Best Marketing Automation Solution: Salesforce vs Infusionsoft vs HubSpot vs Marketo vs Eloqua & More

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Looking for someone to help you find the right buyers, execute campaigns, develop great leads, and deliver a high return on your marketing investment? You might be in need of marketing automation software.

We’re going to break down the top marketing automation providers to determine who is the best for you and your budget. Oh, and if you’re not too sure what marketing automation is, we’ve got you covered there too!

Article Overview

What Is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation refers to software platforms and technologies designed for marketing departments and organizations to more effectively market on multiple channels online (such as email, social media, websites, etc.) and automates repetitive tasks.1

It’s basically marketing software that is designed to help marketing departments perform repetitive tasks more efficiently and effectively. The goal of automated marketing solutions is to nurture prospects by personalizing their buying experience based on their unique needs and desires.

Marketing automation software will help you move those prospects to customers, therefore, generating your company more revenue and increasing your return on investment. In short, you could become a company growth engine and hero in no time!

Video: Marketing Automation In 60 Seconds

This video does a good job of summing up what how marketing automation platforms work.

Must-Have Features

  • Data Analytics and Reporting
  • CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Integration
  • Email Marketing
  • Customized Website Landing Pages
  • Lead Management
  • Social Media Marketing

When you’re choosing a marketing automation solution, it should include all of these features. If it doesn’t, we suggest looking elsewhere. The companies we review in this article all meet this requirement.

Best Marketing Automation Software

Below are our top three picks for best marketing automation software for small businesses based on price, features, customer service and more. We will provide a brief description of each company and also point out the pros and cons of each so you can determine which best suits your needs.

We also showcase valuable free trial sign-up links and promotion details that you might want to try out before you sign on for a longer-term commitment.

HubSpot Review


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HubSpot is our #1 pick because of its affordable price and the fact that you don’t have to be tech-savvy to use it. HubSpot allows you to integrate with apps, and they have a large customer base of big-name companies to vouch for their service. The specialize in helping companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close those customers. HubSpot offers an integrated platform to help with your inbound marketing needs, including blog, social media, web page creation, SEO, and more. HubSpot excels at content management, making it more of a website management and integration tool.

Key Features

  • Attract Visitors – create noteworthy content to share on social media and use the analytics to improve your search rankings
  • Convert Leads – design web landing pages to convert traffic and make forms to optimize conversions
  • Close Sales – use email and analytics to help you convert more leads to sales
  • Around the Clock Customer Service – Request help via email, website, phone or seek out the answer in their handy user guides or online forum



  • In-depth content management system
  • Works with more than 350 related apps
  • Integrates with Google Analytics and Salesforce
  • Don’t have to be “techie” to use it
  • Free Demo (no credit card required)
  • Lots of performance reports available including email, landing pages, campaigns, web activity, and revenue
  • Used by more than 10,000 big-name companies in 100 countries
  • Must sign a contract (cannot go month-to-month)
  • Lacks advanced tools, but you can usually find inexpensive third-party apps in the marketplace to help with your needs


HubSpot offers a free 30-day demo with no credit card required.

  • Starter – $50/month with a $600 training fee (100 contacts)
  • Professional – $800/month with a $3,000 training fee (1,000 contacts)
  • Enterprise – $3,200/month with a $5,000 training fee (10,000 contacts and more)

Marketo Review


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Marketo beats out the competition because of its simple-to-use interface, which helps users accomplish their goals quickly. Also, the fact that Marketo has grown rapidly suggests that they know what they’re doing and are on the right track for the rapidly changing world of digital marketing. They pride themselves in being built by marketers, for marketers. However, you pay for what you get, and their pricing is on the high end.

