Consumers receive marketing messages every single day. That’s a fact. Many of these messages are delivered by marketing automation software. These kinds of solutions aim to improve engagement with social media campaigns and website, video, end email content, as well as boosting sales rates, which is where Sharpspring CRM comes into its own.
And you don't need us to tell you; the more engaged your customers are, the better it is for your bottom line.
As such, choosing the right marketing automation tool is really important.
Not only that, it's imperative that your chosen software supports your broader marketing strategy and provides the analytics and data you need to generate more leads and, ultimately, more sales.
Apart from that, any marketing automation software worth its salt allows its customers to tailor their solution to reflect its brand.
There are plenty of tools like this on the market, but here we’re going to zone in on one in particular; SharpSpring. Agencies and businesses alike can use this solution. It’s a relatively new kid on the block, describing themselves as: “Powerful. Affordable. For Everyone” and “A Complete Sales & Marketing Platform.”
So what’s all the fuss about? We take a look at SharpSpring CRM and its pluses and minuses, what its features are and how much it costs.
So, Who's SharpSpring CRM?
First, let's take a look at the accolades. After SharpSpring launched in 2014, its star rose quickly. It won Tech Company of the Year in 2018 at the GNV Business Awards and was the 2018 ‘When It Works' Award Winner.
This year, TrustRadius announced that SharpSpring CRM is a Top-Rated ‘All in One Marketing Tool' saying:
“SharpSpring has earned a Top Rated award for all-in-one marketing. These awards are based entirely on customer feedback. Reviewers of SharpSpring praise its intuitive forms builder, easy-to-use visual workflow designer for setting up automation flows, and its unique ‘Life of the Lead’ and Visitor ID features that provide insights into visitor activity.”
Founded by Rick Carlson and Travis Whitton, the company is based in Gainesville, FL, and its website is keen to emphasize that its work culture is collaborative, transparent with a leadership team that's “present, accessible and working right alongside our teams.”
When describing itself, the company says:
“SharpSpring helps thousands of marketing agencies and small- and medium-sized businesses in more than 50 countries. We’re committed to helping our customers — real people working to grow their companies — achieve success. At SharpSpring, you see your direct impact on the growth and direction of the company. It’s great to be a part of a team where you know your worth, and you know your contributions are valued by customers, managers, and executives alike.”
Put simply; it’s a cloud-based tool company's can use to automate their ⤵️
- Email marketing
- Social media marketing
- Mobile marketing
- Sales tasks
- Relationship management
- Customer service jobs and importantly
But most importantly, SharpSpring CRM can integrate with any CRM out there. This allows companies to keep their existing CRM and utilize everything SharpSpring has to offer — win-win!
SharpSpring is a one-stop-shop for entrepreneurs.
In addition to automating all the above tasks, you can also ⤵️
- Track web page visits
- Monitor the demographics of your audience
- Track customer engagement
SharpSpring identifies your website visitors via their IP address, which empowers you to see precisely who's visiting your site and where they're from.
SharpSpring CRM Pricing
There are five plans to choose from.
In a nutshell, the expense of the plan is determined by the number of contacts you have. The cheapest is $450 a month, for which you can register an unlimited number of users, access to customer support, a full set of features, and 1,500 contacts.
Next up is the $650 a month package. This entitles you to all of the above except you get 10,000 contacts.
For $875 per month, it’s the same, plus you get a dedicated account manager and 20,000 contacts. Lastly, you can request a bespoke quotation by opting for the Marketing Agency Package or Enterprise Package. If you have connections in the millions, one of these two bundles is most likely to suit your needs.
You should note: Potential customers can also arrange a free demo via its website. So never fear, you can try before you buy!
SharpSpringCRM Review: Features
Let's circle back to when we said ‘a full set of features' — what exactly is that?
Well, all these paid-for plans include the following features ⤵️
- Full marketing automation
- A blog builder
- A dynamic form builder
- Campaign tracking
- A landing page editor
- Reporting and analytics
- Behavior-based email triggers
- A CRM
- Sales automation
- Anonymous visitor ID
Some of the features we've just listed are worthy of a special mention.
For example ⤵️
The Forms and Landing Page Builders
When you create an opt-in form or a landing page, you can make use of the following features:
- You can add a “how did you hear about us” field.
- A built-in form builder with drag and drop functionality
- Landing page templates to help you build your own landing page funnels
- The ability to integrate with GoToWebinar and Webex. This works wonders for promoting your webinars.
You should note: the landing pages and opt-in forms you create on SharpSpring are automatically optimized for all devices.
Email Marketing Features:
- Email templates to help you design your own emails
- You can send test emails
- Email workflow tracking as customers browse/possibly buy
- One-to-one emails
- WYSIWYG and HTML editors
- You can track the behavior of your email subscribers, i.e., whether they open the email, click the links in the email body, download your attachments, etc.
General Automation Features:
Needless to say, you'll want to hear more about SharpSpring's automation features, which include ⤵️
- You can track website visits via multiple devices
- Lead scoring
- Lead nurturing
- An abandoned shopping cart tool
- A visual workflow builder
You can promote products and content through blog posts, which you can create using one of SharpSpring's templates. You can also schedule blog posts and share them via social media and email.
