Are you a small to medium business owner, tired of juggling multiple platforms for customer relations management and seeking a more streamlined, efficient solution?
Have you found yourself torn between HubSpot and Less Annoying CRM, unsure which would better cater to your business needs?
This comparison might be the guide you’ve been looking for.
I’m AJ, and I can help. I’ve spent the last ten years building my business to a successful multiple seven-figure exit. In that time, I learned what works (and what sucks) in the world of CRM.
My mission with Small Business Bonfire (SBB) is to help empower fellow entrepreneurs to build and scale their businesses (with ease).
So, let’s take a deep dive into two heavy hitters in the CRM game—HubSpot and Less Annoying CRM (LACRM).
We spent six months reviewing both HubSpot and LACRM.
We evaluated them based on the following categories:
Pricing & Free VersionTop FeaturesCustomer ServiceIntegrationsEase of UseBest Mobile AppKnowledge and Learning CenterLimitationsWhich One We Think is Best for Small Businesses
How We Objectively Test Each Platform:
AJ’s got a knack for kick-starting businesses, putting them on autopilot, and setting them up for acquisition. Over the past decade, he’s been right in the thick of things with hundreds of small businesses, helping them with just about everything under the business sun. If you need advice on software suites and choices? AJ’s your guy.
We roll up our sleeves and dive into the top CRM features we think are pretty crucial for small businesses. Stuff like reports and analytics, options to customize your pipelines, and the ability to link up with other apps and services. We know what makes small businesses tick, so we know what features they need to get the job done.
Money matters, folks! When it comes to picking a CRM system, price is usually the deal-breaker. We give a big thumbs up if a provider charges $30 or less per user each month for their starter plan. Extra brownie points for throwing in a freebie plan or trial, options to scale up or down as needed, and the freedom to pay monthly or yearly. We’re looking for flexability for small businesses.
We all know support is mega important when you’re choosing a CRM platform. This is especially true for those smaller businesses or sales teams who can’t afford to have tech wizards on their payroll. We put our detective hats on to see if these companies offer round-the-clock support, and we looked at the different ways you can get help. We’re talking live chat (like, real-time convo), email tickets, a good old-fashioned phone call, and self-service tools (for the DIY-ers out there).
When you’re in the business of picking a CRM, integrations are like the secret sauce that takes your burger from ‘meh’ to ‘mind-blowing’. Imagine, all your favorite apps and tools, working together in perfect harmony, making your workflow smoother than a fresh tub of Nutella. When we review a CRM, we look at the integrations most SMB owners are looking for.
When you’re reviewing a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, it’s essential to pay close attention to its ease of use. After all, a CRM is as beneficial as its usability. A simple, intuitive interface saves you and your team a great deal of time and headache. When we’re reviewing each CRM, this is a crucial aspect that we look for.
The importance of Mobile CRM cannot be overstated in today’s digital age. It’s essential for fostering strong customer relationships and managing business activities. Mobile access to CRM makes it possible for sales teams to update and access customer information in real time, improving efficiency and ensuring up-to-date data. Mobile CRM can have a massive impact on SMBs, so thoroughly testing it is essential for each one of our reviews.
We put HubSpot and Less Annoying CRM head-to-head to see which came out on top.
Here’s an overview of the results.
Price is one of the most essential factors in choosing a CRM. You’ll want to make sure your CRM fits your budget (as well as your needs).
So, let’s see how HubSpot and Less Annoying CRM compare.
HubSpot CRM offers a free plan in addition to three paid plans:
Free Plan – Free ForeverStarter CRM Suite – $30/MonthProfessional CRM Suite – $1,335/MonthEnterprise CRM Suite – $5,000/Month
Check out our full HubSpot pricing guide for more information!
Less Annoying CRM keeps it simple by offering only one pricing plan for $15/month.
The plan includes everything the CRM solution has to offer, meaning no additional charges down the line.
If you want to learn more, take a look at our in-depth Less Annoying CRM pricing guide.
AJ’s Take: LACRM takes the cake with one plan at just $15/month (per user). It’s in another league compared to HubSpot’s Enterprise plan at $5,000/month. It’s worth noting that LACRM only offers one plan, making it more limited. However, it’s tough to beat the value it provides.
When choosing CRM software, features are critical. You want to ensure you have everything you need to run your business effectively.
Here’s how LACRM and HubSpot CRM measure up regarding top features.
Let’s look at some of HubSpot’s top features that make it stand out.
HubSpot CRM offers fantastic pipeline management capabilities to scale your sales process, but don’t just take our word for it.
Let’s walk you through our experience!
