As an Onboarding Specialist at SharpSpring, I’ve worked with a variety of people and businesses to get them trained and set up for success in marketing automation. I’ve trained SharpSpring agency partners in Bogotá, Colombia, where my parents are from, and I’ve worked with many other partners in the U.S. and around the world.
Despite the organizational, cultural and geographical differences, all of our partners have one thing in common: a desire to learn and grow their businesses with SharpSpring.
Our team has trained hundreds of partners, and along the way, we’ve discovered a number of best practices they can use to get immediate, impactful ROI. So, we decided to put together a four-part blog series to help new and future partners understand our roadmap for success.
In this first part, I’ll walk you through how to get everything set up quickly. Next in the series, we’ll cover how to enhance your lead generation strategy using content-related tools in the app. Then, we’ll discuss how to use automation to streamline your day-to-day operations and convert leads. Finally, we’ll go over how to pull everything together and review your analytics to calculate ROI.
Ready to get started?
Start Seeing Benefits on Day One of Onboarding
By today’s standards, advertising and marketing used to be shots in the dark – cookie-cutter messages focused more on what you were selling than on what your customers actually wanted to buy.
With platforms like SharpSpring, you now have the power to see how your prospects engage with your media in real time, so you can adjust your messaging and campaigns accordingly.
On your first day with SharpSpring, you’ll get an email containing your login credentials and a tracking code. Every second you don’t have this code pasted on your site is a moment you’re missing out on vital info about your leads. Getting this on your site should be your first priority, and we’ll even help you do it.
The moment you paste the code on your site, you’re tracking. This means you’re getting valuable information about your visitors that you can use to tailor your site and your content to fit what your audience wants.
Your visitors are giving you enormous hints every day. What content are they viewing? More importantly, what content formats do they prefer? Is it videos, e-books, blogs? Which pages are they viewing? Your pricing page? A product page? Your “About Us” page?
Those are all telling signs as to where each lead is in the sales cycle, which we’ll discuss in more detail. The point is, by setting up tracking, you just got a huge leg up on creating long-lasting relationships with a lot of people. Don’t squander it by procrastinating on something so easy as copying and pasting a tracking code.
Prioritize Your Leads
Rankings serve a very important purpose in our society. They tell us how well we’re doing and how we can do better. The NCAA ranks athletic teams, the military ranks their soldiers, grandmothers rank their grandchildren, and bloggers rank anything they please.
Imagine if you could rank your leads by likelihood to purchase. Well, guess what – you can. Lead scoring numerically ranks your leads based on their level of interest.
Let’s go back to the example of the different pages your lead visited and what the corresponding sales cycle stages might be. Typically, an “About Us” page visit represents the “Awareness” stage, a pricing page is associated with the “Evaluation” stage, and a product page falls under “Decision” stage.
Does that sound about right? You know your customers better than anyone, so if you have any particular insights into how your typical customer thinks, you need to incorporate that into your lead scoring rubric. And don’t forget, we’re here to help. SharpSpring Onboarding Specialists have the expertise to help identify key metrics.
The bottom line is that no matter how you decide to rank your leads, doing so will let you zero in on those who are most interested and focus more time and resources on converting them.
Empower Your Sales Team With Email Syncing
Whether it’s sales or another department, every company has customer-facing team members. And ideally, some of those relationships with customers can last a while.
But how long does it take before you start to forget potentially vital details from your communications with a lead? You interact a lot with each lead over time. Maybe the larger conversation even lasts so long that the account manager changes. Then it’s kind of like you’re starting from scratch.
SharpSpring enables you to track all email communications through email syncing, so that every conversation you’ve ever had with a lead is recorded on a timeline in their profile. No more bouncing back and forth between your email and CRM. Just let us know who your email provider is, and we’ll help you get your company’s inboxes set up.
Increase Conversions With Personas
So what do you do with all this new information? Between insights from your own experience and the data you’re collecting with SharpSpring, you’re probably starting to see some very consistent patterns in lead behavior. If so, you should apply them to Personas.
A persona is a semi-fictional “character” representing a type of lead that you encounter frequently. SharpSpring has a persona template builder that makes it easy for you to set these up. This is also something I’d recommend doing early, and your Onboarding Specialist will be there to help you identify best practices for crafting your personas.
MarketingSherpa published a case study about one company that implemented personas and was able to increase its:
- Average length of time on site by 900%
- Marketing-generated revenue by 171%
- Email open rate by 111%
- Number of pages visited by 100%
Some important items to consider including when you define your personas are needs, fears, pain points, hobbies, budget, purchasing style and demographic information. The more specific you can make your personas, the higher your conversions will be. The best way to gather insights into what your personas should include is to ask the customers themselves.
Get More Out of Your Existing Leads
Now that we’ve prepared the appropriate metrics to gauge lead behavior, it’s time to address the untapped goldmine that’s right under your nose – your existing leads.
First of all, import your contact list as soon as possible. While SharpSpring is very good for generating leads, it’s also a great tool for converting them. If you’re coming to SharpSpring with some existing customer relationships, we can help you get them in the system and on a nurturing campaign immediately, so you can start to focus on generating new leads.
You should also check out VisitorID in these early stages. As soon as you paste the tracking code I mentioned earlier, your anonymous web traffic starts being tracked. VisitorID is where you can observe that traffic.
SharpSpring gives you access to a massive database of commercial IP addresses, so you can see what companies are navigating to which parts of your site and for how long they’re staying. VisitorID company profiles may also include referring URLs, names of decision makers, phone numbers and email addresses.
98% of site visitors remain anonymous because they don’t fill out a form. The modern consumer is savvy, and competition for their business is fierce. VisitorID is where you catch those unidentified visitors who are still in the early stages of the sales cycle.
Connect to Your Other Tools
Chances are that you use a wide assortment of tools for your business. If you need to integrate one of those tools with SharpSpring, we’re here for you. SharpSpring connects with a myriad of cloud-based platforms, thanks to our partnership with PieSync.
PieSync already has many integrations with SharpSpring ready to go. If you ever need any help with this, keep in mind that our support is completely free.
Or in the case that the third-party platform you have is homegrown or rare, you can reach out about having us code the integration for you. Just give us a shout!
Off to a Strong Start
If you’ve made it this far, you now have the foresight to blast through your first two weeks of onboarding. If you’re a power user, believe it or not, you might even be able to knock all of this out in a day or two. By following these steps in your first two weeks, you’ll set up a solid foundation for long-term marketing automation success.
1. Get your tracking code up on your site. Tracking has an immediate impact, so there’s not a moment to spare.
2. Identify what lead behaviors correspond with readiness to buy, and use lead scoring to prioritize your efforts.
3. Use email syncing to make it easy to review past interactions with leads.
4. Set up personas to better segment your leads and increase conversions with personalized messaging.
5. Don’t ignore the leads you already have. Import your contact list and configure your VisitorID settings, so you can reach out to those who are already engaging with you.
6. If you have any other apps SharpSpring needs to communicate with, we’ll assist you in making that happen.
Want to see all of these tools in action? Sign up for a demo of SharpSpring today.
In the next part of our four-part series, we’ll be discussing how to enhance your lead generation strategy, streamline your daily operations, convert more leads to sales, and calculate the ROI of your campaigns with analytics.
Read the whole SharpSpring Onboarding series: