HubSpot CRM Review
Updated · Jun 06, 2022
Best for: Startups and mid-sized businesses
What Is HubSpot CRM?
HubSpot is an all-encompassing CRM software for managing leads, deals, and customer engagement in one dashboard.
The best part?
It’s 100% free forever!
Its key functions include:
- delegating contacts, tasks, and deals to your teams
- tracking emails and engagement notifications
- designing email templates
- scheduling meetings with customers
- sharing documents securely
- preparing sales quotes
As a well-rounded solution, it goes beyond simply tracking all interactions about your potential and existing clients. Unlike most CRM platforms, it provides a singular space for nurturing the whole experience.
That means your sales, marketing, customer service, and business operations efforts can come together in a complete, scalable platform.
HubSpot has made its way in more than 120 countries today. Over 130,000 businesses actively use its tools, including LG, Doordash, and Gold’s Gym.
Is it time to join the CRM wagon?
HubSpot CRM Features
The web-based software provides a central database for handling the entire customer journey.
On the main workspace, you get access to HubSpot’s Sales, Marketing, Service, CMS, and Operations Hubs. This way, all connected users get a unified view of the client!
But we’ll get to that later – let’s first look at the program’s key CRM features.
Using HubSpot CRM to create contact records and store client or company information is easy. You can add them one-by-one or simply upload a file from your computer. The program supports CSV, XLS, or XSLX files containing relevant data such as deal, ticket, or product information.
You can upload an opt-out list too, which is a collection of users who are disqualified from receiving future emails.
Once you have your contacts, your dashboard will look like this:
You can categorize them by adding more views, like:
- marketing contacts
- recently assigned contacts
- needs email follow-up
- needs text action
If you want more specifics, the Lists feature will provide them. You can create a list of contacts or companies based on certain property values, consumer behavior, and other characteristics. This HubSpot CRM tool is great for profiling and segmentation.
Additionally, the dashboard has a call management module that lets you capture and review all calls made from the system. It also uses artificial intelligence to help you improve your negotiation skills and gain extra insight into your customer engagement.
You can drive all your communications into one multichannel inbox. You can respond to your customers straight from the interface!
The channels you can connect to your account include:
- Email - categorically manage emails and reply to each one
- Live Chat - engage with your site visitors in real-time or setup chatbots for services like appointments or support
- Forms - respond to webforms submitted by site visitors
- Facebook Messenger - manage Messenger threads, talk to customers, or set up chatbots
Now, if you’re handling a ton of messages on a daily, you can tap one of the strengths of HubSpot CRM – automation.
You can create canned snippets, which are message templates that automatically get delivered according to certain parameters.
You can also set up chat flows, which are custom chat experiences for people who interact with your website or Facebook page. Think simple welcome messages to greet visitors. Or, full conversations that involve a series of messages that lead to an end goal.
One of the greatest HubSpot CRM benefits is its ability to streamline your sales pipeline. Whether your company has two deal stages or 20, you can program multiple levels of your sales process into the system.
You can start by adding a deal on the Sales Hub. It has a dashboard that looks the same as the contact management section:
Similarly, HubSpot CRM lets you import existing deals from your database or add them individually.
If you’re a small business owner and prefer the latter option, doing so is a breeze! When you click Create Deal, the interface opens up a panel where you can enter the relevant information and associated values. That includes the name, amount, close date, and assigned owner.
You can also indicate the deal stage on your sales pipeline, such as:
- Appointment Scheduled
- Qualified to Buy
- Presentation Scheduled
- Decision Maker Bought-in
- Contract Sent
- Closed Won
And so on.
The sales pipeline is all that you get with the free plan, though. On the premium versions, you can create a custom one, like a channel or currency pipeline.
HubSpot CRM has a free meeting scheduler that automatically syncs to your Google or Office 365 calendar. This way, your prospective and existing customers can meet with your salespeople at the perfect time.
