Is HubSpot as customisable as Salesforce?

12 min read


CRM customisation: HubSpot vs Salesforce

In this article, we look at the evolving landscape of HubSpot's customisation capabilities, examine how they compare to Salesforce and uncover the potential challenges associated with over-customisation.

Navigating the landscape of CRM customisation presents a crucial narrative for businesses as they grapple with the question of how much customisation is ideal and when it might become counterproductive. In this blog article, we delve into the dynamics of CRM platforms, specifically HubSpot and Salesforce, examining the balance between beneficial customisation and potential drawbacks.

As businesses evolve, so do their unique processes and requirements. The historical narratives of CRM usage highlight the fact that each company operates distinctively. The challenge lies in finding the balance between leveraging out-of-the-box functionalities and the necessity for tailored customisation. The goal is to align CRM platforms seamlessly with a company's specific business processes, industry standards, and compliance mandates.

Throughout this article, we'll consider the experiences of companies at various stages of CRM adoption, whether they are entering the CRM space for the first time, scaling up from smaller solutions, or contemplating transitions between established CRM giants like HubSpot, Dynamics, and Salesforce.

With an awareness of the potential pitfalls of excessive customisation, we explore the fine line between essential customisation for optimal usability and the risks associated with going too far. Striking this balance is not only vital for current operational efficiency but also for ensuring the scalability of CRM solutions as businesses grow and evolve.

In the following sections, we provide insights into the relationship between CRM customisation and the practical functionality required for sustainable growth, we’ll also delve into HubSpot’s customisation features and how they compare to Salesforce.

Where Salesforce has been more customisable then HubSpot

Over the past decade, Salesforce has consistently held a dominant position as the leading CRM in the industry, surpassing HubSpot in various key aspects of customisation. Although HubSpot has made noteworthy advancements in improving its customisation capabilities, Salesforce has maintained its competitive edge throughout this period.

Salesforce continues to lead in the following key aspects:

  • Object customisation depth: Salesforce has long been renowned for its robust object customisation capabilities. Over the years, it has provided users with unparalleled flexibility in tailoring data objects to meet specific business requirements.

  • Advanced formula fields and logic: Salesforce stands out with its advanced formula fields and logic, allowing users to create intricate calculations and business logic directly within the platform. This level of sophistication provides businesses with the ability to automate complex processes and derive nuanced insights.

  • Role hierarchies and advanced access control: Salesforce excels in the establishment of role hierarchies and advanced access control. This is crucial for companies with intricate organisational structures and diverse user roles. 

  • Visual workflow design: Salesforce has set a high standard in visual workflow design, empowering users to create dynamic and visually intuitive workflows. The platform's Process Builder and Flow Builder have become staples for businesses seeking a streamlined and visually appealing process automation experience.

  • AppExchange ecosystem: Salesforce boasts a rich and diverse ecosystem through its AppExchange marketplace. This extensive library of third-party applications allows users to seamlessly integrate additional functionalities into their CRM environment.

Despite these areas where Salesforce has maintained an edge, it's essential to recognise HubSpot's continual improvements and adaptability. HubSpot's focus on expanding its customisation toolkit reflects a commitment to addressing the evolving needs of businesses.

Ultimately, the choice between Salesforce and HubSpot depends on the specific customisation requirements.

Let's now look at the potential of CRM customisation with HubSpot, to give you a better understanding of which level of customisation is right for you.

HubSpot vs Salesforce - HubSpot’s customisation features 

In the realm of CRM, the HubSpot vs Salesforce debate often centres around the level of customisation each platform offers.

While Salesforce has long been acknowledged for its extensive customisation capabilities, HubSpot, traditionally perceived as less customisable, has undergone significant enhancements, positioning itself as a formidable contender in the realm of adaptable CRM solutions.

Several notable improvements contribute to HubSpot's growing reputation as a highly customisable solution:

  • Expanded Workflow and Automation Options: HubSpot now offers users a diverse range of avenues for creating workflows and automations. Whether leveraging the standard UI interface, custom-coded workflow actions, or integrating with web hooks for external API interactions, HubSpot accommodates a spectrum of user preferences and technical capabilities.

