Hubspot vs. Salesforce Pardot: Which is right for you

Comparing Hubspot vs. Salesforce Pardot will vary depending on your marketing needs and budget. But here’s what you need to know,
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Both Salesforce Pardot and Hubspot are great tools. I could wax poetic about what each allows you to accomplish as a marketer but that would likely be a 5-hour course, not a 5-minute article. The focus of this post will be identifying a few traits separating Hubspot vs. Salesforce Pardot and to determine which budget or use case better fits you and your company.

I’m a Certified Salesforce Pardot Specialist. I don’t work for Salesforce, but I do work for a company that uses it on a daily basis. I’m subsequently much less experienced using Hubspot but have taken many of their tools for an initial spin. All of this outstanding, I don’t have a preference as to what tool you choose. There are no affiliate links for Salesforce Pardot or Hubspot on this page.

This being said, these are the major differences that will help shape your decision when mulling over Hubspot vs. Salesforce Pardot. Here’s what you mainly need to know about both platforms … in 5 minutes.

What are Hubspot and Pardot used for?

Hubspot is similar to Salesforce in that its name gets thrown around as if it is one product. But Hubspot offers sales, marketing, and even CMS tools that are priced as standalone products. For this article, I’ll be comparing Hubspot’s Marketing Hub to Salesforce Pardot. Marketing Hub is Hubspot’s all-in-one-marketing product while Pardot is Salesforce’s tool for lead generation, nurturing, and email marketing (Pardot is usually referred to as either Salesforce Pardot or singly as Pardot).

The main features of Hubspot and Pardot


Platform
DripsLanding PagesCustom RedirectsSMSSalesforce IntegrationEmail Limits
Pardot✖️Unlimited
Hubspot✖️20x contact limit

Even though Hubspot offers its own CRM for an additional cost (called Hubspot CRM), Hubspot’s Marketing Hub can be integrated with your Salesforce CRM. That said, if you are already operating in the Salesforce ecosystem, Pardot might still be preferable.

Which is more expensive?

A look at a person walking into the Hubspot main office.
Hubspot’s actual, well, Hub is based in Cambridge, MA. The company has over 4K employees and grossed over $225 million in Q3 2020.

An immediate benefit of Hubspot’s Marketing Hub is price flexibility. An individual working on a side-hustle could conceivably use Hubspot’s basic marketing tools for $50/month (it’s $45/month when you pay upfront for a year).

The entry-level Pardot tier starts at $1,200, which is likely too rich for most sole proprietors or small businesses still gaining traction.

Which Hubspot Marketing Hub plan to choose

Hubspot Marketing Hub pricing plans via Hubspot.

A few prominent features a $50/month Hubspot plan will get you:

  • Auto responses for form sign-ups
  • Landing Pages and sign-up forms
  • Ad retargeting

What it won’t get you:

  • Campaign reporting
  • Website traffic analytics
  • Social media posting
  • Content triggers or behavior tracking (e.g completion actions)

It costs $250 to increase the number of people you can contact by 5,000. The cost is $45 for an additional 1,000 (based on your plan). So depending on the features you need, one could get 34,000 Contacts on the Starter plan for $1,260 monthly. With the Professional plan, 12,000 contacts would cost $1,249. Note that these prices are as of Q4 2020. 

Monthly CostCustom Audiences Monthly Email Sends SubdomainsSalesforce SyncingContactsEvent triggers
$50 (Starter)255x contact limit✖️✖️1,000✖️
$890
(Professional)
1,00010x contact limit 2,000✖️
$3,200
(Enterprise)
1,50020x contact limit 10,000

Which Pardot plan to choose

What a whiteboard session looks like at Hubspot…

Here’s a snapshot of what separates the pricing tiers for Pardot.

Cost/Month File HostingLanding PagesFormsAutomation RulesBehavior Scoring
$1,200 (Growth)100mb505050✖️
$2,500
(Plus)
500mb100✖️
$4,000
(Advanced)
10gb150
$15,000
(Premium)
10gb150

Every Pardot tier comes with 10,000 contacts included. Additional Pardot contacts are less complex than what Hubspot charges. Pardot contacts are sold in batches of 10,000 with each batch being $100. So, if you want to have 100,000 mailable contacts in your database, you will need to add $900 a month to the pricing plans, above. Reminder: email addresses that have opted out of your emails or that have bounced more than 5 times do not count towards your contact limit.

What is Pardot behavior scoring?

Salesforce’s Einstein Predictive Analytics is the byproduct of some billion-dollar investments, and what Salesforce hopes will separate it from Hubspot and other competitors.

One of the main features separating Pardot pricing tiers is the inclusion of Pardot’s Einstein predictive tools. Behavior scoring is a predictive tool that looks at many of the same behaviors as prospect scoring:

  • Email opens and clicks
  • Unsubscribe and re-subscribes
  • File views
  • Spam complaints
  • Event/webinar registrations and form sign-ups

….the difference between behavior scoring and prospect scoring is that the former is algorithm-based. It uses AI to predict which leads are near-buyers based on the behavior of previous and current opportunities.

Besides the pricing tiers, what features mainly separate Hubspot vs. Salesforce Pardot?

A sample of what the custom redirects feature looks like on Pardot. This is a great tool that I use almost daily.

Hubspot:

  • Drag and Drop landing pages are much easier to work with than Pardot’s HTML based templates
  • Professional Plan and higher will host landing pages on your sub-domain, allowing the traffic you drive to your landing pages to benefit your site (Pardot hosts the landing pages on their own servers and therefore gets the “juice”).
  • Hubspot’s interface is a bit cleaner and less daunting than Pardot. Hubspot feels more “Mac” while Salesforce is a bit more “PC”
  • SEO tools for landing pages are more robust; could likely replace Yoast premium plug-in
  • Email bounce audit resources are a nice touch and easier to manage than what Pardot offers

Pardot:

  • Custom redirects are a big advantage, allowing you to track prospects and leads outside of your site. Custom redirects are also great for attribution.
  • Einstein analytics integrates seamlessly with Salesforce CRM and are unmatched compared to anything Hubspot offers

If you’ve never heard of Salesforce and want a 360 marketing solution…

Salesforce Trailhead Learning Courses are a nice introduction to its marketing and sales tools. But you’re likely better off served by choosing a freelancer to show you how to execute basic tasks.

Using Hubspot’s marketing hub likely makes more sense than Salesforce Pardot. Hubspot’s Marketing Hub is basically Pardot and Salesforce Marketing Cloud Social Studio and Ad Studio combined into one. That could be good or bad. It’s good if you want one huge marketing mother ship. You could conceivably host and build your site on Hubspot. Track user engagement, create forms to capture leads, then create drip campaigns to turn those leads into customers … all on Hubspot.

This could be bad if you are already paying for a number of Salesforce tools. It also might be bad if you want to take advantage of Salesforce predictive analytics tools and desire less of a marketing, well, hub.

If you already have Salesforce as your CRM…

Pardot was bought by Salesforce in 2013 (through a $2.5 billion deal to acquire Exact Target), but Salesforce has done a pretty decent job making it feel like it was created for its Sales Cloud CRM. For those with Salesforce Admins and sales reps accustomed to the Salesforce ecosystem, it’s possible they’ll be more familiar with Pardot than Hubspot. Even though both Hubspot and Pardot work within Salesforce, Pardot might not require your Salesforce admins to learn a new platform. Whether that’s worth potentially paying a higher cost for Pardot is up for debate, but it’s worth considering.

Final Minute

Simple things like the layout and/or style of a platform can determine whether someone prefers one over another. Hubspot will give you a bit more pricing flexibility. Pardot will give you the chance to go big with predictive analytics and leverage custom redirects. Hubspot’s Marketing Hub is a great place to start if you’re not married to any CRM or working with people familiar with one platform over the other. Pardot is usually the tool of choice for people who are enmeshed in Salesforce and believe that it is their only tool to take lead automation and nurturing to the next level.

This article was written by:

Paul is the Founder & Editor of in5minutes.com. He is a Certified Salesforce Marketer, FAA Drone Pilot, HSK Chinese Speaker, Ham Radio Operator, NASM Personal Trainer, and Certified Canon operator amongst other things. He hosted and produced the first original programs for Hulu and Twitch and helped launch a pilot program for teaching soft skills to incarcerated students. He currently runs content marketing for an aerospace company in Los Angeles. If you'd like to request a consultation, contact Paul here.

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