HubSpot is one of the leading inbound marketing, sales, and customer service software providers. Founded in 2006, HubSpot now serves over 120,000 customers in over 120 countries. But in the fast-paced CRM and marketing automation landscape, HubSpot faces stiff competition from other players.
This in-depth HubSpot competitive analysis blog will look at over 50 key questions to analyze HubSpot’s positioning and how it stacks up against alternatives.
Table of Contents
HubSpot’s Target Customers and Market Positioning
What are HubSpot’s target customer segments?
HubSpot mainly targets small and medium businesses across a range of industries. Specifically, ideal customers are companies with between 2-2,000 employees representing fast-growing startups and SMBs. HubSpot products are designed and priced for small teams with growing sales and marketing needs.
HubSpot also targets enterprise customers via HubSpot Enterprise. This targets companies with over 2,000 employees and advanced needs. HubSpot Enterprise provides larger businesses with customized solutions, premium services and dedicated support.
What market segments and parts of the sales process does HubSpot focus on?
HubSpot initially focused heavily on the inbound marketing side, providing tools for blogging, SEO, social media marketing and email marketing.
Over time, HubSpot expanded into more aspects of the sales funnel. HubSpot now provides software for the marketing, sales and customer service stages. For marketing, HubSpot covers website optimization, analytics, ads and campaigns. For sales, it covers CRM, email tracking and sales enablement. And for service, tools for ticketing, chatbots and knowledge bases.
So while inbound marketing remains a key focus, HubSpot now aims to be an end-to-end CRM and customer experience platform. This expanded scope opens it up to more competition.
How does HubSpot position its brand?
HubSpot positions itself as the pioneer of inbound marketing and sales. It aims to be seen as the leader in helping grow customer relationships leveraging inbound principles.
Unlike some competitors, HubSpot also focuses heavily on education. This includes its blog, HubSpot Academy training products, and free marketing and sales resources.
Overall, HubSpot cultivates a “lovable” brand image. It uses humor and personality in its content and messaging to humanize its brand.
Competitive Landscape and Market Share
Who are HubSpot’s main competitors?
HubSpot competes with both large enterprise software vendors and niche players:
- CRM/CX giants: Salesforce, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP
- Marketing automation: Adobe, Marketo
- All-in-one SMB platforms: Zoho, Freshworks
- Sales-centric: Salesforce IQ, Pipedrive
- Service-centric: Zendesk, Freshdesk
- Inbound-focused: ActiveCampaign
HubSpot competes across the entire sales, marketing and services cycle, so its competitors vary depending on the product area. But its core competitors are broad platforms like Salesforce, Adobe and Zoho.
What is HubSpot’s market share in its categories?
As a private company, HubSpot does not disclose detailed financials or market share data. But analysts estimate that in marketing automation, HubSpot has around 13.5% market share.
HubSpot is estimated to be the third largest marketing automation vendor behind Adobe and Salesforce. In CRM, HubSpot has under 5% market share compared to giants like Salesforce, SAP and Oracle who each have 15-20%.
So while a recognized leader in inbound marketing and sales, overall HubSpot has relatively modest market share compared to massive incumbents. But among SMB-focused platforms, it is considered one of the leaders.
How fast is HubSpot growing compared to competitors?
Despite its modest market share, HubSpot is growing rapidly. During Q2 2022, HubSpot reported 31% year-over-year revenue growth. Its closest competitors Salesforce and Adobe grew 22% and 14% respectively in the same quarter.
HubSpot’s average subscription revenue growth over the past four quarters was 46%. So it is outpacing competitors in terms of new customer acquisition and land & expand growth.
This demonstrates that while incumbents like Salesforce and Adobe are far larger, HubSpot is positioning itself as a faster-growing disruptor in the space.
HubSpot’s Growth Strategies and Positioning
What is HubSpot’s pricing model and how does it compare?
HubSpot uses a tiered subscription model based on number of users and features. Its starter Marketing Hub plan is $50/month, while the full Marketing Hub is $800/month. Sales Hub starts at $50/month, with the full suite at $600/month. Service Hub pricing ranges from $50-$400/month.
