I’ve been a HubSpot power user for three years, even something of a HubSpot evangelist.
When I was first introduced to HubSpot, it was the most innovative marketing automation solution on the market, and it was well priced for the SMB market.
Over the past few years, though, HubSpot has become intent on capturing the enterprise market, resulting in huge price increases. These price increases were the reason I began looking at alternatives to HubSpot at my company. I had negotiated our Enterprise plan contract to 50+% off the sticker price and we were still paying head and shoulders above what even the most expensive HubSpot alternatives are charging.
When compiling a list of HubSpot alternatives, I wasn’t just looking for a simple marketing automation solution. HubSpot has been a pioneer in growth software, offering a single integrated platform that sales and marketing teams can use together. While marketing automation has always been the foundation of their offerings, HubSpot also offer a content management solution, a CRM (with sales automation), and a burgeoning customer support tool, which allows growth-focused teams to have a complete understanding of their relationships with each contact.
So to qualify as a HubSpot alternative, a solution has to make collaboration between marketers, salespeople, and support teams easy. On this list, I’ll be considering solutions that have at least CRM and email marketing. Many of the solutions will include other things like a CMS or help desk features.
As we move into my list of alternatives, I want to start by giving HubSpot a fair shake so that we can see what it does well, who it’s for, and why you might seek an alternative in the first place.
HubSpot: Pros and Cons
As mentioned, HubSpot consists of a marketing automation solution, a CRM, a CMS, and a help desk solution. Some of their standout features include:
- A visual automation builder
- Cross-property reporting
- A complete blogging suite
- Ad automation
- Sequences, which is their sales email automation tool
Each of HubSpot’s tools can be purchased individually and a number of them are actually free to get started with. However, to get started with their growth suite, it’s $50/month. Their highest listed price for the growth suite is $4,200/month for the enterprise plan. After that, it’s custom pricing.
What HubSpot does well
HubSpot has always been good at providing an intuitive platform for growth-minded digital marketers. They have historically been a leading brand in the inbound marketing world and the marketing aspects of the software certainly reflect that. They were the first solution to introduce an extremely user-friendly visual automation builder, for instance. Their marketing automation and marketing reporting functions are still some of the best on the market.
Where HubSpot can improve
As mentioned, HubSpot’s pricing has grown steadily more outrageous over the years. For a long time, I felt the higher price point accurately reflected the level of service and tech innovation that HubSpot brought to the table. In the past year or so, though, I have personally had some major issues with both their service and their tech, making me feel that the price tag is no longer worth it.
Next, while HubSpot’s marketing features are world-class, its other segments are lacking. The free CRM is very limited, for instance. Unlocking basic tasking automation costs $50/month for two users. To unlock more advanced email automation for sales, it’s an increase of 10 times that—$500/month. Other things that the free CRM doesn’t offer include reporting, multiple pipelines, unlimited contacts and data storage, and unlimited in-app dialing.
Finally, HubSpot is not very flexible for unusual business models. I used it at a company that sold Shopify apps. Our data structure was a bit wonky even for B2B and it was difficult for us to log sales in HubSpot because our sales were made on a third party platform (Shopify). The result was that it was exceedingly difficult for us to report on our campaign success, which then made it difficult to optimize and improve.
Ratings around the web
Who should use HubSpot
Digital marketers at enterprise organizations with fairly standard business models should still absolutely look at HubSpot. Of the Enterprise level solutions on the market, it’s still leading the pack in innovation.
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Now let’s take a look at the best HubSpot alternatives we’ve found, nearly all of which are available at much lower price points…
ActiveCampaign has been making a name for themselves in the SMB marketing space recently. Like HubSpot, they are a marketing automation-first solution. They seek to help the customer-centric company grow further with a CRM and customer support offering rolled in.
Some of the noteworthy features ActiveCampaign boasts are:
- Automating SMS messages as well as email
- Automated win probabilities and lead scoring for contacts
- Sales process management
- A/B testing in automated marketing campaigns
- Multi-touch attribution
- Birds-eye view mapping of your complete automation system
ActiveCampaign’s pricing starts at $9/month for 500 contacts. The pricing quickly moves up from there depending on what plan you choose and how many contacts you have. The highest listed plan tops out at $479/month for 25,000 contacts on their Professional plan. After that, pricing is custom.
What ActiveCampaign does well
ActiveCampaign excels in its marketing automation functionality. The fact that it includes a feature enabling you to take a birds-eye view of how all your automations interact at once is honestly incredible. As a marketing automation expert, this particular feature captured my heart during the demo.
