Choosing a CRM is a big decision. At its most basic, it is a decision about how to store and organise your company’s information.
The right choice can literally transform your business – resulting in a more motivated and productive workforce, increasing leads and customers, and tangibly helping your business to grow.
The wrong choice, on the other hand, can lead to the CRM not being used properly (or not being used at all). It can turn your Sales Director into a Sales Dictator, and turn the sales team against them, while also getting your data into a right mess. Implementing CRM systems is also notoriously complicated and expensive.
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Firstly - is HubSpot CRM any good?
HubSpot CRM is more than good, it’s awesome, and we believe that it’s fundamentally different from the CRMs that have gone before. But why?
Firstly, it fills itself in as you work in your usual email inbox, and as prospects interact with your marketing content and website. This means that it is not adding to the admin that your sales team needs to do, and that it is always the best source of the most up to date information about your prospects.
This solves what are arguably the three biggest problems related to CRMs:
- Sales people don’t have time to update the CRM
- Sales Managers have to spend a lot of time trying to get their teams to use it
- It’s full of crap, so nobody believes in it.
With HubSpot CRM, there’s no more ‘garbage-in, garbage-out’, and no more waiting for the sales team to update all of their deals at the end of the quarter. Just more sales people smashing their targets, and much better visibility for management (even while on the golf course, via the free HubSpot iOS and Android apps).
Secondly, HubSpot CRM is different because of its focus on revealing what the buyer wants. It does this through enabling you to see - in real time - which aspects of your marketing or sales emails that an individual buyer is interacting with. This enables a fundamental shift in the sales process, away from prioritising work that the salesperson wants to focus on, and towards prioritising work based on what prospects need at that particular time. More on this later.
Thirdly, HubSpot CRM is really easy to use and understand. That is hugely different from most CRMs. There is a huge amount of complexity hidden behind it, in order to bring together a great deal of information in one place - but it’s been made very easy to use and understand.
In short, HubSpot CRM is designed to help the salesperson do their job better. It doesn’t require masses of training, and is surprisingly helpful, very quickly. It’s a far cry from the clunky and complex CRMs that come with hefty licence fees, long implementation programmes and expensive consultants.
Why your decision on a CRM should be driven by the needs of your sales team
As has already been noted, CRMs can become deeply unpopular with sales teams, because of the additional admin most of them create, and because of the tension that arises when they don’t use them. The solution here is to let your salespeople try a CRM out - and see the value of it for themselves - rather than impose it on them.
If you are tasked with choosing a new CRM for your company, you are probably looking for the opportunity to boost your company’s growth. That is exactly the point of the HubSpot Growth Stack, and the CRM lies right at the heart of it.
I can’t stress this enough – the HubSpot CRM does not just present an opportunity to organise your company’s information, but it actually gives your sales team a secret weapon that will transform their productivity and effectiveness.
The HubSpot CRM combines a customer database with information on what each lead is doing. What interactions have they had with your website? What emails have they opened? What have they downloaded? This gives sales people truly invaluable context that will guide them as to what their next conversation with each prospect should be.
From the salesperson’s point of view, possibly the most powerful tool in the HubSpot CRM arsenal is the ability to know when an email is reopened - in other words when it is being read for the second time (or third time...or even 21st time). Email reopens indicate a genuine level of interest in your offer, and that the time to get in touch with the prospect is right now.
Congratulations, they’ve just qualified themselves for both need and timing. Pick the phone up!
This makes it waaaaaaaaaaaaay easier to have that first call with a prospect. The hardest part of any sales job is initiating the first conversation, and the opening line in that first conversation is the hardest moment in that call – unless the prospect recognises who you are. Which of course they will do, if they have literally just opened your email for the second time and you call shortly after!
They will probably say ‘I was just reading your email’, which means that the initial barrier to talking to you has already broken down. Most CRMs are not able to give you this insight into the buyer’s needs, and therefore can’t help you work out what you need to do next, in order to move them to the next stage of the buyer’s journey.
Why is HubSpot CRM free?
People sometimes assume that because it is free, it must be a bad product. Why would anyone give away something that was actually good?
The truth is though, HubSpot are actually just being clever. They know that if you try it – which of course you are more likely to do if you don’t have to put down any money - then you are almost certain to like it. And when that happens, there are loads of other (paid) HubSpot tools that you can add on. If you need more leads, add the Marketing tools. If you want to get into conversations at the right time with the right context, add the Sales Pro tools, and if it’s identifying what’s happening and how to improve it, get the Reports add-on.
