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HubSpot CRM Review: Holistic Platform With a Free Option

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HubSpot CRM Review: Holistic Platform With a Free Option
Hubspot can handle your CRM and sales needs, with some core features that come free of charge. Can they help you?

Updated: May 16th, 2024

HubSpot is a prominent customer relationship management (CRM) company founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 2006. They place a significant focus on the concept of inbound marketing and offer a robust suite of tools that help businesses attract, engage, and retain customers throughout all stages of their journey. Their freemium CRM software serves as the central hub for their offerings, providing powerful tools for sales, marketing, and customer service. 

In this review, we'll explore the many aspect and tools of HubSpot CRM, as well as their benefits, strengths, potential drawbacks, and what their customers are saying to help you decide if it is the right solution for your business. Read on to learn more!


Real-time lead behavior notifications and scoring
A large number of integrations
Customizable workflows
Flexible and robust system capabilities


Phone support only with higher-tier plans
Pricey when incorporating advanced features and add-ons


Quick Stats

Cloud-Based Software
Free, paid plans starting at $15 per month per seat
Free Trial Available:
Trustpilot Score
2.6 out of 5
BBB Rating
Customer Experience
Business Size Supported
Any size

HubSpot CRM in Brief

As founded by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, HubSpot strives to do more than a traditional CRM platform. As such, their comprehensive cloud-based software encompasses marketing automation, content management, social media tools, and extensive analytics, among many other functionalities and perks. With tools designed for businesses of all sizes, they empower companies across diverse industries, including consumer services, marketing, healthcare, manufacturing, real estate, nonprofits, and so on. 

They aim to distinguish themselves by seamlessly integrating their CRM with other tools in their extensive ecosystem, creating a unified sales and marketing experience, streamlining lead generation, nurturing, and so on. Their core CRM software is free, with no obligations, but they do offer some paid plans that unlock many advanced capabilities for sales, marketing, content, operations, customer service, and commerce needs. The basic system, provided with the free plan, delivers a centralized platform to manage contacts, track deal pipelines, and automate essential sales tasks, among many other covered tasks.

You may access the CRM dashboard to gain real-time insights into your sales funnel, as well as to automatically track customer interactions across channels like social media, email, live chat, and phone calls; organizing them into a clear timeline for each lead. Their sales-focused toolkit also empowers your reps to manage contacts, visualize their pipeline, and track deals effectively. Additionally, their separate marketing tools can bolster your lead generation efforts and support marketing automation, including email templates and performance tracking. 

Hubspot also seems to strongly emphasize your data security, adhering to industry-standard practices to safeguard customer information. They also place a special focus on customer education, offering many resources, training options, and certifications to help you and your team of users maximize your investment.

The company receives industry-wide recognition, including being named a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for CRM Lead Management and one of the best software companies by G2. They hold positive reviews among industry experts and boast a dedicated following. Keep in mind, however, that they are not accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), although they maintain an active approach to engaging with customers and their concerns.

HubSpot CRM Features & Tools

As previously stated, they offer a comprehensive set of tools designed to streamline lead nurturing, manage deals effectively, and improve sales team performance. Among the many core features of their central CRM system are the following:

  • Contact management: This enables you to create detailed profiles for your contacts, which may include such information as demographics and interaction history. Furthermore, with their custom fields, you can personalize the profiles to your specific needs, such as purchase history and preferred communication channels. Then, you can segment your contacts based on various criteria to deliver personalized marketing and sales outreach, helping you create a more targeted approach that is more likely to resonate with your contacts
  • Lead management: You can capture leads from various sources like website forms, landing pages, social media, and even offline interactions. You can prioritize your leads based on their fit and engagement level with lead scoring, then automate lead nurturing with personalized email sequences tailored to your lead's behavior. Additionally, by tracking conversion rates and analyzing lead sources, you can optimize your lead generation strategy
  • Deal pipeline management: They help you visualize your deal pipeline through a customizable drag-and-drop interface, as well as create different stages within the pipeline to align with your specific sales process. You can set up automated reminders and notifications to keep your deals moving forward, as well as track key deal data such as win and loss rates, average deal size, and sales cycle length to pinpoint areas for improvement
  • Email integration: This allows you to integrate your favorite email client with their CRM, allowing you to compose, send, and receive messages without ever leaving the program. Making polished email templates to use when corresponding with prospects and clients is another skill you'll pick up. Specific email perks include:
    • Email tracking: You can see if and when recipients open and click on your emails, allowing you to customize your follow-up efforts
    • Email automation: You may also set up automated email sequences triggered by specific actions the customer takes, such as downloading a provided document or subscribing to a newsletter
  • Team activity tracking: You can track your sales team's activity levels and get insights on tasks completed, interactions recorded, and deals progressed. Based on that data, you can set individual and team goals to motivate performance and track progress toward objectives
  • Reporting and analytics: They help you identify trends and make data-driven decisions to optimize your sales funnel and overall business strategy. You can create custom reports and dashboards to track key metrics such as sales pipeline health, conversion rates, customer lifetime value, and ROI. Alternatively, you can leverage pre-built reports to gain quick insights into various aspects of your sales performance. Also, in tandem with team activity tracking, you can identify top performers to replicate their success strategies and identify areas for coaching and improvement
  • Mobile app: You can access and manage your data on the go with their mobile application, on both iOS and Android. Key functionalities include contact and deal management, task management, sales activity logging, and reporting dashboard
  • Third-party integrations: Their platform integrates with many other software, currently including over 1,500 apps for marketing, productivity, finance, sales, commerce, and customer service. You can find those integrations in their app marketplace, or build similar functionalities using their API tools

