The HubSpot Alternative Ultimate Guide

The HubSpot Alternative Ultimate Guide

The Ultimate HubSpot Alternative Shakedown

There are many HubSpot alternative platforms that are on the market today more than capable of handling small and medium-sized business (SMB) inbound marketing automation needs. In this summary, we’ll look into the important benefits that the different marketing automation tools have, their pricing, and how they compare with HubSpot.

In certain situations, HubSpot might not be the right option for your company and a different tool might suit your business better. Below we put many top choices under the microscope to help you make an informed decision.

What is HubSpot?

HubSpot is inbound sales and marketing software for businesses to draw in visitors, win over leads, and close deals. It’s a comprehensive marketing platform that scales with businesses as they grow, but it also comes with a hefty price tag. It requires an annual purchase agreement and payment upfront, and the cost increases rapidly as your functionality needs become more complex.

HubSpot started the first inbound marketing automation platform that’s completely integrated, they began using the phrase ‘inbound marketing’, and they were a big player in first nudging SMBs to consider marketing automation. Earlier, SMB marketing automation was typically achieved using of different tools that would connect to blogging programs like WordPress.

Inbound marketing has become a basic B2B pipeline building strategy. It dovetails incredibly well with B2B sales strategies like Predictable Revenue from Aaron Ross, paid search marketing and consumer trends. When e-commerce shops and B2C businesses implement marketing automation strategically, they are much closer to keeping pace with Amazon, Salesforce and other leaders when it comes to giving shoppers and buyers a unique and personalized experience.

Why Are Businesses Looking for Hubspot Alternatives?

HubSpot takes care of all sales and marketing tasks. The drawback about HubSpot is that it’s expensive, and many SMBs don’t have room in the marketing budget for it. The high subscription cost and payment structure removes budget dollars from revenue generating marketing campaigns.

Be careful, because HubSpot subscriptions have varied tiers of functionality (not all subscriptions are equal). Make a list of the capabilities your business requires, and be sure that the marketing automation tools you select meet your expectations and requirements.

Meanwhile, agencies are often less profitable after using HubSpot because of their weak partner program as well as the cost. Also, customization within HubSpot is limited.

Finally, the failure to integrate with any other apps is a challenge, and this is one reason many companies choose HubSpot alternatives.

Table of Contents

●    Pardot: The HubSpot Alternative For The SalesForce Crowd

●    SharpSpring: The HubSpot Alternative For SMBs That Want More

●    ActiveCampaign: The ‘Almost’ HubSpot Alternative

●    Marketo: The Enterprise HubSpot Alternative

●    Eloqua: The HubSpot Alternative For Oracle Shops

●    Hatchbuck: The HubSpot Alternative For Startups

Pardot: The HubSpot Alternative For The SalesForce Crowd

Pardot is a fully functional marketing platform. In this comparison, we’ll look at the differences and the similarities between the HubSpot and the Pardot plans.

What is Pardot?

Pardot is inbound marketing automation for B2B companies looking to better coordinate the goals of their marketing and sales teams. It’s part of the Salesforce ecosystem and handles customer relationship management and gives companies the ability to leverage personas, personalization and inbound marketing.

What Makes It Different from HubSpot?

For one, Pardot requires that users have already purchased a Salesforce CRM license and blog platform, which can be a costly premise unless your business has committed to the Salesforce ecosystem. As a HubSpot alternative, Pardot offers rich marketing automation functionality in every plan and it’s pre-integrated to Salesforce simplifying data management costs and management. Based on your business requirements you may compare either HubSpot Professional or Enterprise against Pardot.

What Are the Benefits?

While both Pardot and Hubspot give users the option to create automated workflows, the real benefit comes from the simplification of managing one vendor instead of two. That includes the ease of managing data under one system with Pardot versus two with HubSpot. One of the biggest complaints I hear from marketing execs is that data management can be a challenge. The bad news is that this is consistent regardless of which platform you choose. So anything you can do to simplify rather than confuse data management is probably a good option to consider.

Pricing

Costs are comparable for the plans that offer similar features. Pardot is $2,500 per month paid upfront and billed annually. This isn’t far from the HubSpot price tag of $2,400 (plus contacts) for software that includes CRM. When it comes down to it and since the prices are close, HubSpot is a slightly more robust product for the spend.