The automation builder itself is also a very easy-to-use visual drag-and-drop tool, enabling A/B testing right within automations—not something HubSpot offers.
Where ActiveCampaign can improve
ActiveCampaign has no CMS features. Where HubSpot makes it easy to build landing pages and blog posts as parts of a holistic campaign, ActiveCampaign simply doesn’t offer these features.
Additionally, ActiveCampaign’s sales automation lacks the ability to auto-drip emails to contacts from work emails, avoiding the legal requirements around marketing drip emails, like the unsubscribe link.
Price may also be of some concern with ActiveCampaign. Though it is far cheaper than HubSpot, it still may be a bit out of range for many SMBs.
Ratings from around the web
Who should use ActiveCampaign
ActiveCampaign is a top-notch option for marketing automation nerds who already have a good landing page and CMS solution.
EngageBay explicitly seeks to provide small businesses and entrepreneurs with the same kind of all-in-one marketing system that HubSpot provides to larger businesses. They feature a CRM, a marketing automation solution, and a help desk offering. Some noteworthy features include:
- A landing page builder that includes a drag-and-drop editor
- Automated SMS marketing sends
- Social media automation, with monitoring abilities
- Predictive lead scoring
- An easy-to-use visual automation builder
EngageBay’s pricing starts at $0. Their freemium plan is surprisingly feature-rich for up to 1000 contacts. Their pricing tops out at $79.99/user/month paid on a month-to-month basis, though they offer good discounts for paying annually and biennially.
What EngageBay does well
EngageBay’s pricing is very impressive. For businesses with very small marketing budgets, EngageBay is really out here doing the work, providing a full growth suite for less.
Where EngageBay can improve
Reviews indicate that EngageBay’s feature set is often lighter than expected. Complaints such as not being able to put videos on their landing pages arise frequently.
Ratings from around the web
Who should use EngageBay
Engagebay is a solid option for experienced digital marketers with tiny budgets. EngageBay means you don’t have to settle for limited EMS functionality when you can make use of so much more.
Nutshell is a CRM-first solution that in recent years has focused on adding a powerful suite of sales automation and sales engagement features. Nutshell has always been designed to help small and medium sized businesses grow, and to that end, they’re adding a native email marketing tool that is scheduled to release in January 2021.
Nutshell’s email marketing add-on will allow users to design and send email blasts and newsletters, as well as create audiences with the help of Nutshell’s impressive filtering features. In addition, their email marketing tool will provide plenty of in-product education to turn users into email marketing experts, including out-of-the-box email marketing templates and helpful tips from Nutshell’s own Growth team.
Nutshell’s other standout features include:
- A user-friendly interface that is intuitive to learn without extensive training
- Robust sales reporting and analytics
- Multiple views for pipeline management, including a drop-and-drop board and an interactive map
- Automated personal email sequences
- The ability to designate high-priority “hot leads”
- Gmail and Outlook integrations that allow you to view Nutshell contact info from your inbox, as well as a boatload of other helpful native integrations with leading business software tools
- Unlimited CRM data storage
- Free access to live customer support
Nutshell currently offers two pricing tiers: Starter for $22/user/month and their full-feature Pro package for $39/user/month, which includes the sales automation suite, Activity and Funnel reporting, and unlimited in-app phone dialing and recording.
Both tiers include unlimited CRM contacts and free phone support, and offer month-to-month pricing with no contracts; discounted prices are available for customers who pay annually.
What Nutshell does well
Nutshell has spent over a decade honing their CRM features, and it shows. Their pipeline automation features are the most advanced on the market. Reviewers say that Nutshell is super easy to learn, and that the software’s ease of use helps convince sales teams to adopt Nutshell more readily than other solutions. The low price makes Nutshell by far the best value in the CRM/sales automation space.
Where Nutshell can improve
Nutshell’s email marketing solution is still in its early days and doesn’t have much to offer highly experienced email marketers in the way of automation…yet. Also, while Nutshell’s free iPhone app is pretty killer, the mobile experience on Android is relatively bare-bones.
Ratings from around the web
Who should use Nutshell
Growth-focused sales teams will find Nutshell helpful in improving their sales process. Companies with small marketing teams will find Nutshell’s marketing features excellent for covering the email marketing basics while staying in sync with their sales team.
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Drip is a fairly unique take on growth software. Its foundation is a B2C CRM and is best suited to service eCommerce marketing teams. The CRM and marketing automation systems are not as clearly defined from each other growth software solutions. Drip sees itself not as a suite, but as a single solution that gathers contact data, customizes your storefront to that data, and then engages the customer where they are with email, SMS, and social media outreach.
