Being in the CRM space for 7+ years now, we've played with nearly every CRM on the market.
We're friends with HubSpot and Salesforce consultants and we often share challenges of our customers all around—in fact, one of my closest friends runs his own Salesforce consultancy.
While we personally prefer SMB software because it's typically more enjoyable to use (with a better UI/UX—a story for another day), this article will cover the two popular options for mid-market businesses (HubSpot and Salesforce). It's important to mention that in this case, I'm referring to mid-market as anywhere between 20-200 seats (actual people regularly logging into and using the CRM—e.g. there are many companies that may have a team of 500, but maybe only 50 of which need to regularly use the CRM).
To start off this article, this person said it well:
Who is it for: Mid-market businesses (20–1,000 seats)
What you should know about it:
- More affordable than Salesforce (but still can be $40–$60k+/year for software costs alone!)
- Comprehensive marketing automation suite (assuming that you upgraded to add that package)
- Integrates with a variety of SMB tools that often have a better UI/UX that enterprise tools
- Teams typically prefer HubSpot's UI/UX
- Can scale to about 1,000 sales reps
Biggest mistake when it comes to using HubSpot CRM as a mid-market business?
- Expecting Low Costs—Signing up for HubSpot for the first year with a 90% discount, expecting it to be a cost-friendly CRM solution. 😅 HubSpot can easily cost $30–$50k per year in software costs alone after the first year, especially if your company is using the marketing automation suite.
- Your business doesn't really need all the fancy HubSpot features—The second mistake is paying for HubSpot's comprehensive features is not having a need for them in your business. For example, if your business doesn't require high volumes of marketing automation as it is more of a professional services business, you may end up overpaying for HubSpot by thousands of dollars, while a similar CRM may do everything you need for a much lower cost.
Who is it for: Enterprise businesses, 1,000+ seats in the CRM (think Pepsi or Nestle size)
What's you should know about it:
- Highly customizable (at a high cost—think hundreds of thousands to millions to setup 💰)
- Scalable—for businesses with thousands of employees
- Integrates with other enterprise tools (e.g. Marketo, Pardot, NetSuite)
- More customization with reports for C-Suite teams
- Teams may be reluctant to adopt Salesforce because it's not user friendly
- Seriously important: If you do not have thousands of employees do not even consider Salesforce
What is the biggest mistake when it comes to using Salesforce as a mid-market business?
The biggest mistake of using Salesforce as a mid-market business is investing in a solution that is too complex and expensive for your needs. Many businesses get Salesforce because they think they'll "grow into it" or that "its the gold standard" but this ends up being a very costly and frustrating experience.
If you're not currently at thousands of employees, it doesn't make sense—no, really, we mean it—we understand you may the dream/vision of having thousands of employees, that's fine. Still, don't use it. Use something else for now: it is normal and recommended to evaluate and change CRMs when you go through the evolution from mid-market to enterprise-scale. There are also plenty of agile startups valued at billions, who still have no true reason for using Salesforce. At this stage of business, optimize for: "move quick, be agile, and evolve" (all things that are impossible to do with Salesforce, or will cost absurd amounts if you tried to make that happen).
Salesforce is designed to handle the needs of large enterprises, which can be expensive (even impossible) for smaller businesses with limited resources to configure properly.
If you are an enterprise with 1,000+ CRM seats (many thousands of employees), and budget in the hundreds of thousands to millions, Salesforce is probably your best bet. And at that size, your company will be able to afford the costs required to build out Salesforce successfully.
If you have under 200 CRM seats (200-1,000 employees), HubSpot is your best bet—it's more affordable and user-friendly.
If you have under 100 CRM seats , HubSpot might still be "too large"—consider these options instead.
Still unsure which CRM is right for you?
Send us a message through the chat icon and tell us about your business needs, happy to recommend a CRM based on your needs and our experience (before you make the choice). Or you can request a free audit here.
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(please note only eligible companies will be chosen for the audit.)