Hello innovative entrepreneurs, welcome back to a brand new episode of the Elevated Entrepreneur podcast. If this is your first time here, I am super excited that you’ve chosen to spend the time with me. And also thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to spend some time with me, and listen to what I have to share with you. And if you have already listened to some of the episodes, on the Elevated Entrepreneur podcast, and you still haven’t checked out our website, then I invite you to take a peek over onto elevatedentrepreneur.fm, where you get access to a lot of other really good content, including previous episodes, show notes, transcriptions and even download was specially made for you and don’t forget, if you want to leave me a message or you want to give me feedback on this episode or any other previous episode, head on over to elevatedentrepreneur.fm/speak, s p e a k, and you could record right on your phone a very quick message that comes to me directly that I can listen to and even feature right here on the podcast. So please take a moment to do that I would really appreciate your feedback so that I can get better as a podcaster and also make content that’s more helpful to you. Talking about content. Today’s episode is about a question that I get asked almost every single day. As a founder of a business that helps other brands implement software. One of the most common questions that we get asked is which tool I should use in my business specifically, is it Zoho, or HubSpot? Now if you haven’t heard about any of these two software systems, don’t worry, we’re going to talk a lot about them in this episode. But if you have heard about them, or you’re considering choosing between one of the two, then this episode is made specially for you. In this episode, we’re going to start talking about the overall company objectives, what the software systems are known for. And also we’re going to get deeper into some of the similarities and the differences between the two software systems. Oh, and one more thing. I know this episode is all about software systems but I promise to keep it as less technologically jargon – free as possible. So if this interests you, grab your headphones and help me Cue the music.
You’re listening to the Elevated Entreneur podcast, a podcast designed to help retailers, restaurant owners and entrepreneurs simplify business operations and use modern technology to elevate their business. here’s your host, Dhiren Bhatia.
All right, elevated entrepreneurs. Welcome to this episode, I am super excited to talk to you about these two software systems. I can’t tell you how often I get asked about choosing one over the other and I hope that putting this episode out there will help you and many other business owners like you who are looking to make this very choice. Now, let me give you a bit of background as to why I think I’m capable of talking about these two systems. Well, number one, I run a business called Cloudscape, which helps other brands implement POS and inventory management software systems and as part of that, it’s our mandate to make sure we are aware of all the different systems that exist in the market today, so we can help our customers get the right knowledge. The second reason I want to tell you about these two systems is because I as a founder of a company have used both of these software systems extensively in our brand over at Cloudscape. And I can give you a user perspective as opposed to a generic comparison. And now before we get into the specifications of the software system, let’s talk a little bit about the two brands themselves because it’s important to get this information out of the way because it sets up for the rest of the episode. HubSpot was started in 2006 and is headquartered in the US. It’s 2020 revenues were about 883 million, and it’s got about 3387 employees to be exempt. And this is as of 2020. Zoho, on the other hand was started in 1996. And it’s 2020 revenues were about $610 million and boasts about 10,000 employees in the organization. Now these two companies are phenomenal at what they do they make amazing software. So before we get into the differences, let’s talk about what are the similarities. The first similarity is that HubSpot and Zoho are actually not applications. They’re both ecosystems, which means that they make other software systems that plug into each other that help you as a brand. The other similarity between the two systems is that they both are based on the idea of an omni channel organization. When I say omni channel organization, I’m talking about an organization or a brand that wants to connect all of its different departments and present itself to the customer as one big unit so that the customer experience across the