Your Guide to Software Selection

Pardot vs HubSpot

If all marketing automation tools aim to do the same thing, they’re probably pretty similar, right? Why does it matter which one you buy? We’re here to explain the strengths, weaknesses and features of two popular platforms side-by-side to help you make the right decision for your business.

HubSpot and Pardot are two of our top-rated CRM systems for good reason. They utilize marketing automation to attract buyers to your website via targeted inbound marketing. We’ve made sure to check the functionality, depth and range of both to ensure we’re highlighting the best of the best. Let’s see how these two compare when it comes to the most important features in our Pardot vs HubSpot comparison:


Advantages and Disadvantages

Pardot is a powerful marketing automation platform from the Salesforce juggernaut. It offers businesses the ability to examine their customers’ journey through every stage of the sales process, so sales and marketing teams can work together and focus on the most promising leads.

HubSpot CRM is built to allow sales teams to get started quickly without making disruptive changes in their existing workflow. It is a solution ideal for companies that are still starting to recognize the value of CRM and want to try it out or for enterprises that are not using their existing CRM systems to their fullest potential.

Lead Filter

Pardot’s organized interface organizes and filters leads.

The lead filter allows users to segment customers by demographic data and filter by quality so sales teams only focus on leads most likely to convert.

Sales teams can use Pardot to capture all the relevant lead data from on and off site sources, qualify these leads and distribute them to the right channels. Pardot also supports lead management, lead generation and lead nurturing. Marketing can use the software to manage social media campaigns, as well as to gather pertinent customer information from social media platforms.

Pardot has the ability to filter leads into groups that are dictated by desirables. In other words, a group could consist of those who will respond positively to a campaign based off historical data you’ve collected. This automated filtering allows sales teams to focus on high quality leads instead of wasting energy on discounting mismatches or following up with poorly qualified leads.

HubSpot provides filtering features that let users see a list of opted-in leads with a particular set of behaviors and helps them identify mismatches. With this lead filtering functionality, users can create auto-segmented lists and workflows that consist only of prospects that meet a certain set of predetermined criteria. You can have confidence that the individuals entering your list are high quality leads based on their lead scoring. Unfortunately, there is manual work involved in filtering out the mismatches.

By qualifying your leads and filtering them based on qualification, your list quality will improve, your data sets will be cleaner, and your KPI reporting will become more accurate. It’s not always perfect and usually requires some trial and error behind the scenes, but once your lead filtering is defined, it should certainly help you identify your best leads more quickly.

HubSpot can help users set up specific lists to further create engagement with potential buyers, but the level of sophistication is not as complex as what Pardot can offer.

Advantage
Pardot rates better than HubSpot for Lead Filtering in SelectHub's research & analysis of the two tools.

Customer Retention

Marketing automation plays a key role in keeping leads engaged with the brand through drip email marketing campaigns. Keeping leads educated, interested and aware of the brand warms them up for an eventual sale.

Pardot lets users automatically nurture prospects to move them through the sales pipeline, notify sales reps of prospect activities in real time, and measure the true ROI of your marketing efforts with closed-loop reporting. Its dynamic tools allow marketers to easily adapt and improve marketing messages and workflows for each audience. Emails can be automatically sent based on time, engagement or other custom parameters. Lead qualification settings help marketing teams identify the most engaged leads and prioritize outreach. Automation and segmentation features reduce the repetitive tasks involved with targeting. And campaign performance data can be used to personalize the customer experience.

These effective drip campaigns help users retain their customers by educating them about Pardot’s tips and tricks. Placing the clients on a best practices drip nurturing track gradually introduces them to advanced nuances and builds brand engagement and knowledge. The goal is to keep clients engaged with the product.

With its cloud-based, all-in-one marketing software platform, HubSpot helps companies of all sizes create a web presence, convert online traffic into leads that can be tracked and nurtured and analyze business metrics to ensure marketing campaigns are progressing in the right direction. HubSpot Marketing can handle both B2B and B2C business in a variety of segments, including accounting, construction, retail, real estate and more.

