The business landscape is undergoing a metamorphosis – customers of the 21st century expect companies to provide a solution that is perfectly tailored to meet their specific needs. They demand excellent experiences throughout the buying journey and don't hesitate to switch firms if their expectations are not met. In fact, a study shows nearly 3 out of 4 customers move to a competing brand after just one bad experience with a company.
Against this backdrop, how can you delight your new-age customers? What does it take to deliver hyper-personalized solutions to millennial clients? You must use a powerful Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.
A good CRM system empowers you to make the best use of data to understand the needs of each of your clients with high levels of efficacy. It allows you to deliver seamless, fully-connected experiences to the customer, ensuring excellent satisfaction. The CRM platform also enables you to leverage cutting-edge automation tools to improve productivity and reduce costs in a big way.
So, are you planning to use a robust CRM system to provide delightful services to your customers and boost your organizational efficiency? The market is replete with hundreds of CRM applications, each claiming to be the best. Implementing a CRM system entails considerable effort and expenditure, and it’s very important to choose the right system that fully meets your unique requirements to get the desired results.
Today, we’ll examine the capabilities of two widely-used CRM systems viz. Salesforce and HubSpot and try to understand their relative strengths and limitations.
Salesforce vs. HubSpot – Which Platform Will Emerge the Winner in the CRM Duel
Choosing the right CRM system is a very complicated and time-consuming process. Even after you define your requirements, zeroing-in on the right system can be quite challenging.
Which of these two systems will win the fight for your check? Let’s see.
I’m sure at the very outset you’d like to know which of these two systems is less expensive. Most decision-makers believe expenditure on a CRM system is driven only by the implementation cost and the lead time. But that’s merely the starting point. There are several other factors to consider. For instance, what are the various types of users you support? Can one solution be more tailored to meet your unique requirements than others?
You must pause and evaluate what each CRM system can deliver for your organization. Ultimately, you must ask, “Can I use the system to meet my specific business needs effectively?”
So, HubSpot vs Salesforce… Let’s see who wins each bout and finally emerges the victor.
Bout 1 - Expenditure Incurred Per User
The cost of a CRM license is primarily driven by two major factors - the number of users and the requirements of each of the users. Both Salesforce and HubSpot offer multiple plans, each carrying a different price tag depending on the features provided by it. HubSpot also provides a version that can be used free of cost - however, this version has very limited capabilities.
Salesforce comes with 3 annual releases every year that provide new and updated functionality at no additional cost. Users of the CRM system can benefit from the features of the releases without any disruption to their business.
When you compare the paid solutions offered by the two platforms one-on-one, some paid solutions are more expensive with Salesforce while others cost more with HubSpot. On the whole, various studies show HubSpot is less expensive of the two CRM systems.
Having said this, it’s essential to remember there could be hidden costs and various inclusions you may require over a period. If you judge a CRM system solely by its cost, then HubSpot scores over Salesforce.
That’s the result of the first bout.
Bout 2 - Effort and Cost of Implementation
A search on the web will tell you HubSpot is a lean CRM solution and can be implemented easily. This is true in the case of certain small firms. But, as a matter of fact, ‘a solution designed to meet all needs’ means ‘the solution can’t meet any need effectively.’
A robust solution will need more investment in the initial stages compared to a less powerful alternative. But, if you’re purchasing for a fast-growing organization, you must consider various other aspects. These include the following.
Legacy systems your CRM platform must support
Add-ons you will need later
Flexibility and scalability of the CRM system
In a vast majority of cases, Salesforce can be integrated easily with legacy IT platforms, and this means you need to spend less time and money on development. Salesforce is designed to accommodate several thousand add-ons seamlessly, which reduces development costs in a big way, benefiting you even more as the size of your business grows. Salesforce AppExchange contains thousands of custom-made solutions - allowing you to purchase pre-built solutions easily - for a significantly-lower amount than it would cost to develop them yourself.
Coming to HubSpot, the solution has a clean, user-friendly interface that results in a relatively lower learning curve, enabling firms to on-board new users fast.
