HubSpot vs Salesforce: CRM price and features comparison 2022

Salesforce costs £20 per month, while HubSpot users start completely free. We analyse the pros, cons, and hidden fees of both to see which is best for your small business.

Our experts

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HubSpot is Startups’ preferred CRM option for SMEs over Salesforce, as the former offers similar usability for zero cost. However, larger teams with more complex sales needs will find Salesforce more beneficial.

According to our expert assessment, HubSpot scores 4.2 out of 5 across various categories including pricing, customisation, and functionality. Salesforce achieves 3.8 out of 5 in comparison.

0 out of 0
Best for:
Price per month (billed annually):
Features:

Salesforce CRM

HubSpot

Scaling businesses

Marketing tools

£20 per user

£38 (flat rate)

  • Automatic data capture
  • Mobile access and administration
  • Salesforce Inbox
  • 10 user limit
  • 2,000 emails per month
  • 5 active contact lists
  • Up to 3 dashboards permitted
  • Chatbots

HubSpot and Salesforce are two very popular CRM tools. Still, their target audiences are almost poles apart, due to each platform’s different specialities.

Our team knows that finding the right CRM brand for your organisation means researching one of the most competitive industries in the world. For small business owners, who are often pressed for time, this can be a difficult and frustrating task.

That's where we come in – we’ve carried out in-depth research into both platforms over the past half decade. Below, you’ll find everything we’ve learnt in our expert guide to HubSpot vs Salesforce for small business.

For speedier advice on which platform you should purchase, we’ve also designed a specialist online comparison tool. It gives you free quotes from the top CRM providers in the UK, tailored to your specific needs.

Salesforce vs HubSpot: how did we find the best?

The need for CRM software has skyrocketed post-COVID. Working remotely has completely changed the way companies interact with customers. According to Fortune Business Insights, CRM will be worth almost £100bn globally by 2028.

As a result, our most recent round of research reveals a market that is growing faster than ever before – and this gives small business owners a confusing amount of choice.

Luckily, we’re here to help. Since 2017, our experts (alongside a specialist independent researcher) have been working on a rigorous and up-to-date list of the top CRM brands for UK SMEs.

Our most recent round of intensive research took place over a two-month period. We analysed 11 competitors, judging them on specific categories like usability, customisation, and customer service.

Below, we’ll bring you our results for a detailed HubSpot vs Salesforce comparison. But remember – there are plenty more CRM fish in the sea. If you want a wider range of options to choose from, get quotes from the top providers on the market.

Salesforce vs HubSpot: key differences

4.2 out of 5
  • Usability
    4
  • Customisation
    1.5
  • Functionality
    3.5
  • Pricing
    5
  • Help and Support
    1
3.8 out of 5
  • Usability
    4
  • Customisation
    3.4
  • Functionality
    3.4
  • Pricing
    2.5
  • Help and Support
    1.5

Here’s a brief overview of how these two industry giants differ:

  • Salesforce is more expensive than HubSpot, which boasts a generous free plan
  • Salesforce is good for large or growing organisations, whereas HubSpot is more suitable for startups
  • Salesforce has better customisation tools than HubSpot
  • HubSpot is better-equipped for marketing and outreach than Salesforce

Salesforce vs HubSpot: key similarities

Now that’s covered – where do Salesforce and HubSpot perform similarly?

  • Both platforms have a variety of CRM products for sales, services, and marketing
  • Neither Salesforce nor HubSpot performs well for help and support tools
  • HubSpot and Salesforce have different feature focuses, but similar functionality overall

Salesforce vs HubSpot: Pricing

We know that cost is a big concern for small business owners. You might be looking at the perfect CRM product, but if it’s out of budget, it’s a definite no. That’s why the Startups team has designed a simple CRM comparison tool to find you the best quotes from the top providers.

Both HubSpot and Salesforce suffer from complicated product lists. There are lots of different CRM ‘editions’ to choose from – all of which have different costs attached depending on your size and billing cycle.

Still, in terms of actual expense, Salesforce and HubSpot CRM stand at either end of the spectrum.

Salesforce’s extensive feature list and impressive customisation tools are balanced by a £20 per month price tag, whereas HubSpot is famously affordable and well known for its freemium plan. In fact, it’s our top-rated free CRM for small businesses.

HubSpot pricing

HubSpot email editor

HubSpot email editor

There are three HubSpot CRM packages available: Sales, Marketing, and Services.

0 out of 0
Price per month (billed annually)
Users

HubSpot Marketing Hub

HubSpot Sales Hub

HubSpot Service Hub

£38 (flat rate)

£38 (flat rate)

£38 (flat rate)

Unlimited

Two free users

Two free users

We gave HubSpot 10/10 for pricing, largely due to its generous free plan. Startups’ expert researchers think it’s a great way to trial CRM software free of charge, giving excellent value for money.

