Contact Timelines, Email-Open Notifications, and Lead Visit Alerts: Ramp Up Your Sales with HubSpot's Free CRM

Many sales teams don’t use a CRM so instead work on spreadsheets. There’s no visibility into their sales process, if they even have one, the salespeople are calling with no real reasoning behind how or why they’re doing it, and the whole team is wasting a lot of their time rewriting the same emails or copying and pasting text in the hope of reaching out to prospects. Sound familiar?

All of this can add up to an underwhelming leads list with a lack of buyer visibility, and as you know, a prospect’s journey and their decision-making behaviour behind it are just as important to understand than closing the deal itself.

Fortunately, you’ve taken the first step forward and have moved to HubSpot free CRM!

Obviously, with it being free there are some limitations, but you’ve just got yourself an incredibly useful start-up tool that can help you build up towards the next level of HubSpot CRM.

So how can the features on the free version support your business objectives and how can they ramp up sales results within your team?

Learn more about choosing, migrating and rolling out a new CRM by downloading  our ebook



Ramp up sales results with these HubSpot free features

HubSpot activity feed

This Chrome extension will become your best friend in a heartbeat. The HubSpot activity feed notifies you of any sales activity in real-time. Email opens, document views, form submissions, and many more activities can be monitored within the extension, and you can filter your timeline by customer stage and activity type.

If you don’t use Chrome or aren’t a fan of extensions then that’s not a problem. You can access all this information, including the analytics for each activity in more detail, via the HubSpot activity feed menu built into the CRM.

So, what kind of notifications can you expect? Let’s take a look.

Contact timelines

Contact timelines allow you to monitor all the interactions you’ve had with a prospect or potential buyer, as well as their behaviours – from emails and website activity to colleague communication. This feature is particularly useful when checking the status of contacts or deals, giving you or your sales team context when making their next buyer-centric call.

In what context can I use it?

Your salesperson believed a deal with Client X would close. You’ve tracked the timelines and seen there had been positive back-and-forth email communication, but you’ve then had no response for a number of weeks. This is a perfect opportunity for your salesperson to reignite communication and move closer to securing a deal.

Email alerts

Imagine having the power to know when someone has just opened your email within seconds. To a salesperson, this is gold dust, and one feature HubSpot offers in their free CRM. Email alerts let you see when your recipient has opened an email you sent once, twice, even 20 times. Sparking off that lightbulb-in-the-head moment, and directing you to pick up that phone and call them.

The best time to have a conversation is within 5-10 minutes after they’ve opened your email.

In what context can I use it?

If you don’t contact a prospect or buyer for a while after they’ve opened your email, it’s likely they’ve forgotten who you are, ignored the content supplied and ultimately, deleted it.

But phoning a prospect or buyer a short while after they’ve opened your email means they’re likely to know who you are at that point, they’re likely to still be thinking about the email content you just sent them and therefore, ready to have a conversation.

Learn more: Don’t just rely on emails to communicate; use video as well!

Lead visit alerts

Similar to email alerts, a lead visit alert notifies you when a current lead has revisited any page on your business’ website. The alert will appear with the page your lead visited, which indicates that they’re probably thinking about the same thing you’re about to phone them for.

In what context can I use it?

Your lead has visited a blog article about digital marketing on your website. Whilst they’re in that mindset, it’ll be a great time to phone them and start talking digital marketing.

‘Click-to’ functionalities

If you ask a salesperson what their biggest challenge is, the majority will answer “we can’t engage in conversations with people”. With the ‘click-to’ functionalities built into HubSpot, you can easily call or email an individual, based on some of their activity above, without the need to search for their contact details and waste time. In addition, these calls and emails can be automatically logged, meaning you have topics, questions, or previous engagement to fall back on during your communications.

With HubSpot’s free version, you’re limited to the number of calls and call time you can make. Instead, why not check out some of the calling integrations you can use alongside HubSpot?

Email templates and snippets

It's fair to say that all salespeople hate administration, and filling in a CRM has always been a big stick that they get hit with. Fortunately, email templates and snippets take away a lot of this admin pain.

Very similar to a draft text you have on a mobile phone, email templates allow you to quickly send pre-written emails that auto-populate depending on the contact, saving you time tediously re-writing emails, or copy and pasting text.

In what context can I use it?

You’ve just finished talking to Client X and want to send a follow-up email with a CTA to book a meeting. With email templates, you’re just a few clicks away from sending this email within seconds. And best of all, the client’s name has been automatically populated, so all you have to do is hit send.

