HubSpot CRM provides a powerful platform that's both intuitive and easy to use, cementing itself firmly in our list of the best CRM software for small and midsize businesses looking to consolidate their sales, marketing, and customer service tools. In this HubSpot CRM review, we’ll discuss some of its key features and capabilities.
HubSpot CRM review: Snapshot
HubSpot is the perfect solution for businesses seeking powerful, easy-to-use CRM software, with the lightweight but highly capable free-forever plan making the platform accessible for smaller or newer businesses.
This free plan provides a capable platform to manage and maintain new leads through a variety of HubSpot's complimentary CRM, marketing, sales, and customer service tools. These include dashboard reporting, deal tracking, and pipeline management, all accessed through a simple and easy-to-use interface.
However, it’s worth noting that the free plan comes with limited customer support, so you won’t have access to in-app chat or phone support. Additionally, while HubSpot users can benefit from integration with hundreds of third-party apps, some of these do require an upgrade to one of the paid plans.
If you’re looking to upgrade, you have a couple of options. HubSpot tools are split across five hubs—Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, CMS, and Operations—and each comes with a Starter, Professional, or Enterprise paid plan. Alternatively, combine elements of each Hub with the CRM Suite bundle upgrade, starting from $45 a month.
While Starter plans feel affordable and offer ample capabilities for smaller businesses, prices can rise steeply if an upgrade to the Professional plan is needed. When it comes to pricing, competitors like Zoho CRM's Standard plan certainly work out cheaper, especially if your business is still in its infancy.
So, is HubSpot the best CRM software for you? In our HubSpot CRM review, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to make an informed decision.
Read on for the full review.
HubSpot CRM’s competitors
|Hubspot CRM||Insightly||Zoho CRM|
|Pros||Free-forever plan - Simple interface - Third-party app integrations||Automatic lead generation - Microsoft Power BI integration for reporting||Easy to use - Numerous integrations available via Zoho Marketplace - Automatic lead creation from social media mentions|
|Cons||Pricey premium plans - Phone support only available on paid plans||Limited lead generation tools - Interface requires getting used to - Additional costs associated with phone support||Full customization of certain features unavailable - Support only available Monday to Friday via email|
|Verdict||Offering both free and premium CRM software plans, HubSpot provides an impressively competent yet straightforward CRM platform||As one of the leaders in the CRM software space, Insightly provides effective tools that help businesses manage sales||Zoho CRM excels at lead capture and management while offering affordable upgrade options for small businesses|
|View deals||Visit site||Visit site||Visit site|
HubSpot CRM: Key features
A feature that makes HubSpot CRM initially stand out is how easy it is to get started, making it ideal for newcomers to the CRM world.
During setup, HubSpot asks a series of questions to determine how you plan to use the platform, and offers guided tours of each individual area like Marketing, Sales, and Customer Service. Extras like the HubSpot Academy—the complimentary online training hub full of courses—are also a nice touch.
Another aspect that makes HubSpot stand out from its competitors is the sheer volume of features included in the free-forever plan. For instance, the shared inbox feature keeps all incoming email and live chat correspondence in one place, making client communication more accessible for the whole team.
Creating and sending basic email templates doesn’t take long, either; you have the option to effortlessly import contacts from external mail providers, and then design your email around one of five templates, saving you valuable time to focus on other tasks.
The free plan also offers the ability to add a support form and tracking code to your website so that you can see what visitors are doing, capture their details in your database, and track interactions with them over time.
HubSpot CRM: Key features and highlights
It’s easy to create deals within the Sales dashboard in less than five minutes, or make activity reports that can be filtered according to team member or customer engagement level. These can be accessed and downloaded in various formats, such as xlsx or pdf, to use outside of the HubSpot environment.
HubSpot’s free plan doesn't just help you organize and automate sales and marketing tasks either: it also streamlines your day-to-day processes. For instance, managers can send notes to salespeople to get them to follow up with new leads, easily share the deal forecast and dashboard with the touch of a button, and customize deal stages to match existing sales processes.
Connecting external ad accounts is also very straightforward, with prompts throughout showing you how to pull your campaign data into HubSpot via Facebook, Google Ads, or LinkedIn, so that it’s all in one place. You can connect up to two ad accounts on the free plan.
For teams looking for more specific platform capabilities, an upgrade to the Starter plan for individual hubs or the CRM Suite bundle provides stronger tools. For instance, on the Marketing hub’s Starter plan, you can quickly create branded, optimized email campaigns that can be sent in bulk to targeted leads through segmented lists.
You can also see how and when your clients are interacting with your emails to further optimize future campaigns. Likewise, with the CRM Suite Starter plan, you’ll find feature upgrades like additional ad account options, meeting scheduling, two deal pipelines, and 5,000 email templates.
Features like these make onboarding and working with HubSpot feel simple for both beginners and larger players looking for a new CRM solution, making the software a solid choice for a variety of businesses.
HubSpot CRM: What’s new?
HubSpot claims that this year's product updates add even more power to their already intuitive software, with the most notable being the introduction of the Operations Hub. This new software aims to assist with general operations, simplifying processes with tools like historical data syncing between HubSpot and dozens of popular third-party apps, plus company insights on your clients.
