Sales CRMs are the heartbeat of established sales teams. CRM, or customer relationship management, platforms take the pressure off your in-house salespeople to manually keep track of conversations, to-dos and deals. Instead of having to monitor all this valuable information on their own (and potentially forget it) they can easily store it all in a centralized software tool.
Two of the biggest CRM platforms out there are HubSpot and Salesforce. Each is a giant in the industry, used by enterprise clients and small businesses alike. But which one is right for your team? I'm glad you asked because we're about to compare all the key features and benefits of the two. You'll be able to make an informed decision that gives your whole sales team the sudden urge to buy you lunch and hoist you up on their shoulders in victory.
When Salesforce was founded in 1999, the life-changing yet ambiguous cloud wasn't a thing quite yet. CRM software was run locally on the machines of each individual computer in a business. But Salesforce changed that when they become the first CRM tool available entirely online and one of the first software-as-a-service companies. The Salesforce CRM leverages its online connectivity to help businesses understand and communicate with existing customers, potential customers, and partners in a more efficient and convenient way.
Since its founding in the late nineties, Salesforce has helped tons of sales teams centralize their database and streamline their sales processes. Their Sales Cloud and Marketing Cloud products are a 1-2 punch of brand awareness and conversion. But to save you some time, I'll just hit the high points today.
Preview of SalesForce's User Interface
- Account and Contact Management - Gives you a complete view of your customer's contact information and a record of the conversations you've had with them.
- Lead Management - Salesforce's branded service, called Opportunities, helps you track every stage of lead generation, from the first contact to the closing of the sale. It also shows you which channels are the most productive.
- Sales Data - For users who know how to use Saleforce, the platform offers a lot of depth in their reporting capability.
- Activity Tracking - Salesforce tracks seller activity so that management teams can gauge the number of calls, emails and meetings each seller does.
- Mobile - The Salesforce mobile app has nearly 5 stars in the Apple store with over 210k reviews. The app makes it easy to manage your sales and respond to leads even while on the go.
- Workflow and Approvals - This allows you to design and automate practically any business process using an easy-to-learn interface.
- Files Sync and Share - Makes it easy to share files with coworkers or customers, so communication happens more easily.
- Sales Forecasting - Keep your finger on the pulse of your sales performance. Using accurate algorithms to give you a better idea of what your business's financial health looks like.
- Complex team hierarchy - Salesforce allows for a very detailed set up of sellers, teams and managers for large enterprise sales organizations.
- Essentials — $25/month per user - Includes account, contact, lead, and opportunity management, email integration, and the Salesforce mobile app.
- Professional — $75/month per user - Includes everything in the Essentials package, plus lead registration and lead scoring as well as collaborative forecasting.
- Enterprise — $150/month per user - Includes everything from the Professional package, plus automation tools.
- Unlimited — $300/month per user - Includes everything from the previous packages, plus 24/7 support and configuration services.
HubSpot's claim to fame was introducing the concept of inbound marketing to marketers — a philosophical shift in the way we engage with prospects. They entered the industry with their Marketing Hub, which focused on providing users with powerful, yet easy-to-use marketing tools. Their marketing automation is simple to master and is a marketer's dream come true. But I digress...
While Salesforce is strictly a CRM (and a powerful one at that), HubSpot has an ecosystem of marketing, sales and service tools, including a powerful CRM and a convenient CMS for developing websites.
HubSpot's CRM and Sales Hub are the tools that directly compete with Salesforce and so those are what we'll focus on in this review.
Preview of HubSpot's User Interface
- Email Tools - Templates turn your best-performing emails into repeat performers and tracking tools let you know as soon as a contact has opened the email.
- Call Tracking and Recording - Sales calls are easily made and recorded through your web browser and automatically logged into the CRM. As a former account manager, I have to say that it's been incredibly useful to be able to access all our sales team's notes on conversations with clients.
- Appointment and Meeting Scheduler - Similar to Calendly, HubSpot meetings tool lets prospects choose a time from your calendar through a simple link.
