HighLevel and HubSpot are two all-in-one sales and marketing platforms with a lot of emphasis on CRM (custom relationship management). HubSpot is very innovative, but the same can be said about HighLevel.
HighLevel was not always the one-stop sales and marketing platform it is today. It started in 2018 as an agency and grew into a full-fledged business solution that’s growing very fast and getting more and more popular by the day.
Similarly, from its inception in 2006 up until 2014, HubSpot was solely a marketing automation platform. Today, it’s one of the biggest players in the sales and marketing game. Compared to HighLevel, it’s a much bigger company and it keeps expanding. In 2019, PieSync, software that allows live and historical data synchronization, was acquired by HubSpot. This made the platform even more competitive.
This article will be a HighLevel vs. HubSpot comparison. We’ll inspect the most important and interesting facets of these two platforms. So, let’s get started.
Who Is HighLevel for?
There’s no doubt who HighLevel caters to. Its motto is “for agencies, by an agency.” The company itself started as a marketing agency but over time transformed into a full-suite sales and marketing solution. It never forgot its roots, so it wanted to share its previous experience with other agencies and help them achieve success based on its firsthand knowledge.
HighLevel is definitely not for the newcomer or the inexperienced. It takes time and some hands-on knowledge to fully benefit from its use. Also, generally speaking, it’s not well-suited for end-users. As some reviewers note, the only situation where HighLevel would work for an end-user would be in a franchise environment.
Who Is HubSpot for?
HubSpot, on the other hand, definitely works for end-users. It would work well for any type of business owner.
However, according to the stats from a large study published on Enlyft, the bulk of the businesses that use HubSpot belong to the category of small businesses, both revenue-wise and based on the number of employees. In second place come medium-size businesses, with large businesses taking up the least percentage.
The study also shows that the platform is mainly used in these 3 industries: computer software, marketing & advertising, and IT.
By inference, it can be said that the company is best, but not exclusively, suited for small businesses (despite formerly being focused mainly on medium-size companies) and businesses within the aforementioned industries. HubSpot works well for businesses in their initial phase as well as for growing businesses because it’s extremely scalable.
HighLevel offers two plans or, as it calls them, accounts: the Agency Starter Account that costs $97/month and the Agency Unlimited Account priced at $297/month.
Agency Starter Account
The Agency Starter Account is a basic plan and it includes a single account that you can use either for your own agency or to set up one client. In addition to this, you get access to two integrations: Twilio and Mailgun. Twilio is a cloud-based platform that allows different types of communication like text messaging and phone calls. Mailgun is also a communication platform that takes care of your email communication.
This plan is best suited for an agency run by one person.
Agency Unlimited Account
The intermediate Agency Unlimited Account includes the tools found in the basic plan plus unlimited sub-accounts and a branded desktop app. Let’s elaborate on this a bit.
Unlimited sub-accounts mean that you can have as many clients as you want and all of them will have separate accounts at no additional cost to you. This is one of the most incredible things about the HighLevel pricing system. Normally, with other platforms, you or your clients need to pay for each account. With HighLevel, there isn’t anything like that. On top of this, as an agency (owner), you’ll be free to charge your clients whatever sum you want for your service.
This plan gives you a lot of control. You can use your own custom domain and customize the platform to not only look the way you want but also to look like you own the software. This is possible thanks to the HighLevel's white labeling feature, which enables you to make the platform look completely in line with your branding – your logo, your colors, and everything else.
In contrast to the Agency Starter Account, the Agency Unlimited Account is more suited for a team.
White Label Mobile App + Custom Zap Upgrade
Another existing option within the HighLevel pricing system is an upgrade designed to supplement the Agency Unlimited Account. It’s called White Label Mobile App + Custom Zap Upgrade. Wordy, but very descriptive. With it, you get a fully-branded HighLevel mobile app tailored specifically to your needs and access to a custom collection of the integrations available through Zapier – a collection created for the needs of your specific brand.
However, it’s not cheap to enjoy the benefits of all these features. A subscription to the Agency Unlimited Account is a prerequisite for the upgrade, so you need to pay an additional $497 over the regular monthly fee for the Agency Unlimited Account.
