HubSpot Trainer, 6+ Years of Digital Marketing Strategy Expertise
May 8th, 2020
So your team has grown and is ready to start taking advantage of a more advanced customer database
Or maybe the team is tired of using spreadsheets and emails and you’ve realized that you should have been using one all along.
Either way, you’re hunting for a CRM.
On top of that, you’ve likely already done a significant amount of due diligence on different CRMs and have narrowed it down to two - HubSpot and Zoho.
But how do they compare and which one is right for you and your team?
In this article, we will take a look at why choosing the right CRM is so important, what factors you should be keeping in mind when comparing CRMs, and what your next steps should be.
Why choosing the right CRM is such a critical decision
Let’s start out with why it is so important to thoroughly research when choosing a CRM.
Choosing the wrong CRM for your team can lead to a long period of complications and struggles when it comes to managing your customer database.
A CRM that doesn’t fit your processes and doesn’t offer the right tools can make it more difficult to integrate information between your tools, grant access to the right people, and report accurately.
Also, having a CRM that doesn’t align with how you manage your data also leads you and your team to start “duct-taping” a solution together and start using features in the CRM that are meant for something else.
For example, if you work with partners that sell your product or services, and the CRM doesn’t do a good job of allowing you to track partner revenue and your team’s revenue, it might be worth looking into another CRM, rather than trying to bend the CRM to do something it doesn’t.
And that brings me to the biggest issue. Not having clean data. Trying to do what was mentioned above, usually leads to having “bad data” in your CRM, making it difficult for the team to use, and almost impossible to accurately report on your ROI.
Comparing HubSpot vs Zoho CRM
It is not surprising that these are the two CRMs you are comparing since they are both very comparable in price, features, and popularity.
Both CRMs do a great job at allowing your team to capture and track your leads and customers, view them by their companies, and monitor their engagement and deals.
They both also offer an extensive ecosystem that lets your CRM grow with your business (more on this later).
However, there are some pretty big differences that can make you choose one over the other.
We will be focusing on these four big factors:
How easy it is to get started
Features and Functionality
According to TechnologyAdvice, most CRM implementations take anywhere from 6 weeks to 4 months. And yet, time is money, right?
While the time-to-implement for a CRM may not be the top priority for some teams, for others it is critical.
If you are scaling a business and aren’t able to manage your contact database or your sales process, waiting this long to have a platform ready to use is more like an eternity.
On top of that, with each CRM structuring data differently, you will want to be able to have a strategy before even using the CRM.
HubSpot is generally easier to get up and running than Zoho since it offers out-of-the-box features that aren’t extremely customizable, reports, and easy to understand settings.
You will have to take some time to understand how HubSpot structures its data since there are some differences from other CRMs. For example, HubSpot really focuses on lifecycle stages of your contacts to track their customer journey and progress rather than breaking out contacts and leads into two simple buckets.
Zoho is very similar in that it provides you with the ability to jump right in and use the standard record layout and reporting templates in the CRM.
Depending on your initial needs, it can require a fairly robust setup process and customization, but this is strength considering, HubSpot doesn’t really allow for this.
For, example, you will be able to customize the look of your contact or lead pages with all the information that pertains to your team.
However, once you are set up, both platforms are easy to use.
While it is hard to say how long it will take to get up and running on either platform, both platforms offer a free demo in order to get started.
This is highly recommended during your search so you can actually get some hands-on experience with each platform.
Features and functionality
To be completely honest - this is the hardest part of comparing any CRMs.
CRMs are such a core part of a business function that most of them have countless “features” that could be looked at.
Also, each CRM has its own way of thinking about contacts, leads, and so on.
Instead of trying to get into the minutia of every single micro-feature, we’ll stick to the most important features and differences HubSpot vs Zoho, respectively.
While both CRMs allow you to track contacts, leads, accounts, and deals, these are going to be structured differently in each platform.
For example, Zoho looks at contacts and leads separately, while HubSpot uses can categorize your contacts as leads.
HubSpot and Zoho also have different user limitations.
With HubSpot, every user in your company can have access to the CRM at no extra cost. This is great if your team outside of your typical HubSpot users is looking to get information from the CRM, or want to try a specific tool to see if it fits into their operations.
For Zoho, you will be charged based on the number of users that are in your account. This really requires you to think about who you are adding in the CRM and if they really need to be there. More on this later when we dive into price.
In terms of customization features, Zoho offers more customization when it comes to page layouts for your records.
For example, you are able to completely change the view and information you will see on a lead record based on your products or services, and what information is more important to your team.
So, whenyour sales team looks at the lead records before a call, you can make number of employees in their company, industry, services they are interested in, and so on right at the top. .
In HubSpot, you are able to customize certain parts of a contact record (as in add new fields), but you can’t change the layout dramatically.
While HubSpot’s sales reporting is improving, and their calculated properties are making it easier to do forecasting, Zoho’s CRM offers an extremely robust sales forecasting tool that lets your team better understand their potential future sales numbers. That’s probably it’s biggest differentiator.
One of the most important aspects of a CRM is the ability for it to grow with your team, company, and needs.
Both platforms are built in a way that allow you to add on features or change tiers when needed.
Both also offer a large ecosystem of services based on your needs for when it is time to start using more than just the CRM.
This includes tools like automation, email marketing, multiple deal pipelines, and much more.
Both platforms also offer the ability to also bring in a support team to the mix by offering support tickets, chat, and other features. However, Zoho Desk is a much more robust support platform than HubSpot’s Services Hub.
In terms of the ability to scale your entire digital presence, HubSpot has a huge advantage with their newly announced CMS Hubs that allows you to develop your website on the HubSpot platform.
HubSpot also allows you to use the information you collect in your CRM to show personalized content on your site, and in your email communications.
Another huge advantage of using HubSpot on the marketing and website side is being able to see the entire journey of a contact once they are in your CRM.
You are able to see website engagement including the pages they have visited, emails they have opened, forms they have submitted, and so on.
HubSpot also does a good job of getting you started if you are a startup.
The scalability aspect can go to either platform so it definitely depends on how your organization expects to scale, and in which areas.
This is a huge benefit to using the HubSpot CRM and as mentioned above, it is free for your entire team to use. You even get a contact limit of 1 million contacts.
The goal here is HubSpot hopes that you will use the free CRM in order to get acclimated to their platform and will start utilizing some of their other services.
Once you go past the CRM, HubSpot offers a variety of marketing and sales tiers to unlock more advanced features and abilities.
For Zoho, the pricing model has evolved to become quite simple.
As of right now, you have the option to select one of four tiers.
Each tier is priced per user and starts at $12 per user and goes up to $100 per user.
Similar to HubSpot, Zoho offers a suite of other products that you can purchase to use alongside the CRM, but also finance software, HR software, IT and helpdesk services, and more to help with other areas of your business.
For more pricing information (since it varies so much) check out the pricing page for each platform: