HubSpot vs Pardot – What are the Differences?

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Salesforce Pardot or Hubspot? If you’re searching for a marketing automation platform, chances are you’ve run into these two marketing automation tools.

These tools target the same space in the market: mid-market, B2B companies. So, how do you choose between the two platforms? I’m going to give you some insights into 5 differences that will help you choose between Pardot and HubSpot.

“Gearset”

Comparison of Pardot and Hubspot Feature-by-feature – Not here!

This isn’t going to be an elaborate feature-by-feature comparison. Firstly, both companies are innovating at such a high speed that feature comparisons become outdated with each release cycle. Secondly, you can easily read these yourself with websites like G2 and Capterra.

Instead, what you’ll find here are broader points to contemplate when making a decision between the two platforms.

  • Ecosystem: figuring out the ecosystem is a cross-functional effort, not as a department.
  • Integrations (especially Salesforce CRM)
  • Tool scope: if you can do inbound marketing with both, then what’s the difference?
  • Development and company values: roadmap and customer service
  • Consultancy and partner network
 PardotHubspot
EcosystemPart of the Salesforce platform, a much stronger CRM contender, so other teams may influence this decision.Also extends into a CRM platform, however, is much more lightweight than Salesforce.
IntegrationsLimited in terms of out-of-the-box integrations but does have some connectors. You should tap into the Salesforce platform for more capabilities.HubSpot integrates with many third-party tools using connectors, a priority in their growth strategy.
Integration with SalesforceWhere Pardot ‘takes the cake’. Expect fewer data sync errors and reporting differences. Get more “out-of-the-box” automation options, eg. triggers and connector sync preferences.Workable, but not without its frustrations.
Tool scopeFocuses on sales enablement and customer journeys involving considered purchases.Focuses on being a complete suite for inbound marketing.
Development & company valuesNow seeing a consistent flow of new and enhanced features after a dry period in innovation.Makes the majority of its revenue from its marketing suite. Like Pardot, is patching gaps in its core functionality.
Customer supportOffers support through submitting cases using the main Salesforce support portal (unless you upgrade to a Premier support package). However, you will need to describe your issue with some proficiency.Offers direct and all-round great support.
Consultancy & partner networkMost Salesforce partners come from the CRM space, and know two things: sales operations, and how to set up a technically challenging system, like Salesforce. Some HubSpot agencies are now offering Pardot services, too. Smaller agencies that tend to have deep knowledge of the HubSpot marketing suite, and are really good at marketing strategy, content, and execution more broadly.

How they are not different

Before we move to discussing the differences, let’s make one thing clear: HubSpot and Pardot are alike in far more ways than they are different.

  • Both HubSpot and Pardot offer functionalities around the “critical path” of marketing automation: database and segmentation, email, landing pages, and workflows.
  • Both focus on mid-market B2B companies.
  • Both have increasingly extensive features geared towards enterprises, such as Business Units or Instances.

Yes, both systems are suitable if you’re looking to scale and professionalize your marketing efforts.

That being said, let’s dive into the differences that make the choice for one of these systems a little less easy than this section may have lead you to think.

Pardot and HubSpot both have features that enable marketers to automate the customer experience.

Ecosystem

When choosing a marketing automation platform, it’s important to take the full scope of the vendor’s customer experience suite into account.

Both Salesforce and HubSpot offer more than just marketing platforms. As both extend their CX offerings, they strive to keep customers expanding into the next solution in their suite. It’s in their best interest to make sure you stay within their ecosystem.

Even if you’re just starting with marketing automation, it’s important to look into the vendors’ wider offerings, into sales and service, too.

Whichever solution you choose is going to impact, and be impacted by your future tech stack.

Sounds pretty straightforward, right? Pick HubSpot or Salesforce and stick with it for the streamlined and integrated experience. It’s not quite as easy, especially when you’re still figuring out your IT infrastructure.

Key takeaway: figuring the ecosystem is a cross-functional effort, not down to a single department.

