Recently, I was a new SharpSpring administrator. Fortunately, I work with a great technical team who understood how to connect our website and import our data. SharpSpring assigned a support employee to guide us through onboarding. We knew what benefits we wanted from using the application.
Still, we struggled to get our campaigns up and running. (And we’re not alone. See the SharpSpring “Con’s” at TrustRadius.) The SharpSpring data wasn’t helping us see how to get new customers. Efforts to grow our business with SharpSpring seemed to stall out.
The Challenges We Faced
The SharpSpring support team focused on helping us understand the product’s possibilities. But, we struggled to figure out which features addressed our specific business challenges. When we asked for help, SharpSpring staff responded quickly and earnestly. Unfortunately, they couldn’t help us prioritize the actions we needed to take.
After three months of using SharpSpring every day, we began to see the path forward. First, we took the chatbot down. Then we changed our social media sharing method. Finally, we began to see how our customers and prospects were experiencing our marketing.
What We’ve Learned about Adopting SharpSpring
No support team can understand our business as well as we do. We have to establish a dialogue with our audience. Then, we can learn how they feel about the messages and resources we are providing. While “best practices” can help us improve, they can’t replace the value of real feedback from our contacts.
Now we are sharing what we have learned during SharpSpring adoption. And it may apply to installing any new marketing automation platform. We’ve written up our findings as a 10-step process. The order of the steps is crucial so you can avoid problems we faced. You’ll be able to go faster if you don’t have to completely restructure and re-import contact data, the way we had to do.
Providing a guide for everyone
If you search the internet, you’ll find many offers to help you adopt SharpSpring. Almost all the offers are from companies that want to sell you their services as a partner. But you will NOT find anything like our free guide based on a SharpSpring user’s experience.
At E6 Solutions, we also sell our partnership services. But we don’t think we should lock away the basic knowledge. With our ten steps, even the smallest company can find a better way through the process.
We’re all on a journey. At E6 Solutions, we’ve thought hard about that journey and how we can support companies on their way. That’s why our e-book allows us to help many people who will never become our customers. We know it will be invaluable for our customers, as well.
Why Ten Steps?
SharpSpring is a comprehensive product with a wealth of features. However, many of those features may overlap with applications you already have. Our steps to force you to consider integration issues before you begin training. At the same time, our initial steps help you enjoy immediate benefits from installing SharpSpring.
The SharpSpring onboarding process is valuable. Their team helps you configure the system and become aware of the features. In contrast, our ten-step process encourages you to evaluate and prioritize those features. For most companies, some of those features will be a step down from their current system. For instance, most companies already have a CRM system that’s more powerful.
Integration is more important than hopping onto a shiny new tool you’ve found in SharpSpring. Ironically, our stepwise system will slow you down at first. Actually, it’s meant to slow down your assessment of SharpSpring. Once you understand how it works, your adoption will go much faster.
Ten Steps may seem like too many, but SharpSpring is that complex
These ten steps help you get familiar with the SharpSpring advantages and challenges. It’s not a narrow path you will pursue with blinders. As you take these steps, you should be thinking about how it best fits into your organization.
Don’t start user training before your administrators and technology team are prepared. SharpSpring has a great user interface layered over some very complex features. Personally, I wasted time on features that were never going to serve our target audience. At the same time, we discovered valuable “niche” features in among the SharpSpring resources. (See Step 8.)
Advice for integrating SharpSpring with other applications
At E6 Solutions, we believe in building a “unified CRM.” Up-to-date CRM data should appear in all the company’s applications. Marketing, sales, service, accounting, and resource planning should all receive their relevant data. Whether viewing customers, prospects, or contacts, all departments should know their real-time status. The company’s ability to support and attract the best customers will expand exponentially. All your employees will have better insight from the market’s point of view.
To achieve a “unified CRM,” companies manage and automate their business processes. Data flows through the organization. Salespeople can see the customer’s service issues and billing status. Marketing can see the prospects they’ve nurtured moving down the funnel. The human resources department sees projects closing and allocates staff.
By using Business Process Management, you provide each employee the right data in the right situation. Learn more.
What about more advanced SharpSpring users?
What if your company has been using SharpSpring for awhile? Is there anything you could learn from our “Get Going Faster” e-book? Since it’s carefully organized and free, why not give it a look?