As we've already mentioned, SharSpring provides you with analytics and reporting features. Companies love statistics.
They need to know how they’re doing, right? SharpSpring gives customers tracking tools to record the results of email campaigns, workflows, and other PR campaigns. You can customize reports on Google AdWords so you can also track paid search campaigns. How handy is that?!
Lastly, we want to give SharpSpring's ‘Social Assistant' a special mention, which allows you to track contacts and send emails using a Gmail account. You can then import leads into SharpSpring. Similarly, you can also add the leads you've generated via Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
SharpSpring CRM Review: Customer Support
There’s ebooks, webinars, infographics, research papers, blogs, and events, all available on SharpSpring's website. Don't worry, and they're easy to find. But for your day to day questions and help with technical problems, there are a plethora of self-help files. These cover all manner of common difficulties experienced by customers and provide a helpful solution.
You can, however, also send a support ticket via the SharpSpring in-app help platform. From here, you can track your progress in obtaining help. While waiting for assistance, the app encourages you to look at support videos and read help desk articles; you never know; these resources may even solve your query!
Lastly, you can get what the company calls, “contextual help in-app.” In other words, sometimes, the answers to your questions are simple, and just a few “clicks away.” You can also call their contact support center, which is open Monday to Friday, 8.30 am to 8 pm.
A quick glance online shows that typically, the site averages around four to five stars for customer support.
What are the Pros of Using SharpSpring CRM?
It's transparent about its pricing — what you see is what you get. So, there won't be any nasty shocks when you later look at your bank statement! There are no lengthy contract tie-ins, so if you decide you don't like or need SharpSpring's services you can end your relationship with them. You just need to give them 30-days notice.
As such, if you opt for SharpSpring's month-to-month payment option you won't have to fork out for a substantial outlay. They even offer a comparison table so you can see how it squares up to the likes of Marketo, Pardot, HubSpot, Infusionsoft, Salesforce, and Act-On. It's cheaper than quite a few of these competitors.
SharpSpring integrates with more than 700 third-party services via Zapier. For example, when it comes to connecting with CRM platforms, there’s Salesforce, Highrise, Nimble, ZohoCRM, BaseCRM, Pipedrive, and SugarCRM.
Or perhaps you want to integrate with the email software you're already using? If so, there’s Campaign Monitor, Mailchimp, AWeber, ActiveCampaign, Mandrill, ConstantContact, Sendgrid, and GetResponse.
Other popular integrations also include Geckoboard, Google Analytics, and Cyfe for Analytics.
SharpSpring’s email service allows you to send personalized messages to your e-mail list, which is essential because as we all know, customization is key to securing conversions.
Using SharpSpring CRM you can create fully customized opt-in forms. But, SharpSpring takes this one step further. For instance, if you have regular website visitors you have the option of auto completing their details, which saves your customers time, and in turn, could boost your conversion rates.
Their workflow builder is really visual and easy to use. SharpSpring’s marketing automation engages with leads throughout the entirety of their sales journey. For example, potential customers are targeted with specific sales messages related to previous searches. This is just one of the many ways you can use SharpSpring to nurture your leads.
Oh, and multiple review sites state it is easy to use. That has to be a plus, right?
What About the Drawback to Using SharpSpring CRM?
From what we can see on a variety of sites, the chief complaint is that SharpSpring isn't intuitive, which makes it hard to use at first. But, once you've dedicated some time and effort familiarizing yourself with the software it becomes much easier.
Some higher-level users also ask for more robust reporting.
Also, as it’s a reasonably new arrival it doesn’t have as many self-help resources on its website. For instance, we’d like to see more video tutorials. Also, from looking at its website, we can’t see anywhere where it offers SEO recommendations and keyword suggestions for its clients. Given the importance and weight put upon SEO optimization, this seems, at best, an oversight.
The Technical Stuff
Okay, so this isn't exactly technical, but it’s worth noting nonetheless. SharpSpring‘s available in English, French, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Turkish, Spanish, and German.
You should also be aware that SharpSpring supports the following devices: iPhone, iPad, Mac, Web-based, Android, Windows, and Linux. So, there's a good chance you already have the necessary hardware to make the most of this program.
Ready to Give SharpSpring CRM a Go?
There’s always an element of trust involved when purchasing marketing software that promises results. SharpSpring‘s clearly, good value for money, and users report that on the whole, it's easy to use.
It may be the new kid on the block, but already, it's popular with agencies and small to medium-sized businesses alike. There’s always going to be a race to the top with companies competing for the same airspace, and it’s clear SharpSpring's nipping at the heels of some of its competitors.
It’s especially useful that it’s possible to pay monthly and only give a month’s notice. But, ultimately, any business looking to install software to help it grow and make profits needs to be clear about what its needs are for both the present and the future. Then and only then should the entrepreneur commit their hard-earned cash, and needless to say, SharpSpring's no exception!
Have you ever used SharpSpring before? If so, we would love to hear whether you would add anything to this review. Would you recommend this software to a colleague? Or, do you think there's room for improvement? Either way, we would love to hear your thoughts in the comments box below!