Zoho vs HubSpot: CRM showdown

More than 90 percent of companies with 10+ employees use CRM software (FitSmallBusiness). It’s easy to see why: The benefits of using a CRM in an era of endless touchpoints can save time and increase sales potential.

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With that in mind, you’ve decided it’s time to invest in a new CRM solution. Whether you plan to use it yourself or offer it to your clients (or both), you want to know you’re getting the best of the best.

You’ve done a bit of research, and now you’re wondering how some of them compare against each other. In the Zoho vs HubSpot showdown, which is better? Are either of them a good fit for your business?

Determine your needs first

Before diving into Zoho vs HubSpot and which is “better,” a word of advice: The best CRM is always the one that meets your needs. If you rely on email campaigns, for example, then you want a CRM that gives you plenty of email tools.

By contrast, if you rely heavily on sales intelligence in prospecting, then you want to make sure the CRM you choose has good sales intelligence tools.

We’ll look at what Zoho and HubSpot have to offer, but you can only determine whether either is a good fit if you know what you’re looking for.

Plenty of choices for CRM software

Zoho and HubSpot are two popular CRMs, but they’re not the only fish in the CRM pond. There are plenty of other solutions to help you with customer relationship management. If you’re not sure about Zoho or HubSpot, take a look at some of the other CRM solutions out there.

You have plenty of choices, no matter what your budget is. There are quite a few free options out there, each with unique offerings for sales teams. 

With that in mind, let’s check out how HubSpot and Zoho stack up against each other—and against other options.

Zoho CRM is versatile

Zoho is a recognizable name in business software. The company offers a comprehensive suite of products, including solutions for billing and more. The Zoho CRM is still its flagship, though.

Part of Zoho’s popularity rests on its free plan, which allows you to start off with a team of up to 10 users. It offers mobile app support, a Kanban view, and integrations like social media and email.

Zoho is also known for offering a fairly comprehensive set of tools in its CRM. Among its popular features are data analytics, lead capture, and task automation.

The pros of the Zoho CRM

Zoho offers a simple interface, which can feel a bit dated. The “no-frills” approach helps to keep the platform feeling manageable. Zoho offers quite a bit of customization, which might feel daunting otherwise.

Zoho’s offers several plan tiers. You can upgrade to the Professional plan for $14 per user per month (tech.co). Even the Enterprise and “Ultimate” tier pricing remain in reach for small businesses.

The downsides of Zoho

Zoho’s affordability comes at a price, though. The free version is more restricted than those offered by HubSpot and other CRM options. The free level is also marked by a lack of integrations and features.

The free plan doesn’t include task automation, for example. An even more glaring oversight is that you can’t use the social media integrations for which Zoho is known. You might also need to integrate with other Zoho products to get the most out of the CRM’s data analytics.

What’s more, Zoho has a steep learning curve, which makes it less than ideal for beginners. The sheer amount of customization needed to even get set up might turn off some new users. Couple that with limited customer support, and you may not ever be able to realize the full potential of this software.

HubSpot supports novice CRM users

If you’re talking about CRMs, HubSpot often comes up in the conversation. The platform offers a freemium model, which is still somewhat unique in this arena. The free version of the CRM lets you get started immediately, adding up to a million contacts. There’s no cap on the number of users.

The free version lets you set up one team and one sales pipeline. You also get a set number of minutes of calling per month per user. Further, you’ll get access to extras like the HubSpot Academy, which provides more support for those who are new to CRM platforms. Unfortunately, online support is all you’ll get with the free plan.

HubSpot is also scalable to some degree. You can “add-on” features and plans, although these come with a price tag.

Pros of using HubSpot

HubSpot offers a fairly workable CRM for free. It’s also relatively reliable, with regular updates. The interface is easier to learn than those of some other free CRMs.

HubSpot is sometimes recommended as a “starter CRM.” With a friendly interface and lots of online support, it is an easy platform to set up and start using. It also doesn’t ask for as much data entry to get started, which streamlines setup.

Limitations and high prices with HubSpot

Despite HubSpot working “pretty well” for being free, it does have limitations. The biggest issue is the lack of depth in the features offered at the free level.

Of course, that’s intentional. HubSpot makes money on the sale of add-ons and plans. The basic features of the free plan work well enough, but you’ll need to spend more if you need anything more robust.

The freemium model can also be expensive, depending on what you need. The Premium and Professional tiers are reasonable enough, starting at $50 per user per month. The Enterprise level, though, can run you up to $1,200 per user every month (EmailToolTester).

Did we mention that’s just for the Sales Hub? If you want to add the Marketing or Service Hubs to your plan, then you’re looking at even higher monthly costs per user. On top of that, you’ll have to buy onboarding for any of these plans. Given all that, it’s easy to see how HubSpot might not be the most affordable choice after all.

Finally, HubSpot’s hefty price tags might make it a poor choice for novices. While you can do a lot with the free plan, you may find you need to go deeper to get what you really need. In turn, you might decide to shift to another platform that offers you a lot more at a lower price point.

Who wins: Zoho vs HubSpot?

Like any software solution, both HubSpot and Zoho have their pros and cons. Like we said at the outset, which CRM is “best” depends on what you need.

For the budget-conscious business leader, HubSpot might seem like the right choice. The free-forever model sounds good, and most of the tools in the CRM work just fine.

If you need to go deeper though, then Zoho is a better fit. While the free plan doesn’t offer much, you can get a lot more out of Zoho for a lower price once you do start paying.

For CRM novices, though, Zoho may not be the right choice. With a steeper learning curve and far less support, your team could end up feeling more than a little lost.

For us, Zoho edges out HubSpot, owing to the affordability of its more in-depth tools.

Go beyond the box

Choosing a CRM doesn’t need to be about “Zoho vs HubSpot.” There are tons of CRM options out there. There’s one to fit every budget and every business. You don't have to choose Zoho or HubSpot if they're not meeting your needs.

In fact, feeling like you have to “settle” for a CRM is a sign you’re not getting what you need. Look at other options. There are other solutions that are just as good—and, in some cases, even better than Zoho and HubSpot.

If you’re looking for a free CRM, you might want to consider Vendasta’s sales CRM.

The sales CRM offers a host of features, including the powerful Snapshot Report. Sales teams that leverage insights from this sales intelligence tool boost their sales pipeline revenue by up to 18 times. They also create 2.8 times the number of opportunities.

The sales CRM is only one part of the comprehensive Vendasta platform. It integrates seamlessly with Marketing Automation, Task Management, and more. You also get access to the Vendasta Marketplace, with 250+ products ready to resell under your brand.

Get the best CRM for your needs

There’s no clear-cut winner in the Zoho vs HubSpot match-up, in part because they meet different business needs. After review, though, you might feel one or the other is a better choice for your business.

It doesn’t always have to be “Zoho vs HubSpot,” even if some business leaders swear by these platforms. If you’re not sure either of them fits your business, it might be time to take another CRM for a test drive. A CRM can supercharge sales growth, but only if it meets your needs.

Test out the Vendasta sales CRM for 14 days and get the insights your sales team needs to outperform the competition.

About the Author

Solange Messier is the Content Strategy Manager at Vendasta. Solange has spent the majority of her career in content marketing helping companies improve how they connect with their prospects and customers. Her diverse background includes magazine publishing, book publishing, marketing agencies, payment processing, and tech. When she's not working, Solange can be found spending time with her family, running, and volunteering.

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