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HubSpot vs Salesforce: How Clearbit Acquisition Impacts the CRM Rivalry


The CRM industry has long been dominated by two key players – HubSpot and Salesforce. With HubSpot’s recent acquisition of Clearbit for $587 million, the rivalry between these CRM giants enters a new phase.

Clearbit provides rich B2B data on companies and contacts, which can significantly enhance CRM insights. This acquisition gives HubSpot an edge with superior data analytics capabilities.

How will Salesforce respond? Can HubSpot leverage Clearbit to pull ahead of the pack? This thought leadership article analyzes the HubSpot vs. Salesforce showdown in light of this acquisition.

HubSpot’s Rise in CRM

Hubspot CRM

HubSpot emerged in the mid-2000s as an inbound marketing and sales software. It slowly expanded into a full-fledged CRM platform over the years.

Key factors drove HubSpot’s rise:

According to leading consulting firm McKinsey, typical companies lose 20-30% in productivity due to poor integration and data accessibility issues. This burden is felt across business units:

  • Highly user-friendly interface – Unlike complex traditional CRM systems, HubSpot prioritized ease of use. This expanded adoption across organizations.
  • All-in-one suite – HubSpot bundles marketing, sales, service, CMS, and operations software in one connected suite priced per user. This simplified purchasing and usage.
  • Freemium model and affordable pricing – A forever free CRM version seeded adoption, while paid tiers were reasonably priced compared to legacy competitors.

By 2017, HubSpot had over 50,000 customers and strong growth. It had successfully challenged the Salesforce juggernaut in the SMB and Mid-Market.

Salesforce Still Dominates Enterprise

Salesforce CRM

Despite HubSpot’s gains, Salesforce remains the undisputed market leader in CRM:

  • 4x HubSpot’s revenue at $26 billion
  • 28% CRM market share compared to HubSpot’s 5%.
  • Over 150,000 customers, including large enterprises.

Salesforce achieved this through the following:

  • Early mover advantage as a cloud CRM pioneer in 1999.
  • Aggressive acquisition strategy (e.g., Tableau, Slack) to expand capabilities.
  • Industry-leading customization and scalability for complex deployments.
  • Dominance among enterprises willing to pay premium prices and customize extensively.

While Salesforce thrives among large companies, HubSpot’s all-in-one ease of use resonates with SMBs and lean mid-market organizations.

The CRM Rivalry Heats Up

When it comes to HubSpot vs. Salesforce, in recent years both have introduced features and pricing aimed at stealing one another’s customers:

  • HubSpot launched Enterprise tiers in 2020, packed with scalability and security, to lure Salesforce enterprise clients.
  • Salesforce developed the Lightning Experience with an intuitive interface targeting SMBs and mid-market companies using HubSpot.
  • Salesforce quote-to-cash tool CONFIGURZ competes directly with HubSpot Sales Hub.
  • Salesforce Einstein Analytics and AI aim to surpass HubSpot’s data insights.

Both companies recognize the threat posed by the competition. The fight for CRM supremacy is well and truly on.

How Clearbit Acquisition Shifts the Playing Field

Hubspot vs Salesforce: Clearbit

This is where HubSpot’s Clearbit acquisition comes in. Adding Clearbit’s data and analytics firepower gives HubSpot new ways to beat Salesforce:

1. Superior Data on Customers and Contacts

Clearbit enhances HubSpot CRM with rich B2B insights from across the web on companies, contacts, employment history, technologies used, intent signals, and more.

This massive data advantage helps HubSpot users better understand customers for more relevant targeting and personalization. It’s far beyond what Salesforce currently offers.

2. New Revenue Opportunities and Upsells

Clearbit opens potential new revenue streams for HubSpot, including:

  • Clearbit’s premium data services and tools are sold to new customers.
  • Upselling existing HubSpot users to gain Clearbit data access

Salesforce has nothing comparable to drive new revenues.

3. AI and Predictive Capabilities

Clearbit leverages AI and predictive analytics to convert unstructured data into actionable insights.

This strengthens HubSpot’s CRM insights and recommendations to stay ahead of Salesforce Einstein AI.