Compared to players like Salesforce, HubSpot is generally more affordable for SMBs. HubSpot also offers free CRM for very small businesses. But enterprise players usually provide greater flexibility in customized pricing.
How does HubSpot attract customers away from competitors?
HubSpot uses several strategies to attract and convert customers:
- Free versions & trials – Provide freemium plans to hook customers
- Inbound marketing – Inbound lead generation to reach buyers
- Educational content – Content marketing and free training resources
- Superior UX – Invest in making the product intuitive and easy to use
- Integrations – Integrate with popular apps to provide an ecosystem
- Performance focus – Position itself as driving ROI and growth
This inbound, educational positioning allows HubSpot to stand out from competitors.
What partnerships and integrations does HubSpot leverage?
HubSpot connects with over 300 apps via its App Marketplace. These integrations allow customers to combine HubSpot with other tools they use.
Some key integrations are:
- CRM: Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics
- Email marketing: Mailchimp
- Analytics: Google Analytics, Mixpanel
- Payments: Stripe, PayPal
- Communication: Slack, Gmail
Leveraging an open ecosystem helps HubSpot plug into existing technology stacks. This makes adoption easier and expands use cases.
How does HubSpot build and maintain switching costs?
Key switching costs HubSpot creates include:
- Data integration – Bidirectional sync makes moving data difficult
- Campaign history & performance – Hard to move years of campaign history
- Team knowledge – Time required to retrain team on new platform
- Integrations – Integrations may need to be rebuilt
- Contracts – Longer contracts delay ability to switch
- Bundles – Bundled hubs create interdependency
To counter this, HubSpot must demonstrate enough ongoing value to prevent churn.
HubSpot Product and Technology Strategy
What is HubSpot’s product strategy?
HubSpot originally focused on inbound marketing software. But it has expanded into an all-in-one platform covering marketing, sales and service.
Rather than specializing, HubSpot aims to provide an integrated solution covering the entire customer lifecycle. This follows the platform model pioneered by companies like Salesforce.
HubSpot’s expanded platform helps land larger customers and enables land & expand growth. It also makes it stickier compared to point solutions.
How does HubSpot expand within accounts?
HubSpot leverages several strategies to expand usage and spending within accounts:
- Bundled pricing – Offer discounts for multiple hubs
- Cross-sell – Upsell additional hubs after initial purchase
- Premium tiers – Upgrade to premium features and support
- Employees – Expand via adding more employee seats
- Add-ons – Sell additional services like email and chat
Expanding within an account is more profitable than acquiring new customers. So HubSpot actively nurtures this land & expand model.
How does HubSpot balance standardization vs customization?
As an SMB platform, HubSpot focuses more on providing standardized out-of-the-box software compared to enterprise players. This enables faster time to value.
But HubSpot does allow for some customization and configurations based on company size and needs:
- Workflows – Build custom workflows and automation
- Forms & popups – Customize site forms, chat widgets etc.
- Dashboards – Arrange and customize analytics dashboards
- Integrations – Connect other apps via API and webhooks
- Services – Get custom onboarding, training and premium support
For larger accounts, HubSpot Enterprise provides tailored solutions and premium professional services.
How does HubSpot use AI and machine learning capabilities?
HubSpot is actively incorporating AI and machine learning across its platform:
- Chatbots – Bot builder using NLP for conversational experiences
- Contact insights – Segmentation powered by machine learning
- Ad targeting – Lookalike targeting and optimization powered by AI
- Content strategy – Tools to generate blog topics and headlines with AI
- Lead scoring – Predictive lead scoring based on machine learning
- Email deliverability – Optimize deliverability with AI-based monitoring and analysis
Leveraging AI helps HubSpot provide more intelligent personalization, automation and insights. This is a key battleground against competitors.
What technology stack and architectures does HubSpot leverage?
While HubSpot does not disclose full tech details, its key stack includes:
- Frontend – React and Redux framework
- Backend – Java and Spring Framework
- Data – Kafka, PostgreSQL, Redis
- Infrastructure – AWS services
- Mobile – iOS, Android, React Native
- AI/ML – TensorFlow, Keras, PyTorch
HubSpot leverages cloud platforms like AWS rather than running its own data centers. It also invests heavily in core technologies like React and AI frameworks.
