Zoho vs Hubspot [Mar 2020] Which is Better?

By Ewen Finser | CRM


Last Updated on

Most successful businesses are correlatively very good at customer service.  Raymond Joabar, the American Express VP says that their survey shows that  “Seven in 10 U.S. consumers say they’ve spent more money to do business with a company that delivers great service,”

A Customer Relationship Management software or CRM solution for short assists business to enhance their relationship with their customers. From a CRM system your business’s inbound marketing, customer service, and sales professionals can forge better customer relationship, increasing profitability.

CRM systems can do a myriad of activities including sending emails, making calls, data storage and analysis of potential and existing customers, appointment scheduling or reports creation.

A Gartner report shows that in 2018, the CRM systems market was growing at a rate of 16%, making it the fastest growing market for business-related software. This level of growth shows that these CRM tools are positively impacting business, helping close more business deals at the end of the day.

Main Differences Between Zoho vs Hubspot

The main differences between Zoho and Hubspot are:

  • Hubspot offers a completely free CRM, whereas Zoho offers typical paid pricing tiers
  • Hubspot has task management features, whereas Zoho does not
  • Zoho’s paid plans are generally cheaper, whereas Hubspot’s paid features beyond the CRM are expensive
  • Zoho CRM offers sales forcasting, whereas Hubspot does not

First Up: Zoho

Zoho has a myriad of productivity tools, and its CRM software is perhaps its flagship product. It easy both affordable and intuitive, and can be used by all employees in your company. With Zoho, employees can manage contacts and automate lead generation and email marketing (Zoho mail) as well.

zoho homepage

Zoho’s designers have with time imbued it with a good amount of useful features such as gamification, lead generation, reporting and telephony services for businesses such a social media features, chat and phone compatibility. The system as mentioned is affordable, but it lacks in-depth and detailed reporting prowess that other more heftily priced CRM software may have.

Zoho’s Main Features

Contacts and users UI

Zoho has a revamped UI that is a significant improvement from its older and clunkier UI. It has a minimalist look, and it’s home screen can hold 6 to 10 components at a go. The home screen also features a drag and drop the customizable widget to help users to create customized home screens (Zoho creator).

The Zoho interface requires loads of customization when starting out. As an administrator, you will need to organize the various custom fields and workflows beforehand. This prior organization will make the system more accessible and usable for other users. The CRM also has a useful search tool that enables the users to query data about specified CRM tasks, to ensure that no user is without guidance. Users too can view the historical data of their customers, as well as data on their communications with other users on the platform.

Zoho’s UI has a launch pad or splash page to guide all new users through the system. Its getting started feature will assist in the contacts, activities, accounts and lead definition. The Easy Setup feature not only customizes the interface, but allows for the addition of users, and will enable you to manage your personal setting.

Lead management

Zoho’s lead management system is flexible to handle various models of business. The most common lead generation process involves turning new customers into leads, and then qualifying them and converting them to contacts. The contact’s company at this point is transformed into an account. If your business is small and has a few leads, some of these steps can be skipped and new names can b placed into a contact list.

The CRM is handy if you need lead generation services from a large number of sources. Through its Sales Signals feature you can pull web form leads from sources like social media platforms, emails and chats. If your business is tagged in mentions on social media, Zoho’s Sales Signals will send you notifications in real time to help you engage better and in a timely manner with your clients. Zoho integrates well with other apps such as Survey Monkey, Mail Chimp and has a LinkedIn Sales Navigator and a Google Adwords integrator that also helps to source more leads for your business.

To help handle all leads efficiently, Zoho allows automatic replies to leads that meet your criteria. The system also allows a reply approval workflow so that communications and conversions can be first approved by a supervisor. Its system AI Zia, will help to spot problems in the sales workflow, and also highlight on when is the best time to email or call your leads.

Email marketing

Zoho has a fantastic drag and drop email template editor and has various choices of tables, buttons, and images to place on the templates. The Zoho CRM email marketing feature helps to track sales and keep inventory as well.

Thanks to marketing automation features, you can define end email fresh leads, deal with support tickets or send alerts when there are tasks that need an employee’s attention.

Zoho feature highlights

  • Platform UI customization for a personalized experience
  • Very efficient sales automation features to manage accounts, leads, opportunities, and contacts.
  • Productive workflow control complete with assignment rules, scheduled actions, email notifications
  • Has Zia for personal assistance
  • Provides analytics and reports
  • Integrates with various social media platforms such as Google+, Twitter and Facebook
  • Allows for the marketing automation of email marketing through sending of mass emails, designing of marketing campaigns (Zoho campaigns) and creation of email templates.
  • Enables teamwork (Zoho projects), collaborating calendars, follow-ups, messages, and status updates.
  • Efficient tracking of the business inventory.
  • Fantastic third-party tool integrations with the Zoho suite, Microsoft, Slack and a host of others.

Zoho Pricing

PlanAnnual Package $ per user per monthMonthly Package $ per user per month

Next Up: Hubspot

The Hubspot marketing suite owns at least 41.6% of the business and marketing automation systems market, and its prices start at a steep $50 per month. Hubspot was an early investor in the filed and is perfect for use in small to medium-sized businesses.

hubspot homepage

Hubspot CRM Features

UI and workflow

Hubspot has a ‘recipes’ which are ten templates that can be personalized to suit your workflow needs. The user interface provides either a standard, property-based or fixed date workflow options. Its options are unfortunately based on either ‘No’ or Yes’ propositions only. Its workflows are also list based which makes them super easy to build once the right data is in place.

