sharpspring marketing automation platform constant contact

SharpSpring Marketing Automation: Guide for Choosing Marketing Automation

Marketing automation software, like SharpSpring, can improve your sales performance while reducing your marketing costs.

Contents hide

How can marketing automation platforms such as SharpSpring, Marketo or HubSpot rationalize your business and increase productivity?

As schools and colleges ponder whether to open back up in 2020 for the fall semesters, the educational system sees a revolution as it has never been before. Parents have the kiddos in the home and are becoming teachers. They are learning about Zoom, technology, Edtech faster than ever before. 

The educational system is being stressed to the limits, and you have to wonder who has impacted the most: the parents, the children, businesses, government, or all of the above.

Technology is playing a more critical role in education and businesses. Zoom is the new buzzword. Zoom in teleconferencing and videoconferencing is nothing new it’s been around for many many years.

Ever hear of Go-to-Meeting, Google Hangouts, Google Meet, or Skype. Google has banned Zoom from Google employees’ laptops. And Facebook has jumped too by launched a rivel to Zoom called Messenger Rooms while Verizon gobbles up Blue Jeans. In the tech world, these are not new names.

Let’s switch the conversation to marketing technology.

Ever since businesses discovered marketing as a way to promote their products and services to potential customers, there has been immense competition. As a result, at one point in time, marketing got connected with technology, giving rise to modern marketing know as MARTECH. 

Consumers had been utilizing technology for years, and school kids have no problem. They love technology and their iPads while parents are looking at the power switch. But, modern marketers understand marketing technology benefits, and MARTECH is grown by leaps and bounds. However, many businesses have not realized the full potential of marketing technology. Watch a consolidation in 2020 and beyond.

You have to understand your customer archetypes, brand positioning, write content, align the buying journey, map your sales and marketing processes, implement it right, and use it. The conversation is underway in board rooms, management meetings, and investment bankers today. It is about how do we prepare for a crisis, like COVID-19, distributed business models, and how to leverage technology.

Marketing technology and marketing automation started back in the 80s. Rember ACT!, Siebel Systems, or maybe Goldmine, or perhaps you just used Excel.

However, whether you are using a digital marketing agency, as a hybrid agency, or trying to implement marketing automation and maintain it yourself, it pays to do it right.

In the DIY model, you might only be utilizing about 20 to 30% of its capability. If you use Microsoft Word, you know what I’m talking about. There are so many features and functions, but how many of them do you use?

If this is a case you’re paying $3,200 a month, but you’re only utilizing 30% of the system, should you be paying $960 a month? I could argue both sides. But if you don’t use it, why pay for it.

What is Marketing Technology?

Trends Digital Marketing Agency Training

Marketing technology is a generic term for technology used to provide marketing departments a better way to perform their marketing activities with better results. It made them more accountable. The marketing and sales technology is mostly used in the sphere of digital marketing, and also for the optimization of offline marketing channels.

What is MARTECH?

Martech pairs marketing and technology together. Like a great wine with a great dinner. Virtually anyone involved with digital marketing is dealing with martech since digital, by its very nature, is technologically based. 

The term “martech” especially applies to major initiatives, efforts, and tools that harness technology to achieve marketing goals and objectives. If you measure it, you can track and improve it. This is why marketing technology is so valuable and real-time data helps from one source. Everyone is on the same page.

Marketing technology, often called martech, is a massive industry with over 8000 different platforms on the market. MARTECH grew by 14%, up to a total of 8,000 martech solutions after 615 consolidated or became defunct in 2020. You can purchase an all-in-one marketing platform, or create a best-of-breed system tailored to your business. Both have pros and cons.

Marketing technology like SharpSpring, HubSpot, Pardot, Marketo, InfusionSoft, and Keap are all-in-one marketing automation platforms. Some are better than others depending on your needs. One thing is clear pricing will be dropping as the market matures. And we are beginning to see cracks.

As a HubSpot partner along with others, we can offer the same if not better with other systems at 50 percent of the cost. So, it may not make sense to pay the incremental cost for the same thing.

What Are the Benefits of Using Marketing Technology?

Marketing technology makes organizations more efficient and effective. By using marketing tech, two distinct benefits exist. 

First, the automation of repetitive marketing tasks helps reduce staff burnout, the number of staff hours required for the execution of your marketing strategy, helping you achieve more with fewer resources. And if you work virtual or in a distributed model your operations become frictionless and won’t miss a beat.

The staff hours can be calculated easily with a cost accountant or do it yourself by tracking your hours. You should be doing this anyway.

Secondly, marketing technology can provide actionable insight into the return-on-investment (ROI) of your marketing efforts. The technology lets you track all your marketing activities through the full marketing funnel. Once you’ve identified an ROI, you can scale up or down different initiatives to maximize your customer acquisition cost.

How Much Does Marketing Technology Cost?

If you have watched a home being built or a new roof put on a house, you might have a 5-7 crew. Would you have each of them drive a nail in the roofing with a hammer, or would you use a nail gun? 

I love that my Roomba it keeps the floors clean (automatically), or my Nest thermostats, and personal assistants like Alexa take care of all those manual tasks.

Robotics is a hot industry and finally getting the attention it deserves during the worldwide pandemic. Companies like Nuro with its R2 robot delivering groceries and PPE where it is needed without human contact. Flytrex launched a pilot of its autonomous-drone delivering goods from good order by Walmart customers. And, Starship Technologies has been delivering groceries in the British town of Milton Keynes since 2018. 

I could go into the benefits of other automation like artificial intelligence (AI) too. Have you heard about BlueDot? BlueDot protects people around the world from infectious diseases with human and artificial intelligence. The worldwide pandemic is a great example of the application of BlueDot.

See where I’m headed here?

The cost of marketing technology ranges from free up to $50,000 or more depending on your situation like business stage, industry, and business model. As well as your business digital acceptance rate. Digital disruption is happening.

$50,000 might sound like a lot and it is. But, if I can spend $50,000 annually on marketing technology and set it up where all my lead capture, lead nurturing, list segmentation, list cleaning, lead scoring, and more is on autopilot, I’m in. Just think about how many people take to do manually manage an omnichannel environment.

This is a guess, but about 5 – 7 people just to handle the manual workload intensity. But what can I gain by immediate follow-up, humans cause errors, what falls through the crack, world pandemic happens, people leave the organization, and I could go on.

This is what Matrix Marketing Group does as a hybrid digital and technology marketing agency. Through research and analysis, we define customer archetypes and profiles (personas), map your customers buying cycle (sometimes over 20+), align it with your internal marketing and sales process, experiments, tests content, and workflows, and bring it to scale. 

Once implemented you can focus on creative marketing and begin to scale in other verticals or niches. That’s where the magic happens. So a $50,000 investment could save you $500,000 on the cost side, not to mention better connections with customers and more sales quicker. 

The worldwide pandemic created by the COVID-19 virus is an eye-opener for many businesses and educational institutions. 

Many of them are scrambling to do things virtually and run their businesses as a distributed model and remain connected all while trying to hold on to their employees. For many employees, they have told me working virtual has allowed them to get more done in 4-hours than a full 8-hours. What if you could see that productivity increase while shaving your overhead? Hmmm.

The marketing technology industry, I believe, will go through a revolution in itself. Some of those marketing technologies will go out of business, while others sustain their business models, and others will go through either a merger and acquisition or hostile takeovers. But who knows?

While I was at IBM, I saw a significant shift in a business model when Lou Gerstner took over for John Akers. Or when Sun Microsystems stock was at $75 after splitting so many times and dropped to under $3, it was a prime candidate for a takeover by Oracle. Did you ever think that you would see a barrel of oil at -37 USD? I didn’t.

There’s a bunch of buzzwords that marketing agencies use like inbound, which is just a HubSpot term to help them sell their software platform. I’ll give them one thing they did simplify the messaging over what has been occurring since the early sixties with one-to-one marketing and early 80s technology. 

Or how about account-based marketing (ABM) that’s another buzzword. Marketing automation technology, like SharpSpring marketing automation, will continue to be adopted by startups, small and midsize businesses as they rationalize their business, not by choice but by need.

In the startup world, venture capitalist, investment bankers, and angels are all rethinking their investments and how to capitalize in a down economy. And it might be time for the marketing automation technology industry to be rationalized itself. 

The Wall Street Journal reported that startup leaders need to grow up. Employee perks, ping pong tables, pool tables, free lunches are nice, but does that lead to profitability? Technology does.

