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TL;DR Summary: Is HubSpot Expensive? In short: Yes if you are a small business AND are looking at the marketing suite. No if you are a medium sized business looking at the marketing suite and a resounding no if you are looking at HubSpot from the sales suite side, irrespective of your business size.
On the topic of HubSpot’s price, being a visible yet third party face in the HubSpot community, I get questions, comments, criticisms, positives, about HubSpot all the time.
This is not a question about whether HubSpot is any good, I want to make that clear from the outset. HubSpot is a phenomenal tool. RedPandas are a proud Platinum HubSpot Agency Partner and that’s not really a label I would want for my business if HubSpot wasn’t and, to be honest, not really a label I would want at present for any other automation tool. Not that other tools are bad, some HubSpot alternatives are really are picking up steam but HubSpot is just so darn easy to use and onboard new clients.
HubSpot’s tools are always developed on trend, what’s happening in the marketplace, and the people and their culture is world class.
That’s all well and good but everything has a price. Is a Mercedes a great car? Depends on who you ask but sure, most people would say yes, but should it be the first car you buy for your 18-year-old son or daughter? Unless your from the Murdoch family, questionable decision!
Now, I want to start this off with a thread that was posted on the HubSpot community posted by contributor ngurney:
Almost a year ago to the date, Gurney talks about the fact when they initially bought the CRM in the sales hub they we’re excited we could get so much for $50 per user. They were a small team so the old HubSpot Sales Pro pricing of $50/user worked perfectly (this was changed Nov 1 2017 to $540 for 5 users alongside some major product upgrades).
What really sparked me to right this article was Gurney’s comment: I really hope HubSpot will take note of how they are treating their smaller customers and realise we need their product too.
I think the best way to answer that question is to look at two factors. Firstly, is it too expensive for sales or marketing? Are you asking this question from the sales department’s perspective or the marketing department’s perspective?
Secondly, your business size: whether you are a small business or maybe a large enterprise business, so the size of your business.
From a marketing perspective, in my honest opinion, no, but for a medium sized company up, large, enterprise, whatever, for those companies it is not expensive from a marketing standpoint.
Now, from a marketing tool set standpoint, when I say marketing I’m talking about marketing automation; email marketing, social media tools, landing pages, forms, that sort of thing. Now, HubSpot says that it is for small business but really it’s not because the trade-offs, honestly guys, are pretty huge.
For example, with the free version of HubSpot you get forms but they are HubSpot branded with a ‘Not using HubSpot yet?’ message – which for me screams ‘I’m using a free cheap form builder on my website’.
I don’t care whether you have been in business for 10 years or you’ve been in business for 10 days, you want to have a professional presence.
Having a branded form on a website that alludes to it being free isn’t a professional look, it doesn’t show that you’re applying any real commercial professionalism.
Now, obviously there are exceptions to every rule so, say, you’re a community page, you’re a non-for profit charity, like a smaller charity or bigger charities of course need to also have that level of professionalism. For those, it’s okay to have that.
The other thing is there’s no automation. Automation should not be reserved for those with large pockets.
From a sales perspective, however, if I want to answer the question, is HubSpot too expensive, I’d say no for almost everyone, really. It is good for small business, it’s good for large business and larger businesses as well.
It’s solid and that’s a key distinction that must be made. I believe that HubSpot, from a marketing perspective, for small business, isn’t there. It’s not right for them. It is too expensive for them but, from a sales perspective, you just have to look at the features.
HubSpot CRM is a powerful toolset even for free users
For starters, HubSpot CRM with the free version has unlimited users which is quite unique in the space. Zoho has 10 and Insightly gives you two users.
One Million Contacts
It may as well be unlimited. HubSpot Free CRM gives you one million. That’s probably so people don’t load it up with just junk. The big gotcha, of course, with the contacts is if you have a large number of contacts with HubSpot Free CRM and then move to a paid version of HubSpot Marketing.
For instance say you have HubSpot Free CRM, you are able to add 100, 1000, 10,000 no problem. However, say then you buy HubSpot Marketing Pro. The CRM is going to sync with marketing because the CRM is the underpinning part of all of HubSpot. If you use both apps, you are going to be charged by the number of contacts; $68 for every extra 1000 contacts.
Now this is obviously not an issue if you just use the CRM module, but if you then decide to migrate or evolve or expand the tool set to marketing it could get quite expensive for you.
Deals, Pipelines, Tasks, Email Notifications & More
You get deals with the free CRM too. You can set up deal pipelines. You can set up tasks, email notifications, templates, document storing, the list goes on.
Small and medium businesses using traditional sales structures will find the app very efficient indeed and very easy to use.
Let’s compare the features on the marketing side. Well, let’s look at free in startup. Free is the one that I said you get forms where it says it’s ‘Not using HubSpot yet’ and you do get some features.
Contact Activity but No Marketing Automation
Obviously, you get the CRM there. You get contact activity so if someone fills out a form you can see what they did, what pages they visited. Of course, it’s not automated though, you have to go and look at that contact, you have to remember to go into that contact record and see what they looked at.
View pages a contact visited, emails they opened and more
Very limited tools with HubSpot Marketing Free & Starter
Specifically around the marketing side, the marketing tools, with free you don’t get any email marketing, which there is a free version of MailChimp where you do. There’s no social media tools, there’s no blogging tools, no SEO tools, no custom reports, no marketing automation.
Marketing automation, the ability to send a stream of user triggered emails, for example, three days apart, four days apart based on what pages they visited, SMS’s, that sort of thing, you can’t do that.
Starter is a little bit better and I think the Australian fee is $68 per month. It removes the unprofessional looking HubSpot label and you do get an email builder, you do get an email marketing building but really nothing too much more than that; nothing to phone home about.
You need to spend $1,050 Australian dollars for Marketing Pro to get marketing automation.
Again, in 2019, you do not need to be disadvantaged by the size of your business to do marketing automation. For some businesses, $1,000 may be their entire media budget, they can be paying that for a small platform.
HubSpot Alternative for Small Business
With Active Campaign, you can do almost the same type of automation you can do in HubSpot. It’s also quite user-friendly as well. If HubSpot is a nine out of 10, Active Campaign is a seven and a half or an eight, still pretty solid.
Yearly contracts are cool but not ideal for small start-ups
There are other cons as well as far as pricing goes for smaller businesses. There is a 12 month contract. If you’ve started business in the last three months, six months, 12 months, signing up for a 12 month commitment which is longer than the length of your business, is a bit of an ask.
To summarise, is HubSpot too expensive for what you get? It depends on who you are and what you need. If you’re a small business and need marketing tools, yes it is too expensive, in my opinion. If you are a small business and all you need is a sales side, then no it’s not, it is very robust and very powerful, very professional.
For a medium business, irrespective of whether you need sales or marketing, we don’t think so. In fact HubSpot is best in its class and ideal if you have, even just a small team in your business.
In fact, if you do use it properly one of the things that we say all the time at RedPandas, is it’s like saving yourself hiring another team member. It makes you efficient, it makes you a small marketer. It’s just not for a sole trader and I’d love to be convinced otherwise.
Moby Siddique is Head Strategist and Co-Founder of RedPandas Digital. A full-service digital and inbound marketing agency in Sydney that focuses on lead generation, creative execution and sales enablement for clients all across Australia. Contact RedPandas if your looking for true digital marketing partner that actually gives a sh*t.