HubSpot Marketing, Sales and Support Functionality
What marketing capabilities does HubSpot provide?
HubSpot’s Marketing Hub features a wide set of capabilities:
- SEO – Site search optimization, metadata management
- Content – Blog, templates, collaboration tools
- Social media – Social monitoring, scheduling and analytics
- Ads – Native ads platform with targeting
- Email – Drag-and-drop emails, automation, deliverability
- Personalization – Dynamic content, multivariate testing
- Workflows – Visual campaign and process workflows
- Dashboards – Marketing analytics and custom reporting
These cover the core inbound channels and funnel. HubSpot also provides sales enablement tools for campaigns.
What sales capabilities does HubSpot offer?
Key features of HubSpot’s Sales Hub include:
- CRM – Contact management, pipelines, sales databases
- Email – Email tracking, templates, sequences, Gmail integration
- Conversations – Email, calls and meeting tracking
- Deals – Pipeline view, Kanban boards, sales stages
- Engagement – Email automation, chat, chatbots, sequences
- Analytics – Conversion, pipeline, forecasting reports
- Integrations – Call, email, calendar apps; Slack, Gsuite
This covers both CRM and broader sales enablement functionality in one platform.
How does HubSpot support customer service needs?
HubSpot Service Hub provides:
- Tickets – Unified inbox, ticket management, SLAs
- Knowledge base – Public and internal knowledge bases
- Live chat – Real-time chat widgets
- Bots – Chatbot builder with NLP
- Email – Shared team inboxes, macros, automation
- Analytics – Service reports, satisfaction, resolved times
- Feedback – Surveys, NPS, customer feedback collection
So Service Hub covers ticketing, bots, and knowledge management functionality needed for customer service.
How does HubSpot functionality compare to competitors?
Compared to CRM-focused platforms like Salesforce, HubSpot provides more native marketing capabilities. But Salesforce offers far more enterprise-scale customization.
Against marketing-centric competitors like Adobe, HubSpot has more integrated sales and service features. Though again, its marketing feature set is less vast than niche tools.
Overall, HubSpot strikes a balance as an integrated suite. But it does not always match the depth of purpose-built point solutions.
HubSpot Pricing and Licensing Models
How does HubSpot’s pricing compare to other marketing automation platforms?
HubSpot’s pricing starts at $50/month for basic CRM and goes up to $3200/month for the full Marketing Hub Enterprise suite. This is affordable compared to Marketo, whose plans start at $1200/month and go into the tens of thousands. But Adobe Campaign plans start at $250/month, so HubSpot is more expensive for basic email marketing capabilities.
What billing models does HubSpot offer?
HubSpot sells only via annual subscriptions, billed monthly or yearly. There are no perpetual license options. This differs from Adobe Campaign, which offers both subscription and perpetual licensing. Subscription-only models make it harder to avoid recurring SaaS payments.
How transparent is HubSpot’s pricing?
HubSpot publishes its pricing online and offers free demos and trials. This pricing transparency makes it easy to plan budgets. But Salesforce Einstein requires contacting sales to get pricing details. Lack of public pricing enables more negotiation but less predictability.
What additional charges are there beyond basic subscriptions?
Extra fees can include professional services, additional emails and storage, and premium 24/7 support. But there are no hidden Gotchas around API requests, data costs, or complex usage definitions. Simplicity makes TCO more predictable.
Does HubSpot offer discounts or customized enterprise pricing?
HubSpot offers volume discounts for multiple hubs and users. But discounts max out at 25%, less negotiable than Salesforce custom enterprise pricing. HubSpot also lacks account-based pricing factoring industry, lifetime value, and committed volumes.
HubSpot Mobile Apps and Portals
What mobile capabilities does HubSpot offer?
HubSpot provides native iOS and Android apps for HubSpot CRM. These mobile CRM apps allow sales teams to:
- Access contacts, accounts, deals on the go
- Update records and activity logs
- Sync data between desktop apps
- Receive notifications and updates
- View key reports and dashboards
- Capture information via phone camera
- Conduct sales calls and meetings
This gives salespeople core CRM functionality on mobile devices. But marketing features have more limited mobile access.