4. Better Mid-Market Positioning

Mid-market users get the most value from Clearbit’s customizable data and sales triggers. HubSpot can tout this to solidify its strong positioning with mid-market companies against Salesforce.

5. Expanded Partner Ecosystem

Clearbit’s vast partner network complements HubSpot’s App Marketplace. Together, they can provide an unbeatable selection of integrated apps and add-ons.

Salesforce has more apps but Clearbit partnerships raise HubSpot’s ecosystem value.

Key Takeaways – Why Clearbit Matters

Let’s recap the key reasons Clearbit’s acquisition is a potential game-changer:

  • Massively expanded data and insights on customers and contacts.
  • New revenue opportunities from premium data services and upsells.
  • More robust AI-powered analytics and predictive intelligence.
  • A better growth platform for mid-market organizations.
  • An expanded ecosystem of integrated apps and partners.

These benefits boost HubSpot’s ability to compete for SMBs and mid-market accounts. And they equip HubSpot to better rival Salesforce in the enterprise.

Of course, Salesforce won’t cede ground easily. But Clearbit gives HubSpot a prime opportunity to advance its position in the heated CRM battle.

How Salesforce Can Counter the Threat

Salesforce Vs Hubspot Counter

Salesforce will need to respond proactively to counter HubSpot’s Clearbit-enabled advantages. Here are 5 key ways Salesforce can fight back:

1. Acquire a Competitive Data Provider

Salesforce could acquire a data enrichment provider like ZoomInfo or Demandbase to match Clearbit’s B2B data assets.

2. Strengthen Einstein Analytics

More investment in Salesforce Einstein to improve data insights is needed to prevent HubSpot from pulling ahead.

3. Introduce New SMB Editions

Develop Salesforce editions with simple interfaces and transparent pricing tailored specifically for SMBs in HubSpot’s core market.

4. Incentivize Partner Development of Analytics Apps

Incentivize partners to create next-gen analytics apps on AppExchange that rival Clearbit capabilities.

5. Improve Data Integration Between Products

Tighten data flows between Salesforce clouds to get closer to HubSpot’s integrated suite. Minimize data silos.

Of course, these initiatives will require significant resources and time to execute. HubSpot gains an advantage in the window before Salesforce can respond.

The B2B Data War Ahead

B2B data war Salesforce Hubspot

Ultimately, the CRM rivalry is set to become a war over customer data sophistication.

Salesforce will need major investments to compete with the Clearbit-augmented HubSpot platform. And data provider acquisitions will likely accelerate as CRMs vie for analytics dominance.

This means B2B organizations will gain access to unprecedented data to understand customers and drive revenue. The entire marketplace wins when CRM vendors battle to enhance their data capabilities.

Which system will come out ahead – the Salesforce behemoth or the constantly evolving HubSpot? The race is too close to call. One thing is certain: it will be a long and fierce contest between these two software giants at the top of their game. CRM users are poised to reap serious rewards from this competition. The next era of innovation begins now.

HubSpot vs. Salesforce: Conclusion

HubSpot’s strategic purchase of Clearbit ushers in a new chapter in its escalating CRM battle with Salesforce. Equipped with Clearbit’s data and AI, HubSpot gains new firepower to compete across the SMB, mid-market, and enterprise segments.

But Salesforce won’t give up its crown easily. The race is on to see which CRM titan can harness customer data most effectively as a key competitive edge. One thing is sure – CRM customers, partners, and the industry as a whole will benefit from the innovations this rivalry drives. The future of CRM looks more exciting than ever.

At Trantor, we offer leading CRM and Salesforce development, implementation, and management services to help businesses maximize value from their tech investments. As an elite Salesforce partner and HubSpot agency, we recommend the best platforms and integrations tailored to each client’s needs.

Our team stays on the cutting edge of CRM innovation to deliver robust data-driven solutions that drive growth. As the HubSpot vs. Salesforce rivalry progresses, trust us to help you capitalize on the latest advancements and gain a competitive advantage. Contact Trantor to discuss how we can optimize your use of CRM, Salesforce, marketing automation, and data analytics.

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