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HubSpot Starter vs Professional: When Should You Upgrade?

Posted by Tyler Samani-Sprunk on June 4, 2024
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There are thousands of MarTech tools – and you could spend your entire marketing budget on software alone. Which is why knowing when to move to the next level of HubSpot is both an opportunity and a challenge. How do you know when you’re outgrowing your current tech stack?

The HubSpot Starter tier is a great introduction to the HubSpot platform – it’s affordable, packed with great tools from the start that can help you move the needle. However, as the name suggests, it’s not meant to carry your business forever. Eventually, you’ll need to upgrade to HubSpot Professional (aka HubSpot Pro) if you want to stay competitive and truly scale your efforts.

Still, the price tag difference from Starter to Pro is quite a jump, so how do you know when it's the right time to make the investment? This article is designed to help you find a clear answer, with a few different ways to think about it. Let’s get started.

When is HubSpot Professional worth the upgrade?

HubSpot Starter vs HubSpot Professional

If you’re adding new members to your sales team, or you’ve got more aggressive quotas, or you need to stay top of mind for customers who aren’t in the buying cycle right now, the automation provided at the Pro level is likely one of the accelerants you need.

This is even more true now, because with 2024’s new pricing model, HubSpot Pro hubs are substantially more affordable.

This is great news for companies with growing pains, who might otherwise feel too big for Starter yet not have enough budget for Pro. If any of these situations sound like you, it’s time to think more seriously about upgrading:

Your sales or marketing team is growing

As a rule of thumb, if you’re on the HubSpot Starter tier and you need to do more than your current team can handle, you should compare the cost of hiring new employees against the cost of upgrading to HubSpot’s Professional tier.

For instance, a common issue people encounter is the dreaded “lock box” on the account when they reach their limits, like how the Starter plan doesn’t allow you to create sequences. If you have hundreds of webinar leads to follow up with, you’ll have to email them one by one.

Additionally, if you don’t have enough seats for your sales team, they’ll be limited by the templates they can use.

If you have over 2-3 sales reps, or more than 1 person doing marketing, it’s probably time to consider upgrading before you hire more people for these roles.

The power and efficiency gains you get from HubSpot Pro in these instances typically amount to multiple employees’ worth of hours saved.

For companies in a position like this, the upgrade is typically worth it, as there are few things with such a high return on investment as upgrading from HubSpot Starter to HubSpot Professional.

You have higher customer experience needs

Say you're managing a large customer base: HubSpot Pro lets you create personalized customer journeys with advanced automation and detailed segmentation. In other words, you can tailor your communications and interactions to each customer's needs, ensuring a consistent and high-quality experience.

As your company grows, you need more advanced tools to manage increasing customer interactions and data efficiently. For instance, you might need to track individual customer preferences, segment customers based on their buying behavior, automate personalized communications, and/or ensure timely follow-ups.

You’re consolidating your tech stack

As companies add capabilities to their tech stacks, the integration of additional tools can introduce significant friction in processes such as transitioning leads from marketing to sales or from sales to customer service. This friction is notably higher with HubSpot Starter, where customer data does not flow as smoothly between systems.

HubSpot Pro starts to make more sense when a company wants to consolidate these systems without sacrificing their existing capabilities.

Pro tools offer a more robust experience in a single, central platform, naturally increasing efficiency. They also allow you to see the entire customer journey within the platform, which is critical for growth in this day and age.

Note: sometimes unreliable data comes from a poorly optimized HubSpot setup that just needs fixing, rather than an upgrade.

You need better ROI data

If your revenue is growing and you realize it's time to manage your spending on software tools more wisely, HubSpot Professional is essential for advancing to the next stage of your business. It provides a clear understanding of how your investments are linked to your outcomes. 

Now that you’ve got a sense for how you should think about this upgrade decision, let’s break down the decision into two of the most popular Hubs (Marketing and Sales), and the types of features you unlock that make upgrading a no-brainer.

HubSpot Sales Hub Professional — tools worth upgrading for

If you have multiple sales processes, multiple pipelines, multiple products, or (most commonly) upsells or renewals in your sales process, these have to be in a separate deal pipeline, or else you’re going to have a lot of problems.

That’s an obvious reason to upgrade to Sales Pro, but let’s take a look at some of the most important capabilities you’ll get access to when you upgrade Sales Hub to the Professional tier:


What It Is

Why It's Worth Paying For

Workflow automations

Automates steps in sales processes, like moving deals through pipeline stages.

Speeds up sales processes, reducing manual work and increasing efficiency, allowing your team to focus on closing deals.

Task creation

Sets reminders for calls, follow-ups, and emails.

Helps sales teams manage their time efficiently, ensuring no task is overlooked, enhancing productivity and keeping the team organized and on track.

Deal stage notifications

Sends alerts when deals remain in a deal stage for a specified time.

