Travis Whitton, CTO
As digital transformations revolutionize businesses and marketing agencies everywhere, it can be hard to keep track of what tools are real game changers and which are trends you can let pass you by.
One new tool marketers won’t want to sleep on, though, is the move from piecemeal tech stacks to full-featured revenue growth platforms.
If the revenue growth platform concept is new to you, you’re not alone.
Marketers are just beginning to recognize the opportunity in joining their marketing and selling efforts together effectively. This is what McKinsey calls “full-funnel marketing” in their recent research. One key benefit of this approach per McKinsey is: “Linking KPIs between channels and stages of the funnel to actual business results, such as conversions or leads, allows companies to better understand the real impact of their marketing and then create messages that will elicit the best responses.”
That whole-funnel, full-funnel approach is exactly what revenue growth platforms address. One of the companies leading the charge toward this approach is SharpSpring.
Designed for SMBs, SharpSpring is often delivered by digital marketing agencies. In late June 2021, the company announced the signing of a definitive agreement for acquisition by Constant Contact, an established leader in online marketing.
Constant Contact and SharpSpring share a mission to help small businesses succeed. The acquisition offers Constant Contact the opportunity to marry the company's best-in-class email and e-commerce offerings with a powerful suite of revenue growth and marketing automation tools to deliver results for its customers.
“We built SharpSpring to be the most comprehensive and affordable platform on the planet, starting with a focus on sales and marketing automation and evolving into the revenue growth platform we’re known as today,” says Rick Carlson, CEO, SharpSpring. “SharpSpring gives our agency partners and their clients access to powerful, easy-to-use tools designed to drive more leads, convert more leads to sales, and optimize their entire funnel. True revenue growth platforms allow businesses to concentrate on what matters most—building the growth they deserve.”
“Most businesses struggle to align their marketing and sales teams to achieve their revenue potential, but cobbling together a bunch of marketing tools doesn’t solve the problem” adds Chip House, CMO, SharpSpring. “As a comprehensive revenue growth platform, SharpSpring is deeply integrated and works together to drive conversions throughout the customer lifecycle, so businesses can optimize marketing & sales activities and generate real revenue growth.”
Digital transformation leads to new challenges (and opportunities)
For marketers on the agency side, client attrition and revenue fluctuations make it challenging to grow the business, much less invest in new service offerings. Yet, to compete, agencies have to answer the call to keep adding new capabilities like chatbots or drip campaigns. Plus, the unrelenting demand for agencies to constantly show results and prove value makes the landscape ripe for clients to arbitrarily bounce around.
Meanwhile, struggles also persist for in-house marketers.
Sales teams want more leads, and not just any leads, qualified leads. Plus, CEOs want measurable results to prove that money you sunk into your last campaign was worth it.
Further compounding the situation, a typical company might license a CRM from one company, a marketing automation solution from another, and email, social, and landing pages from other providers still.
As A Leading Provider Of Revenue Growth Tools For Small To Medium Businesses And Digital Marketing Agencies, We Are Reducing The Barriers To Entry For All Businesses To Participate In Ongoing Digital Transformation
According to research from Forrester, the average marketer uses 12 or more tools to run their marketing. None of these disparate tools work well together. They tend to be siloed off from one another, and each oblivious to what happens in the others. In other words, there is no source of “the truth” for the customer data, which therefore creates a disjointed customer experience and subpar performance.
The struggle is real. Recent research by the Winterberry Group shows that 61% of marketers want better integration between their marketing tools and an improved process for sharing data among tools.
With marketers doomed to deliver fragmented reports and powerless to provide actionable insights that grow real revenue, it’s no wonder that Neilsen recently reported that 56% of CMOs say they don’t have the data needed to feel confident about the marketing spend.
So how does a revenue growth platform help?
A Full-Funnel Customer Experience
Small-to-medium businesses and agencies alike can effectively run their entire sales and marketing functions in revenue growth platforms, including campaigns, social media, retargeting, sales engagement and more. This makes it much easier and much less expensive to adopt these platforms instead of buying and integrating 12+ other tools.
As SharpSpring evolved from a sales and marketing automation platform to a complete revenue growth platform, it coined its secret sauce that helps users grow in ways they can’t with standalone tools, Conversion 360TM. Essentially, Conversion 360 refers to the way SharpSpring’s features all use customer behavioral data and work together to fuel the customer experience throughout their lifecycle.
Walking through the customer journey, you can see how a revenue growth platform gives businesses a more seamless experience that’s also more powerful than point solutions.
Starting with attracting audiences, tools like SharpSpring’s social media management features let users easily build an advocates list for retargeting, boost lead scores, or notify sales reps when their prospects or customers engage via social media.
Once agencies and businesses have a lead’s attention, forms generated by a revenue growth platform help convert them more seamlessly. Auto-complete form fields utilize the lead data users already have stored in the database, and to ‘right-size’ form length, progressive profiling captures new information every time leads convert.
From there, marketing teams have the tools they need to engage leads with features like dynamic web content. The feature enables them to build high-converting landing pages and emails that feel like custom, 1:1 experiences, with personalized messaging driven by demographic, firmographic, and behavioral data stored in the company’s CRM.
These days chatbots are also an increasingly popular way to capture site visitors as leads, and give users the instant answers to questions they expect. Businesses can customize chatbots to their brand and set general communication preferences. But not only that, unlike standalone chatbot solutions, chatbots that are part of revenue growth platforms use profile and interest data collected as the visitor is engaged, and records to the contact record.
This active lead capture yields more conversions right in the platform instead of relying on data transfers. Sales and marketing teams can instantly assign leads, add them to workflows and follow up. The next time the visitor comes back, the chatbot can greet by name and even prompt an automated meeting workflow.
“SharpSpring Chatbots share the same database with its forms, landing pages, emails, ads and more, making interaction and follow-up communications highly personalized. Behavioral tracking delivers a smart, personalized, connected experience that produces better results,” explained House.
When it’s time for lead conversion, sales teams can use revenue growth platforms to create custom deal stages to fit their sales process, along with fields, filters and more, to manage sales effortlessly.
Sales reps can also use sales-focused marketing automation features like custom emails, notifications of lead activity, meetings, sales dialer, and several other efficiency tools within the broader platform. Users can create, manage and track opportunities from creation to close and gain a bird’s eye view of their pipeline.
Wrapping around the entire process is comprehensive tracking and reporting. Revenue growth platforms can provide closed-loop, accurate details of lead activity, conversions, campaign performance, pipeline results and revenue attribution.
A Testimony: Building the Customer Funnel
While true revenue growth platforms come with a genuinely comprehensive specs sheet, their impact can only be understood when applied in a real-world context. The story of marketing agency Oyova highlights just that. Using SharpSpring’s revenue growth platform, the agency helped a law firm client struggling to generate awareness, resulting in boosted lead generation, profits and growth.
When presented with the law firm’s struggle to attract new clients, Oyova knew that implementing marketing automation with SharpSpring, tightening up advertising, and gaining brand exposure could easily help solve their problems.
In fact, Oyova was able to use SharpSpring’s revenue growth platform to earn exponential growth for the law firm, resulting in a client list that is now more than 40,000 strong. The firm added more attorneys to its staff to keep up with demand, growing from just 3 attorneys to more than 20!
“[The law firm was] able to see the timeline of how somebody behaved with their site and that’s integral. That information prepares them for the conversation that they want to have with their client,” explained Jon Tsourakis, Oyova’s president and chief revenue officer.
Oyova is just one of nearly 10,000 customers that SharpSpring serves successfully today. The company envisions continually improving its platform while folding in additional resources to drive new sales, marketing, and product initiatives that are designed to have a long-term positive impact on the business. With the effects of the pandemic appearing to be moving to the background in 2021, SharpSpring expects the coming year to be a period of accelerated growth.
“In Q1, we began the process of ramping spend, which should translate to new customer growth as the year progresses. As we introduce new go-to market strategies and pricing options, including free trials, annual client licenses and “freemium” offerings, we believe the universe of potential SharpSpring customers will expand. As a leading provider of revenue growth tools for small to medium businesses and digital marketing agencies, we are reducing the barriers to entry for all businesses to participate in ongoing digital transformation,” concludes Carlson.