HubSpot’s paid-for plans are all priced consistently. Whether you’re buying HubSpot Marketing, Sales, or Service, you’ll pay £28 upfront per month for the Starter plan.

The next tier up for each plan will be its HubSpot Professional tier. The bad news is that HubSpot is not a very scalable option for long-term growth.

With HubSpot Professional, you’ll pay at least £250 extra per user, per month – a considerable and, for most SMEs, unaffordable jump. It’s also not really necessary, as the freemium and Starter plans are outstanding to begin with.

0 out of 0
Price per month (billed annually)
Price per month (billed monthly)
Users

HubSpot Free

HubSpot Marketing Hub

HubSpot Sales Hub

HubSpot Service Hub

£0

£38 (flat rate)

£38 (flat rate)

£38 (flat rate)

£0

£42 (flat rate)

£42 (flat rate)

£42 (flat rate)

Unlimited

Unlimited

Two free users

Two free users

Salesforce pricing

Salesforce dashboard

Salesforce dashboard

Salesforce boasts a wide range of CRM products. The main four to be aware of for CRM are:

  • Salesforce Pardot (Marketing)
  • Salesforce Sales Cloud (Sales)
  • Salesforce Service Desk (Helpdesk)
  • Salesforce Essentials (condensed version of all of the above)

Prices are kept fairly consistent across each package. We recommend the two lowest (and most small business-friendly) tiers, Essentials and Professional.

0 out of 0
Price per month (billed annually)
Price per month (billed monthly)
Users

Salesforce Essential

Salesforce Professional

Salesforce Enterprise

Salesforce Unlimited

£20

£60

£120

£240

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Up to 10

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

As you can see from the above table, Essentials costs £20 per month, per user, while Professional costs £60 per month, per user.

Clearly, these are both very expensive price tags for SMEs. Because of this, we awarded Salesforce a full five marks less than HubSpot, with an overall score of just 5 out of 10 for value for money.

Best value: HubSpot

  • HubSpot has a free plan, whereas Salesforce only offers a 14-day trial
  • On average, HubSpot costs £30 less than Salesforce per user, per month
  • Despite this, HubSpot has 22 features in total, which is one more than Salesforce

Typically, startup founders begin their entrepreneurial journey with very little spare cash, so pricing is an immediate concern when purchasing new software.

Based on the results of our thorough analysis, we think HubSpot leads in value for money – particularly for newly established businesses.

HubSpot is very generous in this regard – it allows budget-conscious businesses to invest in a high-functioning CRM platform while costing, on average, £30 less than Salesforce per user, per month.

And let's not forget HubSpot's famous free plan, which is the go-to for most startups and can rival even the more extravagantly priced systems.

Salesforce vs HubSpot: Usability

  • Many of Salesforce’s features are preset, which can make them inflexible
  • Importing data is easier with Salesforce than with HubSpot
  • HubSpot’s tidy user interface makes for an attractive contact database

Usability can be a big barrier to maximising your performance. Overly complicated systems can slow down setup time and reduce productivity.

Thankfully, HubSpot and Salesforce both earned identical scores of 4.8 out of 5 in this area, due to their similarly smart interfaces and user-inspired designs.

Salesforce customer card

Salesforce customer card

To reach these results, we asked our testers to carry out basic CRM tasks – take a look at how well each of our top CRM platforms for small businesses responded.

Our testers reported that HubSpot has a quick and easy setup process that’s guided by helpful support boxes. In comparison, Salesforce has a slightly clunkier interface that makes onboarding difficult. However, once you’re set up, it proves intuitive to use.

HubSpot contact list

HubSpot contact list

Easiest to use: draw

Salesforce vs HubSpot: Customisation

  • We gave Salesforce 3.3 out of 5, and HubSpot 2 out of 5 for customisation
  • Unlike Salesforce, most of HubSpot’s free features are branded

Every business has a unique sales strategy. Rather than spending months overhauling yours, it makes sense to find a CRM that can work with your plans.

Pretty much every one of Salesforce’s tools is customisable. This is particularly true for reporting – you can use number and speedometer widgets or select chart options such as donut, funnel, line, bar, or dot charts. You can also build a visual sales pipeline using Salesforce's many dashboard features.

Sales pipeline

Salesforce sales dashboard

Because HubSpot is a less-powerful system than Salesforce, you’re more limited when it comes to customisation.

While Salesforce comes preloaded with lots of different options for displaying data, you’ll need to use workarounds to design your own version of these for HubSpot – which will likely require a lot of IT help.

Best for customisation: Salesforce

Salesforce vs HubSpot: Functionality

  • Salesforce has more features than HubSpot, although many are unnecessary
  • We gave Salesforce 3.9 out of 5 for this category, while HubSpot got 3.5
  • HubSpot performs better for marketing – a big small business priority

Salesforce is undoubtedly a more powerful platform than HubSpot, boasting a much more sophisticated set of features and data storage capabilities.