The following scenario can happen: the sales team prefers Salesforce and the marketing team prefers HubSpot. I have worked with companies where this has been the case, and guess how a decision is made? Management, who will decide based on the overall picture, which is why ‘Ecosystem’ is so important.

Pause and think about the overall implications of buying into one of these ecosystems.

  • Which offers more solutions ‘on platform’ for your company to utilize down the line?
  • Do you have an in-house (or external) development team to help you integrate with other systems, should they not be met by the platform of your choice?

The final question brings us smoothly to the topic of integrations.

Integrations

Which systems do you need Pardot/Hubspot to integrate with? Which systems could you need them to integrate with in the future? Is there a plug-and-play integration available from one vendor to your chosen marketing automation platform?

Consider how well your new marketing platform will ‘talk’ to your other existing systems, beyond CRM.

HubSpot, not so long ago, enlisted the help of MarTech veteran, Scott Brinker, to serve as their VP of Platform. His goal: to make sure HubSpot connects with as many apps out there as possible.

This strategy is paying off, as HubSpot integrates with many third-party tools, the tools that marketers need that falls outside of Hubspot’s functionality. Plus, these feel more “out-of-the-box” as time goes on. When you don’t have a lot of technical resources, this is a blessing.

HubSpot is specifically targeting integration partners to make their platform widely accessible.

Pardot, on the other hand, is limited in terms of out-of-the-box integrations but does have: webinar vendors, Google Adwords, Google Analytics, among others. This is only half of the story because Pardot can tap into the entire Salesforce platform, and all the naturally integrated tools (being on a single platform) the ‘Customer 360’ vision offers.

Source

Integrating with Salesforce CRM

The Pardot integration with Salesforce is where Pardot ‘takes the cake’. Salesforce has channeled a lot of development resources behind transitioning Pardot (built on a separate platform) onto the core Salesforce platform.

What’s the difference between the Hubspot to Salesforce integration vs. Pardot?

When using Pardot with Salesforce, you’ll see fewer errors, such as data not syncing, reporting being different between the two platforms, and you’ll get more “out-of-the-box” automation options, such as triggers, record creation, and connector sync preferences.

HubSpot has a lot of these things, too. When using Hubspot with Salesforce it’s likely you will experience at least some frustration when it comes to the integration between the two platforms (coming from my own experience). Yes, it’s absolutely workable, but it is a consideration to make. Referring back to my ecosystem point earlier, these two companies prefer you’d just pick their suite entirely and stick with that.

On a side note, Pardot does not integrate with any other CRM except Salesforce (easily, unless you really like an API challenge). Hubspot does give you CRM integration options, the best being HubSpot CRM, naturally.

Tool Scope

Both HubSpot and Pardot offer functionalities around the “critical path” of marketing automation: database and segmentation, email, landing pages, and workflows.

HubSpot focuses on being a complete suite for inbound marketing, whereas Pardot is more focused on sales enablement and customer journeys involving considered purchases.

Let’s drill down some more. Where the tools differ is the scope of their functionality.

Depending on what you need to do, as a marketer, some may say HubSpot does more. Bluntly speaking, it incorporates a CMS*, has dedicated tools for SEO (analysis), publishing content, and posting/managing your digital ads on social/other channels. The scope, the overarching objective for Hubspot, is to be THE “inbound marketing” platform – so it strives to help marketers have access to all facets of inbound in one platform.

*as of October 2020, the new Pardot email experience does leverage Salesforce CMS, which we predict will become increasingly widespread as more organisations transition.

Pardot, on the other hand, is more focused around sales enablement, as well as the integration with Salesforce (as a result, it is well-suited for customer journeys involving considered purchases). There are more options when it comes to moving leads between sales and marketing and triggering campaigns based on syncing data (eg. from opportunities). If your inbound marketing is relatively simple (or is not a priority), then it’s likely your focus is on nurture and customer loyalty (where Pardot’s integration with Salesforce will shine for you). Pardot does have some basic social and content functionality, but nothing that comes close to HubSpot.

