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Total Cost to Own: Nutshell vs. Salesforce vs. HubSpot

What is the total cost to own Nutshell vs. Salesforce vs. HubSpot? Your customer relationship management (CRM) platform’s total cost varies immensely depending on different factors, including setup costs and number of seats needed. In this article, we’ll explain some of those factors in more detail. We’ll also go over some specific price points for all three CRMs.


Like any business, your goal is to earn money. But, also like any business, you often have to spend money, too. The tools you use to help you drive revenue — like your CRM platform — cost money.

The question is, how much do they cost? If you don’t have a CRM yet, you may be wondering how much you’ll have to budget to get one. Of course, different CRMs cost different amounts, and it’s not just about the initial cost of purchase — there are often other costs involved with owning a CRM.

Take, for example, three of the best CRMs on the market. What’s the total cost to own Nutshell vs. Salesforce vs. HubSpot? Well, that’s just what we’re here to answer. Keep reading to find out more about total cost to own, plus how to estimate it for each of those tools.

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What is total cost to own?

Total cost to own is exactly what it sounds like. Essentially, it’s a measurement of how much a CRM will cost when you factor in all the different expenses associated with it — not just the initial price of purchase.

Why does total cost to own matter?

It’s important to understand the total cost to own your CRM to avoid end up paying more than you bargain for. 

Let’s say a CRM costs $50 per month. You might just assume that’s the total price, but it might not be! In many cases, there are other costs involved, like hiring specialists to help you set up the platform. 

You want to make sure you take those factors into account from the very start so you understand how much you can expect to pay for the tool.

What factors affect total cost to own?

We’ll get to the total cost to own Nutshell vs. Salesforce vs. HubSpot in a moment. But first, it’s important to understand the different factors that can contribute to the total cost of your CRM. Here are four of the main ones:

  • Cost of your chosen plan
  • Setup costs
  • Specialist and developer costs
  • Team size

Read on to learn more about each one.

Cost of your chosen plan

The first (and most significant) factor in the cost of your CRM is which option you choose. Not just which CRM, but also which plan. 

Nutshell, Salesforce, and HubSpot all have different plans to pick from, and those plans have different prices. It probably goes without saying, but the plans with fewer features cost significantly less than those with more features. 

So, when estimating your total cost to own, ask yourself: Do you want a plan with a ton of advanced features? Or are you happy to get the basics? Your answer will make a sizeable difference.

Setup costs

Another factor that can increase the total cost to own a CRM is setup costs. Many CRMs are quite complex and can be a pain to set up yourself. Some of those companies will offer to set up the CRM for you as an additional cost. If you choose this option, it’ll contribute significantly to your total cost to own.

Make sure you check all the CRMs you consider, so you’ll know if those costs are included in the package. You don’t want to buy a CRM without realizing you’re signing up for additional setup costs as well!

Specialist and developer costs

Some CRMs are complex enough that you’ll need to hire specialists to help you set them up. Salesforce is a great example of this. There are entire agencies out there that specialize in setting up Salesforce. 

Whether you hire an agency or simply hire some in-house specialists, you may need to pay someone to help you get started with your CRM. So, if you purchase a CRM that requires external help, you’ll need to factor those costs in as well — even though they aren’t part of the CRM package.

Team size

Finally, it’s important to consider how many of your employees will be using your CRM. Why? Because many CRMs use a “cost per user per month” pricing model, which depends on how many accounts you need for your team.

So, if you only plan on having three to five people on your team handle the CRM, that’s a lot cheaper than if you want a team of 20 people working on it. Be very aware of your team size when choosing a pricing plan.

Total cost to own Nutshell vs. Salesforce vs. HubSpot

Now that we’ve explored the factors that affect total cost to own, let’s talk about the cost of three top CRMs: Nutshell, Salesforce, and HubSpot.

Before we go on, be aware: We can only give a soft estimate for these tools. There are many different factors at play, so the price could fluctuate depending on your needs. Instead of a hard number, we’ll give you an idea of the pricing options available and what else might contribute to your costs.

For each tool, we’ll also give an example of what the total cost would look like for a fictional business, Eregion Metalworkers, which intends to have seven employees managing its CRM. Understand, though, that the cost we calculate for this example company probably won’t be the same as it would be for you.

Total cost of Nutshell

Nutshell offers two main pricing plans: Foundation and Pro, both of which can be paid on a monthly or annual basis. The cheapest option is $16 per user per month, while the most expensive is $49 per user per month.

