Are there any limitations for HubSpot free CRM? Yes there are limitations for HubSpot CRM, but not in the way that affects its overall value as one might initially think. We may consider the limitation as similar to the sense of premium offerings in the market whose features still fall short of every wish list of any company or individual user.
With a market value of $39.5 billion at the end of 2017, CRM software providers revenues finally overtook database management systems, which came in at $36.8 billion. That single figure catapulted CRM to become the largest of all software markets, accompanied by revenue projections to reach a staggering $80 billion by 2025 while retaining its hold of market leadership for years to come.
Along with this overpowering performance of the CRM market, the contribution of vendors headed by cloud- and SaaS-based solutions like HubSpot CRM and others catering to small and medium businesses (SMBs) is keenly noted, the segment showing the largest growth at CAGR 18.0%. Clearly, SaaS and SMBs are driving the immense growth of CRM and are seen to do so for years ahead, even if large enterprises and the CRM vendors associated with them still retain their places as the biggest shareholder of the CRM market.
While the numbers are only pouring in, the market realities behind them have already been sharply noted by many industry experts and observers. A casual look at many companies would reveal a big number of them are making CRMs the backbone of intense integration of their sales, marketing and customer support systems, all to pursue hidden goldmines in what a vast database of customers, contacts, buying patterns, social media posts, and the like would cough up.
Speaking of social media, that is one particular area that these experts are keeping eyes on, especially with the concurrent developments in AI, automated customer conversations, robotic process automation and of course the steep growth of mobile association with all CRM activities too. In essence, AI will see a deeper application in many CRM approaches.
These are all ripe subjects for dissection, of course, but here we will focus on the company that is leading the assault in the growing CRM dominance: HubSpot CRM. It is no longer a revelation that the app fulfills the very purpose of a CRM system, at least not for those who have been keeping a close eye on the market for years now, but it still gets us deeper into what’s also behind the prime driver of CRM itself.
When the free HubSpot CRM was released, we immediately looked into it and as a result came up with the review, How much does HubSpot cost? Like many who did, our investigation confirmed that indeed HubSpot CRM is absolutely free, which created quite a stir in the CRM world. We of course went a step further and followed up with a one-on-one comparison pitting HubSpot CRM vs Salesforce based on customer experience, pricing, supported integrations, customer support, languages supported, alternatives, and of course the all-important matter about features. There are much going for both applications to meet any one feature and scale of your needs, which leaves you with the task of ascertaining what you will really need before diving in with any one of the two—or others for that matter.
While we have confirmed that HubSpot CRM is indeed free, you have probably already noticed that it leaves a couple of equally important questions unaddressed:
We will reserve the all-important question, are there any HubSpot free CRM limitations for later, but item number one brings us squarely into the features of the platform. You can also sign up for a HubSpot CRM free app here if you want to explore the features while reading this guide.
Core Features of HubSpot CRM:
Features for Marketers
Features for Salespeople
What you can do with the above features depend on the numbers that you are allowed to work with. HubSpot CRM offers them virtually in unlimited or such high numbers you wouldn’t realize there’s an actual limit in most cases.
To make a sense of these numbers, bear in mind that most CRMs barely give you more than 500 contracts, easily charging you beyond that number. For average small or medium-business use, these are practically untouchable limits.
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Thus, going back to our first query: are the capabilities of HubSpot CRM of practical use to your business requirement? The answer, as we have seen: definitely.
Are there hidden costs to HubSpot CRM?
There are no hidden costs to HubSpot CRM. And there’s no need to get carried away and ascribe it to rising altruism ala open source mode in the software industry; what’s more likely happening is of an ongoing astute move from a company looking to advance the number of adopters of CRM especially among small and medium businesses, and helping itself to a good share of that. HubSpot Marketing Hub and HubSpot Sales Hub are established revenue generators for HubSpot. HubSpot CRM creates goodwill and additional revenue generators for multiple third-party partners. HubSpot CRM is an ideal cross-selling or upselling base for HubSpot’s two other offerings and those of its partners. In short, HubSpot practices what it popularized: inbound marketing.
