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Salesforce Vs. Hubspot.

Hubspot vs. Salesforce.  Salesforce vs. Hubspot.  It’s a perennial question.  Are they competitive?  Are they complementary?  Is one better for startup vs. a scale up company?


Most startups and scale up companies will find that Hubspot and Salesforce are complementary tools.  Hubspot is awesome for Demand Generation, Marketing Automation and much more. It’s super user friendly and there is almost universal agreement that Hubspot (the company) is excellent to work with.   On the other hand, Salesforce’s superpowers are its role as an innovator, ubiquity as a CRM, ecosystem & developer support and its overall flexibility – but with that flexibility comes complexity. You can do almost anything with Salesforce but the more you customize it, the more overhead it takes (the same is true of any system).   

What’s In the Box?

There is a lot of overlap between Hubspot and Salesforce and we believe that choosing a CRM or Marketing Automation system should be based on your company’s maturity and your desired outcomes, rather than features and functions.  However, we recognize that some people might be looking for a good ol’ fashion feature comparison.  If you’re looking for an objective review that describes the differences between Hubspot and Salesforce on a feature-by-feature basis, you can find a good one, here, here, here and here. Of course, you can also reach out to us

What Are You Building (and Why?) 

Now that we have established that the question is not whether Salesforce and Hubspot are competitive, but rather if these tools make sense for your business, let’s dig in.

Before buying anything, it’s important for the RevOps Team (i.e., Sales, Marketing and Operations) to define what is needed (both now and in the future). This will be informed by the following: 1) your business/sales model, 2) current and future business process and 3) reporting and management requirements. 

We have found it helpful to put it on paper and draw a diagram.  Nothing fancy, just a few boxes that illustrate the core capabilities required now and in the future by your team.  Once you have an agreed upon picture, you can start thinking through your roadmap and implementation sequence.  Our customers have also found this type of picture helpful in explaining the required capabilities and value from each capability to executives, when onboarding new team members and during times of transition.  

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With a high-level roadmap defined, the next step is to identify the sequence to bring each component online.  Again, the sequence will depend on the capabilities your company needs and its overall maturity.

Start Small, Then Grow 

Build for your current scale with an eye towards growth. It’s a popular product management/product development approach but the approach also applies to building out your RevOps stack.  Yes, we all want all the tech – but resist the urge!  Buy what you know you need.  Integrate the tech into your business process and operations, prove its value to executives and business owners.  Wash, rinse, repeat.

Starting small with CRM might mean, having a place to:

  • Manage your sales process
  • Easily track and report on deals
  • Serve as a system of record for marketing leads
  • Serve as a system of record for sales opportunities

As user engagement and comfort with each system increases, you might decide to expand your usage of a system to include:

  • Data enrichment
  • Lead scoring
  • Simple workflows to automate basic processes 

If at all possible, it would be best to have an idea of which business processes you want to work on BEFORE you buy anything.  But even if you have bought something but haven’t defined the use cases, now is the time – it’ll help you measure and prove success!

Integrate and Automate 

As you build out your RevOps stack, you’ll undoubtedly find opportunities to integrate components of your stack, which will then lead to automating entire business processes.  This is how you scale and where you want to be.  Both Salesforce and Hubspot have robust integration and automation capabilities, such as:

emailLow Code ConnectorsCalling/Dialer 
CalendarTeam CommunicationCustomer Success
SocialData CollectionProposal and Document Management

Ideally, your CRM and Marketing Automation systems should serve as the core of all of your sales and marketing activities, and integrations serve as a force multiplier to automate and simplify processes and scale faster.

Managing and Maintaining Your RevOps Stack

Regardless of the system you choose, you’ll have to manage and maintain each system.  Typically, this includes activities that are not easily automated and are time consuming.  

System adminReportingEcosystem Integration
TrainingDashboardingData Import
EnablementProcess AutomationSystem customization

Often, these responsibilities fall onto the Sales or Marketing team that owns the system (which detracts from revenue generating activities).     As you grow, you can hire specific people to manage either system (i.e., system admin) or you can outsource the management to a 3rd party but either way with either system, these responsibilities are a constant.  

The takeaway 

Most startups and scale up companies will find that Hubspot and Salesforce are complementary tools.  Hubspot is awesome for Demand Generation, Marketing Automation, CRM and Service and much more. Salesforce is the industry leading ubiquitous CRM that can do just about anything. As a startup and/or scale up company, you will probably end up using both.

Before buying either system, you should have a clear idea of the role you want each system to play.  You should also have a good understanding of your maturity level.  If you’re an enterprise startup doing founder lead sales, then you probably don’t need to focus on building out your Demand Generation capabilities just yet.  But, if you’re building a high-velocity, low-touch sales model, then you probably should focus on building your demand generation capabilities and process out as soon as possible.f

With a clear picture of what you need and why, buy a small number of products that are appropriate for your Sales and Marketing maturity level.  Build out those systems with purpose and a good understanding of your business requirements.  Consider what it will take to manage and maintain a solution as well as to get the most adoption/engagement from a particular solution (training as well as having qualified personnel available to answer questions.)

Placeshift’s Salesforce and Hubspot Assist subscription can help you make the most of your CRM and Marketing Automation investments by giving you access to on-demand Salesforce and Hubspot admin’s.  Visit to find out more