Can you please provide a brief description of your company and the role that you play there?
I am the founder and owner of a digital marketing company. We are a sales and marketing advisory practice. We provide strategy, planning, creative, and other consulting services around digital marketing, sales enablement, analytics, and marketing automation. Our focus is on building and launching highly automated, typically business-to-business [B2B], marketing campaigns that are built for a targeted sales result. Most of our customers engage us for greatly targeted, high return on investment [ROI] campaigns that involve some sort of integration with a sales team and a sales result inside of 90 days.
What was the business challenge faced by your customers that encouraged them to implement SharpSpring?
The typical business challenge is a desired sales result and the ability to quickly turn off and on a highly targeted campaign inside of 30 days or less.
Was your company considering other platforms? Why SharpSpring?
We want is what’s best for the customer. Most of our customers have a platform they’re already working on. In many instances, they’re upgrading or moving from Constant Contact, MailChimp, or Infusionsoft, and they’re going upscale. We sell more SharpSpring than any other platform these days. Before, we predominantly used Infusionsoft, but SharpSpring has really outpaced them in terms of functionality in the last few years. But ultimately we do what’s best for the customer and we implement a number of different platforms whether it’s Marketo, Pardot, Eloqua, or SharpSpring.
We feel SharpSpring is a better fit for companies that are more B2B oriented, which have more sophisticated needs for reporting, analytics, true business intelligence, and the ability to really build amazing, very powerful campaigns on the fly, integrated in a way that Infusionsoft can’t really compete with. We see SharpSpring performing certain functions at a higher level. Quite honestly, for our most experienced lead builders, their preference is SharpSpring.
How much can cam a business expect to spend implementing SharpSpring?
SharpSpring starts at $499 a month, and we go up to 50,000 emails a month. If you have 10,000 contacts and you’re emailing five times a month, you’re going to be up against that threshold of 50,000 emails for $499 a month, which is very affordable. There is always the cost of implementation and customization to be factored in, because if that’s overlooked, it can be a painful wake-up call. Implementations start at $1,500.
Can you share an example of a successful implementation of SharpSpring that your company orchestrated?
We just launched a business to consumer [B2C] campaign for an online mental healthcare organization. We took over an existing list, and consulted on the source of traffic, which comprised of sponsored social media ad campaigns. So we actually built a parallel campaign on SharpSpring because they already had Infusionsoft, and they wanted to run SharpSpring next to Infusionsoft. In this instance, all the product orders, down-sells, and up-sells were built into the SharpSpring side.
The first outcome was that we identified that their lead source and their cost per lead were artificially low, filling the funnel with a bunch of junk. So we tripled the quality of the conversion, meaning that the number of opt-ins tripled through that campaign, which gave us the opportunity to present the offer, and then the up-sell or the down-sell. The conversion rate was phenomenal. The sales rate was acceptable, because this was a first test for this particular product line with a new partner of theirs, and it was a small sample. It was a positive outcome because SharpSpring performed very well, and it gave us great business intelligence. Our clients love the business intelligence reporting that we get out of SharpSpring, which is so much stronger than Infusionsoft.
Were there any software features/tools that you were really impressed by?
It’s really high-powered automation. Everything about building in it is super clean, and I would categorize it as enterprise caliber. It’s a bullet-proof platform. It’s easy to build, and it’s easy to learn. You really still have to have a huge desire to want to get in and do it, but this is a huge email engine with amazing analytics, lead tracking, and lead scoring. Their lead scoring is another thing that’s top of the charts. How we build lead scoring, and how it ties to opportunities, and then how the sales team can manage that pipeline and workflow is phenomenal. The user interface, and the user experience overall, is phenomenal in SharpSpring. The ramp up and onboarding is great, and they make it incredibly easy to do business with them.
When we’re working in Infusionsoft and a lot of other systems, and we need to get other systems to work with them we have to go through pay-walls and do integrations. For example, we want to send out a direct mail tied to a campaign, or drop-shipping, or fulfill orders. A lot of those things are really clunky to integrate. One of the phenomenal aspects is that, when it comes to customer relationship management [CRM] integration, there are a lot of built-in, third-party CRM, native integrations for SharpSpring. The ease to integrate SharpSpring is a huge advantage for us builders, and it saves customers a lot of money.
Looking back, are there any areas of the software that you feel could be added or improved upon?
There are certainly some features I could identify that I want, but that’s true of any platform. So let’s just say I hope they have continued phenomenal product development.
Have you had to interact with the platform’s support team or reference their support resources?
Their support is great. There’s an onboarding process, and when you get started, there’s somebody appointed to the account and to us, so we can manage the relationship. We schedule, over the course of the first few months, a series of calls to go through the training and onboarding. The ease of learning the application while we’re working in it is phenomenal because of all the video training built into it. The support that’s built-in is really spectacular. If I need to get someone on the phone, I can. They’re available here in the States by email and phone, and that makes a big difference for us.
To sum up: We have a few quick questions, and for each question we ask you to rate the software on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the best.
What would you give the software for functionality of the features available?
Four and a half.
What would you give the software for ease of use or ease of implementation into your business?
Three and a half, compared to Infusionsoft.
For support, as in responsiveness of the team or helpfulness of the resources available?
Four and a half.
Overall, satisfaction with the platform?
Four and a half.
How likely are you to recommend the software to a colleague or similar business?
Four and a half.