Sometimes, you have to cross boundaries. When Digital 22 were asked by HubSpot to write a review of their sales tool in comparison to other platforms, we got ready to cross over to the Other Side. The Dark Side (to a marketer like me). The Sales Side of HubSpot.
HubSpot are the leading inbound marketing voice and platform in the world. Established around a decade ago, HubSpot offer the most comprehensive and all-inclusive inbound marketing platform on the market. They also have an equally expansive CRM and sales tool.
SugarCRM is one of the world’s leading Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools. It’s also an open-source platform and was one of the industry’s leading innovators in the noughties.
Both platforms are used all over the world and have their own particular strengths and weaknesses. Some of which are explored in this post.
HubSpot CRM is a free to use sales CRM tool and there’s no need to pay for extra services if collating sales data is all you need it for, the marketing suite is an extra cost but to compare like for like with SugarCRM we won’t be going into the marketing side of things.
SugarCRM doesn’t offer a free service, but does have competitive pricing rates with their entry level membership. Professional Level start at $40/month. Though, you need a minimum of 10 users, so this equates to a starting price of $4,800/year - quite a sizable difference.
Therefore HubSpot CRM is leading on the pricing front. Let’s see what else we can compare them on to find the best CRM system.
Obviously, my Digital 22 account is already set up on the HubSpot CRM, seeing as we're a Platinum Partner, so I had to start from scratch and use another email address.
I started the clock when I Googled, “HubSpot CRM” and in just two minutes (two minutes and eighteen seconds, to be precise), I was registered, my account was authorised and I was installing my HubSpot tracking code onto my website.
Everything then follows a clear step-by-step process for setting up lead capture forms, importing your database and setting up your sales team. I reckon you could be doing your first outreach through the platform within 15 minutes.
You can’t help but set everything up in the correct and logical order. Which I can imagine will be great for those small to medium businesses where the MD, or another Manager, is effectively the sales department in addition to their other roles and responsibilities.
SugarCRM fans say that the setup is quick and easy on that platform too, providing there are no technical hiccups. Which leads us onto some potential sticking points that I’ve seen regarding SugarCRM.
There are a number of reviews (linked below) which highlight how SugarCRM’s interface is clunky and often unresponsive. There are complaints that features drop off completely and their support team needs to be contacted frequently (another comparative which is addressed in the final section of this post).
Part of this may be down to the fact that SugarCRM is open-source. It’s aimed at businesses with the know-how and skillset to correct things like this, because the adaptability and customisation of SugarCRM is definitely a plus - providing you have the in-house developers.
Speaking of which, there’s also feedback that HTML templates and coding doesn’t always transfer across to the CRM cleanly and needs to be tidied up post-import. Nothing more than a bug-bear if you have your own developers, but a real sticking point if this service is outsourced.
It means SugarCRM is far from automated, just like it reportedly is on the front end too. Sales managers have commented that the email campaign tool can be tricky to use and still relies on a decent amount of manual input.
Moving onto HubSpot CRM, and speaking from experience, you can only send pain emails to contacts (on a one by one basis) directly inside the CRM. For 99% of sales use this is adequate and in fact, easy to use.
Another potential issue with the HubSpot CRM is the fact that the deals dashboard is geared for cross company use. That is to say, users can’t personalise this to themselves, the nearest equivalent is to filter deals and contacts by assigned user. And there are lots of workarounds like this in HubSpot CRM (if you don’t have the marketing suite or reports add on).
Customisable dashboards is something which users of SugarCRM seem to rate highly. As they do the campaign and report setup wizards. These features regularly get mentioned in user reviews, alongside the ability to link-up with several email providers.
HubSpot CRM blows this integration out of the water, however, if you use HubSpot Marketing given that it seamlessly integrates and Contact Profiles automatically update in light of user behaviour outside of sales.
As quickly alluded to earlier, the HubSpot Marketing is an all encompassing tool. It allows you to publish all the forms of content you need to attract leads and all the data will feed into your CRM directly and seamlessly.
