CRM forms the foundation of an organization’s sales, marketing, and client management processes.
A lot of businesses spend a ridiculous amount of time tracking their customers and leads – compiling data points across managers, sales teams, and even finance teams. As a business continues to expand, it becomes crucial to have a strong foundation for managing customer relations.
A Gartner report highlights that the CRM market is growing at a rate of 16%, making it one of the fastest-growing markets for business-related software. Also, this level of growth indicates that these CRM solutions are positively contributing to businesses, and helping seal more deals at the end of the day.
Needless to say, your CRM is imperative to all the operations and successes, and choosing the best CRM to suit your business is critical. In addition, you would want to ensure that you get it right the first time to save you on unnecessary switching costs and retraining of your team at a later stage if you are forced to change your CRM platform.
To help you make an informed decision between the two popular CRM options – HubSpot and Zoho – let’s take a deep dive, comparing them side-by-side, and straightening out the ever-complicated strands between these powerful solutions.
If you are looking for a brief overview of all the features, here’s a comparison table highlighting the quick facts, CRM features, notable integrations, and the platform features.
|HubSpot CRM||Zoho CRM
|Starting Price||FREE Forever||$12.00/user/month|
|Pricing Model ||Free|
|Upto 3 users - Free
3+ users - $12.00/user/month
|Best For ||SMBs|
|Product Features ||Calendar/Reminder System|
|Training ||In Person|
While the table gives you a quick look at respective features, it’s essential to dive deeper and make the right fit. Taking some extra time now will save you hundreds of hours of migration and re-training if you decide to switch CRMs later on!
Table of Contents
What are HubSpot and Zoho CRM?
Both HubSpot and Zoho CRMs are designed to help companies track their customer relationships, nurture leads, and identify opportunities for seamless conversions.
HubSpot CRM is a cloud-based customer relationship management solution that serves as the underlying layer for the entire suite of HubSpot offerings. It allows businesses to manage and track their interactions with their prospects and customers at all touchpoints with the help of a single tool.
Similar to HubSpot, Zoho CRM is a cloud-based customer relationship management tool well suited to the needs of small and medium businesses. While Zoho does offer features identical to that of HubSpot, one major point of difference is that multiple apps are present in Zoho for different tasks as opposed to HubSpot, which has a single portal for all the features.
In addition to being accessible over the web, both HubSpot and Zoho CRM also have mobile apps available for iOS and Android. This allows users to access the features on the go. Their apps possess certain functionalities to promote ease of use – for instance, allowing the addition of contact by taking a photograph of a business card!
Comparison by Price
The significant point that differentiates HubSpot from Zoho CRM is, without a doubt, pricing.
|Number of Users||HubSpot CRM||Zoho CRM
|Free to use!||Free for up to 3 users. Then, pricing starts at $12/user/mo billed annually.
Unlike a lot of software solutions, where free refers to either a trial version, it places restrictions on the number of users or offers a bare-bones version of the product. HubSpot CRM is a free product that provides all you would want from a CRM solution and more. This includes support for unlimited users, 1 million contacts, and specific features of the 3 HubSpot hubs.
To truly harness HubSpot’s power, you would want to take one of the paid versions which give you features like social media management, revenue attribution, sales and marketing automation, Landing Pages, knowledge management, and much more. This depends on the tier you choose to go with (for a full list of features and comparison between the different tiers, visit https://www.hubspot.com/pricing/). In addition to the paid seats that you get as part of the subscription, you can still have an unlimited number of free users who will have access to HubSpot but with limited features.
As a free product, HubSpot CRM gives a glimpse of the overall functionality and serves as a stepping stone to the paid versions. The CRM offers many must-have features like conversational bots, forms, live chat, email marketing, contact management, list segmentation, ticket management, deal management, and others. Not bad considering it comes with a 100% free tag!
Zoho CRM is available for free; however, only for teams of up to three users. That means that any company with more users than that would have to pay a subscription fee of $10 per user per month. Also, unlike HubSpot, Zoho does not give you the option of having a combination of paid and free seats.
However, Zoho does bring with you a broad set of features that can help you manage your customers, email marketing campaigns, introduce process automation with the help of workflows, and integration with GSuite (no integration available for Office 365 in the free version).
While Zoho offers certain features in its free solution that HubSpot doesn’t, it also lacks on others. Based on features, it is definitely up to you to decide which features are more relevant and how much you are willing to pay for those features, especially with larger team sizes.
Takeaway: When it comes to pricing, your business might do ten-on-ten with the freemium, HubSpot CRM, if you have up to ten or twenty sales representatives. And even if your business expands with several or more representatives, you can choose the additional features in Hubspot’s Marketing Hub.