Important: you can do inbound with both!
If it’s inbound you love, rest assured that it won’t come down to a default choice. Inbound is a way of marketing, and both these software platforms will allow you to create inbound campaigns (offer content, personalize emails or landing pages, nurture sequences) equally well.

Development & company values

Consider which company best fits your company: Salesforce or HubSpot. Both have a different approach to offering support and how they develop their platforms. Pick the one that fits you best.

What are their development priorities when it comes to their marketing suites, what do their roadmaps look like?

Roadmaps

Roadmaps are generally guesswork, at least from where I’m sitting!

Pardot is now seeing a consistent flow of new and enhanced features. It seemed there was a period where Pardot was being sidelined in favor of Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Sales Cloud, and the Lightning Experience, in general. Obviously, there are dependencies in the roadmap that have to be taken into consideration here, to explain why some seemingly simple things take a long time to arrive (eg. email preheader text, a celebrated feature for the new email builder).

HubSpot still makes the majority of its revenue from its marketing suite. Similar to Pardot’s story, the Hubspot marketing suite has had some features added recently – a personal gripe that has finally been fixed is the ability to add conditional wait steps in workflows. HubSpot continues to move the platform forward but meanwhile has also expanded into a service offering (ie. customer service).

Support and customer service

The way these companies handle customer service at the end-user level is another aspect to call out.
HubSpot continues to offer direct and all-round great support. There are moments when they drop the ball, but they are generally easy to each, friendly, and genuinely helpful.

Pardot offers support through submitting cases using the main Salesforce support portal (unless you upgrade to a Premier support package). However, more often than not, you will only get to a solution efficiently if you are able to describe your issue with some proficiency, or you have to rely on your consultancy partner/agency to help you out (which can be an unexpected cost). Or, alternatively, become a Pardot expert!

At the end of the day, both companies are there to sell licenses and grow. They plan to achieve that with different approaches to marketing, selling, and customer service. Salesforce has more experience dealing with larger organizations, HubSpot is just moving into that space.

Consultancy and partners

Salesforce and HubSpot attract different agency partner companies. When choosing a tool, consider what kind of agency you need in order to supplement your own knowledge (if any, of course).

On the HubSpot side, you will be choosing from smaller agencies that are particularly good at digital marketing. They tend to have deep knowledge of the HubSpot marketing suite, and are really good at marketing strategy, content, and execution more broadly. The other HubSpot suites are newer (ie. CRM, service) and most agencies are less familiar with them.

Like Salesforce, HubSpot has its own partner community.

On the Pardot side, it’s a different landscape. Most Salesforce partners come from the CRM space, and know two things: sales operations, and how to set up a technically challenging system, like Salesforce. Compared to the HubSpot agencies, these consultancies are usually more technical and less marketing savvy. They will know how to technically setup Pardot for you in all the right ways, yet what they often skip out is how to apply that software to a marketing strategy.

(Great marketing has little to do with your software and much more with those things I mentioned above: strategy, content and execution)

Crossing this bridge, there are an increasing number of HubSpot agencies starting to also offer Pardot services. This is a good thing, as they tend to combine their marketing knowledge with a B2B platform like Pardot, a niche that’s a little lacking in the Salesforce partner ecosystem.

Think carefully about the kind of help you need with marketing automation. Pick a partner agency that can genuinely help you forward. With their help, you will be able to maximise your marketing automation investment.

Summary

At the end of the day, Pardot and HubSpot are very similar systems.

Where they differ is their context: the company development priorities and their platform ‘ecosystems’ in which they operate. The integrations available to them. What they’re focused on, how their companies develop them and what services their partners offer.

The choice comes down to what is best in your situation. A smart decision would be to choose the marketing platform looking at a broader scope involving the requirements from other teams, rather than approaching it piecemeal. If you do choose to mix-n’-match (such as using HubSpot with Salesforce, or Pardot with external tools), be aware of the potential problems and have the expertise to back you up!

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