How Does HubSpot Make Money? The HubSpot Business Model In A Nutshell

HubSpot is a CRM (customer relationship management) solution providing various levels of its B2B and Enterprise subscription plans. Beyond subscriptions, the company monetizes via professional services. However, these carry a negative marginality as the company uses professional services (in onboarding and implementation) to increase its tools, which help companies leverage digital marketing channels to generate leads.

Business Model ElementAnalysisImplicationsExamples
Inbound Marketing and Sales Software– HubSpot offers a comprehensive suite of inbound marketing and sales software tools. These include customer relationship management (CRM), marketing automation, content management, and analytics. – The platform helps businesses attract, engage, and delight customers through inbound strategies.– Provides businesses with an integrated platform for managing marketing, sales, and customer relationships. – Attracts companies seeking to implement inbound marketing practices. – Drives user engagement by offering tools for creating and optimizing content, automating marketing processes, and analyzing performance.Businesses use HubSpot’s software to manage their marketing campaigns, automate lead nurturing, and gain insights into customer behavior.
Freemium Model– HubSpot employs a freemium pricing model, offering a range of free and premium (paid) services. – Users can start with free tools and then upgrade to paid plans as their needs grow. – The free CRM is a prominent entry point for users.– Lowers the barrier to entry for users, making it accessible to startups and small businesses. – Encourages users to explore and experience the platform’s value before committing to paid services. – Drives user acquisition and loyalty through the free CRM offering.Users can begin using HubSpot’s CRM and some basic marketing tools for free and then choose to upgrade to premium plans for additional features and capabilities.
Education and Content Marketing– HubSpot places a strong emphasis on education and content marketing. It provides a wealth of educational resources, including blog articles, webinars, e-books, and certifications. – The content is geared toward helping businesses learn about inbound marketing and improve their digital strategies.– Establishes HubSpot as an authority in the inbound marketing space. – Attracts users seeking knowledge and expertise in digital marketing practices. – Nurtures a community of learners and fosters brand loyalty.Users can access a wide range of educational content on HubSpot’s website, including blog articles, webinars, and certifications, to enhance their marketing skills and knowledge.
Integration Ecosystem– HubSpot offers integrations with a variety of third-party applications and services, including popular platforms like Salesforce, WordPress, and Slack. – This integration ecosystem allows users to connect HubSpot with other tools to streamline their workflows.– Enhances HubSpot’s appeal by providing users with the flexibility to integrate their existing tools and software. – Simplifies the user experience and enables businesses to create customized marketing and sales stacks. – Expands HubSpot’s reach by catering to users who rely on specific software solutions.Users can integrate HubSpot with other applications to create a tailored marketing and sales technology stack that meets their unique needs and preferences.
Customer Support and Community– HubSpot places a strong focus on customer support and community building. It offers customer support, training, and a user community for sharing knowledge and best practices. – The HubSpot Community enables users to connect, ask questions, and learn from one another.– Demonstrates a commitment to customer success and satisfaction. – Fosters a sense of belonging and collaboration among users. – Encourages users to seek assistance and share experiences within the community.Users can access HubSpot’s customer support resources, receive training, and engage with the HubSpot Community to exchange insights and seek help when needed.
Value Proposition– HubSpot’s value proposition centers on providing businesses with a complete inbound marketing and sales platform that facilitates growth through education, accessible pricing, and integrations. – It empowers businesses to attract, engage, and delight customers through inbound strategies.– Attracts businesses seeking an all-in-one inbound marketing solution. – Provides a platform that supports businesses at various stages of growth, from startups to enterprises. – Encourages user engagement and loyalty through educational resources and a freemium model.HubSpot appeals to businesses looking for an integrated platform that simplifies marketing, sales, and customer relationship management, along with access to educational content.
Customer Segments– HubSpot’s customer segments include small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), marketing agencies, and enterprises. – It caters to companies across various industries seeking to implement inbound marketing practices.– Expands its user base by serving a wide range of businesses, from startups to established enterprises. – Attracts marketing agencies looking for solutions to manage multiple clients. – Provides tools and resources tailored to different industry needs.SMBs, marketing agencies, and enterprises across diverse industries can use HubSpot to manage their marketing, sales, and customer relationships.
Distribution Strategy– HubSpot primarily distributes its software through digital channels, including its website and app stores (iOS and Android). – It also leverages partnerships and an affiliate program to extend its reach.– Ensures that its software is easily accessible to users worldwide through digital platforms. – Expands its user base by collaborating with partners and affiliates who promote HubSpot’s services.Users can download and access HubSpot’s software through its website, app stores, and, in some cases, via partnerships or affiliates.
Marketing Strategy– HubSpot’s marketing strategy involves content marketing, online advertising, social media engagement, email marketing, and inbound marketing techniques. – It utilizes its own inbound methodology to attract, convert, close, and delight customers.– Drives user acquisition and engagement through educational content and inbound marketing practices. – Utilizes social media and digital advertising to expand its reach and attract potential users. – Maintains customer relationships through email marketing and content engagement.HubSpot promotes its products and educational content through various digital marketing channels, leveraging content marketing, online advertising, social media, and email marketing to engage with its audience.
Competitive Advantage– HubSpot’s competitive advantage stems from its comprehensive inbound marketing and sales platform, educational resources, accessible pricing, and user community. – The freemium model and integration ecosystem further strengthen its position.– Positions HubSpot as a leading provider of inbound marketing solutions. – Attracts users through a combination of valuable content, affordable options, and user-friendly tools. – Builds a loyal user community that contributes to its growth.HubSpot’s competitive advantage includes its integrated platform, educational content, freemium offering, integration options, and a thriving user community in the inbound marketing and sales software industry.

