since their inception, HubSpot and Salesforce found their strengths in marketing and sales, respectively. HubSpot originally established itself as a key player in marketing automation stakes. It started with a suite of features for marketers deploying campaigns across multiple channels. Salesforce was primarily designed to be a CRM: the tool that sales teams wielded to improve their customer acquisition and retention rates.
As buyers’ behaviors have shifted, the necessity to align sales and marketing (a.k.a. Smarketing) has become more crucial.
Smarketing is a key challenge that many businesses fail to overcome, and in some cases, even acknowledge. A statistical survey by The TAS Group revealed that only 30% of CMOs had a clear cut strategy to implement sales-marketing alignment, and a whopping 69% of businesses hadn’t even identified their marketing-sales funnel.
Salesforce and HubSpot recognized the need for bridging the sales-marketing gap. Built primarily to “drive more sales, instead of driving people crazy”, as founder Brian Halligan put it, HubSpot seeks to
deliver a more relevant, timely, and effective sales process to potential customers while making it significantly easier for sales reps to do their jobs.
Likewise, Salesforce CRM has evolved to include its own range of marketing tools so marketers can integrate their campaigns seamlessly into the sales process.
Today, HubSpot and Salesforce provide an all-in-one integrated platformthat equips both sales and marketing with the tools to create uninterrupted campaigns that conform to the buyer’s journey. They do this through:
- Closed-loop reporting through automatic data synchronization between sales and marketing processes, preventing information loss and data overlap
- De-duplication of lead information, with one single record for each and every unique visitor, which is maintained through the whole marketing-sales cycle
- Two-way information flow for better and uniform lead segmentation and scoring, for increased lead quality and increased customer acquisition
HubSpot CRM and Salesforce Features: The Basics
Who uses it?
Small to medium businesses that don’t have complex marketing-sales processes generally prefer HubSpot. They are looking to transition to a streamlined, easy-to-use platform that they can handle with minimal training. Larger enterprises with more involved sales process use Salesforce. They typically require a more robust system with more complex reporting and customization capabilities.
HubSpot pricing starts with a free offering with unlimited users, with access to contact database management, forms and sales pipelines. To unleash the full stack (including marketing automation and emails), you have to pay $800/mo, and 4x as much to unlock lead scoring, custom event reporting, triggers and a few more. In the scope of B2B lead generation strategies and considering the ROI that inbound marketing delivers, the bill quickly becomes a non-issue.
Salesforce offers a Free Trial period with limited capabilities, while the lowest pricingstarts at $150 per user, per month for the Lightning Essentials Package. This and other packages do not include Marketing features. To tap into the full power of Salesforce for Marketing, you will have to pay at least $2,500/mo (B2B marketing automation).
Features Offered for Paid/Premium Versions
Both Salesforce and HubSpot offer the following feature capabilities:
- Lead Scoring
- Contact List Management
- Customizable E-mail Templates
- E-mail Scheduling and Tracking Features
- Marketing Automation
- Project Management
- Referral Tracking
- Sales Pipeline Management
Thus far, the criteria for choosing between these CRMs have largely centered on their pricing and the features they offer, as a whole.
Strengths and Weaknesses: HubSpot vs. Salesforce
1. User Interface
HubSpot’s interface is one of its clear strengths: it is clean, intuitive and easy-to-use.
HubSpot’s CRM gives sales & marketing personnel of all experience levels an easy to use, highly intuitive and logical interface, that makes the likelihood of full adoption high. Source
While not exactly a weakness, Salesforce’s interface takes a bit of time to get used to and has a steep learning curve. It is more difficult to adopt immediately. Even businesses and enterprises that have experienced success with Salesforce have found its user interface clunky and hard to adopt at first.
The interface is lackluster, but if you’re looking at it solely from a business case perspective, that doesn’t really factor in – Source
2. Marketing Automation
Seeing as HubSpot was established primarily as a marketing automation platform, its CRM system includes all the basic functionality that you would need. Likewise, Salesforce’s CRM includes a similar level of marketing automation.
However, owing to the fact that HubSpot’s tour de force lies in marketing, its automation features are a lot more intuitive than Salesforce’s. It automates a lot of features that sales usually find tedious, including contact management, logging activity, and e-mail marketing.
3. Lead Generation
Since HubSpot’s initial focus was inbound lead generation, it includes a set of tools designed to do just that: content marketing, website creation tools, landing pages, forms, CTAs, e-mail marketing tools, and A/B testing. Each of these tools can help marketers implement campaigns aimed at drawing a prospect to a landing page, and from there set them on a course down the funnel towards becoming a qualified lead, before they are handed seamlessly off to the sales team.
Salesforce was primarily developed to handle leads once they are qualified; and as such, without the backup of a marketing platform like Pardot – its lead generation capabilities are limited and less intuitive than HubSpot.
4. Marketing and Sales Alignment
HubSpot and Salesforce have evolved from their initial set-up to provide both sales and marketing teams with integrated platforms. However, since HubSpot worked its expansion from the top of funnel down to the bottom – expanding from marketing into sales capabilities – it was able to gain a holistic perspective of the buyer’s journey, and set up and maintain the full marketing-sales funnel. It provides better sales-marketing aligning capabilities through the integration of their marketing and CRM platforms.
Salesforce also offers sales-marketing alignment like list segmentation and social media integration. But, with the lack of a full marketing automation platform, it makes integration between the marketing and sales teams a little more complex.
6. Reporting and Analytics
The reporting abilities of a Customer-Relationship Management system are one of the key aspects businesses depend on to derive data-driven insights from every aspect of their campaigns. These insights will help them identify both profitable and problematic areas, so they can tweak their campaigns to achieve better results.
In this aspect, Salesforce scores a lot better than HubSpot with its fully customizable reporting capabilities that include deep-dive analysis reports and custom formulae.
HubSpot vs Salesforce: Which is Right for Your B2B Needs?
HubSpot and Salesforce aren’t exactly competitors – they both offer integration options with the other. However, for businesses choosing to go with a single provider for both their sales and marketing processes, each of these have their strengths and weaknesses.
For businesses that want an easy-to-use CRM that is set up to conform closely to the sales funnel – from generating qualified inbound leads to achieving a seamless marketing-sales alignment, HubSpot may be the right solution.
On the other hand, businesses that need CRM built to handle complex sales processes, backed by more involved reporting capabilities, Salesforce is the better option.
One third option is to acquire both in an à la carte stack. HubSpot Salesforce integrationis a dream come true for marketers and sales people, since both don’t approach lead generation and nurturing processes with the same frame of mind (though toward the same goals).