Key Features

  • Behavior Tracking – see which customers are visiting your site, clicking thru your emails, and sharing your stuff on social media
  • Engagement Marketing – build marketing campaigns that will increase your customers’ engagement and conversations
  • Event Marketing – send out personalized invites and set reminders to events and webinars
  • Inbound/Search Marketing – help customers find you
  • Instant CRM Software Integration – build a stronger connection with your customers
  • Web Landing Pages and Forms – create professional WYSIWYG web pages and registration forms
  • Lead Management – helps you convert leads into customers
  • Multi-Channel Campaign Management – manage and implement marketing programs through email, web, mobile, events, and social media
  • Scoring – rank your customers by scoring them by their behaviors or possible future behaviors, so you focus on the right ones for the highest ROI



  • Customer support via live chat, phone, and email
  • Users report it is easy to use
  • CRM software integration with Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics so there’s data coming from marketing and sales input to increase efficiency and ROI
  • Used by Citrix, Rackspace and Slimband
  • Named 78th fastest growing business by Inc. magazine in 2012
  • Claims to be the leading marketing automation provider
  • Must agree to 1-year contract
  • Pricey compared to others


Pricing is not listed on their website anymore, but in December 2015 this was Marketo’s pricing:

  • Spark – $1,195/month (5 users, limited content hosting and analytics)
  • Standard – $1,995/month (10 users, no revenue modeling, reduced role-based permissions and social promotion management)
  • Select – $3,195/month (20 users and unlimited everything)
  • Marketing to Consumers – Starts at $2,995/month for less than 100,000 records
  • Enterprise – Contact Sales for pricing

Oracle Eloqua Review


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Oracle Eloqua was one of the first players in marketing automation. According to their site, they will help you “demonstrate concrete business results.” You can create and track your  marketing goals through Oracle Eloqua to help increase revenue. See the numbers right before your eyes with the Marketing Measurement feature to help you see which campaigns are working (and which are not). The fact that the Chicago Bears NFL team uses this product is undoubtedly impressive. However, their starting price is $2,000/month making it a tough pill to swallow. Despite their steep opening price, they have a history of success and are one of the pioneers in marketing automation.

Key Features

  • Campaign Management – create campaigns to help with your sales and renewals
  • Content Marketing – publish and deliver appealing text content
  • Customer Lifecycle Marketing – personalize your campaigns to each customer to create a stronger bond and increase revenue
  • Eloqua AppCloud – access applications, services, and tools
  • Lead Management – improve your sales close rates
  • Marketing Measurement – view your analytics in a dashboard and receive reports
  • Sales Enablement – keep your marketing and sales plans aligned to increase revenue (and playing nice across functions at your company)
  • Social Media Relationship Marketing – use social media to increase engagement
  • Targeting and Segmentation – classify better target customers using specific data like location, industry, and title



  • Integrates with more than 100 apps
  • Easy to use interface
  • Adapt to what the user wants by making changes based on customer feedback
  • Has a helpful user community with lots of hacks, tips and tricks
  • Used by the Chicago Bears, McAfee, Golden State Warriors and Molex
  • Operated by Oracle, so the reputation provides a great deal of confidence
  • Claims to be the largest and most powerful
  • 24/7 Customer Service – via phone or website
  • No free trial
  • Requires a long-term contract, so you are going to be paying for a while
  • Integration is not as easy as it could be
  • Does not integrate with Google AdWords
  • Expensive


  • Basic – $2,000/month for 10 users
  • Standard – $4,000/month for 50 users
  • Enterprise – Call 866-327-8764 for pricing (unlimited users)

Comparison Table

Below is a simple comparison table of the most basic packages for each marketing automation provider categorized to give you a starting point. But please read on to compare all companies and plans to find out what you get at these opening price points, as features vary widely.

Company1st Place: Hubspot2nd Place: Marketo3rd Place: Oracle EloquaGet ResponseInfusionsoftPardotSilverpop
Price$200/month with a $600 training fee$1,195/month with$2,000/month$15/month (email only)$199/month$1,000/month$500/month

Other Marketing Automation Reviews

Here are a few other marketing automation services we recommend in addition to our top 3.

Get Response | Infusionsoft | Pardot | Salesforce | Salesfusion | Silverpop

GetResponse Review

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Traditionally an email marketing company (and one of our top picks for best email marketing), GetResponse now integrates its world-class email campaigns with additional automation features. Their affordable pricing plus excellent customer service and support make them an excellent pick for any small to mid-size company that is new to marketing automation. They have dozens of features including access to stock photography, real-time reports and more. Their easy to use interface makes it simple for those new to marketing automation too!

Key Features

  • Email is Easy – inbox preview, email templates, A/B testing, spam checker and more
  • List Management – advanced segmentation, custom fields, send time optimization, intelligent reports, advanced search
  • Lead Acquisition – web forms, list building apps, exit pop-ups, squeeze pages, single opt-in list imports and more
  • Advanced Analytics – web traffic tracking, real-time reports, geo-location and subscription statistics
  • Design Tools – drag and drop editor, landing page builder, web form creator, image editor, multimedia storage and responsive design



  • Affordable pricing, no contracts
  • Free 1-month trial available (50% discount for non-profits)
  • 1,000 stock photos and 700 templates
  • Webinars, video tutorials and great customer service including 24/7 chat
  • Salesforce integration (for Max and Enterprise plans)
  • New to automation
  • Not as many advanced features


GetResponse offers a free 30-day trial (no strings attached)

  • Email – $15/month up to 1,000 subscribers, 1 user
  • Pro – $49/month up to 5,000 subscribers, 3 users plus additional features
  • Max – $165/month up to 10,000 subscribers, 5 users plus additional features
  • Enterprise – $799/month up to 100,000 subscribers, 10 users plus additional features including dedicated account manager, rebranding and more

Infusionsoft Review

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Infusionsoft is one of the least expensive marketing automation solutions available. They focus on B2C (Business to Consumer) marketing automation and there are no contracts and they have a history of good customer service. The downside is that some users report Infusionsoft to be difficult to learn and use.

Key Features

  • Contact Management – organize all of your contacts’ information
  • Marketing Automation – keep track of reports, campaigns, email marketing, and more all in one place to streamline the sales process
  • Sales Automation – close more sales and build relationships with customers
  • E-Commerce – sell your products and services online with automated tools



  • Live chat, email and phone support
  • No contracts, so if you are not happy, all you have to do is stop paying
  • Focuses on direct to consumer (B2C) marketing
  • Affordable pricing
  • Integrates with other software like WordPress
  • Great customer service reputation
  • 20,000 small businesses use Infusionsoft including The Rocket Company, Presidential Pools, and Hear and Play
  • Some users report a difficult to learn interface with a long learning curve
  • Can’t process recurring payments through PayPal


InfusionSoft offers a free 15-day trial.

  • Essentials – $199/month (2,500 contacts, 3 users)
  • Deluxe Sales – $299/month for Essentials+ Sales Automation (5,000 contacts, 4 users)
  • Deluxe E-Commerce – $299/month for Essentials + E-Commerce (5,000 contacts, 4 users)
  • Complete – $379/month (10,000 contacts, 5 users)
  • Team – $599/month (100,000 contacts, 10 users)

Salesforce Pardot Review

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With Pardot (part of the Salesforce family), users can create, implement, and track campaigns, but they are not keeping up well with the current trends. Pardot has email templates and custom forms to help you connect with customers through various platforms, including paid search and webinars. Learn what areas you can improve on through Pardot’s reports, and stay connected to prospects so you can stay on top of your most effective priorities. Pardot is a smaller provider focused on B2B and they lack in their social media integration. But they are owned by Salesforce so we expect there is more to them than meets the eye.

