HubSpot is a CRM powerhouse with a free edition that outshines many paid CRMs on the market. Whether you choose the free or paid version, HubSpot CRM works across marketing, sales, and customer service teams. It’s a great option for just about every business looking to improve customer relationship management. We compiled our extensive research and experience with the software—good and bad—into this review to help you decide if it’s right for you.
Compare HubSpot to The Best CRM Software
Based on weeks of testing and our own hands-on experience, our team found several CRMs that outperformed HubSpot. HubSpot still offers the best no-cost CRM around, but our other top picks are worth checking out:
- Nextiva – Best for most
- Monday Sales CRM – Best for project management with CRM capability
- Salesforce – Best for fast-growth organizations
- HubSpot – Best free CRM software
In our full review of the best CRM software, you can see exactly how HubSpot stacks up against our other top choices. In it, we take a deep dive into the most talked-about options. We focus on each software’s UI, reporting, lead management, support functionality, and sales features.
HubSpot: The Good and The Bad
HubSpot is our #1 free CRM recommendation. Many businesses will find that the free CRM works just fine, especially if they’re looking for a better way to manage customer relationships. But it’s not perfect, and it comes with a few drawbacks.
Comprehensive Free Plan: HubSpot offers the most comprehensive free plan we’ve seen out of the dozens of CRMs we’ve tried and tested ourselves. Most free plans look great on paper but fail to deliver the features that support your CRM strategy and improve customer relationships. But HubSpot does things differently—it over-delivers on its free plan.
Whether you’re looking for customer support, marketing, sales, content management, or operational CRM, you get hundreds of powerful features and the ability to manage up to a million (1,000,000) contacts without ever paying a cent.
Flexible Pricing: While HubSpot’s paid plans can get expensive, there are many ways to bundle services to get what you need at a reasonable price. You can choose to purchase individual hubs or upgrade multiple hubs at a discounted rate. Another option is an entirely custom CRM solution with only the features you need if none of the out-of-the-box bundles are a fit for your team.
HubSpot’s marketing, sales, customer support, and operational hubs start at $45 per month each. The CMS hub starts at $23 per month. But you can save a TON of money by bundling them all together. The Starter Bundle includes all the hubs and also starts at $30 per month with annual billing.
A Modular, Scalable Solution: HubSpot’s motto is ‘there’s no better way to grow.’ This refers to the range of scalable tools it offers. Whether you need help with operations, content, customer service, sales, or marketing, HubSpot has you covered. Plus, all of HubSpot’s tools are modular. This means the platform can grow alongside your business as you scale, increasing your need for more advanced CRM features.
You can mix and match solutions and payment plans for each module. This makes HubSpot a truly customizable and scalable CRM system designed to help you grow—and blast your business out of the water. No matter the size of your business, HubSpot can deliver exactly what you need.
Easy to Use: Despite HubSpot’s complex modular pricing structure, the platform itself is intuitive and easy to use. The developers do a great job of making the software’s hundreds of features accessible and easy to use. Even on the free plan, you’ll have no trouble navigating around the software. Many CRMs struggle to find the balance between power, automation, and ease of use. But not HubSpot.
The software doesn’t sacrifice intuitiveness for the sake of power. Ease of use is particularly important for anyone using the free plan since it lacks live customer support. In our experience, it’s so easy that you won’t need support anyway. You can useHubSpot’s extensive knowledge base and third-party tutorials if you ever need help.
Easy to Create: HubSpot is not only easy for users to navigate and use daily, but it is also incredibly easy to create with. For example, content creation areas like landing pages, forms, and emails, are all drag and drop. You can also bulk-create and schedule social media content. This will come as a huge advantage for many businesses who simply don’t have time for these content creations.
Customer Support: HubSpot is renowned for its excellent customer support team. Depending on which plan you choose, you can contact the support team via chat, email, or phone. You can even connect with HubSpot Support on Twitter. Although these support methods are limited to the paid plans, users with the free version will still have access to the in-depth online knowledge base and community.
Beyond basic support, HubSpot also offers a range of additional services—including advanced onboarding plans, 1:1 consulting, interactive training, and more. These are great options for larger organizations or anyone who wants to get the most out of HubSpot (although they do come at an additional cost).
