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Considering Zoho CRM or Hubspot (or both) for your customer relationship management system? We don’t blame you. They’re industry leaders with robust platforms and strong brand reputations as a result. The operative question here, then, is: which one will serve you best?

For Hubspot, the bulk of the features it’s famous for are only available to those paying for higher, enterprise-level subscriptions. With Zoho, subscription fees are more affordable for smaller teams and tend to offer more mission-critical functionality for the same price. Conversely, advanced features are easier to come by with Hubspot, while a wealth of Zoho’s important functions are siloed in expensive add-ons.

So, would you benefit more from Hubspot’s “go big or go home” CRM design or Zoho CRM’s “no team left behind” philosophy? Let’s find out.

Zoho CRM vs. HubSpot: Comparison table

Software Zoho CRM HubSpot
Starting paid price $15 per month $14 per user per month
Free plan Yes Yes
Contract requirement One-year minimum No contract; cancel anytime
Reporting and forecasting More custom reports, optional AI enhancement Fewer custom reports
Email marketing Fewer emails, more templates Fewer templates, more emails
Integrations Wider integration options Fewer integrations; preference for Zoho apps
For more information

Zoho CRM and HubSpot: Pricing

Unlike many areas of digital, B2B technologies, the pricing for both of these tools is fairly transparent and straightforward. Pricing is listed on their websites, and both offer calculator tools to help you get a more accurate idea of what you’ll be paying.

Add-ons and necessary features may muddy the waters a bit, but as long as you’re looking closely at the lists of included functionalities, you should be able to avoid paying more than you need or paying for less than you wanted.

Zoho pricing

Zoho logo.
Image: Zoho

Zoho’s platform is broken into a number of core domains (CRM, human resources and IT). Each domain has a core feature set that scales up with subscription tiers. Pricing is based on the subscription tier, the number of users or licenses and the number of add-ons or domain packages included.

  • Free version: $0.
  • Standard: $14 per user per month.
  • Professional: $23 per user, per month.
  • Enterprise: $40 per user, per month.
  • Ultimate: $52 per user, per month.

Zoho also offers a build-your-own bundle offering, with two available tiers:

  • CRM Flex: $14 per user, per month.
  • CRM Plus: $57 per user, per month.

HubSpot pricing

HubSpot logo.
Image: HubSpot

Like Zoho, HubSpot offers a stripped-down free version. For those willing to pay but on a tight budget, HubSpot’s Starter plan offers a few more critical features than the free one. For the real HubSpot experience, though, you’ll have to jump up to the Professional or Enterprise plans, with the more extensive functionality coming with a non-trivial increase in price.

At every pricing tier, plans provide a baseline number of user licenses, with additional licenses for a given tier costing extra.

  • Free Tools: $0.
  • Starter Customer Platform: $15 per month.
  • Professional: $1,600 per month.
  • Enterprise: $5,000 per month.

Feature comparison: Zoho CRM vs. HubSpot

Both Hubspot and Zoho are platforms with expansive B2B offerings, and CRM functionality is only one aspect of either brand. For many who use these platforms, the expansive lists of available tools are a major part of the value they bring to the table. As for the CRM tools themselves, Zoho and Hubspot share much of their core functionality in common.

Contact management

Winner: Tie

As the most central feature of any CRM, there’s actually little to point to as objectively superior in either platform for contact management. Zoho CRM and HubSpot allow you to build a functional, digital contact database and both reserve advanced features — like lead scoring, duplicate management and other things tied to automation and data integrity — to paid plans.

That said, the same overall strengths and weaknesses of both platforms can be seen throughout: HubSpot offers a more polished interface, intuitive user experience and comprehensive feature set. Zoho CRM’s solution is more rough around the edges and tends to be less user friendly but offers basically the same raw functionality at a lower per-user cost (Figure A).

Zoho CRM contact page.
Figure A: Zoho CRM contact page. Image: Zoho

All-in-all, Hubspot and Zoho more or less break even here, with Zoho having perhaps a small edge for offering more of its advanced features to lower-tier paid users.

Sales enablement and pipeline management

Winner: HubSpot

Zoho CRM and HubSpot bring similar solutions to sales enablement and pipeline management. In either case, the free versions will offer little in the way of advanced tools, saving the good stuff for paid users. And, like before, HubSpot offers a more satisfying and intuitive UI experience (Figure B).

HubSpot lead nurturing dashboard.
Figure B: HubSpot lead nurturing dashboard. Image: HubSpot

Beyond that, Hubspot provides a deeper tool set and more powerful functionality. The trade off here is that it will cost more to get the full suite to play with. Lead filtering and scoring options, for example, are downright impressive. But most smaller teams won’t need all of that power at their fingertips and won’t want to pay the price of admission besides.

