In the world of customer relationship management (CRM) software, two giants, HubSpot and Salesforce, have consistently dominated the market. As businesses increasingly rely on CRM systems to manage their customer data and streamline their sales processes, the choice between these two platforms becomes crucial. With the year 2023 upon us, it is essential to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of both HubSpot and Salesforce to determine which CRM is best suited for businesses in the ever-evolving digital landscape. This article will delve into the key features, integrations, pricing, and overall user experience of these platforms to help you make an informed decision about which CRM is the right choice for your organization.
Our research shows that HubSpot is better than Salesforce for sales and marketing, as well as being one of the best CRMs for small businesses, thanks to its robust free plan. On the other hand, Salesforce is better than HubSpot for customer service because it offers more communication channels to reach customers.
If you’re in the market for CRM, you’ve almost certainly heard of Salesforce, as its easily the most popular CRM in the world, boasting a whopping third of CRM market share. Subsequently, Salesforce offers a lot of pricing plans for different sizes and types of businesses, which is why getting a quote for your business is likely your best move.
Still, the HubSpot vs Salesforce matchup is a lot closer than you might think. In this guide, we’ll cover all the specifics about these two CRM providers — from features and pricing to customer support and ease of use — and explain when and why one might be a better fit for your business.
We’ll be pitting HubSpot vs Salesforce head to head throughout this article. Of course, these aren’t the only CRM tools to consider. Check out some of these further alternatives, below. Or, scroll on to learn more about Salesforce and Hubspot.
HubSpot vs. Salesforce – Which Should You Choose?
Before we get to all the nitty gritty details of HubSpot vs Salesforce, understanding the fundamental differences between the two popular CRMs will help you make a decision when it comes to choosing for your business. Here are some basics about the differences between HubSpot and Salesforce:
- HubSpot is better for small businesses than Salesforce
- Salesforce is better for larger businesses than HubSpot
- HubSpot offers an easier to use interface than Salesforce
- Salesforce offers better analytics and reporting tools than HubSpot
- HubSpot has better sales and marketing features than Salesforce
- Salesforce has better customer service features than HubSpot
- HubSpot offers a free forever plan, and Salesforce doesn’t
In earnest, Salesforce and HubSpot are a lot more similar than many other popular CRM providers in the market, but the free forever plan is a big differentiator between the two. Salesforce not only has no free plan, but also has a higher price tag than most HubSpot plans, which is why the former is better for larger businesses, and the latter more focused on smaller businesses.
HubSpot vs Salesforce Pricing
Both HubSpot and Salesforce can become very expensive, very fast, which can be concerning for businesses trying to navigate the looming recession. That’s why it’s essential to only sign up to the tiered plan that’s right for the needs of your business. You can use our simple CRM tailored quotes form to narrow it down and get a price quote to help you decide.
Of course, HubSpot has one advantage over Salesforce – there’s a free tier to HubSpot CRM. This isn’t a short-term trial, either – you can use HubSpot free forever, should you choose. But, on the paid plans, you’ll have far more HubSpot features – and these paid plans aren’t always better value than Salesforce equivalents.
Both HubSpot and Salesforce offer industry-specific options, each with their own set of plans. This means that entry-level plans for sales businesses, for example, could be a different price than those of marketing businesses. Take note of that while checking out the breakdown below.
First off, we’ll start with the Hubs. HubSpot offers three different types of service, or Hubs, aimed at the different purposes of CRM: sales, marketing, and customer service.
The Sales Hub and Service Hub are priced similarly, but the Marketing Hub is a bit more expensive, which is commonplace for marketing-focused CRM providers. Take a look at how these HubSpot Hubs match up against each other below and read on for an in-depth look at each Hub.
Check out our complete guide to HubSpot pricing for more information
HubSpot Sales Hub pricing
The HubSpot Sales Hub starts off quite affordable, but as you can see from the table below, it gets expensive pretty fast. The entry price is enticing, particularly considering the free plan is available, but the advanced features — like lead scoring and custom reports — don’t unlock until you hit the Professional plan, which is far above the industry standard on price.
It’s also worth remembering that the Sales Hub pricing plans have a minimum number of users required and per user pricing, so you’ll definitely be paying more than the per month price listed. Here’s how all of the HubSpot Sales Hub plans match up against each other:
HubSpot Service Hub pricing
As is also the case with Salesforce, the Service Hub is identically priced to the Sales Hub. This means that the prices start pretty competitive in the entry-level plans, but they get expensive fast. While the Starter plan is quite competitive in the industry, substantially undercutting Salesforce, the Professional plan ramps up the price by a lot, with the Enterprise sending it up even further.
Like the Sales Hub, the HubSpot Service Hub also has the same minimum user requirement and per user pricing, so your monthly cost is going to be higher than these listed prices. Here’s how the HubSpot Service Hub pricing plans match up against each other:
HubSpot Marketing Hub pricing
If you thought the Sales Hub and Service Hub options were expensive, just wait until you see the Marketing Hub options. Prices are decidedly higher compared to HubSpot alternatives, although the Starter plan still stays below the comparative Salesforce plans by quite a bit.
The Marketing Hub does away with the per user pricing, and instead charges users based on the number of marketing contacts they would like to reach, starting at 1,000. Here’s a breakdown of the Marketing Hub pricing plans:
Similar to HubSpot’s Hubs, Salesforce offers different types of services depending on your needs, dubbed Clouds, for sales, marketing, and service. Each one offers a different set of pricing plans, but Salesforce offers some mix and match options that can save you some money if you want dual functionality.
Much like HubSpot, the Sales Cloud and Service Cloud are priced similarly, and can be combined for a cheaper option. Again, the Marketing Cloud is much more expensive, as it provides a wide range of additional features that are more valuable.
Check out our full guide to Salesforce pricing for more information
Salesforce Sales Cloud
The Sales Cloud is arguably the most popular option from Salesforce, despite being quite expensive compared to other Salesforce alternatives. The starting price is well ahead of the industry average (around $15 per month), and the more expensive plans are indeed far ahead of the market. Still, as one of the more feature-heavy options on this list, you’re definitely getting what you pay for.
Unlike HubSpot, Salesforce does not have user minimum requirements for its plans, so what you see is what you’ll pay for all options. Check out how these plans match up against each other below:
Salesforce Service Cloud
In the same way that the Sales Hub and Service Hub cost the same for HubSpot, the Sales Cloud and Service Cloud from Salesforce also have nearly identical pricing, although the Service Cloud offers a few more pricing options, with five plans instead of four, adding an Unlimited+ plan that costs quite a bit more for advanced functionality like generative AI features.
The Service Cloud also doesn’t have a minimum user requirement, so you’ll pay the amount you see on the table below. Check out how these plans match up against each other now:
Salesforce Marketing Cloud Engagement
The prices in the Salesforce Marketing Cloud are a bit jarring at first, but trust us, it’s for good reason. The outrageously high prices stem from the fact that the Marketing Cloud is filled with a wide range of automation features that can handle operations in a streamlined way. Still, that doesn’t change how expensive these plans are, making them clearly aimed at larger businesses than small startups.
Thankfully, these plans don’t have a minimum user requirement either, but at this prices, you’re going to be paying a lot no matter what. Here are how the Marketing Cloud Engagement pricing plans match up:
HubSpot vs Salesforce: Head-to-Head
Now that we understand the basics about how Salesforce and HubSpot differ on pricing and functionality, it’s time to dig a little deeper. In this section, we’ll explore how HubSpot and Salesforce compare on everything, including features, integrations, ease of use, customer support, reporting and analytics, automation, and training.
Salesforce and HubSpot both have a lot of features
Because Salesforce and HubSpot are both considered high-end CRM options, they both offer a vast array of features for a myriad of purposes. As we’ve said a few times now, it all comes down to what you need those features for, which is what we’ll breakdown in this section.
When it comes to the specific features on Salesforce Marketing Cloud versus HubSpot Marketing Hub, we found that it’s honestly not even close. HubSpot Marketing Hub is our top choice for CRM for marketing, thanks to its vast array of marketing channels, including content, social, email, and paid. Salesforce offers some very rudimentary options for channels like social, paid, and content, which is why we give HubSpot the advantage on this one.
Additionally, we found HubSpot offers more when it comes to customer support, providing onboarding for new users and better customer support when you run into a problem.
Personalization in Email Marketing on HubSpot
Image: Guidelisters testing
You’d think with a name like Salesforce that the popular CRM would easily take the cake on sales features. However, we found that HubSpot absolutely holds its own, offering plenty of options for your business. In fact, HubSpot beats Salesforce on features like lead capture and lead conversion. Still, Salesforce offers better customer support, so it’s pretty much a toss-up between these two popular options.
The sales forecasting dashboard in Salesforce
Image: Guidelisters testing
Here is where Salesforce really shines. We found customer support CRM features thoroughly embedded in the Salesforce Service Hub, giving it an edge over HubSpot’s Service Hub. It provides more communication channels, more ticketing channels, and more offline functionality than HubSpot.
The only weak spot we found for Salesforce when it comes to customer service features is customer feedback functionality, like surveys, as the CRM offers none to speak of. Still, that shouldn’t deter you, as the other features more than make up for this small oversight.