Tons of Free Tools: Anyone can access the free tools regardless of whether they’re using HubSpot’s CRM. Nevertheless, we still think it’s extremely cool that HubSpot has so many free tools available for new business owners to use.
This includes a blog idea generator, an invoice template generator, free business templates, an email signature generator, and more. You’ll never start your business in the dark with HubSpot. Overall, HubSpot probably has the most extensive library of free tools in the world of B2B software.
Extended Functionality: HubSpot CRM is powerful enough on its own. But it also plays nice with other business apps and tools. This gives you the ability to extend the platform’s functionality with more than 1,400 applications.
The integration process is seamless, and you can combine HubSpot with the tools you’re already using—all with just a few clicks. Popular integrations include Gmail, Google Calendar, Facebook Ads, Zoom, Slack, Canva, Eventbrite, Shopify, Stripe, and SurveyMonkey. You can use the HubSpot Marketplace to browse for apps across categories like workflow integrations, marketing, productivity, finance, and more.
AI-Powered Writing Tools: Signing up for HubSpot CRM gives you access to Hubspot’s newest AI writing features. This tool is built specifically to improve the quality of your marketing and sales emails while simultaneously boosting your team’s productivity.
The cool part about this feature is that it gets to know you and your audience. So as your segments get more advanced, you can use AI to change the tone of your message and ensure everything is aligned with the correct recipient list. Whether you’re sending mass marketing blasts or highly targeted sales messages, these new HubSpot AI writing tools will make your life much easier.
Enterprise-Grade Capabilities: While HubSpot has one of the best and most well-known free CRMs on the market, this won’t be enough to accommodate the needs of larger organizations. But HubSpot also offers an enterprise CRM suite that’s packed with advanced CRM features that brands need at scale.
You can use it to create a single source of truth for all of your customer interactions. Whether it’s sales, support, marketing, or something else, you’ll have every interaction integrated into one platform that simultaneously aligns teams across departments. It’s extremely powerful, flexible, and easy to adapt as your needs change at scale.
Complicated Pricing Tiers: Flexible pricing is one of HubSpot’s benefits. However, there’s a big difference between flexible pricing and confusing pricing. There are an overwhelming number of plans and pricing options to choose from. This can be a big turn-off, driving customers to stick with the free plan or move on to another provider altogether.
Unfortunately, you can’t just go to one page to see all of the pricing information. HubSpot breaks things down by having standalone pricing for individual products as well as product suites. But even within those already confusing plan options, there are additional costs based on things like contact list size or internal users.
No Customer Support on Free Plan: Users of the free version do have access to the online knowledge base and HubSpot community. But sometimes you just want to talk to a human. It’s a shame that HubSpot doesn’t offer live chat, at the very least, to those on the free plan. You’d think this would help them spread the word about their award-winning customer support capabilities.
Subscribers on the free plan don’t even have access to email support. So you’re really left on an island to figure it out on your own through DIY resources. It’s tough to complain about customer service when you’re not paying anything. But it would still be nice to have something more than what’s currently offered.
Easy to Max Out Limitations on Free Plan: At the end of the day, it’s a free version—so it’s hard to complain. But, you must consider the limitations of the free plan compared to the higher tiered options. For example, on the free plan, you’ll only have access to 200 email tracking notifications per month. The Starter plan, on the other hand, comes with unlimited email tracking notifications.
The free plan also limits you to just one automated email per form, and HubSpot’s branding is included on your customer communications. Some of the limitations may not matter to you, but others may be a deal-breaker. If the limitations impact your business negatively, you might be better off with a paid HubSpot plan or a different provider altogether.
Gets Expensive Quickly: Beyond the free version, HubSpot’s entry-level paid plans are reasonably priced. It starts at just $18 per month billed annually for the Starter plan—but that only includes 1,000 marketing contacts. If you have 5,000 marketing contacts, you’ll pay $87 per month, and it’s $159 per month for 10,000 contacts. Keep in mind that this is still based on the entry-level starter plan.
If you jump to the Professional tier, it starts at $800 per month and includes 2,000 marketing contacts and an additional $225 per month for every 5,000 additional contacts. The Enterprise tier starts at $3,600 per month, billed annually at $43,000. These price jumps are significant, and being the entry-level plan, they may not be in the budget for smaller businesses.