Zoho, on the other hand, does a better job of serving teams with less demanding use cases. That said, the platform UI takes a little more effort to get used to and may struggle to fully support the lead management needs of organizations with sizable pipelines and large quantities of incoming leads. But if you’re at the stage where budget trumps hyper-efficiency, Zoho CRM’s the better fit.

Reporting and forecasting

Winner: Tie

Hubspot offers a modest three dashboard and 10 reports per dashboard limit for free users. Upgrading to paid increases this, but unless you spring for the top-tier subscriptions, you’ll be stuck with its default reports. Even then, there’s a hard limit on the number of custom reports you’re allotted.

Zoho also restricts custom reporting to paid plans, but you get access to custom reports sooner, with the Standard plan offering 100 of them per month. At the highest tiers, the cap is removed entirely.

As far as actual usage, Hubspot offers both a better default experience and wider customization options. If basic reporting templates serve you well enough, HubSpot makes it easy to “fire and forget,” minimizing effort on your part. And, on the flip side, if you need some hyper-specific analytics, you’ll have more room to tweak and fuss with the figures and visuals — bonus points for better presentation, too.

For its part, Zoho CRM can be a little less flexible and require a bit more work to create custom reports to suit your needs (Figure C). Despite this, both default and custom reports are made available at lower price points and the option for bottomless reports is great for anyone who needs to burn through them without adding to the cost.

Zoho CRM analytics dashboard.
Figure C: Zoho CRM analytics dashboard. Image: Zoho

It’s a pretty even break, with the deciding factor here again being the balance between functionality and price.

Email marketing and automation

Winner: Zoho CRM

Despite HubSpot’s reputation as an industry giant in the email space, both Zoho CRM and HubSpot provide functionality that’s about the same. The differences are primarily ones of scale and price. Both platforms offer emails in their free plans. The limits are placed on templates and numbers of emails a day, with HubSpot also tying some limits to the email client you’re using.

Hubspot offers more emails across the board (Figure D). On the low end, free users are capped at a max of 350 per day when using Gmail, while paid users get a max of 5,000 a day. With Zoho, its lowest cap is 50 emails per day, and its highest is 1,000 per user license (or 50,000 per day, whichever comes first).

HubSpot email dashboard.
Figure D: HubSpot email dashboard. Image: Hubspot

Templates are the opposite, though: Zoho offers 10 email templates for free users, with the cap going as high as unlimited for top-tier subscribers. HubSpot users get five email templates with the free plan, and paid users get up to 5,000.

Beyond that, the two solutions handle workflows differently as well. While HubSpot is famous for its email automation, setting up workflows isn’t as intuitive as the rest of the platform. What’s noteworthy is how strict the caps are for free and Starter users. Workflows are severely limited, with only one or a small handful available, depending on the tier. That limit can make it difficult to get really creative with market segmentation.

Zoho doesn’t cap those workflows, even on its lower tier plans, meaning that growing teams don’t have to be as budget-constrained when it comes to how they implement email marketing.

Zoho CRM pros and cons

Pros

  • Less expensive on average for the same functionality.
  • Broader platform options for those who want an all-in-one tech solution.
  • Prices scale up according to team size, reducing costs for smaller teams.

Cons

  • Integrations prioritize Zoho apps over third-party tools.
  • Add-ons get pricey quickly.
  • Most non-CRM tools require add-ons.

HubSpot pros and cons

Pros

  • Comprehensive marketing and sales tools.
  • Expansive integration library.
  • Industry-leading functionality and resource library.

Cons

  • Free and affordable plans are severely limited.
  • Full-features plans come with enterprise-grade pricing.
  • Add-ons vary significantly in pricing.

Should your organization use Zoho CRM or HubSpot?

It’s pretty widely accepted across the industry that HubSpot is to CRM and marketing tools what Quickbooks, Photoshop and Office are in their respective categories. You’re getting a leading brand, with leading functionality. But you’re paying a premium for it.

Zoho CRM, on the other hand, is built with smaller, less-centralized teams in mind. It’s easier to get started with Zoho CRM, and it’s easier to scale. While costs can get pretty unwieldy at the upper edges, most teams will have to reconcile with their changing needs well before they reach that point — and will most likely have the resources to grapple with it when they do.

So, in short:

  • If you’re a big team and want a respected name powering your CRM tool, choose HubSpot.
  • If you’re growing and want something reliable but more affordable, go with Zoho CRM.

Or, you could always keep looking at other top CRM software if neither of these fits your use case just right.

Review methodology

While writing this article, we researched the vendors and their websites, as well as customer reviews and ratings, to gain a full understanding of where each solution fits into the market landscape — and who they serve most effectively.

With the heavy overlap in core functionality, we looked closely at user experience, advanced features and costs for comparative features on the competing platform. Among both user reviews and trusted third-party outlets like Gartner, the clear consensus was this: HubSpot offers an industry-leading experience with powerful tools, while Zoho provides impressive functionality at a more reasonable price point.


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