HubSpot CRM Review: A Strong CRM That’s Forever Free

Is Hubspot CRM everything you need to organize, track, and nurture your leads and customers?

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A good CRM software (Customer Relationship Management) is essential for ecommerce.

If you’ve ever used a tool like Pipedrive or Salesforce in the past, then you’ll know how valuable they can be when it comes to enhancing and improving the sales process. After all, with a CRM system, you can do a lot more than keep hold of customer contact records. You can also automate things like lead scoring, follow up, or tracking deal storage.

The only problem?

We often find that there are some cookie cutter CRMs that don't have that many customizable features for the wide variety of ecommerce businesses out there. However, sometimes all your company needs is a user-friendly contact management dashboard and a way to log and send out interactions with your customers and clients.

In this HubSpot CRM review you'll learn that you can have all of that for free.

What is HubSpot CRM?

HubSpot CRM is one of the most popular inbound marketing and prospecting tools on the market today. As part of the comprehensive Hubspot Sales suite, this CRM system assists with everything from follow-up, to lead scoring. What’s more, Hubspot’s CRM also integrates with a host of excellent external services. You can combine your CRM solution with Hubspot’s marketing services, sales strategies and more.

HubSpot CRM is one of those cookie cutter CRMs, so it's not going to work for some businesses.  Although it’s very similar in style to Pipedrive and Salesforce, some people will find that competing tools have a wider range of customization options. You can't go in there and add unique features, so you're pretty much stuck with what's provided. However, I like HubSpot CRM for small and large businesses that can do without all of the customizations.

If you are a small business owner, an entrepreneur on a budget, or a startup, you should definitely consider trying HubSpot CRM. It's a completely free solution, with an unlimited number of users and up to 1.000.000 contacts (more than most of us could dream with). You only pay if you want the extra-features which only a small percentage of businesses actually need or want.

HubSpot CRM Review: How Can it Help Your Ecommerce Business?

CRM systems like this one from HubSpot, are all about combining customer support with in-depth marketing strategy, and sales tools. If you’ve ever tried building a successful business online before, then you’ll know how much easier it can be when you have a system to help you with lead generation, deal stages, and sales pipelines.

Aside from simply giving you a place where you can store each new contact and social media follower on a database, Hubspot’s CRM features also give you access to everything you need to nurture your leads. Hubspot provides one of the best free crm offerings for tracking and connecting with your customers.

HubSpot CRM review

I really enjoy the HubSpot CRM, since it's built to help out all sizes of businesses, especially startups that need a free, yet powerful way to interact and manage customer relationships.

With ecommerce, you end up working with thousands, if not millions, of customers and business partners. That's why a CRM is so important when it comes to organizing, tracking, and nurturing those leads and business relationships.

HubSpot CRM pairs well with standard email providers like Gmail and Outlook, so you can get your sales team set up within minutes. You're then able to manage your sales pipeline, which is bound to speed up the process in which you use to bring in those leads. The CRM removes the need for spreadsheets or other cluttered organizational tools.

The best part is that the HubSpot CRM supports up to 1 million contacts and unlimited users. Therefore, ecommerce sales teams of 1,000 should have no problem working with the HubSpot CRM. The same goes for organizations with one salesperson.

HubSpot CRM Review: The Best Features

The HubSpot CRM has standard features that you would expect from competitors who require you to pay for their software. What's great, however, is that several free versions of the Sales and Marketing Hub tools are also packaged in with the HubSpot CRM. Therefore, you're actually getting more than what you would expect from other alternatives, and you don't have to pay a dime. Yes, HubSpot is definitely trying to get you to pay for the other products, but that's not a bad thing since you're not being pressured, and you will probably consider those products at some point.

First and foremost, you’re getting your CRM software for free. That’s not a small thing when you consider the customer relationship management tools that you get. However, if you do decide that you need something more than a free crm can provide, then there’s always the option to upgrade.

Anyway, these are some of the features we find most appealing from HubSpot CRM:

A Beautiful Pipeline Dashboard in One Spot

A large part of having a CRM is for creating a sales funnel. This means you're looking for a clean, efficient dashboard that's going to connect all of your salespeople and make it easier to see where every potential client is in that funnel.

HubSpot CRM has a wonderful dashboard design, with sorting for all of the deals you've won or lost, along with contracts you've sent out during the process. The interface includes options for tracking performance and seeing which of your salespeople are doing the best. I also like the idea of having appointment scheduling inside of the CRM, since that's often what you end up doing with business partners in the ecommerce world.

Some of this won't apply to customer-facing ecommerce companies, but a CRM like this is still essential for managing all of those users. In the dashboard, you can sort the deals by name, amount, owner, and the stage of the funnel the customer is in.

The dashboard also provides some great filters for quickly finding information about a customer.

Automated Sales Activity Logging

When you don't have a CRM, customer interactions often get lost or archived deep into your email folders. HubSpot CRM has a different approach, seeing as how it automatically records all of your customer interactions, whether they be phone calls, emails, or meetings. You'll also find that the CRM logs every social media interaction, which is an excellent way to minimize the amount of time spent on those actual social networks.

As we're going to mention a few times in this article, HubSpot CRM syncs up with your Gmail, G Suite, and Outlook accounts. So, if one salesperson talks with a customer, the next salesperson can go in and see what was discussed.

Lead Information in One Spot

Every time you get a lead, HubSpot CRM logs it for you in one location. This combines with the automated interaction recording, but with this module, you're able to see an individual lead and all of those communications.