SharpSpring: The HubSpot Alternative For SMBs That Want Equivalent Functionality At a Fraction Of The Price

If you’re looking for an apples-to-apples comparison of SMB inbound marketing automation platforms, SharpSpring and HubSpot are by far the most similar. SharpSpring is a worthwhile HubSpot alternative and competitor of the best platforms in the marketing automation industry as far as performance, functionality, and features go. It’s also a fraction of the cost, offers a platform that can be custom-labeled, has a more flexible pricing model, and simple management.

What is SharpSpring?

SharpSpring is a HubSpot alternative that has risen rapidly from its humble beginnings as a late-comer in 2013, and it could be because the platform was quick to develop a wide range of in-depth tools that work. SharpSpring is built with the same functionality that the HubSpot Enterprise marketing and sales hub has; specifically, a blog platform, landing pages, email automation, forms, social integration, dynamic content, and lead scoring and reporting.

What Makes It Different from HubSpot?

Though these platforms have the most in common, the following key differences between SharpSpring and HubSpot are important to note.

As far as automation and workflow capabilities go, the matchup is closer but SharpSpring really sets themselves apart with the automated workflow builder (shown below).

Also, the forms builder in SharpSpring supports custom CSS without requiring an interaction with the vendor tech services. Some agencies that offer SharpSpring also provide valuable inbound marketing automation services. Another feature in SharpSpring that’s very compelling is the ‘Life of the Lead’ feature (shown below).


What Are the Benefits?

SharpSpring has a toolset that’s easy to use. This platform also offers more value because SharpSpring includes full functionality in every subscription option (in HubSpot, functionality is tiered.

The HubSpot Enterprise plan shows analytics that are easy to understand, whileSharpSpring also provides helpful analytics that are presented within a customizable display.

Another benefit is how social media capabilities can integrate with the marketing automation services: in SharpSpring, social activities can trigger automation. Then, social media history is kept in SharpSpring under the lead’s history. This is another win for SharpSpring.

SharpSpring offers a quicker ROI because of the lower cost and equivalent functionality. The platform is one of the most powerful and adaptable platforms on the marketing automation market. It gives businesses the opportunity to completely integrate call tracking, integrate CRM and CMS for 3rd party or native software, and also integrate with many applications.

SharpSpring captures all leads and collects the data for later use. Plus, their email deliverability is practically bomb proof.

Pricing

SharpSpring is a HubSpot Alternative that’s sold through an agencies or direct from SharpSpring, which gives the customer many advantages including subscriptions that can include agency services. The MSRP cost to acquire SharpSpring is just $2,450 since there is no large upfront investment. In comparison, the upfront cost for HubSpot Pro is about $18,000 and HubSpot Enterprise is $34,800.

SharpSpring offers month-to-month plans, while HubSpot annual contracts are paid upfront. And yes, the HubSpot contracts do require a prepaid annual commitment. Finally, the cost to scale makes the winner clear. With the SharpSpring subscription, 100k contacts are included on day one, while HubSpot limits contacts to 10k.

SharpSpring’s flexible pricing model frees up thousands of dollars right away that can be invested in valuable marketing services. This is one HubSpot alternative that is a worthy contender.

ActiveCampaign: The Almost HubSpot Alternative

ActiveCampaign Enterprise is sometimes be a solid HubSpot alternative to the Enterprise plan. However, HubSpot is more of a complete marketing tool, while ActiveCampaign is primarily focused on email campaigns and A/B sequence testing.

What is ActiveCampaign?

ActiveCampaigns is considered a marketing automation platform, but their true competency lies in the automation of email marketing sequences, CRM, site integration and complex messaging. ActiveCampaigns helps to incorporate real-time segmentation automation and use complex waterfall campaigns that feed qualified sales leads into its CRM. They also offer instant web and SMS messaging right on your site so that you can greet your visitors right away.

What Makes It Different from HubSpot?

The landing pages are the first difference between HubSpot and ActiveCampaign, which doesn’t actually allow for landing page creation but will connect to landing page tools like LeadPages and Unbounce or using WordPress or whatever site builder you may have. ActiveCampaigns automates lead capture through conversion to SQL and sales funnel management.

