By Sarah Mead

Selecting the right customer relationship management (CRM) platform for your business is a decision that should not be taken lightly. Your CRM has the power to make or break how well your organization functions as a whole.

It will come as no surprise that there are a number of excellent platforms on the market today, and two standouts continue to be HubSpot and Salesforce. Both have outstanding (and long-standing) reputations, and they have truly helped move the needle for businesses of all sizes.

In this article, we’ll break down the benefits you should consider when comparing HubSpot versus Salesforce, so you can more easily make the business case for the best-fit platform within your organization.

Considerations When Selecting a CRM Platform

As you’re working through the process of choosing the right CRM platform for your organization, it’s important to think about the following factors.

Use Case

Will this system be used solely by sales, a mix of sales and marketing, or will this be the “system of choice” for many facets of your organization, including customer service? Think about this as you review the feature breadth of a given CRM. 

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Opportunities for Process Improvements

Selecting a CRM provides a good opportunity to reflect on what may be “breaking down” within your organization. Use this time to consider how handoffs between given departments are handled and where there are disconnects, so you can find a system that will streamline and mitigate your friction points.

Capability for Integration 

Companies are always better off when they can utilize one system as a single source of truth. That said, depending on your business needs, you will likely need to pull (or push) data from one system into another. Be sure to look out for the types of integrations available with a given system, and how easily you can develop custom integrations if need be.

Tech-Savviness of Your Team Members

Many times, CRM implementations and new systems “flop” because they are not set up or maintained properly. Think about who on your team will be using a given system and what their technical capabilities are. If you have a less tech-savvy team with a steeper learning curve, you may want to opt for a system that ranks higher on ease of use, with solid support and training.

Cost

When you consider how many team members will be leveraging the system, you’ll also want to think about present and future costs associated with the software. Also, if you plan on scaling your business over the coming years, think about the cost implications of what the CRM will be as you add more users, contacts, and features.

Reflect on Your Company’s Needs

Above all, think about what matters most to your organization. For example, some organizations value one comprehensive system to eliminate data silos in exchange for a few “sub-par” features. On the flip side, other companies have very specific needs where one feature or benefit outweighs the rest. Be sure to have multiple conversations with key stakeholders in your organization as you deep dive into the process of finding a CRM that will work best for you.

HubSpot vs. Salesforce: CRM Overview

Now that you know how to think about purchasing a CRM platform, let’s take a deeper dive specifically into HubSpot and Salesforce so you can compare the two systems side by side. 

First we’ll begin with a high-level overview of the two systems—including reviews, pros, and cons:

 

HubSpot CRM

Salesforce CRM

Overall

Rankings

4.29 out of 5

*based on average of below rankings

4.5 out of 5 stars (Capterra)

4.51 out 5 stars (Software Advice)

4 out of 5 stars (PC Mag)

8.3 out of 10 stars (TrustRadius)

4.3 out of 5 stars (G2)

4.17 out of 5 

*based on average of below rankings

4.4 out of 5 stars (Capterra)

4.28 out of 5 stars (Software Advice)

4 out of 5 stars (PC Mag)

8.3 out of 10 stars (TrustRadius)

4 out of 5 stars (G2)

Pros

  • Easy “out-of-the-box” solution
  • Free trial option
  • User-friendly interface
  • One seamless platform with an integrated user experience
  • Excellent for small to enterprise-level organizations
  • Robust reporting and complex data capabilities
  • Breadth of products and tools
  • AppExchange offers 3,400+ apps and integrations, and open API
  • Excellent for enterprise-level organizations

Cons

  • Cost can add up as more features and tiers are introduced
  • Fewer native integrations compared with Salesforce (500+ and open API)
  • Comparatively less advanced features with customization, reporting, and analytics
  • Expensive solution
  • Complexity to set up and use can be tougher to adopt (most teams benefit from having a dedicated Salesforce admin)
  • Connectors and additional costs needed for multi-cloud integrations

 

Knowing that each organization values certain features or benefits over others, let’s take a deeper dive into how HubSpot and Salesforce match up within a few key categories.

HubSpot vs. Salesforce: Side-by-Side Comparison


Ease of Use and Setup

In this category, we’ll look at how easy each platform is to set up and to use on an ongoing basis.