None of the plans require a long-term commitment, so you can upgrade, downgrade, or cancel any time you want. If you want to take HighLevel for a spin before making a decision, there’s a 14-day trial period, which requires your credit card and personal information.
The HubSpot pricing system is a bit complex, so let’s break it down.
The HubSpot tools are divided into 5 different “hubs”: marketing, CRM & sales, customer service, CMS (content management system), and operations. It’s important to know this because the different pricing plans hinge on this categorization.
Every category, except the CMS and operations, includes 3 pricing plans: Starter, Professional, and Enterprise. The CMS class has only 2 plans, Professional and Enterprise, while the operations class contains 3 plans, but they’re different: Free, Starter, and Professional.
The good news is that HubSpot offers free tools and a large number of them. They’re best for someone who is just starting out.
The free tools are divided into 5 groups: CRM, marketing, sales, service, and operations. There aren't any free CMS features. However, since there’s a significant overlap between the groups, to avoid repetition, we’ll list the tools without mentioning any of the groups’ names.
These are some noteworthy free HighLevel tools and features:
- Contact management
- Contact website activity
- Messenger integration
- Email tracking and notifications
- Meeting scheduling app
- Tasks and activities
- Email marketing
- Landing pages
- Reporting dashboard
- Ad management
- HubSpot mobile app
- Live chat
- Conversational bots
- Email templates
- Data sync
- App Marketplace integration
The complete list is much longer, but even the set of tools that we listed here is pretty impressive considering that it’s free, right?
The Marketing Starter plan costs $50/month. With it, you get the free marketing tools, 1,000 marketing contacts, plus some more advanced features for attracting an audience, gaining a better understanding of your leads, and engaging your leads.
The Marketing Professional plan is priced at $890/month. It’s a big price jump. This plan includes everything from the Starter plan along with 2,000 marketing contacts, marketing automation tools, functionalities that make your marketing more personalized, a blog, SEO tools, A/B split-testing, custom reports, and more.
There’s a 10% discount on the Starter and Professional packages if you pay upfront for a whole year.
When it comes to automation, the Starter plan is not recommended. It doesn’t support the level of automation needed for running a serious business. In contrast to this, the Professional plan will most certainly do the trick.
The Marketing Enterprise plan includes everything from the previous plan plus 10,000 marketing contacts, tools to manage your teams and brands, possibilities to extend the platform (say, with webhooks), advanced reporting, etc. This plan costs $3,200/month. It’s expensive, but it’s an enterprise-level plan, so it’s kind of expected.
CRM & Sales
All Starter plans, from each hub, cost the same: $50/month.
With the CRM & Sales Starter plan you get a means to organize your sales (like pipelines), different ways to connect with prospects (call, live chat, schedule a meeting), tracking and reporting tools, and more.
The CRM & Sales Professional plan costs $500/month. Like their marketing and customer service counterparts, this plan also includes a 10% discount on the annual subscription.
The CRM & Sales Professional plan includes tools for managing a scaled-up team (the possibility to organize your account by teams), functionality that gives your sales efforts a more personalized touch (for instance, personalized videos), and much more.
The CRM & Sales Enterprise plan costs $1,200/month. This plan allows you to customize anything related to sales and CRM.
The Customer Service Starter plan includes a ticket system, live chat, phone calls, a meeting scheduler, various types of reports, and so on.
The Customer Service Professional plan includes various ticket-related tools (for instance, automatic ticket routing), functionality that help your customers resolve issues more efficiently on their own (e.g. a knowledge base that answers your clients’ FAQs), different ways to quantify and enhance the customer experience (surveys, reporting), and more. The monthly fee for this plan is $400.
The Customer Service Enterprise plan is priced at $1,200/month. It enables you to provide outstanding and dependable customer service, manage many teams and businesses, etc.
The CMS Professional plan costs $300/month and it allows you to build different types of pages and websites, boost your traffic with the HubSpot SEO tools, achieve higher conversion rates with tools like split-testing, and stay secure with around-the-clock monitoring and threat detection. It also lets your customers enjoy fast page loads thanks to the built-in CDN, and more.
HubSpot gives you a 10% discount on this plan as well if you pay annually.
