We’re on Salesforce and Hubspot. Neither works for us as a comprehensive attribution tool anymore. What should I do?


Salesforce began in 1999 as a CRM solution and added a marketing automation tool in 2013; Hubspot started as an inbound marketing tool in 2006 before introducing its CRM solution in 2014.

Although both companies have since expanded their platforms to encompass nearly every revenue function, including customer service and revenue operations, it’s easy to see why Salesforce remains the primary platform for sales and Hubspot the platform for marketing in many organizations. For a long time, there was simply no alternative.

For revenue organizations using both Salesforce and Hubspot, it can be tricky to avoid paying for overlapping features and harder still to choose one platform over the other when new functionality such as revenue attribution is required. 

Some organizations have resorted to manually attributing revenue on spreadsheets because integration is naturally limited across both platforms. This is obviously untenable. However, so is adopting Salesforce or Hubspot’s revenue attribution solution.

Why not Salesforce or Hubspot?

Despite early differences, both Salesforce and Hubspot today are firmly positioned as CRM-first platforms. All other features, including revenue attribution, are added to complement this core proposition. 

Salesforce offers varying degrees of attribution capabilities, depending on which product you’re subscribed to. Their Sales Cloud (CRM) only offers the most basic attribution functionality, allowing users to identify the campaign source (first touch in an outbound sales motion), opportunity lead source (last touch before conversion), and ROI of a campaign (cost vs deals won).

With Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (marketing automation), you could track five more data points with UTM tracking (source, medium, campaign name, keyword term, content), but this is still very limited and would require the manual setup of UTM links for every campaign. 

Finally, with Marketing Cloud Intelligence (BI), you could build a fairly robust revenue attribution solution with its ETL and data visualization capabilities. The only catch is that you’d need to reliably capture first-party user activity data, which requires a third-party tool since Marketing Cloud Intelligence does not provide a tracker, and ensure that all imported data from various media channels are accurate. Garbage in, garbage out.

Hubspot’s revenue attribution features are available only to enterprise-tier subscribers of its Marketing Hub and are also limited. For example, it can only attribute revenue to activities that occur on the Hubspot platform, it uses rigid models for categorizing traffic sources, and it has limited ad reporting capabilities. Plus, the technical implementation of its tracker prevents it from collecting complete web tracking data. The native Salesforce-Hubspot integration is not a solution either since it’s made primarily to facilitate lead scoring and audience segmentation. 

In short, both platforms have serious limitations in regard to first-party tracking and attribution capabilities, so subscribing to either platform’s revenue attribution solution and expecting to make full use of data from both platforms is not a viable option.

The solution

We recommend playing to the strengths of each platform. Keep Salesforce as your CRM and Hubspot as your marketing automation platform, then adopt a dedicated revenue attribution platform that can be integrated with both.

With Sona, you can effectively address the shortcomings of both platforms. Our first-party tracking technology lets you capture more than 95% of online user activities, ensuring that all conversions on your site are accurately tracked. Our built-in ETL solution can ingest data from Salesforce and Hubspot (along with other data sources) into a single data warehouse, then connect relevant data points such as contact, activity, and revenue with an identifier like email to build out every user’s journey. These user journeys can then be further aggregated into company journeys.

With that, you’d have a single source of truth for revenue performance, a unified journey across both individual users and accounts, and revenue-focused dashboards to monitor and optimize marketing investments. All without the cost, complications, and shortcomings of Salesforce or Hubspot.

Get in touch for a live demo and let us show you how you can get up and running in a week.