The process is better streamlined than Zoho’s which is more reliant on search rather than drop-down lists and menus to make selections. Hubspot also helps to identify contacts that have been replicated on other lists making easy work of double checking contact lists.

Hubspot Professional

The software’s Sales Professional feature is its lead management, CRM and email marketing tool all rolled up in one sales console (Hubspot sales). The system is very manager centric and has a useful notifications feature that shows all interactions relevant to each user. It will provide data such as assigned leads, lead scores changes, emails opened, and shared content that has been opened.

The tool has a live chat feature that can be deployed to webpages. The Sequences feature allows users to arrange timed message series to prospects. Its Meetings feature on the other hand helps to design a calendar with links that can be sent to prospects to assist them in booking meetings.

An important paid feature in HubSpot assists users to make Voice over IP calls directly from the built contact list. It has a feature that enables users to save call logs with the contact database to show a history of interactions. It is very easy to switch between Hubspot CRM and its marketing feature by clicking a button on the left side on the interface.

The system’s reporting feature shows conversions from campaigns as well as active contacts. With an add on such as the Paid Reporting tool, you can easily compare your marketing campaigns to highlight which strategy works best.

The HubSpot system has over 2,000 templates available some that are paid while some are free. You can also build your won from its drag and drop editor, which when combines the wide variety of templates available, makes it more superior to Zoho’s. The system also has simple publishing and monitoring tools for social media and a fantastic lead generation feature as well.

Hubspot Highlights

  • Contact management and lead generation tools
  • Integrations with G suite, Microsoft and Gmail and social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook to help increase and capture more leads
  • Live chat option that connects users with their audiences in real time
  • A reporting dashboard with a drag and drop feature which displays sales, productivity, deal forecast, plus goals and deals that have been closed
  • Built as a true one-stop shop marketing hub (no need to go elsewhere for a management CRM)

Hubspot Pros

  • An easy to use platform which makes a complexly designed software use more intuitive
  • It has a free trial that lasts seven days to give you the full feel of the platform before you have fully paid and committed to its use
  • Hubspot is very committed to educating its users on the intricacies of the platform. Their blog has a poll of information for business owners curious about online marketing
  • It is an all in one platform with all the requires neatly organized in it for your use
  • Many educational resources and access to Hubspot academy for personal or team learning


  • Has annual contracts which is a hefty price for small business owners and entrepreneurs.
  • To run A/B testing, you have to use the costlier packages
  • It is an expensive platform
  • Their technical support has to be paid for

Hubspot Pricing

planMonthly Package $ per user per monthAnnual Package $ per user per month

Zoho vs Hubspot

Ease of use and setup

Zoho’s CRM is pretty easy to use and intuitive, especially with the first tier ad-free plans. Most buttons and tools are placed in easily accessible spots. The system becomes a bit more complicated and overwhelming with higher priced packages. The reviews on ease of use of Hubspot is split. A few users find it easy to use, but a majority claim that it has a learning curve. His could be because it has a  lot of online educative items on it.

User access

First of all, Hubspot allows for the addition of a multitude of users while Zoho only allows three, making Zoho very small business focused. Zoho also automatically makes all its users super admins which could cause a few managerial problems in the CRM. Hubspot, however, is finer tuned and with it, you can grant control and access in a more organized way.

Contact management

Zoho creates contacts and leads where leads are prospective clients yet to meet the score that qualifies them as contacts. Hubspot has one data type making it easier to capture and store customer data.

Software Integrations

If you are going to use Zoho’s free plan, you can forget about integrating your CRM with many other businesses and social media platforms for lead generation. In its free plan, Zoho only integrates with Facebook and Gmail.

Hubspot’s free plan integrates with Gmail, Microsoft Office 365 and Outlook as well G Suite. For social media platforms integrations, it can handle Instagram and Facebook as well.

Customer support

When you are using new software especially one you have hefty fees for use in an organization, you will sleep better knowing that excellent and responsive customer care team has your back. Zoho has such a team and even offers more options to access them. You can reach the Zoho team by calling.

There is also an active online community that addresses all things Zoho, a knowledge base, free ebooks (Zoho books), tutorials and how to videos. Users with professional plans can also use the Zoho support ticketing online system.  Hubspot marketing, on the other hand, has customer service as well as active online community support for its free package.

The Bottom Line: Hubspot or Zoho?

HubSpot marketing and Zoho are top of the range CRMs. HubSpot is perfect for large teams with an ample budget who are looking for a CRM with valuable core features.

Zoho, on the other hand, is more affordable and has fantastic social media integrations.

If you are looking for a free CRM though that can allow a more significant number of users, HubSpot is it.

Bottom Line: I personally prefer the more modern interface and amazingly expandable scalability with Hubspot here. While Zoho does some nice things with social media and can be cheaper in some cases, it’s just a bit behind the times (both in terms of appearance and functionality).

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About the Author

I blog about the tools I use every day because everyone hates hype-mongers. Don't be a hype-monger. I build web assets every day and I know the struggle with choosing the right tools. From SEO to website creation, to sales funnels tools, I've used them all and now I'm here to tell you about them.