  • UI Extensions and CRM Development Tools: The introduction of UI extensions and CRM development tools underscores HubSpot's recognition of the demand for more sophisticated customisation. Users can harness native components or entirely customised content through iFrames, empowering them to create a tailored user interface that aligns with specific business requirements.

  • React-based JavaScript Framework: A pivotal enhancement lies in the adoption of a React-based JavaScript framework. This upgrade facilitates a more seamless and robust approach to UI interface customisation, aligning HubSpot with contemporary development standards.

  • SnowFlake Integration for Data Access: Addressing data querying challenges, HubSpot has seamlessly integrated with SnowFlake, allowing users to execute SQL-style queries on HubSpot data. This integration significantly enhances reporting functionalities, providing users with a powerful tool to extract valuable insights.

  • Query HubSpot data using GraphQL: In response to the need for more efficient data extraction, HubSpot has incorporated GraphQL, empowering users to precisely define and retrieve only the necessary data elements whether this is to power the new UI Extensions or feed into external systems. This elevates the data querying process, offering a robust and streamlined solution for extracting data.

Striking the right balance between customising the CRM to the individual needs of the business and maintaining a user-friendly experience remains critical to getting the maximum benefit from these customisation features.

As organisations dive into the realm of customisation, let's explore the potential pitfalls associated with over-customisation and the importance of making strategic decisions in the process.

The pitfalls of excessive customisation

While customisation is a sought-after feature, a CRM that is overly customisable also comes with a number of drawbacks.

Here are some important considerations:

  • Complexity and maintenance burden: The more customised a CRM, the higher the complexity in setup and ongoing maintenance. This complexity can pose challenges for users, particularly those without advanced technical expertise, leading to potential errors and inefficiencies.

  • Steep learning curve for users: A highly customisable CRM often requires extensive training for users to navigate and utilise the system effectively. This steep learning curve can impede user adoption and hinder the overall productivity of the team.

  • Delayed implementations and higher costs: Excessive customisation can lead to prolonged implementation timelines and higher associated costs. Businesses may find themselves investing substantial resources in tailoring the CRM to perfection, only to encounter delays and budget overruns.

  • Risk of over-engineering: customisation without a clear strategy can result in over-engineering, where unnecessary features and complexities are introduced. This not only adds to the overall cost but can also lead to a system that is cumbersome and counterproductive.

  • Challenges in upgrades and integrations: Highly customised CRMs may face challenges when it comes to upgrading to newer versions or integrating with third-party applications. The intricacies of customisations can create compatibility issues and hinder the seamless integration of new features or technologies.

While HubSpot may not match Salesforce feature-for-feature in customisation depth, its continual improvements and adaptability make it a compelling choice for businesses of various sizes. Striking this balance ensures a CRM that aligns with the unique needs of the organisation without succumbing to the potential pitfalls of excessive customisation.

As the business landscape evolves, the key lies in choosing a CRM that not only meets the current customisation requirements but also remains scalable and user-friendly for future growth and innovation.

How customisable is HubSpot: addressing key questions

In the ever-evolving landscape of CRM solutions, the choice between HubSpot and Salesforce often hinges on the level of customisation a company seeks. To shed light on the customizability of HubSpot, we've addressed some core questions frequently posed by businesses at the crossroads of this decision.

Understanding the pathways to tailoring your CRM

The customisation process in HubSpot, while not as extensive as Salesforce's, offers diverse options for tailoring your CRM environment. From standard UI interfaces to custom-coded workflow actions, HubSpot provides avenues for users with varying levels of technical expertise. Additionally, the integration of web hooks opens doors to external API queries, enabling middleware-style systems to seamlessly interact with HubSpot.

Navigating data accuracy in HubSpot

Ensuring data accuracy is a critical aspect of CRM customisation. HubSpot addresses this through conditional sections, setting rules for custom text and number properties, and providing solutions through Operations Hub or CRM cards for more intricate validation needs. While not as code-centric as Salesforce, HubSpot offers a balance between out-of-the-box solutions and customisable approaches.

