Inbound + Digital Marketing
By: Kara Rudy
February 19 2021
4 Min Read
Marketing automation is an industry valued at $6.1 Billion in 2020 and is set to double up by the end of 2023. 76% of marketers claim to get a return on their investment within the first year after leveraging marketing automation tools, and 44% of them see it in the first six months itself.
There are some big names in this space, like HubSpot, which has almost a third – or 31.61% of the marketing automation industry’s market share. SharpSpring is another well-known platform, albeit at a smaller 2% market share. Today, I’ll compare these two leading platforms and help you decide what’s right for you if you’re stuck in the HubSpot vs. SharpSpring dilemma.
According to Marketing Insider Automation, HubSpot has 15/17 of the most essential and common marketing automation features in the market. In contrast, SharpSpring fares poorly with only 11/17 of the same features. A business may not need all of them, but below are some of the major differences between the two, to help you decide which works best for you.
Both platforms offer a smart CRM, allowing you to leverage data such as visitor data, opened emails, and related information that can assist in your marketing decision-making. The metrics and insights provided by both are almost the same.
The biggest differentiator here, and remember this one since it’ll come in handy soon, is the pricing. While there isn’t much transparency around SharpSpring’s CRM pricing, HubSpot offers its CRM for free. Not just as a free trial, but free to use. It also offers some of the best features in the market and makes tracking your engagements easy.
Analyzing customer acquisition and retention trends and predicting as well as observing metrics for trend analysis is crucial. In a debate of HubSpot vs. SharpSpring, the latter has a lot of work to do in this area, because they offer none of it yet. On the other hand, HubSpot offers in-depth reporting and analytics, tells you which campaigns are generating leads, and even allow you to create customized reporting events for its middle and high-tier subscribers.
With SharpSpring, the integrations, site maintenance, and the overall marketing automation utilization with regards to performance metrics and designing the website with drag-and-drop requires some technical knowledge. You don’t need to know how to code, so your marketing team may be able to do it. But when it comes to maintenance, security, and add-ons, generally technical people can get the most out of it. While you don’t need to be a specialist, it does take some learning and getting used to.
In HubSpot’s case, you would need to get used to the interface as well, but the presentation of reports, the design of your pages, the performance reporting of your marketing campaigns, and your website traffic are all intuitive and easy to understand. Moreover, designing your website is a straightforward what-you-see-is-what-you-get unlike SharpSpring, so the task becomes easier even without technical knowledge.
SharpSpring has a great email marketing automation platform, but because of its poor predictive and trend analysis, that’s pretty much all it offers.
In comparison, HubSpot is like an automation guru. You can create complex automated workflows and campaigns, generate advanced usage analytics and use these reports automatically by integrating them with your inbound marketing strategies. Whether you wish to enroll in smart lists or manage lifecycle and deal stages, this is not just possible but easy with HubSpot.
Plans for SharpSpring start at $450 per month and go up to $875 per month depending on the number of contacts. Unless you’re a young business just starting, you’d not want to pick the starting tier priced at $450, which is for a maximum of 1,500 contacts only. Even if you choose the middle, or the third, and final model priced at $650 or $875 per month respectively, this is still very competitive pricing and attracts many customers.
With HubSpot, you can choose one of their three tiers – starter, professional, or enterprise, priced at $50, $800, and $3,200 per month respectively. The basic version is great for beginners, but the remaining two can be costly for very young businesses with limited capital or marketing needs. However, the basic version is very competitive, the upper tiers offer some amazing, best-in-class features, and you get things like the entire CRM platform, some marketing tools, live chat, pop-up CTAs, etc. absolutely free.
So, you may be wondering what is the final verdict? HubSpot is affordable in terms of value for money and therefore, for the ROI statistic I shared at the start, it is worth choosing it. If you’re a small business starting and want a cheaper option, you can pick SharpSpring. That’s not to say that SharpSpring does not do what it’s supposed to, but it’s more like SharpSpring is an above-average student in the class where HubSpot probably ranks in the top one or two.
If you’re a growing business that wants to get the best out of a marketing automation platform, HubSpot emerges as the clear winner. Or you could get creative, use HubSpot’s free CRM with SharpSpring’s marketing suite, and migrate fully to HubSpot as your business grows. The utility depends on your usage and budget, and it makes sense to check what features your marketing team is looking for so you can make a better-informed decision.
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