First, we navigated to our deals dashboard, where we could easily create pipelines and customize our dashboard.
Here’s a look at the column customization options (which were extensive).
From there, we created a pipeline and added in our affiliate marketing deals.
With HubSpot, we could add unlimited deals to multiple pipelines (throughout our six months of testing).
Here’s a look at our deal pipeline (for context).
We could easily drag and drop deals from each stage as needed.
We also liked how readily available the following information was:
This gave us a bird’s eye view of our deals and helped us stay on top of our sales process.
The bottom line: pipeline management with HubSpot is powerful, intuitive, and highly customizable. We can safely say that HubSpot provides some of the best pipeline management in the business!
Scheduling meetings with your entire team (with everyone on the same page) can be tricky.
Just when you think you’ve locked down a date and time, someone throws a wrench in the plan.
HubSpot’s meeting scheduling feature helps take the headache out of coordinating schedules.
We started testing this feature out (over six months) by scheduling all of our company meetings with HubSpot.
It’s worth mentioning that HubSpot CRM has a shared calendar and scheduling options (for both internal and external meetings).
When we sent out invites, we found the following features especially great:
Meeting remindersAbility to create custom meeting links Customized time slots per day (which we could set/exclude from our availability)
Here’s a quick snapshot of a company meeting we created (in less than 5 minutes).
Our takeaway: Scheduling meetings with many people can be a hassle. With HubSpot, it doesn’t have to be. HubSpot CRM made it easy for us to schedule, send invites, and keep track of meetings (all in one place).
Managing customer tickets is crucial for any SMB (regardless of size or industry).
It’s all about ensuring our customers are happy, and their issues are handled quickly and efficiently.
During our six-month testing phase, we took a deep dive into the ticket management capabilities offered by HubSpot.
Here’s what we loved:
Easy-to-use interface: The dashboard was user-friendly, making ticket creation and tracking a breeze.Customizable ticket status: We could easily set and update ticket statuses, which streamlined our support process.Priority setting: The ability to set ticket priorities really came in handy for us. It made sure that we could quickly address any urgent matters that came up.Integrated communication: We could communicate with customers directly from the ticket (which significantly increased efficiency).
Here’s a quick look at our ticket dashboard (for context).
We especially liked the multichannel support capabilities offered by HubSpot.
Essentially, customers could automatically create tickets from the following channels:
Live chat ChatbotsEmail Phone
This meant we had all our customer communication in one place (making it easier for us to resolve issues quickly).
At the end of the day, managing your tickets is essential to keeping your customers happy. HubSpot CRM makes this process easy, efficient, and effective.
Have you ever felt like you could deliver a better product or service if you just knew what your customers were thinking?
Luckily, HubSpot has the answer!
With HubSpot CRM, we could create and send customized customer feedback surveys to our clients.
Here are some survey types we were able to create (with just a click):
Customer supportCustomer satisfactionCustomer loyaltyCustom survey
We especially liked the ability to embed these surveys into our website, emails, and chatbots.
Plus, we could easily view the results in real-time on our dashboard (which saved us a ton of time and effort).
Our two cents: This feature was handy for getting actionable insights into our customers.
HubSpot makes it a breeze to gather data and use it to make data-driven decisions (based on customer feedback).
In today’s fast-paced business world, connecting with your customers in real time is crucial for providing top-notch customer support.
That’s where live chat comes in.
With HubSpot CRM, we could easily set up and customize our own live chat widget on our website (without any coding skills needed).
The whole process was highly beginner-friendly, with virtually no learning curve.
Check out our customization screen, where we were able to get our Bonfire Chat up and running.
We were able to easily customize the following aspects of our live chat:
LogoColor schemeCustom chat responses
From there, we were given a code to embed the widget on our site, and the rest was history!
We noticed a significant increase in customer engagement and satisfaction once we implemented live chat on our site.
At the end of the day, HubSpot’s live chat is a great way to connect with customers, answer questions, and provide real time support.
Trust us when we say your support team will thank you for this feature!
In today’s digital landscape, quickly creating and managing content is essential for any business.
With its CMS Hub, HubSpot CRM provides a user-friendly and powerful platform for creating, editing, and publishing content.
With the drag-and-drop builder, we could easily create website pages, blog posts, and landing pages.
Here are some of the features we loved while using the CMS Hub:
Drag-and-drop builder: This made creating and editing pages super simple and intuitive.Mobile optimization: With the rise of mobile usage, optimizing our content for mobile devices was a game-changer.SEO suggestions: HubSpot’s built-in SEO suggestions helped us improve our content and increase organic traffic to our site.Integrations: The ability to easily integrate with other tools, like Google Analytics and social media platforms, helped us streamline our content management process.
