HubSpot as the Next Mainstream CRM

With all the talk about Salesforce.com buying ExactTarget, there’s another company that needs to be mentioned: HubSpot. HubSpot is a great inbound marketing software company based in Boston. Early on, HubSpot was focused on being a blogging platform with related search engine optimization tools. Over time, they morphed into an all-in-one marketing platform with blogging, SEO, email marketing, marketing automation, and social media marketing. So, how does this fit in with Salesforce.com?

Well, Salesforce.com is an investor in HubSpot and HubSpot is a Salesforce.com AppExchange partner. HubSpot is emphasizing marketing automation and is moving up market, going from micro seven person companies with no dedicated marketing person to the SMB segment with dedicated marketers and a CRM. Their most common CRM integration is Salesforce.com. So, if you’re moving up market and your investor/most common integration partner buys a company that does amazing marketing automation (and soon will be the de facto standard), it’s time to think hard about the long-term strategy.

Since I no longer have a dog in the fight, here’s the answer: HubSpot needs to parlay their powerful system into being a full blown CRM and remove Salesforce.com from the equation. Businesses want the best tools to sell more stuff, and want it at a reasonable price. Salesforce.com is crazy powerful, but at $700 – $1,200 per user per year, it’s the most expensive system in the market (add another $1,000/month for marketing automation capabilities from Salesforce.com). There’s a real opportunity for a CRM priced in the $120 – $240 per user per year range with all the corresponding marketing automation capabilities. The right system can and should support both sales and marketing.

Outside of adding more CRM capabilities to the basic contact management they already have, the other big missing ingredient is third-party integrations. Looking at the HubSpot App Marketplace, there’s a handful of integrations, but not much compared to the Salesforce.com AppExchange. Connecting with a few integration-as-a-service providers will really help expand the number of potential integrations.

So, I see three changes for HubSpot to make:

  • Turn the contact management functionality into a full CRM (opportunity pipeline, call logging, scheduling, etc)
  • Put more resources into the App Marketplace and ensure the top 50 cloud apps used by 80% of the customers have a great integration
  • Add an additional per user pricing option in the $15/user/month price range with metered pricing on web traffic and email sends (right now all pricing is based on marketable database size and functionality)

This changes the focus of HubSpot while helping them get closer to their value proposition: helping companies make more money. More tools, more systems, more user interfaces to learn adds more complexity. Companies just want great tools to close more business faster. HubSpot can do that. Salesforce.com needs a mainstream CRM competitor.

What else? What are your thoughts on HubSpot as the next mainstream CRM?

12 thoughts on “HubSpot as the Next Mainstream CRM

  1. Salesforce definitely needs competition in the CRM market. Infact, I remember Dharmesh speaking at a Business of Software conference on how he disliked the fact that Salesforce uses tripwires through out their platform to overcharge their existing customers. Given that backdrop and Hubspot’s open culture, I was surprised when they took funding from SFDC.

    I will definitely be rooting for Hubspot if they decide to enter the mainstream CRM market.

  2. I’ve been thinking along the same lines. I currently use HubSpot for my marketing agency and I manage HubSpot on behalf of clients. For my own business, and having experience with both, I would love to see a marriage between HubSpot and Nimble.

  3. Chuck,

    Thanks for being a user and supporter of HubSpot and Nimble. Our two companies, products and teams have been working together for many years and share similar vision, customers and VARS. I find it interesting as HubSpot product model evolves it begins to look more and more like GoldMine. I admire that and take it as a compliment to our Nimble vision. Honestly, I think most CRM platforms fail at engagement, relationships or at empowering the individual or team to connect and engage in today’s modern social selling age. I like what HubSpot has done and I see a world of possibility unfolding as this market evolves.

    Best

    Jon

    Jon Ferrara
    CEO | Nimble – Social Relationships Made Easy
    @jon_ferrara | http://www.nimble.com

  4. Thought-provoking, David. My thoughts, HubSpot has too big of an uphill battle to fight to take-away market-share from SF. HS makes a great alternative for the SMB market. In the SMB market, they may compete, but I’m going to make a bold prediction and say HS has no opportunity in SalesForce’s true market- the Enterprise. Even if they massively invested in the platform and attempted to scale the company, Salesforce would crush them. Benioff is loose-cannon. If he gets wind HS is making an attempt to take his market, he’ll rip out his investment and pour money at neutralizing HS. So, yeah, I can see them being the next “mainstream” CRM in the small business world, but never the enterprise.

  5. Well said, David. The SaaS CRM is one of the least diverse technology marketplaces and more choice will help everyone. Salesforce.com has done an amazing job of meeting the needs of diverse companies but as their focus has shifted towards the enterprise over the last few years, the pricing, usability and functionality have opened up a major opportunity for newer players in the simpler and less expensive tier of the market.

    • They do have both marketing automation and CRM but they are more focused on B2C companies, especially with functionality like ecommerce. Companies with a B2B sales and marketing process have their own needs, which differ from B2C companies.

  6. Hubspot is a great marketing solution and I could make the most of it when I was able to integrate it with my CRM and email marketing tools (infusionsoft and Mailchimp).

    I did so by implementing a third party solution called Podbox. It provides a seamless, painless and multi-directional sync in real time.

    I really advise to take a look at it
    https://www.podbox.com/#!/Infusionsoft/HubSpot

    Cheers,
    John

  7. I see that this post was 2 years ago, and now, lo and behold, Hubspot has a CRM. I started using it last November, and it is by far the most intuitive CRM I’ve ever used (as opposed to Salesforce, Zoho, Siebel, and so many others that I can’t even begin to remember them all). Subscription is $50 for 2 people, so it’s not quite $15/user, but they’ve set it very close. I think that once the word gets out, they will take over the small to mid-sized business market.

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