Key Features

  • Clear Vision For Your Sales Team – real-time sales alerts, CRM tools integration, analytics, connector, and more
  • Email Marketing – create dynamic looking email campaigns
  • Lead Generation – use landing pages, form builders, and search connectors
  • Analyze Return On Investment – reports and analytics help you see the full ROI on your marketing efforts
  • Lead Management – score and track prospects to make sure they go to the right people at the right time to make a sale. Integrates with Salesforce.
  • Social Selling – maintain a steady presence on social media (but they are not as up to date in this area as the competition)



  • No contract
  • Focused on B2B marketing automation and integrates with Salesforce
  • Used by Amazon, Stanley Black & Decker and Sequoia Financial Group
  • iPhone app
  • Outlook plug-in
  • Offers free trial
  • Weak social media platform
  • Very basic lead nurturing
  • Only phone and fax support at the basic level; you have to upgrade your plan to get phone or chat support
  • Many features are not available in the basic package


  • Standard – $1,000/month up to 10,000 records
  • Pro – $2,000/month up to 10,000 records
  • Ultimate – $3,000/month up to 10,000 records

Salesforce CRM Software Review

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Probably the most well-known CRM, Salesforce is one of the industry’s leading companies. Salesforce has more than 20 years of experience, making it a reputable company trusted by more than 150,000 customers around the world.

While traditionally a CRM, they have automation features you can add on via Pardot (reviewed above) to help you streamline your sales funnels and convert customers more quickly and easily. They pride themselves on being a strategic partner that invests in infrastructure and they have affordable pricing. If you want CRM and automation under one roof, this is a great way to go, but keep in mind many of the other automation companies also integrate with Salesforce.

Salesfusion Review
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This Atlanta-based business is “marketing automation with all the trimmings.” The company’s one size fits all, “no catch” price includes unlimited users, email sends and campaigns all with phone support, pre-built reports and all the other basic features you’d get from other companies. However, there is a one-time fee upfront to get your database up and running (which might be useful depending on how many contacts you have). They also have a London office that caters to international clients.

Key Features

  • Attract & Capture – website tracking, Google Adwords integration, social media marketing, SEO
  • Create Campaigns – email marketing tools, landing page and forms, surveys, and more
  • Streamline Lead Process – CRM integration, track buyers journey, lead sourcing and management
  • Analyze Results – performance reporting and ROI dashboards, website analytics



  • Integrates with Microsoft Dynamics, NetSuite, Sage, and SugarCRM
  • Plenty of support including Marketing Concierge Program, training events, webinars, videos, worksheets, case studies and more!
  • Simple pricing structure and clean, easy to navigate interface
  • Less flexibility than other companies
  • Relatively new company
  • Pricey up front for onboarding


$500/month for unlimited users and emails (plus a one-time onboarding fee of $1,000-2,500 depending on the size and complexity of database).

Silverpop Review

Silverpop logo

Update October 2017: Silverpop is now part of IBM Watson

Manage and nurture your needs with Silverpop to get the most out of your marketing budget. Users can learn more about prospects’ behavior to finalize sales. Silverpop stands out with their B2B marketing automation feature, but who knows about their pricing (unlisted on their site).

Key Features

  • Advanced Email Features – features like send time optimization, A/B testing, and dynamic content help make sure your emails are delivered and get noticed
  • Automated Campaigns – learn your prospects’ and customers’ behaviors and create marketing campaigns that cater to them
  • B2B Marketing Automation – obtain and rank leads to maximize your efforts with other businesses
  • Campaign Reporting – collect reports to show ROI and other marketing successes
  • Integrations – target customers with event management, web analytics, data cleansing, and enhancements to improve communications
  • Landing Pages and Web Forms – create pages and forms and capture inquiry information
  • Scoring – rank your customers based on specific criteria like buying behaviors, location, site visits, and more
  • Web Tracking – find out what actions prospects and customers take on your site



  • Customer support via phone, email, and fax (no times listed)
  • Simple user interface
  • Room to store lots of data
  • Used by Paper Style, Arby’s, Manilla, SmartPak Unique, LifeShield and CarFax
  • Pricing not listed on site
  • Contracts are required
  • Mixed customer service reviews
  • Users report glitches in the system


Pricing for Silverpop is not listed on their site, which is a little frustrating. We feel that companies should be transparent in all aspects of their business.

