HubSpot Review

Amanda BradleyByAmanda BradleySep. 29, 2019

In a Nutshell

The HubSpot CRM is a free version of the company’s premium Marketing, Sales, and Service hubs. The best features are limited, but it offers more advanced sales, marketing, and customer service tools for free than some other CRMs offer for a fee.

pros

  • Up to 1 million contacts
  • Unlimited users
  • Entirely free

cons

  • The best features are very limited
  • Customer support is only through online web form or Twitter

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HubSpot CRM at a Glance

Best for: Small and growing businesses

Key use: Sales and marketing automation, customer service automation

Price: Free 

Free trial: N/A

Overview

HubSpot CRM combines advanced CRM tools like contact management, company insights, document sharing, and team email, with limited marketing, sales, and customer support team features, such as conversation bots, email tracking, and live chat.

Tools for Sales Teams

HubSpot CRM offers a fine range of free tools to help sales teams qualify leads, keep them warm, and convert them to loyal customers. Features like email templates, email scheduling, and email tracking make it faster to initiate and keep in contact with new and existing customers; bots and other tools for making contact, scheduling meetings, and booking calls help warm up cold leads; and management tools for deals, tasks, and document sharing stop prospects from slipping through the cracks.

Features that help sales teams include:

  • Integration with Gmail and Outlook
  • Email scheduling, tracking, notifications, and templates
  • Tools for contact, deal, and task management
  • Document sharing
  • In-app calls
  • Live chat

Tools for Customer Support Teams

HubSpot’s CRM helps customer support teams offer faster and better service to customers through tools like email templates, support ticketing, automated reporting, and limited conversational bots. With better contact organization and collaboration, HubSpot CRM users can improve their customer service, but full customer support features are reserved for Service Hub paying customers.

Features for customer support teams include:

  • Reporting dashboard
  • Live chat, call-to-click, ticketing, and email- and chat-to-ticket
  • Conversational bots for booking meetings and creating tickets
  • Email templates
  • Canned snippets
  • Meetings

Tools for Marketing Teams

HubSpot CRM’s marketing tools include up to 1 million contacts and companies, contact insights, and limited contact activity tracking to help you learn more about new leads. You can use HubSpot to plan marketing campaigns, analyze web traffic and conversions, and track ad campaigns on Instagram and Facebook. HubSpot CRM helps marketers keep on top of campaigns and gain insights into leads, but to access full marketing automation tools you’ll need to upgrade to the Marketing Hub.

Features for marketers include:

  • Limited email tracking and email templates
  • Limited Facebook and Instagram ad management
  • Analytics for traffic and conversions
  • Limited web forms
  • Limited contact activity tracking
  • Up to 1 million contacts and companies
  • Contact insights

Customization and Integrations

HubSpot CRM integrates fully and easily with Gmail, G Suite, and many versions of Outlook. Far more integrations are offered with the paid plans. There’s very limited customization, but HubSpot CRM users can choose how they organize their dashboard metrics.

Reporting and Dashboards

The reporting and dashboard options available with the free HubSpot CRM are fairly limited, although you’ll get much more powerful and extensive options if you upgrade to a paid plan. HubSpot CRM offers a single dashboard that displays standard marketing, sales, and customer service reports. You can take in all your leads and progress through your funnel in a single view. With HubSpot CRM, you’ll be able to organize deals, appointments, and contracts using any filters you’d like to track custom KPIs.

Mobile Options

HubSpot’s mobile CRM app is easy to use and syncs with your HubSpot account. It doesn’t have the full functionality of the HubSpot CRM, but it does allow you to manage contacts, tasks, and deals, continue chat conversations, and change app settings while you’re on the go. HubSpot account administrators can monitor user permissions to choose what employees can access while out of the office.

Plans and Pricing

HubSpot CRM itself is entirely free to use, but HubSpot CRM users might choose to upgrade to one or more of the paid HubSpot plans. It’s more accurate to think of the HubSpot CRM as the free version of HubSpot marketing, sales, and service suite.

You can pay separately for a plan for the Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, or Service Hub, or get the Growth Suite, which includes all 3. Each hub begins at $50 per month for one user, and the Growth Suite begins at $113 per month for one user.

The HubSpot CRM includes some free, limited features from each of the paid Hub plans. It also offers unlimited users and up to 1 million contacts and companies. Full features include contact and company insights, team email, and live chat, alongside limited contact activity, email tracking and templates, and bots for lead qualification, ticket creation, and meeting booking.

HubSpot CRM

  • Free 
  • Up to 1 million contacts and companies
  • Unlimited users
  • Limited integrations, documents, forms, email templates
  • Limited conversational bots, calls, and meetings
  • Limited Facebook and Instagram lead ads
  • Full ticketing, email scheduling, and prospects
  • Full team email, live chat, deals, tasks, and company records

Ease of Implementation and Use

It’s easy to get started with HubSpot since it’s fully cloud-based with nothing to download, configure, or set up. The HubSpot knowledge base and blog provide thorough onboarding, one-on-one guidance, training videos, and consultations with experts.

HubSpot’s policy is that good sales agents, marketers, and customer support representatives need to keep on learning and training throughout their careers, so it offers free HubSpot User Groups (HUGs) to help users keep on improving offline as well.

Customer Service

HubSpot offers different levels of customer service for free and for paid users. Free users can access the extensive, easily searchable knowledge base, ask other users questions in the active customer forums, or contact customer support representatives through an online web form or on Twitter. Paid users can reach customer support through email or over the phone. There's a toll-free number for US users and local call numbers for dozens of countries worldwide.

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What Users Say About HubSpot

“HubSpot CRM has allowed us to track, manage, and organize our sales pipeline in a more efficient way than we ever thought possible.”

Mark Wallace, Co-Founder, Parlor Custom Skis

“From our initial onboarding to our use of advanced features, the HubSpot team has been by our side to make sure that we succeed … Our calculator division has been particularly successful. We’ve grown sales by 26% since we started using HubSpot.”

Taka Takeuchi, Senior Digital Marketing Manager, Casio

“It’s so important to have synergies between sales and marketing because they’re so reliant on each other.  Having a strong relationship is vital to any B2B entity.  And it gets easier when you’re using one system like HubSpot’s.”

Elizabeth Tutscheck, Director of Marketing, Care.com

Conclusion

The HubSpot CRM is impressive in the range of features and powerful tools it offers for free. The best features are extremely limited, so may choose to upgrade to the paid plans, but it still offers good value. For a small business, entrepreneur, or cash-strapped company owner, the HubSpot CRM is a great way to access important sales, marketing, and customer service tools, free of charge.

Amanda BradleyByAmanda BradleyAug. 15, 2019
Amanda Bradley's interests and experience stretch from business to tech, via marketing, hi-tech and travel. Amanda uses her research and writing skills, together with her curiosity about every field and industry, to understand each topic from the inside and share it in an engaging, enticing way.
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