I have enormous gratitude and empathy for those being impacted by this worldwide pandemic. I get calls and emails every day from startups to laid-off people just needing an ear or someone to talk to. And I’ve been there for every one of them. 

People looking for PPP programs and filing for the uninsured are making 70 to 150 calls a week and not even getting through. Know that’s cold calling at its best. The system is stressed and breaking down. The government needs to upgrade their 8-track government as one reporter but it. Agreed!

I argue that technology is just an enabler. It won’t write content or set up a workflow for you. Sure they are templates, but the templates, like a website template, it is are only as good as you tailor them for your business model and customer profiles. So get this right, to begin with.

It will require that the people implementing the technology must understand its intent and how to create a great user experience (UX), so the people on the other end see the value of the technology you use.

From startups to SMBs, they all should decentralize now! Marketers are embracing change at a time when it is needed most. If you don’t adopt technology you are or will get left behind. Your competitors are already there.

If you have been in tech as long as I have you know who Andy Grove is. I had the fortunate opportunity to meet him. He gave me the book called only Only the Paranoid Survive: How to Exploit the Crisis Points That Challenge Every Company. Think it fits in today’s environment? You bet!

Here’s a quote from Andy, Give me a turbulent world as opposed to a quiet world and I’ll take the turbulent one. Bad companies are destroyed by crisis. Good companies survive them, great companies are improved by them. There are so many people working so hard and achieving so little.

Marketing automation is growing at an astonishing rate. Are you ready?

Here is a map of the industry today. Do you think the industry will require consolidation? You bet!

Let’s look at some stats:

Marketers say the most significant benefits of automation are saving time (74%), increased customer engagement (68%), more timely communications (58%), and increased opportunities, including up-selling (58%). Moreover, marketing automation drives a 14.5% increase in sales productivity.

Heading into 2020, the Marketing Automation Software market is expected to continue growing at 8.55%, unlocking a market capitalization of US$ 6.4 billion by 2024. 

According to Emailmonday, more than 51% of companies are using Marketing Automation already. Over 58% of companies are planning to adopt it.

Over the next two years, an additional 21% of Marketing Leaders plan to use a Marketing Automation Platform. Salesforce “State of Marketing”

Almost 70% of the respondents found that the most important benefit of marketing automation was the improved targeting of messages. Liana Technologies “The Benefits and Challenges of Marketing Automation” 

64% of e-commerce marketers say email marketing and marketing automation contributes to more sales. An increase in webshop visitors, engagement, and better insights into the target audience follow at 37%, 30%, and 24%. and Spotler “e-commerce marketing Trendrapport”

Benefits of Marketing Automation with SharpSpring marketing automation

How does marketing automation benefit a business overall?

There are many company-wide benefits of implementing a marketing automation solution depending on your situation. E-commerce differs from a process manufacturing company. You can realize both cost savings and increased revenue improvement simultaneously.

1. Reduce your staffing costs

By implementing a marketing automation platform, one employee can compete with a 20-person marketing and sales department. By setting up the buying journey, email workflows, lead nurturing, and marketing campaigns that are automatically triggered based on specific parameters.

Building these automated campaigns can help save time and resources when your business can send hundreds of thousands of personalized emails each day on autopilot. That’s right, autopilot. But be careful here.

2. Increase your sales revenue and average deal size

You can automate your cross-sells, up-sells, and customer follow-ups, you’ll notice an increase in your customer lifetime value and net-promoter score.

3. Improve accountability of the marketing and sales teams

Marketing automation shows you bottlenecks in your marketing and sales process and method. Marketing programs can be measured, tracked, and change to meet marketing, sales, and business goals.

4. Be more effective

Everyone every company has finite resources to grow its business. Marketing automation enables you to squeeze more productivity out of hours available to you.

5. More creativity cuts the repetitive processes

When you replace manual, repetitive work with automated triggers, rules, and marketing campaigns, you can free up your valuable sales and marketing team’s time to focus on more creative tasks for testing and experimenting.

6. Refine your marketing processes with SharpSpring marketing automation

One of the great benefits of implementing marketing automation software is that it requires you to map out and visualize your customer journey and marketing strategy to create processes around them. Visual design tools what you see and drag and drop process workflows easily. 

7. Target prospects across multiple marketing channels

One of the top benefits that marketing automation offers marketers and organizations is the ability to reach and connect with customers in a personalized way across different online and offline channels.