Sadly, with great power comes poor practicality.

On closer inspection, many of Salesforce’s features will be superfluous for small businesses, as they’re better suited for large teams with more than 10 employees.

And surprisingly, important marketing features for startups – like webforms and an email design editor – are missing. Meanwhile, HubSpot boasts all of the above.

Liesa Stecher is Chief Marketing Officer at Addition, an accounting software company. Stecher told us: “HubSpot has one of the best free content libraries out there when it comes to digital marketing, SEO and automation.”

It’s worth stating that both platforms are excellent for communication. HubSpot provides a surprisingly advanced chatbot feature, while Salesforce offers a shared team inbox and internal messaging feature.

Best for functionality: HubSpot

Salesforce vs HubSpot: Help and support

  • Neither HubSpot Free nor Salesforce Essentials offer onboarding support
  • Salesforce provides email support, while HubSpot does not
  • We gave Salesforce 3 out of 10 for this category, while HubSpot got 2 out of 10

We’d prefer to end on a high note. Unfortunately, support tools is where the Salesforce vs HubSpot competition ends, with both platforms dramatically underperforming.

The two platforms are both resource-light, with only a knowledge base and community forum for users to try their luck on should they encounter a problem.

In the end, it’s Salesforce that comes out on top. As we’ve mentioned, HubSpot requires a few more workarounds for some functions, and without the help of a service desk, these issues are going to be much more difficult for small businesses to overcome.

One Salesforce user left this review on Trustpilot: “Salesforce support is not great. As a user, I will raise a case to be troubleshooted, but they don’t seem to assign it to the right channel. I am not happy with the customer service provided.”

Best for help and support: Salesforce

Salesforce and HubSpot alternatives

We think SMEs deserve a proper understanding of the CRM market before deciding on a software option. Because of this, we’ve designed a specialist online CRM comparison tool, to help you find the provider that best fits your unique business strategy.

That’s also why, during our recent CRM research round, we didn’t just compare HubSpot to Salesforce – we examined 11 CRM software solutions in total, to decide upon a fair and inclusive recommendation of the top small business options available.

0 out of 0
Price per month (billed annually):
Free trial?

Salesforce CRM

HubSpot

Zoho CRM

Bigin

£20 per user

£38 (flat rate)

Free plan, or £12 per user

£12 per user

£5 per user

According to the research, Monday.com is our top overall software solution for SMEs. It received consistently high scores across the board for customisation, functionality, and usability – while still proving more affordable than Salesforce.

Our second-favourite option is Freshsales, thanks to its superb usability.

Despite these results, HubSpot is number one for pricing – which is arguably the top priority for most small business owners.

Final verdict

Salesforce is a rare product in that it has excellent usability and is a very sophisticated software.

This makes it a good choice for growing small businesses. The biggest fans of the platform will be those that might not have a huge IT department, but still want a platform that can cope with a large volume of sales or customer enquiries.

However, HubSpot is the conclusive winner in the Salesforce vs HubSpot small business battle. Its features are far more oriented towards brand-building and marketing, which is what most small business owners need to focus on during early-stage growth.

Budget is also a big concern for small business owners, and Salesforce’s expensive £20 per user price tag is just no match for HubSpot’s freemium plan. 

This recommendation is the result of Startups’ two decades of experience working with small business CRM products. Our intensive research is updated regularly to ensure that we are being properly reflective of the fast-growing CRM industry.

Don’t forget that you can use our online comparison tool for a more detailed overview of the top CRM providers on the market. Just tell us a bit about your business, and we’ll give you quotes that match your specific requirements.

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HubSpot vs Salesforce: FAQs
  • Which is better: HubSpot or Salesforce?
    Overall, we think HubSpot is the better CRM for small businesses over Salesforce. It has similar functionality, is much better for marketing, and also costs much less.
  • Is HubSpot easier to use than Salesforce?
    Our testers gave HubSpot and Salesforce the same usability score of 7.8 out of 10. This is because they are both fairly easy-to-use platforms, and possess clean, smart interfaces.
  • What are the limitations of HubSpot Free?
    One of the biggest limitations of HubSpot Free is its poor customisation – an area where Salesforce performs well.
  • How many users can I have on HubSpot Free?
    HubSpot Free rivals many paid-for CRM platforms with its allowances, permitting an unlimited number of users per account.

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Helena Young
Helena Young Senior Writer

Helena "Len" Young is from Yorkshire and joined Startups in 2021 from a background in B2B communications. She has also previously written for a popular fintech startup.

Included in her topics of interest and expertise are tax legislation, the levelling up agenda, and organisational software including CRM and project management systems. As well as this, she is a big fan of the films of Peter Jackson.

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