Guide to HubSpot CRM System

Guide to HubSpot CRM System


Pricing (as of February 2023): 

  • Basic HubSpot CRM: Free (1 user)
  • CRM Starter Suite: $29.97/month (up to 2 users)
  • CRM Professional Suite: $1,600/month (up to 5 users)

User experiences and comments on HubSpot

Name of consultant: Rick Bartels

Comments: Bartels settled on HubSpot after searching for a CRM solution designed specifically for small business. He likes its marketing capabilities and ability to customize, and notes HubSpot’s great customer support.

“We have linked our email and calendars to HubSpot. All interactions are easily accessible in the contact profile section. we upload a documents related to the contact. We make notes in the system regarding meetings. We automate reminders to reach out to prospect by setting up workflows in the CRM system.”

He advises not over-complicating the process. “Simple = efficiency. We never have a prospect ‘fall through the cracks.’ All records and document are in one place and easy to access.”

Applications integrated: Email, Calendar, Marketing

Name of consultant: Hallie Bregman

Comments: “I focus on my funnel, from lead to meeting to proposal to negotiation to close. I like that opportunities are connected to both contacts and companies, and it’s very dynamic. I log notes in meetings, which attach to contacts and deals. I also like the Kanban interface for deals.

I have a large LinkedIn network so I exported those contacts, sorted into relevant ones, and used a researcher to complete contact info. That gave me a pool of folks I’m already connected to do draw from for email campaigns. I also use Dripify, a lead gen tool, to expand my network and reach. I use Hubspot scheduling so it logs meetings and then take notes within the meeting event. I’ve started using tasks to schedule follow-ups — I like that it prompts me after a meeting to do so.”

Applications integrated: Email, Slack, LinkedIn, Zoom, DocuSign, plus Make for automations

Name of consultant: Marja Fox

Comments: Marja likes that Hubspot offers free options with the ability to scale and integrate with other systems (such as marketing).

She categorizes relationships as:

  • Subscriber (to blog/ newsletter)
  • Lead (possible clients, but no firm project in mind)
  • Opportunity (potential clients with specific project or deal)
  • Clients (past and current)
  • Evangelist (return clients).

She organizes her deal pipeline into these stages:

  • Needs Understood
  • Proposal Submitted
  • Proposal Accepted
  • Closed Won
  • Closed Lost

“Even this may be more than I need since I’m not trying to robustly forecast and don’t have huge deal volume to manage,” she says. “The most valuable aspect of tracking deals is the way the CRM bundles all communication when there are multiple parties involved.”

Her email is setup to automatically log communication, and she also enters notes from calls. She connects with all contacts in an annual update, and sporadically use the task features/reminders to follow up. “There is a learning curve because it’s not exclusively plug and play. But the flexibility and customization are ultimately highly valuable.”

Applications integrated: Gmail, Zapier

Name of consultant: Jeffrey Jones

Comments: “We use Hubspot in various ways that includes sending out marketing emails to our entire database from time to time (we definitely don’t want to fatigue our customers). We use available tools to track engagement and will use these analytics to then focus further. We also use the Outlook plug-in that automatically tracks individual engagements. It’s my opinion that we’ve only scratched the surface of how best to use this business development tool as a means to create brand awareness and drive growth (we recently brought on a Hubspot administrator who’s become our go-to).”

For Jones, the biggest impact of using a CRM is consistency. “We are closing in on ~1,000 contacts or corporate executives (this includes C-suite, VPs, and Directors). But we didn’t start there. It takes time to curate your contacts. We started in LinkedIn and imported many contacts from there.”

Applications integrated: Microsoft Outlook

Name: Gregory Lorenzo

Comments: “I have customized Hubspot by creating my own stages, tags, and integrations. I use it to track leads, manage my sales pipeline, and measure my marketing efforts. I use the CRM system to track leads, manage my sales pipeline, and measure my marketing efforts.”

Name: Jeff Mains

Comments: “HubSpot’s CRM provides tools for all our teams but is lightweight and easy to use. It allows users to manage customer interactions, create marketing campaigns, and track lead performance. We can now benefit from automated emails and detailed reports on website traffic in real-time. Moreover, the email interface provided by HubSpot makes it possible to access the CRM directly from your mailbox, streamlining your workflow and eliminating the need to enter data twice. But the best part is that HubSpot’s customer relationship management system is always and permanently free to use. There are no time constraints, no user caps, and a million-person contact limit. HubSpot also offers a variety of paid upgrades to accommodate your expanding needs.”

Name: Shane McEvoy

Comments: “We use the excellent CRM system provided by Hubspot. We’ve never felt the need to customise it much in any way, although we have slightly changed the deal stages. We use the CRM daily to check for any new leads, required follow-ups, automated interactions, and address each one of those as required. Contact details, interactions, sales records and messages are stored in one place and allows for easy access, and list segmentation through selection criteria. Team members can also track performance and optimize sales processes for better results.”