It’s worth noting that when HubSpot say that their CRM is free, it is free forever – they are not offering a free trial version with a time limit. It will also scale right up to a million contacts, and will never slow down even if you get up to this figure, because it is all cloud based.
But is HubSpot CRM really free?
Ok, so if you really must have a catch, you can have one. We would strongly recommend adding the Reports Add-On, and for the more proactive new-business reps, buy them the HubSpot Sales Pro Add-On. If you want to add more enterprise class CPQ (Configure, Price & Quote) capabilities, electronic signatures, contract management, integration with finance systems and all that jazz, you should probably have a chat with us.
You can actually book a time in Chris' diary to have that chat, and see one of the Sales Pro tools in action by clicking here. No back and forth trying to book a meeting - just straightforward access to his diary,
You can actually book a time with me to have that chat, and see one of the Sales Pro tools in action by clicking here. No back and forth trying to book a meeting - just straightforward access to my diary,
If you were hoping the catch was that ‘it’s a bit rubbish and doesn’t scale up to be a serious replacement for SalesForce or Dynamics’, then I’m sorry to disappoint you. This is a seriously powerful and flexible foundation layer that connects to pretty much all of the other tools that matter to your business through HubSpot Connect.
Examples of how others use HubSpot CRM
We use HubSpot CRM ourselves. We’ve watched it grow from being an interesting free add-on to the HubSpot Marketing portal, to a rock-solid foundation for the whole HubSpot Growth Stack. We’ve massively increased our own sales productivity, and learned how to calculate our own ROI for marketing, sales outreach and referrals.
Each of our sales consultants gets a list of their prospects to call, in order of how likely they are to engage in conversation. We automatically track all emails, calls, meetings and follow up tasks with far less admin than we would without the HubSpot CRM. If we’ve got your details already, we know you are reading this right now. Click here to say hi!
All of our clients use the HubSpot CRM, even in cases where they have Dynamics or SalesForce in place already. Some use it to create pipeline reports for their suppliers to build on those all-important relationships that keep the leads coming in.
We also support a community of start-up businesses who would normally find a CRM a huge burden because it would be difficult for them to re-configure as their sales processes change. The ease of use (and of course, lack of cost) means it’s almost irresponsible not to use HubSpot CRM if you’re a startup! You can read a case study on that here.
We’ve also got clients who are huge corporates, who have deployed HubSpot CRM for their sales teams. These companies are working in new markets and territories, and need a CRM which allows them to reshape their sales process to match changing realities on the ground, while still being robust, secure, and easy to analyse and report with.
At this point, I’d like to throw in a few quotes from other HubSpot CRM advocates:
HubSpot CRM is awesome because it has made my job so much easier. Now I can focus on the important stuff, it is like a personal assistant! I am a super mega fan, HubSpot Web, HubSpot app, HubSpot blog, HubSpot everything.
Gisele Lempert (Lempert S.A.)
I use the HubSpot CRM for hundreds of companies and it rocks for sales rep productivity, pipeline management and moving to a buyer-centred sales process.
Dan Tyre (HubSpot)
HubSpot CRM free is awesome because it puts the customer in the very centre, with reminder tasks so that you leave no lead forgotten
Pete Nicholls (HubDo)
Questions you need to consider when choosing a new CRM
- Is it easy for anyone in the company to use?
- Can we be sure that our investment will pay off?
- Will sales actually use it?
- Do you have a defined sales process that you can add to the CRM already?
- Can the CRM give you insight into the buyer’s current thoughts and needs?
- Realistically, how long will it take to get it configured, everyone trained, and set live?
Your choice of CRM is critical, so take the time to think through the questions posed above. If you’re still not sure how to proceed, why not just give HubSpot CRM a try? It’s not hard to find out how to get a performance boost for your sales efforts really quickly, no matter where you are starting from.
We’ve helped people start from scratch, with no process, no prospects and no idea where to start, and got them up and running with live deals and a functioning sales process within a few days.
We had one salesperson set up on all the tools within an hour. He closed a deal the same afternoon, and then threatened to break my arm if I tried to take the CRM back off him!
Following a single day of training, a 12-strong sales team we worked with went from haphazard cold calling to a focused, highly productive and helpful outreach team in under a month.
Get started by asking one of our team of experts about the best way for you to get started. You can have a free chat with an expert who knows HubSpot CRM inside out, and who can give you some frank advice on how to find out if it’s right for you.
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