Limited Options For Custom Configurations: This isn’t very relevant for smaller businesses. However, larger organizations should understand that they’ll be a bit limited with how they can configure HubSpot CRM. The Enterprise CRM does support custom objects, which gives you more flexibility and control over your CRM data and its properties.
But overall, it’s not as flexible for organizations that want to build completely customized CRM modules from scratch. Businesses looking for a CRM that supports custom developer widgets will find HubSpot to be a bit more restrictive than other options on the market.
Requires Annual Commitment: If you’re signing up for a paid HubSpot subscription, you’re committing to at least a year—even if you opt for monthly billing. Like many CRM solutions on the market, HubSpot does offer a discount for paying annually in advance.
But the monthly billing cycle still requires an annual contract. You’re just not paying for the year upfront. This means that if you decide HubSpot isn’t for your business after three months, you’ll still be forced to pay the remainder of your contract.
HubSpot Pricing and Options
Now that we know the benefits HubSpot has to offer—as well as the things it could improve on—let’s look at what products it can bring to the table.
HubSpot offers a comprehensive range of free tools in all their product offerings, as we’ve already discovered. These include free CRM, marketing, sales, and service tools.
Should your business grow so much that these free tools don’t cut it anymore, you can upgrade to the premium versions. But HubSpot does not make it easy to understand what those upgraded versions might cost you. There are so many different packages and pricing tiers available that it’s more than a little bit confusing.
However, we’re going to let you in on a little secret to help you save some money. Bundling your software in a CRM suite is the best value, and it’s cheaper than getting HubSpot products individually.
The CRM Starter Suite starts at $20 per month with an annual commitment, and $30 per month billed monthly (with an annual commitment).
Your total cost depends on the size of your marketing contact list and sales users.
The CRM Starter Suite comes with features like:
- Marketing Hub Stater
- Sales Hub Starter
- CMS Hub Starter
- Operations Hub Starter
- Advanced analytics dashboards
- 25 active list segments
- Email and in-app chat support
- Up to 5,000 monthly marketing emails
If you are looking for a bit more, the Professional CRM Suite has you covered. This plan starts at $1,600 per month but comes with the Professional version of each Hub, and more advanced features.
The moral of the story is to dig deep into the pricing models to truly understand what you’re getting in the standalone plans versus a bundle. And if you can catch the bundle while it’s on sale for $30 per month, jump on it! You’ll have access to tons of tools for almost the same price as a standalone plan.
HubSpot Marketing Hub
HubSpot’s marketing software is designed to help you attract and convert. That is, attract the right audience, convert those visitors into customers, and run complete inbound marketing campaigns without breaking a sweat—or the bank.
With the HubSpot Marketing Hub, you’ll have all your marketing tools and data under one roof. You can publish blogs, build your search authority, and track and manage ads. You can manage your social media channels, build a kick-ass landing page, and monitor your progress. What else could you possibly want?
HubSpot’s marketing hub is trusted by tons of big-name companies such as Frontify, Monday.com, Trello, and SurveyMonkey. It also consistently wins awards from the likes of G2.com and Capterra for being the best of the best.
Pricing for the Marketing Hub plans look like this:
- Starter: $45/month
- Professional: $800/month
- Enterprise: $3,600/month
In a nutshell, HubSpot’s Marketing Hub is an excellent marketing tool designed to grow with your business.
HubSpot Sales Hub
HubSpot’s sales software is a CRM powerhouse. It will help your teams close more deals, build stronger relationships, and manage their pipeline so well that nothing slips through the cracks.
With tools like email templates, email tracking, and call recording, you’ll be able to build stronger connections with your customers. That’s because HubSpot helps your team deliver the same, cohesive message. Plus you can arm your team with branded quotes and sales management playbooks so that everyone knows exactly what’s happening next.
With HubSpot’s sales hub, you can:
- Allow prospects to schedule appointments that automatically sync with your calendar
- Automate your sales process with a personal touch
- Direct live chat conversations to the right salesperson to build better customer relationships
- Manage your pipeline with a single click ensuring important deals don’t slip through the cracks.