Even if HubSpot will want to think that users of its CRM would find it so useful that they’d jump right into its marketing and sales platforms, nothing in the CRM program really stops you from using it with other third-party applications instead. This is of course as long as you employ sound inbound CRM marketing strategies.
So again very briefly, yes: we have gathered a few things that you cannot do with the current version of HubSpot CRM, with the typical caveat: you probably can live without them, helpful revision is shortly on the way, or there’s actually a neat workaround to the situation. These limitations are:
Obviously this only ever crops up if you are trying to migrate and thus import from a previous CRM. No big deal if you starting afresh. And while your import is thus limited, you can however build a custom property apart from mere text for any single field of information you are importing, including ones for checklists, dates, dropdown and more.
If your previous contacts come with those precious but now excluded forms of information, you may consider two approaches.
First, you can try to keep your old CRM for a time in case you need it for those forms of information. Generally, however, users find they rarely ever have to reach for the old CRM as they updated old entries with newer, more useful information instead.
Second, you can hire some hands for hire (think: freelancers) to manually do the re-entry for you in case you really must have it. There are many of those around with reasonable price ranges too.
If you are already using HubSpot Marketing, you probably know this is not an issue, as access to API gives you ways to do all these, along with third-party options.
Also consider that importing past emails, notes and attachments is no puny technical matter that even top paid CRMs do not have that capability too.
If you only have a handful of deal entries recorded in your previous CRM, this will at most come as a minor irritation as you manually reconnect the relationships, but not so if we are talking about a larger number of them.
Again, the workaround is pretty straightforward: call an external contractor to do the manual re-entry or limit the re-entry to active ones only if you elect to do it yourself. Probably your record could do away with long closed or lost deals too.
And as with above, subscription to the HubSpot Marketing paid plans and access to API spares you all these technical hurdles. You can, in fact, sign up for a HubSpot Marketing free trial here to get you up to speed.
You can restrict an employee to view only their own accounts and to export only those data they have previous permissions. Once you allow anyone to have access to any account, however, there is no way you can hide sensitive information that you would rather not show with the rest of what’s visible: it’s an all-or-nothing affair, really.
If yours is a totally transparent enterprise, this would hardly matter. If you must have a way around this, you can, of course, create a double for that entry with sensitive information and sync the other one at intervals convenient to you.
While HubSpot CRM allows for power filtering and saved view in Contacts, Companies and Deals for immediate, on-the-spot reporting, you cannot pin those on the dashboard. Not a big deal for some who would feel they already have everything right there in terms of reporting, but if you are used to more custom reports, you will be looking at some reporting add-on that could easily go north of $200 a month, not a figure you would consider justifiable if you are running a small business.
A possible way around this limitation is to use a third-party reporting tool and transfer your data from the views and import. There are more elaborate ways, but that might be too complicated workaround for most tastes.
And again, there’s always the HubSpot Reporting Dashboard to give you all the features you need and more in this specific area.
As indicated above, you can create up to 1,000 custom properties and generate filters and saved views as you want, a feature that compares nicely even with those of paid CRMs with their segmented list building capabilities. If you are one of those who want to include someone to a list of people who buy a certain product from your catalog and tag that user in your marketing tool to kick off an automated marketing campaign, however, you will find you cannot have that with HubSpot CRM. The lack of API to access those saved views gets in your way, something that cannot be said with HubSpot Marketing.
Zapier can also give you a limited workaround to this limitation, until you need bulk loading of lists. Of course not many have a need for this feature, and some future version of HubSpot CRM might just have a solution for this.
You can spare yourself all these details once you opt for the HubSpot Marketing paid plans, and discover other powerful features related to this function.
When you consider the powerful features of HubSpot as a free CRM and realize most of these are premium offers from other brands, the platform suddenly becomes a very interesting proposition. And many small and medium-sized businesses who saw that early are already benefiting from the enormous leverage that suddenly fell on their hands.
Software limitations are not unique to free offerings. If you have been using premium solutions, you know they don’t always come with all the features you need. HubSpot Free CRM is like that, and its core functions are comparable with many outstanding paid programs out in the market.
P.S. You can easily try the product. Just sign up for a HubSpot CRM free app here and start exploring the solution. It offers all the usual CRM key benefits that every business needs. Do let us know in the comments how you find the free CRM.
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