Will I Outgrow HubSpot’s CRM?

Written By Sean McGauley
June 15, 2023

The most common question I see from startups considering HubSpot as their CRM is, “Am I going to outgrow it?”

It’s a reasonable question for any company with aggressive growth goals. If you’re planning on doubling in size in the next 12 months, you want some assurance that you’re not going to have to replace the CRM that you just spent thousands of dollars and dozens of hours implementing and training staff on.

The short answer to this question is an emphatic “Heck no!” HubSpot is well-suited for companies of all sizes, and you’re unlikely to outgrow it.

You’re welcome to stop reading here. However, if you need to arm yourself with more detail to make a case to that one executive who swears HubSpot is only for small companies, keep reading.

Here's what's covered in this article - just click to jump to the section you're most interested in:

How HubSpot Got Its Reputation as “Salesforce for Small Business”

HubSpot has struggled to shake off its reputation as “Salesforce for small business” despite a massive investment in enterprise-worthy features. When you examine the company’s history, one can understand why.

When HubSpot was founded in 2006, they went to market as marketing automation software for companies with 50-200 employees. Early features included tools for blogging, building landing pages, sending marketing emails, and scheduling social media posts. It wasn’t until 2014 that HubSpot entered the CRM market when they launched HubSpot CRM Free.

HubSpot CRM Free was released with a limited feature set, making it an excellent product for small and medium businesses who had never used a CRM before. For larger companies and more experienced CRM users, Salesforce was the obvious choice.

Because of its $0.00 price tag and the early buzz around it, HubSpot CRM Free was the first touchpoint many users had with HubSpot. This is where they gained their reputation as an excellent marketing platform with a CRM add-on.

HubSpot Moves Upmarket

In 2017, HubSpot announced a major overhaul to their CRM. HubSpot’s founder and then-CEO, Brian Halligan, said, “When we launched HubSpot Free CRM at INBOUND 2014, our goal was to create a new suite of tools that would help our customers grow their businesses faster. The good news is that it worked – but as our customers have scaled their businesses, their sales software needs have evolved as well.”

HubSpot's Co-Founder, Brian Halligan

The release saw dozens of new, advanced features, allowing sales executives and managers to:

  • Save time and work smarter with smart email templates, document tracking, and automated meeting calendar functionality.
  • Connect with more of the right prospects using web chat, predictive lead scoring, and automated email sequences.
  • Manage a sophisticated sales process with advanced deal & task automation tools and robust team management features.
  • Analyze sales performance and understand what is working using custom dashboards and reporting features.

This was when HubSpot became a full-blown CRM, not just a marketing automation platform. And since then, they’ve invested heavily in expanding and improving its features, specifically those that serve larger organizations. 

HubSpot Sales Hub Features

Today, HubSpot Sales Hub has all of the features one would expect from a modern CRM.

  Free Starter Professional Enterprise
Contact management x x x x
Deal pipeline x x x x
Quotes x x x x
Meeting scheduling x x x x
Live chat x x x x

Reporting dashboard

x x x x
Simple automation   x x x
Goals   x x x
Conversation routing   x x x
Multiple currencies   x x x
Rep productivity performance   x x x
Deal stage, task, and lead rotation automation     x x
Sequences     x x
Teams     x x
Custom reporting     x x
Custom objects       x
Predictive lead scoring       x
Playbooks       x
Forecasting       x
Recurring revenue tracking       x

What do users think of HubSpot? Click here to see what users say are the biggest Pros and Cons

Business Units Add-on

For large companies managing multiple brands, HubSpot has a useful add-on called Business Units. Business Units allows you to manage contacts, assets, and settings across multiple brands within a single HubSpot account.

Business Units also makes it easy to view and manage subscription preferences by business unit, helping you keep your communications relevant and your customer experience exceptional.

Business Units comes with brand kits, so that you can organize your design assets in HubSpot, like logos and colors, by business unit.

App Ecosystem

As you can see, HubSpot is loaded with advanced features. For those rare times when the platform lacks the out-of-the-box capabilities you’re looking for, you can often find a solution inside HubSpot’s app ecosystem. It contains more than a thousand integrations with the best sales, marketing, and service tools on the market.

Chart Showing HubSpot's Integrations

Where HubSpot Can Fall Short

While the purpose of this article isn’t to compare HubSpot with Salesforce, those are often the top two choices for new businesses wanting to implement a CRM. People on both sides have strong opinions about which is better, with the most common argument against HubSpot being that it lacks the robustness of Salesforce and there’s a risk of outgrowing it.

It’s important to understand where HubSpot can fall short to make an informed decision about which CRM can best meet your needs.

One area where HubSpot has some work to do is in the granularity of their permissions, especially when compared to Salesforce. It can be difficult to hide records and some functionality from users. This becomes increasingly more important as your number of employees grows into the hundreds.

The biggest area where HubSpot falls short of Salesforce is in its customizability. That’s not to say that HubSpot isn’t customizable. It is, but Salesforce is notorious for its remarkable robustness and flexibility.

For most businesses, the extensive feature set of Salesforce is overkill. However, for big, complicated businesses or those with unique business needs, this might make Salesforce the better choice.

HubSpot vs. Salesforce - Click here for our full comparison article

The Bottom Line

HubSpot’s reputation as being a poor fit for larger organizations is outdated. HubSpot has invested significantly in Sales Hub, and it contains all of the features one would expect from a modern CRM.

If you’re worried about outgrowing it a few years from now, you can feel comfortable knowing that they’re releasing new features and making improvements every day. And as HubSpot continues its shift upmarket, more and more enterprise features will become available, making it a CRM that you can grow into.

The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide to Choosing the Right CRM


Sean McGauley

About the Author

Marketing is more challenging than it’s ever been - but, I’m committed to finding new and creative ways to succeed. By day, I’m a digital marketing enthusiast with a passion for connecting brands with their target audience. I have over a decade of experience in creating and executing successful campaigns with a proven track record. I specialize in Strategy, Copywriting, SEO, and social media marketing - always staying up-to-date with the latest industry trends and technologies. By night, you'll likely find me adventuring with family and friends. I enjoy nature, photography, mountain biking, fly fishing, and trying new foods. I want to connect with other like-minded professionals to learn from and work with.