Are You Happy With Your Email Marketing Service?

The right email marketing service is a key component of an effective marketing automation solution. We review the top email marketing services and bring you pros, cons, user feedback and more.

How could marketing automation help your business?

Sources: [1] Wikipedia

About The Author:

Sadie has over 15 years of experience in digital marketing, graphic and web design, social media strategy, email marketing and more. She is a 4th generation small business owner and has worked with a wide range of brands from fortune 500 companies to startups and entrepreneurs.

Sadie is a self-proclaimed Apple/Mac guru and keeps up with all the latest tech trends at conferences including South by Southwest. Sadie has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Texas at Austin's Moody School of Communications and a concentration in Business from the Red McCombs School of Business.

Her expertise has appeared in many notable media outlets, including The New York Times, Forbes, People, Reader's Digest, Apartment Therapy, and other regional news organizations.

Disclaimer: This website contains reviews, opinions and information regarding products and services manufactured or provided by third parties. We are not responsible in any way for such products and services, and nothing contained here should be construed as a guarantee of the functionality, utility, safety or reliability of any product or services reviewed or discussed. Please follow the directions provided by the manufacturer or service provider when using any product or service reviewed or discussed on this website.

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Wow! What a detailed post. Just what I was searching for. I might try GetResponse. Sounds like a good solution for a small business.

I thought the ‘detailed’ view was not very detailed and was more a list of features. It also missed a key player in Act-On that is getting well received by other analysts.

Where these tools work (or not) is how well all the pieces work together. And each one has a slightly different philosophy on how they do that, with the idea they are all trying to get the same end result. The notion one is better than the other will only come out in how well you will use the tool.

Hubspot requires too much of your business to be hosted on their site. If ever you needed to change over you would have a hard time. Most people I know who have implemented Hubspot have found it costs far more than they originally expected, was not as easy as they thought and is less functional than the key rivals.

Also, as you get better at using automation you will likely want to leverage the more advanced capabilities and nearly all have them spread into higher priced packages – a bit like the way Cable TV companies bundle those one or two desirable channels into a separate, additional price.

Automation can dramatically increase a marketing group’s productivity and provide greater demand generation by being ‘always on’.

Implementing any of these solutions to even a small portion of their capabilities will jump you ahead initially. But the big boost only comes when adding things like triggers, lead scoring, A/B testing, etc, which are often not in the base price.

What a very well written-review! I am currently using MyConversionBrain for my site. Although those features are pretty attractive, I’m a small business owner, and don’t want to pay an exorbitant monthly fee – the amount that I’ve actually used in setting up my business! MyConversionBrain helps me to thoroughly know my leads -identifying who are spammers and which are the authentic ones. It helps me extract their IP addresses, business/organization behind each lead, and their geo location. It also helps me find out all the traffic sources behind all the leads and the keywords that were used from each lead which has helped me in finding the winning keywords that delivers the best ROI for my business. Have actually discovered that a competitor regularly visits my site every week! 🙂 This software helps me analyze what my potential customers are actually looking for, which helps me to follow up with them and gives me a chance to develop new designs that I can offer to them. I’m paying a monthly fee of $249, which is just a fraction of those bigger brands that were mentioned in the article.

Pardot is not a native integration with Salesforce and is not bidirectional. If you really want a full CRM integration make sure you research your marketing automation tool, also ensure that if you need a marketing automation tool that does both b2b and b2c nimbly that your tool can accommodate both.

Just choose wisely and know that the investment will be twice what you expect, esp in terms of staff time.

Hey Kimberly, check out LeadSquared Sales and marketing automation solution, designed and priced for small and mid sized businesses. I am sure you will love to mention it in your next article.