Some marketing automation platforms, like SharpSpring, have many more capabilities than other marketing automation tools. While most will enable email programs, social media, and phone calls, only a few tools allow text messages, postcard mailing targeting, and utilizing an omnichannel approach.

8. Experiments and A/B tests for your marketing campaigns

Email A/B testing, where you might split test a campaign once or twice before sending it out to your mailing list, marketing automation platforms make it easy to run ongoing experiments and A/B tests.

9. Automated up-sells and cross-sells will increase your customer lifetime value 

With marketing automation, like ActiveCampaign or SharpSpring marketing automation, you take the human element out of up-selling and cross-selling by creating a series of automated rules. This works excellent for ecommerce businesses and but it all on autopilot.

Over time, the impact that this marketing can have on your customer’s lifetime value can be dramatic.

10. Take your marketing activity to a 1:1 targeted approach

A 1:1, targeted marketing approach allows you to scale. It is one of the most significant opportunities available to modern marketers today. The more relevant your offer or product/service to your potential customer, the more likely they are to buy.

11. Social media campaigns can be pre-scheduled

Most marketing automation platforms can allow you to manage all of your social media campaigns and post to multiple accounts in an ‘all-in-one’ or ‘best-of-breed system. 

Buffer and Hootsuite provide this ability, but with APIs, it’s not within the marketing platform and works well in ‘best-of-breed environments.

12. Schedule posts and campaigns ahead of time

Marketing automation tools make staying organized better. You can schedule your marketing programs and social media posts ahead of time.

Instead of planning one message to your entire database, you could be scheduling seven variations to five different segments of your audience, all more personalized to their needs and interests.

13. Reduce the time to create campaigns

Most marketing automation tools, like HubSpot and SharpSpring, have drag and drop interfaces. You can create workflows, triggers, email campaigns, landing pages, and social media campaigns with little or no technical or design expertise required.

14. Repurpose existing content to nurture leads

Marketing automation software will give your existing marketing content new life. You can set up automated rules to recommend content that educates your leads and customers over the customer lifecycle.

15. Better analytics and reporting in a dashboard

Marketing automation software will show you which marketing programs have the highest ROI. 

The level of data and information provided in marketing technology allows you to create marketing and sales reports and have a greater understanding of where you should focus your effort with much higher ROI. 

Set up dashboards for your CEO, CFO, CMO you can have everybody on the same page looking at the same data in real-time or have it delivered right to their inbox. 

16. Reward your loyal customers

If you use a marketing automation tool, like SharpSpring marketing automation, that enables you to create and sell products, you’ll be able to set up a referral program that rewards customers and affiliates when they promote your products for you.

Aligning and combing your marketing automation with your CRM system helps your sales team be more effective and efficient.

17. Taking the guesswork out of lead scoring

When you set up your marketing automation software, like SharpSpring marketing automation, you must create a set of rules. These rules can automatically score incoming leads based on the lead’s actions and information.

In most marketing tools, leads are prioritized on a scale of 1-5 and then categorized. For example, marketing qualified leads (MQLs), or sales qualified leads (SQLs) help classify where your leads are in the marketing funnel. If a lead is classed as an MQL, it remains in a nurturing marketing campaign. When it matures, it can become SQL.

This means that your company’s sales team is focused on the high converting pre-qualified SQLs. They will not be wasting their time on unqualified leads. If you worked in sales, as I have, you know what I mean.

18. Leads with lead scoring are easily prioritized with SharpSpring marketing automation

If you prioritize your leads based on how likely they are to convert or the size of the deal is a big help to business performance. Lead scoring is a shared sales and marketing methodology for ranking leads in order to determine their sales-readiness. 

19. Keep your CRM data up to date with SharpSpring marketing automation

Building a CRM database is valuable. Your customer database is gold that can be mined. However, your information is not updated regularly you risk damaging your personal and business brand. It’s embarrassing.

By aligning and connecting your CRM platform with your marketing automation platform, like SharpSpring, you can capture updated information about your leads over time. This is known as progressive profiling.

20. Know when to call

Along with lead scoring and prioritization, you’ll also see when a lead is thinking about your company or solutions by tracking when they visit your website.

You can set up alerts to see which pages your prospects and customers are viewing in real-time. This allows you to pick up the phone when your leads are active on your website.

