Salesforce vs. HubSpot: In-depth, Comparison to make an easy decision

Getting success in a business is not an easy task. It needs to enhance the sales but not just selling the service or product to the existing and prospective customers.

A business is successful only if it applies systematic and efficient ways of gathering leads so that they can be converted to sales and ultimately loyal customers.

What is CRM?

Customer-relationship management is an approach to manage a company's interaction with current and potential customers.

It uses data analysis about customers' history with a company to improve business relationships with customers, specifically focusing on customer retention and ultimately driving sales growth.

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A CRM system allows businesses to manage business relationships and the data and information associated with them. CRM is a combination of business strategy, software system and processes that help build long-lasting relationships between a company and a customer.

CRM is a term that refers to practices, strategies, and technologies that companies use to manage and analyze customer interactions.

All the data travels throughout the customer lifecycle, with the goal of improving customer service relationships and assists in customer retention and driving.

True CRM software brings together all information from different departments throughout the company to give one, holistic view of each.

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Salesforce CRM

Salesforce is a cloud computing service as a software (SaaS) based company that specializes in customer relationship management (CRM).

Salesforce's services allow businesses to use cloud technology to better connect with customers, partners, and potential customers.

The software has become the number one for customer success and helps businesses track customer activity, market to customers and many more services.

Salesforce is one of the first global companies to successfully employ cloud-based CRM software.

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Salesforce has been able to leverage cloud technology and build a variety of applications for businesses to better connect to their customers and help give them key insights into their services through analytics and apps.

Organizations were in need of a cloud CRM to deal with all sorts of customer concerns varying from marketing and sales to customer service - to streamline the enterprise and help in saving valuable resources and time.

HubSpot CRM

HubSpot is an all-in-one inbound marketing and sales platform that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers.

HubSpot CRM is Intuitive and Affordable. If you're new to CRM and already use HubSpot's marketing or sales software, then HubSpot CRM is a great choice.

As your company grows and changes, you can upgrade to HubSpot CRM premium products, but its free version is a good choice for first-timers.

HubSpot No. 1 Free CRM. HubSpot is a popular free CRM solution that is part of the HubSpot's sales productivity suite and is linked to the same database used by HubSpot Marketing and HubSpot Sales.

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It is definitely a great way to introduce your sales teams to CRM tools with no initial costs involved. HubSpot CRM is one of the leading CRM apps currently available on the market and a winner of the Expert's Choice Award for 2018.

Free and simple, HubSpot CRM is built to be a platform that allows sales teams to get started quickly without making much of a change in their existing workflow.

History of Salesforce & HubSpot

HubSpot

HubSpot was founded by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2006. The company grew from $255,000 in revenues in 2007 to $15.6 million in 2010.

In July 2017, HubSpot acquired Kemvi, which applies artificial intelligence and machine learning to help sales teams. The best analyzing quote of HubSpot is “People don’t want to be interrupted by marketers or harassed by salespeople. They want to be helped.”

It was time to make the marketing and sales process human, treat buyers like people, not numbers on a spreadsheet, build an inbound community and help people achieve their business goals in a more personable, empathetic way.

We called it, HubSpot.

HubSpot helps SaaS companies attract higher quality traffic to their website, convert that traffic into leads or trial users, and nurture those leads to customers.

Salesforce

As outlined in Benioff's 2009 book Behind The Cloud: "I started Salesforce.com in a rented apartment in 1999 with the goal of making enterprise software as easy to use as a website like Amazon.com."

Here's a brief timeline of how Salesforce came to exist, and where it is today.

Benioff went on to found Salesforce in March 1999, alongside three software developers from Left Coast Consulting: Parker Harris, Dave Moellenhoff, and Frank Dominguez.

As outlined in Behind The Cloud, the idea was to "make software easier to purchase, simpler to use, and more democratic without the complexities of installation, maintenance, and constant upgrades".

Salesforce customers now get new features delivered to them via the web three times a year.

Salesforce soon started adding new capabilities to its platform, primarily through acquisitions, starting with the 2010 acquisition of PaaS company Heroku.

Here's a thorough comparison of HubSpot vs Salesforce to help you choose the best CRM out of the two.

Comparison b/w the features of Salesforce & HubSpot.

The right CRM depends on your company size, structure, budget, talent, and other technology. Here are points of comparison between the HubSpot CRM vs. Salesforce CRM to guide you to the right decision.

  • Cost

HubSpot is free and Salesforce is not. Simple as that.

The HubSpot Sales Tool (CRM) is free to users– as many as you have (yes, that means unlimited users can access the tool).

Digging into the specifics, Salesforce does offer a lot of different options so that you can customize what you need -- and what you don’t -- to stay within budget.

With the HubSpot CRM, you can have as many users as you need for as many contacts as you require, for free.

HubSpot also offers you the ability to upgrade to some premium HubSpot sales tools along the way, if your team needs added functionality.

Salesforce pricing is based on a 5-user minimum + the add-ons you buy.

Here’s how it breaks down

  • Starter: $25/month
  • Professional: $75/month

These prices do not include workflow automation with the CRM, however.

You’d have to bump up to the Enterprise level and pay $150/month per user. At this rate, you’d have the basic features you’d need to operate the Salesforce CRM– like workflow automation, API integration, and single sign-on.

  • Ease of Use

How easy is HubSpot CRM to use, and how does that compare to Salesforce?

“Ease of use” is incredibly subjective, and ultimately, depends on the person. A product that a software engineer would describe as “intuitive” probably wouldn’t get the same review from a sales pro who hates technology.

It’s complicated, so the right answer is likely crowd sourced from real product users in sales and marketing roles.

