As a Swedish SharpSpring partner in a market dominated by HubSpot, I often have to fight for credibility against the industry giant since most customers have already equated the concept of “Inbound” with HubSpot.
As SharpSpring partners, we are well aware that HubSpot is just one solution among many. The challenge is to credibly demonstrate that SharpSpring can do Inbound just as well as HubSpot, and with a superior business model to boot.
Fortunately, I’ve found a way to do exactly that, and I’ll detail it below.
The SharpSpring “magic trick” on steroids
Have you installed SharpSpring Magic Trick yet? Are you using it in live customer demos?
If you have, you know the awesome reactions you get from customers, and that this simple trick showcases a lot of the ways you can use marketing automation.
Now imagine beefing this magic trick up, and extending it over your entire 3-month sales cycle or longer. I’ve done precisely that, and the results are 30% higher opportunity close rates.
So how did I do it?
Introducing the interactive opportunity nurturing workflow
“Does this solution really work as well as HubSpot does?” – Potential customer
I imagine most of you reading this post have heard this question. After hearing it one time too many, I thought why not demonstrate how well it works by using it on the customer?
So I came up with the idea of the “Interactive Opportunity Nurturing Workflow.” Each week, it sends the customer an email asking her to perform a certain action. Based on the customer’s action, SharpSpring triggers different workflows designed to demo a feature.
As an example, the simple workflows send different content based on what the customer clicks. The more advanced workflows treat the customer with dynamic content, video demos or me sharing a screenshot of their contact record.
Since it is meant as a fun and interactive exercise, I enroll customers live during face-to-face demos. This gives me a chance to show them the workflow in real time to further demonstrate the power of marketing automation, and therefore set the customer’s expectation for the workflow.
Examples of steps
Below are some steps that have worked well for me. Using these as inspiration, I’m sure you can come up with even better ones that perhaps you’d like to share with the wider SharpSpring community.
Demo (simple): Rule based emails
This is a simple demo that showcases the ability to send different emails based on what the customer does.
- Send the customer an email with a link. Tell her that if she clicks the link, she will get a nice surprise. If she doesn’t click, she’ll get a reminder a couple of days later.
- If she clicks, send her a “thank you” email, and give her a bonus (for example a discount if she purchases within a certain timeframe).
- If she doesn’t click, send her a reminder a couple of days later and tell her she’ll love the surprise she will get by clicking.
This showcases to the customer how you can trigger different messages based on what the customer does. You can also explain that emails can be triggered by website visits, shopping cart abandonment, and anything else they can think of.
Demo (medium): Contact timeline peek-a-boo
Customers love this one because it shows them how you are using SharpSpring to sell to them.
- Send an email asking the customer if she’d like to see what information you have collected about her. This piques curiosity.
- Tell her that in order to find out, she should click the link and browse a couple of pages.
- Explain that if she does, you’ll get an email notification which will prompt you to record your screen while browsing her contact profile, timeline and notes.
- Send that video to your customer, and explain that she can use this functionality to see what their customers are doing, get notifications when her customers get a high lead score, and follow up with relevant conversations just like you did now.
I have re-ignited several stalled opportunities with this workflow, and during demos I make a point of showing some of these re-ignited opportunities since they make a great showcase of how SharpSpring can help you sell more.
Demo (advanced): Dynamic content
Dynamic content is one of the more difficult to explain concepts, but it is easy and highly engaging to showcase live!
- Create a custom field with a checkbox group, where customers can pick from your services/features/solutions what they are most interested in.
- Create a dynamic landing page which has the following components: It greets the customer by name and details some of the information that you currently have about her. It has dynamic sections that show different content based on whether the checkboxes above or checked or not. It also has a form asking the customer to check or uncheck these boxes.
- After submitting the form, simply reload the same page so that the customer can see different content than she did the previous time. She can repeat the same process over and over again to see different content each time based on her choices.
- Finally, send a different dynamic email each time she submits the form. This shows the customer how you can create highly engaging and personal emails based on the information they collect about her own clients.
This is an effective, interactive and fun way to showcase the power of dynamic content. Plus, it gives you more information about what your customer is actually interested in and creates a natural reason to follow up with a personal call to discuss the options she checked.
Demo (medium): Send video demos
If this workflow has taught me one thing, it is that customers love video demos. Leads who haven’t clicked on any other emails often do click on the video demos.
- Using some screen recording software (my personal favorites are Jing and Screenpresso), create your own SharpSpring demos of the features your customers ask most about.
- Put these videos up on your website.
- BONUS: In SharpSpring’s media center, add new media linking to each video. This way, you can track which videos each contact has viewed and make it easy for yourself and your salespeople to send videos to customers manually.
- Create an email where you tell the customer to watch the a video, and have a big, juicy thumbnail linking to it:
If nothing else works, videos will most likely do the trick! When a customer clicks the video, you can still follow up with one of the steps above. For example send a screenshot of her timeline, or send a dynamic email where you tell her more about the feature she watched in the video.
Bonus: Mix and match videos in each step above!
In almost every step above (and other steps you might think of), you have the opportunity to create a video that demonstrates how you actually built what you built to further demonstrate how easy it is to use SharpSpring, and embed that video in the content above.
For example, if your demo is about dynamic content, create a video showing how to create dynamic content.
Then, link to the video on the page where the dynamic landing page you created. (You can even make the video section dynamic, prompting the customer to watch the video if he hasn’t clicked on it.)
This creates a much better learning experience, and a way higher click rate (people seem to really love videos).
Case Study: How this helped me revive a stalled opportunity
One of my highly anticipated opportunities had stalled. I had gotten the fairly typical email from my contact saying that he is interested but currently too busy. (Any experienced sales person knows that this means the deal is likely to stall forever.)
So I said fine, no problem, just get back to me when you’re ready, and added the opportunity to my Opportunity Nurturing Workflow.
First week, open but no click.
Reminder email, open but no click.
Email about showing the timeline, open but no click.
Video demo of how easy it is to built landing pages in SharpSpring. Open and click!
I got the email notification, recorded my screen showing the customer how I worked his contact record in SharpSpring, and sent the recording to the customer.
Customer responded, conversation got back on track, and shortly thereafter I had booked a demo with the VP of Sales. Now it is one of my best customers.
- Tells me they’re busy, opp stalls
- Opens but no clicks
- Clicks, watch video!
- Follow up and shortly later, new demo booked!
As a SharpSpring partner, you need to do this
This workflow not only demonstrates the capabilities of SharpSpring, it also demonstrates your capabilities as a competent agency.
What credibility is there in working with an agency who doesn’t use SharpSpring its full potential?
Conversely, an agency who can do all the advanced things written above clearly demonstrates the capability to do some cool things for the customer. You establish trust, which is a crucial factor in getting that deal.
I’m sure you’ll think of more fun and original steps that demonstrate SharpSpring’s capabilities. When you do, I’d love to hear about it! As the leading SharpSpring partner in Sweden, I am all for collaborating with SharpSpring partners worldwide to exchange ideas like this.
And hey – would you like to opt-in to my demo and experience it for yourself? And when you do, I’d love to connect with you and exchange ideas that will help both of us grow as SharpSpring partners in our respective markets.