Origin Story

HubSpot is an American software developer and marketer focusing on sales, customer service, and inbound marketing.

It was founded in 2006 at MIT by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah.

Four years later, the company reached $15.6 million in revenue and acquired the Twitter app store Oneforty.

It also progressed from serving small companies to serving larger businesses with as many as 1,000 employees. It soon acquired competitor GroupSharp and debuted on the NYSE in 2014.

In 2017, the company strengthened its product offering by acquiring Kemvi – a service for sales teams incorporating machine learning and artificial intelligence.

HubSpot recently eclipsed 167,000 paying customers.

Hubspot had over 167K customers in 2022, compared to over 135K customers in 2021 and nearly 104K customers in 2020. The company grew from over 56K customers in 2018, to over 167K customers by 2022.

With nearly $1.7 billion in annual subscription/recurring revenue.

In 2022, Hubspot generated $1.69 billion in revenue from subscriptions, compared to $1.26 billion in 2021, $853 million in 2020, and $646 million in 2019.

Understanding the CRM solution

As HubSpot highlighted in its financials:

At the core of our CRM Platform is our CRM that our customers use which creates a single view of all interactions a prospective or existing customer has with their marketing, sales and customer service teams. The CRM shares data across every application in the CRM Platform, automatically informing more personalized emails, website content, ads, and conversations, and enables more accurate timing cues for our customer’s internal teams. In addition, the CRM Platform was built to easily and seamlessly integrate third party applications to further customize to an individual company’s industry or needs. We designed and built our CRM Platform to serve a broad range of customers globally. Our CRM Platform starts completely free and grows with our customers to meet their needs at different stages in their life-cycles. It supports multiple languages and currencies and offers an array of sophisticated features, including content partitioning at the enterprise level for companies operating in or serving multiple countries.

By 2022, HubSpot counted almost 167k customers, an average of $11,163 in subscription revenue.

Hubspot generated an average of over $11K of subscription revenue per customer in 2022, compared to over $10K in 2021 and over $9.5K in 2020.

This is a critical point to emphasize, as for SaaS companies to make sense they need to find a sweet spot, in pricing their software, for a customer segment that makes the company sustainable over time.

Indeed, in many cases, software companies need to spend massive resources to actually acquire and maintain customers. For instance, in 2022, Hubspot spent 51% of its revenues in marketing and sales efforts.

Hubspot spent 51% of its revenue in sales and marketing efforts in 2022, compared to 50% in 2021 and 51% in 2020.

And if your software is not priced in a way that makes it possible for the company to invest a good chunk of its revenue back into R&D and marketing, then the so-called slow ramp of death is guaranteed!

Indeed, Hubspot, is a quite successful software company in the CRM space, and yet, even there, not profitable, after many years in business.

Hubspot generated reported a net loss of $112 million in 2022, compared to a net loss of $77 million in 2021, and a net loss of $85 million in 2020.

HubSpot revenue generation

Hubspot generates most of its revenue from subscriptions. Indeed, in 2022 over 97% of its revenue came from subscriptions. In 2022, Hubspot generated $1.69 billion in revenue from subscriptions vs. $40 million from professional services. In 2021, Hubspot generated over $1.25 billion in revenue from subscriptions vs. $42 million from professional services. And in 2020, Hubspot generated $853 million in subscriptions and $30 million from professional services.

HubSpot shows two primary revenue streams: subscriptions (with various B2B to Enterprise) plans and professional services.

Subscriptions comprise most of the company’s revenues.


While the revenues grew over the years, the HubSpot business model never turned into profitability.

The balance between offering a high-priced B2B subscription, coupled (as we’ll see) with onboarding professional services, hasn’t yet struck a balance for the company’s profitability.

The company does spend a good chunk of its revenues on sales and marketing. However, it leverages a lot of stock-based compensations.

It’s essential to notice that professional services carry a negative marginality. In short, HubSpot loses money on them. So why does it offer these?

It does so to further prompt the sales of its subscription services, as professional services help various levels of customers to understand HubSpot’s solutions better.

HubSpot highlights that professional services and other revenue are derived primarily from customer onboarding and training services.

Those onboarding services usually involve an implementation specialist working directly with the customers to make them understand how to attract leads and convert them into customers through search engine optimization, social media, blogging, and other content.

Indeed, the primary means of revenue generation for HubSpot is the selling of software via paid subscriptions.

Let’s take a look at these subscriptions in more detail.

Marketing Hub

Marketing Hub contains everything a business needs to turn leads into customers. There are three options:

  1. Starter – $50/month or $45/month if paid annually. Features include landing pages, ad management, conversational bots, list segmentation, email marketing, and ad targeting.
  2. Professional – $890/month or $800/month if paid annually for businesses that need to market to at least 2,000 contacts. Extra features include A/B testing, multi-language content, and Salesforce integration.
  3. Enterprise – $3,200/month for enterprises with at least 10,000 marketing contacts. Features unique to this plan include partitioning, user roles, adaptive testing, and predictive lead scoring.

Sales Hub

Sales Hub encompasses HubSpot CRM software, helping teams organize data and close deals.

There are also three options here:

  1. Starter – $50/month or $45/month if paid annually. This option provides simple automation, quotes, calling, live chat, and a reporting dashboard.
  2. Professional – $500/month or $450/month if paid annually. Extra features include sales analytics, custom reporting and forecasting, 1:1 video creation, calculated properties, and eSignatures.
  3. Enterprise – $1,200/month for at least 10 paid users. Hierarchical teams, advanced permissions, playbooks, and call transcription are all Enterprise-level features.

Service Hub

Service Hub is a customer service solution helping businesses turn their customers into fans.

There are three different plans under this hub:

  1. Starter – $50/month or $45/month paid annually and including features such as conversational bots, team email, canned snippets, and rep productivity reports.
  2. Professional – $400/month or $360/month paid annually. Teams selecting this plan can utilize ticket status and routing, video hosting, and surveys focused on NPS, customer experience, and customer support.
  3. Enterprise – $1,200/month for at least 10 paid users. Enterprise features include customer objects, calculated properties, field-level permissions, and webhooks.


For those wishing to build or scale an optimized website, HubSpot also makes money via two plans:

  1. Professional – $300/month or $270/month if paid annually. These plans are feature-rich and include a drag-and-drop editor, SEO optimization, and a contact attribution report builder. Uptime of 99.99% and 24/7 security monitoring is also provided
  2. Enterprise – $900/month for extra features including serverless functions, memberships, custom CDN integration, code alerts, and an additional brand domain.

Onboarding and professional services

To help businesses hit the ground running, HubSpot also offers a range of support services. These include:

  • Onboarding – providing technical advice for each of the Hub plans mentioned above. There are also specific onboarding services for partners and start-ups. Prices are based on the plan chosen from a specific Hub.
  • Professional services – encompassing inbound consulting, technical consulting, migration services, and classroom training. Prices are based on the length and nature of the training provided.

Key takeaways

  • HubSpot is a software marketer and developer platform. It was founded in 2006 at MIT by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah.
  • HubSpot makes money by offering a diverse range of subscription plans. Each plan is categorized according to the size of an organization, with options in sales, marketing, customer service, and CMS.
  • HubSpot also charges for various onboarding and professional services to help businesses with product implementation and training.

Key Highlights

  • HubSpot’s Origin Story:
    • HubSpot, an American software developer and marketer, was founded in 2006 at MIT by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah.
    • Over the years, the company expanded its offerings from serving small companies to larger businesses.
    • HubSpot acquired competitor GroupSharp, debuted on the NYSE in 2014, and acquired Kemvi in 2017.
  • Rapid Customer Growth:
    • HubSpot’s customer base experienced substantial growth, surpassing 167,000 paying customers by 2022.
    • The company had over 135,000 customers in 2021 and nearly 104,000 customers in 2020.
    • HubSpot’s growth indicates its appeal to various business segments.
  • Subscription Revenue Growth:
    • HubSpot’s revenue is primarily generated from subscriptions.
    • In 2022, the company generated $1.69 billion in revenue from subscriptions, compared to $1.26 billion in 2021 and $853 million in 2020.
  • CRM Platform and Offerings:
    • HubSpot’s CRM Platform provides a comprehensive suite of tools for marketing, sales, and customer service.
    • The CRM creates a unified view of customer interactions across various teams and applications.
    • HubSpot’s offerings cater to a wide range of customers globally, offering features like content partitioning for enterprises serving multiple countries.
  • Subscription Revenue per Customer:
    • HubSpot generated an average of over $11,000 in subscription revenue per customer in 2022, indicating a steady increase from previous years.
    • Subscription pricing contributes significantly to HubSpot’s overall revenue.
  • Challenges in Profitability:
    • Despite revenue growth, HubSpot has not achieved profitability.
    • The company invests heavily in sales and marketing efforts, which accounted for 51% of its revenue in 2022.
    • The balance between pricing and investments in growth remains a challenge for achieving profitability.
  • Professional Services and Onboarding:
    • HubSpot offers professional services, including onboarding, to help customers understand and implement its solutions effectively.
    • While these services carry negative marginality (resulting in losses), they contribute to driving subscription sales.
  • Diverse Subscription Plans:
    • HubSpot offers subscription plans under different hubs: Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, Service Hub, and CMS Hub.
    • Each hub offers various options tailored to different business needs and sizes.
  • Business Model and Revenue Streams:
    • HubSpot’s primary revenue streams are subscriptions and professional services.
    • The company’s diversified subscription plans cater to different customer segments and business requirements.