The Operations Hub aims to connect apps, clean your client data, and automate your business processes in one central CRM platform, which can be accessed via the free plan, or with additional features as part of the CRM Suite Starter plan.
HubSpot users can also now enjoy campaign data in the custom report builder, allowing specific metrics like video plays, page views, and conversions to be added to custom reports to show how campaigns are performing.
Finally, HubSpot has introduced the ability to create deals from within Gmail and Outlook via the HubSpot sales extension. Salespeople can now enter the deal name, stage, amount, and other required details in just a few simple clicks without interrupting their workflow.
HubSpot CRM: Pricing
While HubSpot generously provides a strong free-forever plan, there are also a variety of paid plans to suit various business needs. The cheapest is the Starter plan, which costs $50 a month, or $45 a month if paid annually, for two paid users.
Upgrading to the Starter plan provides all the free tools with increased limits and removes HubSpot branding from things like forms, landing pages, and live chat features. Starter plan customers can also access email and in-app chat support to receive help much faster than free plan users.
|Plan type/feature||Free plan||Suite Starter plan||Insightly Plus plan||Zoho CRM Standard plan|
|Cost per month||Free||$50 for two users||Unavailable||$16 per user|
|Cost per year||Free||$540 for two users (save $60/10%)||$348, billed at $29 a month per user||$144, billed at $12 a month per user (save $48/25%)|
|Contact / lead management||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Workflow automation||X||✓||X||✓ (some)|
|Reporting and analytics||✓||✓||✓||✓|
Testing HubSpot CRM
Before you decide on whether to choose HubSpot CRM, it’s important to determine the simplicity and capability of the platform plus the available support. Below, we analyze HubSpot based on these aspects to help you determine whether it’s right for you.
How easy is it to get started with HubSpot CRM?
A HubSpot account can be created in under five minutes and without any payment details. You can create an account from scratch, though it’s quicker to use an existing Google account.
Once basic details have been entered, HubSpot asks a series of questions regarding your job title, industry, company name, size, and your previous experience using CRM platforms, to help tailor your experience and offer invaluable demos.
How useful is HubSpot CRM’s customer support?
HubSpot cements itself as a strong choice for CRM novices, with tools like HubSpot Academy—an online hub full of courses and workshops to help you grow your business, sharpen your skills, and master the CRM tools needed to attract and engage clients.
Alternatively, there’s also the option to speak with the on-page chatbot, HubBot. During our test, in a few quick clicks we were given the option to speak with a member of the team—this took just over five minutes. Overall, this feature feels incredibly useful for professionals looking for quick answers without interrupting their workflow.
Alternatives to HubSpot CRM
Insightly is a powerful and versatile CRM platform that secures itself as a leader in the space by providing advanced automation tools, strong lead management features, and customizable dashboards to help manage deal pipelines. With a strong selection of features for managing contacts and projects, the platform is a worthy rival to HubSpot. However, the lack of a free plan can make it feel inaccessible to smaller businesses.
Likewise, while Zoho CRM provides strong lead capture and management tools, integrated email marketing, and automated workflows, the lack of customization on certain features and limited customer support options make it feeler unsuitable for larger teams. For more information, read our Insightly and Zoho CRM reviews.
|HubSpot CRM||Insightly||Zoho CRM|
|Support||Live chat, phone, knowledge base, community forums||Email, help center, community forums||Email (Monday to Friday), community forums|
|Basic plan||$45 a month for two users||$29 a month per user||$12 a month per user|
HubSpot CRM: Final verdict
Ultimately, HubSpot is a strong contender in the list of best CRM platforms, with the most valuable quality being the sheer generosity of features included in the free plan. This plan is quick and simple to get started with, and details like the questions asked during setup make users feel valued and supported during onboarding.
The quality of the CRM features included for free is also unrivaled in terms of simplicity and usability, with tools like email optimization, the shared inbox, and simple deal and report creation streamlining team workflows.
This makes the platform ideal for small and medium businesses, as it adds a level of transparency to client communications and keeps everything in one place, freeing up time for teams to focus their energy elsewhere.
While customer support in the free plan can feel somewhat limited, the HubBot chat feature included within the dashboard is intuitive and quick. The HubSpot Community and Knowledge Base are thoughtful finishing touches, providing users with plenty of resources to develop their CRM skills.
While the free plan would be ideal for smaller businesses, HubSpot’s premium plans are great for midsize businesses needing more powerful or larger capabilities. The feature upgrades in the CRM Suite bundle Starter plan feel affordable for slightly larger businesses, offering upgrades like one-on-one tech support, additional email marketing send limits and list segmentation, and up to 10 reporting dashboards.
However, prices do rise dramatically if upgrading to the Professional plan ($1,600 a month for five users), which means larger teams may want to consider an alternative.
Further reading on CRM software
For more information on CRM software, read our feature asking what is a CRM? You might also want to consider our buying guides on the best CRM for small businesses or the best CRM for real estate. Alternatively, if you’re just getting started, our list of the best free CRM software might be a good introduction.
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