How much is HubSpot? Really.

How much is HubSpot? Really.

Curious about the all-in cost of HubSpot?

So  how much is HubSpot? A typical sales pitch for adopting marketing automation to power and personalize your digital marketing experience may include something about its ability to save you time and resources.

While the upside benefits of a content driven marketing strategy coupled with marketing automation system can be game changing for most businesses, time and resources savings aren’t likely.

So, how much is HubSpot, really?

Here’s some background first…

HubSpot is the 800lb gorilla in the inbound marketing automation market and expanding its footprint to encompass more than just marketing.

While HubSpot began as a blog monetization software, helping small businesses attract visitors and converting those visitors to qualified leads, the platform has grown to include:

  • HubSpot CRM
  • HubSpot Marketing Hub
  • HubSpot Sales Hub
  • HubSpot Service Hub

The core of HubSpot’s platform is the Marketing Hub.

The HubSpot Marketing Hub is a fully integrated set of tools to help you to create blog content that ranks higher in search, automates lead nurturing with email sequences and workflows, and converts more visits to leads with a landing page builder, call-to-action buttons and forms.

Also included is a fully functional CRM with automated workflow that promotes sales qualified leads directly from marketing into sales pipeline.  Additionally, they’ve also released the Services Hub to manage services interactions on the same platform.

Table of Contents

  1. How Much Is HubSpot: Subscription Licensing
  2. How Much Is HubSpot: The Actual Marketing Work
  3. How Much Is HubSpot? What Marketing Automation Doesn’t Do
  4. What Stage Are You In?
  5. How To Accelerate Inbound ROI
  6. how Much Is HubSpot And Its Alternatives
  7. How Much Is HubSpot? Conclusion

What are my HubSpot licensing options?

HubSpot offers a spectrum of subscription plans ranging from a FREE plan to the Enterprise Subscription priced at $2,400 per month. Each plan includes incrementally more functionality starting with the free plan. Most businesses use the Professional Version which costs $800/month.

For instance here is an example for a HubSpot Professional subscription with 10,000 contacts:

Here’s a full list of features available in each plan.

Is Marketing Technology The Only Cost To Consider When Calculating Your Internal ‘How Much Is HubSpot’?

Simple answer. NO.

So what does marketing automation do?

Marketing automation provides companies the ability to automate the process of converting site visitors into leads and paying customers. It’s not magic. In fact, it’s entirely data driven and will quantify your entire marketing approach.

Therefore it requires a marketing technologist or analyst to manage the process of continual optimization of campaigns.  Not what many small or mid-sized business execs think about for a ‘marketer’.

Further, the marketing technologist employs a specialized set of skills to continually optimize the marketing machine to produce more leads at a higher quality. They can often can often find new revenue opportunity though the identification of trends, changes in content interaction and overall business acumen.

What does Marketing Technology NOT do?

HubSpot does a bunch.  But not everything.

Marketing automation is a part of a greater content marketing strategy.

And content is the fuel that powers your marketing machine.  For example:

Marketing technology does NOT attract visitors to your site. While it automates the process of converting unknown site visitors into known contacts and nurtures those contacts, it does not create the content (blogs, video posts, podcasts, social posts, paid ads…) that get your ideal prospects to your site in the first place. This domain is called Content Marketing.

Content marketing and inbound marketing technology are happily married.

In other words, the costs to effectively deploy and manage an Inbound B2B Marketing Strategy include far more than a subscription. This like:

  • Content strategist
  • Content creators
  • Marketing technologist/analysts
  • Landing page and forms designers
  • Social marketing managers
  • PPC experts
  • SEO experts

This is a challenging and expensive combination of skills to acquire in-house which is why specialized inbound marketing  and technology agencies exist.

Think about some of the work involved in building a content-driven, lead producing engine. Things like:

  1. Persona development
  2. SEO Research
  3. Creating the content whether video, blog, whitepaper, infographics… 
  4. Market and competitive analysis.
  5. Tactical assessment. (blog, guest posts, PPC, press releases, review sites, offline…)
  6. Technology management and integrations. 
  7. Email marketing and sequence automation.
  8. Landing page and forms development.
  9. Analytics, reporting, optimization.

Therefore, HubSpot cost is far more than just technology.  Still curious about your question ‘How much is HubSpot’?

Persona development can impact the ROI and cost of HubSpot.

Why Is A Customer Persona Important?

Your customer’s persona informs the content you create, how they search for your service or product, where you’ll likely find them and how you can help them.

The internet is filled with information that exposes all of this.  These are some typical questions in the content research phase.

