service features like live chat and support forms, the free version of Hubspot CRM isn't just a glorified free trial; it's a fully functioning CRM that can help your business grow.

Another reason Hubspot CRM shines above the rest is its ease of use. Not only is it built with first-timers in mind, it also provides a bevy of customer support options that can guide you through the more complicated aspects of the platform. Plus, with an online repository of knowledge — dubbed the Hubspot Academy — you'll be able to educate yourself on the more niche features throughout the platform to take full advantage of Hubspot CRM.

If you still aren't convinced, here's a bird's-eye view of Hubspot alongside its main competitors, to give you a better idea of how Hubspot CRM's features and pricing plans stack up to the competition.

Scroll horizontally on mobile devices to see the whole table:

SalesforceHubspotMicrosoft DynamicsZendeskZohoApptivoamoCRM
Salesforce logoHubspot logoMicrosoft Dynamics logoZendesk logoZoho logoApptivo logoAmoCRM logo
Data cap in basic plan612 MB/user5 documents10GB + 5GB/20 usersUnlimited1 GB base + 512 MB/user3GB/User200 MB/user
Email integrations
Social media integrations
Marketing Campaigns
Intuitive, easy to understand
APIOpenLimitedLimitedOpenLimitedLimitedOpen
Email Support
Live Chat Support
Phone Support
Free trial/version
Cheapest paid plan (user/month)$25$50$80+$89$12$8$15
Most expensive plan (user/month)$300$1,200$255$149$100$20$45
VerdictA market leading CRM for good reason and a great all-rounderA strong CRM system with an attractive free tierA robust CRM platform that embeds brilliantly with Microsoft productsAn inexpensive, simple CRM tool that can combine with other plug-ins and apps.Flexible, friendly and effective, Zoho also starts at low price plansStripped-down but a solid CRM platformIntuitive and simple, AmoCRM is a CRM suite that impresses

 

The best overview of Hubspot's features must be broken into two main segments. First, we'll look at the features you will receive entirely from the free options available. Second, we'll explain the expanded CRM features available from the paid tiers of Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, and Service Hub, all of which operate from within the Hubspot CRM platform.

Hubspot CRM Free Features

Hubspot CRM Tasks

The compact CRM dashboard features details including sales numbers, open and closed deals, deal goals, and overall team productivity. In addition, you'll have the following features (among others) available either through the CRM or through the free tiers of Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, and Service Hub:

  • Track contacts — your contacts include your leads, and can be grouped by labels including “unqualified” or “in progress”
  • Group by contacts, companies, or deals
  • Import, customize, or create new contacts, companies, and deals
  • Integrate email — includes Gmail and Microsoft Outlook
  • Easily log and manage any customer activities
  • Custom support forms — collect customer notes and convert them into tickets
  • Ticket tracking — reassign, prioritize, and archive
  • Live chat — talk to leads in real-time through your website
  • Facebook and Instagram ad integrations — build ad campaigns within Hubspot
  • Standard marketing reports — limited marketing data is recorded on one dashboard
  • Email scheduling and tracking — schedule one-off emails, and see the past 200 opens
  • Sales Documents — upload up to five documents to share with your team
  • Canned Snippets — store up to five canned responses to quickly drop into emails

Hubspot CRM Premium Features

Hubspot CRM Customer Conversation

Buy any of the paid service plans for the Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, and Service Hub, and you'll gain access to additional features that include but aren't limited to:

  • Blog and Content Creation Tools — create search engine-optimized blog posts from within Hubspot
  • Social Media — schedule and post to social networks from within Hubspot
  • More Sales Documents — upload unlimited documents
  • More Canned Snippets — store unlimited snippets
  • More email tracking — track and archive unlimited email open rates
  • Marketing metrics – with superior detail
  • Multiple Deal Pipelines — break down your deals by regions or verticals to uncover new metrics
  • Better revenue tracking — build better revenue reports
  • Customer Service Automation — streamline ticket resolutions with faster routing
  • Multiple teams — split your business agents into smaller groups for more efficient filters

Video: More About Hubspot

Learn about how Hubspot's products can benefit your company with this overview video. By consolidating their client's many integrations and services, the Hubspot CRM helps aggregate data, allowing businesses to offer more personalized customer support and earn a better return on their invest. 

Is Hubspot Easy to Use?

Hubspot is a relatively intuitive CRM platform to use for the first time. If you've never used any CRM before, then it's a great one to begin with – not least because of the excellent customer support and training available from Hubspot, which make things approachable for first-timers.

