HubSpot has split its Sales platform into layers of increasingly advanced tools to help your sales team flourish at a price point that makes sense for you. The big question, of course, is when does it make sense to move up to the next level? Take a look at each tier of HubSpot Sales—and the key advantages of the Professional level—to learn why upgrading could transform your sales process whether you are a team of 1 or 50+.
“Sales” is the all-in-one sales team platform offered by HubSpot for businesses of any size, in any industry. Every stage of the sales pipeline has helpful tools integrated into the HubSpot Sales platform that can help streamline and organize the sales process.
If you’ve decided it’s time for a sales-focused CRM, HubSpot Sales has you covered—it integrates fully with HubSpot CRM, so all of your teams (sales, marketing, customer service) have access to the same resources. Sales can also handle email templating, task sequencing, live chat functionality, and more. The value proposition of the HubSpot Sales product is built upon the pure breadth of functions it contains.
HubSpot has also broken down its sweeping suite of features into three levels so that you can implement it at a scope that makes sense for your team. The premium tiers adds a host of advanced AI-powered automation tools that can kickstart your sales team into a full-fledged high-octane sales machine.
If you’ve already been using HubSpot Sales for a while, you may be aware that the legacy product became “HubSpot Sales Starter” when they introduced a more advanced “HubSpot Sales Professional” at Inbound17. There is also a “Free” tier with some basic functions at no cost. This has left plenty of businesses wondering...should I upgrade? When is the right time for my team to make the leap to Pro?
As luck would have it, in the several years since the new HubSpot Sales Pro hit the market there’s been ample time to learn where it fits in the HubSpot Sales continuum and how much value it can actually offer. Let’s take a look.
Three Tiers of Growth
HubSpot truly makes sales enablement possible for teams of any size, whether it’s a freelancer in business for themselves or the sales department of a multinational brand. Here’s a rundown of the core functions and identity of the first three HubSpot Sales tiers (a final “Enterprise” level was introduced in September 2018 that is targeted primarily at the largest sales enterprises).
HubSpot Sales Free
The free platform offers basic features for sales teams that are just starting out (or perhaps only an individual salesperson/entrepreneur). It doesn’t have the bells and whistles of the other tiers, but on the plus side, you won’t be overwhelmed by extra features you might not need at this point. This makes it a decent trial run to test out the HubSpot Sales ecosystem.
The foundation in Free can help you manage your contacts, send emails to clients, and stay organized. Tools like these make it easier to support traffic and lead growth for beginning businesses. A few key features are:
- HubSpot integration with Gmail, Outlook, and G Suite, so your data is shared across each platform.
- Automated email scheduling to reach clients easily (up to 5 templates).
- Access to a live chat tool (Messages) for real-time online interaction.
- Tools for contact management and task scheduling to keep info, to-dos, and deals organized.
- Core CRM access (HubSpot CRM is totally free).
It’s easy to appreciate “free,” but the complementary tools of HubSpot Sales Free are really intended to show you why it could be worth expanding into a more versatile paid package. The Free model offers only limited access to critical sales processes like the “calling” tool (just 15 minutes of calls per month!), and it’s hard to truly personalize automated emails with the cap set at 5 templates.
HubSpot Sales Starter
HubSpot’s Sales Starter is a bit more powerful and fits best with small, growing teams on a budget. For a team that has a manageable number of people and sales materials, this level can help you increase your efficiency without needing to invest in more robust and sophisticated features.
Really, the starter is exactly what it’s called: a starting point for growing businesses, but not the end of your sales enablement journey. Here are a few of the extra capabilities it offers while you’re working on scaling up:
- HubSpot branding is removed, so you can personalize your business.
- Upgrade to 8 hours of live phone time on the “calling” tool per user per month.
- Up to 1,000 email templates and canned snippets per account.
- Unlimited tracking of email opens/clicks.
- Personal and team meeting scheduling links (1,000/mo).
- Email sequencing—queue up a series of emails for prospects.
While many businesses will stick with Starter for a long stretch, eventually you may want to expand beyond its limitations. The system is scalable and an effective complement to HubSpot CRM software and HubSpot Marketing, but it lacks the smart functions and automation of the Professional package.
HubSpot Sales Professional
This is where your investment really starts to supercharge your profits. Pro is an upgraded sales engine with rigorous automation tools for a full-scale professional sales operation. If your team already has its footprint established and could use some next-level efficiency, this is the place to be.
Among the enhanced features available in HubSpot Sales Professional you’ll find:
- Sales automation that zips through task setups and gives you back your time.
- Call automation/sequencing so you can focus on high-level tasks.
- A generous 33 hours of calling time per user per month (with the option to pay for more).
- Creation of multiple teams (up to 25) and multiple deal pipelines.
- Unlimited templates.
- Native CRM customization, such as product libraries.
- CRM becomes mobile-device friendly (iPhones, iPads, Android).
- Real-time notifications (opened emails, clicked links, visited pages).
- Deeper insights into your prospects with detailed reporting algorithms.
- Data-fueled AI with automatic, prioritized suggestions for contact engagement.
- Automated task creation and reminders—nothing slips through the cracks.
- Sophisticated automation triggers based on deal progress.
This platform is for larger or more settled teams that are ready to expand beyond the organizing and info-sharing functions of the lower tiers. Smart algorithms and automation can propel your team to the next level.
The suite of new tools available in HubSpot Sales Professional offers a range of lead-nurturing, advanced analytics, and detailed prospect management capabilities.
