SMBs frequently turn to customer relationship management (CRM) software to improve their marketing campaigns, successfully convert leads, and provide excellent customer service. Salesforce and HubSpot are two user-friendly, feature-full CRM platforms that fit the bill. We’ll examine how these solutions handle contact management, email marketing, automating workflows, reporting and analytics, integrations, and more to help your business find the right CRM software for your needs.
Salesforce and HubSpot are among the best CRM software solutions around. These popular, capable and customizable platforms aim to improve business performance in multiple areas.
$25 per user, per month
$30 for two users (CRM bundle)
Free trial for paid plans
Yes (30 days)
Yes (14 days)
Workflows and automations
Reporting and analytics
Integrations and API
Salesforce is best suited for SMBs that want a highly customizable CRM to boost overall business efficiency and improve sales, marketing and customer service. The software collects, manages and interprets data from marketing and sales teams and customer service departments to create a single data source for everyone. It helps you glean insights to create customized workflows and automations that make your business more effective, responsive and profitable. To learn more, read our in-depth Salesforce CRM Review.
HubSpot is the best choice for businesses focused on improving sales and marketing. It’s packed with features like an integrated email marketing suite for optimized and personalized campaigns. Its dynamic active list creation tool helps marketers pinpoint campaign targets. Sales forecasting and lead quality metrics are particularly useful for sales teams. The platform offers in-depth reporting and analytics tools — invaluable for providing actionable insights for sales and marketing managers and reps as well as C-suite execs. Our detailed HubSpot CRM review explains additional features and functionality.
Salesforce and HubSpot are top-performing solutions in multiple areas. Here’s a direct comparison of their essential CRM features and pricing.
Contact management tools help small business owners track and monitor real-time prospect and client interactions.
Salesforce offers excellent customization and object control. However, HubSpot’s dynamic lead capture and management tools impressed us. We also really like HubSpot’s time-saving and intelligent active lists feature that identifies contacts who might be ready to purchase soon.
Email marketing is a low-cost, effective way to engage with and sell to your target audience.
Salesforce CRM includes Gmail integration, so you can view and work with Salesforce data directly in Gmail. Source: Salesforce
Email marketing isn’t a built-in Salesforce CRM feature. You must install a third-party plug-in or get the Salesforce Marketing Cloud plug-in. Read our Salesforce Marketing Cloud review to learn more about this robust email marketing solution.
HubSpot wins this round. Unlike Salesforce, HubSpot’s email marketing platform is built directly into the platform. Its user-friendly tools make creating and launching campaigns quick and easy. Salesforce’s plug-ins are good, but HubSpot’s features are better.
Workflow automations save you and your team time, so you can focus on improving the business.
Creating workflows in HubSpot is straightforward, with no coding required. Source: Salesforce
Salesforce’s extensive workflow and automation capabilities are flexible and precise. You can better manage teams, marketing campaign structures and much more. The platform’s Process Builder tool is superb. Although HubSpot’s visual editors are more user-friendly, the platform doesn’t offer Salesforce’s advanced automation capabilities.
Reporting and analytics tools give SMB owners actionable insights to formulate growth strategies and improve inventory turnaround times.
Salesforce’s visual dashboard reports on sales team activities in real time. Source: Salesforce
Salesforce comes out ahead in this category thanks to its comprehensive toolset and visually appealing dashboards. The AI-powered Einstein tool and its predictive analytics and decision-making support add real value. However, HubSpot’s reporting and analytics functions are also powerful; they’re likely enough for most SMBs.
CRMs can integrate with your other business software apps for better data synchronization across your business.
HubSpot’s App Marketplace has more than 1,000 apps to choose from. Source: HubSpot
Salesforce wins, thanks to its extensive range of third-party applications and superior API interface. Its AppExchange platform offers more choices than any other CRM we reviewed, including HubSpot. HubSpot also offers an impressive selection of marketing and sales integrations. However, the scale and depth of Salesforce’s offerings make it stand out among CRM providers.
Salesforce’s pricing is mid-tier in the CRM market; HubSpot’s most useful service plans are at the upper end.
The costs below are applied when billed annually.
$25 per user, per month (up to 10 users)
$75 per user, per month
Everything in Essentials, plus:
$150 per user, per month
Everything in Professional, plus:
$300 per user, per month
Everything in Enterprise, plus:
Salesforce subscriptions range from $25 to $300 per user, per month. You can opt for the Essentials plan on a month-by-month basis, but all other plans require an annual contract. Note that the Essentials plan supports up to 10 users — if you need 11, you’ll have to pay $75 per person.
Additional features and apps may cost extra. Salesforce offers a 14-day free trial so you can test drive the system to see if it’s right for your business.
All Salesforce plans let you send 5,000 email marketing campaign messages daily — a generous allowance we haven’t seen from any other provider.
HubSpot’s free service level impressed us — few competitors offer such a generous free tier (or any free tier). Its features include SEO recommendations, 2,000 monthly emails, and live chat. Paid service plans are as follows:
Additional User Cost
From $30 per month for two users
$25 per user
From $1,600 per month for five users; one-time $3,000 onboarding fee
$100 per user
From $5,000 per month for 10 users
HubSpot’s Starter level ($30 a month for two users) should suffice for businesses with straightforward needs. You’ll need the Professional tier ($1,600 a month for five users) to boost your SEO strategy with SEO analytics and add features like A/B testing, deal and company scoring, and contact center attributions. This is a significant price jump. Additional charges can add up: there’s a $3,600 annual fee for a dedicated IP for marketing emails and a $7,200 annual fee for transaction emails.
Salesforce wins because its entry-level plan is more feature-packed than HubSpot’s and provides 5,000 free daily emails. Additionally, if you need more features, the price jump from Salesforce’s Starter level to its Professional level isn’t as jarring as HubSpot’s jump from Starter to Professional. However, HubSpot is the winner for SMBs that want to test a CRM platform for free.
Salesforce and HubSpot are both excellent general CRM platforms. We recommend both platforms for companies with the following specific needs.
Salesforce is feature-packed and user-friendly. As your business grows, this platform can accommodate ever-increasing operational complexity on your behalf. Salesforce is a high-level tool that can create custom databases with the precise information you want and build efficiency-boosting workflows. Its app store and API functions enhance its functionality and customizability. Salesforce isn’t cheap, but its features, ease of use and flexibility make it an excellent investment.
If your goal is to generate more leads and boost sales, HubSpot has many valuable features that can help. Its integrated email marketing platform, market segmentation tools, omnichannel capabilities, active lists and in-depth sales forecasting functionality will quickly become indispensable. The Professional package is competitively priced, given the platform’s flexibility. However, you can test the free tariff to see if HubSpot suits you.
HubSpot is more straightforward and has a built-in email marketing platform. Its reporting and analytics tools appeal to companies that want to improve their sales and marketing performance. Salesforce offers more customization options, better reporting and analytics tools, and is easier to connect to other business software. Salesforce is better for companies that want to improve all aspects of customer-facing performance.
Salesforce is more customizable, with an extensive app store and a well-executed API interface. It’s generally better for more complex businesses. HubSpot is more straightforward to use out of the box and focuses on improving sales and marketing. HubSpot may be better for smaller businesses with less complex workflows.
HubSpot is popular for several reasons, including its ease of use. HubSpot is helpful for companies that want to improve their inbound marketing campaigns; its built-in email marketing platform, landing pages and analytics tools are valuable. HubSpot is one of the few CRM platforms offering a free service plan with respectable functionality. This is important for companies that want to test the system without making a substantial financial commitment.