brand is unfettered and is very seamless. And both of these software systems coincidentally have Indian founders. HubSpot was founded by their mission Shah and Zoho was famously founded by Sridhar Vembu. Very interesting, but worth mentioning. Not sure why, but I hope that you enjoy that tidbit of information. Now, let’s talk about what are the overall objectives of these two organizations. I believe that HubSpot mission is to really help brands and businesses get better at marketing. And you’ll hear a lot about that as we get deeper into this episode, on the other hand, is Zoho his mission in my opinion, is to make organizations more productive. They want to be able to solve all the problems that a brand and a business have internally. Now, this might be interesting to hear because HubSpot also claims to do the same. But I think HubSpot does this with a marketing focus, whereas Zoho does not have that marketing focus. In fact, Zoho has a marketing software that it has built specifically for brands and businesses to use whereas all of HubSpot feature sets are actually aligned around something called the flywheel. What is the flywheel? Firstly, flywheel is a wheel that was invented by James Watt. It’s simply a wheel that is incredibly energy efficient. And the amount of energy it stores depends on how fast it spins. And HubSpot adapted that very model into its software. And it built all of its components around the flywheel because it thinks or it believes that a organization should be able to attract, retain and delight its customers in a ongoing fashion. It is like a flywheel. The machine never stops, the wheel never stops and the experience never stops. Zoho, on the other hand, does not believe that it actually makes 40 different applications. Aim to make brands and businesses lives easier. For example, it makes something like Zoho CRM, it makes Zoho projects Zoho desk which is a ticketing system for support staff is making software’s like Zoho bookings which allow you to make online bookings and so there are so many different components to Zoho, whereas HubSpot makes six different software systems all around marketing. And that idea of the flywheel it calls it systems, marketing hub, sales hub, service hub, CMS hub and operations hup. And now I’m not going to be able to talk about each one of these individually, but understand that HubSpot revolves around making marketing easier for brands and businesses. Which means that all of its software systems are really built around helping an organization figure out how to do its marketing, whether it’s content generation, topic planning, so on and so forth. where it starts to get really interesting is in two very specific systems within these two ecosystems, and that’s Zoho CRM, and HubSpot CRM. And the first thing that a lot of business owners and brands talk about when comparing these two systems is price. So price is the big elephant in the room. So let’s address that in this conversation. HubSpot offers its CRM for free, there is nothing to beat that offer, whereas Zoho offers it CRM, starting at $12 per user per person. Now you might ask if it’s worth paying for Zoho when I can use HubSpot CRM for free and while that is a yes, for some businesses, it’s a no for a majority of the other businesses because HubSpot free CRM is very basic. It’s almost a hook for brands and businesses to be bought into the HubSpot ecosystem. It’s like a lead generation and lead acquisition tool because once you start using the HubSpot CRM, and once you’ve started using all of their different feature sets, it’s very hard to now move away and start using something else. So HubSpot understands that and they’ve made this really, really good machine around bringing people into the ecosystem and letting them try stuff for free and then slowly drip feeding them other features that they will need and at a higher price. Whereas Zoho CRM, on the other hand, doesn’t offer something for free because it believes that it needs to offer the business and brand everything in needs from day one on its plans. So at $12 per user in the system, you’re getting unfettered access to all of the features within Zoho CRM, and let me tell you there is a lot of features in Zoho CRM to a fault. In my opinion, I think a lot of people, including myself, get turned off of Zoho in the initial days because there’s just so much horsepower in that CRM that is not necessarily needed by a lot of brands and businesses. Well, not at least until they understand their own sales process, and what they need out of the CRM, which is why HubSpot CRM makes this a joy for brands and businesses because it really walks you through step by step on what you need to do, especially if you’re a new or a small business that’s just starting up.