And the great thing about it is this – it adapts to a user’s time zone automatically. Scheduling meetings with international participants won’t require any time overlap.
You can set up scheduling pages according to three meeting types:
- One-on-One - contacts can schedule a meeting with a single person from your team
- Group - contacts can enter a panel meeting
- Round Robin - you can create meetings that automatically get assigned to a team member based on certain criteria
You’re free to add these scheduling pages to your website or send them via email.
And to keep your leads growing, prospects who have scheduled meetings automatically get added to your database.
Besides contact and deal management, another great addition to HubSpot Sales CRM tools is task delegation. On the Sales Hub, you can add and assign tasks to your team and set parameters like priority, due date, queue, and associated records.
You can also add notes and set a reminder for the task – 30 minutes to one day before the deadline.
And to track each task progress or your teams’ overall productivity, there’s an analytics board on the side. This section shows your weekly activity report as well as your daily full schedule.
On the same Hub, you can create a library of content you can easily share and track. You’re free to upload a Word document, Powerpoint presentation, or PDF file and send them to your contacts. Just use your connected inbox!
However, this is where some of the HubSpot free CRM limitations come in. You can only upload five documents with the free plan. That’s quite limiting, especially if you’re in the business involving a lot of paperwork.
Quotes and Payments
You can quickly create sales quotes for your deals and send them to your prospective buyers. The program has a ready-made template for this; all you have to do is input the required information. That includes, but is not limited to:
- deal information
- buyer and seller details
- quote duration
- line items
- signature and payment
Once complete, your sales quote will look like this:
You can also collect payments by setting up built-in payment channels. Customers can purchase and pay directly from your website, email, or even a chat session. This feature, however, is only available on the paid versions.
Want to step up your support game? HubSpot CRM is software you can use to enhance customer satisfaction. With ticket management, you can easily keep track of all issues with your clients – on a single dashboard.
You can create tickets individually and assign them to a member of your customer service team. You can edit fields like name, status, description, source, and priority.
And just like importing a database of contacts, you can also upload files containing support tickets from your computer. You can also sync the data between HubSpot and loads of other apps you may be using.
DIY support in this program comes in the form of a knowledge base. You can create a library of guides and articles so customers can solve their way out of a problem.
You can customize your base to match your brand, categorize the content, and preview how they look on various devices. Note that this feature is exclusive to the premium versions.
Also included in the paid HubSpot CRM Suite is the Survey tool. With this, you’ll be able to send online questionnaires to get the insights that your business needs. There are customizable survey templates with multiple question types. That includes multiple-choice, rating scales, ranking or dropdown questions, and so on.
HubSpot is popular for its marketing ability, and you can use that to your advantage here on the CRM interface. As I’ve mentioned earlier, you get access to its specialized Marketing Hub – for free.
That means you can get your marketing team on board and maximize the related features on HubSpot CRM.
Here’s an overview:
You can connect your advertising platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google and manage all your ads and campaigns in one place. You can:
- see who’s interacting with your ads
- re-engage with your past customers
- align your advertising strategy with the rest of your marketing
You can use its simple email marketing tool to launch your email campaigns. The interface allows you to upload your contacts and create emails from five basic templates:
- Social Media
On the paid versions, you can publish your marketing content directly to social media. You can also connect your social accounts to your blog and share new content automatically.
On the same HubSpot CRM UI, you can create up to 20 landing pages for free. This tool opens up a drag-n-drop builder to edit the content:
There are loads of customizable templates that are categorized based on use case. From event registrations to assets downloads, everything is covered!
HubSpot CRM Analytics
The program’s reporting style comes in the form of a Dashboard Library. With this, you’ll be able to design how data gets delivered to you based on the customer experience.
You can start with a blank dashboard and add any report that you need. For instance, you can include parameters like ad clicks, sales performance, blog post views, and more.