  • What topics are my customer interested in?
  • How do they shop for my product/service?
  • What channels do my prospects actively interact?
  • How can I best reach them?
  • What are my competitors doing that works?
  • How can I be valuable to them?
  • What specific words do they use?

Your content  marketing team will use the persona as their Rosetta stone for all of your marketing campaigns, blogs, white papers, videos, infographics…  Persona development is a pivotal part of the content marketing process.


What Stage are you in?

  • Breaking new ground: during this stage you’re solving for the problem of ‘Not having enough good prospects visiting your site’.
  • Increasing lead flow: during this stage you’re solving for the problem of ‘Converting more website visitors into contacts for your sales team’.
  • Optimizing lead quality: during this stage you’re solving for the problem of ‘Sales reps are receiving lots of leads but a large percentage of those leads are poor quality’.

Tweet me @TheFunnelCon to ask questions about building your lead generation machine!


Inbound ROI:  A Compounding Return Is The Gift That Keeps On Giving

In my first role as sales and marketing director for a small Oracle services provider I adopted HubSpot’s platform with zero guidance from management and was steered strongly by management into using a very bad consultant.

The result, a (very) long road to ROI and the loss of my job.

If I could go back in time to my former Sales and Marketing Director self I would have appreciated this advice:

  1. Invest first in building an informed, intentional content strategy
  2. Accelerating the ROI of your inbound marketing investment has a compounding effect.

black samsung tablet computer

The sooner you can produce the first deal from the lead production engine, the sooner you’ll reach your year one goal.

{I believe that the HubSpot price is prohibitive for most small businesses to maximize inbound ROI.}

And the higher you can set the bar for year two.

Plus, the greater the number of closed deals resulting directly from your inbound technology and services investment.

Whether you’re a CEO of a SMB or a VP of Sales and/or Marketing, consider the comprehensive effort required to fuel a content marketing machine.

Above all, running your new content marketing machine takes work.  And the better you’re team is trained and experienced in inbound marketing automation processes and technology, the shorter the return.

Meanwhile, if your team is resource constrained, hire a consultant or agency to align your overall marketing goals with your content and marketing automation plan.

How much is HubSpot and how can you accelerate Marketing Automation ROI?

In my opinion, ROI Acceleration is the correct lever to manipulate once you’ve committed to a content-driven, inbound marketing automation strategy. Here are your options:

  1. Use a fully integrated platform. What you gain is far greater functionality, visibility and control to make the most impactful changes at the right time. The alternative to an integrated platform is a loosely integrated set of tools including: email engine, landing page builder, form builder, CMS, Social Media scheduler, anonymous visitor identification, CRM.
  2. Hire an inbound marketing automation technology partner, to run the machine or support/guide your internal marketing team.  They’ve done it before and know the path to success.
  3. Lower the cost of inbound technology and reallocate those dollars to value added marketing services like content development…

Are there HubSpot alternatives that would allow my company to reach ROI faster?

You’re probably getting a sense that How Much Is HubSpot is a loaded question.

And Yes, there are HubSpot alternatives.  HubSpot isn’t the only game in town in 2019. It’s very well suited for companies with at least some internal resources dedicated to building and managing the end-to-end inbound marketing machine and a software budget over $18k-$36k/year upfront.

A true HubSpot alternative at a fraction of the cost.

Personally, I think SharpSpring makes more sense for most businesses.

SharpSpring provides comprehensive automation functionality at a discount from HubSpot’s premium retail cost. SharpSpring offers a lower price point and monthly terms by marketing and selling primarily through partners and agencies.

For example:

  • A HubSpot Professional plan with 10,000 contacts, costs $18k annually, paid upfront plus a $3k setup fee.  Note that the Pro plan is not full-functionality like Enterprise  which is priced starting above $27k annually.
  • SharpSpring Plan for 10,000 contacts is $499 per month plus a $2,000 setup fee

In fact, SharpSpring marketing functionality rivals HubSpot Enterprise and even exceeds it in areas like anonymous visitor identification and social action workflow triggers

Conclusion: How Much Is HubSpot?

Once you’ve committed to an inbound marketing strategy, which will compound in value year over year, it’s crucial to understand upfront costs and where you can accelerate that strategy.

The landscape is rapidly evolving and, while it is an incredibly powerful platform, the upfront HubSpot cost to simply acquire the technology will surely reduce inbound ROI for companies not ready to part with the $21,000-$36,000 upfront for a HubSpot subscription in addition to the required marketing services investment.

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