HubSpot CRM Starter Suite: What You Can and Can't Do

Through various prospect discussions, I realized that many companies were reluctant to commit to a Pro version of HubSpot because of the cost of the latter.

The discussion often ends with: “We can't unlock that much budget for the HubSpot Pro version, we will start with the Starter pack to do a test and potentially evolve to more features if this test is successful!”.

Indeed, testing software in its least expensive version seems to be a rational choice. However, the colossal difference in functionality between a Starter and Pro version forces us to build our portal in a totally different way and in no way allows us to measure HubSpot's capabilities for the growth of its business.

Through this article, we will see everything that is possible to do with HubSpot's basic offer: "HubSpot CRM Starter Suite" and state its limitations. so you will have all the keys in hand to make your choice of HubSpot plan.

HubSpot is an all-in-one tool that is organized into several modules called “Hubs” responding to each of the different aspects of a business (CRM, Marketing, Sales, Operations, Customer Success, etc.), so we will build our presentation around these different Hubs.

Summary :

  1. HubSpot Starter as CRM and Data Manager
    1. What can be done
    2. What cannot be done
  2. HubSpot Starter as a Marketing Tool
    1. What can be done
    2. What cannot be done
  3. HubSpot Starter as a Sales Tool
    1. What can be done
    2. What cannot be done
  4. HubSpot Starter as a Customer Relations tool
    1. What can be done
    2. What cannot be done
  5. HubSpot Starter as an Analytics Tool
    1. What can be done
    2. What cannot be done
  6. Endnotes



HubSpot Starter as CRM and Data Manager


The first feature of HubSpot is to manage your database of prospects and customers and this role is provided from the free version of HubSpot. On the Starter version you will find additional features and reduced limitations.


What can be done


As in all versions of HubSpot, you will be able to perfectly organize your prospect database, which will be divided into “Objects”.

Objects are different databases based on the nature of your lead. There are three objects used by all companies:

  • Contacts: Individuals interacting with you
  • Companies: The legal entities of your contacts
  • Deals: Potential deals with your prospects and customers

Each object is directly connected with the others. Let’s take the following example: your prospect “Mr. Martin” from the company “Martin Consulting” is about to purchase your “Training” service.

On HubSpot you will find the Contact object “Mr.Martin” associated with the Company object “Martin Consulting” and these two objects will be linked to a Deal Object “Training - Martin Consulting”.

The interdependence of these objects gives you great freedom of action while guaranteeing a clear reading of your databases at all times.

Each Object is supplied with data called “Properties”. they can provide any type of information that you can use to:

  • View information about your lead
  • Segment your database
  • Trigger automations
  • Build analytical reports

These properties are offered by HubSpot, but you also have the option of creating properties yourself that are adapted to your activity.

For example, if you are selling weight loss benefits, you can create Weight and Height properties to include in your forms to retrieve this type of information about your prospects.

HubSpot also lets you segment your leads into Lists, groupings of leads that share common characteristics (filtering members by property value).

These lists can be used as an audience for marketing campaigns, analytical visualization, automation triggers, etc.

Lists can be fixed at the time of their creation (Static) or scalable depending on the update of prospect properties (Active).


What cannot be done


Although the Starter version allows you to perform all these actions, it is limiting in several aspects:

  • Creation of custom objects

You will have to limit yourself to the Objects provided by HubSpot and will not have the possibility to create databases corresponding to your specific needs.

  • Limited lists

The creation of an evolving list (Active Lists) is essential in the proper management and organization of your database and your operations.

HubSpot Starter limits you to 25 Active lists and 1000 static lists. 25 is very little considering that these active lists are also used to circumvent other limitations of the Starter version.

  • No automatic management of your data

You cannot automate cleaning or enriching your prospect data with the Starter plan.

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HubSpot Starter as a Marketing Tool


The second and most advanced use of HubSpot in corporate communication is its “All-in-one Marketing Tool” aspect. HubSpot in its final version has all the necessary features to manage the entire Marketing of a company. Data convergence and ease of use make it an almost perfect tool. The concern is that its Starter version blocks us in most Marketing applications on the platform.


What can be done


The Marketing Starter tool was designed to provide the basics for managing an Inbound strategy which, in my opinion, is perfectly suited to freelancers or VSEs.