Service Cloud dashboard in Salesforce
Image: Guidelisters testing
HubSpot is easier to use than Salesforce
While a massive feature catalog is a huge benefit for Salesforce, we found that it does create a lot of extra work, which can seriously impede ease of use – particularly for beginners. We found that the platform is laden with very specific terminology that needs to be learnt before it makes any sense, which could create a substantial learning curve for those unfamiliar with the software.
With HubSpot, you’re getting a comprehensive, intuitive interface that is easy to navigate, even if you aren’t familiar with CRM software. The biggest highlight with managing business contacts with HubSpot is the tidy user-interface where you view all the information related to a contact. HubSpot has designed a clear way of providing a holistic view of who your contact is, what interaction you’ve had, and where they work.
Simply put, HubSpot is built for ease of use, with a simple layout that will let you easily access all the tools available on the platform. There’s even a little help icon at the bottom of some screens, which will provide you with tailored advice on how to move forward (pictured below).
In fact, HubSpot is so dedicated to improving ease of use that it tested its software on drunk users to be sure it’s as straightforward as possible, no matter how impaired you might be.
Pop up Help Options in HubSpot
Image: Guidelisters testing
Salesforce has better customer support
While Salesforce may be lacking in the ease-of-use department, we found the customer support options to be quite robust, which can make it worth the hassle. Not only does Salesforce offer a huge catalog of online documentation and tutorial videos that can help you figure out any issues, but you’ll also become part of the massive Salesforce community of users, who can help you solve any problems.
Our researchers found that HubSpot does not offer 24/7 live support on any of its plans, even the ones that cost thousands of dollars per month. Salesforce, on the other hand, provides it for an additional cost, and includes it for all Unlimited plans.
If you require an actual person to walk you through the complication of Salesforce, you’re all set there too. Once you’re logged into the platform, you can phone, email, and live chat with representatives to hammer out the details of your problem, so you don’t have to rely on forms and forums to get it done.
Salesforce has better reporting and analytics
As you might expect, Salesforce’s robust feature catalog comes with equally robust reporting and analytics functionality. We found the built-in system to be widely customizable, just like the rest of the platform, giving you complete control over what you track and how you track it. We found that the best part of Salesforce analytics was that it allows you to store large levels of information, including emails, tasks, call logs, contact information, outreach campaign data and lead information.
Plus, with the new analytics add-on Tableau, you’ll be able to get a full 360-degree view of how your customers interact with your business, giving you more actionable insights for improving sales.
HubSpot also offers a lot of reporting tools, and they’re quite comparable to Salesforce actually. However, the only metric you get in every plan is to view revenue data, while other features like custom reports and sales forecasts are only available in the more expensive plans, which means you’ll have to pay a lot to get access to the same features.
An example Sales Rep dashboard in Salesforce Sales Cloud
Image: Guidelisters testing
HubSpot and Salesforce offer lots of integrations with other software
While both HubSpot and Salesforce are considered two of the most robust CRM options on the market, they can’t do it all. In that case, you might be interested in integrating these platforms with other third-party apps that can, in fact, do it all. Fortunately, both Salesforce and HubSpot offer a lot when it comes to integrations, so no need to worry there.
Both HubSpot and Salesforce offer massive app stores that can unlock a wide range of functionalities for your business. They can integrate with Google Workplace, WordPress, FreshBooks, Eventbrite, and dozens of others.
HubSpot Salesforce Integration
If you really can’t decide between the two, HubSpot has a peculiar feature that allows you to sync information from Salesforce into HubSpot and then back again. This is very different from the usual features that let you import data from Salesforce in order to migrate to a new platform. It seems curious to offer deep integration with a competitor, but there are situations where this integration could become useful. If you already use HubSpot’s Marketing Hub, for example, but the sales team is on Salesforce, then this integration could help bridge the gap between the data held by the two teams.
HubSpot’s integration is bi-directional, which means you can send information to Salesforce as well as pull information from it. There are limits to how much data you can pull from Salesforce on any given day, depending on how many API calls your contract with Salesforce allows.
This feature is nice enough if you need it, though having both teams on the same platform would be much easier and offer more seamless data sharing. Salesforce integration is not available on the free or Starter tiers, requiring at least Sales Hub Professional.
HubSpot has simpler implementation and training
Because HubSpot is easy to use, the setup process is pretty easy. You won’t have to spend hours setting up your metrics, your analytics, or your integrations, as most of them will be set up for you upon installation. If you do need a bit of help, you can sign up for onboarding sessions for between $1,500 and $5,000 for your whole team, which is obviously not very cheap.
