If someone mentions freemium you probably instantly imagine apps with limited features. But that’s not the case with HubSpot CRM. It’s free and it’s robust, belying the idea that there’s no free lunch.
Today the brand is practically synonymous with inbound marketing; in fact, it’s a term coined by HubSpot CEO Brian Halligan. The company offers marketing tools that enable you to efficiently draw in traffic, for instance, from social media and landing pages.
The CRM component is actually a later addition to HubSpot’s market automation and content management system. Put that in context and you have an all-in-one inbound marketing platform to organize contacts into leads.
The app, like most CRM software, can also lend to your prospects a level of personalized touch they’ll appreciate. This is important, as noted in a Forbes article about 2018 marketing trends: “Personalization and authenticity will separate successful marketers from those who just contribute to noise.”
In this review, we’ll focus on HubSpot’s CRM component. It’s certainly an attractive option for small business because it’s free. However, after reading this article, you’ll see being free isn’t the main reason why you’ll like the app.
There are other reasons to consider. Do the key features address your needs? Does it have good integration to give you the flexibility to migrate to another system or scale up to paid features? Ease of use is also critical. The most robust CRM solution means nothing if it’s too complicated for team members.
In this detailed HubSpot.com review, we’ll see if the software actually answers your questions. We’ll lay down the benefits and present the following:
We’ll show you why with HubSpot you can get free CRM for your business that can match the features of paid plans.
Free often comes cheap, but HubSpot is an app that really gives you a lot of value. You get a cloud database, integration, deals and tasks, and a structure that organizes disparate customer data. You can have up to one million contacts and unlimited storage—at no cost.
To get free CRM for your business, you just sign up for HubSpot CRM, set up your account and it will work smoothly in the background. There’s no expiration or credit card requirement for the signup, too. You only need to give basic information to create an account, which only takes a few minutes.
Note that if you’re using a paid HubSpot marketing tool, the contacts you added in the free CRM is synced with the paid plan, which might affect pricing.
Because it’s free, HubSpot is popular among many small businesses. And because it’s part of the HubSpot brand known for marketing automation and content management, even larger companies use this CRM software.
HubSpot is an excellent way to streamline your lead management. What happens here, is you can use it to track data and activities at various pipeline stages and see who in your client list is warming up or getting cold feet. Efficiency, in fact, is one of the most important aspects of measuring your marketing ROI. A streamlined lead workflow is definitely good for your bottom line.
For a free CRM software, this app has a lot of depth: its Workflow building tool allows you to structure your lead process in a way that you can qualify prospects at every level, from top of the funnel to the moment of truth.
For example, you can record calls inside HubSpot and mark the activity in the customer profile. As you move leads down the funnel, you can see how they’re performing. You can use this insight to decide whether to follow or drop a lead. Or, you can categorize leads to sub-categories and tweak future conversations to nurture leads at myriad different levels.
Meantime, if you’re providing support or consultancy, you can send prospects a link to your calendar so they can schedule an appointment on your free days. You can also set permissions over sales resources that can be shared with prospects to safeguard sensitive data.
HubSpot continues to evolve quickly, adding more features on a regular basis. To some, this can be annoying, while for others it’s a good thing. You may need to keep up with upgrades the better to maximize the benefits offered by the app.
The software connects to your main customer-facing tools, including website, email, social media, and phone. All data relevant to a customer from are consolidated in the database. As a result, you get a holistic view of customers.
Likewise, you can import leads from emails to the database with just a single click. Over time, you will probably start populating the database with other information to create customer profiles, such as social profiles, your emails they opened, your deals they took, company details, etc.
Being part of the HubSpot ecosystem, the CRM module has native integration with the vendor’s other popular apps like social media marketing, email marketing, and SEO tools. Together, the HubSpot apps system gives you a very robust inbound marketing suite.
Integration is important for two reasons. First, it lets you shift to another software smoothly should the need arises. Importing or exporting files should be seamless. Second, good integration allows you to scale up to more features. You can pay for add-ons or change subscription plans for premium functions.
If you’re a heavy Google apps user, you’ll love HubSpot. It integrates with Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Calendar, three widely used online productivity apps.
The software also supports Zoho, Salesforce, NetSuite, Pipedrive CRM, SugarCRM, Dropbox, and Microsoft Dynamics. Because of its simple but intuitive workflow (and free at that), HubSpot is often used as an add-on to other CRM systems. Meanwhile, website integration is available as a premium feature.
The learning curve is low. In just five steps, users will be up and running loading contacts and creating customer profiles.
It’s no surprise that some marketers use HubSpot as a layover to a more complex CRM software like Microsoft Dynamics. Sometimes, they’d use HubSpot to organize contacts and manage emails, while the more sophisticated processes like sales force automation and reporting are done elsewhere.
Setting up the whole thing is done in minutes. Once installed, HubSpot works in the background. Tools are prompted only when needed. For instance, after reading an email, you can import the contact as a lead with just a single click.
Retrieving customer data is also just a few clicks away. Likewise, email templates will free you up from creating repetitive messages. You can template recurring emails such as welcome messages for onboarding users, subscription reminders, or FAQ-based support emails.
After aggregating HubSpot CRM user reviews across the internet and comparing it to feedback from our own database, we noticed three main comments about the software.
This is the most common user experience. Comments range from “easy to set up” to “simple to use.” Users find it intuitive because it adapts to any business model, be it retail, software development, business to business, or whatever. It’s also intuitive because many find it to be their all-in-one tools package. They like managing contacts, sending emails, blogging, and scheduling social media posts using one neat interface.
Support responds fast. This is the common feedback on HubSpot’s customer service. Likewise, some users like it that their suggestions or customization requests are addressed. The vendor also has the HubSpot Academy, one of the most robust knowledge bases we came across. It’s no surprise since the brand is synonymous to inbound marketing where content rules.
Here’s a sample tutorial series should you want to jump in right away.
Another recurring comment about HubSpot is its constant upgrades. In fact, some users complain about this because they need to keep learning new features. But in general, that’s CRM getting better for you.
After reviewing the details of Hubspot CRM features and benefits, our experts concluded that it is one of the best value-for-money CRM solutions today. What makes it great is the number of benefits and high-quality features you get at no cost. For this, Hubspot CRM earns the top spot in our top CRM products list.
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