A CRM is a cloud-based software solution that, amongst other things, manages customer or lead accounts and internal and external company communications. A CRM can also streamline or automate workflows, provide email marketing tools, and offer analytics for your sales team.
Various competing CRM solutions in the market exist. HubSpot sits atop most of these solutions, with an analyst rating of 8.4/10 on TrustRadius.
HubSpot is an integrated CRM platform that supports inbound marketing, sales, email, and general workflow automation, lead capture, and contact management. It also offers SEO and content marketing features and provides comprehensive customer support.
In this review, we’ll discuss the key features of the HubSpot CRM software. We will consider pricing, ease of use, integrations, and customer support to make our final assessment.
Features of Hubspot
Most CRMs generally struggle to find the right balance between automation, power, and ease of use. HubSpot performs well in this respect.
Popular features that a digital sales and marketing CRM platform such as HubSpot should offer include:
- Lead capture and handling
- Contact management
- Workflow automation
- Communication channels
- Analytics and Reporting
We will delve deeper into each of these features.
Lead capture brings prospects into your sales pipeline, allowing you to nurture and convert B2B/B2C website visitors into customers. HubSpot offers a wide variety of lead capture techniques for inbound marketing campaigns. For example, HubSpot collects leads from its live chat feature, email integrations, and integrations with social tools.
HubSpot Forms are a powerful feature that can be deployed as embedded, standalone or pop-up forms customized with various details. You can create and deploy forms and integrate these forms into your website or social media platforms.
HubSpot also lets you attach forms to the ads that you create for LinkedIn and Facebook. Customers who click on your ad will automatically have their information pulled into the lead form. Form submission is completed automatically in your HubSpot account.
Going beyond lead capture, HubSpot also lets you track leads’ website browsing behavior through the HubSpot tracking URLs. Thus, you can tell where each of your leads is in the sales funnel and plan your business strategy accordingly.
Contact management is one of the most powerful features of HubSpot. You can create unique contact profiles for all your lead captures or specific ones, and you can also pull in contact details automatically from HubSpot’s browser add-ons.
Contact segmentation is one of the best features of HubSpot, particularly where you want your sales team to focus its attention on the most qualified leads. You can create your own custom filters or use HubSpot’s filters. For example, in the image below, you can view different filters, such as disengaged and engaged leads and happy or unhappy customers.
You can also segment leads based on their preferred communication method, for example, SMS, live chat, or email.
HubSpot supports a variety of communication channels, from email, live chat, and social media, to phone calls. Email marketing in HubSpot is intuitive, and integrations are also offered for various ESPs such as Google, Outlook, Thunderbird, and Apple Mail.
The HubSpot email templates are easy to customize, and you can incorporate text, video, images, and social share buttons. With email automation, you can choose specific triggers to send emails, deploy alerts, and select a send frequency or time limit for responses.
HubSpot offers in-app social media connections where you can manage brand or customer conversations from your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram from the CRM. It also allows you to create highly-targeted campaigns for each individual on your contact list depending on their preferred social channel. Plus, you can integrate HubSpot with a dedicated social management tool such as SproutSocial.
For phone calls, you can make these directly from the app or through a 3rd party app integration such as Twilio.
Automation is helpful for repetitive tasks such as sending routine bulk emails at specific times or after certain triggers. Automation reduces the chances of errors and allows your sales and marketing teams to focus on relationship-building with your leads.
An example of how a triggered event works in HubSpot is shown above. The event could be triggered by specific actions, for example, a lead filling out a sign-up form.
HubSpot pipelines are robust and scalable, working well for businesses with even 50 or more simultaneous deals. You can create and customize pipelines depending on your needs. An example of a pipeline in HubSpot is shown below.
Furthermore, HubSpot task management makes it easy for you to associate specific tasks and team members to the same or different deal pipelines. That can help sales or account managers to apportion tasks, streamline workflows, and set milestone dates. Your sales team can perform lead scoring and incorporate a “win” probability for each deal stage.
Reporting and analytics
HubSpot offers visualization tools for the sales process. Analytics helps track deals won and lost, pipeline progression, and sales forecasting.
HubSpot sales performance tool provides various graphs and charts for KPI visualization. SaaS and B2B businesses, in particular, could benefit from the ability to visualize deal pipelines, conversions and retentions, marketing campaign performance, and conversions on their websites.
HubSpot integrations let you connect the HubSpot CRM to other apps that your company uses. An example of a HubSpot-Facebook integration is shown below.
Some of the more popular HubSpot app integrations are summarized below:
- Email – MailChimp, Front, and Privy.
- Lead Gen – SurveyMonkey, WordPress, and Unbounce.
- Ecommerce – Shopify, Typeform, and Magento.
- Customer success – Slack, Zendesk, and LiveChat.
- Social media – LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
HubSpot also has a well-rounded integration for iOS and Android, with the mobile version of HubSpot boasting powerful capabilities.
For customer support, HubSpot offers live chat, email, support tickets, hotline, and embedded widgets for integration into your website.
Having all your inbound and outbound communications managed by a single CRM such as HubSpot makes your lead response times faster. HubSpot analytics support lead scoring and give you the ability to tell where each lead is in the sales pipeline. An example of HubSpot customer success integration for Biglytics is shown above.
Pricing of Hubspot
Hubspot offers a competitive free plan. The plan comes with a wide variety of tools, as shown below.
Besides the free plan, HubSpot offers other packages grouped based on the features found in each. For example, the Marketing Hub packs all relevant features to support your marketing efforts.
You also have the Sales, Customer Service, CMS, and Operations hubs. You can purchase each hub separately, depending on your needs.
Price tiers for the other HubSpot hubs are summarized in the infographic below.
Outside of the free pricing plan, HubSpot’s prices generally escalate quickly. While large enterprises and corporate bulls can afford the enterprise tiers, this might not be the case for small businesses and B2B startups. $800 per month is not cheap for a small agency that might not even need the entire suite of tools HubSpot provides with its paid tiers.
Pros and Cons of Hubspot
The most significant advantage offered by HubSpot is its free-tier plan that offers virtually every product that a starter marketing agency or small business would need. Other pros include:
- A robust all-in-one tool for digital marketing and sales funneling.
- Support for both simple and complex workflows.
- Excellent onboarding process.
- Easy and intuitive to use, and a comprehensive knowledge base from HubSpot Academy that improves the customer experience.
- Numerous integrations
- Generally secure experience with minimal complaints
- Robust reporting features and intuitive dashboards.
Since HubSpot also has access to sensitive client data such as emails, names, phone numbers, and addresses, security and compliance are essential.
Despite its versatility and robust free product plan, HubSpot has its drawbacks. Let’s summarize the major ones below:
- HubSpot may not be ideal for small businesses, especially those on a tight budget and those that may not need an all-in-one sales and marketing CRM.
- Offers fewer customization options for forms and templates compared to other CRM tools.
HubSpot offers fewer lead scoring criteria than other CRMs.
If you are a digital advertiser or an agency starting, you should try HubSpot. It works for both small businesses needing simple tools and larger enterprises with complex workflows. However, if you are scaling, then you might need to look at other options.
HubSpot is commendable for its free-tier pricing plan that offers all-in-one tools that any small agency would need. However, its other pricing tiers are quite costly.
HubSpot has almost rewritten the digital marketing playbook and perfected the inbound methodology. It, therefore, makes perfect sense that any startup agency or enterprise should use it, even if only as part of a trial run.