HubSpot Review 2024: Is It the Right CRM for Your Business?

In the ever-evolving landscape of customer relationship management (CRM) software, HubSpot continues to be a top contender for businesses looking to streamline their marketing, sales, and customer service efforts. With its user-friendly interface, robust features, and comprehensive reporting capabilities, HubSpot has solidified its reputation as a go-to solution for companies of all sizes. In this review, we will delve into the latest updates and enhancements to HubSpot in 2024 and assess whether it is the right CRM for your business needs.

HubSpot is a versatile yet simple CRM platform used by more than 200,000 businesses across the globe. It can serve as a central, online platform for sales, marketing, customer service, and operations teams, and has a multi-purpose but basic free plan for small teams on a budget.

While HubSpot’s free plan is a great starting point for small teams and businesses, the provider is best suited to companies that want software that can grow with them as they bring new staff on and expand their contact bases. Its advanced features such as generative AI, team goals and KPIs, automation, A/B testing, and detailed sales forecasting mean that businesses using HubSpot are often better placed to avoid a time-consuming migration if they decide to upgrade.

In this HubSpot review, I’ll explain why it’s one of the best CRMs for startups and other growing businesses, including how I fared when I used the platform. More specifically, I’ll share how its key features performed under testing, as well as looking at the different HubSpot plans to see if they represent good bang for your buck.

HubSpot Review: Key Features

As CRM tools go, HubSpot has some of the most cutting-edge features in the game. Perhaps the most exciting is HubSpot’s relatively new generative AI tool that you can access on all of its plans, including the free plan.

It’ll help you with a variety of tasks within the interface, including summarizing conversations, replying to support inquiries, constructing emails, providing content recommendations, conducting SEO analysis, and much more. There are also plenty of automation capabilities you can use to streamline important but mundane aspects of your team’s workflows. Here are the key features and hubs available in HubSpot, and when you’ll use them during the set up process:

Setting up

When you log in to HubSpot – either on a paid plan free trial, or the free plan – you’ll first be presented with a blank interface, which includes significant (but skippable) introductory guidance (more on this later). You’ll then be able to add your marketing contacts in the “contacts” section, customizing the columns to your liking:

Customizing the contacts table in HubSpot. Image: Newslength

Although I didn’t quite understand the best way to start entering contact information, I quickly worked out that the main table could be edited intuitively by simply clicking on different cells and columns.

However, you can also click on individual marketing contacts and adjust the information contained within their profile, which will then automatically appear in the table. It’s all pretty straightforward, and you definitely don’t need to be a CRM whizz to quickly grasp HubSpot’s interface.

Managing contacts

As I’ve just alluded to, one good thing about HubSpot is that if you make a change to the information in one part of the interface, it’ll update the whole system. What’s more, all changes are automatically logged in the change history of individual contacts, so you’re always able to retrace your steps if something isn’t quite right.

This is particularly useful in your sales hub – not having enough data on when a client was last called or contacted could lead to a disjointed conversation where your team looks unprepared. HubSpot ensures relevant tickets, as well as all the other information inputted into the system about a specific client or customer, is always at hand.

A marketing contact saved in HubSpot. Image: Newslength

A HubSpot contact activity log. Image: Newslength

Also included in the free edition of HubSpot is a unified email inbox, dashboards that can store up to 10 reports, and “custom properties” that can be used to link specific types of data to marketing contacts, as well as ongoing deals sales. It’s features like this that mean HubSpot will save you time and ensure you’re harnessing the data you have on file productively.

Engaging with customers

HubSpot has lots of tools designed to help your business engage with customers across a wide range of channels. There’s email marketing support on all plans including an intuitive email designer you can use to make your correspondence look professional and authentic. On the free plan, you can send 2,000 emails to marketing contacts every month, but they will all include the HubSpot branding. This can be removed on paid plans.

