The HubSpot platform helps you support every step of someone’s buying journey. This ranges from attracting leads, managing sales well, to good customer support. At the heart of the solution is a CRM. The good news is that you can use it all for FREE! I know you’re thinking that it’s too good to be true. Free doesn’t really exist, does it? And is HubSpot CRM just as good as other current systems such as Zoho CRM, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, etc. or are there any catches? Is it only a solution for the small self-employed or can you, as a multinational company, also do something with it? We have listed the possibilities so that you can judge for yourself whether it will work for you.
What is HubSpot CRM?
In a CRM – Customer Relationship Management – you store the data for all of your company’s contacts: prospects, leads, customers, partners, etc. Actually, everyone you’re communicating with somehow. You can collect the contacts in different ways:
- Import: Existing contacts or lists can be uploaded into HubSpot using a handy import module.
- Automatically: Someone has filled out a form on your website or landing page.
- Manually: You add them manually or scan them using the HubSpot app.
Once a contact is in your CRM, you can track and trace all interactions with that specific contact, such as calls, notes, emails, tasks, and meetings.
But there’s more: as you can see in the diagram below, the CRM is at the heart of a bigger system and supports other HubSpot modules that follow your customer journey: from ‘stranger’ to prospect to customer and ultimately, promoter for your company.
You do this with the (paid) marketing, sales, and service modules.
Always 100% free
Therefore, HubSpot CRM is free for an unlimited number of users. In addition, you can add up to 1 million contacts. So even a multinational could work with it. Too good to be true, isn’t it? Well, there is one small note: if you want to use the marketing automation platform in addition to CRM, for example, then the number of ‘managed’ contacts does play an important role in the pricing. If you’d like to use the paid Sales Hub system, then, among other things, the number of vendors who will use the system will determine the license price.
How does it work exactly?
The whole thing revolves around the idea of ‘contacts’. This is a list of everyone you have added to the system yourself, imported from another database or someone who has voluntarily provided their details via a form.
With the free version of the CRM, you get a module with which you can easily create a form to integrate into your website. It’s an interesting option, but know that every form has a HubSpot watermark, which looks a little less professional. You can remove it, but only if you opt for a (paid) upgrade.
For each contact, you then have an overview of all activities, notes, phone calls, emails, and tasks that someone has performed for this contact.
You can also indicate which phase of the customer journey (Subscriber, Lead, Marketing Qualified Lead, etc.) someone is in and what their status (New, Open, In progress, etc.) is.
‘Companies’ are the businesses you are talking to or want to approach. You can link several contacts to one company and also indicate whether a parent or subsidiary company is linked. As with contacts, you can consult and follow up all the information about a particular company: the number of contacts, current deals, communication with the various employees of a company, etc.
When you add a new company, HubSpot will add data from a large company database with relevant information (sector, number of employees, phone number, LinkedIn bio, etc.) for approximately 17 million companies. This saves you a lot of time and gives you extra information to assess whether or not it’s a worthwhile prospect.
The activity feed gives you an overview of all recent activity linked to a certain contact. However, you can only see this in the contacts you own. You will receive notifications if someone has read your mail, opened a document, or revisited your website. Sometimes, this is a reason to contact us again or it gives you real-time insight into the decision-making process.
In the ‘lists’ section, you can create different lists. These can be so-called static lists or dynamic lists, which are supplemented by contacts that meet certain criteria. Using these lists makes it easier to better align your message with the different types of leads you could have. For example, a list of people who have subscribed to a newsletter.
HubSpot has also recently added an ‘email’ tool to its free CRM. This allows you to use a WYSIWYG tool and fixed templates to create an email and send it to contacts who have given consent to do so.
Another small note here: use of this tool is free but has some limitations. For example, you can only send 2,000 emails per month and there is also a HubSpot logo on your emails.
The free CRM also has a large set of basic reports, so you don’t have to mess around with Excel sheets anymore. This type of dashboard lets you easily set the data you want to see and for which period (month, quarter, year, etc.). For example, the number of new marketing qualified leads per month, the number of deals closed concerning the targets, the number of meetings with potential customers, etc. You name it, it’s in there!
So, is it a good CRM?
As users, we are fans ourselves. Of course, it is difficult to compare with other systems and you will obviously miss some things in HubSpot CRM or find functionalities that work better with other CRM tools. There are, however, several undeniable strengths:
- Easy to use: HubSpot is an extremely user-friendly system. You can learn to use HubSpot in a matter of minutes. You can also consult an arsenal of video training, knowledge items, and content to get the most out of your CRM.
- Efficient: you have a whole range of useful tools, which save you time and allow you to work more efficiently. An app that allows you to scan business cards and upload them as a contact, create a new contact by just entering an email address or a name while HubSpot automatically completes several fields (e.g. company info), or notifications that indicate that one of your contacts is on your website.
- Integration with Marketing and Sales Hub tools: in the free CRM, you can already use several functionalities of the other HubSpot tools (limited), such as forms, email marketing, and several standard mail templates that are automatically personalised. Or share documents and see who, what, when, and for how long something has been viewed. It improves the quality of the contacts with whom you are communicating.
- Adaptable and scalable: HubSpot CRM has a large number of standard fields that already cover the most common needs. If you still need extra information, you can easily create new fields and then start reporting on them. Switching to a more comprehensive package is easy. This way, you can grow at your own pace.
Take the test
The best way to judge something is to just use it yourself. HubSpot CRM is free, so you have no obligation to continue using it or switch to a paid version. We’ll help you set up HubSpot CRM and streamline your sales process.
So, apply for your CRM account today: