The Battle of the CRMs
A “Battle” might be a strong word but if you have experienced the salespeople of other big-name companies, it kind of feels like we are caught in-between the cross-fire of marketing agendas. Mostly they are good-natured people who really believe in their product, but not every product is a good fit for every business. Our team here at Pullman Marketing has gone through provided training of almost all CRMs, marketing automation software packages, email marketing and sales software systems.
I wrote that almost 5 years to the month. It is still very true and the playing field has gotten even more fractured. To be fair, I loved Automational, but shortly after I became a partner, Endurance International Group purchased and shut down the service.
Ever since then we have been operators of CRMs and never partners.
One of our strengths as agency is that we can work in nearly any CRM platform and integrate your systems to capitalize on marketing initiatives. We’ve had to learn this as SalesForce and the others continue to lose market share to less expensive yet fractured tools like MailChimp, Calendly, and BombBomb.
When you work in a fractured environment though, data and analytics are often we are extremely difficult to synchronize. Even with Google Tag Manager (GTM), it doesn’t provide as much information as we would like in terms of actionable steps across the multiple platforms being used instead of it under one platform.
SharpSpring has been on our radar for years as a CRM and marketing automation platform and that is something that we sincerely value. They have been a solid growing company and consistently upping their game. While HubSpot has broken their services into “affordable” modules, they haven’t really changed in 5 years. Infusionsoft just went through a rebrand and are now called KEAP, yet the backbone of it is exactly the same.
SharpSpring on the other hand has upped their game every single year.
Customer Relationship Management
- Lead Scoring
- Information Collection
- Organization of contact records
- Assign Tasks
- Included with everything else
- Easy form editor
- Easy email creator
- Looks more professional than some competitors
- Easy Drag-and-Drop interface
- Automated form responses
- Notifications for staff
- Marketing based on Lead Scoring
- Works with Zapier
- Odds are, it already can do what you need it to
- Don’t have to pay for expensive integrations like InfusionSoft/SalesForce
Looks just like the last list right?
It’s because most of the time, CRMS have similar feature sets. But two things set SharpSpring apart from others:
Social Media Posting
Retargeting Advertisement Integration
Here is what that means for you
We work with a lot of our customers to build social media calendars and content calendars that make a world of difference in terms of organization, strategy, and success. If you are not using a platform like SproutSocial, Buffer, or HootSuite, we do all of that calendaring in Excel Spreadsheets. And two of those three platforms are pretty expensive when you also consider paying for separate CRM functions and a different email marketing platform.
See how fractured that became in one example of digital marketing?
That being said, retargeting can be run through Google or other companies like Adroll. But SharpSpring was pretty progressive in their product roadmap and bought Perfect Audience. Now you can truly maximize the leads in your CRM by having targeted ads, instead of wasting advertising spend HOPING that the random visitor will come back with an ad. With SharpSpring, you know who is coming and going and being advertised to – which is information Google will never share with you, even after you paid for the traffic.
The article puts it perfectly as well:
This acquisition provides another competitive differentiator between SharpSpring and other marketing automation providers like Hubspot, Pardot, and Marketo, and further separates SharpSpring from more basic email service providers (ESPs) like Constant Contact, iContact, and MailChimp.
Some of these may sound pretty standard but you can save a lot of money. Several of our clients have paid for Infusionsoft based on promises related to integrations they thought were a part of the base package, only to learn that they have to pay $100+ extra for what they really need.
It depends. Do you like:
- Unlimited Users
- 50K Contacts on the base plan
- 5x Less expensive than Hubspot
- No Annual Contracts
- No Upselling
Introductory pricing on other CRM platforms can be deceiving. Once you add in the cost of onboarding and the upselling to receive up to the same amount of features and support.
Our favorite features:
This is our favorite feature by far! Lead scoring allows us to track, via cookie, how a prospective customer uses your website. For each web page visit, form filled, email opened, and article they read, that prospect gets different amounts of points for each interaction. You can then understand if a customer is cold, warm or hot. You can then email appropriate information to that list. It allows you nearly perfect control over your segmentations and is even automated.
Every automated system has a different interface for building automations. Some are extremely powerful and fully featured. This includes even the chatbot which has a drag and drop interface. It’s super amazing that a chat system like that exists. It makes Intercom pale in comparison.
This is where we found SharpSpring refreshing
Lead Journeys and the record displayed wonderfully inside of the system. Hubspot and KEAP have this, but it’s very clunky and difficult to get an “at a glance” overview. Inside of SharpSpring though, its beautiful:
When we say “automated” we mean it. This overview and flow of marketing for a lead is completed automatically and you are able to nurture your leads quickly and efficiently for building up a true client list.
After five years of just being CRM Operators – We are now SharpSpring Partners and are excited to bring this new offering to our clients.