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HubSpot email creation

Creating an email to send out to customers in HubSpot. Image: Newslength

HubSpot is one of the best platforms for any business wanting to jump on the newsletter hype – HubSpot will help you make stylish emails that lead through to the latest content and deals being posted on your site. On the paid plans, there’s a feature that will let you A/B test different emails to work out which one is the most impactful, and a sequencing feature that will let you automate and re-run multi-stage outreach processes.

You can also sync up your social media and Google ad campaign to your HubSpot account, which will help you understand better how ad spend is impacting your company’s revenue. You can also see who is interacting with what ads, and vital data needed to improve conversions/lead generation. As we alluded to earlier, HubSpot’s AI tool can “remix” your content for different social media platforms that you’ve decided to run campaigns on.

Managing sales leads

Managing sales leads in HubSpot is so straightforward because there’s so much already set up for you, such as the “deal stage” column. It has a huge range of different statuses, ensuring there’ll never be confusion about precisely where a team member has got to with any lead.

When using the platform, I found the “My Deals” tab you can see in the image below useful for separating deals I assigned to myself from deals I assigned to members of my team.

Checking through sales lead information with HubSpot. Image: Newslength

As we’ve discussed briefly, although there are nominally different “areas” or “menus” in the HubSpot interface, everything is highly integrated.

I can create tickets in a marketing contact, but also add a deal when I’m using the service hub. This ensures you can enter what you need to without trawling through countless menus to find the right section to input information. I found everything to be organized rather intuitively, and this made using HubSpot pretty stress-free.

Resolving service tickets

All HubSpot plans have a “tickets” area located in the “service” menu where you can manage customer tickets coming through and resolve them as quickly as possible. On the free plan, you’ll get 1 ticket pipeline per account. However, the Starter plan offers two and the Professional plan offers 15 per account, the latter being perfect for businesses managing ever-growing numbers of support requests from clients and/or customers.

HubSpot ticket maagement

Managing a ticket in HubSpot. Image: Newslength

On HubSpot’s paid plans, however, you’ll get to send out feedback surveys, which will come back with vital insights you can use to improve how you approach customer relationships.

You can also build your own knowledge base, which is another great feature for growing teams managing increasing volumes of support requests. If you’re willing to put some time and effort into building one for your customer base, you’ll empower them to solve their problems without them having to even contact you.

HubSpot: Test Results

I’ve tested HubSpot’s free plan to get a real feel for how the platform works, as have other members of the Newslength team. This will be the plan many businesses start with too, as it’s a quick and easy way to get your contact base live.

A Hubspot marketing contact

Managing a marketing contact’s information in HubSpot. Image: Newslength

All in all, it’s an excellent option with a straightforward, visually appealing interface that isn’t packed full of information, which was the first pleasant surprise I experienced during testing. That being said, most ambitious, growing teams will want a more specific plan with advanced marketing, sales, and/or service features when they reach a sufficient size, such as A/B email testing and sequencing.

We’ve also tested a range of sales CRM tools, using separate criteria tailored to the industry. So, we’ll also discuss insights gleaned from our Sales CRM tests, which will give you a good gauge of how much of an upgrade the HubSpot paid plans are, even if the marketing or customer service-focused plans are a better fit for your company.

HubSpot Test Summary 2024

What initially surprised me about HubSpot is how easy it is to use, considering the software is designed to handle large-scale customer engagement operations. This makes HubSpot particularly appealing if you’re new to the world of CRM software. If you are new to it, I’d advise not skipping the guided tour because it’ll help you get set up a lot quicker, and there are bits I wished I hadn’t skipped when I tested the platform.

All of HubSpot’s different features or “hubs” are included in a handy toolbar along the top of the interface, which means minimal menu diving. Although they’re siloed neatly for organizational purposes, HubSpot lets you access things like issue tickets from the service hub within the “Deals” tool located in the sales areas, so you don’t have to bounce back and forth when checking information relating to a specific customer or client.