By this point in your sales operations, you know you can generate leads and get traffic. That will never stop being a top priority, but your focus will now shift from starting up to honing in. The more deeply you can understand which strategies are converting prospects into buyers, the more you can capitalize on those results.
Here’s the nitty-gritty on how the new intelligent tools in Sales Professional can bridge the gap:
This is the tool the legacy product was lacking most, and it makes a huge splash here. Sales automation makes the assignment and execution of all your deals and tasks so much simpler so your sales cycle could hit hyperspeed as revenues multiply 6 times over. The robust architecture of Sales Pro can handle up to 300 unique workflows—more than enough for all but the largest enterprises.
The hottest leads are prioritized in a proprietary algorithm that boosts your best opportunities to the top—not just the most recent ones. This system will tell you when your most engaged prospects need attention so you never miss out on a conversion opportunity.
Smart Email Recommendations
Emails customized through the sequences pane all get a “personalization score” with automatic recommendations to better target it towards your prospect (and boost the score). This tool displays smart info and insights about the person you’re connecting with so you can tailor the template specifically to them.
The “Products” tool is added to your HubSpot CRM so that your deals can be associated directly with the products you’re selling. Managers and teams can use this library of goods and services to input, view, and report on product-specific data. This truly sets Sales Professional apart from the marketing software but also enhances alignment and cohesion between teams (since everyone can view the CRM and the products).
“Quotes” is a new tool for hosting customized quotes on non-indexed URLs that you can then easily share with prospects. Much like the similar convenience offered by personalized links to schedule a meeting, this streamlines the quote process and gets your prospect exactly what they need when they need it.
By upgrading to Pro you unlock the ability to indicate “required fields” on forms and gateways to make sure you have exactly the information you need in your databases. This works through HubSpot’s CRM and is only available to pro users.
Predictive Lead Scoring
This functionality also exists on the marketing side of the HubSpot software suite, but it works differently in HubSpot Sales Professional. Here it’s been rebuilt and optimized for sales teams with less data than the sweeping scope of the HubSpot Marketing platform.
The SFDC Connector tool lets you close the loop between these two platforms. You can integrate your HubSpot Sales Hub with your Salesforce software in customizable, bi-directional syncs that automatically updates the records and intelligence that you want.
But...Should I Upgrade?
All of these sophisticated tools are like shiny new toys for your sales team, but you might be asking yourself: What real differences will they actually make in our process? Is the HubSpot Sales Professional experience worth the premium price?
It’s natural to assume that the Free platform has limited application, and is meant to persuade you (eventually) to upgrade to Starter. Most sales teams see for themselves the gains that make that initial investment justified. Pro is the next step for professionals that need the options they may not have been equipped to take on in the past.
When you gear a program towards a serious sales team, the benefits are tangible. In fact, it can be a real challenge to get by without some of these functions once you’ve hit a certain size or tier of success. Here are the primary reasons you would want to upgrade now:
Key Advantages of Pro
- Better Alignment. Pro integrates smoothly with HubSpot’s marketing software, CRM, and Salesforce. There’s no better way to unify contacts, products, and info across all dashboards. When everyone is operating on the same system, with access to the same resources, alignment is a natural byproduct.
- Sales Automation = Sales Enablement. The impact of the Workflows tool is hard to understate. It creates deals, rotates leads, sequences follow-ups...you can accomplish massive levels of outreach without taking time away from selling activities. Imagine the quota increase of sales reps when call dialing is automated and you only get pinged if someone answers.
- Personalization at Scale. Through unlimited high-converting email templates for every stage of the pipeline, you can maximize volume without sacrificing that customized, personal touch. Share the best templates with the whole team and say goodbye to copy/paste. Your Pro emails are about quality, segmenting your email list, targeting, and reaping the benefits of time invested into building out the templates.
- Make Every Interaction Count. With all of the built-in analytics, smart notifications, and smart suggestions, Sales Pro helps you optimize your open, click, and response rates with no tedious number-crunching and sifting through spreadsheets. Reach hot prospects to get your emails opened and calls answered—easily.
- Save Time. You don’t have to do much data entry when all contact info, email opens, and clicks are logged automatically into your database. If your team is too large to work through HubSpot efficiently, you can even seamlessly sync with Salesforce with no technical setup. Let the humans focus their high-value time on tailoring your automated tools with the ever-important human touch, and let the platform do the rest.
- Flexible Pricing. Sales Pro is a powerful tool that only requires a financial investment from the users who need it. Professional starts at $400/month for 5 users, with $80 for each added user. It’s true that Starter could also get you 5 users for only $250/month, but without any of the premium features you may find the extra $150 is totally worth it for the added power.
If alignment, enablement, automation, and analytics sound like words you’ve been throwing around in your strategic planning meetings, then you’re looking in the right place. HubSpot Sales Professional is a natural evolution for businesses that have outgrown the limitations of the more manual processes undertaken by small founding sales teams.
The Power Is Yours
At the end of the day, your sales team needs to invest in software that’s a match for your stage of growth. If you’ve got too many team members replicating the same activities or drowning in record-keeping that was a lot more feasible a few years ago, it’s time to look for an automation ally that also arms you with analytics.
Marketing pricing can feel like a difficult subject to wrap your head around, which is HubSpot's reasonably priced software packages for every stage of the funnel are so helpful. And with HubSpot Sales Professional finding its niche as the premier platform for established sales teams, it's never been easier to turn your company's productivity gains into real revenue results.