At their Inbound event last week, Brian Halligan, CEO of HubSpot asked the audience who uses About half raised their hands.

He then asked, who doesn’t use, at which point the remainder of the audience obliged with a show of hands. "Well, this announcement is for you", he claimed.

HubSpot ventures into the CRM space with an offering which “in keynotes” isn't meant to compete with Salesforce.

In 2011, Google Ventures, Sequoia Capital and Inc. invested a cool $32 million into the startup. Which is why you can't really blame them for pretending to not compete.

Can you use the new HubSpot offering instead of another CRM?

For those of us who have been working with CRM and marketing automation for years (since before HubSpot existed), thats an easy question.

The answer lies in the definition of customer relationship management.

Your relationship with your customer doesn't end with a sale, does it? There are implementations and projects, support and up sells, accounting and total account values that we (marketers, salespeople, CEOs) care about. It costs us more to get a new mediocre customer than it does to keep a great one.

So if your CRM stops at sales, who is providing you those answers?

The answers is no one, unless you're doing that manually. With HubSpot, you gain a free CRM, but lose the total picture of what makes a good customer.

I'm sure the product is great, but it's basic. And while it may very well suit your needs in the immediate future, as your company grows and you want to track the whole customer relationship you are going to run into trouble.

Salesforce is designed to grow and expand as your company does. Develop custom applications for the unique needs of your growing and ever evolving business. HubSpot CRM, for now, won't. So are you willing to trade a free CRM now for the cost of changing later when you realize you need more from your CRM.

And I'm not just talking money. I'm talking about the time, energy, and aggravation that generally accompanies changes to company infrasture. Especially one that generally is well ingrained in day-to-day customer operations.

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