HubSpot wins in the reporting sense as ActiveCampaigns can’t always track the effectiveness of certain content, blogs, and CTAs. HubSpot takes another win by making blogging available within the tool. ActiveCampaigns can’t compose blogs, but it does connect easily to blogging platforms like WordPress. Social media capabilities are much better within HubSpot as well. ActiveCampaigns doesn’t use social activity, track interactions, or automate social posting in triggering campaigns and events.

What Are the Benefits?

While HubSpot is a more robust all-around platform, ActiveCampaign has a lot to offer as well especially considering the price. It’s an entire CRM and email inbound marketing automation platform. It’s easy to segment subscribers to different lists because of the intuitive and well laid out interface. Also, it’s extremely cost-efficient in that it’s roughly 1/10 the price of HubSpot Enterprise.

Many small or medium sized businesses don’t have loads of cash to invest upfront, and for those new to content marketing, this is a worthwhile contender. ActiveCampaign can even be scalable with the help of a savvy marketing team (either agency or in-house). All in all, ActiveCampaign wins this match for offering the most value.

Pricing

Monthly subscription options are as low as $279 per month with ActiveCampaigns, and an annual plan isn’t required. This blows HubSpot out of the water while still considering that you might need to invest in a few add-ons as well.

Marketo: The Enterprise HubSpot Alternative

Marketo helps companies measure and automate marketing workflows, tasks, and engagement. In this comparison, we’ll look at the differences and the similarities between Marketo and HubSpot.

What is Marketo?

Marketo is a marketing automation software that gives large companies a super-customizable platform for targeting the right leads, personalizing multiple marketing campaigns, and creating lead-to-income possibilities.

What Makes It Different from HubSpot?

The market that they serve is the main difference between the two. Marketo is a HubSpot alternative that caters to the upper market successfully since they provide a customizable and configurable platform that is ideal for IT staff and technical marketing professionals to run. With marketing automation services on staff, Marketo can be a powerful tool. Marketo is suitable for companies that have those resources available. CMOs that have very specific requirements might also find that Marketo is best for them as well.

For businesses that are satisfied with the ready-made tools that HubSpot has created, it’s possible to achieve the same revenue impact with a lower price tag. This means you’ll have a far better ROI and a much happier CFO.

When compared with HubSpot, Marketo has more limited analytics and reports. There are steep increases in pricing for higher plans, and the form builder and landing page could be better.

What Are the Benefits?

The customization capabilities of Marketo can be changed more than with the HubSpot tools, but the help of technical marketing and IT skill will be required. Marketo also looks deeper into analytics than Hubspot, specifically in financial impact reporting that’s not included in this HubSpot plan.

Marketo is better for technical marketing professionals, while HubSpot aims for ease of use (hence the many positive ratings). Custom functionality is Marketo’s bread and butter, and there’s no point in going all out with the robust software if you don’t need specific customization.

The integrations within Marketo are also helpful. It can integrate with Sugar, Oracle, SAP, NetSuite, and SFDC. Since it has an open API (SOAP and REST), Marketo can connect with almost all modern platforms. Bigger companies will need more out of their CRM platforms than what they can get with HubSpot, so for these businesses, Marketo would be more their speed.

Pricing

Marketo is right in the middle of the enterprise category with software slightly more inexpensive than HubSpot’s at roughly $2,000/month to open the doors. However, Marketo is technical – so much so that hiring IT staff and technical marketing professionals is required for configuration. HubSpot Enterprise runs $2,400/month.

Eloqua: The HubSpot Alternative For Oracle Shops

Dynamic journeys with Eloqua, Oracle’s integrated marketing platform.

What is Eloqua?

Eloqua is a HubSpot alternative that provides software for Oracle shops requiring marketing evaluation, campaign, and lead management, marketing and sales alignment, and list segmentation and targeting. While there are many tools, these aren’t all built-in to the platform and it might not operate as seamlessly as other options.

What Makes It Different from HubSpot?