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I also really like HubSpot’s contact list and how you can edit all the fields at the click of a button. It’s really easy to connect customers and clients to the companies they work for, and detailed activity logs ensure you’ll always be able to work out why changes your colleagues have made have been actioned.

Aaron Drapkin Lead Writer, Newslength

How HubSpot’s free plan compares to other CRM systems

HubSpot’s free plan actually holds its own against many of the industry’s most popular paid plans, naturally scoring a perfect 5/5 for pricing. However, as it’s still a free plan, businesses that really want to get the most out of the platform will be better off upgrading to a paid option.

For instance, almost all businesses know how important it is to have on-hand customer support – and on HubSpot’s free plan, you’re not entitled to any, bar access to HubSpot’s community forum. This meant it only scored 1.5/5 on this area of the assessment. That score was less than Freshsales Suite (3.1/5), which offers 24-hour support, five days a week via email, phone, and live chat on all of its plans, including its free plan.

Managing a marketing contact in the Deals area on the free plan. Image: Newslength

HubSpot only scores 3.9/5 for usability, with marks dropped owed to its restrictiveness and feature limits. The same can be said for its customization score (2.2/5) – but again, it is a free plan, so I wasn’t expecting much. However, the score is still a lot lower than the paid plans offered by Zoho CRM, which was awarded 4.5/5 for usability and has more features available – but its free plan has a three-user limit, whereas HubSpot’s doesn’t.

HubSpot Sales CRM Test Results

Along with HubSpot’s free plan, we’ve also tested HubSpot’s Sales CRM platform. HubSpot is the most customizable sales platform we’ve tested with the Pro plan scoring 4.4/5 in this assessment area. This is partly due to how easy it is to pull in data from your contact lists, add company information, and change the structure of your pipeline.

It also scores an impressive 4.2/5 for “Team infrastructure” which is our assessment area that covers Sales CRM management tools included within platforms.

HubSpot's sales lead pipeline

Viewing my sales pipeline in HubSpot. Image: Newslength

Unlike Freshsales, HubSpot provides a tool for communicating with your team internally in the platform, as well as a unified inbox, which helps organize customer correspondence. There are also team KPIs and individual goal features to help gamify the sales process and make it more incentivizing for your employees.

As we’ve covered already, HubSpot is a great product for growing businesses, scoring 4.4/5 for scalability. This is in part due to some of the team infrastructure features mentioned above, but also watertight security. See how it compares to other top sales CRM systems below:

HubSpot Plans Reviewed

HubSpot has a huge range of plans geared towards slightly different parts of the customer relationship journey. Each plan has a “Starter”, “Professional”, and “Enterprise” version. Here’s an example of the pricing structure taken from the marketing hub pricing page:

hubspot's marketing plans

Hubspot marketing plans. Image: Newslength

Along with preset plans, you can now “create a bundle” which effectively lets you mix and match plans of different levels to build a custom suite package that has exactly the kinds of tools your sales, marketing, or customer service team needs. There’s also a CRM Suite plan which is like a super-charged version of the free plan – just as multi-purpose, but with more features.

For more information on the specifics of these plans, check out our HubSpot pricing guide, which has all the information you’ll need about how much each one cost, plus hidden fees and onboarding costs. Alternatively, you can head straight to the HubSpot website if you think you’re ready to get started.

Free plan

HubSpot offers a free plan that includes basic marketing, sales, service, and a way to connect up your team’s email platform so all of your comms can be viewed and replied to from within the app. However, you can’t build any automations, and key features like social media marketing and sales forecasting aren’t available.

Sales Hub

HubSpot has a sales-specific plan that will let you manage a small pipeline of leads and deals, assign owners to specific clients/customers, and track changes to entries. The Starter plan will let you streamline some aspects of your workday with task queues and automation, while the professional plan will let you build your own sales playbook, which is useful for training employees during the onboarding process.