Beyond the unusual perspective, Drip offers a number of notable features such as:
- Funneling your data from across your tech stack (like your Shopify store) into Drip, where you can analyze it all in one place.
- Automating social media ads that complement campaigns you’re running or pages the contact has just viewed.
- Workflow split testing allows you to test not just email versions against each other, but different content types, like an email vs an ad.
- Utilizing tracking events to trace your contacts’ behaviors
Drip starts at $19/month for up to 500 contacts. Their listed pricing tops out at $1,599/month for up to 140,000 contacts.
What Drip does well
Without question, Drip does eCommerce well. With more than 90 integrations, many of which can be reported on right from Drip’s dashboard, it’s easy to keep a singular view of your eCommerce business and personalize your store’s marketing efforts.
Where Drip can improve
Drip is not great for B2B businesses. It’s not set up to involve a one-on-one sales process. Additionally, Drip offers no phone support.
Ratings from around the web
Who should use Drip
Growth focused eCommerce marketers with a holistic view of the customer journey will find Drip to be a great tool.
Ontraport is focused on providing a simple solution to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses. The solution has a foundation of marketing automation with a CRM, a CMS, and an online payment processor built-in.
Some of their standout features include:
- A membership sites feature that enables you to run a subscription-based business.
- Email and SMS automation
- Drag-and-drop builder for website pages
- Automate responses to your text messages based on keywords
- Sales task automation
Ontraport’s plans start at $79/month for up to 20,000 contacts. Their highest established price is $479/month for their Enterprise plan for up to 20,000 contacts. After that, it’s custom pricing.
What Ontraport does well
For the small business that doesn’t want to pay for multiple pieces of software, Ontraport is a solid all-in-one solution. Customers love that it provides a wide functionality to get their business off the ground.
Where Ontraport can improve
It’s difficult to master so many aspects of software. Reviews indicate that customers are often having to create workarounds to bring their visions to life because functions are lacking. They also mention that it is exceedingly difficult to build emails within Ontraport.
Ratings from around the web
Who should use Ontraport
A small team that doesn’t need deep functionality on any of the types of software that Ontraport offers will find it very useful to center all their data in a single location.
SendinBlue bills itself as an easy-to-use marketing software system focused on SMBs (though they do have an enterprise offering). Its foundation is an email marketing system, though it features some lite marketing automation features, as well as a CRM, and ad automation. It’s notable features include:
- Automate retargeting ads.
- Create landing pages and forms within SendinBlue
- Send SMS messages with dynamic content
- Drag-and-drop form builder
- Quick set-up for the CRM
SendInBlue offers a free plan for up to 300 emails sent per day. Paid plans start at $25/month for up to 100,000 emails sent in a month. Their highest established price is $599/month for 1,000,000 emails sent per month.
What SendinBlue does well:
SendinBlue is great at ramping up beginners and helping them become digital marketing experts.
It’s a well-priced solution that even expert marketers find it useful to get the job done.
Where SendinBlue can improve
SendinBlue is not the most advanced software around. It works, but it won’t do anything particularly fancy. Additionally, reviews mention that SendinBlue’s customer support is severely lacking.
Ratings from around the web
Who should use SendinBlue
SendinBlue is a great growth marketing solution for a business without a dedicated marketer. Its ease of use makes it ideal for a marketing beginner to get a business rolling on modern digital marketing practices.
Built by the people at Infusionsoft, Keap is a CRM-first growth software designed for SMBs. Notable features include:
- Sales pipeline automation
- The ability to send customers quotes
- Send SMS messages from the CRM
- Smartforms making adding contact information easy
Keap starts at $40/month for one user and 500 contacts. Their established prices top out at $425/month for one user and up to 50,000 contacts.
What Keap does well
Unsurprisingly, Keap’s CRM functions are its best offering. Solopreneurs in reviews mention that Keap works great as a secretary.
What Keap doesn’t do well
Reviewers looking to use Keap primarily for email marketing find it lacking. The email tools are pretty basic. Reviews also mention that the reporting features are very light, making it difficult to pull the reports a sales team actually needs.
On a personal note, I find the branding to be very difficult both for me and current customers to follow. The Infusionsoft pricing is on the same page as Keap’s pricing and it makes it difficult to parse the actual difference between the two.
Ratings from around the web
Who should use Keap
SMBs with a sales team, but no marketing person will find Keap a useful tool to set up some marketing functions for the company.
Whether you’re looking for a CRM-first or email marketing-first solution, there’s a good option for every growth-minded company in these top HubSpot alternatives. And while you’re here, start a free trial of Nutshell, or sign up for our newsletter to get updates on the release of our email marketing tool.
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