But things got even with the release of the highly intuitive Salesforce Lightning interface in 2016. From a purely implementation point of view, choosing between the two systems is not as easy as it once was.
The result of the second round - it’s a draw.
Bout 3 - Flexibility of Customization
We’ll now proceed to examine the two CRM systems from a customization viewpoint. You need to consider the following aspects when you evaluate a platform’s customizability.
Number of user personas your CRM platform must support
Needs of each of those groups
Outcomes and integrations expected by your customers
Salesforce can be used to meet business requirements of any complexity with high levels of efficacy. HubSpot too has become very customizable over the years but may not be able to match the flexibility offered by Salesforce. You need to remember Salesforce’s core strength is its excellent customizability and it is only getting better with each passing day.
HubSpot comes with its own set of integrations but it pales into insignificance when compared with Salesforce. And when it comes to scaling up integrations, Salesforce scores significantly higher than HubSpot (or for that matter, any other CRM system).
Another area where Salesforce has an upper hand over HubSpot is its customization interface. The interface is extremely intuitive, and unlike HubSpot, allows you to customize merely by dragging and dropping objects. This goes a long way in empowering your non-technical users to customize Salesforce to meet their specific needs.
As you can see, Salesforce wins the third bout hands down.
Bout 4 - Analytics Prowess
We all know the ability to utilize marketing and customer data in real time makes the difference between success and failure. No wonder, most companies thoroughly evaluate the analytics capabilities of various CRM systems before they zero-in on one.
When it comes to Salesforce and HubSpot, both systems provide advanced reporting and analytics features. The two platforms can be used to generate basic reports such as those indicating sales volumes month-on-month and the current lead conversion rates.
But when it comes to using data to make accurate forecasts of revenues or identify potential risks, Salesforce has a clear advantage. You can also use various Business Intelligence (BI) tools with Salesforce very effectively. HubSpot lags far behind Salesforce in terms of customizing analytics capabilities to meet your unique data needs.
At the end of the day, you must understand you’re not buying a CRM system but the ability to make sound, data-backed decisions. Salesforce empowers you with the right data-enabled insights in real time with Tableau, powered by the intelligence of Einstein AI suite of applications.
Again, Salesforce wins decisively.
Bout 5 - Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automation Capabilities
It’s now time for the last bout as Salesforce and HubSpot clash with their AI sabers. Salesforce’s blade is quite sharp and can tear into huge volumes of data cutting down complexities and making the data ready for use in predictive models; Salesforce’s AI strength enables smart, timely insights, hyper-precise predictions and guided actions – all converging on a highly user-friendly interface.
Salesforce also makes automation very simple, thanks to its rich drag-and-drop features. It empowers your people to seamlessly automate workflows and enhance their efficacy, without the hassle of DevOps bottlenecks. Needless to say, your organizational productivity is enhanced significantly.
HubSpot has made rapid strides in the use of AI and has some useful capabilities pertaining to automation of processes and workflows. However, it provides fewer options than Salesforce. HubSpot also trails Salesforce in terms of maturity, flexibility and scalability.
Salesforce emerges the clear winner of the final bout.
As you can see, while HubSpot scores initially in terms of cost and closely matches Salesforce in enabling hassle-free implementation, it clearly falls behind when it comes to customizability, analytics and the use of AI and automation. The contender does put up a good fight but the reigning champion outperforms splendidly to win the CRM duel.
At Solunus, our team of veteran CRM specialists enable you to unleash the immense power of state-of the-art tools to delight your customers and multiply your revenues. We’ve served several organizations in diverse sectors; this rich experience, coupled with our strong focus on comprehending your unique requirements, allows us to deliver the perfect solution that provides the best ROI.
Hope you liked this post. How did you zero-in on the right CRM for your business? We’d love to know.
Solunus is a leading Salesforce consulting company, based in Dallas, TX, USA. Our proven ‘needs-first’ approach coupled with our unrivaled expertise of the Salesforce platform enables us to provide the perfect solution to help you deliver delightful services to customers and achieve rapid growth.