 

HubSpot

Salesforce

Rankings

Ease of use: 8.6 out of 10 (G2)


Ease of setup: 8.3 out of 10 (G2)

Ease of use: 7.8 out of 10 (G2)


Ease of setup: 7.1 out of 10 (G2)

Pros

  • Simple interface designed to be intuitive for users
  • Free version of limited HubSpot instance available to test out system
  • Easy to set up lead reporting and key features
  • 14-day trial allows time to get to know tools before buying
  • Easy to track opportunities and leads

Cons

  • Customization can be a little clunky
  • Lead import and data structure can be initially time-consuming 
  • Bigger learning curve associated with Salesforce, depending on complexity of usage
  • Some features appear outdated and are less intuitive

 

Quality of Support

In this category, we’ll look at how beneficial the support system is within each platform. Both Salesforce and HubSpot have a number of options for ongoing support to help your team continue to scale and grow.

 

HubSpot

Salesforce

Rankings

7.8 out of 10 (The Blueprint)

8.5 out of 10 (G2)

7.4 out of 10 (The Blueprint)

7.9 out of 10 (G2)

Pros

  • 24/7 access to HubSpot support and tickets with email responses
  • Standard support package included with contract

Cons

  • No dedicated support after onboarding is complete
  • Additional cost for Premier support plan
  • May need to hire in-house Salesforce expert

 

Both systems have excellent, long-standing support systems. The biggest consideration here is the additional cost needed for ongoing support. Salesforce is a more complex system that may require an in-house expert or a higher tier of support in order to optimize the platform.

Features and Customization

In this category, we’ll look at the breadth of features and how they rank against one another. For a full list of features and truly comprehensive comparison, have a look at the HubSpot and Salesforce websites.

 

HubSpot

Salesforce

Rankings

9 out of 10 (The Blueprint)

10 out of 10 (The Blueprint)

Pros

  • Comprehensive business CRM
  • Features designed for usability and user experience
  • Easy imports from other software platforms
  • Custom fields
  • Comprehensive business CRM
  • Outnumbers HubSpot in features and customization
  • Easy imports from other software platforms

Cons

  • Less customization available than Salesforce
  • Fewer features
  • Less modern design and user experience within some features

 

Integrations with Other Tools

In this category, we’ll look at how well each tool can be integrated with other systems. While Salesforce has more native integrations, HubSpot is continuing to make strides in the integration space—notably with the addition of OperationsHub to their product mix.

 

HubSpot

Salesforce

Rankings

8.4 out of 10 (TrustRadius)

6.6 out of 10 (TrustRadius)

Pros

  • 500+ options for native integrations
  • Open API for custom integrations
  • 3,700+ options for native integrations
  • Open API for custom integrations

Cons

  • Additional cost for added API access and integrations
  • Scripting environment
  • Additional cost for added API access and integrations

 

To make an informed decision for your organization, we recommend first determining which integrations your team will need and doing individual research into compatibility with both of these systems.

Cost

Cost is obviously a major consideration when selecting the right CRM for your business.

According to The Blueprint (and based on our own experience), HubSpot and Salesforce are neck and neck with their pricing options. Both systems’ costs can stack up, depending on how many features and contacts you are looking to utilize. 

Salesforce tends to run a higher bill, but this may not be a concern for larger enterprise companies with bigger budgets—whereas this may prove to be cost prohibitive for smaller organizations. Additionally, Salesforce has ongoing options for support that can be very costly as well (in which case you may want to consider an in-house hire.) 

HubSpot approaches its cost structure through various “Hubs”—by adding another hub to your system, you will unlock a number of new features. The benefit here is the product breadth available with each new addition, but with that does come an additional monthly cost. Additionally, it’s important to consider the number of contacts you’re adding to the system because this pricing will scale up with volume.

Full details can be found on the HubSpot and Salesforce pricing pages.

Which CRM is Right for You?

The most important part of selecting a CRM is choosing one that will work for your team, and taking your time to make a plan for your tech stack.

Every company’s needs are different, so be sure to use the information above to weigh the pros and cons of each solution. Have ongoing conversations with key stakeholders to determine which features will allow your organization to achieve optimal adoption of a given system. 

In the end, both HubSpot and Salesforce are excellent systems with unique strengths they bring to the table. Now it’s up to you to decide which one will help your organization continue to scale.

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Sarah Mead

About the author

Sarah Mead is an Inbound Marketing Senior Director who plays a key role in building and maintaining excellent client experiences that result in happy customers. She is tirelessly passionate about leading her team members to achieve personal growth and success. Outside of work, you'll find Sarah teaching yoga, enjoying the outdoors, taking care of her plant collection, and grooving to the latest independent radio hits. Read more articles by Sarah Mead.

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