This episode of the Elevated Entrepreneur podcast is brought to you by the Cloudscape care package. This care package is designed specifically for retail and restaurant business owners. If you’ve got a retail or restaurant business or considering open one, and talk to us @cloudscape.ae, or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll show you how the care package and all of its features, including training, implementation, and support can help you set up for success. A quick fun story to tell you. I looked at Zoho CRM about four years ago when I had started Cloudscape. In fact, we even signed up as Zoho partner hoping that we would be able to resell Zoho software. But that’s a story for a different episode, however, when I started with Zoho, I just found it so complicated. And I am a technology business owner I run technology systems or other brands. Imagine if I found it difficult, I know a lot of you will also find it difficult but that’s not to say that it’s not a great system. Actually, it is in fact, Zoho CRM is the industry standard when it comes to CRM systems, and it is usually compared to bigger boys and bigger players like Salesforce. So I don’t want to take anything away from Zoho CRM it’s a beautiful system, but, in terms of complexity, and ease of use, I think HubSpot definitely takes the cake here because it makes it really easy for brands and businesses to get started. Now, the features that Zoho offers in its plans will cost you a lot more money in HubSpot $800 more. Yes, you heard that right. Typical features that a brand or business owner is going to get out of Zoho CRM is going to cost you a lot more and HubSpot and I had that experience. I started with HubSpot free edition in 2019. And slowly made my way into some of the bigger features, and as I was getting deeper and deeper into HubSpot CRM, I was told by HubSpot that I have to pay close to $800 because I needed what they call the Professional Edition, and you can go and check out all the pricing online, you’ll get a much better and more accurate pricing. And that’s not to say that you’re not getting a lot at that price point, but remember I mentioned at the very beginning of this conversation HubSpot, focus and core is marketing. So what you’re getting in that $800 package, which is the Professional Edition is a lot of phenomenal tools around marketing. These are things that you’re going to probably need to buy independently if you were really strong at marketing yourself, but HubSpot bundles everything into one package so that it’s easier for you to use and you don’t have to build this Frankenstein sort of stack of tech where you have different software systems doing different things. You could just do everything inside HubSpot, you could do things like omni channel marketing, automation, dynamic personalization of the websites or changing content on the website, depending on who’s showing up and where they are in your deal stages. You can also do social media management through HubSpot, and you can also do things like campaign management, content planning, SEO research, keyword research. It’s just a phenomenal tool set of things that a business owner is going to need as they start to ramp up their marketing efforts. With the price conversation out of the way, I think it’s important to understand that both CRMs are really close to each other in their functionality. They both offer very similar features, with the caveat that HubSpot focuses on marketing, whereas Zoho focuses on organizational productivity, but as CRM, they’re very similar and they continue to close the gap between each other. But there are things inside HubSpot that you may not find in Zoho and there are things inside Zoho that you may not find in HubSpot for example, HubSpot also allows you to order manage basically, the journey of a customer from lead to inquiry to proposal all the way into closure. HubSpot can do this much more fluently, using an order management feature, whereas in Zoho, this actually then becomes a task that you have to do across different systems within those Zoho suite. On that note, it’s important to mention where Zoho fits and where HubSpot fits in is customer choice. What I mean by that is I think that Zoho is made phenomenally well for service businesses, specifically b2b service businesses. Whereas HubSpot on the other hand, does really well for businesses that do physical products and selling physical products, whether that’s online or offline. And that’s not to say that physical product business owners can’t use Zoho no, that’s absolutely not the case you could very well use though. But it’s just much more better for businesses that are service businesses.