The platform also includes marketing, sales, customer service, content management, and operations solutions, with some free tools from each already incorporated. However, many of their associated services may require separate purchases or need to be bundled, and come as the following 'hubs':

  • Operations Hub: With this, you can automate routine tasks, sync data across systems, and ensure clean data for a streamlined workflow
  • Sales Hub: This provides you with advanced sales tools, such as sales sequences, predictive lead scoring, quote generation, and e-signatures
  • Marketing Hub: With this software, you can create targeted email campaigns, manage social media outreach, build landing pages, and track marketing ROI
  • Service Hub: The customer service tools allow you to manage customer support tickets, create a knowledge base for self-service, and implement live chat for real-time support
  • Content Hub: This software offers AI-powered content creation, lead capture, and a scalable content management system (CMS) to streamline your content marketing strategy. Tools here are offered in both free and premium plans
  • Commerce Hub: This offers a B2B commerce solution that integrates with HubSpot CRM and other tools, which streamlines billing and payments with features like invoices, quotes, and subscriptions  

Hubspot CRM Plans & Pricing

As previously mentioned, the core tools for CRM and sales, marketing, content, operations, commerce, and customer service are available free of charge within the system. To add advanced tools and functionalities, you would be charged extra depending on many factors, such as the products you desire and the comprehensiveness of their tools, the size of your business operation, and whether you pay monthly or yearly.

To begin with, their free CRM plan provides the tools for contact and deal management, basic email marketing and landing pages, ticketing and live chat for customer support, plus meeting scheduling and quote generation capabilities. This is a great starting point for small businesses or individuals just beginning with CRM software, but this option may not be suitable if you have a larger business. You may then purchase starter packages of each of their Hub products on a per month per seat basis, or more advanced packages for larger teams.

To gain access to more advanced features of all products, HubSpot provides targeted Starter packages of their customer platform for small teams that combine sales, marketing, service, and so on, starting at $20 a month for a limited amount of users, or $15 a month when billed annually. Keep in mind, that there might be some limitations with the Starter package, such as only providing 1,000 marketing contacts. There are also Professional packages for small teams and businesses, as well as an Enterprise package for larger businesses.

You can choose to buy these products separately, with differing prices depending on the product. For example, a Sales Hub Enterprise package will set you back $150 a month per seat, whereas a similar Content package starts at $1,500 a month for five seats plus $75 a month per seat. For a more comprehensive solution, you can also opt for a unique bundled solution that combines the multiple hubs in the various tier levels that your business needs. If you opt for Professional Sales and Marketing packages but Starter packages for the other products, for example, that would cost you $935 a month with an annual commitment. Additionally, you may further customize your plan with add-ons based on specific requirements. These add-ons can increase your capabilities with perks such as increasing your API limit, transaction emails, marketing SMS, and more.

To fully understand their pricing options and discover the best plan for your business, you can consult their pricing page.

The Advantages of Hubspot CRM

  • Unlimited free plan: Their free core software has a robust set of features like contact management, email marketing, forms, landing pages, and live chat. It's ideal for small businesses or those new to CRM software and supports up to a million contacts
  • Comprehensive business tool: HubSpot CRM is more than a sales tool. It's the central hub of an ecosystem designed to streamline your marketing, content creation, and operations, providing a holistic solution to drive business growth. On top of that, their mobile app allows you to do many tasks on the go, including viewing and updating contact details, tracking deal progress, creating tasks, viewing key sales data, editing data offline, as well as logging calls, emails, and meetings
  • Intuitive and user-friendly: Their interface is designed for ease of use, with guided setup, intuitive navigation, and ample learning resources for users of all levels
  • Lead notifications and automations: Their tools help you keep track of website visitors and other crucial lead activities, such as email opens and document views. This way, you can engage with them at the most opportune time. Moreover, they allow you to automate email sequences, task assignments, and lead rotation to nurture leads effectively and make sure no potential customer is overlooked
  • Extensive integrations: Their open ecosystem allows for seamless integration with over 1,500 third-party apps, expanding the platform's functionality and enabling you to connect with the tools you already use
  • Scalability: HubSpot's pricing plans are modular and tiered, allowing you to start small and easily upgrade as your needs evolve. The system can be customized to your unique needs to ensure the CRM grows alongside your business