The CMS Enterprise plan costs $900/month and it gives you access to powerful features like memberships, custom CDN configuration, single sign-on, a possibility to utilize powerful AI-based testing, etc.
Finally, the last hub.
As we said earlier, this hub is slightly different. There isn’t an enterprise plan and the most basic offering doesn’t start with a starter plan, but with a completely free plan.
The Free Operations plan includes data synchronization, App Marketplace integration, contact management, helpful insights about the companies in your database, etc.
The Starter Operations plan includes everything from the previous plan plus some more advanced features related to data synchronization.
But, that’s not all, folks. The interesting part is that HubSpot allows you to combine different hubs according to your needs. To be more precise, there are 2 options: you can either use a bundle suggested by the platform or create your own.
You can find 3 bundles proposed on the HubSpot site:
Clearly, these are great cut-rate offers, but if none of them tickles your fancy, you can combine different types of plans into a bundle that best fits your requirements. HubSpot calculates the price for you and lets you know in advance how much you’ll have to pay for your custom bundle.
In addition to this, the company has special offers with discounts of up to 90% for startups. You need to apply, check if you’re eligible for the initiative, called HubSpot for Startups, and if you are, see how big of a discount you can get.
Thoughts on the HubSpot pricing system
In contrast to HighLevel, where you simply get everything – sales, marketing, pipelines, etc. – for the monthly subscription fee, HubSpot has a different approach.
You may pay a hefty sum for your advanced marketing tools, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll get access to the sales tools that kind of naturally go with those marketing features. If you want tools of different types, you'll need to pay more. If you want access to tools from every hub, it gets pretty pricey; it can cost you more than $1,500.
This is one of the reasons experienced users suggest that you schedule a live demo before doing anything else on HubSpot. There’s also a possibility to sign up for a 14-day trial with the plans from the CMS hub and the Professional Operations plan. Gain some hands-on experience with the platform, see if it’s not too overwhelming, try to measure how much you need and what you need, and only then make a decision.
HighLevel doesn’t have anything along the lines of an app store, for a very simple reason: the number of third-party integrations, not counting those available via Zapier, is very small.
On the HighLevel site, you can find the following apps: Facebook (social network), QuickBooks (accounting), ManyChat (communication and marketing), ActiveProspect (communication and consent-based marketing), Zoom (webinars and video conferencing), and Stripe (payment processing).
Zapier fills the holes, but at a greater financial cost, since as we saw, it’s available only with a special upgrade.
But that’s not all. HighLevel integrates with other software through embed codes. For instance, since HighLevel doesn’t come with a blogging tool out of the box, and none of the above-mentioned integrations are in any way related to blogging, to be able to blog on the platform you’ll need third-party software.
Without any hassle, you can integrate HighLevel with DropInBlog. You'd be hard pressed to find a better blogging option on the market. DropInBlog allows you to create a blog on HighLevel in a few easy steps.
It seems like HighLevel is more focused on providing software solutions that run natively on its platform rather than offering a plethora of third-party integrations. The HighLevel development team regularly updates and upgrades the software with new powerful features without making the platform bloated.
Unlike HighLevel, HubSpot has a very rich store of third-party integrations. There are 741 apps in the HubSpot App Marketplace and they’re divided into 5 categories: marketing, sales, customer service, productivity, and finance. Each of these categories is further divided into various subcategories.
Some of the apps are free, others are paid. Some of the paid ones require a monthly fee, while others have a yearly fee. One-time pay and pay-as-you-go apps are also not uncommon, and then there are others that require you to contact customer service to get a price.
Some of the most popular apps, by the number of installations, are Gmail, Facebook Ads, Mailchimp, Calendly, Salesforce, Typeform, Hotjar, and Zapier.
Clearly, in terms of integrations, HubSpot offers incomparably more than HighLevel. Depending on your personal preferences, this can be great or not that great. If you want to always have a good number of options available, even if you don’t use them that often, then this is great. On the other hand, if you prefer simplicity and having too many options bothers you, then HighLevel's approach would suit you much better.
HighLevel provides day-and-night support via several channels:
- Support portal, rich with articles on anything related to the platform: general questions, onboarding, and much more. The onboarding series includes videos too.
- Community forums.
- Facebook community.
- Ticket system.
