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Recently I was talking with a client about how they want to improve their digital marketing in the coming year. I was happy to hear this because over the years we've had this conversation and I have always thought they could really benefit from this investment.

Since we are a Hubspot Solutions Partner and have been working with the platform since 2012, I usually have lots of solutions at my disposal. The platform has grown and matured over the years, though, to be honest, our agency has taken a long time to get the most out of it. So my suggestion was to look at the options.

Cost

During our discussion I discovered that the cost was a bit higher than they wanted to spend. By the time they added up all the potential features they really needed, they were looking at Growth Suite Pro. They shared that they were looking at some competitors at a much lower cost. In this case it was EngageBay.

After taking a look at the comparison tables online, there didn't seem to be a lot of difference between the two. It seemed that for similar features, the cost was a fraction of what Hubspot subscriptions are. So I decided to take it for a spin.

Features

On the surface, Engagebay seemed to have all the features that Hubspot offers. There are four pull downs in the upper left for marketing, sales, service, and live chat. After I signed up I got a call from a salesperson for the platform. I told him honestly that I was comparing their platform with Hubspot and he did try to help me with my questions. It was at that point that I realized that this platform is born and based in India.

Having a lot of experience with these kinds of platforms coming out, I had a sense of what I was working with. Our own help desk is one of these types of platforms built by Freshworks, so I'm familiar.

Since we've been using all the features on Hubspot marketing PRO, I know how things like workflows and landing pages work. My first thought was what about clients who don't know this? How will they get support?

Hidden Limitations

It takes a while to find ceilings in a system but they always pop up down the road. An example of this is in our help desk from Freshdesk where I wanted the email notifications to only have the client first name. I was told it was impossible to do because they used client first and last name as the primary index instead of something like the email.

Support

I know from experience that Hubspot support is top notch for paid subscriptions. You do get more attention when you are subscribed but I thought okay, let's see how EngageBay supports their clients. I looked in the bottom right corner for the help link but found it in the bottom left (hmmm...probably a left to right thing). I put in my contact information and asked a question, expecting to get a bot. I was surprised to get an actual human and so I asked how to do something and if there was a tutorial or knowledge base. I was directed to the Youtube channel and a variety of different instructional videos.

User Interface

Overall, the UX/UI (user interface and experience) was pretty good. I was able to navigate around pretty easily but then again I am experienced with Hubspot. I wondered if it would be that easy for a novice.

Integrations

Then it hit me. What about integrations to other platforms? A quick Google search showed there were only five available, as shown on their integrations page: https://www.engagebay.com/integrations/. Now I was getting somewhere. Hubspot has hundreds of pre-built and maintained integrations from third party platforms. Integrations provide a straightforward way of communicating information between different systems. They are useful because they can create a more robust line of communication between a business and its leads, clients, and customers.

Ecosystem

The Hubspot ecosystem is vast, with millions of users and thousands of partner agencies with expertise in the industry. For us, it's been a primary reason for our success and continued growth. Digital marketing, sales and service is complex and ever changing.

New Technology

Hubspot is a leader in new technology and an inventor of concepts that lay the groundwork for agencies to use in the future. They invented the entire Inbound Marketing concept and principles we all live and die by. They continue to evolve along with online consumer behavior. In their last shift in digital concept ideology, they announced that their own sales funnel no longer applies and that the digital flywheel model is a better fit for current behavior.

Summary

On the surface, EngageBay seems like a great deal. Getting all the tools at a fraction of the price is a good fit for some. What it really boils down to is, can you learn and use the tools easily enough to be effective? I would argue that you won't be as successful and will end up spending more time (and cost) trying to figure it out.

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Topics: hubspot

Tony Sova

Written by Tony Sova

Owner of Softwired, a web design, SEO, and Inbound Marketing firm.