Marketing Hub

Hubspot’s marketing hub is designed for marketing teams that need to keep track of hundreds – or even thousands – of contacts. While the free plan will force you to use the HubSpot branding, the paid plans let you remove it. There are also lots of customizable reporting tools so you have a better grasp of how to engage your contact base.

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Service Hub

HubSpot’s free plan offers a basic ticketing system you can use to keep track of and resolve issues raised by your customers. However, the paid versions of the Service Hub plan have more advanced features like customer feedback surveys and payment processing options. Plus, you can remove the HubSpot branding from your live chat feature and automatically assign incoming customers to teams or individuals.

Other Hubspot plans

Along with HubSpot’s more well-known sales, service, and marketing plans, the provider also has a CRM suite plan starting from $20 per month, and a CMS plan for websites. There’s now also an Operations team-focused plan and a commerce plan for teams or businesses building online stores and merch platforms.

Who Is HubSpot Best For?

First off, it’s worth noting that the free HubSpot plan has all the features a small to medium-sized team with a small customer base will need to manage a very basic marketing campaign or uncomplicated sales pipeline. In the CRM space, however, there’s no company better for a growing business than HubSpot.

If you’re a small business right now but you’re planning to take on lots of new staff shortly and grow your operations quickly, you can start with the HubSpot free plan, or any of the industry-specific starter plans.

You’ll have a space to manage all your contacts in the free plan, but you won’t be paying through the nose for features you don’t necessarily need. Then, when your business feels like it has outgrown the current plan you’re using, you won’t have to switch – you can simply upgrade your HubSpot plan, and avoid an arduous migration.

The HubSpot Professional plan has the kind of features that businesses looking to branch out and engage with more customers would need, such as SEO support and social media marketing support. Custom reporting tools, on the other hand, mean you can pull a range of relevant data stored in different parts of the software through to one central place, so it can actually be used to inform your strategy going forward.

On its paid plans, HubSpot can facilitate extensive training for new members, and has space for staff to make playbooks and knowledge bases, as well as supervise agents while they’re having conversations with clients and customers – which not all CRM tools offer. Automations are similarly useful for rapidly growing businesses, as they ensure staff can streamline any processes that need to be repeated again and again.

How Did We Rate and Review HubSpot?

At Newslength, we always conduct research into and test the software we’re writing about – and that includes HubSpot, as well as the other CRM tools that we review on our site.

Along with testing the product myself by inputting my own sales, marketing, and service-based data, we’ve also conducted thorough tests of the provider’s free and paid plans using a research framework made up of more than 50 different parameters. They were categorized into several core assessment areas, including usability, help & support, customization, scalability, and team infrastructure tools. Scores achieved by providers in these areas subsequently determined their overall scores.

Although we have commercial partnerships with some of the providers we talk about on Newslength, it’s our independent product research that ensures we’ll always remain editorially independent. Our research findings are the sole factor that determines our rankings, recommendations, reviews, and ratings.

HubSpot Review FAQs

Yes – HubSpot makes the process of setting up your contact base and using the tools contained within the interface very straightforward. You can edit most things with a click of a button, and the menus are structured very simply, so it’s hard to get lost. That being said, some do find the huge range of features a little overwhelming at first.

While HubSpot is a highly capable CRM platform that’s hard to fault when it comes to features, it’s free plan is significantly limited when compared to the Professional and Enterprise plans don’t come cheap. So, while its good for a small team, growing businesses will quickly find the free plan too restrictive to use.

Out of all the CRM systems we’ve tested, Freshworks provides the best range of marketing, sales and service CRM plans, which are a little more affordable than HubSpot’s plans – especially when you consider the onboarding fee.

That’s a wrap on “ HubSpot Review 2024: Is It the Right CRM for Your Business? ” We hope you’ve found a trove of useful insights and fresh perspectives. Your opinions and ideas matter to us—join the conversation below and share your take! Hungry for more tech insights? Dive into our diverse collection of articles where innovation meets practicality. Discover More CRM Softwares.

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