What sales portals does HubSpot provide?
Portal tools for sales teams include:
- Deal portal – Allows account managers to monitor deal progress
- Partner portal – Enables partners to view reports and analytics
- Customer portal – Lets customers access support tickets and knowledge base
These portals increase visibility, collaboration and self-service for different stakeholders.
How does HubSpot mobile and portal experience compare?
HubSpot provides strong mobile access for sales via dedicated iOS and Android apps. But its marketing features have more fragmented mobile access.
In terms of portals, HubSpot has basic portals for customers, partners and sales. But competitor portals from Salesforce, Oracle and SAP provide far more customization and depth. Their enterprise focus lends itself to building robust portals.
So HubSpot mobile has room for improvement beyond sales. And its broader portals remain a work in progress compared to rivals.
HubSpot Ecosystem and Community
What is HubSpot’s app ecosystem like?
HubSpot has over 300 integrations in its app marketplace. These span popular SaaS apps, data platforms, payment tools and more.
However, HubSpot’s app ecosystem is not as vast as Salesforce and Zoho. These competitors have thousands of listings and deeper marketplaces.
For SMB use cases, HubSpot offers decent breadth. But there are gaps in niche functionality that broader ecosystems fill better.
What developer community does HubSpot have?
Beyond integrations, HubSpot cultivates a developer community via:
- Developer portal – Documentation, APIs, SDKs for building on HubSpot
- Apps program – Resources to build apps for HubSpot App Marketplace
- HubSpot developer blog – Tips, tutorials, case studies, updates
- GitHub – Official GitHub account with code samples
- Conferences – Sessions and spaces for developers at HubSpot conferences
HubSpot provides adequate resources for developers. But again, competitors like Salesforce and Adobe have far larger and more vibrant developer ecosystems.
How does HubSpot use its customer community?
HubSpot leverages its customer base in several ways:
- Website case studies – Promote customers and their results
- Testimonials – Cultivate and showcase customer advocates
- Content contributions – Get customers to contribute blogs, videos
- Events – Showcase customers at conferences like INBOUND
- Product feedback – Engage customers in research panels and feedback
- Reviews – Encourage customers to leave positive reviews
This community helps drive content marketing, social proof and peer influence.
How strong is HubSpot’s community relative to competitors?
HubSpot has done well cultivating an engaged community relative to its size. Its inbound marketing focus lends itself to educating and leveraging customers.
But again, HubSpot cannot match the sheer scale of communities from the Salesforces and SAPs of the world. Their millions of passionate users dwarf HubSpot’s community.
For an SMB platform, however, HubSpot strikes a good balance of community engagement.
HubSpot Support, Services and Training
What support options does HubSpot provide?
HubSpot offers several tiers of customer support:
- Free – Email support, knowledge base access
- Basic – Email support, chat, knowledge base
- Professional – Priority email, chat, phone, 24/5 coverage
- Elite – Priority email, chat, phone, 24/7 coverage
- Premier – Assigned technical account manager
Higher tiers provide faster response times and expanded coverage for larger accounts.
What onboarding, training and services are offered?
Onboarding and education options include:
- SET program – Dedicated onboarding and launch planning
- Academy – Broad course library and certifications
- HubSpot User Groups – Local meetups and events
- Blog – Best practice content and strategy guides
- Consulting services – Strategy, implementation, optimization packages
- Inbound conference – Annual conference and workshops
HubSpot focuses heavily on training customers to maximize platform capabilities.
How does TCO compare to alternatives?
HubSpot offers strong onboarding and training bundled with subscriptions. Competitors often charge large sums for implementation and consulting.
But large enterprise systems often have lower incremental costs at massive scale. So HubSpot likely has higher TCO than Salesforce for huge 10,000+ seat deployments.
For SMBs though, HubSpot’s all-inclusive pricing and bundles model likely results in strong TCO value relative to piecing together solutions.
Where does HubSpot have room to improve on services?