Ensures timely follow-ups and prevents deals from stagnating, increasing the chances of closing deals by keeping the sales process moving forward.

Round robin lead assignment

Automates the even distribution of new leads or deals among team members.

Ensures fair distribution of leads and workload among the sales team, promoting a balanced workload, improving team morale and efficiency.

Multiple deal pipelines

Supports different sales processes for cross-selling and upselling.

Allows customization of sales processes to match various product lines or sales strategies, enhancing flexibility and effectiveness in managing diverse sales scenarios.

Custom reports

Enables multi-object reporting, such as tracking sales by product or region.

Provides in-depth insights into sales performance, aiding strategic decision-making and allowing for tailored reporting to meet specific business needs and goals.


Provides revenue projections for upcoming months, quarters, or years.

Helps predict future revenue, aiding in financial planning and resource allocation, supporting better budgeting and strategic planning for growth.

Sales analytics

Offers insights into deal activity and revenue metrics.

Provides a detailed view of sales performance and trends, helping identify areas for improvement and opportunities for growth.

Multiple teams

Essential for managing access and supporting round robin assignments.

Allows segmentation of teams for better management and security, ensuring proper access control and efficient team management.


Links products or services to deals, enhancing sales tracking.

Facilitates tracking of sales by specific products or services, improving accuracy in sales tracking and reporting, aiding in inventory and sales strategy management.


Facilitates the sales process by generating detailed quotes during negotiations.

Speeds up the sales process by providing customers with accurate pricing information quickly, enhancing professionalism and customer satisfaction by delivering timely and detailed quotes.

Sequence queues

Allows bulk enrollment of contacts for consistent email messaging. Includes A/B testing capabilities.

Ensures consistent and efficient email outreach, improving communication with leads, increasing engagement and conversion rates by optimizing email campaigns.


Increases available calling hours for teams.

Provides more opportunities for direct communication with leads and customers, improving your ability to reach and engage with prospects, leading to more closed deals.



Marketing Hub Professional — tools worth upgrading for

If you want to have a more robust marketing engine (e.g. dynamic tokens/emails, AB testing, contact scoring, powerful reporting tools), or you want to clearly understand your ROI for marketing, it’s worth considering the Marketing Hub Professional upgrade. Aside from that, these are some of the most important capabilities you’ll unlock when you upgrade Marketing Hub to the Professional tier:


What It Is

Why It's Worth Paying For

Dynamic tokens

Personalize marketing emails to increase engagement.

Increases email engagement by personalizing content, leading to higher open and click-through rates and improved customer relationships.

Social media posting

Simultaneously create and schedule/post content to all your social media channels.

Saves time and ensures consistent social media presence, enhancing brand visibility and engagement across multiple platforms.

Campaign reporting

Tracks all marketing efforts associated with specific campaigns to understand contact conversion, activities, and revenue generation.

Helps measure ROI by providing insights into the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, allowing for data-driven adjustments and optimizations.

Contact scoring

Qualifies and prioritizes contacts based on buyer intent.

Aids sales reps in focusing their efforts on high-priority leads, improving the efficiency of the sales process and increasing conversion rates.

Custom reporting

Tailors reports to your specific needs to gain deeper insights.

Provides tailored insights that meet specific business needs, enhancing strategic decision-making and marketing effectiveness.

Contact attribution

Traces marketing success back to specific contacts and actions.

Allows for precise tracking of marketing efforts, helping to identify which actions drive success and optimize future campaigns accordingly.

Google Search Console integration

Enhances your SEO strategy by linking directly with Google's tools.

Improves SEO strategy by providing direct access to Google's insights and tools, leading to better search engine rankings and increased organic traffic.

SEO analytics

Provides critical insight into your content's SEO performance, including HubSpot pages and blogs.

Helps optimize content for search engines by offering detailed analytics, improving visibility and driving more organic traffic to your website.

A/B testing

Compares different marketing strategies to determine what works best.

Enhances marketing effectiveness by identifying the most successful strategies, allowing for informed adjustments and improved campaign performance.



Don’t let the cost distract you from missed opportunities

HubSpot Starter provides some valuable features, but holding off too long on upgrading to HubSpot Pro can put some unnecessary limits on your organization.

It’s easy to get preoccupied with the price difference, but focusing too much on the price means overlooking the hidden costs of time and missed opportunities from sticking with Starter. Without Pro features, your team might waste hours on manual tasks, miss critical insights, and lose potential customers.

Continuing your HubSpot journey the right way

While HubSpot provides a robust platform that can elevate your business operations, the key to harnessing its full potential lies in learning how to use it effectively. By exploring our free HubSpot Hacks resources for marketing or sales, you can get a lot more out of HubSpot. 

If you're considering a HubSpot upgrade so you can take your business growth more seriously on the platform, Simple Strat can help. Book a free call today.

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