SharpSpring is a sales and marketing automation platform that enables agencies and brands to engage with customers throughout the buying journey. Last June, Ashworth Creative became a SharpSpring Silver Certified Agency, allowing us to streamline our own marketing efforts and work with clients to roll out robust content automation strategies.
Marketing automation tools encompass a wide range of functions. They include software and platforms that automate the repetitive and time-consuming tasks inherent in many marketing and sales processes.
Platforms like SharpSpring contain a variety of tools bundled together in one place. Each tool is focused on a specific aspect of marketing and sales—from content creation to social sharing to customer relationship management.
We work with SharpSpring because they have a very comprehensive suite of tools and a powerful track record of delivering exceptional results for thousands of businesses.
The acceleration of digital transformation
The pandemic forced many businesses to operate remotely, moving sales, marketing, operations, and just about everything else to at-home, virtual environments.
This accelerated a trend that was already occurring across most B2B and B2C market sectors—digital transformation. Salesforce’s 6th annual State of Marketing Report, a survey of over 7000 global marketing leaders conducted in July 2020, revealed that marketing transformation was taking on new urgency in a post-pandemic world.
There are many reasons for this, but one of the biggest is growing demand from customers for better digital experiences. In a related Salesforce study, 84% of customers indicated that the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services.
It’s becoming increasingly difficult—if not impossible—to meet consumer expectations without the help of automation tools like SharpSpring.
SharpSpring integrates many of the tasks associated with the marketing and sales process into one unified place. Businesses can push social media posts, set up automated and personalized email blasts based on user behavior, create landing pages, and follow-up with customized emails based on how the user interacts with your messaging.
We use SharpSpring to automatically send out blog posts to our own internal list based on customer and prospect segments. This ensures that recipients get personalized, relevant messages based on how we’ve segmented them in SharpSpring’s CRM tool.
SharpSpring has many other features that go beyond email segmentation, as outlined below.
SharpSpring marketing automation: key features
Automating marketing tasks allows you to do more with less, improve sales productivity, and save time and money. Platforms that integrate with your CRM, web analytics, shopping engines, and other tools provide a single access point for internal and external teams.
From an agency perspective, that enables us to oversee our clients’ marketing campaigns, create and share content, and easily communicate. Our clients have the freedom to use the content we create for them in any way they want—either from a sales or marketing perspective. Our clients can also create their own content and workflows directly within the SharpSpring interface.
SharpSpring integrates with top CRM, CMS, e-commerce, and many other apps and platforms. Some key features include:
- Smart email and CRM marketing automation tools.
- Dynamic forms builder that integrates with CRM software.
- Marketing workflow builder that enables lead scoring so you can build buyer personas and focus sales efforts on high-potential prospects.
- Landing page builder that enables the integration of dynamic web content.
- Blog management/content tool which enables users to easily set up, collaborate on, manage, and share blog posts.
- Actionable marketing reports that make it easy to review campaign performance, track ROI, and share information with internal teams and customers.
- Powerful social media management tools that allow users to publish, schedule, and monitor content. They also facilitate engagement with social media users to foster better relationships and drive sales.
We’ve been using SharpSpring successfully since last June, effectively organizing our potential clients into segmented lists that enable us to carefully target our blog posts and marketing messages.
Based on how users interact with our email and content, we can automatically follow up with other communications. This is a useful feature, especially when reaching out to people within a certain industry.
We’ve set up different email tracks based on audience segments and each segment gets specific communication based on what their needs are. This personalization approach is much more effective than sending out the same email blast to everyone.
The bottom line has been an increase in new business and an increase in qualified leads. For example, we’ve received many opportunities from prospects who have received personalized emails. We’ve also expanded work with existing clients who are now receiving more consistent communication from us about the type of projects we’re working on and services we offer.
“SharpSpring automatically does the things that we don’t have time for,” explains Eve Ashworth, “For example, we may have reached out to someone in December, but haven’t had a chance to follow up. With SharpSpring, we can set up an automated email that gets sent to them in January and again in February. This allows us to stay front and center to that client or prospect.”
Onboarding with SharpSpring
Onboarding with SharpSpring is a comparatively fast process. We work with clients to set up the platform which typically takes about a month.Often the most time-consuming part of onboarding is building suitable email lists. For various clients, we have undertaken a list cleaning approach so that only good lists are entered into SharpSpring, yielding higher quality returns.
We help our clients build compelling content and add it to their website and marketing materials. We provide access to SharpSpring training videos so our clients can get a better understanding of how the platform works and so they can integrate SharpSpring’s automated approach with their existing marketing and sales process.
Getting started with a marketing automation platform can seem overwhelming, which is why we created our SharpSpring onboarding process to help facilitate set up. If you’d like to learn more about SharpSpring and how we can work with you to help set up an implementation and content strategy, please don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.