Why You Might Not Choose Hubspot

  • Costly for advanced uses: Although the free plan offers many perks, advanced functionalities such as marketing automation, custom reporting, and sales sequences are only available through a paid subscription. This can be quite costly, especially if you have a small business or limited funds. Additionally, some users have reported that the onboarding fees for higher tiers may be quite expensive
  • Limited customization with core functions: The free plan's limited customization options may hinder businesses with unique workflows or branding requirements
  • Limited support for free users: As a free plan user, you would rely solely on self-service resources for assistance, and would not have access to direct customer support channels such as chat or email. Additionally, only Professional and Enterprise users can access phone support
  • Relative complexity for beginners: Although the interface is said to be user-friendly, the software's extensive features may overwhelm new users

The Hubspot CRM Customer Experience

Hubspot enjoys a generally positive reputation among their customers. They receive a high review score of 4.5 out of 5 on Capterra, and a similar 8.5 out of 10 score on TrustRadius. There are also review pages devoted to some of their distinct products, such as Marketing Hub, with similarly high scores. However, they receive a lower score of 2.6 out of 5 on Trustpilot, albeit from a significantly smaller pool of user reviews. Additionally, they receive only a C- rating on the BBB, although with a relatively small amount of complaints there.

Users consistently praise the user-friendly interface, specifically noting the intuitive design and easy navigation experience, making it accessible even for those new to CRM software. Many compliment their comprehensive suite of sales, marketing, and customer service functionalities, enabling businesses to manage various aspects of their operations within a single, integrated system. Also, the ability to customize workflows, pipelines, and reports to match specific business needs seems to add significant value for users. Some customers highlight the wide range of integrations with popular tools, further streamlining their workflows and data consolidation. In contrast, others place a bigger focus on HubSpot's readily available support resources and helpful customer service team, which contribute to a positive user experience.

However, HubSpot CRM also gets their share of criticisms. One of the most common complaints is the high cost of upgrading to higher tiers or adding specific features, which can be a challenge for small businesses with limited budgets. Also, some users have raised concerns about the rigidity of billing policies and the lack of flexibility in refunds. Additionally, some users, especially new ones, find the platform's extensive toolset overwhelming and challenging to understand. Although many users praise HubSpot's support, some report difficulties reaching them or receiving satisfactory solutions, especially with billing or account problems. Finally, a few users have noted accessibility challenges faced by individuals with disabilities, as well as occasional technical issues like bugs and glitches.

The company does not publicly reply to all complaints on the BBB and doesn't seem to respond to any reviews. When they do reply on the BBB, they maintain a professional and solution-oriented tone. They address specific concerns raised by customers, offering explanations or clarifications regarding their policies and practices. However, their responses may sometimes focus more on technicalities or justifications for their actions, rather than directly acknowledging customer frustrations or offering immediate resolutions.

Hubspot Customer Support

HubSpot offers a variety of support channels to cater to different user preferences and subscription levels. Depending on your plan, the customer support options you would be given are as follows:

  • Free plan: You only get access to HubSpot’s community forum, as well as their other online resources like the knowledge base, video training academy, and customer blog. You may also be able to get ahold of them via their support account on X, formerly Twitter
  • Starter plans: Aside from the above online resources, you would also have email and live chat support, which you can access by logging in to your Hubspot account
  • Professional and Enterprise plans: Along with the options available to Starter plan holders, you would also get phone support. You can access this by requesting a call after logging in or calling them directly at 1-888-482-7768, extension 3

Keep in mind that when you visit their website, you can use the HubBot chat box to get answers to simple questions, regardless of what kind of plan you have.

Final Words

HubSpot CRM is an inclusive system that can be used by your whole team, and is not just a tool for your sales and marketing personnel. They designed their software to be the central hub for all of your business needs, making it a compelling choice for all types of businesses. The free version of their customer relationship management system comes with a surprising number of tools, while the paid plans offer diverse scalability options to accommodate larger businesses. They are recognized for their easy user experience, robust integrations, and data-driven insights that aid in sales, marketing, and customer service processes. Whether you're a small startup looking to organize customer data or a growing enterprise seeking a unified solution for multiple business functions, they boast the tools you may need to drive efficiency and growth.

That said, navigating through HubSpot's offerings requires careful consideration. Although their free plan is generous, accessing their advanced tools may require a significant financial investment, which could make them unsuitable if your business is on a budget. Their extensive tool set can be both a blessing and a curse, as it empowers experienced users but can potentially overwhelm beginners. Also, while they are highly regarded for their customer support, some users complain of inconsistent experiences and limited service access for free plan subscribers. With that in mind, you should weigh these factors carefully, assess your specific needs and budget, and explore the different plan options to determine if their offerings and costs align with your long-term business goals.

Regardless of your business type and size, choosing CRM software for its unique needs can be challenging, and it's crucial to explore all available options before making a decision. To help, our website provides a reviews page where you can learn more about all the reliable and user-friendly CRM software providers. Additionally, you can use our comparison tool to compare your top picks and find the perfect fit for your business needs. Even if you still want to learn about this type of tool and its associated characteristics and standards, you can do so by visiting our blog for informative articles that can guide you throughout the decision-making process. In short, we are here to help you select the best tool that will streamline your operations and improve your customer experience.

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