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HubSpot CRM Review

Simone Johnson
Simone Johnson
  • HubSpot offers an excellent free CRM program.
  • The free version allows an unlimited number of users and up to 1 million contacts.
  • HubSpot offers click-to-call and call recording to help your team better manage customers.
  • This article is for small businesses that want to learn more about HubSpot, our choice for the best free CRM software. 

We choose HubSpot as the best free CRM software because it offers an easy entry into the world of CRM solutions for independent contractors and tiny businesses. The free version of HubSpot offers enough functionality to improve your sales processes and customer data organization at no cost. 

HubSpot CRM

HubSpot CRM

Best CRM Software of 2020

The Verdict

Hubspot is our choice as best free CRM system because of the variety of marketing tools it offers at no charge.

To understand how we selected our best picks, you can view our methodology, as well as a comprehensive list of CRM software, on our best picks page

 

Editor's note: Looking for the right CRM software for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

Pricing 

HubSpot CRM is 100% free for as many users as you want and up to 1 million contacts. While it is possible to remain a nonpaying user indefinitely, various add-on services are available in case you want to pay for more functionality.

The free HubSpot CRM program offers several marketing features and provides access to live chat and conversational bots to guide you through the software. Although free, this program has built-in marketing, sales and service hubs that add to the CRM's functionality. This is especially useful because all your contact, company, deal and task data will be readily available in all three places. Fortunately, all of these features come at absolutely no cost.

If you're interested in purchasing one of HubSpot's paid options, you have four tiered plans to choose from. This includes the Marketing, Sales, Service and CMS Hub, which charge you monthly. You can expect to pay anywhere from $40 to $3,200 a month for the paid versions.

Key takeaway: The free HubSpot CRM program allows you to add up to 1 million contacts and includes live chat, marketing, and sales tools.

Features

HubSpot's best features are heavy on the sales and marketing side, which makes sense since the company started with those areas as the focus, but it also offers some real benefits to users wanting to take advantage of the free CRM exclusively. These are a mix of paid and free features that differentiate HubSpot from other CRMs.

Quick Setup, Great Interface

While there's always more you can do and customize within HubSpot, this SaaS provider makes it easy to set up the essentials. No-code integration with Outlook and Gmail is available, even at the free level, and click-to-install template add-ons couldn't be easier to use. Even the tiniest business should quickly master the process of inputting or importing contacts and setting up users, thanks not only to the easy syncing but also to the stellar user interface.  

Click-to-Call and Call Recording

You and your sales agents can call clients directly from the CRM system and record the entire call. The call is then automatically placed in the client's timeline, making it accessible and searchable for future reference.  

HubSpot Academy

HubSpot Academy is filled with resources for industrious DIY-capable businesses. From the HubSpot Academy portal, you can access an extensive catalog of training materials, technical documentation, certification overviews and courses, plus community user groups and discussions.  

HubSpot for Startups

HubSpot makes a concerted effort to appeal to startups, and one major way it does that is through the HubSpot for Startups program. While the application standards, qualifications and acceptance rates are not publicly listed, HubSpot advertises that eligible startups may receive deep discounts on its SaaS solutions. The numbers advertised are "90% off HubSpot software for eligible seed-stage and 50% off HubSpot software for eligible Series A startups."  

HubSpot Templates

The HubSpot Marketplace is a repository for free templates that can be added for use across HubSpot's product line. Popular add-ons include landing page templates, blog templates, email templates and bundled packages of templates ideal for new businesses. While templates like this may seem like a minor feature, other CRMs offer much more limited templates, even with their paid subscriptions, and SMBs without in-house design teams often rely on timesaving templates.  

Marketing Hub

The Marketing Hub is an optional add-on to the free CRM, and it has a tiered pricing structure like HubSpot's other paid SaaS solutions. The Marketing Hub is where you can access the lead analytics dashboard and attribution reports as well as blog and content creation tools. The Marketing Hub is home to email marketing and social media tools, admin user roles, calls to action, marketing automation, and Salesforce integration. For companies wanting to adopt a CRM with lots of marketing potential, HubSpot's inbound marketing features are worth a look.  