Learn more about choosing, migrating and rolling out a new CRM by downloading  our ebook



The reporting feature is an ideal tool for sales managers to monitor the progress of individuals within their team and the amount of activity they’ve conducted in real-time. Who’s made the most calls? Who’s sent the most emails? Who’s closed the most deals?

This tool can also help unify line managers and salespeople in a simple and secure way, as progress towards personal KPIs or development can be monitored on a weekly or monthly basis, and dashboard visibility restrictions can be set.

Are you using the right data accurately enough to predict future revenues? Get a better handle on revenue forecasting with these perils, pitfalls and solutions.

Meeting scheduling

One of my favourite features is the meeting schedule. Think of it as a sales doctor’s appointment. You can send your free time slots to your contact so they can choose a time and date for a meeting or call that suits their schedule. This effectively cuts out the long email chains that can happen when agreeing to a mutual meeting time.

In what context can I use it?

You’ve sent an outreach email to Client X about arranging a meeting. After some back-and-forth trying to arrange a date and time, suddenly a week has gone by since you sent the initial email.

Instead, simply send a meeting schedule link and they can choose a time convenient to both of you.

Live chat

Live chat is a bit like Marmite - you either love it or hate it as a salesperson. Yes, it’s different from the norm of picking up the phone, but live chat does have its advantages when it comes to qualifying leads, and it’s actually possible to close leads via a chatbot.

In what context can I use it?

A potential lead has visited your business’ website (remember those lead visit alerts?) but you’re not quite sure if they’re the right target audience for you. Rather than spending more time finding out, simply qualify them out with an introductory question like ‘what can I help you with?’’ and give them some specific options to choose from, e.g. ‘I’m looking for a job’, ‘I’ve got services to sell to you’ or ‘I’m looking for pricing’. Depending on their answer, you can then redirect them to one of your specific webpages.

Robots are taking over! Okay, maybe not just yet, but here are some quick wins you can gain when it comes to chatbots.


The documents feature lets you monitor the open rate of a document you have sent, via email, to a prospect thanks to a unique link uploaded to HubSpot. You can even see how long they’ve looked at a certain page or section, providing a platform for your next topic of conversation.

In addition, you can set up a document whereby if it was forwarded on to someone else, they’ll have to fill in their email address in order to open it. That’s two leads in one!

In what context can I use it?

You’ve sent a prospect your pricing guide and they’ve spent double the time on page 5 as they have done the rest of the guide. You can phone them up and say “I think it’s worth us discussing the content on page 5” and that’s it - you’ve grabbed their attention immediately and they’ll appreciate you getting straight to the point.

Looking to improve your team’s sales productivity? Read our article to discover how.

Prospect tracking

Prospect tracking is a reporting tool whereby you can track all of the companies that have visited your website recently. By tracking how many website views they’ve had and where the redirect came from, you’ll build up an indication of the types of companies who are looking at your services, allowing you to build a lead list, work out who you should prioritise your average too, and who you should start outreaching.

READ: How to Get Past the Gatekeeper: 13 Tips to Help You Connect to More Prospects

Pipeline management

This feature allows you to build a pipeline so you can manage your sales process. By tracking deals and checking the status of each client, there’s more visibility for you sales managers. Within this free feature you can:

  • Get real visibility into prospects going through the sales pipeline
  • See how long they spent at each stage
  • Identify what it takes to move the deal along
  • Monitor how much activity was involved for each client

Overall, this will help you gather interesting data which can be used to grow your sales pipeline in the future and see what previous activity, made in successfully closed deals, can be transferred to current processes.

HubSpot free CRM will help with your sales ramp-up

For many sales teams, filling in a spreadsheet every Friday afternoon with the week’s results is a tedious and tiring job. But ending your week can be much easier with HubSpot free CRM. Sure, you get more advanced features with the extended HubSpot platforms and they’re great to move onto in the future, but HubSpot free CRM is a great start-up tool for your sales team (not to mention the rest of your business). There’ll be no more administration pains, your team will be more productive and have better conversations with people that are able to talk, and best of all, sales managers will have a realistic idea of a forecast with actual supporting data.

Want to know how BabelQuest has helped our clients with their sales ramp-up? Read our case study below.



Chris Grant
About the Author
Chris is the Sales Enablement Consultant at BabelQuest. Working as part of the Expert Practices team, he helps sales teams get better.