While strong for SMBs, HubSpot still has gaps versus enterprise players:
- Less support tiers – Only four levels versus expansive options
- Limited SLAs – Guarantees focused on uptime rather than comprehensive coverage
- Fewer consultants – Smaller qualified partner network for implementation help
- International gaps – Support coverage weaker in EMEA/APAC regions
- Slower escalation – Slower responding and resolving urgent issues
There are inherent tradeoffs given HubSpot’s SMB focus. But more customization and premium services could help upmarket expansion.
HubSpot User Experience and Interface
How intuitive and easy-to-use are HubSpot’s interfaces?
Ease of use is one of HubSpot’s biggest differentiators. Its tools provide a more intuitive, user-friendly experience compared to complex enterprise platforms.
Key elements that enhance usability include:
- Intuitive dashboards – Key data visualizations rather than grids of numbers
- Minimal configuration – Enable key functions with minimal setup
- Guided workflows – Step-by-step workflows vs. complex programming
- Drag and drop editor – Visual editor for emails, landing pages, etc.
- Smart content – AI-generated content recommendations
- Mobile access – Key mobile capabilities for sales teams
- Unified platform – Consolidated hubs rather than siloed tools
However, HubSpot apps are not as visually polished as tools like Salesforce and Zoho. And its marketing tools still require technical expertise to master.
How customizable and flexible are HubSpot tools?
As discussed previously, HubSpot takes a middle ground on customization:
- It standardized more out-of-the-box compared to enterprise players with infinite customization.
- But it does offer pagination, APIs, and configurations for power users with advanced needs.
The result is a balance catering to usability for small teams but not fully flexibility for large complex organizations.
How does HubSpot improve and evolve its UX?
HubSpot takes several approaches to improving and iterating on UX:
- Voice of customer – Customer advisory boards, feedback surveys, interviews
- Analytics – Evaluate usage data, interactions, adoption, churn drivers
- Research – Conduct usability testing, eye-tracking studies, prototyping
- Iteration – Rapid weekly sprint cycles for fixes and improvements
- Feature alignment – Ensure UX aligns to customer mental models
Enabling easy onboarding and driving adoption are top priorities behind UX decisions.
Where does HubSpot have UX advantages/disadvantages?
HubSpot UX advantages include:
- Easier navigation and fewer complex menus
- More intuitive initial onboarding and setup
- Visual workflows and drag-and-drop versus programming
- Stronger mobile optimization, especially for sales
But disadvantages versus enterprise competitors include:
- Less polished and modern visual design
- Not as robust for data-heavy custom reporting
- Not built for hugely complex organizations
- Marketing tools require more technical specialization
So for simpler business processes, HubSpot UX leads. But for large complex use cases, competitors may still have UX edges.
Evaluating HubSpot for Adoption and Implementation
What methodology does HubSpot use for onboarding?
HubSpot employs the SET model for onboarding:
S – Setup – Technical setup and integration E – Enablement – Training across features T – Transfer – Transition to long-term utilization
Onboarding also uses the inbound methodology focusing on attracting and engaging users via education.
What training is recommended for new users?
HubSpot recommends new users start with:
- Academy courses – Relevant admin, sales, or marketing courses
- Blog content – Reviewing best practices content
- SET meetings – Checking in on progress during onboarding
- User groups – Attending local meetups and events
- Conference – Attending annual INBOUND conference
Combining formal structured learning with community engages users.
What team structure does HubSpot recommend?
Typical roles at SMBs using HubSpot include:
- Marketing operations lead
- Sales operations lead
- Service operations lead
- Content strategist/writers
- HubSpot administrator
- Other sales, service and marketing users
HubSpot aims for at least one dedicated HubSpot expert.
What ROI benchmarks are realistic?
SMB customers typically see:
- Sales ROI – 10-30% increase in qualified leads
- Marketing ROI – 20-40% increase in traffic and leads
- Service ROI – 40-60% faster ticket resolution times
- Employee ROI – 20-40% more productivity and adoption
But ROI varies widely based on industry, user skill, and integration with workflows.
What risks or disconnects often derail HubSpot success?
Common risks include:
- Lack of executive sponsorship
- No dedicated owner accountable for adoption
- Too fast a pace overwhelming users
- Not integrating and adopting fully into workflows
- Lack of post-onboarding optimization
- Unclear ROI metrics and targets
Mitigating these requires structured change management and adoption governance.