When the average salesperson thinks about sales enablement software or a customer relationship management (CRM) tool, the behemoth in the industry typically comes to mind: Salesforce.
But just because it’s the biggest doesn’t mean it’s the best.
Other platforms can deliver similar functionality and offer features that Salesforce doesn’t. In particular, the HubSpot CRM platform, which includes HubSpot Sales Hub has emerged as one of the best Salesforce alternatives, and many B2B manufacturers and service companies are making the switch. Should you?
Let’s compare various features and benefits to help you decide whether HubSpot vs Salesforce is right for you. Spoiler alert! We believe HubSpot is the better choice. Here’s why.
Ease of Use
Does your company have dedicated programmers or IT people who can head up a migration to Salesforce or HubSpot? If not, HubSpot’s simplicity and ease of use is a big benefit. It’s easy to get set up with HubSpot without the aid of a technical genius. In many cases, a marketing or salesperson can set up the software. And HubSpot’s extensive library of resources — along with their user community — is there to help with onboarding all along the way.
Salesforce is more complex. Depending on your capabilities, it might require a third-party service to get you up and running, and ramping up to full adoption will take much more user training than HubSpot (and much more time).
HubSpot and Salesforce both offer robust features to help companies organize their customer data, manage leads, and automate workflows. HubSpot’s Sales Hub features rival those of Salesforce and include activity dashboards and tracking, sales forecasting, CRM, call management, document management, and all the tools that really matter to sales teams and marketers.
Salesforce does offer some features that HubSpot doesn’t, and vice versa. For example, Salesforce allows for more customization. But developing those customizations can be onerous, and account executives often default to latching on their individual processes, leading to poor record-keeping and siloed data. HubSpot’s Sales Hub has most any feature a team needs right out of the box, and its superior marketing functionalities (including social media) integrate seamlessly.
Some experts suggest that HubSpot is better for any size organization, from a start-up to enterprise level, whereas Salesforce is typically reserved for enterprise-level companies. Honestly, HubSpot and Salesforce both have amazing features, reporting capabilities, and tools. But, as noted above, if users can’t figure out how to easily use them — or they take a “go-it-alone” attitude — they’re of little use.
Manufacturers understand the critical importance of engineering a custom solution from the ground up. Retrofitting parts or cobbling together disparate products might get a job done, but maintaining it can become a major pain point.
The same is true with a CRM platform. HubSpot’s Sales, Marketing, Content Management, and Service Hubs are all custom engineered by HubSpot, meaning they all “play nice” with the CRM and provide a unified customer experience. Salesforce has added multiple tools and features over the years, but many were a result of acquisitions of other established platforms with their own coding, like Pardot. But cobbling all these individual technologies into one comes with inherent problems, kind of like creating a Frankensystem. Let’s put it in terms that manufacturers can clearly understand…
Salesforce is like building a platform using mostly after-market commodity parts. HubSpot was built using only OEM components that were designed with the end product and user in mind.
Another reason HubSpot is considered a better solution, especially for small to mid-market businesses, is its cost. That’s not to say that HubSpot isn’t a sizable investment; it is. But when its total cost of ownership is compared with Salesforce, there’s a marked difference.
Comparing the annual price tag for Enterprise-level features for 50 users, you could pay more than three times as much for Salesforce Sales Cloud vs. HubSpot Sales Hub. In real dollars, HubSpot could cost approximately $75,000 whereas Salesforce could be more than $236,000 for a team of 50 users. Not only is Salesforce’s upfront cost per user more, they also have a lot of add-on charges for features that HubSpot includes, such as calling, sales engagement software, and more.
If there’s one thing that manufacturers and complex industries know first-hand, it’s that service after the sale can make or break a business. It’s a mystery why Salesforce hasn’t caught on to that simple, yet crucial, business best practice.
One thing to note about the pricing information above is that Salesforce charges for their 24/7 premier support — a whopping 20% of your net contract price. Additional feature access costs 30%! And, because you have to spend more for additional users and add-on features (and Salesforce is more complex and conducive to leaning on customer support for help), those costs can escalate quickly. Be sure to include customer service fees in your decision and budget.
HubSpot customer service is available free to each of its customers and, if you become a Pro or Enterprise customer, you won’t pay more for phone and email support, nor pay more as you scale.
Ideal organizational structures avoid silos among departments and take every measure to ensure alignment throughout the company. Unfortunately, the adversarial relationship between sales and marketing has grown to epic proportions in some organizations. It shouldn't be that way.
Salesforce, as its name suggests, has its origins in helping salespeople, and it’s still mainly viewed as a sales tool despite added features. HubSpot was built intentionally to bring sales and marketing together, linking their efforts to other departments. Alignment is at the core of HubSpot’s business model, bringing sales, marketing, service, and operations together to help each other and the company succeed.
Many platforms focus on managing leads but do little to capture them in the first place. Salesforce was built as a sales CRM and competes strongly with HubSpot when it comes to segmentation and tracking interactions. Both platforms allow you to track deals, manage sales activities, forecast revenue, and a host of other features you’d expect out of a CRM and sales tool.
Engaging prospects, nurturing leads throughout their buyer’s journey, and then delighting them after the sale, however, gives HubSpot a clear advantage. Not only does HubSpot feature content marketing and website management, it also allows you to create email templates and add videos to emails, create and share meeting links, build a library of marketing and sales content, and much more.
In the end, we get that some companies have used Salesforce for years and are hesitant to migrate their entire customer-facing teams to a new system. Yet, they also wish they could leverage HubSpot’s advanced features and dip their toes in the water to see what a HubSpot Sales Hub solution might look like. It’s possible.
We’ve worked with many companies that integrate both HubSpot and Salesforce with great results. We’ve even had some clients who have fully made the switch to HubSpot from Salesforce once they experienced the platform for themselves. We’d be happy to talk through what such a transition might look like or talk through specific challenges or concerns you may have. Contact us and we can set up a time to chat.
Meanwhile, check out additional reasons why choosing HubSpot’s all-in-one CRM, sales, service, marketing, and operations platform might just be the best decision you make for your business. Click the link below.
Posted by Nicole Mertes As Weidert Group's lead salesperson and business development strategist, Nicole heads up the agency's new business strategy and provides sales consulting services to clients.
Prior to her role at the agency, Nicole was an advertising manager at Gannett, one of the nation's largest media companies. With 10+ years of experience in advertising sales, she understands the complex relationship between marketing and sales within organizations.