Modern customer relationship management (CRM) systems are the command central for your business. It’s where teams from different divisions (often sales, marketing, service, and operations) gather to monitor data, solve problems, and pilot a business safely toward its goals. It’s critical, for this reason, that your CRM platform be user-friendly, reliable, and provide the right functions to meet your business needs.
Hubspot and Salesforce are two popular CRM solutions on the market, offering all-in-one CRM platforms capable of supporting both small- and enterprise-scale business operations. Understanding the features, benefits, and limitations of each can help you choose the best CRM software for your company.
What is a CRM?
A customer relationship management system is a software platform designed to help businesses manage and improve relationships with customers.
CRM platforms collect and store customer information, activity, and communications in a centralized database. They can help you plan outreach, analyze performance, and streamline customer service, sales, and marketing processes.
What do CRMs do?
There are multiple types of CRMs, each of which serves a different primary goal and provides different sets of tools. The type you need depends on your individual business needs and goals.
CRM tools are frequently categorized as follows:
- Organizational tools. One of the main functions of a CRM is to securely collect and store customer information for businesses to use when they interact with customers. A hallmark of a CRM’s contact management tools is the secure way it gathers and organizes consumer information, including contract details, purchase history, engagement history, and customer service history. Many CRMs also facilitate collaboration within the platform, streamlining communications by allowing different departments to view and update client information.
- Marketing tools. CRMs can help you develop a marketing strategy, execute campaign tactics, and evaluate results. Features include marketing automation tools, lead management tools for potential customers, email marketing tools, and marketing analytics tools.
- Sales tools. CRM software frequently includes sales management and pipeline management solutions such as sales automations, sales analytics, sales forecasting, and deal management, as well as account management tools. These features allow your sales team to monitor lead activity and optimize your sales strategy to correspond with your clients’ buying processes.
- Customer service tools. CRMs offer a number of tools designed to help you increase efficiency and improve customer experience. Many systems allow businesses to accept and respond to customer requests within the platform and offer customer service analytics reporting and built-in customer service automations such as chatbots and automated email responses.
What is HubSpot?
Hubspot is a US-based software company that focuses on sales, marketing, and customer service applications for businesses of all sizes and at all stages of development. Hubspot has over 150,000 users in more than 120 countries. Its enterprise clients include Walmart, GE Appliances, and the US Air Force.
Hubspot offers a number of popular CRM solutions, including free CRM software and three paid CRM platforms: Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, and Service Hub. Hubspot also provides a content management system (CMS Hub), operations software (Operations Hub), and CRM suites that bundle all five products for a discounted rate. Pricing tiers include starter, professional, and enterprise plans. Hubspot CRM suites cost around $45 per month for the starter plan, $1,600 per month for the professional plan, and $5,000 per month for enterprise.
The Hubspot CRM is known for its intuitive, user-friendly design, which makes it a popular choice for small or growing businesses—and many business owners find they can implement this CRM without hiring a specialist. Hubspot also maintains Hubspot Academy, which offers free online training and certifications in marketing, sales, and customer service, plus Hubspot Community, a company-moderated help center and forum where users can ask questions, share resources, and connect with an international cohort of industry professionals.
What is Salesforce?
Salesforce is a US-based SaaS (software as a service) company that provides sales, customer service, marketing, and analytics software products to businesses. Valued at approximately $150 billion, Salesforce is one of the largest technology companies in the world, with over 150,000 clients globally. Enterprise-scale Salesforce customers include Adidas, Spotify, Amazon Web Services, Toyota, and Macy’s.
Like Hubspot, Salesforce offers a plethora of CRM products; three are Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud, and Service Cloud. Over the course of its over 20-year history, Salesforce has also acquired a number of competitors and SaaS providers, including Slack, Pardot, Mulesoft, Direct Target, Tableau, and Quip. The company’s current offerings include over 200 products, many of them Salesforce-acquired products.
Like Hubspot, Salesforce offers an academy it calls Trailhead. It offers free online training and certifications in marketing, sales, service, design, and customer service, plus the Trailblazer Community, a company-moderated help center and forum where users can ask questions, share resources, and connect with an international cohort of industry professionals.
The Salesforce CRM is known for its advanced reporting and sales forecasting abilities, and for the Sales Cloud Salesforce Dashboard, which shows a company’s entire sales pipeline at a glance—including number of leads, estimated value of each, and probability of conversion per lead.
HubSpot vs. Salesforce: similarities and differences
Both Hubspot and Salesforce are powerful CRM platforms that can improve your customer experience, streamline workflows, and increase profit margins.
The best CRM software for your business depends on your goals, budget, and intended use. This Hubspot versus Salesforce comparison can help you identify which platform is best suited to your business needs.
- How they’re similar: Both Hubspot and Salesforce provide powerful all-in-one CRM functionality that can support small-, medium-, and enterprise-scale businesses.
- How they’re different: Salesforce offers more advanced lead-scoring and analytics features than Hubspot; Hubspot provides more advanced marketing features in its standard packages than Salesforce. Salesforce’s advanced marketing functionalities are available for an additional cost.
Ease of use
- How they’re similar: Both user interfaces include dashboards to simplify navigation, sales management, and marketing campaign management. Both also provide setup support.
- How they’re different: Hubspot is more user-friendly than Salesforce. Salesforce’s implementation can be time-consuming and expensive, and Salesforce users require platform-specific training.
- How they’re similar: Both platforms offer paid plans and charge a monthly fee, a fee for additional users, and an implementation fee.
- How they’re different: Salesforce and Hubspot use different pricing structures, which complicates direct pricing comparisons. For most businesses, however, Salesforce is the more expensive option. Salesforce Sales Cloud charges $7,500 a month for 50 users, $25 to $150 per additional user, and offers jump-start implementation at $5,000. Additional services and features cost more. Hubspot Sales Hub charges $6,000 a month for 50 paid users, $120 per additional revenue-generating sales users, and $3,000 for enterprise customer onboarding. All other services and features are included in the base price. Both Salesforce and Hubspot offer a free (or freemium) CRM option that is dependent on what type of business you’re in and what features your business needs.
Apps and Integrations
- How they’re similar: Both programs support third-party apps and integration, and maintain their own application marketplaces. They also each provide a mobile app.
- How they’re different: Salesforce offers more third-party apps than Hubspot: more than 3,400 to Hubspot’s approximately 500.
- How they’re similar: Both programs support customizable workflows, automations, and reports.
- How they’re different: Salesforce users have access to the platform code, which enables extensive customization for people with technical knowledge. Hubspot offers in-platform customizations but does not provide access to the code.