- Sales Automation - Salespeople can streamline their pipeline management by automating personalized emails and follow-up tasks with sales sequences.
- Sales Playbooks - Make your sales process more repeatable and efficient with sales playbooks that can be customized for your team.
- Quotes - Quickly generate professional-looking quotes that match your branding and send them instantly to prospects.
- Sales Analytics - All your sales data is combined in one place that provides you with actionable insights and complete transparency over your business.
- Training - HubSpot has created a whole curriculum under the HubSpot Academy to get users up to speed on their tools through engaging and accessible training videos and certifications.
- Lead Attribution - HubSpot is great at tying marketing efforts and dollars back to actual closed deals.
Before we discuss the pricing tiers for HubSpot Sales Hub, it's important to note that they do offer a free version of their CRM. The pricing below is for additional sales features on top of the free CRM.
- Starter — $45/month for up to 2 users - Includes quotes, simple automation, calling tools, meeting scheduler, live chat and simple reporting.
- Professional — $450/month for up to 5 users - Includes everything from the starter package, plus enhanced customization tools, forecasting, more analytics and reporting features, and more.
- Enterprise — $1200/month for up to 10 users - Includes everything in the previous packages plus playbooks, call transcription, lead scoring, and custom reporting.
For an additional cost, you can also add on HubSpot's other Hubs for marketing and service.
So, is HubSpot or Salesforce Right for Your Team?
Both platforms are customizable to your sales team's needs and both have a number of native apps already built to connect with other tools. Choosing the best CRM for your organization comes down to your unique business needs and industry. Let's put these top sales tools side-by-side and see how they measure up in the areas that are most important to businesses.
- Ease of Use - Salesforce is a powerful solution and offers a lot of customizability. But, the cost of that power is a steep learning curve and often, companies will hire a full-time person just to handle implementation and maintenance of the platform. HubSpot's user experience, on the other hand, has a highly intuitive interface that's easy to pick up. You don't need to be Einstein to learn it and be productive using it. Plus their customer support is fast, friendly and super helpful.
- Functionality - You can think of the differences in functionality between Salesforce and HubSpot like the difference between using a Windows PC and a Mac. Both are incredibly powerful, but one requires a lot more specialized knowledge to take advantage of the special features. While HubSpot is very powerful, they focus on creating a user-friendly experience (like a Mac) while Salesforce focuses more on flexibility and customizability.
- Reporting Tools - Salesforce is known for the robust analytics feature that it offers, but building your reports involves a pretty complicated process. HubSpot is still playing catch up in the ability to report on all your metrics, but what information it does provide is easier to access and read thanks to its intuitive interface. Truthfully, Salesforce wins out when it comes to reporting, but only if you have someone that can build your reports for you. HubSpot is making a lot of improvements in its reporting tool and we hope to see more robust features on the horizon.
- Add-Ons - Part of what makes a CRM beneficial to a company is the add-ons and integrations that are used to customize it. HubSpot users benefit from the ever-growing ecosystem the company has developed for businesses, currently containing their Sales Hub, Marketing Hub, Service Hub, and their CMS and CRM. This makes it easy to integrate new tools into your tech stack and continue to streamline your processes. Both platforms offer a variety of native integrations with other apps.
- Customization Options - This is another mixed bag. HubSpot allows users with limited technical knowledge to customize pipelines and processes but offers fewer overall customization options than the more complex Salesforce.
- Scalability - If an organization has many layers, divisions and complex territory assignments in its sales team the user hierarchy in Salesforce offers more customizable permissions and user setup. While HubSpot is making major strides in the enterprise space and will soon be able to match Salesforce in this area, Salesforce could be a better fit for enterprise-level organizations with a complex sales team.
Both platforms are proven customer relationship managing machines, and there are a wide variety of opinions out there about which is better. We've worked with a lot of brands who have used both, or even currently use both in tandem. The number one frustration we hear from our clients with HubSpot is the lack of flexibility in reporting, but most are a lot happier with the user interface and other sales features over Salesforce.
If you're looking for more information on HubSpot or need help onboarding in the tool, we'd love to chat and nerd out with you.
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