HubSpot also provides many gorgeous templates (shown below) to help anyone create a gorgeous-looking web or blog page.
The best part is that most of these are 100% free! That means you can create professional-looking content (without breaking the bank).
Take a look at our web page creation process (during our six months of testing).
With this editor, we were able to easily add and edit the following:
ImagesTextButtonsWeb formsSocial linksVideo
There’s a ton of utility here, which is just the cherry on top of an already robust CRM software.
Our one criticism of the feature would be that we wish it was more customizable.
While some customization is available, we’ve used other platforms that deliver much more.
No matter what your business is, email marketing is important.
You need a platform that makes it easy to create and send professional-looking emails to your customers (without messing with code).
HubSpot’s email marketing tools provide just that.
With an intuitive drag-and-drop editor (shown below), we could easily create beautiful email campaigns in no time.
The editor also provided us with suggestions to improve our emails (to get the best results possible).
Here’s a quick overview of what we particularly liked about this feature:
Templates: HubSpot provides a variety of customizable email templates to choose from, making it effortless to create professional-looking emails.Personalization: The platform allows for personalization of emails, which can greatly improve customer engagement.A/B testing: We were able to test different elements of our email campaigns (like subject lines or images) to see what resonated best with our audience.Segmentation: With HubSpot’s CRM data, we could easily segment our email lists and send personalized content to specific groups of customers.
Here’s a look at some templates we could choose from (for free).
With these email marketing tools, businesses can easily create and send effective email campaigns to engage with customers.
If you’re looking to scale your business, automation is key.
HubSpot’s workflow automation feature allows SMBs to streamline their processes and save time by making repetitive tasks a thing of the past.
For example, they offer pre-made automation templates (pictured below) to help create powerful automation (with zero coding required).
Here are just a few of the things we loved about this feature:
User-friendly interface: The workflow editor was a no-brainer to use and understand, even for those with limited technical knowledge.Customization options: With HubSpot’s automation tools, businesses can create personalized workflows that meet their needs.Time-saving: By automating certain tasks, businesses can save valuable time and focus on other important aspects of their business.
We created many different types of automation during our six months of testing.
Here’s one example of a quick grammar automation we created (in less than 10 minutes).
The final verdict: HubSpot left us feeling like tech wizards, able to automate repetitive tasks and improve efficiency within SBB (across the board).
Here are some of our favorite features while we were using Less Annoying CRM.
Less Annoying CRM provides an equal-parts user-friendly and powerful way to manage customer data in one centralized location.
Let’s walk you through our experience with this feature(over six months).
We added our B2B affiliate marketing contacts from Small Business Bonfire.
Within each card, we could easily add and edit the following info:
We especially liked the sleek layout of each card (shown below).
This made it a cinch to find the information we needed quickly.
Once we had all of our clients and companies added, here’s how it looked.
LACRM offers only one plan, which means you get everything (including unlimited contacts) with this plan.
So, no more worrying about how scaling your business will affect your CRM budget—with LACRM, what you see is what you get.
Our takeaway: While contact management might not be the flashiest feature a CRM can offer, it’s certainly important to ensure it’s user-friendly and efficient.
LACRM delivers exactly that when it comes to client management. The platform offers one of the most friendly user interfaces in the game!
Keeping track of tasks and deadlines is crucial for any CRM worth its salt.
Less Annoying CRM offers a simple yet effective task management system to help businesses stay organized.
Here’s what we loved:
Customizable task views: Users can create and save different views for tasks, making it easier to track specific types of tasks or deadlines.Task reminders: The platform allows users to set reminders for upcoming tasks, ensuring that nothing falls through the cracks.Assigning tasks: Businesses can easily assign tasks and monitor their progress within the platform.Automated follow-ups: LACRM also offers the option for automated follow-up tasks, making staying on top of customer interactions easier.
Check out a snapshot of our task report dashboard (to give you a better idea).
We could easily see all of our tasks and their statuses (including ones that had been completed) with just a quick glance.
Regarding task management, LACRM may not be winning any awards for groundbreaking features, but it gets the job done simply and effectively.
LACRM offers flexible and highly customizable pipeline management with its single pricing plan.
With this plan, you can create and manage unlimited pipelines, customizing them 100% to fit your business needs.
We’ll walk you through our customization experience.
Spoiler alert: it was awesome.
For starters, we wanted to create a pipeline for our affiliate marketing deals.
So, we navigated to the “pipelines” tab and were able to name and customize our pipeline (shown below).