HubSpot provides lead nurturing options that automatically trigger timed follow-up emails based on leads’ behavior. This solution provides structured campaigns to retain customers on a long-term basis. The marketing automation works in tandem with users to ensure that leads are contacted at prime opportunities to build and maintain long-term relationships.

Pardot’s marketing tool involves direct interaction between users and leads, which nurtures relationships. But it also utilizes resources that could be diverted elsewhere. HubSpot’s robust automated features offer more freedom and convenience.

Advantage
HubSpot rates better than Pardot for Customer Retention in SelectHub's research & analysis of the two tools.

Lead Management

HubSpot’s interactive dashboards let sales and marketing teams collaborate on lead management.

The management aspect of lead management focuses on weeding out weak leads from potential high-quality leads, and is typically a labor-intensive manual process.

Pardot has features like lead scoring, lead nurturing and email/landing page creation available in all three of its packages, but lacks CTA, blog or SEO tools. Pardot allows sales teams to view a detailed summary of the website clicks, pages visited, etc., enabling them to ascertain the type of marketing campaign required for the prospect. Pardot can track anonymous visitors from their website to convert them into prospect leads and generate marketing campaigns with all the prospect’s information forwarded into Salesforce CRM.

Pardot also has built-in editors that use drag-and-drop features to make building landing pages, custom forms and social posts efficient and effective. Pardot can integrate with Google AdWords to track a campaign’s return on investment (ROI) and analyze keyword performance. Social profiling is simplified by tracking all the interactions prospects have with social campaigns.

HubSpot specializes in content creation tools. They provide a ton of solutions for creating and optimizing blogs, landing pages, web content, CTAs and SEO. It also offers workflow generators and reporting tools to paint a comprehensive picture of problem areas and successful areas. HubSpot can easily set criteria to categorize, nurture and profile leads based on their specific characteristics and behavior. Users get to see every detail pertaining to a lead within a single contact profile, and access a chronological overview of each touchpoint between their company and a contact, such as page visits, asset downloads, email opens and website visits.

All-in-one contact intelligence provides the full context of leads’ history, making it easy to create targeted lists, automate email campaigns and increase conversions. And because HubSpot’s contact database integrates with several CRM systems, sales can get the inside scoop on a lead and make smart follow-ups.

Where HubSpot falters a little is that the automation of any of these features, including email and goal-based nurturing, isn’t available in its basic package. HubSpot also fails to include any kind of PPC integration, so businesses with a PPC-heavy marketing strategy tend to lean towards Pardot.

Advantage
Pardot rates better than HubSpot for Lead Management in SelectHub's research & analysis of the two tools.

Marketing Campaigns

The campaign management functions are particularly useful for creating, managing and executing successful marketing campaigns.

Pardot makes managing email campaigns easier for marketers. An intuitive editor helps users build visually-pleasing emails. Automation and personalization settings allow marketers to “set and forget.” Marketing messages can be automatically sent to contacts and modified based on contact engagement. Also, A/B testing capabilities let users find out what truly resonates with a lead and craft the perfect message.

Marketing and sales teams can use Pardot’s marketing automation tools to get insights on the effectiveness of their campaigns, identify areas for improvement, and learn the sources of successful campaigns. They can benefit from advanced web analytics tools such as reporting on closed deals and sync prospects from their CRM with visitor stats provided by Google Analytics. In addition, data on paid search, sales lifecycle, and email reporting enables marketers to focus their effort and time on productive activities.

HubSpot’s customers can create beautiful emails without ever learning a line of code, then select from dozens of actions, conditions and triggers to send the right emails to the right prospects at the right time.

HubSpot also includes a visual editor that allows users to envision workflows in real-time – whether they’re creating a simple follow-up sequence or a complex, multi-stage journey with several paths. Users can manage all marketing campaigns, inbound and outbound, in one place. You can associate specific prospects with individual campaigns to ensure you aren’t assaulting potential leads with too many email campaigns. It integrates seamlessly with Salesforce CRM systems (Pardot was purchased by Salesforce in 2013), combining all your needs in a single place.

HubSpot may have more than enough for a small business, but medium businesses and enterprises may find they need a more comprehensive features list. Pardot is once again more comprehensive than the more basic HubSpot platform.

Advantage
Pardot rates better than HubSpot for Marketing Campaigns in SelectHub's research & analysis of the two tools.

Reports and Analytics

It’s simply not enough to record what a client buys; you have to know what other products they are interested in, what their intent might be for future decisions and what influences them to make these choices.

Pardot can identify anonymous website visitors by recording IP addresses of each visitor, giving sales teams a better understanding of visitor demographics. Pardot’s Engagement reporting shows how recipients engage with emails, tracking how many opened, skimmed, read, forwarded or printed the email. Marketers can focus on sales-ready leads with this targeted system.

Pardot’s robust reporting features allow marketers to track campaign performance, ROI, customer lifecycles and email metrics to identify what captures the most attention and where workflows fall short. Pardot can also connect with all of a business’s marketing channels to easily tie revenue back to programs, like webinars and live events, and see how individual customers interact with videos and social media.

HubSpot offers options to identify the visits, contacts and customers generated through landing pages. HubSpot creates a list of contacts and customers and gets detailed analytics to identify the action taken by leads, not just how many clicks are generated. Users can boost their lead generation by getting targeted customer information rather than surplus data you will then have to comb through.

HubSpot’s built-in analytics allows customers to see detailed reports for each of their marketing assets, from landing pages and website, to social media accounts, blog posts, emails and more. They can also use the competitors report to see how they’re performing compared to other firms in their industry. Moreover, users can break down any report by the company-level or contact properties in their CRM or database to spot key trends in their data over a period of time.

The analytics from HubSpot are presented via a user-friendly dashboard at every package level, but in-depth reporting is only available for the Enterprise package. Pardot provides reporting for all of its packages. For marketers that value deep insight into their campaigns, Pardot provides the most robust reporting and analytics on the market.

Advantage
Pardot rates better than HubSpot for Reports and Analytics in SelectHub's research & analysis of the two tools.

Customizable Qualifiers

Qualifying leads helps marketers and sales teams communicate and keep an organized record of potential clients.

Pardot is able to seamlessly integrate with Salesforce CRM, allowing marketing and sales to work together and gain more conversions. Sales teams can send marketing-approved mini-campaigns to customers and easily drop leads into nurturing tracks through the Salesforce app. Alerts can be sent to sales and marketing teams via email, desktop or mobile device to ensure a lead gets a quick response.

Activity-tracking features allow teams to see each contact’s activity history to know when and how to best reach out to a lead. Pardot can also automatically score and grade leads based on past response and reaction to a campaign. A rule can then be created that directs highest-scored leads to an organization’s sales team for immediate contact.

HubSpot users can quickly create and launch aesthetically pleasing landing pages without assistance from IT or designers. They get to choose from HubSpot’s built-in library of responsive templates. The on-page editor makes inserting forms and images and adding copy a breeze. Additionally, HubSpot lets customers identify their best converting landing pages through a centralized dashboard. A/B tests can be conducted for every element to discover which version drives the highest conversions.

HubSpot offers lead scoring capabilities by attaching values to each lead based on their professional information and the behavior they exhibited on their website.

HubSpot’s process is not automated and involves manual user management, but is typically more accurate and functional than Pardot’s automatic system.

Advantage
HubSpot rates better than Pardot for Customizable Qualifiers in SelectHub's research & analysis of the two tools.

Who Won?

The HubSpot vs Pardot question comes down to: first of all, it depends. Both these programs offer a lot of benefits, and what they can do for you varies based on your company’s size and needs. Pardot bills itself as a B2B platform, so it’s naturally most popular with B2B businesses. That said, there are some B2C businesses that have found success with it. Businesses using HubSpot range from small to mid-sized to large, and it’s most commonly used by businesses of up to 1,000 employees.

That being said, HubSpot offers more in-depth customizable options for automation and lead nurturing, and Pardot focuses condensing important information to improve the ease of access and optimization.

Do you use either of these marketing automation platforms? Do you prefer one we didn’t mention? What two systems would you like us to compare next? Leave us a comment with your thoughts.

We have a scorecard with all the Key Requirements for these vendors compared. 

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