These features will allow you to create a simple acquisition funnel based on the following tools:

  • Traffic Acquisition: Creation and management of a Blog, Creation of a website, Advertising Manager (Google, Meta, LinkedIn)
  • Traffic Redirection: Calls to Action (CTA) which are Pop-ups aimed at challenging a visitor and redirecting him to a conversion page
  • Traffic Conversion: Creation and management of Landing Pages, Creation and management of Conversion forms
  • Emailing: Limited autoresponder following the submission of a form, Ability to send segmented manual emailing campaigns

You will therefore have the possibility of putting a very minimalist but operational acquisition system online.


What cannot be done


However, there are several limitations:

You don't have the ability to manage your social media posts and communities.

You cannot trigger multi-email automated campaigns or any other deep automation.

You cannot automatically qualify your incoming leads to simplify sales work.

You do not have the option of grouping your Marketing efforts under “Campaigns” to be able to measure their impact as a whole.

You do not benefit from an SEO optimization tool.

The biggest limitation is the inability to access the “Workflow” automation tool. This simple feature brings so much possibility and freedom in managing your database and marketing efforts that it alone justifies the upgrade to a Pro version.


HubSpot Starter as a Sales Tool


The main function expected of a CRM is its ability to simplify the daily life and work of our salespeople. It is therefore no surprise that HubSpot has developed features in this direction.


What can be done


HubSpot Starter allows us to efficiently organize the daily tasks of a salesperson with the possibility of easily juggling between the different objects of the same opportunity, by offering an efficient and ergonomic sales pipeline tool, and by simplifying decision-making. meet with your sales reps.

HubSpot Starter also allows your salespeople to simplify their communication by writing text blocks or email templates (limited to 5). You also have the option of incorporating documents into your emails (such as sales brochures) and editing quotes.

Finally, its conversation monitoring capabilities with the recording of all your lead's activities (Calls, follow-up of email interaction, website visit, etc.) allow you to be the most productive and efficient during your exchanges prospects).


What cannot be done


However, the Starter version limits you and does not allow you to program sequences of Sales emails, to automate the evolution of a prospect in his buying journey, to make forecasts of results and to benefit from conversational guides.

Also, you will be limited to 2 sales reps, although it is possible to add users by increasing your monthly bill.


HubSpot Starter as a Customer Relations tool


HubSpot has developed a whole range of “Customer Success” oriented features. However, the Starter version offers very few possibilities.


What can be done


You will be able to set up a Live Chat window on your site and manage tickets manually.

The main interest of a ticketing tool is to be able to automate their generation and allocation, which will not be possible in Starter.


What cannot be done


By upgrading to a Pro plan, you will unlock several new possibilities for creating live chat and chatbot, you will be able to provide a knowledge base to simplify the support of your customers, send different types of surveys (NPS, CSAT, etc. )

You can also automate the generation and management of your tickets and create private user portals on your website.


HubSpot Starter as an Analytics Tool


The richness of HubSpot, as an all-in-one tool, is the possibility of centralizing data and being able to create complete and 360 analysis reports.


What can be done


The Starter version only offers us to select default reports and dashboards from the HubSpot library. These reports correspond to needs common to the majority of companies, however, you have no possibility of personalizing them. So you can only analyze what HubSpot offers you directly.


What cannot be done


So you cannot create, which is the richness of HubSpot reports, custom reports. Indeed, each company is governed by its own KPIs and being able to visualize them on the company's main platform is essential. By upgrading to a higher version you will be able to create reports with the granularity and finesse you want.




HubSpot Starter, for its price (starting at $30/month) is an incredibly powerful and comprehensive tool. However, it is important to consider it for what it is. It is in no way a test version of a future migration to HubSpot but is a separate tool that meets 90% of the needs of a freelancer or a very small business.

A HubSpot portal is a tool that must serve the operations of a company and the architecture of a Starter version trying to circumvent the limitations of the subscription will be totally of that of a higher version.

I hope this article has helped you understand the different possibilities and limitations of subscribing to a HubSpot CRM Suite Starter plan. If you have any questions about which package is best for your business, I'd be happy to guide you.

If you want to be autonomous in your HubSpot Discovery I also have an affiliate link letting you create your free HubSpot Portal in less than 5 minutes.

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Grégoire Bolnot


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