Next, we were able to customize each stage in the pipeline.
We loved the color-coded stages and how each pipeline could look unique (at just a glance).
Here’s a snapshot of the pipeline stages customization process.
Once our pipelines were customized to our liking, we could easily add our deals and follow their progress.
The verdict: LACRM offers powerful and customizable pipeline management, making it a great option for businesses that want more control over their sales process.
At Small Business Bonfire, we believe in the importance of making data-driven decisions.
With Less Annoying CRM’s real-time reporting and analytics, we found ourselves able to make informed decisions swiftly and confidently.
The software delivered its promise of real-time updates, ensuring that the data we looked at was always current and accurate.
Here’s what we loved about real-time reporting & analytics:
Data accuracy: Real-time updates ensured that we were always looking at the most recent and accurate data.Easy decision-making: The real-time data provided by LACRM allowed us to make quick, informed decisions.Report customization: We could easily customize our reports to focus on the most important metrics to our business.Performance review: The feature helped us scrutinize our strategies and make necessary changes for better results.
The bottom line: the real-time reporting and analytics feature of LACRM gave us a fresh perspective on our business operations and played a critical role in our decision-making process.
LACRM provides a hub where users can access all their important tasks, appointments, and contacts in one place.
This made staying on top of our daily tasks and important events easier.
During our six months of testing, we were able to customize our workspace (shown below) to fit the specific needs of Small Business Bonfire.
With LACRM, we could easily view the following details:
Pipeline reportsCompany activity Daily agendaCalendar events & meetings
This gave us a better understanding of our tasks and upcoming deadlines, ensuring that nothing fell through the cracks.
Our takeaway: LACRM’s workspace feature provides a central hub for your important data, helping businesses stay organized and on top of their tasks.
Our favorite thing about this feature was how clearly laid out everything was. We never had even one issue navigating the user interface (UI).
LACRM offers a fantastic integration with both Google and Outlook Calendar.
This feature allows users to seamlessly sync their CRM tasks and events with their chosen calendar platform.
We tested this integration by syncing our Google Calendar. With just a few clicks, it worked flawlessly—a true game-changer for businesses that rely heavily on their calendars for scheduling and task management.
We were able to set our specific preferences to customize our calendar in the following ways:
Time zone Date formatTime format (24 vs. 12 hour)Starting day of the weekDefault duration for events
Here’s how the customization looked from our perspective.
All in all, we were impressed by how smoothly the calendar integration worked and how much it improved our overall workflow.
LACRM shines when it comes to lead management capabilities. It provides a simple yet effective way to manage and score potential leads.
Here’s what stood out to us:
Predictive lead scoring: LACRM allows users to assign scores to leads based on their potential, making it easier to prioritize follow-ups.Lead segmentation: The platform enables businesses to group leads into different segments based on various criteria, ensuring a more focused approach to engagement.Activity tracking: With LACRM, businesses can track every interaction with a lead, maintaining a comprehensive history of communications and activities.
Through these capabilities, LACRM provides businesses with a streamlined approach to managing their leads, boosting efficiency, and improving outcomes.
AJ’s Take: HubSpot is a juggernaut when it comes to features. It’s got sales, support, marketing, content management, and operations (all under one roof). For this reason, this round goes to HubSpot.
Customer support is incredibly important in choosing a CRM.
Let’s see how HubSpot and Less Annoying CRM stack up when it comes to the following metrics:
Availability Knowledge baseTrainingResponsive support
Let’s see how HubSpot does when it comes to the following metrics:
Availability: HubSpot provides 24/7 live chat, email, and phone support.Knowledge base: The platform offers an extensive library of resources, including articles, blogs, and videos.Training: HubSpot Academy provides comprehensive training courses for CRM users.Responsive support: We never had to wait longer than 30 minutes to hear back from support. The live chat was especially awesome.
How does LACRM compare in terms of customer support?
Here’s what we found:
Availability: LACRM offers 24/7 chat, email, and phone support. Knowledge base: The software offers a great knowledge base, with articles and video tutorials to help users get the most out of their software.Training: While LACRM doesn’t have a dedicated training academy, they offer one-on-one demos and webinars for users.Responsive support: LACRM’s support staff was incredibly responsive, with email responses within an hour and live chat responses within minutes.
AJ’s Take: Regarding customer service, both HubSpot and LACRM excel. This round is a stalemate.
Integrations allow you to connect your CRM with other tools and software you use in your business.
Here’s a look at how HubSpot and LACRM compare when it comes to integrations.
HubSpot includes over 300 integrations in their HubSpot App Marketplace.
