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Early Stage

What is Hubspot for Startups, And Can It Help Your Business?

Amanda Price
5 min read

These days, it’s no longer sufficient to have an extraordinary product or service. You must also have the people, processes, and tools in place to grow your business.

HubSpot can take care of the tools part.

If you’ve never heard of HubSpot, it’s the CRM with the iconic orange sprocket logo. It's a software platform that helps you reach your target audience and turn them into paying customers. It also offers your buyers an exceptional customer service experience after they’ve bought what you’re selling.

HubSpot gives your startup the sales, marketing, and service tools you’re going to need to attract customers in droves. In this article, you’ll learn about these three things:

  •  How HubSpot uses inbound marketing to power its platform
  •  HubSpot features that make it ideal for startups
  • Alternatives to HubSpot

HubSpot’s history 

Dharmesh Shah and Brian Halligan, co-founders of HubSpot, noticed the decreasing effectiveness of interruption marketing while they were students at MIT. Interruption marketing, or outbound marketing, interrupts the customer experience with a company's promotional message.

For example, playing advertisements in the middle of a YouTube video. Consumers started to actively ignore interruption marketing strategies, and Halligan and Shah concluded that businesses needed to be more customer-centric if they wanted to succeed.

The two co-founders used these ideas as the basis for HubSpot, which opened its doors for the first time in 2005. In 2006, the company went public.

What’s the flywheel?

The flywheel model replaces the hopelessly antiquated funnel model, which treats the customer as merely an afterthought.

In this model, prospects are converted to leads, which then get handed off to sales. Leads become customers after they buy what the company is selling. After this, they’re left on their own because the company is done with them at that point.

The problem with this is consumers thrive on continuous support and service. Inbound marketing doesn’t unceremoniously dump a customer at the exact moment they need the company the most. With the newer model, marketing, sales, and service work synergistically to “attract, engage, and delight customers.”

The flywheel is the metaphor HubSpot uses to epitomize the momentum your company can gain by delivering excellent customer experiences. You can generate flywheel momentum by investing in strategies that acquire and retain customers. These are the forces that cause it to spin.

On the other hand, friction—which is anything that slows your flywheel—can cause it to stop.

What’s inbound marketing?

HubSpot is different from all other companies that manufacture enterprise software because the core of every solution they offer is the inbound marketing philosophy.

According to HubSpot, “Inbound marketing is a business methodology that attracts customers by creating valuable content and experiences tailored to them. While outbound marketing interrupts your audience with content they don’t always want, inbound marketing forms connections they are looking for and solves problems they already have.”

When you use inbound marketing, you grow your business by building meaningful, lasting relationships with customers. It’s all about empowering people to reach their objectives at any stage of their journey with you.

These days, being customer-centric is the way to be because these kinds of enterprises are 60% more profitable than those who don’t adopt this approach. Moreover, businesses that offer an excellent customer experience generate 5.7 more revenue than their more indifferent competitors.

The three cornerstones of inbound marketing

Here are the three ways the inbound marketing philosophy is applied:

  • ATTRACT: this means to draw in people with indispensable content and conversations that get people to trust you.
  • ENGAGE: present solutions that align with their pain points so that they’re more likely to buy what you’re selling.
  • DELIGHT: provide help and support to empower buyers to find success with their purchase.

These three components of inbound marketing are positioned around the flywheel, which increasingly builds momentum the more you use them.  

When consumers find success and share that success with others, it attracts new customers. This creates a self-sustaining loop, which adds to the momentum. Once you attract a robust customer base, you continue to engage with them, so they remain delighted.

In turn, they'll keep your flywheel spinning by continually bringing new customers to you. So over time, you'll be able to grow without constantly having to invest in customer acquisition.

That's why exceptional customer experiences are your best asset. The HubSpot platform optimizes your customer experience by utilizing these concepts in all its applications.

HubSpot features

A CRM is a crucial part of a startup toolkit for many reasons, including:

  • Centralizes data in one location, making it easy for teams to access
  • Helps you speed up sales cycles, decreasing the risk of excessive customer churn 
  • It supports marketing and sales in nurturing leads

When you join HubSpot for Startups, you get access to a team of onboarding specialists that gives you the guidance and technical assistance you're going to need. During the 30-day setup period, you'll learn how to create a sustainable growth strategy for your company and implement it using the HubSpot platform.

You’ll also be invited to become part of the HubSpot for Startups network and community. Here are some of the incredible features that make HubSpot for Startups such a great deal:

  • REPORTING DASHBOARDS: Detailed sales metrics provide you with invaluable performance feedback.
  • PIPELINE MANAGEMENT: Monitor everything that's going on in your sales pipeline.
  • DEAL TRACKING: Follow the deals your sales team is putting together.
  • UNLIMITED NUMBER OF USERS: Get every member of your team onboard for one low price.
  • UNLIMITED STORAGE: Use data without having to worry about limits. You can fill your database with one million companies and contacts.
  •  SEAMLESS INTEGRATION WITH OTHER APPLICATIONS: There are over 750 applications that seamlessly integrate with HubSpot, including Zapier and Stripe. Also, your HubSpot CRM integrates with the rest of your business tools, including your Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, and Service Hub. 

Alternatives to HubSpot


Salesforce started in 1999 and therefore is older than HubSpot. It's one of the first companies to adopt a Software-as-a-Service model.

It was also the first company to popularize the Customer Relationship Management concept. In addition, Salesforce offers exceptional marketing automation tools that provide you with artificial intelligence-based insights and customization options.

HubSpot is more for startups, while Salesforce is better for enterprise-level companies.


Pipedrive was engineered primarily to boost the success of sales teams. This includes robust functionality to manage deals and leads, automate tasks using AI, track communications, and view reports and insights. They also have a killer mobile app for sales teams.


Insightly and HubSpot are CRMs with free and paid versions. Both include many of the same features, including sales pipelines, contact management, and email integration.

 However, HubSpot is better for startups who want a no-frills, no-cost CRM, while Insightly is for companies who need more comprehensive contact and project management.

Who’s eligible for HubSpot for Startups?

Here are the two eligibility requirements:

  • A current member or graduate of HubSpot's over 2,600 partners (incubators, accelerators, and venture capital firms)
  • Hasn't raised funds past the Series A round

What’s the discount for HubSpot for Startups?

In 2016, HubSpot began an ambitious initiative to help startups access their powerful platform on a budget. HubSpot for Startups puts HubSpot’s online marketing software in your company’s hands at a price even a cash-strapped early-stage company can afford.

However, eligible companies can get a discount that brings the price down even further. What deal you get depends on what growth stage your startup is in. The earlier the stage you are, the more you save.

If you’re a seed-stage startup that has raised under $2 million, you're eligible for up to 90% off any HubSpot software in the first year. After that, you get 50% off in your second year and 25% off every additional year.

If you're a Series A startup that has raised over $2 million, including their Series A, you're eligible for up to 50% off any HubSpot software in the first year and 25% off every year thereafter.

Gain a competitive edge by building a talent pipeline

Now that you’ve been taken on a guided tour of HubSpot, you know all it can do for your startup. This includes everything from boosting productivity to organizing customer data to optimizing your sales process so you can bring in more buyers.

When you use HubSpot, you align all your business channels—sales, marketing, and service—to take your company to unprecedented heights.

Another way to take your startup to new heights is by hiring Hunt Club to build you a talent pipeline that’ll give your company a competitive edge.

Call us today!

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