When it comes to HubSpot CRM, is the promise of free really too good to be true?

Big or small, all companies want to save money where they can. And so it makes sense to opt for a seemingly free CRM, like HubSpot, which appears to offer a variety of helpful tools at no cost. But like many things in life, “free” isn’t necessarily the good deal you think it’s going to be – especially if you need to scale your CRM beyond the bare basics.

Here’s what to know about the hidden cost of HubSpot’s free CRM option, plus a better alternative for a truly free CRM.

Can You Use HubSpot for Free?

Technically yes, but most businesses will quickly hit a wall with the utility of the free plan and will either need to switch CRMs or greatly increase their budget for the platform.

If you’re on the hunt for a free CRM tool, then you’ve probably come across HubSpot’s free plan, which promises access to a wide range of no-cost features with no limit to how long you can use them. However, while you can use HubSpot for free, this offer isn’t quite as it seems.

By offering a free CRM, HubSpot increases its user base and appeals to significantly more individuals and businesses than they would with their costlier paid plans. And yet, free users often hit a roadblock in use, realizing that as their business and contact list grow, so too do their feature requirements – and the price tag attached to them.

Of course, growth is a good thing. In fact, one of the main purposes of using a CRM is so you can grow your small business. But that’s where the utility of the free plan stops since businesses must quickly upgrade their HubSpot account to adapt to their changing CRM needs.

Want to generate more leads and add more contacts to your email list? HubSpot free CRM charges you as soon as you go above the maximum limit on their free plan. And costs continue to climb as your needs evolve to include things like marketing automation and email automation. You’ll also have to pay to remove HubSpot branding from your emails, landing pages, and website forms.

Free vs. Freemium

To understand why HubSpot’s free CRM isn’t actually free, it helps to understand the difference between free and freemium services.

Many software platforms like HubSpot use “free” as a marketing tactic rather than a true pricing tier. Regardless of there being no time limit on access to their free tools, HubSpot’s end goal is always to convert free users into paid ones, and their no-cost tools are designed to make that happen.

A better term for HubSpot’s free CRM then would be “freemium,” which refers to a free software platform that offers limited features and requires upgrading to a paid subscription if you want to get full use of the tools. There’s nothing wrong with this model, but by design, the “free” plan isn’t going to be enough for most users.

Is HubSpot’s free CRM worth it?

The final verdict on HubSpot’s free CRM: it’s not free, and it’s probably not going to be enough for you to see a profitable return on your efforts.

The freemium model means that you’ll almost certainly need to upgrade to a paid plan to access HubSpot’s more coveted – and more impactful – features. And in doing so, you’ll end up paying for some features you need and a lot of additional features you don’t. So not only are you spending money you didn’t initially plan to spend, but you’re also wasting money on features that aren’t getting put to use.

What’s the alternative? Free CRM tools that are truly free, including platforms like BenchmarkONE. Our free plan flips the script by providing you with more tools you need from the get-go. If you eventually upgrade, it’s because our features are actually giving you results, rather than just the bare minimum, in hopes you’ll end up needing more.

Unlike HubSpot, our free plan includes more than just a free CRM. With BenchmarkONE, you also get additional features like:

  • Contact management
  • Email marketing
  • Landing pages
  • Pop-ups
  • Marketing automation

Better yet, you’ll get free tools that you can use as they are without needing to pay to see a return.

There’s a CRM out there for every business, and that includes free CRMs without a bait-and-switch freemium model. If you’re interested in HubSpot’s free CRM, we recommend doing a full deep dive into what you’ll get (and what you won’t), as well as evaluating whether the free tools and access limits will be enough to meet the needs of your business. This will save you from having to backtrack later on if you realize that HubSpot free isn’t living up to its promise, and it also means you’ll be able to get started sooner with free CRM platforms that are truly free to use.

If you’d like to learn more about what BenchmarkONE’s free plan can do for your small business, request a free account today.

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by Benchmark Team

Occassionally, the worldwide Benchmark Email team will collaborate on a post to deliver the latest and greatest news, tips and feature updates to all of you.