SharpSpring - right-sized marketing automation for small to mid sized businesses and marketing agencies
January 26, 2017

SharpSpring - right-sized marketing automation for small to mid sized businesses and marketing agencies

Nigel Warren | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review

Overall Satisfaction with SharpSpring

I use SharpSpring as the marketing automation platform both for my own business and I also implement this for clients. It supports content marketing, email marketing, lead nurturing, lead scoring, and CRM aspects required for business development users. Many marketing automation platforms are bloated, over complicated and expensive. I chose SharpSpring for my own agency as it has the feature set I need, plus it’s quick to set-up and master. That's particularly important as I can get my clients productive quickly, so the issue of cost of marketing automation goes away and we can start focussing on what really matters, creating great content and generating leads.
  • Ease of use - The separation of tasks and workflows seems to make this a much simpler product to use than Act-On which I had previously used for 2 years and felt was comparatively difficult to master.
  • WYSIWYG landing page builder. Great templates. Easy to learn. You don't need to know HTML to create great looking pages.
  • The new personas feature is brilliant when combined with "Dynamic content blocks" (which you can use on landing pages as well as emails. Ther benefits - easier to remain relevant for different audiences, without having to set up multiple pages, emails, and workflows. This makes the whole system much easier to manage.
  • The built-in CRM is a huge advantage and is perfect for BDM teams or smaller companies. Obviously, if you can make do without a full-featured CRM like Salesforce, you'll save thousands by switching to a simpler product like SharpSpring. (I used to use Act-On integrated with Salesforce and that was an absolute pig.)
  • Cost - SharpSpring is much less expensive than Act-On and Marketo. You get unlimited users on their standard license plans - so you're not penalised for spreading use across marketing, BDMs and sales folk.
  • I've found the training/on-boarding satisfactory and the ongoing technical support is fast and personal.
  • Pre-filled forms (so you can progressively profile leads on repeated visits to your website - works fine on websites (I've implemented these forms on WordPress websites). But surprisingly the same is not true of SharpSpring's own landing page builder, where if you use the WYSIWYG method to place a form on a page, the form will not pre-fill even if the lead is already 'cookied'. There's a workaround, but its hard work. This is a really annoying shortcoming, but I expect SharpSpring will put this right very soon.
  • The above issue is representative of SharpSpring being a smaller vendor than many of its competitors. The QA could be better. But taken as a whole the product is good value in my opinion and once you get accustomed to certain glitches, you quickly learn to work around them. A case in point - I don't trust "List member counts". At least not when I first create a list. This can mislead you as you think a list criteria has not worked when in fact it has. The problem usually goes away after 1 hour, after which time the member count is correct.
  • On-boarding training was a bit haphazard for me. The trainer was prone to spend time teaching features rather than raising the bar to discuss what I really needed. That said, the training was sufficient and the support service is always there for agencies. They'll coach and advise on anything. Support is not just a bug-tracking process.
  • It's helping me win new business
  • Leads to longer term customer relationship with retainer income
  • Perfectly complements marketing content production service
SharpSping is less expensive and less complicated. Business model more suited to marketing agency.

If you're a small to mid-sized company and you’re attempting marketing automation with a combination of a website, forms and MailChimp - stop! Take a look at SharpSpring - it should be on your shortlist. You can streamline your marketing processes and get more done. In particular - investigate the CRM capability. It may be enough for your whole sales team. In my opinion its certainly good enough for the business development and marketing team. If you decide you don't need a full-fat CRM system that could save you thousands. However - if you do need more CRM horsepower than SharpSpring provides - you can integrate natively with Salesforce.com or with most other CRMs via Zapier API.

If you're a marketing agency and want to add marketing automation as a service for your clients - I recommend SharpSpring very highly in terms of business model and capability.

If you're a large, risk-averse company with money to burn - you'll probably favour a larger vendor. Good luck to you! I suspect you'll pay more than you need.

SharpSpring from Constant Contact Feature Ratings

WYSIWYG email editor
7
Dynamic content
9
Ability to test dynamic content
9
Landing pages
9
A/B testing
Not Rated
Mobile optimization
6
Email deliverability reporting
10
List management
8
Triggered drip sequences
10
Lead nurturing
10
Lead scoring and grading
10
Data quality management
Not Rated
Automated sales alerts and tasks
10
Event/webinar marketing
5
Social profile integration
10
Dashboards
6
Standard reports
6
Custom reports
6
API
Not Rated
Role-based workflow & approvals
Not Rated
Customizability
Not Rated
Integration with Salesforce.com
Not Rated