There’s not much else you could ask for from CRM software.
HubSpot is the ultimate CRM platform, and the wide-ranging communication features on offer with Sales Hub simply solidify its position as a market leader. Having access to all of these tools in one place will only make your business stronger, leaving you plenty of time to focus on your customers.
Here is an overview of the sales software tiered pricing with the included features below:
- Starter: $45/month
- Professional: $450/month
- Enterprise: $1,200/month
HubSpot Service Hub
Once you’ve got your team working like a well-oiled machine, it’s time to focus on the customer. When we say focus on the customer, we don’t mean just draw them in and convert them from prospects to buyers.
We mean really focus on them.
Enlisting a customer service management (CSM) software that enables you to scale your support while uniting your front-office teams is essential to satisfying the customer. Luckily for you, HubSpot’s service hub can do all of this for you in one platform.
Service Hub will allow you to:
- Create a sophisticated help desk and ticket automation system.
- Build a detailed online knowledge base for customers to troubleshoot their issues.
- Enlist a clever live chat that directs your customer to the right place and people.
- Connect your team’s emails, live chat, Facebook Messenger, and more into one universal inbox for complete visibility into the communication pipeline.
In today’s fast-paced world, customers expect round-the-clock resolutions and personalized support. HubSpot helps you deal with this by bringing all of your service data and communication channels under one roof. This means you’ll spend more time supporting and impressing your customers than scratching your head over customer complaints.
Here’s a quick overview of the pricing for HubSpot’s Service Hub:
- Starter: $45/month
- Professional: $450/month
- Enterprise: $1,200/month
Most businesses will be fine with the Professional plan. But you can check out the plan comparison table for to see what you’re getting at each tier.
HubSpot CMS Hub
No doubt you’ve heard by now how important it is to create engaging and interactive content for your audience. It’s one of the ultimate tools to help build trusting relationships with your customers.
When you give your audience enough ‘free’ advice to help them through menial tasks, but not quite enough to render your help useless, you will start to gain their interest and trust. How on earth are you going to deliver this free advice, though?
With a content management system (CMS), that’s how!
With HubSpot’s CMS hub, you’ll be able to create and manage website pages with a simple drag-and-drop editor. Better yet, these web pages will automatically be optimized for different devices, so your content won’t lose shape.
Other CMS features include:
- SEO recommendations to make sure you’re putting yourself on the map
- Access to pre-built website themes for easy customization
- Multi-language content creation
- Analyze the impact of your website with contact attribution reporting
- 24/7 security monitoring and threat detection
Although we think this CMS hub is a great product from HubSpot, we need to highlight that if you are looking for a CMS powerhouse, WordPress wins the spot.
However, we understand that you may want to have all of your business tools under one roof. And you might not want to deal with an additional web host as required when using WordPress. In that case, HubSpot’s CMS Hub is a good alternative.
Similar to the other Hubs we’ve covered, there are four CMS Hub plans to choose from:
- Starter: $23/month
- Professional: $360/month
- Enterprise: $1,200/month
This is another example that shows why it’s cheaper to just get the CRM Suite. Remember, the CRM Starter Suite starts at $30 per month and it includes the CMS Starter Hub—whereas the CMS Starter plan on its own is $23.
Otherwise, using the CMS Hub on its own to manage your content with HubSpot is pretty darn pricey, especially when you could have access to robust content management with WordPress or Wix for a fraction of the price.
Expanding Your Knowledge: HubSpot CRM
Reviews of the Best CRM Software
There are dozens of excellent CRM software options out there, making it a bit tough to know exactly which one is right for you. That’s why we researched and tested dozens of the best CRM tools, narrowing it down to the best solutions.
HubSpot made our list, but there are other options worth checking out.
If you need help getting started with CRM, check out our guide to CRM implementation. We also recommend making sure you can integrate all your essential tools into your CRM platform. Our CRM integration guide can get you going.
Not only will you have the tools at your fingertips to build great relationships with new and existing clients, but you’ll also have the ability to streamline your team’s processes. With everybody on the same page, you’ll spend less time managing the team and more time bringing in those loyal and faithful supporters. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what good CRM is all about?