Data access and reporting challenges

Querying the backend database can be challenging, but HubSpot provides multiple avenues for data access. Integration with SnowFlake allows for robust SQL queries, Rest API and GraphQL queries offer flexibility, and marketplace apps enhance accessibility. Though nuances exist, HubSpot provides a comprehensive toolkit for extracting valuable insights from your CRM data.

Understanding data types and relationships

HubSpot ensures transparency in data management by displaying data types through the UI and Property Management screens. Relationships between entities are managed through associations, with a detailed HubSpot Entity Relationship Diagram (ERD) and custom objects providing a comprehensive view. The HubSpot CRM effectively balances simplicity and depth in data management.

Addressing concerns about custom solutions

HubSpot's scalability for custom functionality is exemplified by real-world use cases. Whether managing complex workflows, creating custom CRM cards, or leveraging serverless functions within the CMS Enterprise, HubSpot showcases its adaptability. From a custom garage renovation company to a global Employer of Record, HubSpot's extensibility accommodates a diverse range of businesses and their unique needs.

In our exploration of these key questions, it becomes evident that while HubSpot may not match Salesforce's customisation depth feature-for-feature, it presents a viable and adaptable solution for businesses of varying sizes and complexities.

The right choice ultimately depends on finding the delicate balance between customisation aspirations and practical functionality.

Navigating the customisation spectrum in CRM

As the business ecosystem transforms, so do the expectations from CRM systems. 

While HubSpot may not mirror Salesforce's depth of customisation feature-for-feature, its continual improvements and adaptability make it a compelling choice for businesses of various sizes. Striking this balance ensures a CRM that aligns with the unique needs of the organisation without succumbing to the potential pitfalls of excessive customisation.

As your organisation charts its CRM course, consider the delicate balance between customisation requirements and practical functionality.

If you're ready to embark on a journey of customised CRM solutions, our design and development services are ready to turn your CRM vision into reality. Contact our team today to find out more.

Not using HubSpot yet?

Book a demo with our team today.

Latest Insights

Sales & CRM

17 min read

How to plan for a successful HubSpot Implementation

Key aspects of planning and managing HubSpot implementation. We'll guide you through every step to ensure a successful HubSpot implementation.

Read more

Sales & CRM

92 min read

The true cost of HubSpot: Exploring HubSpot's Total Cost of Ownership

This guide takes a look at the total cost of ownership (TCO) of HubSpot as well as the TCO of Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, Service Hub and Content Hub.

Read more

Sales & CRM

20 min read

HubSpot HIPAA compliance: everything you need to know

Explore HubSpot's HIPAA compliance. We cover the basics of HIPAA, challenges HubSpot faced, and HubSpot's new tools to meet compliance requirements.

Read more

Marketing & Growth

23 min read

Enhancing your marketing processes with HubSpot AI

Learn how you can integrate HubSpot’s AI assistants into your marketing processes to optimise your efforts and supercharge efficiency. 

Read more

Sales & CRM

27 min read

HubSpot user adoption: a comprehensive guide to boosting CRM adoption

Explore strategies, best practices, and tools to drive user adoption in HubSpot, ensuring a smooth transition and maximising user engagement.

Read more

Sales & CRM

15 min read

How to structure your marketing department for success

To keep ahead of the digital curve, companies are rethinking their marketing department. Learn how best to structure your marketing team.

Read more

Sales & CRM

37 min read

An Introduction to CRM and how it can transform your business

The vast majority of businesses aren’t getting the value from their CRM that they could be. Use this guide to make more effective CRM decisions.

Read more

Sales & CRM

31 min read

50 simple HubSpot hacks for guaranteed company growth

As a HubSpot Elite Solutions Partner, we want to make it easier for you to get started with HubSpot: 50 HubSpot hacks that you can use right now!

Read more

Marketing & Growth

10 min read

Why it might be time to consolidate marketing agencies

Learn why & when to consolidate your marketing efforts with an agency specialising in strategy, creative solutions & technical expertise.

Read more

Technical & Integrations

5 min read

HubSpot’s cookie consent banner update: What you need to know

HubSpot is updating its cookie consent banner to version 2 on July 5, 2024. Here’s what you need to know about the update & how to prepare for it.

Read more