Comparison by Features
HubSpot and Zoho, both the CRMs vary widely on the basis of the features, and this makes the comparison a bit complicated to handle. For example, HubSpot CRM provides task management, whereas Zoho CRM does not, and Zoho CRM provides sales forecasting, whereas HubSpot CRM does not.
To make your entire selection process simple and less overwhelming. Let’s break down the features in a side-by-side comparison table.
|Features||HubSpot CRM||Zoho CRM
Contact website activity
|Tasks & activities||YES||YES|
|Gmail and Outlook integration||YES||YES|
HubSpot Connect integrations
|Zoho Finance Suite Integration|
(includes Zoho Books, Zoho Invoice and Zoho Subscriptions, Zoho Expense and Zoho Inventory)
Custom support form fields
All available ad types, $1k spend limit, Simple website audiences only.
|Conversational bots||Limited features||YES|
|Conversations inbox||1 inbox||YES|
Email tracking & notifications
|Email templates||5 templates||YES|
|Canned snippets||5 snippets||NO|
1 personal meetings link
|Reporting||3 dashboards||1 dashboards
|Deal pipeline||1 deal pipeline||YES|
Pop-up forms, External form tracking, Native forms
2,000 email sends per calendar month
5 smart lists, 25 static lists (Additional limits)
|Mobile optimization||Email only||NO|
|Custom properties||10 custom properties||10 custom properties
|YES||Facebook, Twitter only|
This table is, undoubtedly, easier to digest, but if you are seeking for more. Here’s a comprehensive look at both the CRM features to make your selection process a percent simpler.
- Lead generation tools like forms, chatbots, ads, etc.
- Efficient contact management.
- Well integrated with G Suite, Office 365, Gmail, and social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to capture more leads.
- Live chat option to connect you with your audiences in real-time.
- An efficient reporting dashboard with a drag and drop feature to display sales, productivity, deal forecast, plus, and closed deals.
- Easily track your sales opportunities and revenue pipeline with deal records.
- Organize and collaborate on support and service issues/requests with ticket records.
- Create email templates that allow you to spend less time writing emails and avoid embarrassing situations where you forget to replace the [INSERT FIRST NAME HERE] text when sending them.
- Creating meeting booking links that directly connect to your calendar so you spend way less time going back and forth with people via email trying to find the perfect time for a phone call/meeting.
Keep all of your sales collateral documents in one place so they are easily accessible and easy to keep up to date so your salespeople spend zero time looking for the most up to date version of them.
- Calling over VoIP directly through your web browser to your contacts.
- Send up to 2,000 rich marketing emails to your prospects and customers per month.
- Keep track of the success of your Facebook/IG, LinkedIn, and Google AdWords ads, and see how they contribute to your net new lead generation and deal creation.
- Segment your prospects and customers into Lists to use with Email Marketing Campaigns.
- Set up a team email inbox like “firstname.lastname@example.org” or “email@example.com” so you can get emails sent to those team inboxes to show up in the same place you are responding to live chat inquiries.
- Bots that can do the basic legwork of ensuring prospects or customers that are live chatting with you get routed to the right human.
- Access to boatloads of integrations that allow you to make HubSpot CRM your central record of truth for your business data.
- Platform user-interface customization for a personalized user journey.
- Powerful sales automation characteristics to manage accounts, leads, and opportunities.
- Complete productive workflow control with scheduled actions, assignment rules, and email notifications.
- Chatbot Zia to address personal assistance.
- Extensive analytics and reports charts.
- Well integrated with diversified social media platforms such as Google+, Twitter, and Facebook
- Marketing automation with email marketing by sending and scheduling mass emails, crafting marketing campaigns, and creating email templates.
- Zoho Projects enables teamwork with calendars collaborations, follow-ups, messages, and status updates.
- Systematic business inventory tracking.
- Third-party tool integrations with Microsoft, Slack, Zoho suite, and an array of others.
Contact and Lead Management
It allows you to hold up to one million contacts and company records. You can either choose to enter contact information manually, or you can have the information migrated from CSV files, spreadsheets, or other CRM you were previously working on. A contact is created automatically when someone fills in a connected form on your website or sends an email to your HubSpot connected inbox.
A contact’s information is listed on the left-hand side of the page, and an activity timeline shows you the history of your relationship with that contact. In addition, you can see the contact’s associations with other objects like company, deals, and tickets in a single view.
As you would expect from any suitable CRM, it automatically renews the record when you add a contact from a new company, or alters the company information from a proprietary business database. Additionally, the CRM lets you get in touch with your customers via email and call contacts without having to leave the CRM. However, the reporting and dashboard features are available as a paid add-on.