Aggregating the scores for both CRM platforms across review sites like SoftwareAdvice.com, Capterra and G2Crowd.com, Salesforce gets an average customer satisfaction score of 4.07/5.

On the other hand, the HubSpot CRM customer satisfaction score average clocks in at 4.4/5.

You should take these reviews with a grain of salt, however, since Salesforce’s score comes from around 22,000 reviews and HubSpot’s score comes from around 4,300 reviews.

  • Implementation

When it comes to getting the product up and running, not all software or CRM are created equal.

Implementation is a catch-all term for all of the stuff needed to get the software ready and users trained: installation, configuration, customization, integrations, testing, training, and adjustments.

Salesforce implementation can require anywhere from $5,000 to well over $80,000 or higher, writes CRM consultant Ranger Lewis on Quora. He states Salesforce implementation may be costlier if your company is switching CRM.

1. Requires lead and customer data cleaning or formatting
2. Needs custom integrations with software or processes
3. A need for many different features
4. Requires advanced training or consultant support
5. Time-to-implementation isn’t the same as pure cost, but they’re definitely related.

Salesforce CRM integrations may take months or even longer, especially for large enterprises who need to carefully manage the project as a strategic global initiative.

You may need to prepare to start using HubSpot CRM if you meet some of the criteria for tough implementations listed above.

There may be a need to reformat or scrub your data. Some team members may need training, and you could have to build custom integrations.

However, the chances you’ll need a consultant are pretty unlikely to get started with HubSpot, unless you’re a massive company who needs professional change management support.

  • Customization

There are two ways to look at customization of technology, and we'll consider both.

1. Can you change it?
2. How easy is it to change?

Salesforce is highly customizable, and markets its product as the “most customizable CRM.” HubSpot is also customizable to your businesses processes and structure and offers an Open API, but is likely not too customizable to the same extent as Salesforce.

However, it’s complicated. A sales pro with average technical savvy can customize HubSpot deal stages, pipelines, and “views” of deals.

This same person can leverage HubSpot CRM pre-built integrations with other software, but they’ll need a developer to use the Open API for custom integrations.

Salesforce Administrators can also customize processes, workflows, and users without IT help. It’s probably harder than HubSpot, but this is due to how many features are offered.

However, there’s an entire industry of Salesforce Developers, who use relatively advanced tech skills like Java developers to build custom functions, apps, and integrations in a cloud sandbox environment.

Who Wins? We'll call a tie between Salesforce and HubSpot CRM.

You pick the winner depending on what you mean by “customize” and how much customization you want.

If you want a product that makes it easy to adjust the software to fit the software your business fast, HubSpot wins. If you want a product that allows customization to infinity and beyond, Salesforce wins.

  • INTEGRATIONS

HubSpot provides internally-supported integrations, including integration with SalesForce, WordPress, SurveyMonkey, Zapier, Google Calendar, Chrome, and Wistia. Additional externally-built integrations are available.

This list is expanding, and the open API offering allows companies to build their own custom integrations.

The Salesforce ecosystem is comprised of thousands of products and integrations, which can be explored in their App Exchange.

  • SUPPORT

Salesforce licensing costs include limited support. According to a data sheet, the included free support features for an Enterprise license without any paid support upgrades include:

1. Read-only access to knowledge basis content
2. How-to Guides
3. Forums
4. e-School Courses
5. Certification Tracks

HubSpot offers many forms of support for CRM users, much of which is freely-available without signing up for the product.

Support products available to free users include

  • Training Courses
  • Multiple Certification Tracks
  • Blogs
  • eBooks, White Papers, and Interactive Downloads
  • User Documentation
  • 24/7 Live Customer Support
  • Local, In-Person User Groups
  • Community Forums
  • The HubSpot Academy
  • Inbound.org

If you upgrade to paid HubSpot products, you gain additional access to 24/7 phone and email support.

Who Wins? HubSpot.

  • FEATURES

Did we mention that Salesforce has a LOT of features? It really does.

For the purpose of brevity, we'll take a look at how these tools stack up on their offerings of 20 common features associated with CRM technologies, using data crowd sourced via 5,775 real user reviews on G2Crowd.

Features

HubSpot

SalesForce

Opportunity & Pipeline Management

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Territory Management

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Task Management

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Desktop Integration

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Reporting & Dashboards

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Output Document Generation

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Data Import & Export

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Document & Content Management

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Integration APIs

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HubSpot integrates with Salesforce and is made to be “stacked” on top of your existing CRM if needed. Customizations in HubSpot doesn’t impact your existing CRM, but the two systems can share data.

It’s a great option, especially if you’re considering replacing Salesforce with HubSpot since you can test-drive both systems and see how they stack up yourself.

Conclusion

Finding which CRM is right for your business can be a challenging feat.

Make the decision carefully before you’re locked into a contract. By evaluating factors like reporting, alignment and cost, you can make an educated choice to drive your business more traffic, leads, and sales.

Personally, I prefer HubSpot for pricing, integration, and features.

Much like any business decision, deciding on which CRM is best for your business boils down to your goals. If your goals are to create an enterprise-wide ecosystem in one platform, with ample opportunity for customization, then Salesforce is right for you.

If your goal is to implement a “lightweight” CRM that makes sales reps more efficient and allows for closed-loop reporting on sales and marketing initiatives, then HubSpot CRM is best for you.

Danish Wadhwa

Danish Wadhwa is a strategic thinker and an IT Pro, with more than 6 years of expertise in the digital marketing industry. He is more than a results-driven individual, who is well-versed in providing high-end technical support, optimizing sales and automating tools to stimulate productivity for businesses.

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