It will also work backwards and give you the user’s history before they filled in a form and became a lead. Right down to which Tweet first piqued their interest in your brand.
And speaking of forms, the personalisation tools in these (and everywhere else) means that you can segment your contacts deeper on HubSpot and with less effort.
Both platforms boast over 700 integrations with other tools so that you can continue using the platforms you’re already familiar with. Pretty much everything is covered apart from. currently, both platforms cannot integrate with SAP and Oracle, whereas SugarCRM doesn’t integrate with Netsuite either.
In terms of features, both options include all the wealth features your sales personnel are likely to need. Lead scoring and segmentation, SMS marketing, predictive analytics, split testing, web activity tracking… everything you’d want as a minimum is in there.
Hopefully, you won’t just take my word for it, but you will be interested in seeing what users of both platforms have to say about them.
Finances Online gave HubSpot their Expert’s Choice Award for 2017 when comparing the different online sales tools which are out there on the market. The HubSpot CRM has earned a score of 9.7/10 on this trusted site with users being 99% satisfied.
For comparison’s sake, SugarCRM lags behind with a score of only 8.9/10, which is still good, but not as good as HubSpot. Strengths of the former on this review site are its open-source nature making it great for capable, larger businesses.
Marketing Automation Insider, a website which knows a thing or three about sales automation, has awarded HubSpot 4 stars out of 5. They give SugarCRM 3.5 stars out of 5 which, again, is a little behind the HubSpot tool. G2 Crowd has a wider score difference, with their user reviews and scoring giving HubSpot a seriously impressive 4.5 out of 5 and SugarCRM a more lowly 3.5 out of 5 overall.
Another popular review site, Capterra, has collated hundreds of reviews for each tool and given HubSpot CRM 4.5 stars out of 5 and SugarCRM is slightly lower at 4 stars out of 5.
Trust Radius, the reputed business tech review community and website (check their credentials here), gives the most telling results. SugarCRM has earned a score of 6 out of 10 from the Trust Radius bods and community, whilst HubSpot scores a whacking 8 out of 10.
So, it’s pretty close in lots of aspects, with the exception of price being a huge differentiator. Which tool is right for you, putting price to one side, may depend on what your company’s coding abilities are or whether you want use HubSpot’s in depth segmentation and tracking tools.
Finally, another key differentiator, mentioned briefly earlier in the post, is Customer Support and how much HubSpot wants to help their clients (you).
The SugarCRM support team’s response time for Professional Users is an average of four hours and this is only improved if you pay for higher priced subscriptions.
Contrast this to HubSpot who have a “Call Me Back” feature where their dedicated response team is waiting to read your help ticket and phone your office in less than 5 minutes. Whilst they probably, understandably, don’t commit to this timeframe as a binding service - I’m yet to never hear back from a living and breathing HubSpot employee within a few minutes of raising an issue.
Whenever the issue has been more complex (this is beyond rare - once in twelve months), the helpful member of the support team has stayed with us to see the resolution through. This means no explaining the issue to new HubSpot employees every time you chase it up.
The reason I mention this is because it typifies the whole experience of using HubSpot.
HubSpot exists in order to help you achieve your goals. This is done through far-reaching data tracking and easy presentation, smooth UX, a wealth of training videos and downloadable guides, and industry recognised courses and certifications. HubSpot wants to make your life at work easier and more successful.
And the HubSpot CRM in particular is no different.
If you are still in the process of comparing a few different CRM providers check out HubSpot’s CRM evaluation guide or get in contact with Digital 22 for help with HubSpot CRM and Marketing implementation.
Using the right CRM goes a long way to improvin your sales process. Make sure you have the best marketing strategy in place too, so that your sales CRM has plenty of leads coming in to populate it.
Inbound marketing provides the most cost effective way of producing high quality leads over the longest amount of time. If you want to get started, or want to make sure you're using the right templates and tools in existing campaign efforts, take a look at this free inbound marketing starter kit.