When compared with HubSpot, Zoho CRM offers you to store up to 100,000 contacts records regardless of the pricing plan you choose. Like HubSpot, Zoho provides its own account management feature for storing details about the companies you are engaged with.
The contact information is easy to digest in a horizontal box across to vertical columns. Additionally, you can overview your interaction history. The CRM extends social listening, so you can see from the CRM whenever a contact reaches to you via social media.
In the context of lead management, Zoho seems to offer more capabilities than the free version of Hubspot. With Zoho, you can assign criteria based leads to sales reps, experiment with your own lead scoring rules, and convert cold leads to hot deals. However, with HubSpot’s supplementary hubs to enhance its features, you get a lot more!
Comparison by Implementation
Among other mindful considerations, you would want to consider when choosing between Zoho and HubSpot is implementation time. This is the amount of time, from start to finish, you will require to migrate from your old CRM to a new one.
Good preparation is imperative to implementing a new CRM on time. Irrespective of the CRM solution you choose, the preparation time for the migration to a new CRM will be much longer than the actual migration process. This depends not only on factors like the number of records you need to migrate, the size of your team, and the customizations that may be required but also on how feature-rich your chosen CRM is.
The implementation time for HubSpot CRM is generally lower than the implementation time for Zoho CRM. It depends on how many records you have and whether you choose HubSpot’s free CRM or one of the paid tiers (In case of the paid tiers the additional time is to set up the expanded list of features not available in the free version). You can expect the implementation time of HubSpot CRM to take from one day to a couple of weeks. In contrast, Zoho takes anywhere from 30 days or longer to implement.
The Bottom Line: HubSpot CRM versus Zoho CRM
Ease of Use
Zoho’s CRM is pretty intuitive, especially with its first-tier plan. A minimalist look, with smartly placed buttons and tools at user-accessible spots, but the CRM gets a little complicated with higher-priced packages and needs a lot of customization at setup.
In contrast, user reviews on HubSpot CRM highlight its ease of use, with its well-designed dashboards that exhibit everything you would need to know from the moment you sign in.
While the ease of use can vary from user to user, we found the HubSpot interface to be much simpler and faster to get used to. That being said, we would like to declare this as a tie since Zoho also offers a pretty great interface.
HubSpot: 1 Zoho: 1
HubSpot (unpaid version) does not place a limit on the number of users you can have, while Zoho (unpaid version) allows up to three users, making Zoho strictly suitable for small businesses. Even for the paid plans, HubSpot allows you to have a mixture of paid and free seats while in Zoho all the seats can be either free or paid.
Also, Zoho automatically assigns all its users’ super admins, which can lead to managerial issues. However, HubSpot is tuned; you can grant control and access in an organized manner.
HubSpot takes this one by a mile.
HubSpot: 2 Zoho: 1
HubSpot CRM offers two-way sync. So, you can create a contact in your CRM, load email templates, and automatically log sales activity without leaving Gmail or Outlook. Also, sales teams can track website activity for all new contacts, including sales activities, page views, and form submissions.
Zoho offers related contact management features but, unlike HubSpot, the number of users is restricted at three with its free plan. Moreover, it offers one-way sync from Outlook and Gmail, so you have to continuously switch between CRM and your email.
HubSpot: 3 Zoho: 1
If you choose to go ahead with Zoho’s unpaid plan, you can integrate with only Facebook and Gmail, and forget about integrating with any other businesses or social media platforms for lead generation.
Hubspot’s free plan integrates seamlessly with Gmail, Microsoft Office 365, Outlook, and G Suite. For social integrations, it can accommodate Instagram and Facebook as well.
HubSpot: 4 Zoho: 1
HubSpot offers support via email, chat, phone, and online communities for the paid versions. However, for the free CRM version, you can only depend on the online communities and the help articles (which, admittedly, are pretty extensive and straight-forward). Zoho on the other hand provides support through email and a customer portal in addition to knowledge base and online communities.
The availability of more support options makes Zoho the winner in this category.
HubSpot: 3 Zoho: 2
To sum up…
Even though it was close, as expected, since both of these are incredible solutions, HubSpot manages to eke out Zoho. We feel we are uniquely qualified to answer this because we’re a small business ourselves and dealt with the same problem. In the end, we decided to go ahead with Hubspot, just because it was free. And if it didn’t suffice, we felt we could later migrate to Zoho. We’re happy to report that the need never arose!
Hubspot integrates seamlessly across your marketing, sales, and services teams – and provides you with scarily insightful analytics.
If you’re ready to make the jump to set up your CRM, reach out to us for a free consultation, and an implementation quote! If you’re curious about what happens during implementation and onboarding, here’s a small calendar.