6 Limitations of the HubSpot Salesforce Integration

Stacy Bouchard
Posted by Stacy Bouchard on December 5, 2019


“Marketing doesn’t generate enough quality leads!”

"Sales doesn’t follow up on leads!”

The tension between sales and marketing teams has always existed. And, often, this point of contention limits the effectiveness of business development as a whole, which holds back the entire organization.

However, as marketing automation software emerged — and companies like HubSpot and Salesforce began integrating — technology offered a solution to this age-old struggle. At least that was the theory.

Truth is, integration alone cannot unite and align your teams. There are limitations to integration, and we’ll explore them here.

Is a HubSpot Salesforce integration a solution to misalignment?

First, let’s explore how exciting a HubSpot Salesforce integration really is. There’s indeed a way to bridge the gap between sales and marketing. Tools like HubSpot and Salesforce make it possible to nurture and manage a lead from first contact all the way through to the sale.

HubSpot Salesforce integration syncs lead intelligence and revenue reporting

Second, let’s see how it could work. If both are used at your organization, HubSpot gathers and tracks specific data related to marketing, while Salesforce tracks everything related to the sales process. Sharing data between the two — integrating — would make everything more effective for you and the lead, but what does that really mean and how will it help your business?

Well, HubSpot and Salesforce have made the actual integration fairly easy, having built tools to walk you through the process. With a few clicks, the two can be integrated, and your teams are on their way to a better, healthier relationship, right? Well...kind of.

Before you dive into a HubSpot Salesforce integration yourself, we want to provide you with six important parameters to help you understand its limitations.

1. The Naming Convention Mismatch

When making comparisons, people often take an apples-to-apples approach. When talking about a HubSpot integration with Salesforce, however, it’s very possible that what you think is an apple is actually an orange.

What we mean is that, in HubSpot, an individual person is usually called a “contact” and has a “contact record” no matter where they are in the sales process — i.e. as soon as someone downloads a piece of content or fills out a form, HubSpot creates a contact record for them.

However, if you know Salesforce, you know that it's not that simple. Salesforce has both "leads" and "contact" records, and they mean different things, depending on your Salesforce setup.

Before you begin an integration, it's important to identify the language mismatches that impact your process and plan how you’ll address them.

2. Campaign Confusion

Speaking of different meanings, a “campaign” is a vastly different concept within the two platforms.

A HubSpot campaign is a collection of assets. Reports can be generated showing which contacts connected with which campaigns.

HubSpot campaign tools

Salesforce looks at campaigns as lists of contacts. Reports show who connected with an asset, and they can be used to drive campaigns or create segments within the data. Salesforce campaigns cannot be automatically added to HubSpot (they need to be added manually beforehand).

3. It's Not an Equal Exchange of Data

When you first start thinking about an integration, it's easy to imagine that you'll be combining two things into one. However, in a technical integration, not everything from HubSpot can be entered into Salesforce, and vice versa.

For instance, activity-level data in HubSpot (data points you see in a contact record's timeline) cannot be fully integrated into Salesforce. Instead, it appears in a special window that cannot be manipulated. Similarly, Salesforce task information can only partially be accessed and manipulated on the HubSpot end.

Similar to mismatched language, make sure you’re clear about what data matters most to you before you begin the integration. Then verify whether or not it will be exchanged between the two systems...and how, including whether it’s a one-way or two-way sync. You may find that what matters most to you isn’t part of a standard integration.

4. Integration Can Create Data Integrity Issues

One of my least favorite topics of discussion as a marketer is data integrity.

Of course, I understand the importance of it and believe it should be a priority, but there is really nothing fun about cleaning up data. Once you unite two systems, like during a HubSpot Salesforce integration, you introduce yourself (and your organization) to a myriad of data nightmare possibilities. The most likely possibility is duplicate records.

HubSpot looks for matching email addresses, which means a new contact will not be created if the email address already exists in the CRM. In Salesforce, it’s not that easy. Rules need to be set or add-ons used to prevent duplicate records from being added.

Instead of saving time and streamlining processes, your integration could create a mountain of additional work if you’re not careful.

Make sure you have the right protocols in place before you begin.

5. Integration Cannot Translate Lists Between Platforms

Segmentation is key to effective lead nurturing, and using lists may be a very important part of your process. HubSpot users create lists to segment leads by well-defined criteria, and Salesforce users make lists with reports. Yet, when you're integrating contact records, you can't simply gather lists from one platform and auto-create lists in the other.

If it’s important to have the same lists available to HubSpot and Salesforce users, they’ll need to be created independently, using the same underlying criteria.

6. Limited Capabilities: Workflows and Salesforce Tasks

Automation is a wonderful thing. Using HubSpot, it’s possible to create workflows to automate many different processes.


One of our clients wanted to use a workflow to trigger a task in Salesforce after certain actions occurred in HubSpot. While we were able to create that task workflow, the information we could put into the task was very limited.

Before we could write the workflow, new fields needed to be created within Salesforce to make the trigger possible. Our client wanted to include additional information in the task, but we were only able to include basic instructions.

If you’re already a Salesforce user, doesn’t it makes sense to use Pardot, Salesforce’s marketing automation platform? Well, since Pardot doesn’t host a main website, tools like email, workflows, and A/B testing aren’t integrated with the rest of your online presence. That’s not a good user experience, nor does it enhance SEO efforts.

Tech Integrations Can't Replace Real Sales and Marketing Alignment

If your teams aren’t willing to adjust how your company uses Salesforce and HubSpot, effective integration is nearly impossible.

There’s no technology out there that can replace a well-defined, tested marketing and sales playbook. If you haven’t spent the time to really dig in to create processes around your sales and marketing efforts, technology cannot save you.

RELATED: 5 Reasons Marketing and Sales Alignment Matters

Before you consider implementing marketing automation or CRM, or even a HubSpot Salesforce integration, invest in building a process that aligns your marketing and sales teams to drive revenue.

Want to learn more about keeping sales and marketing aligned? Review our resource, Sales & Marketing Service Level Agreements: A Guided Tour, for details on creating trust and efficiency between marketing and sales to create greater revenue results. Click below to access your copy.

A Guided Tour of Marketing & Sales Service Level Agreements

Topics: Marketing Technology, Inbound Marketing, Inbound Sales, Marketing & Sales Alignment