HubSpot has announced this week that it will be making some of its premium products available to customers of its free CRM, enabling users to send up to 2,000 emails per month and manage ad spending of $1,000 across Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn as part of its ads tool.
Of course, HubSpot hasn’t decided to put on a red suit and white beard and pretend Christmas has arrived in mid-July, and to their credit they have been very transparent about their reasons for making this move. HubSpot co-founder Dharmesh Shah sees it as “starting with the premium product and deciding to make it free” and ultimately it is part of HubSpot’s wider strategy to give free tasters of their product to small and medium sized companies with the expectation that they will later upgrade to the premium product.
It’s also making this move under increasing pressure from its rivals in the race to solve the “disparate systems” challenge faced by marketers that are running campaigns across multiple apps. Mailchimp is upping its game in this area, adding to an already usable marketing automation suite with landing page and social advertising tools. Sharpspring is also increasingly moving into the agency market with a unique agency pricing structure and an almost like-for-like product to HubSpot at a greatly reduced cost.
So what does all of this mean to the humble marketer? Is now the time to give HubSpot a go?
The important thing here is to see this for what it is – a “try before you buy” offer. If you’ve been considering HubSpot for a while or use their free CRM and want to add-on more elements to create a marketing hub then sure, give it a go and see if it fits.
But there are also other ways to achieving your goals, especially if you have well established systems such as Mailchimp or if you’re running all of your paid social accounts through another tool, you might not want to go through the upheaval of moving across templates and data into a new system that you don’t even know you’ll like.
If this is the case then there are still ways of achieving the same results as you can with HubSpot through a few clever integrations. If you want to set-up email workflows based on CRM activity for example, then you can still manage this through your disparate CRM and email systems by creating custom integrations to make the tools work in harmony.
HubSpot’s drive to get companies to use it as a central hub is a great idea in theory, but for modern small and medium sized companies that have established their marketing efforts across a number of different platforms it can be more trouble than its worth.
Make sure you have a clear idea of your expectations of the tools in your tech stack and have aligned your requirements to what can be achieved through each platform before making the leap.