Choosing the right marketing automation tool for you: HubSpot vs Pardot

Posted by Nicole Sengers

Marketing automation has become an integral part of digital marketing and there are many tools out there to choose from, but which is right for your business?

Here at Spitfire, our tool of choice is HubSpot, but we have some clients who use different tools, so it’s important that we understand and know how to use as many tools as possible. The one tool we find clients asking about most (other than HubSpot) is the Salesforce marketing automation tool, Pardot

Having used both tools to run marketing automation campaigns, I’ve done a comparison to give you an understanding of the pros and cons of using each, so you can choose the right tool to help grow your business.

I must start by saying that both HubSpot and Salesforce have invested in quality marketing automation products and offer tools, benefits, and advantages. 

What should a marketing automation tool have?

A quality marketing automation tool should offer the following features:

  • Help you identify potential customers
  • Have an easy way to capture lead data via forms and landing pages
  • Allow you to send timely communications to your database
  • Ensure you can easily track and report on your marketing efforts
  • Allow you to attribute revenue from your marketing activities
  • Provide your sales team with insights from your marketing activities

Before I jump into a direct comparison let me state that I am a HubSpot fanatic. I love the tool and I use it regularly. This doesn't mean that I can completely disregard every other tool on the market. We chose HubSpot as it suits our business, our culture, the way we work with our clients and it’s the right fit for us but we do believe that you should always choose the right tool for your business.

HubSpot

HubSpot is an ever expanding platform that’s grown over the last few years from a marketing tool to a platform with a CMS solution, sales tools, and service tools that can be used in small or large businesses. HubSpot is expanding their enterprise offering beyond marketing and is still finding its feet as an enterprise platform but I have no doubt that it will get there!

The key thing to understand about HubSpot is that it’s a marketing tool designed by marketers, so it’s easy to use but still powerful and offers a host of tools. This includes a dynamic CRM that supports a suite of marketing, sales, and service tools, which means that your business can run all these functions in one system, providing a holistic view of your customer.

Some of the tools that really excite me in HubSpot include:

  • The ads tool: this feature offers the ability to connect HubSpot and Google Ads so that you can take ads reporting beyond impressions and clicks, and report on contacts and customers from each ad group.
  • The social media tool: With this tool you get a scheduling and reporting tool that’s simple to use and allows you to integrate all your social data with the rest of your data for ease when building reports.
  • The conversations inbox: this is a powerful all-in-one solution where you can integrate data from email, live chat, forms, and social media, and see one view of the engagement with your customer.
  • Scored properties: HubSpot offers at least 5 scoring properties on all Professional and Enterprise accounts, which allows you to  create lead scores using positive or negative attributes.

For a more extensive look at the best tools available in HubSpot check out this article I wrote on the hidden tools in HubSpot.

Pardot

Pardot is the Salesforce marketing automation tool, it’s recommended for sales-led organisations and is often chosen by companies who use Salesforce CRM due to the ease of integration between these two platforms.

Pardot tools that I really like:

  • Pardot offers a fantastic lead scoring tool as well as an exciting lead grading tool. Lead scores would provide you with information on how interested a user is in your company and Lead Grade, represented as a letter, would indicate how interested a business is in a contact, based on their business information. Lead grades would be based on job role, company size, or industry.

If you want a more in-depth understanding of lead scoring take a look at our Lead Scoring eBook.

  • Pardot is largely a marketing automation tool, so it’s no surprise one of the best tools available in Pardot is their automation tool called Engagement Studio. This tool uses flow builder to help you see and build intelligent - automated programs that engage your prospects at every step of their customer journey. The most exciting part of this is the reports available on how many contacts have been through each branch of the flow. Detailed reports allow you to optimise your lead nurturing for better results.

A head to head comparison: HubSpot Marketing Hub vs Pardot

 

 

HubSpot Marketing Hub

Pardot

Free Trial

Available

Not available

CRM

CRM is available for Free with paid sales tools in Sales Hub

Pardot integrates natively with Salesforce as their CRM

Support

International support, with offices located across the globe – including the US, Asia, and Europe

International support, with offices located across the globe – including the US, Asia, and Europe

Reporting

Out of the box reporting is robust and customisable. Custom reports can be created and are constantly expanding.

The standard reports are good and similar to what’s available in HubSpot but customisation is required to provide actionable insights

Blog/website platform

Both blog pages and CMS are offered by HubSpot. CMS comes at an additional charge

Not offered by Pardot

Cost

Marketing Hub Starter: $50/month

Marketing Hub Professional: $890/month

Marketing Hub Enterprise: $3200/month

CRM starts free

Pardot pricing begins at $1250 and you will need to add in the cost of Salesforce for a CRM

Uptime

High levels of uptime

High levels of uptime

A/B testing

A/B testing on landing pages and emails are available. 

HubSpot has now introduced adaptive testing, an AI based landing page testing tool.

A/B testing on landing pages and emails are available.

Social Media

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram scheduling and reporting as well as YouTube reporting (Enterprise Only)

Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn scheduling and reporting along with social profiling and Lookups (may incur an additional cost on some plans)

Ads Management

Included in HubSpot with reporting and management of ads

Not included but you can integrate with Google Ads.

File hosting capabilities

No limit on file size

Limit for individual files: 50 MB

Automation tools

Easy to use automation that’s been upgraded to be built using drag and drop functionality. Multiple branches in a chain is available

Automation is available for segmentation, emails and update properties and it offers customisation based on a contacts past engagement. 

Integrations

App Marketplace

App Center


Making the choice between HubSpot and Pardot

Choosing any software platform requires a decision to be made in context of your business. There’s more to a decision than fancy tools or even cost. Business needs, integration (if and when required) with your other tools and technology, as well as considering the needs of users and the pain of change will all affect your decision in choosing the right tool.

As mentioned above, Salesforce super-users may consider using Pardot for the high level of integration between the two systems but keep in mind that HubSpot offers a robust native integration with Salesforce as well.

If you’re not sure whether you’re using your HubSpot platform effectively, start with a portal review or contact us for a full HubSpot portal audit and we’ll assist you on this journey.

To find out more about HubSpot or discuss your marketing automation needs, get in touch and we will help you look at which software is best for your business needs.

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