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Choosing a CRM: HubSpot v. Dubsado

black woman typing in computer spreadsheet

Choosing a CRM: HubSpot v. Dubsado

It’s time to ditch the spreadsheets and the manual email sending and get your business a CRM program that works for you as you grow. Every small business needs a CRM. Let me repeat that one more time:


Every small business needs a CRM.


Whether you are a solopreneur, a team of five or more than 50, you are a small business and therefore need to have a way to track the lifecycle of your leads, sales and overall customers.


Given that last sentence it should be no surprise as to what CRM stands for: Customer Relationship Management.


Choosing the right CRM for your business can be tricky though. What works for the big boys (aka Corporate America) and what is needed by a one-person show or small team is very different. I’m going to break down the pros and cons of two I believe well-suited for small businesses so you can make an educated choice for YOUR business.

HubSpot: What You Need to Know

While Salesforce may be the top name in CRM platforms (again, that’s for enterprise level companies), HubSpot comes in at a close second. Why? It’s SO customizable for a variety of businesses.


To start, you can get a feel for the system for FREE. Yep, they have a 100% free offering that lets you:

  • Add in contacts
  • Track emails
  • Create deals
  • Move those deals through each phase of your sales funnel (lead – appointment scheduled – qualified lead – proposal – contract – closed won)


And to take a step further, HubSpot also includes an email marketing platform (no need for additional software??) so you can:


  • Design, create and send email campaigns and content marketing (individual campaigns, not automated workflows)
  • Add forms to your website to collect leads that automatically add the new contact to your database


Now, if you want to take it to the next level, you can explore the Marketing Hub Pro and Sales Hub Pro upgraded versions. These are ideally suited for companies of five employees or more and making upwards of $250,000/year. Why? Because quite frankly it’s pricey.


I would recommend you hit at least that much revenue before really being able to justify the monthly (or annual) expenditure on the added features. Plus, once you do make that investment, you’ll want to be sure you are truly using it to the full potential. That will require a dedicated marketing and/or sales operations role to be in there on a daily basis either sending email campaigns (the former) or reviewing your sales reps’ funnels and assisting with closing deals.


Downsides to HubSpot:

  • It’s pricey, which I mentioned earlier. What does that mean? Upwards of $1,000/month if you have over 2,500 contacts
  • If you are a solopreneur, all the options for setup can be overwhelming.
    • Remember: just because it CAN do something for you doesn’t mean it’s right for your business
  • Free version is great, but if you plan to grow your business you’ll eventually be limited by it’s capabilities and need to upgrade

Dubsado: What You Need to Know

Now let’s take a look at Dubsado. The New Kid on the Block by comparison to HubSpot, this platform also does what I think all small businesses need: combines a CRM with an email marketing software for a clean funnel.


Dubsado takes the sales funnel approach a little differently though and allows you to provide an eCommerce experience for your leads from initial inquiry to proposal, contract, invoice & payment!


Here’s how it works:

  1. Lead comes in and you automatically sends them a pre-loaded questionnaire or email to qualify them as a client
  2. This could be as simple as asking them to setup a call on your calendar to discuss their needs
  3. During onboarding to the platform you upload each of your service or product offerings like an eCommerce store with a separate template and pricing for each
  4. Once you qualify the lead, you can build their proposal in Dubsado using a drag-and-drop style feature to pull your pre-loaded service offerings into the doc
  5. Prospect receives the proposal and can select the services/products they want as if they were shopping online
  6. The selected items are put into the contract that is auto-generated for them to sign right then.
  7. After signature, the items selected are also loaded into the first invoice that is presented to them to pay directly through Dubsado.


Sounds pretty baller right? Talk about a streamlined process! The developers of Dubsado have combined not just a CRM and email marketing software but also a (basic) accounting platform.


While that process is pretty amazing once it flows right, the biggest downside to Dubsado as I see it is the setup. The amount of onboarding it will require to get all of your products/services input, pricing determined, templates setup for all emails/contracts/invoices, etc, and triggers in place for the full customer experience to work is INTENSE??‍♀️


However, once you get it done your business can work very efficiently from an operations point of view. This removes a lot of the small chunks of time spent creating these for each client as they come in. It also allow for customizations to your services at any stage (including pricing), but I think it’s more ideally suited for those with set packages or products.


Because Dubsado directly targets solopreneurs and small businesses, the pricing is tailored to you at just $350/year. So if you’ve got set packages and the time to get that setup juuust right, then jump on this.

Final Recommendation on CRMs

As a small business owner you only have so much time in your day and so much money to spend on marketing. Get the most use out of your investment by sourcing a CRM that can grow with you (whether that’s by additional people roles or scaling revenue) AND combines a marketing element.


Two birds. One stone. A more streamlined approach to sales & marketing – as it should be!

Channing Muller is an award winning marketing & public relations consultant and the principal of DCM Communications. She works with event professionals and business owners to grow and scale their businesses with refined marketing strategies developed through one-on-one and group consulting, customized marketing programs and public relations. She has been named a "25 Young Event Pro to Watch" by Special Events magazine and "40 Under 40" by Connect Meetings. Channing is an avid runner, lover of labrador retrievers, good food, delicious drinks, and an advocate for the American Heart Association. Follow her on Instagram @ChanningMuller.

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