These include popular business tools like:
If you’re looking for a particular integration, we’d be willing to bet money that you could find it.
If there’s no native integration, HubSpot probably provides a third-party integration through Zapier.
LACRM offers a handful of great integrations in addition to a Zapier pairing (that opens the door to thousands of third-party apps).
Some of these integrations include:
Google MailChimpOutlookMost email providersZapier
Ultimately, integrations aren’t LACRM’s strong suit.
However, you might still find what you’re looking for through Zapier (with a little digging).
AJ’s Take: This one didn’t feel like a fair fight. HubSpot is in an entirely different weight class with a massive number of integrations. LACRM doesn’t even come close in this arena.
If your CRM isn’t easy to use, it’ll end up causing more problems than it solves.
HubSpot is a robust and feature-rich CRM that can be overwhelming for novice users. However, the user interface (UI) is clean and user-friendly, making it easy to navigate once you get the hang of it.
Some key features that make HubSpot easy to use are:
Customizable dashboard with drag-and-drop functionalityIntuitive contact management systemEasy-to-use templates and automation tools
As its name suggests, LACRM was designed to be simple and easy to use. The UI is straightforward, and the platform offers a user-friendly experience for users of all levels.
Some key features that make LACRM easy to use are:
Simple contact management systemEasy-to-use templates and workflowsIntuitive navigation through different modules
AJ’s Take: Both HubSpot and LACRM have their strengths regarding ease of use. This one was tough because both platforms are so intuitive and user-friendly. LACRM almost took the prize, but when we took into account HubSpot’s templates and HubSpot Academy to help new users, we had to call it a tie.
Having your CRM data available on the go can mean the difference between missing a sale or making one.
Let’s see how HubSpot and LACRM fare when comparing mobile apps.
HubSpot offers a highly-rated mobile app for iOS and Android devices, allowing users to access their CRM data on the go.
Features of HubSpot’s Mobile App include:
Contact managementDeal managementTask managementTicket managementMeeting linksMarketing emailActivity feed
The app provides so much utility that it’s almost like having the entire CRM in your pocket.
LACRM also offers a fantastic (and highly rated) mobile app for iOS and Android users.
Features of LACRM’s Mobile App include:
Contact managementWorkspace viewCalendar syncTask managementCall and SMS logging
The app allows easy access to essential CRM functions while on the go. A bonus feature is the ability to make calls and send texts directly from the app.
AJ’s Take: Both HubSpot and LACRM offer fantastic mobile apps. HubSpot offers more features overall, but we had to consider LACRM’s fantastic mobile interface. For that reason, this round is another tie.
Solving problems quickly and easily is a significant factor when considering which CRM to use.
Let’s see how both platforms compare in terms of their knowledge centers.
HubSpot offers a fantastic knowledge center full of awesome articles, video tutorials, and webinars.
The knowledge base is well-organized, making finding the information you need quickly easy.
We could always find what we needed when we needed it with HubSpot.
LACRM also offers a great knowledge center with helpful articles, videos, and an extensive library of past webinars.
The search functionality is slightly clunky compared to HubSpot’s, but we could still find the needed information.
AJ’s Take: This one was close, but HubSpot’s well-organized and extensive knowledge center ultimately takes the prize. However, LACRM’s knowledge center is still a valuable resource for users.
There are pros and cons with every CRM, and it’s essential to know the limitations of each before making a decision.
Some limitations of HubSpot include the following:
Advanced plans can be pricey: While HubSpot offers a free CRM, their advanced plans can be expensive for small businesses.HubSpot CMS Hub lacks customization: Despite having a robust CMS, customization options are limited for users without extensive coding knowledge.
Let’s look at some of the limitations of Less Annoying CRM:
Lack of automation: Compared to HubSpot, LACRM’s automation capabilities are very limited.Lack of advanced marketing features: LACRM is not designed for advanced marketing capabilities like email automation and landing page creation.
AJ’s Take: HubSpot may have a higher price tag, but its advanced features and capabilities make it worth the investment. LACRM’s limitations in automation and marketing capabilities make HubSpot the clear winner in this category.
So there, you have it—HubSpot vs. LACRM in a winner-take-all battle!
Our winner is HubSpot because of its robust features and capabilities, extensive knowledge center, overall ease of use, and powerful free tools.
However, If you’re a small business looking for a simple and affordable option with basic CRM functions, LACRM may be the better choice for you.
Both platforms offer comprehensive free trials, so check them out today to see which you prefer!
The post HubSpot Vs. Less Annoying CRM 2023: Best CRM for SMBs? appeared first on Small Business Bonfire.
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