For instance, it's obviously great to remember names and job titles. Those are all saved here. But, you also get the chance to see a whole list of other communications, such as emails, phone calls, meetings, and notes.

I like this for several reasons. The first is that one salesperson can log information about a potential client and other people in your organization can see it. So, if there's a problem client and there's no reason to speak with them anymore, the rest of your sales team isn't wasting time trying to call that person.

This interface also ensures that your sales team isn't sifting through email threads to figure out where the conversation left off. It's all nicely organized into one list, so they can jump right in and contact the lead without any questions.

Finally, HubSpot CRM syncs with the HubSpot Marketing program. Therefore, you can see all of the content that's been sent to the lead. After that, you have the opportunity to personalize your next message and not look silly trying to start the conversation over again.

HubSpot CRM Review: The Pricing

Yes, the HubSpot CRM is completely free, forever. That means you don't spend a dime every month, regardless of which country you run your business in. However, it's important to understand the features that come with the free plan, since HubSpot does try to upsell you for its other products, and some of these products have features you might assume come with the CRM.

Just like with any other customer relationship management tool, if you decide to upgrade to the best CRM that hubspot has to offer, then you'll need to consider the cost. CRM pricing can vary drastically from one company to another. As for the HubSpot CRM premium package, here's what to expect:

  • Support for up to 1,000,000 contacts.
  • Integrations with email providers like Gmail, G Suite, and Outlook.
  • Integrations with other HubSpot products like the Marketing, Sales, and Service hubs.
  • Custom support from the HubSpot community forum. Keep in mind that there's no direct support (like phone, chat, or email support,) for the free CRM.
  • Unlimited users, or people who plan on using the CRM in your organization.
  • Powerful contact management and company insights.
  • Records for all companies you do business with.
  • Deals and tasks.
  • Forms for marketers.
  • An analytics dashboard for your leads.
  • Ads for Facebook.
  • Everything you need for email marketing: Email scheduling, email tracking, email templates, and tracking notifications.
  • Email scheduling, templates, and tracking notifications.
  • Meetings, calling, documents, and canned snippets.

As HubSpot explains on its website, the CRM is more than an integration with its other products. It's actually the underlying database that powers items like the Marketing, Sales, and Service hubs.

Therefore, it's not unrealistic to assume that you might pay for some of these other products after seeing if you like the CRM. The pricing for those include:

  • Free Marketing Hub – $0 per month.
  • Starter Marketing Hub – $50 per month.
  • Basic Marketing Hub – $200 per month.
  • Professional Marketing Hub – $800 per month.
  • Enterprise Marketing Hub – $2,400 per month.

As for the Sales Hub pricing:

  • Free Sales Hub – $0 per month.
  • Starter Sales Hub – $50 per month.
  • Professional Sales Hub – $400 per month.

And, the Service Hub (for things like ticketing and a knowledge base):

  • Professional Service Hub – $400 per month.

Overall, the pricing is pretty straightforward when you get started. However, you might find that you would like something like landing pages or marketing automation from the Marketing Hub, or live chat from the Sales Hub. In that case, the pricing gets more complicated, but HubSpot still has some affordable options with the Starter and Basic plans.

Should You Consider HubSpot CRM for Your Organization?

HubSpot CRM is a great place to start for logging contact information, customer interactions, and leads. It's also an excellent tool if you're in need of a basic sales funnel for a startup or small business. I even see this working for larger ecommerce stores without any highly customized CRM needs.

But that's usually where companies run into problems with these cookie cutter CRMs. Sometimes you need some small feature customizations to make a CRM work for your business.

That said, I would recommend trying out the HubSpot CRM to see if it works well for your business. It's completely free for the base product, so you don't have anything to lose. However, you might eventually find that you need something customized. In that case, simply move onto a new CRM or consider some of the other HubSpot products to see if those fit your needs.

Further reading:

HubSpot CRM Review: Finishing Thoughts

When it comes to investing in marketing tools for modern business growth, there are few things more valuable in the digital marketplace than CRM features. If you want to combine add-ons like Google analytics and reporting to things like Hubspot sales strategies and marketing automation, then the Hubspot CRM could be just the thing for you.

One of the most popular SaaS offerings for real-time prospecting and sales, Hubspot CRM combines ease of use with a range of handy features. Even if you decide that you only want to use the free version, you’re still going to get an excellent experience.

Another great thing about the Hubspot marketing services, is that as your business grows, Hubspot can grow with you. You can choose to add more capacity to your CRM over time, as more team members join your team, and you need to share your tools with your sales reps. While Hubspot CRM won’t be right for everyone, it’s definitely something worth giving a try.

If you have any questions about this HubSpot CRM review, feel free to drop a line in the comments section below.

HubSpot CRM
Rating: 5.0 - Review by

Joe Warnimont

Joe Warnimont is a Chicago-based writer who focuses on eCommerce tools, WordPress, and social media. When not fishing or practicing yoga, he's collecting stamps at national parks (even though that's mainly for children). Check out Joe's portfolio to contact him and view past work.

Comments 4 Responses

  1. Great article Joe! I have used SugarCRM in the past and currently use Basecamp for our small Las Vegas Web Design business. As you stated good organization with your clients is so important during any project and after. CRM systems has helped us keep track of our internal and external communications with clients, as employees can come and go in business it keeps all the information right there in one place, so you do not have to rely one just one person on your team to know everything about the client and project. SO helpful! Thank you for your information on free and affordable CRM systems.

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