Every early-stage B2B company needs a CRM to add contacts, accounts, and deals as well as keep track of things like notes, email communication, meetings, etc. The earlier you implement a CRM, the better off your company will be in the long run.
With so many CRMs on the market, it can be quite daunting to pick the right one. As an early stage CEO, VP of Sales, or COO, these are probably the questions you’re asking yourself…
- Salesforce is the leader – shouldn’t I just go with them?
- Will the CRM I pick integrate with other third-party apps?
- Will my sales/marketing/ops team be able to adopt the CRM we choose?
- In addition to licensing, what other hidden costs come with the CRM we choose?
- I don’t know what I don’t know, what other “gotchas” are there with this decision?
Hopefully this blog post will help steer you in the right direction when it comes to picking a CRM for your startup that is going to be simple, cost-effective, and grow with your business – especially in the early days.
1.) HubSpot CRM is free
The fact that HubSpot CRM is free makes it a no-brainer for most early-stage startups. In contrast, Salesforce is going to about $150/user/month, which quickly adds up.
In addition to HubSpot CRM being free for up to the first 1 million contacts, they also offer other awesome free functionality for marketing, sales, and service (support).
Read more about all of HubSpot’s free features at https://www.hubspot.com/pricing/crm.
2.) Add HubSpot “Hubs” as you grow
HubSpot’s free CRM and free features around marketing, sales, and service are terrific. However, as you grow your business and your needs in these areas become slightly more sophisticated, you’ll most likely want to add-on one or more of HubSpot’s “Hubs”. These include:
- Marketing Hub
- If you choose Salesforce, you’ll most likely be looking at also purchasing HubSpot Marketing Hub, Marketo, or Pardot.
- Sales Hub
- If you choose Salesforce, you’ll most likely be looking at also purchasing SalesLoft or Outreach
- Service Hub
- If you choose Salesforce, you’ll most likely be looking at also purchasing Zendesk.
As you can see, HubSpot is going to give you flexibility to add the appropriate “Hubs” as you need them, yet maintain an all-in-one, easy-to-use system. As an early-stage startup, I can’t stress enough how important this simplicity is especially in the early days. You have enough to focus on around trying to find product-market fit, acquiring customers, hiring, fund raising, etc. – you don’t want to be wrangling a messy tech stack.
3.) Get up to 90% off with HubSpot for Startups
HubSpot has an insanely generous program called HubSpot for Startups.
Startups with under $2 million in funding are eligible for 90% off in their first year, 50% in your second, and 25% ongoing. Startups who have raised over $2 million are eligible for 50% off in their first year, and 25% off ongoing.
As a startup founder or executive, this alone is compelling enough to choose HubSpot. You can get the full Professional Growth Suite for a little more than the cost of a Salesforce license for one user!
Learn more about HubSpot for Startups and see pricing at https://www.hubspot.com/startups.
4.) Easily transition to Salesforce for CRM later on
There may come a time after you’ve raised your Series B or hired your 100th employee that you’ve determined you’ve outgrown HubSpot CRM and want to implement Salesforce as your CRM. This is totally okay and is actually quite common!
HubSpot has a 1-to-1 sync with Salesforce and syncing all the data in HubSpot CRM with Salesforce is incredibly easy to do, so don’t feel like if you go with HubSpot CRM today that you’ll be locked into it forever.
In addition, HubSpot Marketing Hub is arguably the best marketing automation platform, so even if you switch to Salesforce for CRM later on, you’ll most likely keep HubSpot Marketing Hub integrated with Salesforce.
I recommend you go apply for HubSpot for Startups. In the process of applying, you’ll create a free HubSpot account and can start to use it for your business.
If you have any question, please feel free to email me at andrew [at] align.ly.