Additionally, Nutshell offers Nutshell marketing, an email marketing tool you can connect to the CRM. It’s priced based on your number of email contacts — $5 per month for up to 100 contacts, and $460 per month for up to 60,000 contacts. There are plenty of options between those two prices as well.

The good news is, Nutshell is very easy to use and set up, and if you do need help with anything, you can just reach out to Nutshell’s customer support team for no extra cost. That means you don’t need to worry about spending money on setup or external specialists.

Example scenario:

Eregion Metalworkers chooses the Foundation plan, paid annually ($16 per user per month). They also add on Nutshell marketing for up to 1000 email contacts (which adds on $25 per month).

Since Eregion has seven team members using Nutshell, the total cost is $16 x 7 users, plus the extra $25. Thus, their total cost of Nutshell is around $137 per month.

Total cost of Salesforce

Salesforce offers over 15 different CRM plans, so as you can imagine, Salesforce pricing varies wildly. We won’t try to summarize every plan here, but suffice it to say that the cheapest option is $25 per user per month, while the most expensive is over $15,000 per month.

Additionally, Salesforce is a complex tool, so you’ll want to hire outside specialists to help you set it up. How much will that cost? Well, it’s hard to answer that. If you hire a couple of in-house Salesforce experts, that’s likely to have a very different cost from hiring an agency, for instance.

That said, a good rule of thumb is that for every $1000 you spend on Salesforce tech, you should expect to spend another $1000 on professional services to get it set up. In short, whatever your initial Salesforce pricing is, you should double it to account for the setup costs.

Example scenario:

Eregion opts for the Salesforce Sales Cloud Professional plan, which costs $75 per user per month. The setup process takes 10 months, during which time they spend an additional $75 per month.

Since Eregion has seven team members using Salesforce, the total cost is $75 x 7, plus the extra $75 for the first 10 months. Thus, their total cost of Salesforce is $600 per month for the first 10 months, and $525 per month after that.

Total cost of HubSpot

Technically, HubSpot’s cheapest plan is free. However, that plan includes so few features that you’ll almost certainly want to upgrade to a paid plan. Like Salesforce, HubSpot offers quite a few different paid plans, called modules. The cheapest is $45 per month, while the most expensive is $3200 per month.

You might opt for one module or several. There are multiple marketing, sales, and service modules available. Marketing modules automatically allow for a certain number of marketing contacts, and each additional 1000 contacts beyond that cost another $45.

Sales and service modules, meanwhile, allow for a certain number of users. Like the marketing modules, the price goes up if you add additional users. Each additional user costs the same as each current user you have.

If you want multiple modules, you can save some money by purchasing a bundle — for example, the Starter Growth Suite. That will allow you to save 25% compared to what you’d spend if you got each of the modules in that bundle individually.

Finally, you have two options when it comes to setting up HubSpot. It’s more complicated than Nutshell, but not as complex as Salesforce. So, your first option is to do it yourself, with HubSpot’s team guiding you through the process.

Alternatively, you could hire someone to do it for you. If you choose that option, it’s probably safest to use the same rule of thumb as for Salesforce, namely that you can expect to double your costs during the setup stage.

Example scenario:

Eregion Metalworkers chooses to get the Professional Growth Suite, which costs them $1343 per month.

Since the sales and service modules included in that suite both offer just five seats — and Eregion needs seven for each — they must also pay for an additional two seats on each module. For sales, that’s an extra $135, and for service, it’s an extra $108 — so, a total of $1586 per month.

Eregion then pays that same amount again for external setup help from an agency, which takes eight months. Thus, their total cost of HubSpot is $3172 per month for the first eight months, and $1586 per month after that.

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WebFX can help you get the best results from your chosen CRM

You should now have a decent idea of how to determine the total cost to own Nutshell vs. Salesforce vs. HubSpot for your business.

It’s important to be aware that in the example scenarios given above, the total cost Eregion Metalworkers paid for each tool doesn’t reflect what you’ll pay. Based on their choices, HubSpot was by far the most expensive option — for you, it could be the cheapest. It all depends on which options you choose.

Whichever CRM you pick for your business, you may need some help getting the best results from it. If that’s the case, you can count on WebFX to help you. We offer Salesforce consulting services if that’s the tool you choose.

Alternatively, you can just pick Nutshell, which gives you free customer support whenever you need it. Plus, some Nutshell seats are included with MarketingCloudFX, WebFX’s proprietary marketing tool.

Looking to get started with WebFX? Just call 888-601-5359 or contact us online today!

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