Sales Hub

Users who opt to use the Sales Hub can effectively round out their CRM and streamline every aspect of the sales, marketing, and customer relationship management process. The Sales Hub makes it possible to track and sort prospects (and create custom views of that information), send automated emails regarding prospects to the sales team, and gain insights through advanced email tracking and targeted email sequencing. It also has built-in reporting and predictive lead scoring, which is ideal for companies that have limited in-house data expertise. 

Key takeaway: HubSpot is an easy-to-use CRM system, allows you to call customers and record those calls right within the software, and provides a varied selection of templates. You can add on marketing and sales hubs that make the system even more useful.

HubSpot Pros

Since the free version of the software offers surprisingly robust features, HubSpot is excellent for tiny businesses and startups. For sole proprietorships, side-hustlers and microbusinesses, HubSpot provides an incredible alternative to managing customer relationships the old-fashioned way.

While many CRMs offer a free trial version or even a free subscription level, there are usually lots of limitations and caveats involved. HubSpot is unique in that it offers a completely free CRM, with no expiration date, for unlimited users and up to 1 million contacts. It also has a great click-to-sync setup for Gmail and Outlook, which makes it super simple to integrate your existing email with HubSpot.

The uncluttered interface is easy to navigate – you will not need an IT pro to show you the ropes. HubSpot's free CRM includes a task dashboard, automatic sales logging, contact and lead management, and sales pipeline management features. The online library of learning guides, invoice template generators, email signature generators, and marketing plan template generators offer motivated DIY users a great buffet of options.

The free version of HubSpot CRM is excellent, but most small businesses don't want to invest a lot of energy in implementing something that isn't scalable. HubSpot's offering of SaaS products extends far beyond the free CRM, making it a system most SMBs won't outgrow quickly.

To add functionality as time goes on, you can upgrade to HubSpot's specialized marketing and sales tools. Tiered subscription levels make it easy to scale up as you expand your ecosystem. HubSpot spends a lot of time creating tools and resources for startups and small operations, and HubSpot Academy provides dozens of online classes and certification programs on topics as varied as sales software, design and marketing. This, combined with the higher-level features bundled into the paid subscription levels, makes HubSpot a system that grows with your business.

Key takeaway: Even though it's free, HubSpot isn't a limited CRM system. It doesn't hold back on the features, number of users or contacts. It can also scale with you to assist your business at any size.

HubSpot Cons

There are not many disadvantages to HubSpot's free CRM program. However, if you want access to some of the software's more comprehensive marketing and sales features, you do have pay for them. So, while the basic CRM services are free, not everything HubSpot has to offer is available for no cost. 

Another minor downside is that HubSpot has a one-star customer rating (out of five) with the Better Business Bureau. However, the company is an accredited member of the BBB and has an A+ score from the site. 

Key takeaway: Not all of HubSpot's services are free. You'll have to upgrade for more comprehensive sales features. 

Customer Support 

HubSpot's customer service is decent. The chat function on the website is better than most, but asking questions beyond sales information gets dicey. It's clear that HubSpot wants to push users to consult its online resources rather than reach out to customer support, which may be fine for tech-savvy users with plenty of time but is frustrating for those who want a more direct line of communication.

When you are logged in to your account, you can press the help button at any time. There is also an option to connect to HubSpot support and select your preferred form of communication (phone, email or live chat). As with any helpdesk ticketing system, specificity is key, and the efficiency often depends on your explanation of the issue. HubSpot makes it easy to attach screenshots to your help ticket, which makes it easier to explain problems, but users who have difficulty describing their technical problems or questions in writing may find responses to be on the slow side.

Key takeaway: HubSpot offers customer support by phone, email or live chat, but response times vary.

Ready to choose a CRM solution? Here's a breakdown of our full coverage:

Editor's note: Looking for the right CRM software for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs. 

Image Credit: shironosov / Getty Images
HubSpot CRM

HubSpot CRM

Best CRM Software of 2020

The Verdict

Hubspot is our choice as best free CRM system because of the variety of marketing tools it offers at no charge.

Simone Johnson
Simone Johnson,
Business News Daily Writer
See Simone Johnson's Profile
Simone R. Johnson was born and raised in New York City. She graduated from the University of Rochester in 2017 with a dual degree in English language media and communications and film media production. She has been a reporter for several New York publications prior to joining Business News Daily and business.com as a full-time staff writer. When she isn't writing, she enjoys community enrichment projects that serve disadvantaged groups and rereading her favorite novels.