Hubspot offers free online training courses, called Hubspot Academy. With it, users can earn certifications in 10 classes including Design, Sales Software, or Inbound Marketing, which together clock in at a total of over 130 lessons. In addition, the site hosts ebooks, guides, and research reports.

Any users of the free CRM can access the HubSpot Community, a collection of forums to crowdsource information. In-person classroom training sessions are held at 20 cities internationally, and paid training courses are available online for between $500-$1,000 per person. Private in-person training options are available as well, but at $5,000/per day, they may not be approved by your finance team.

Phone support is available for customers in any tiers beyond the free version. 

Support & Training

Support options

  • Community forum
  • Phone: Included with paid plans
  • In-person and online training

Training options

  • Ebooks
  • Online reports
  • Online Guides

Is Hubspot Really Free?

Yes – and no. Hubspot's core CRM platform is entirely free, but the additional marketing, sales, and service hubs are all offered with tiered individual plans, as well as in a bundled suite. Without the additional services, the Hubspot CRM has limited functionality.

Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, and Service Hub can all be operated out of the free Hubspot CRM platform. While each of these three services can be used with a limited free tier, they also each come with three paid tiers – Starter, Professional, and Enterprise. These each vary in cost.

Below, we've summarized each of the Hubspot CRM plans. For a more detailed breakdown of each, see our guide to Hubspot Pricing.

Starter Tiers

The three Starter tiers all start at $50/month: The  Sales and Service Hub Starter tiers are each $50/user/month, while the Marketing Hub Starter tier starts at $50/month for the first 1,000 contacts in its database and increases for each additional thousand contacts.

Professional Tiers

The Professional Sales and Service Hub tiers are priced at $400/month for five users billed annually, and each cost an additional $80/month for each user after that.

The Professional Marketing Hub tier starts at $800/month billed annually for the first 1,000 contacts and increases $50/month for each additional thousand.

Enterprise Tiers

The Enterprise Sales and Service Hub tiers each start at $1,200/month for ten users billed annually, and cost another $120/month for each additional user. However, Hubspot estimates a hefty cost to get started with either Sales or Service: It includes onboarding and any applicable taxes and starts at $17,400 for ten users.

The Enterprise Marketing Hub tier starts at a $3,200/month base price billed annually, but increases just $10/month for each additional thousand beyond the first thousand contacts.

Growth Suite

If that all sounds like too much, you may want the Growth Suite, which packages all three services in the same tiers at a relatively good price. The Starter tier starts at $113/month, the Professional at $1,200/month, and the Enterprise at $3,600/month. The price increases are tied to the same metrics as those of the individual service tiers, though at a 25% discount.

Notably, you'll still have to pay a set fee to allow each of your employees to access both Sales and Service from within the Growth Suite. For example, each employee accessing the Enterprise Sales Hub beyond the first ten users will cost an additional $38/month, while that same employee also accessing the Enterprise Service Hub within the Growth Suite will cost  $38 more per month.

Is Hubspot Better than Salesforce?

Salesforce is admittedly the go-to standard for businesses looking to invest in CRM software, and for good reason. It's a robust, feature-rich, well-designed CRM platform with the resources to truly improve your business in a meaningful way. However, when compared to Hubspot CRM, the type of business you're running factors into the decision on which one is “best.”

While it is the industry standard, Salesforce can be a bit expensive for burgeoning companies looking to save resources where they can. Plus, with such a vast catalog of features, new users can get a bit bogged down by all the options. Yes, it's a great option for large companies looking for an enterprise solution, but otherwise, you could be saddled with more than you can handle.

That's why Hubspot CRM is perfect for growing businesses looking to scale. For one, you have access to the decidedly impressive free option that lets you get CRM software established without the added cost. Then, once you've made a bit of money and can afford to shell out a few bucks for a more robust option, Hubspot CRM's premium option will allow you to branch out and really dig into how your business can grow.

Simply put, Salesforce is the best for big companies, and Hubspot CRM is the best for growing companies that are newer to the software.

The Verdict – Is Hubspot Worth the Money?

Want the best of Hubspot? You'll need to pay. The free version of the Hubspot CRM isn't unlimited, and the unlimited version isn't free. That said, Hubspot Free provides a great framework that businesses can use to begin structuring their customer relations and to learn how to better to streamline them. Hubspot Free is a recommended CRM for businesses who need or want a free option, but for the very best CRM features, we'd recommend levelling up to one of the premium tiers – you're unlikely to be disappointed.

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Adam is a writer at Tech.co and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for the last decade. He's also a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry (and Digital Book World 2018 award finalist) and has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect. When not glued to TechMeme, he loves obsessing over 1970s sci-fi art.