Salesforce vs. HubSpot vs. Insightly

Best Practices | Sales

Salesforce vs. HubSpot vs. Insightly – the eternal question. Salesforce, HubSpot, and Insightly are three prominent customer relationship management (CRM) platforms, each offering unique features and functionalities tailored to diverse business needs. Businesses finding themselves choosing between the three will have some research to do, since all three have extensive features and benefits.

However, there is a distinct use case for each and this article will explore those in detail. Many find that when comparing Salesforce vs. HubSpot, the real answer isn’t either of those platforms; in fact, it is Insightly. 

What is the history of each platform?

Salesforce was founded in 1999 by Marc Benioff and Parker Harris, both former Oracle executives. Thus, from the beginning, Salesforce had its roots in the enterprise space as a CRM. The big contribution Salesforce made was via its delivery of business applications via a website, eliminating the need for traditional software installation.

About 7 years after Salesforce launched, HubSpot hit the scene as a marketing automation platform. Founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah had a vision of inbound marketing as a type of marketing that provides businesses with tools to attract, engage, and delight customers. In 2015, HubSpot added a CRM component.

Both of these companies made historic debuts: Salesforce’s was a cloud-based CRM and HubSpot’s was marketing automation for all. 

Then, Insightly came along in 2013 and learned from the debuts of each. Born in the cloud with a super-fast interface and the power to run businesses of all sizes, Insightly offers the best of CRM in a modern, affordable platform. Insightly was founded by Anthony Smith is Perth, Australia as a platform to work closely with Google to help businesses of all sizes improve their operational efficiency. It has since evolved beyond CRM to include a marketing automation application, a customer service ticketing application, and an integration tool with more than 1,000 pre-built connectors. It is truly an all-on-one application to run your business. 

In this comparison, we will explore the key aspects of comparing Salesforce vs. HubSpot vs. Insightly to help businesses make informed decisions based on their specific requirements.

Salesforce benefits vs. HubSpot and Insightly

Salesforce is a powerhouse in the CRM industry, renowned for its robust and customizable solutions suitable for enterprises. The platform provides a comprehensive suite of tools designed to manage sales, marketing, customer service, and more. Salesforce’s strength lies in its scalability, making it an ideal choice for large organizations with complex processes and diverse teams.

One of Salesforce’s standout features is its AppExchange marketplace, offering a vast array of third-party integrations that extend its functionality. This allows businesses to tailor the CRM to their specific needs, integrating with various tools and services seamlessly. Additionally, Salesforce’s artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, through Einstein Analytics, empower users with predictive insights, helping businesses make data-driven decisions.

Why do businesses move away from Salesforce?

However, the sophistication of Salesforce comes at a cost. The platform is complex, and its implementation requires dedicated training. Customizations take time and are costly to create and maintain. The system itself can be painfully slow due to its complexity, meaning pages load slowly and significant time is spent waiting. 

Perhaps the biggest obstacle with Salesforce is pricing. The pricing structure is designed for enterprise, Fortune 1000 businesses who can afford a multi-person CRM team, plus outside consultants, developers, and implementation specialty firms. Thus, pricing is a barrier for small to medium-sized businesses, especially when comparing Salesforce to Insightly.

Many mid-sized businesses will discover that they have over-bought with Salesforce and consider switching from Salesforce to Insightly.

HubSpot benefits vs. Salesforce and Insightly

HubSpot got its start as a marketing automation platform and moved into the CRM space years later. It is known for its user-friendly interface and the integration of marketing, sales, and now customer service functions in one platform. This all-in-one approach simplifies processes for small to medium-sized businesses, offering a more accessible entry point into CRM technology.

HubSpot’s free CRM option is a notable feature, providing essential tools without any cost. This makes it an attractive choice for startups and businesses with budget constraints. The platform’s marketing automation tools are the real star, however (remember that HubSpot was founded as a marketing automation platform with CRM as an afterthought.)

Why do businesses move away from HubSpot?