If you like to go the easy route, you can just choose from the analytics templates for a quick setup. Some examples include:
- Chat Overview - contains six reports showing the kind of requests received over chat
- Lead Generation - shows eight reports that help you understand the source, volume, and quality of leads
- Marketing Channel Performance - focuses on metrics that oversee your marketing channels like online ads, social media, etc.
- Sales Manager - provides eight reports detailing your sales team’s performance
HubSpot CRM Security
For a program that’s commonly used by multiple users, data security and privacy control are a must. So, it’s a good thing that HubSpot touches all necessary bases to protect its users.
The company uses an end-to-end approach to ensure full data protection. It uses the AES 256-bit encryption for files at rest and TLS protocol for those in-transit.
Extra features that provide airtight security include:
- two-factor authentication for logging in
- password-protected website and landing pages
- access restrictions for important files
- single sign-on (SSO) credentials
There are thousands of integrations available on the HubSpot App Marketplace. The selection covers all spaces – from marketing automation to workflow management.
For example, HubSpot CRM offers a Mailchimp integration that lets you track and manage your email campaigns and close deals on the interface.
Other popular integrations include:
- Google Workspace
- Outlook Contacts
And with the Zapier integration, you’ll unlock thousands more that can help you activate workflow automation!
Ease of Use and Interface
By now, we’ve established that the program has some complexity to it, thanks to the fusion of multiple hubs into one.
But surprisingly, the interface is very straightforward and easy to use.
Even if you have no idea how to use HubSpot CRM, the tool is very intuitive. That’s because the software walks you through the entire process. Upon signing up, you get a task checklist for each of the Hubs you’ll be using.
The wealth of features and tools may look overwhelming at first. But trust me – you’ll have them down within minutes.
Every HubSpot CRM dashboard for the different hubs is organized and clutter-free. They also have the same layout. It doesn’t feel like you’re navigating a different interface when you switch between dashboards.
The Contact Record view is also a convenient way for your teams to have a central point of information. When you click on a contact, you get a streamlined view of their entire profile and experience.
And did I mention you can take it anywhere, too?
It has a mobile version for convenient, on-the-go use!
HubSpot CRM App
If your salespeople are out on the field, they can still access the interface from anywhere.
HubSpot CRM has a mobile app you can download from the Apple App Store or Google Play.
It certainly looks less functional than the web version, but you can still access certain parts of your CRM, including:
- tasks, reminders, and deals
- offline access to contacts
- detailed activity feed
- notes, meeting outcomes, and attachments
- live chat
Additionally, the app’s specialized keyboard lets you send assets, templated sales quotes, emails, and more.
I’ve read a bunch of HubSpot CRM reviews detailing the company’s excellent customer service. To attest to those claims, I’ll let you in on my personal experience.
On the website, I found several phone support lines that are more country-specific. There’s a list of phone numbers that customers can call by area, although it wasn’t indicated if their lines are open 24/7.
I suggest going for the live chat option, as it is available 24/7. I tried raising a question about the subscription packages, and I got instantly redirected to a company representative.
The agent who assisted me was friendly. As for my concerns, they offered options that effectively matched what I was looking for. By the end of our discussion, I was able to pick which paid option best suited my needs.
They also sent a follow-up email containing our conversation transcript as well as links to the company’s knowledge base and FAQs.
To put it plainly, HubSpot CRM offers support that is responsive and generally helpful.
HubSpot CRM Pricing
As you know by now, HubSpot CRM is free. On this version, you can use most of the CRM tools in harmony with those in the Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, and Operations Hubs. And the good thing is, you can use it for free forever.
There are, however, tools in each Hub that are locked behind a paywall. If you want advanced CRM functionality, you will need to subscribe to any of the paid packages.
