Is Hubspot crm really free? Hubspot Marketing automation review

A REVIEW HUBSPOT: A CRM TOOL

Every business that seeks exponential growth should have a good mode of customer relationship management, preferably a software in the Computer Age in which we live. In 2014, HubSpot released a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool that uses a freemium model, which added a fresh perspective to the company’s offerings. This means that the core CRM features come for free, but there are a lot of other paid extras that can be added on as required. HubSpot is a strong solution as far as CRM is concerned.

Some would term free online tools as “cookie cutter,” as they usually do not possess a lot of necessary and helpful customizable features to suit the wideness of the variety of eCommerce businesses that there are. But if all that your company requires is a good interface on which to manage contacts and dispatch interactions and information with clients and customers, then HubSpot may very well suit your needs, and more so, for free. Now, it is surely not going to suit every business type, as you’re somewhat stuck with what they give you, but if your business, large or small, can do without customization, then with HubSpot, you are good to go.

The HubSpot CRM tool integrates with other products and tools by the company, and so it is a very reasonable choice if you already have other HubSpot products. Its user-friendliness is also another point in favor of this CRM solution, coupled with the fact that you can use it for free for as long as you want except you require any specialized features. Here is an in depth review of the strengths and pitfalls of the HubSpot CRM solution.

PRICING WITH HUBSPOT

As earlier mentioned, the key CRM features are all included for free for an unlimited number of users for an unlimited period of time, and you may choose to add on as many others as you wish to by paying for them. What this means is that your business does not have to spend at all on CRM each month, no matter what country it is based. But it is necessary that you are fully aware of which features come with the freemium plan and which ones do not, as HubSpot may try to upsell on its extras and add-ons which may contain the features that you assumed came with the free package. Here’s what to expect from the HubSpot free package:

  • Allowance for supporting up to a million contacts;
  • 15 minutes per user per month of calls via a web browser with an option to record the calls;
  • A booking page for each user to let them share access to their calendar and make appointments quicker;
  • One deal pipeline (or department) per HubSpot account;
  • Email provider integrations including Gmail, Outlook and G Suite;
  • Integration with other products and tools from HubSpot for Marketing, Sales and Service;
  • Custom support via the community forum of the company, bearing in mind that direct support like phone, chat or email is not available;
  • As many users as required;
  • Solid management of contacts and company insights;
  • Task and deal visibility;
  • Records for all deal partner companies;
  • Marketing forms;
  • Sound analytics and reporting for leads;
  • Facebook ads;
  • Contact activity recording;
  • Templates (five per user per month) and scheduling for emails, as well as notifications for tracking (200 per user per month);
  • Meetings,documents (5 per user per month) and prerecorded Snippets (5 per user per month).

On the HubSpot website, they explain that their CRM tool is beyond a mere integration with their other products. It is, in fact, the fundamental database that fuels and drives the other tools that they offer, such as their Marketing, Sales and Service hubs. Thus, you may want to pay for some of these other products after checking that this CRM suits you. A breakdown of the pricing of these extra tools is given below:

  • Marketing Hub
    • Free Plan: free
    • Starter Plan: $50 monthly
    • Basic Plan: $200 monthly
    • Professional Plan: $800 monthly
    • Enterprise Plan: $2400 monthly
  • Sales Hub
    • Free Plan: free
    • Starter Plan: $50 monthly (This plan includes 8 hours calling per user per month. Also included are unlimited templates, Snippets, documents, booking pages, and notifications. The one deal pipeline and one team per account are maintained. Options such as Prospects, Messages, Sequences as well as phone and email support are also added.)
    • Professional Plan: $400 monthly (This plan includes 33 hours calling per user per month in addition to all that the Starter plan contains. Workflow automation, predictive lead scoring, unlimited deal pipelines and teams are also available with this package. You also get shared filters, products, a custom report, an additional dashboard per account and Salesforce connector. Your sales activities from the last 24 hours will be analyzed, and recommendations relating to important activities and leads will be made.)
  • Service Hub
    • Professional Plan: $400 monthly

All in all, HubSpot’s pricing is quite easy to grasp once you get started. But if you wind up wanting or needing things like landing pages or marketing automation from the Marketing Hub for instance, or live chat functionality from the Sales Hub, then you might find that the pricing would get a tad more complex. Nonetheless, there are some reasonably priced options within the Starter and Basic plans.