While HubSpot excels in simplicity, it may lack the extensive customization options that larger enterprises often require. Additionally, its free CRM has limitations, and businesses find out quickly that they need to upgrade to access some fairly basic features to run their day-to-day operations. At that point, pricing skyrockets. (Be especially cautious of multiyear deals where the out years’ pricing increases by 500%) 

Technology considerations come into play as well. HubSpot is considered a closed system, meaning customers derive the most value when they use all of the components of the system. Should you decide you need a different app for social posting, or website development, you lose many of the benefits of the platform (but still have to pay for them).

Businesses also find that while the marketing automation features of HubSpot are robust and continually improving, the CRM is fairly basic. Sales teams looking for more advanced CRM features like those found in Insightly and Salesforce can be unhappy with the standard features of HubSpot CRM. As such, sales teams may decide to leave the CRM behind while their marketing team may want to stay with HubSpot. This causes friction since integrations are not always stable. 

A better course of action when a company outgrows HubSpot is to start comparing HubSpot with Insightly.

Insightly benefits vs. Salesforce and HubSpot

Insightly positions itself as a CRM platform geared towards small and medium-sized businesses. It has all of the powerful features you’d expect from a modern CRM.  Features like pipeline management, lead management, workflow automation, PPQ, email management and more are all included. Unlike other CRMs, Insightly offers built-in project management capabilities so that businesses can execute on delivery of services after the sale. Additionally,  the platform is highly customizable and offers robust, built in dashboards and reporting capabilities

Beyond the CRM itself, Insightly is a platform. It also offers a robust marketing automation app (Insightly Marketing) and a customer service ticketing tool (Insightly Service), along with middleware for integrations (AppConnect) The CRM application includes a series of robust project management capabilities, catering to organizations that need a comprehensive solution for managing customer relationships and want to use the familiar interface for managing internal projects. 

Insightly’s user interface is intuitive, making it easy for teams to get started quickly. It offers a range of features, including management, lead and contact management, opportunity management, pipeline visualization, reports, and project tracking. The platform has a group of vital native integrations, and then unlimited integration options via its open API and AppConnect..

One key benefit of Insightly as compared to Salesforce is the lack of complexity. It’s unusual for businesses to hire outside integrators or developers to run an Insightly implementation – it’s easy to do on your own. Customizations are easy to accomplish. Custom fields, custom objects, custom dashboards, custom page layouts and custom reports are easy to create and modify. Integrations are similar, since they are accomplished with a low-code/no-code drag and drop tool like AppConnect, they are easy to build and maintain.

While Insightly’s feature set may be perceived as less extensive compared to Salesforce, it’s simply the complexity that is reduced. 

For businesses just starting out, Insightly’s free plan is a great option. You get access to a world-class CRM for up to 2 users. This isn’t a meager plan either – you get up to 2,500 records, 5 email templates, 2 custom fields and custom page layouts. All for free forever. It’s Insightly’s way of giving back to the business community and fostering small businesses worldwide. 

How do I choose between HubSpot and Salesforce and Insightly?

This blog post presented a lot of information, but here is a summary:

  1. If your business is in the Fortune 1000 and can afford a team of CRM specialists, the power and customizability of Salesforce may be a good fit.
  2. If your business is early stage and is looking for a platform primarily for marketing automation that includes website hosting, social posting, and that also has a CRM available, HubSpot can be a good choice.
  3. If your business is seeking a robust, feature-rich and customizable CRM that can integrate with a variety of applications that you use to run your business, Insightly is the ideal choice. 

The choice between Salesforce, HubSpot, and Insightly depends on the size and specific requirements of the business. Salesforce is a robust solution for large enterprises with intricate processes and a need for extensive customization. HubSpot is ideal for start-ups, small, and micro businesses seeking an easy-to-use, all-in-one platform, while Insightly is a balanced option for organizations looking for a powerful CRM that can propel the sales team into efficiency, be easily customized, and connect to any other application. Ultimately, businesses should carefully assess their needs and priorities to select the CRM platform that aligns best with their goals and resources.