More specifically, the first part of the onboarding process for HubSpot — where you’re following a demo — is quite easy to follow and provides hands-on information on how to use the platform.
With Salesforce, you’re a lot more likely to need the help getting started, and the company offers a wide range of helpful tools to do so. Between the online community of users and the robust support team, you’ll be taken care of – and you’ll need it, too, due to the complicated nature of the CRM. Salesforce even offers training seminars, which typically cost approximately $4,500. Again, definitely not the cheapest option.
In fact, our research found that the setup process for Salesforce was a full three minutes longer than that of HubSpot, mostly due to the clunkiness of the Salesforce platform and the ease of customer data import on HubSpot (pictured below).
Customer Data Import in HubSpot
Image: Guidelisters testing
Salesforce has better automation
One of the primary reasons why a business would sign up for CRM software is the use of automation to make business life a bit easier. Powered by artificial intelligence, these features can make a huge difference in freeing up time and resources for human employees to really get work done.
This matchup is a close one, but in the end, Salesforce’s Einstein takes the cake. The AI-powered tool can help you automate a wide range of processes, from lead management to customer onboarding, with a world-leading company’s resources behind it. Even better, these automation features are available at a much lower price than HubSpot, which is always beneficial.
Salesforce does, however, have a trick up its sleeve with Salesforce Marketing Cloud Account Engagement. This functionality – which is a part of the wider Salesforce Marketing Cloud – can automate sales funnels for new prospective customers and gives a killer edge to Salesforce’s marketing capabilities.
Because CRM software is built on automation, HubSpot has solid options as well, although they’re a bit less consolidated. Tools like lead and contact management features automation capabilities, with simple “if this then that” functionality, allowing you to automate where you see fit. Still, our research found HubSpot automation workflows to be complicated, which is unfortunate due to their invaluable nature for sales and marketing teams.
Cases page on Salesforce Lightning
Image: Guidelisters Testing
Other CRM Alternatives
While HubSpot and Salesforce are considered two of the best options out there when it comes to CRM, they aren’t the only providers available. In fact, there are plenty of great alternatives to HubSpot and Salesforce out there for everything from marketing to sales to customer service. Take a look at some of the options below or check out our guide to the best easy CRMs for a different perspective on the market.
Best CRM for Sales
Yes, it’s hard to beat Salesforce when it comes to sales, as you may have guessed from the name. Still, it’s an incredibly robust option that can be a bit intimidating for smaller businesses or just businesses that don’t need all those features. If you’re looking for a provider that’s a bit more manageable, like Zoho CRM, we’ve done a bunch of research on the topic and can help you find a better CRM for sales.
Best CRM for Marketing
HubSpot is truly a top-tier CRM for marketing, mostly because it offers a robust set of marketing features in its free plan. Even better, our research found that it offers great marketing integrations, like one with Canva that will allow you to design email elements straight from the email editing space.
Still, HubSpot is not perfect for everyone. The high prices and the massive feature catalog can be too much for some, which means that another alternative could be a better fit. Fortunately, we’ve done the research to find some of the best options out there for CRM for marketing, including options like Pipedrive. Take a look and get started today.
Best CRM for Customer Service
Neither HubSpot nor Salesforce are ideal as CRM for customer service, although they certainly provide some robust options to handle it. Salesforce is definitely better than HubSpot for customer service, mostly because we found it to provide a single hub that houses communication, so you can more effectively stay in touch with potential customers, while seeing all the information you need.
Still, we’ve done the research and found a wide range of other options that might be a better fit for your business. Zendesk is one of our favorite but take a look at some of the other CRM alternatives to get started today.
About Our Research
If you’ve made it this far, you’ve likely realized that Guidelisters takes our recommendations quite seriously. For all our business software reviews and guides, we’ve spent hours and hours doing in-depth research to bring you the most valuable, insightful, actionable information that ensure your business makes the right choice on the first try.
For CRM, we had a specific set of metrics by which we rated and ranked eleven different providers to give you a clear picture of which ones are the best. The metrics we use are pricing, features, customization, team infrastructure, customer support, and scalability.
If you want to learn more about exactly what goes into our process here at Guidelisters, feel free to check out our thorough research guide for a peak behind the curtain.
That’s a wrap on “ HubSpot vs Salesforce (2023) – Which CRM Is Best and Why? ” We hope you’ve found a trove of useful insights and fresh perspectives. Your opinions and ideas matter to us—join the conversation below and share your take! Hungry for more tech insights? Dive into our diverse collection of articles where innovation meets practicality. Discover More CRM Softwares.
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