Name: Lynne McNamee

Comments: “I recommend HubSpot. They have a free version with great functionality – it removes any excuse for not using a CRM. What’s even better, is because of its approach – a single source of truth for marketing, sales, and service – it ensures that as the organization grows, the data about a customer is centralized. Good habits are built early and ensure a customer-centric business. With the HubSpot CRM, one can use the data, not just collect it. This is a great advantage over many other tools. Its ease of use and integration with other tools a business uses also set it apart. The newer Operations Hub facilitates interacting with all parts of the business and specialized tools. HubSpot doesn’t require advanced skills to manage the majority of activities, while having robust capabilities for more advanced needs.

One of the ways that I have used HubSpot for various companies is setting up an internal process to get service contacts out of various levels of the organization into the HubSpot CRM in a vetted fashion. The problem this is solving is that the contact the sales reps usually have in the CRM are not the ones using the product or solution. When it comes time to renew or upsell, the contacts sales have aren’t the ones who will influence the internal decision anymore. Yet keeping the CRM data clean is important. Thus, I create password protected web forms (via HubSpot) for employees throughout the company to enter their contacts. This notifies the appropriate parties to do any data verification or cleaning (e.g., how a company name is listed/ associated). With a single field change to approve, the new contact is added with appropriate notifications. When companies use a major competitor, for example, the licenses are too expensive to allow many in the organization to access the CRM. And even with HubSpot’s more affordable structure, there still need to be safeguards in place. This provides an easy yet important solution to an overlooked issue. I find HubSpot to consistently be the best, due to its ease of use, functionality and centrality on the customer.”

Name of consultant: Serge Milman

Comments: “HubSpot starter CRM meets all of my business requirements and is free of charge. It can be customized based on need and offers value-added features if/when those are needed.

I define Opportunities as any non-qualified pursuit (in- and out-bound) and I track opportunities using a simple ‘Task’ list feature until the Opportunities convert to Potential Deals. Hubspot automatically captures all emails and assigns them to Individuals and Companies which makes it easy to track. I also use it to (manually) record phone calls and other interactions.”

Applications integrated: Google Workspace

Name: Nate Nead

Comments: “We find it to be an effective way of managing customer relationships and streamlining our processes. We have customized the Hubspot CRM to include custom stages and tags to help us track customer progress and create workflows that are customized to our business needs. We have also integrated the CRM system with several different services, such as email marketing platforms and invoicing systems, to increase efficiency and productivity. We use it to track customer interactions and progress, manage leads, and keep organized records of customer data. We also use the system to automate various processes such as email marketing campaigns and invoicing. Finally, we rely on the CRM’s insights feature to gain valuable insights about our customers that help us better serve their needs.”

Name of consultant: Wogbe Ofori

Comments: After a lot of research, Ofori initially settled on another CRM that was tailored for his venture capital industry, but found it too rigid. He says the free version is very good, offering a robust feature set that is very flexible. He also finds Hubspot’s help articles and videos helpful. 

“Even though the price was reasonable, I didn’t want to pay to make compromises. I then tried Hubspot because the free version was rated highly. This gave me time to really figure out how to build the tool to best suit the way I worked, versus the other way around.

Hubspot allows for a few different ways to track opportunities which can be utilized separately or layered on top of one another. I track opportunities at the relationship level using ‘lifecycle stage’ and ‘lead status’ designations.Relationships are managed with both individuals and companies — useful because their relationship paths may diverge over time. If one has a dedicated BD/sales function and/or a high-volume opportunity funnel, tracking progress with the ‘deals’ tracking feature is probably the way to go.”

Ofori’s top tip for other independent consultants is not to worry about logging every single interaction. “Don’t act like a court stenographer. Develop the discipline of determining what is truly relevant and useful, so you don’t waste time. A CRM is only a tool and should ultimately make running your business easier and/or more productive. So, find the best tool for YOUR situation and style of running your practice. The best ones have a large/active community of users that can give you ideas on how to use the CRM more effectively and will be adaptable to your practice’s management evolves.”

Applications integrated: Mailchimp, Quickbooks, Gmail

Name: Spencer Reese

Comments: “I use CRM software to manage customer data to improve my company’s efficiency. Having access to sales analytics has enabled me to improve my marketing strategies. I use HubSpot Sales Hub because it is incredibly easy to navigate, and has a configure-price-quote (CPQ) feature that helps my business run more smoothly. It allows me to customize deals. This has enabled me to manage tasks in an efficient manner. I have also observed an increase in customer satisfaction rates as a result.”

Name of consultant: David Zhao

Comments: “Tracking contacts and opportunities is a requirement. You either do it in Excel or you do it in a CRM. I find that it’s easier, lower effort, and more enjoyable entering data into my personal CRM. My recommendation is to get over your aversion to CRM that you may have carried over from your experience at a large consulting firm, and you might actually enjoy using a CRM for yourself.”

Applications integrated: Microsoft Outlook, WordPress

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