HUBSPOT NOTABLE FEATURES

All the basic CRM features that you would expect from such a tool are available on Hubspot. Free versions of the Marketing and Sales tools offered by HubSpot are also packaged within the CRM tool, and this is quite a great deal, in all honesty. This way, you get far more than you would if you choose competing products, and all for free. Of course, the catch is to get you to pay for the other products, but since there is no pressure of any sort involved, this is an incredible deal. HubSpot is simply satisfied that you may later consider paying for more at some point. Below are some of the great features that the HubSpot CRM tool has to offer.

A visually appealing pipeline dashboard with so many options in one place

One of the main purposes of using a CRM tool is to create a conduit for your sales. You essentially need a clean and effective dashboard connecting all your workers and displaying the status of all prospective customers. The dashboard provided by HubSpot is quite beautifully designed, crisply sorting out wins and losses in deals, and contracts sent out.

The interface also incorporates performance tracking options and means of checking which salespeople are getting the most results. Appointment scheduling is also possible within the CRM platform, which is also a very helpful feature. You get to sort out your deals by name, owner, amount, and status of customer in the funnel. The dashboard also gives you some effective filters with which to find information about specific customers.

Automation in sales activity logging

Customer interactions and conversations usually get lost or misplaced deep in your email archives without the use of a CRM tool. HubSpot deals with this problem by automatically recording every interaction you make with your customers – phone calls, emails or meetings. All social media interactions are also logged, which saves you time on the actual social media.

The HubSpot CRM tool also integrates seamlessly with your Gmail, G Suite or Outlook email accounts, and so one salesperson can see all that was discussed between another a client and another salesperson.

Access to lead info in one place

Each time a lead is gotten, the HubSpot CRM platform logs it in for you in a single location. This overlaps with automatically recording interactions, but here, you can see each lead with all the related interactions.  In as much as it is nice to recall names and work titles, you also get to see all the associated communications made via emails, phone calls, notes and meetings. This is a great feature for a number of reasons. For one, one salesperson can store information about a prospective customer, and other workers can access it too. So in cases where a salesperson finds that communication with a problem client should be stopped, the other members of the team also know not to contact that client again.

Another advantage of this interface is that it saves the sales team the time that would have been spent looking through threads of emails to get what point the conversation is currently at. Everything is already clearly outlined in a single list, and so the lead can be contacted by any team member without any unnecessary interrogations.

The live chat tool

The new live chat feature was added by Hubspot to their CRM solution in 2018, and is available to all their users, both free and paid. This feature is quite easy to set up and manage, and you may even add basic chat bot functions that can boost the experience of your customers and online visitors.

Paid levels of the Hubspot tools grant you access to more robust functionality and customization options. This way, the management of your live chats and inbound requests and questions is possible such that your team is well represented.

No limits to customization

Unlike most CRM tools out there, the tool provided by HubSpot allows you to customize every single aspect of your CRM in such a way that you are fully satisfied that it correctly embodies your brand and sales process, as long as you are willing to pay for it.

CONS OF HUBSPOT

Free services have few cons, and so the major con here would be that you may have to pay to access more customizable features. Another con would be that owing to the fact that HubSpot is relatively new in the business of CRM, there are still many feature limitations that some of the big names have already accounted for. To make up for this, however, the emphasis of the company in 2018 has been on research and development, and so a lot of the old limitations have been duly dealt with, and updates are being made regularly.

In the same vein, a lot of established organizations and businesses will find the HubSpot CRM tool too lightweight to handle their operations just yet, although the solution might be okay for startups and smaller businesses.

In comparison to other CRM tools, HubSpot’s platform may be found to be comparatively rigid and inflexible, owing to the dearth of customizable features offered. Businesses with very complex CRM needs and sales processes will likely not find the flexibility and room that they need with the HubSpot CRM tool.

THE FINAL VERDICT

If you are in need of an effective starting point for contact info logging, interacting with customers and following up with leads, then the HubSpot CRM tool is excellent for you, especially as the basics of CRM go for free with this platform. And so, in a situation whereby you are unsure of where to invest your business CRM funds, or simply do not have enough to spend on CRM tools, if you own a small business, or you are an entrepreneur on a slim budget, HubSpot might just be the breath of fresh air that your business needs. HubSpot even works for large eCommerce businesses in cases where they do not require any high-level customization or specialized CRM features.

The fact remains, however, that in most cases, a business would need some feature customizations, however little these may be, to perfectly cover their CRM requirements. But even so, you have nothing to lose by giving HubSpot a shot. It just might be suitable for your business. Meanwhile, in the case that you do find that you need certain levels of customization, you may move to another CRM, or you may try getting some other HubSpot supplementary tools to see if they would satisfy your requirements, which, I must say, is a powerful marketing strategy that HubSpot has established for their products.

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