Sharpspring Marketing Automation and CRM Review


Sharpsring HQ photo

Who is SharpSpring?

Sharpspring is a marketing automation software company based in Florida USA and has been built exclusively from the ground up for agencies and that focus affects everything they do. They are also a powerful CRM (customer relationship management)

Competing directly with platforms like HubSpot, Marketo, Acton, Pardot, Eloqua along with SharpSpring make up the usual suspects in the marketing automation space.

Trent Hightower the Vice President of Partnerships at Sharpspring says “We do everything that all those platforms do. We actually do quite a bit more in a lot of different scenarios as well. But, we are able to do it all for a lot less money than our competitors, around a 10th of the cost typically“.

The way that they are able to do that is not because Sharpspring is less of a platform, not by any means, it’s just that they have a very different revenue model than their competitors.

Unlike their competitors, they don’t really sell a whole lot at the retail level or directly to businesses, the kinds of businesses that would be your clients as agencies.

Instead, Sharpspring built their entire company from the ground up on a model in which they partner with agencies. What they do is give you agencies wholesale prices
on this software.

This software is yours to use for your own business to grow your own agency first and foremost, but it’s also something that you can take out to your clients. You can white label it, resell it, give it away or just use it to serve your clients.

So really at the end of the day, the value add-on of marketing automation is something delivered to your clients by you, not by Sharpspring.

What I mean by that is your clients remain your clients they don’t become Sharpspring clients and that’s actually a very different model to what their competitors are doing with their partner programs.

For Example

So Hubspot, probably the biggest Sharpspring competitor. If you were an agency partner with Hubspot then essentially you go out and sell your clients on to Hubspot, so your clients become their clients and pay them a retail price which is expensive and can be literally thousands of dollars a month.

It can also be a pretty tough sell to get your clients to buy into something like that. Especially your smaller clients.

But, even if you did get them to buy in, really what you’ve got is a client that is paying another vendor quite a bit of money each month out of their marketing budget. That’s revenue that could be or should be coming into your agency or staying with your agency.

Also, what’s happening is that the client is stickier to their software more than they are to you as the agency or maybe they just don’t need those agency services quite as much as they did previously.

For most agencies that’s just not a really good model. Sharpspring took that and essentially flipped that upside down, everything they do at Sharpspring is actually designed to help agencies to create stickier relationships with your clients.

More retainer relationships and more re-occurring monthly revenue. So again, a much, much different model than what Sharpsprings competitors are doing with their partner programs.

Now, what this allows you guys to do as agencies is to get some very powerful software for your own agency at literally a fraction of what you’d pay from one of our competitors but it also allows you to make that same software available to your clients at a fraction of the cost as well.

That becomes a very significant differentiator to you guys as agencies, to be able to offer that to your clients.

It should also preserve quite a bit more of your client’s marketing budget. If they are able to pay a lot less money for their software from you then that should leave a lot more money hanging around in their marketing budget to hopefully make its way into your agency via other services.

Sharpsprings History

A little bit of history around Sharpspring. Based out of Gainsville Florida. They’ve been around for 7+ years now. It started with 4 people in a tiny room and have grown very quickly over those seven years. They are publically traded with more than 2000 agencies from all over the world have joined them. Trent says “It’s been very exciting and it’s all because of agencies.”

The Elevator Pitch

You may have experience with other platforms but hopefully, depending on your experience this may give you a new take on it.
So “Marketing automation is a suite of tools used to segment and nurture prospects with highly personalized, useful content that helps convert leads to customers and turn customers into advocates.” That’s a nice little elevator pitch.

The 3 key benefits of marketing automation
1- Drive More Leads – Drive relevant leads that convert
2- Convert Leads – Close business by sending exactly the right message at exactly the right time using powerful behaviour-based communication.
3- Optimize your spend – Double down on what works and axe what doesn’t, comprehensive reports make it easy

Typical Mar-Tech Stack
Scattered across different platforms you could have …

  • Landing pages,
  • Forms,
  • Social,
  • CRM,
  • Sales automation,
  • Sales dialer,
  • Meetings,
  • Anonymous web visitors,
  • Analytics and testing,
  • Blogs,
  • Email marketing.

Many marketers are using this duct tape approach.

The Problem with this approach is, it obviously becomes a huge mess with individual fees and contracts and multiple apps to learn and keep updated. Difficulty in connecting them to each other, with data all over the place.

SharpSpring consolidated all these separate services into 1 platform and is also an excellent, light CRM with exceptional automation and easy integration with Google Analytics, Adwords, WordPress, shopping carts, etc. Sharpspring is tracking every single interaction between you and your leads. You’ll be able to see every single webpage they visited and how long they stayed.

 

Who is it for?

I’ve found SharpSpring is perfect for small to mid-sized organizations who are B2B focused

Interface

SharpSpring is very user-friendly, easy to navigate and offers a clean interface. We’ve found that non-tech savvy users can navigate quite easily through the platform (especially compared to more complex systems such as Marketo). I personally find their automation and workflow/rules set-up one of the simplest to deploy.

Features

If you want powerful features for a lot fewer dollars than other automation systems, SharpSpring is a winner.

  • Behavioural-based Email,
  • Landing pages
  • Blogs/content,
  • Media center,
  • Forms (which can be native or connect to third-party),
  • Lead Scoring,
  • Visitor ID (Clients love this for lead gen),
  • Campaign tracking

to name a few.
Plus it also provides a built-in CRM if you aren’t ready for a stand-alone system such as Salesforce.

Sharpspring agency pricing

An Agency pays for a set of licenses and may choose to include the software within the service retainer. In general, you should expect to get SharpSpring at a substantially lower cost than competing solutions. We see prices typically range from $200 to $800 per month.

A Comment from an agency using Sharpspring

“We are a SharpSpring agency and we ‘resell’ the software – typically as part of a marketing services retainer. An Agency can charge different prices based on the situation, including tiers, level of the retainer, and usage. An Agency pays for a set of licenses and may choose to include the software within the service retainer. In general, you should expect to get SharpSpring at a substantially lower cost than competing solutions. We see prices typically range from $200 to $800 per month. There is also a Mail+ version that costs less for reduced function (no CRM).
We do recommend SharpSpring for SMB.”

From a digital manager at Sharpspring

Agency pricing differs based on the number of clients you bring on board, and how much it actually costs varies based on how you pass along the cost to your clients. I would highly recommend speaking to a member of our sales team to learn more but I can tell you that many of our partners actually end up making a substantial ROI from implementing SharpSpring, due to both the value and transition from project work to retainer-based relationships.

So, what is Missing?

According to one Agency Partner, “The platform is not as “revvy” (sic) as other more expensive options such as Pardot and Marketo. It could use more power in campaign tracking, custom reporting and also customer journey design. However, if you’re not an advanced user looking for deep analytics, it works. I’d also love to see an easier to use email design interface.”

Summary

Built from the ground up for agencies from small to medium in a B2B environment. Sharpspring is a major contender in the marketing automation and CRM online platforms.
See why thousands of companies use SharpSpring for marketing automation. Get a demo.

Regards Rod.

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