Eloqua doesn’t offer a system for CRM like HubSpot does, which reduces the ROI of the investment overall. But it serves a more upscale market which typically uses a ‘best of breed’ strategy for departmental apps. Another key difference between these two is that HubSpot focuses on multi-channel marketing, while Eloqua emphasizes all marketing efforts through email. There isn’t a way to add channels to Eloqua, either.

What Are the Benefits?

Eloqua’s platform is intuitive and easily allows marketers to set up marketing campaigns. The software also connects with many CRM applications. Eloqua has the capability to give sales employees access to approved and branded emails that they can re-use or they can write new emails intentionally designed for high impact. Eloqua also allows businesses to see how their contacts within Eloqua are responding to marketing campaigns very easily. Think ‘Life of the Lead’ like SharpSpring.

Pricing

There are multiple pricing tiers for Eloqua as there are with HubSpot. The Basic Plan is $2,000/month but it doesn’t include enterprise options like multiple or advanced lead routing and scoring. The next step up has a $4,000/month price tag, and this isn’t even Eloqua’s enterprise level plan. The HubSpot Enterprise is slightly more expensive than the Basic Eloqua plan, but the value will be considerable with an entire suite of Enterprise-level capabilities. Without marketing automation services, it can be hard to get started in Eloqua to begin with. HubSpot takes the win on this one.

Hatchbuck: The HubSpot Alternative For Startups

Comparing HubSpace to Hatchbuck is like comparing the lightweight fire-cracker to the heavy-weight champion. While the two don’t correspond very well functionally, Hatchbuck has made a great case with their compelling platform.

Hatchbuck is included here because they truly have the potential to become a threat in the future, but not until they add some functionality that helps guide them upmarket.

What Are the Benefits?

Hatchbuck is a powerful HubSpot alternative that can be integrated with blogging platforms like WordPress and other websites. It also can be connected with Zapier through an exposed API that makes it possible to integrate with most platforms. Of course, the only variable in this situation is the budget.

What Makes It Different from HubSpot?

It’s light. HubSpot is much more functional than Hatchbuck as far as the landing pages, integration, and automation capabilities go. In order to match the capabilities of HubSpot with a lower budget, Hatchbuck would need to be combined with HootSuite, LeadPages, and WordPress to achieve similar results. Even then, a skilled marketing technology professional or tech-savvy content marketer would need to be able to connect these dots to maximize ROI. So with a little work, it’s a solid option for bootstrapped or Angel-funded startups.

What Are the Benefits?

Hatchbuck is a marketing automation and CRM platform that can help increase sales, better understand customer needs, and more appropriately provide support for them. It can also smooths out sale-to-marketing team interactions.

Pricing

This is where Hatchbuck takes the lead. Even when combining all of the tools needed to match HubSpot’s level of functionality, Hatchbuck and the cost of the other tools are less expensive. However, this doesn’t account for the skill necessary to set up and manage Hatchbuck along with the other tools. This HubSpot alternative is a winner in my estimation.

Conclusion

There are many important factors to consider before signing on with a marketing automation software vendor for the long-term.

First, remember that many of these HubSpot alternatives only offer year-long contracts, and often, upfront payment and startup fee are also required. However, some marketing options offer their software monthly at a higher price point but will remove certain functionalities according to the plan. Small to medium-sized businesses might want to steer clear of HubSpot if they want to accelerate their impact, extend their budget, and bring in a higher ROI. Even HubSpot Professional runs $18k for companies looking for a mid-market product.

Startups might not require the breadth of functionality that’s offered in a comprehensive inbound marketing automation platform. Solutions like ActiveCampaign and Hatchbuck are solid HubSpot alternatives for smaller companies, but their functionality overall is subpar since they mainly offer forms and email automation.

ShareSpring is a HubSpot alternative that’s ideal for SMBs who are seeking monthly subscriptions for all-in-one marketing automation services and platform. ShareSpring offers email marketing, dynamic landing pages, visual workflows, forms, dynamic reporting, unlimited users, social media integrations, blog, CRM, and unlimited support.

I hope this has been helpful! Good marketing!

Which of these inbound marketing automation platforms do you have your eye on? Comment below, or follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn.P

TFC is a leading SharpSpring advisory based in Philadelphia, PA.

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