Main Free Guides:

Related Business Model Types

Platform Business Model

A platform business model generates value by enabling interactions between people, groups, and users by leveraging network effects. Platform business models usually comprise two sides: supply and demand. Kicking off the interactions between those two sides is one of the crucial elements for a platform business model success.

Marketplace Business Model

A marketplace is a platform where buyers and sellers interact and transact. The platform acts as a marketplace that will generate revenues in fees from one or all the parties involved in the transaction. Usually, marketplaces can be classified in several ways, like those selling services vs. products or those connecting buyers and sellers at B2B, B2C, or C2C level. And those marketplaces connecting two core players, or more.

Network Effects

A network effect is a phenomenon in which as more people or users join a platform, the more the value of the service offered by the platform improves for those joining afterward.

Asymmetric Business Models

In an asymmetric business model, the organization doesn’t monetize the user directly, but it leverages the data users provide coupled with technology, thus have a key customer pay to sustain the core asset. For example, Google makes money by leveraging users’ data, combined with its algorithms sold to advertisers for visibility.

Attention Merchant Business Model

In an asymmetric business model, the organization doesn’t monetize the user directly, but it leverages the data users provide coupled with technology, thus having a key customer pay to sustain the core asset. For example, Google makes money by leveraging users’ data, combined with its algorithms sold to advertisers for visibility. This is how attention merchants make monetize their business models.

Wholesale Business Model

The wholesale model is a selling model where wholesalers sell their products in bulk to a retailer at a discounted price. The retailer then on-sells the products to consumers at a higher price. In the wholesale model, a wholesaler sells products in bulk to retail outlets for onward sale. Occasionally, the wholesaler sells direct to the consumer, with supermarket giant Costco the most obvious example.

Retail Business Model

A retail business model follows a direct-to-consumer approach, also called B2C, where the company sells directly to final customers a processed/finished product. This implies a business model that is mostly local-based, it carries higher margins, but also higher costs and distribution risks.


A B2B2C is a particular kind of business model where a company, rather than accessing the consumer market directly, it does that via another business. Yet the final consumers will recognize the brand or the service provided by the B2B2C. The company offering the service might gain direct access to consumers over time.

Crowdsourcing Business Model

The term “crowdsourcing” was first coined by Wired Magazine editor Jeff Howe in a 2006 article titled Rise of Crowdsourcing. Though the practice has existed in some form or another for centuries, it rose to prominence when eCommerce, social media, and smartphone culture began to emerge. Crowdsourcing is the act of obtaining knowledge, goods, services, or opinions from a group of people. These people submit information via social media, smartphone apps, or dedicated crowdsourcing platforms.

Open-Core Business Model

While the term has been coined by Andrew Lampitt, open-core is an evolution of open-source. Where a core part of the software/platform is offered for free, while on top of it are built premium features or add-ons, which get monetized by the corporation who developed the software/platform. An example of the GitLab open core model, where the hosted service is free and open, while the software is closed.

Open Source vs. Freemium

Open source is licensed and usually developed and maintained by a community of independent developers. While the freemium is developed in-house. Thus the freemium give the company that developed it, full control over its distribution. In an open-source model, the for-profit company has to distribute its premium version per its open-source licensing model.

Freemium Business Model

The freemium – unless the whole organization is aligned around it – is a growth strategy rather than a business model. A free service is provided to a majority of users, while a small percentage of those users convert into paying customers through the sales funnel. Free users will help spread the brand through word of mouth.

Freeterprise Business Model

A freeterprise is a combination of free and enterprise where free professional accounts are driven into the funnel through the free product. As the opportunity is identified the company assigns the free account to a salesperson within the organization (inside sales or fields sales) to convert that into a B2B/enterprise account.

Franchising Business Model

In a franchained business model (a short-term chain, long-term franchise) model, the company deliberately launched its operations by keeping tight ownership on the main assets, while those are established, thus choosing a chain model. Once operations are running and established, the company divests its ownership and opts instead for a franchising model.

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