Last updated: August 18, 2017
Using a CRM for managing leads and customers is something that just about all businesses come to need at some point. You really can't keep track of everything in a spreadsheet or in a notebook to be successful. And please don't keep it all in your head. That's exhausting and you're almost guaranteed to forget something.
Hubspot introduced a CRM product almost three years ago at their annual INBOUND conference. We started using it then, switching away from other tools we had tried. Why not? It's free. Now that we've been using it for more than 2 years we can compare this to our experiences in Sales Force and share the things that we have found to be most useful over any other tools out there.
Hubspot CRM is simple where a simple solution is needed and can be more complex if needed. And, did we mention, it's free? You don't have to have the Marketing Software to use the CRM. If you decide later to add the marketing automation platform your database of leads and customers will be intact and ready to use.
There's really nothing to lose. here are a few things we appreciate most about Hubspot CRM primarily compared to Sales Force. (And, let me say up front, we don't receive compensation for bringing in any Hubspot CRM users. This is really just our take on what we like.)
1) No duplicate people in Hubspot CRM
Hubspot treats everyone as the individual that they are, and assigns them to a category such as lead, opportunity or customer. In Sales Force, you could end up with the same person in the system as a lead AND as a contact (customer). This gets confusing and often results in duplicated records and inconsistent data. In Hubspot you don't have to worry about this. Just change their lifecycle from lead to customer and you're done. All of their past history stays intact and you'll be able to see information about the agreement, etc.
2) Customization is easy in Hubspot CRM
Both Sales Force and Hubspot allow you to add custom fields. But the process in Sales Force is more complex, requiring you to first choose whether the field applies to leads or contacts. Often I've found I have to create the same field in both areas. Then you have to make it possible to view the new field in a record.
With Hubspot you don't have to decide whether a new field applies to a lead or a contact (or both). Fields are applied to the entire record. Now you can use that field in forms that leads or customers fill out online -- rounding out the profile you have for the individual.
In this example you can see that we've added a field to tell us more about the type of company this person works at. This is helpful for us as we sort through leads and create messages specific to different needs.
3) Unparalleled insight into lead activity
When you have a lead or a customer who comes back to your website, Hubspot CRM tracks everything they do in an easy-to-read screen. You can see which pages they've been to, what they've downloaded and which emails of yours they've opened. Next time you talk with them you can easily comment on their interests based on what they looked at on the website.
4) Tools that make the sales team's life easier
There are some complimentary sales tools availble through Hubspot Sales that work in the Hubspot CRM. They're complimentary in two ways: They're free and they work hand in hand with the free CRM because they're also built by Hubspot. You don't find this with other CRMs, and if they have anything similar it's not free. With the Hubspot Sales Free account, you can:
- Track when someone has opened your email – without the annoying read receipt. You will have access to your stream of the 200 most recent email opens.
- Use email templates that make it easier to send out prospecting emails, follow up emails and other sales communications without having to recreate the wheel every time. You decide what is in the template and then you can customize the content before you send it to each person. You can also access these sales email templates through your Gmail account. It's all about making communication as easy as possible. You can develop up to five emails templates and they can be shared among your Hubspot CRM users.
- Keep up to 5 documents available for linking in emails so that you can track views of the document in the CRM
- 15 minutes of calling per user per month so you can record your calls and keep track of what was said right in the CRM.
If you decide you love the free features you can upgrade to a paid plan per person and get more of everything including a list of prospects that have come to your website and an email sequencing system that sends out individual emails on a pre-set schedule.
5) Hubspot CRM reporting is easy and pretty
Over the past year the Hubspot CRM has really enhanced the reporting capabilities. The dashboard allows you to get the information you want most at a glance. And each user can have their own dashboard, depending on what's important to him or her. You can export the dashboard to a PDF so that you can share it with others, just as you see it here. Or you can have it emailed to someone -- one time or on a regular schedule. This type of executive level reporting is a great feature that we haven't seen paralleled in SalesForce.
How to Get Hubspot CRM
The full featured CRM and the online training are free. You don't have to use any other Hubspot software to get it for free. You can sign up right now and start using it in the next 10 minutes if you'd like. It's really that simple.
If you're already using Sales Force, or another CRM, it can be relatively easy to make the switch. And it might be worth it to save the Sales Force fees per seat. We can help you with that, if you'd like. Just click below for a free sales and marketing consultation. We can take a look at where you are now and talk about what might work best going forward.