21. Reduce lead time conversion rates

Make your sales methodology more efficient and effective. You can reduce the time it takes for a potential lead to become a customer. You shorten the sales cycle and drive more sales. If you do it right, you can reduce the sales cycle and improve sales quickly.

When Matrix Marketing Group implemented marketing automation software, we found that our lead conversion time dropped by 83%, contributing to a 191% overall increase in revenue attributed to implementing the marketing software. We use a full-funnel marketing approach for over 18 years now. It works.

22. Follow-up with leads and autopilot

You are 60x more likely to qualify a lead if you follow up within one hour, compared to waiting 24 hours.

Marketing automation systems allow you to ensure that every hot lead is followed up immediately. Whether it’s at 5:30 pm on a Thursday, or 8:30 am. Your marketing automation system can be hard at work anytime.

Capterra installed marketing automation software, and they realized their sales qualification rate went up by 400%, due to a combination of better follow-up times and their sales team became more efficient.

23. Stop cold calling

Who likes cold calls on either end? Marketing automation platforms make this almost obsolete. The platforms provide the sales departments sales-qualified leads!

You can review all the history on a lead or account with cold calling.

24. Digital revolution is here, are you ready?

Digital revolution has given emergence to relationship marketing (with focus on the customer), industrial or business marketing (with organizational focus) and social marketing (with focus on benefits to society), and most importantly to internet marketing.

We get it; you’re busy. So we have provided you a comparison from all of the top platforms like SharpSpring, Pardot, Marketo, HubSpot, Infusionsoft, and Act-On. 

View these side-by-side marketing automation platform comparisons for price comparisons, reviews, and a marketing automation feature and function comparison at a glance. 

Marketing Automation Platforms Comparisons

Marketing Automation Pricing

Upfront costs and contract terms differ and can sway you toward one CRM and marketing automation platform or another. Let’s look at SharpSpring, HubSpot, Marketo, Pardot, Act-On, and Infusionsoft.

marketing_automation pricing comparison

Marketing Automation Reviews

What are real modern marketers saying? What do they think of HubSpot, Marketo, Pardot, and Infusionsoft features and pricing? 

Marketing Automation Platform Features and Functions

Which platform offers you a comprehensive marketing automation environment you need to be successful. See how HubSpot compares to Marketo, Pardot, Infusionsoft, and Act-On stack up.

Wrap Up on Marketing Automation

So if you are running a marketing team or a single person trying to get more done with better effectiveness, you should look into marketing automation.

Marketing automation software is designed to help marketers capture leads, develop relationships, and move prospects through a full-funnel marketing approach at scale. 

This includes several categories of functionality: email, social media, direct mail, web marketing, reporting, analytics in a multi-channel marketing or omnichannel marketing environment.

Are you rationalizing your business?

Save up to 50% off from Marketo (Ultimate and Enterprise) or HubSpot (PRO and Enterprise) platforms. Don’t get Nickel and Dimed with add-ons! Includes 10,000 contacts. Limited time offer!

Grow your business with Full CRM & Marketing Automation.

CRM & Marketing Automation made easy + email marketing, analytics & much more! 

Our marketing automation platform helps marketers drive more leads, convert more leads to sales, and optimize their marketing ROI. 

Trusted by more than 10,000 businesses, marketers around the world because it’s simple, affordable, and powerful. Don’t get Nickel and Dimed with add-ons! Let see how we stack up.

We’re listening.

Have something to say about your thoughts on marketing automation vendors? 

General FAQ’s

What is marketing automation?

Marketing automation is a technology that manages marketing processes and multifunctional campaigns, across multiple channels, automatically.

What can marketing automation do?

Marketing automation is a software platform that streamlines, automates, and measures marketing tasks and workflows. Marketing automation allows you to be more efficient, increase revenue, and grow into a more powerful marketing team.

Do I need marketing automation?

Whether you should use marketing automation or not is relatively straightforward to determine. If you need to improve your lead generation, nurturing, and overall inbound marketing and sales performance and are looking to save time, then marketing automation might make sense for your business.

Why is marketing automation so important?

The best marketing teams use marketing automation to make their campaigns more accurate and to empower their sales team with better leads and achieve higher ROI. By using marketing automation, marketers are better able to qualify leads and pass them onto sales, resulting in higher revenue and higher growth.

Start a Business Assessment Here

Sign Up for Our Best Kept Secrets

Top Post