B2B businesses have several strong options for marketing automation software available to them, which makes choosing the best platform for your business a bit challenging. What features should you be looking for when deciding between HubSpot vs Pardot vs Marketo or even Eloqua (now the Oracle Cloud)?
There are pros and cons to each platform, but with years of implementations under our belt, we’ve found that one option stands head and shoulders above the rest. For the majority of our clients, HubSpot has clearly emerged as the preferred platform for executing integrated B2B marketing campaigns. (One caveat before we move on: these platforms change at lightning speed, so we reserve the right to revise our recommendations in the future!)
8 Areas Where HubSpot Crushes the Competition
We’re certified consultants in HubSpot and Pardot, so we’re ready to speak to the differences between these platforms. Here are eight reasons why we usually recommend HubSpot for B2B businesses.
1. Reporting dashboards and attribution
When you login to Pardot, the dashboard landing page is, we’ve found, a let down. It lacks the information you’re most likely to be looking for and it can’t be customized. HubSpot, by contrast, has customizable dashboards for individual users and for teams for both the Sales and Marketing tools in the platform. The easy drag and drop interface makes customizing your landing screens incredibly easy so they are meaningful for everyone on your team.
Besides functionality, Pardot’s reporting and attribution features definitely leave a lot to be desired compared to HubSpot. While HubSpot’s best reporting features are only available with the paid “add-on,” they are more versatile and easy to read. For most of our clients, we are able to build live reports that show Contact Form submissions, Content Downloads, Demo Requests and other inquiries all displayed by month and source in easy to read columns. Separate campaign reports, web traffic and sales reports are all pre-configured in HubSpot so setting them up is simple.
Pardot Campaign Performance Report (April 2018).
HubSpot Campaign Analytics Report (April 2018).
As you can see from the above examples, even the detailed views of campaign performance are much easier to read and manipulate within HubSpot.
2. User experience and design
Our second observation when comparing HubSpot vs Pardot is that the overall user interface design for HubSpot is much more pleasant and user-friendly. While both are far superior in interface aesthetics to Eloqua, HubSpot still has them both beat.
Our only complaint with HubSpot is that the pace of change within the platform means that features are constantly moved, so where you found a tool last week isn’t necessarily where you will see it when you login today. Generally, HubSpot lets users know where tools have moved, but we sometimes still spot broken links as upgrades are made. The upside is that HubSpot is clearly investing in improving the platform in every respect — something that is definitely not as apparent with Pardot.
3. Salesforce integration
You would think that Pardot would have HubSpot beat with its Salesforce integration, but we actually find this is a false assumption. HubSpot’s integration with Salesforce is quite robust.
HubSpot offers several key features to help keep you marketing and sales team working well together. They offer an option to auto-add records, so that a lead that fills out a form and is added to your HubSpot database will also be added to Salesforce, automatically keeping both databases in sync. HubSpot also lets you track the success of your marketing campaigns in driving sales by connecting convert and closed/won opportunities in Salesforce to your marketing efforts. There are also numerous options for keeping track and updating contact records so you can send custom messaging and focus on qualified leads.
4. Customer support, phone, chat and email
There’s no comparison between HubSpot vs Pardot when it comes to product support for customers and agencies. Whether it’s by phone, email, or chat, we’ve always been able to reach a HubSpot customer support representative on the same day and have issues or questions resolved within minutes. We’ve noticed that HubSpot customers are quick to contact product support with questions, and end up using the platform in more advanced ways. As a partner agency, we also have prioritized access to support teams.
With Pardot, we have often waited weeks for a response, and sometimes just get nothing at all in response to support tickets. Pardot customers seem reluctant to ever reach out to their product support team because they’ve had little, if any, success in getting resolution to issues.
5. Workflows and drip programs
While Pardot’s new “Engagement Studio” tool has greatly improved its drip program capabilities, it still falls short of the capabilities that HubSpot offers. It’s also rather cumbersome with the interface for building programs difficult to work in.
We recently tested both platforms in creating a Lead Assignment workflow for a client’s sales team to route leads based on region (EMEA, APAC, LATAM, and North America). This is a fairly routine request for our global clients. Executing this workflow in Pardot took us more than 6 hours to build. Executing it in HubSpot took us about an hour and a half. That’s a big difference in efficiency due to gaps in logic in Pardot.
Building a regional lead assignment automation program in HubSpot.
6. Security and compliance
Both Pardot and Salesforce now offer security certificates (SSL) for the landing pages they host at no additional charge. This is a recent change for both platforms, and a welcome one!
HubSpot has been working quite hard to get its platform and customers compliant with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which goes into effect next month. They have hosted dozens of webinars and built an entire microsite dedicated to information for their customers needing assistance with their compliance programs. We’ve so far been unable to find anything comparable from Pardot.
The list pricing on both Pardot and HubSpot should be taken with a grain of salt. They definitely will negotiate off of the list pricing, particularly around end of year and of quarter. However, even if you can get Pardot at slightly lower cost, the number of services and overall value of the HubSpot platform is far greater in our view.
Either way, most of our clients expect to pay between $600 and $4,000 per month for a marketing automation tool. The cost varies on each platform based on the number of contacts you have in your database as well as additional optional services you may need to add.
We highly suggest for those pursuing a HubSpot or Pardot implementation to hire a professional agency to help implement the tool. The expertise of a team who has implemented a marketing automation platform (or migrated from one tool to another) cannot be underestimated. These tools have a tremendous number of features to configure, and, in order to truly get the most of your subscription, it’s helpful to make the process as efficient and least disruptive to your company as possible.
8. Overall product vision
On the whole, the HubSpot product is built for marketing professionals. It’s not just a line they use to sell the platform — it’s objectively visible in their product roadmap and the features they continue to roll out on a regular basis. They have an aggressive pace for adding and upgrading features, and they are robust in their support for clients and agencies who are leveraging the tools. In fact, we’ve had the most success with clients who not only leverage the marketing tool, but also opt to host their full website on the HubSpot CMS and adopt the HubSpot CRM for their sales team. Their seamless hub of digital tools makes it incredibly easy to simplify your overall technology stack for sales and marketing.
Need Help Implementing HubSpot or Pardot?
We are a Certified HubSpot Partner Agency and we are also certified Pardot Consultants. We’d be happy to walk you through our process for implementing a marketing automation solution, a sales CRM solution, and/or migrating or designing your entire website on the HubSpot CMS.
Posted In: Marketing Automation
Whitney is a highly sought-after B2B online marketing expert with more than 12 years of experience leading marketing and communications teams in a variety of organizations, including nonprofits, small businesses, tech startups, and large global corporations. She’s helped dozens of brands gain greater recognition for their causes and products in the digital world.