Here’s a quick HubSpot CRM comparison of the different versions.
up to 1,000,000 contacts 5 documents Contact management Deal tracking Meeting scheduling Ticketing
Starts at $50/month
Includes all the free features, plus: 1,000 marketing contacts 2 paid users 5,000 email templates custom pipelines content Management System Hub list segmentation no HubSpot branding
Starts at $1780/month
Includes all the Starter features, plus: 2,000 marketing contacts 5 paid users up to 100 shared inboxes 25 analytics dashboards with 30 reports for each up to 1,000 personal meeting links dedicated phone, email, and in-app chat support
Starts at $5,000/month
Includes all the Professional features, plus: 10,000 marketing contacts 10 paid users 1,500 active and static list segments up to 5,000 documents per account 50 analytics dashboards with 30 reports for each Video hosting and management Advanced email health reporting
HubSpot CRM vs Pipedrive CRM
HubSpot and Pipedrive are two CRM tools that are highly considered to be the industry’s best.
But how do they stack up against each other?
First, I’d like to note that both programs are extremely easy to use. They are also equally armed with the essential CRM features, including:
- contact management
- deal tracking
- pipeline management
- centralization of communication channels
- task delegation and productivity monitoring
Besides that, they also offer almost the same level of power in terms of workflow automation.
So, where do we draw the line?
Like most HubSpot CRM alternatives, Pipedrive doesn’t offer a free version. It does have a 14-day trial period, but it’s nothing compared to HubSpot’s free-forever plan.
Pipedrive is also more sales-driven, whereas the latter is more inclusive and versatile. The addition of Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, and Operations Hubs into the HubSpot CRM platform provides more flexibility and usability to users.
If you only need to focus on sales and can’t afford HubSpot’s paid packages, choose Pipedrive. Although it isn’t free, its subscription plans are cheaper than the others.
But if you prefer practicality and functionality combined, HubSpot CRM’s freemium model will do.
HubSpot CRM Review - Verdict
HubSpot is an excellent tool for CRM newcomers.
Despite its complexity, this free program is loaded with beginner-friendly features you can maximize at ease.
Its live chat and organized ticketing features ensure smooth interactions between you and your clients.
Its contact management and conversations modules will also give you a streamlined workflow for enhancing your customer engagement. Through easy uploads and bulk imports, you can say goodbye to tedious data entry tasks.
Not to mention the added benefit of marketing, sales, and operations features with the free HubSpot CRM platform. You can use this extra functionality to centralize all your business efforts – without spending anything!
Of course, there’s no denying the limits that come with the freeware.
From the HubSpot CRM reviews I’ve read, many users find its five-document upload limit too stingy. You can’t do much with this limited space, especially if you do a lot of digital paperwork.
The huge gap in the pricing tier can also be hard on the pocket, especially for small businesses looking to invest in a complete CRM solution.
But for startups who don’t need advanced functionality, the free software is a good place to start. It covers all the basics anyway, so you can still see some growth even without spending cash on the upgrade.
What does HubSpot CRM do?
HubSpot CRM lets you manage customer leads, deals, and engagements. With its customizable interface, you can design a platform where your customers can interact with your representatives seamlessly. One of its strong qualities is its ability to streamline your sales process.
It also has tools for increasing your teams’ productivity and organizing tasks.
Why is HubSpot a good CRM?
Here are some notable HubSpot CRM advantages:
- 100% free plan
- easy to use and straightforward interface
- direct access to HubSpot’s Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, and Operations Hubs
- customizable email and landing page templates
- 1000+ marketing and workflow automation integrations
Is HubSpot CRM really free?
Yes, HubSpot CRM is 100% free with no expiration date. Most of the features we’ve laid out on this HubSpot CRM review are available on the free plan, except for:
- Social media and SEO marketing
- In-built payment channels
- Feedback surveys
- Knowledge base creation
If you need these, you’ll have to subscribe to their paid packages.
Nero is an all-around wordsmith with a degree in Communication Arts— not the vicious emperor you might know in history books. He's an avid reader. A frisky writer. A tech enthusiast and occasional binge-watcher. He likes long walks on the beach. Enjoys deep thinking and shallow conversations. Hates ketchup. Panic! At The Disco.
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