- Email support.
- Phone support.
- Live chat.
The HighLevel customer service is professional, highly responsive, and overall works great. Therefore, it rates very highly in users’ reviews of the company.
When it comes to customer help, support, and care, HubSpot has taken things to another level. There are so many ways to get help, learn about the platform, and resolve problems:
- HubSpot Academy, where they teach you about their platform and sales and marketing features for free, which is pretty cool. Everyone has access to these resources. There are short courses and certification courses. When you finish a certification course, you are awarded a free certificate.
- Help Center, where you can find links to the academy, documentation, HubSpot community, the knowledge base, customer blogs, and HubSpot partners.
- Botchat, available to any visitor of the HubSpot site.
- Email, for those subscribed to a Starter plan.
- Chat with human beings, available only with a Starter account.
- Phone, for all Professional and Enterprise plans.
- Chat with the sales team.
- Book a meeting.
- Join or start a HUG (HubSpot User Group).
The HubSpot customer support team is extremely helpful and knowledgeable and responds quickly. The HubSpot customer service is described as "amazing," "top-notch," "excellent," and a lot more along these lines by HubSpot clients.
HighLevel offers a lot of features. For what it includes, it’s extremely cost-effective and affordable.
This is part of what the platform provides its customers:
- Multi-channel communication: SMS, Messenger, phone, email, voicemail, etc.
- Smart lists.
- Call recording, detailed call information, forced calls, and a power dialer.
- White labeling.
- Live chat widget.
- Membership builder.
- Conversion rates tracking.
- Ability to create different types of campaigns: sales, marketing, follow-up, and more.
- Reputation management.
- Unlimited business accounts.
- Website builder and some pre-designed templates.
- Automated marketing.
- Sales funnels and pipelines builder.
- Drag-and-drop editor.
- Trigger links.
- Broadcast messaging.
- Ability to import and export contact lists.
- Appointments and calendar tool.
- Analytics and reporting.
- Two-way texting.
- Affiliate program.
- AI and machine learning-powered system.
- The ability to copy a ClickFunnels funnel.
- No limitation on the number of custom domains or websites you can build for your clients.
- Ability to follow your clients’ communication with their clients and their sales and marketing campaigns.
- Excellent reporting dashboard.
- Email builder (not that good).
- A very good form builder.
HubSpot offers so many tools ... it would take a whole separate article to name and explore them. Here, we’ll list only a small fraction of the HubSpot repertoire of features.
These are some of the things that HubSpot offers:
- Contact management.
- Gmail and Outlook integration.
- Reporting and analytics.
- Email tracking.
- Email builder.
- Canned snippets.
- List of the most relevant information about leads and customers and timeline of interaction.
- Ability to create tasks that you get timely reminders about.
- Great SEO functionality.
- Partner program that lets you resell Hubspot to your customers.
- History of recent email conversations and leads’ activity on social networks.
- Open-source software and open-source development (more on that here).
- Very tidy and user-friendly dashboard.
- Ability to make calls from the browser.
- Separate template page with a myriad of responsive and customizable templates, many of which are free.
- Drag-and-drop editor.
- Smart landing pages that show content depending on the user’s profile.
- AI and machine learning-powered system.
- Pipelines, and so much more.
We saw how similar HighLevel and HubSpot are. They are defined in the same way and they offer comparable features. However, even though the overall number of HubSpot features may be bigger, HighLevel offers a lot for much less money. On the other hand, HubSpot gives you access to many tools for free.
HubSpot offers a lot more integrations, while HighLevel offers simplicity. HubSpot has a very clean and tidy dashboard that makes it a more intuitive platform, but it’s not as if HighLevel lags far behind on that front.
Generally speaking and simply put, HubSpot is more powerful than HighLevel, so in a way it does have a slight advantage in a HighLevel vs. HubSpot match-up.
However, the most important thing to keep in mind here is that these two platforms are geared toward different audiences. HighLevel is strictly built for agencies, while HubSpot works perfectly for end-users. With that in mind, the better platform is the one that fits your specific needs better. If you’re an agency owner, it would make sense to go with HighLevel. If you’re a business owner who wants access to more sophisticated sales and marketing tools, then HubSpot should be your choice.