It’s worth having a discussion about why we chose Zoho and why we are putting so much effort as a brand and company into Zoho over the last two years. Zoho offers us a suite of tools that we’d have to put together with other off the shelf products, each one doing one specific thing. Whereas Zoho promises to integrate the different parts of my business together so that the different teams talk more fluidly to each other. For example, once a deal is closed, it converts itself into a project, which my projects team at Cloudscape then handles and once that’s done, the customer is then moved into our supporting or ticketing system for which we use Zoho desk. HubSpot offers a similar lifecycle. But Zoho goes above and beyond these particular systems, including things like Zoho bookings, which we use for our customers to make bookings with us online. We also use Zoho subscriptions, which is a subscription management and tracking software. It also does Soho books, which is an accounting system. So you can see where the value proposition for Zoho gets so much better than HubSpot. If you’re a brand or a business that has all of these other systems and you want to consolidate everything into one stack. The Zoho ecosystem is a really good choice. But coming back to Zoho CRM, let’s move on to the next difference. The other key difference between the two is how these two systems integrate with other systems. As I mentioned earlier, both of these are part of a larger ecosystem. HubSpot is really driven around marketing, whereas Zoho is driven all around organizational productivity, which means that it should pretty much have a system for everything that you need whether it’s books or accounting, or projects subscription or time tracking or HR software, Zoho does everything. Which is why it’s very hard to get Zoho CRM to talk to other systems. So who does offer something called an API, which is basically the ability for two systems to talk to each other. It’s almost like a translator between two systems. So Zoho does offer a really good API but if you’re not technically adept at code, or if you don’t have a developer on your team, it becomes really hard to integrate Zoho with other systems. And Zoho does offer some out of the box integrations but things like Zoho, integrating with Zero which is an accounting software that we use, we haven’t been able to do it till date, and that causes a lot of friction. On the other hand, because HubSpot is so focused on what it does in and around marketing. It’s actually very easy to connect HubSpot to other systems in fact, HubSpot, I think integrates with hundreds of applications right out of the HubSpot CRM integrates with almost 100 applications right out of the box, because they’ve taken the time and attention to detail to design and develop these integrations because they know what they’re good at, and what they’re not so that customers and brands can fill that need with other best of breed cloud systems.
Now the third key difference is implementation time. As an implementer, for other brands in businesses, my team and I at Cloudscape are very particular, about getting businesses to use the software correctly from day one. So we make sure everything is done, right. Typically, when a brand or business implements CRM, they tend to do it themselves. There’s a much bigger learning curve and a lot more room for error so the first thing that I would recommend is make sure that you look for an implementation partner who can not only help you implement the software, but also tell you how to tweak it so that you can make the most of it from day one. In terms of implementation time, I think HubSpot CRM is a lot more simpler to implement, just the way it’s designed, and its simplicity makes it much more easier to set up. In Cloudscape I had HubSpot CRM set up within a couple of weeks whereas Zoho on the other hand, is pretty much taken as a year but that’s not normal because we’ve done a lot of customization. On average, I think a lot of businesses can get up and running with Zoho CRM, and maybe around 30 to 40 days. So let’s quickly recap what we’ve covered in this episode, we’ve talked about the two companies, the overall ecosystems, both of the companies offer a little bit about these two brands and we got deeper into the CRM discussion we covered things like pricing, integration and implementation time. I hope that I’ve been able to give you information that you found really, really helpful in not only making a choice about these two systems, but understanding which one fits your business better. And if you need more help, remember, I put out a more detailed episode on how to choose a system for your business. It’s called the five see principle and you can get to it by looking for Episode 22, or heading on over to elevatedentrepreneur.fm/22. The five c principle goes much deeper into the process and theory around how to choose the right systems. And I share the five C’s that you need to know. So I hope you enjoyed that episode and I hope you enjoyed this episode. If you think I missed anything or you’d like to add to this episode, remember, you can always send in your thoughts and comments, head on over to elevated entrepreneur.fm/speak and you can record a voice message right from your phone, and I will be happy to listen to it and also feature it here on the Elevated Entrepreneur podcast. Thank you so much for staying with me till the very end of the episode, you’ve done it. I’ve got three specific asks for you only if you think that this podcast is worthy of your support and if you’ve enjoyed the content, my first request is for you to hit the subscribe button. Actually smash that subscribe button so that you can get notified when new episodes come your way or if you haven’t already, head on over to elevated entrepreneur.fm and subscribe to the podcast on the website so that new episodes are emailed to you right away. My second request is for you to help me spread the word with your friends and families and business owners that would enjoy this podcast and help elevate them too. You can do that either by leaving a review on your Apple device or just telling your friends how cool this podcast is, and finally, if there’s a question that you’ve been dying to ask me, or this pieces of feedback that you’d like to give me, head on over to elevatedentrepreneur.fm/speak where you will be able to record a voice message that I can listen to, and also maybe feature here on the podcast together with my answer. I’d love to hear from you. Thank you, much love and I’ll see you in the next one.