HubSpot vs SharpSpring: An Inbound Marketing Automation Comparison

HubSpot vs SharpSpring: An Inbound Marketing Automation Comparison

SharpSpring vs HubSpot. A marketing automation comparison. Vs.  

Foreword: This HubSpot vs SharpSpring inbound business marketing automation comparison is the most evenly matched of all the past comparisons from TFC. The key difference between these platforms is not in functionality but in sales model, pricing and ROI expectations.  Both platforms offer a comprehensive email marketing automation platform.  Read on to learn how they differ.

Table of Contents

  1. What is SharpSpring?
  2. What is HubSpot?
  3. Functional Comparison: HubSpot vs SharpSpring’s Inbound Marketing Automation
  4. Cost Comparison: HubSpot vs SharpSpring
  5. Relating Payment Terms To ROI Acceleration
  6. Marketing Budget: HubSpot vs SharpSpring
  7. Customer Examples
  8. Demonstrations of Inbound Marketing Automation
  9. Conclusion

This post will help if you are looking for a comprehensive HubSpot alternatives comparison.

What is SharpSpring?

SharpSpring bills itself as a powerful, affordable marketing automation platform. SharpSpring’s marketing functionality competes directly with HubSpot’s marketing hub at a fraction of the price with a robust toolset that includes a blog platform, marketing automation, behavior-based email, landing page builder, form creator, sales automation and CRM, analytics and anonymous visitor ID.

(SHSP) SharpSpring Stock Price.

What is HubSpot?

HubSpot is an all-in-one easy-to-use marketing platform that automates marketing for small to mid-sized business. HubSpot’s functionality includes: a blogging platform, landing page and forms creator, email marketing, social media integration, CRM and customer service management. HubSpot is the creator of the Inbound Marketing Automation product category which may also be known as content marketing automation.

(HUBS) HubSpot Stock Price.

What are the functional differences between HubSpot vs SharpSpring?

When comparing the pure marketing automation functionality, the functional differences are minimal.  HubSpot’s vision expands beyond marketing automation and, as a result, its product contains more functionality than SharpSpring’s. While SharpSpring’s focus is solely focused on inbound marketing automation HubSpot has expanded its focus to include Case/Service-Desk Management and a full web CMS.


Key Difference    SharpSpring includes key features like anonymous visitor identification, simple CSS tools to match your site, WebEx integration, landing page funnels, email marketing, visual automations triggered by social activity and universal CMS compatibility.

Email Marketing Tools



Automation and Workflows



Ease of Use



Form Builder



Anonymous Contact Tracking



Anonymous Contact ID



Landing Page Designer



Dynamic Landing Page Content



Blog Publishing Platform



Social Media Management



Social Media Automation Triggers



Lead Scoring









SharpSpring is capitalizing on HubSpot’s expanded focus and doubling down on its commitment to providing the most robust, fully-integrated marketing automation platform. SharpSpring has added functionality over the last few years to begin separating itself from HubSpot in the marketing automation realm.


Key Difference   SharpSpring offers 100% of its feature-rich platform for all subscriptions while HubSpot functionality varies based on subscription level.

What’s the cost difference? The differences are surprisingly stark considering HubSpot vs SharpSpring.

HubSpot follows the well-established, typical software-as-a-service model selling primarily through its direct sales force to the end customer. SharpSpring, meanwhile, sells primarily through agency partners.

  • The first year cost to acquire HubSpot Pro is about $18,000 including a database of 10,000 contacts. The first year to acquire HubSpot Enterprise is about $27,000 with a database of 10,000 contacts.
  • The first year total to acquire SharpSpring cost about $7,200 including a database of 100,000 contacts.

The lower price tag is reflective of SharpSpring’s lower operational cost for its agency-based distribution model. Its agency partners act as its indirect marketing, sales and business consulting support team while SharpSpring maintains support of the technology stack, hence the lower SharpSpring cost.

Monthly Subscription Cost



Subscription Contract / Payment Terms

Annual / Upfront


Total Upfront Startup Cost



Annual Cost



Contacts Included



Adding Contacts

$100 per 10k

$3 per 1k

Email Sends Per Month

100k / month

25k / month


Key Pricing Difference: HubSpot offers only annual contracts with upfront annual payment terms. SharpSpring offers monthly payment and subscription terms.

HubSpot requires annual, upfront payment. So that $18,000 software cost for HubSpot Pro ($28k for Enterprise) isn’t spread evenly over the year unless you leverage financing. And you are committed for the full year.


Key Scaling Difference SharpSpring includes 10,000 contacts for its monthly subscription at about 25% the cost.

Meanwhile the cost to scale your contacts is also dramatically lower with SharpSpring.

SharpSpring cost for subscription isn’t the end of the pricing conversation. Its terms are far more flexible including monthly payment terms with a 30 day cancellation policy. Not to mention that the annual price tag is $5,988, less than half of HubSpot Pro and a third of HubSpot Enterprise.

Therefore, SharpSpring wins the HubSpot vs SharpSpring comparison.

How are payment terms related to ROI and impact?

The math isn’t difficult.

Funding for each of the following budgets is required to run a content-driven marketing machine that continues to increase in impact over time.

Budget #1

[High Quality Content Planning & Creation]


Budget #2

[Marketing Automation Software]


Budget #3

[Consulting services or internal resources to build marketing strategy, marketing automation plan, technology implementation, measure/optimize to achieve goals]

With a fixed annual budget of $40k, with HubSpot Pro more than half immediately goes into software leaving less than $20k for content development.

The remaining budget that drives Attracting quality prospects (Content strategy & creation) and Optimizing for conversions (Marketing automation consulting) is cut in half out of the gates.

You can see that, with a smaller marketing budget, it makes sense to strongly consider the percent of budget you plan to allocate for software versus revenue generating services.

What percent of your budget should be spent on Software versus Revenue Generating Services?

FIRST, The most valuable investment for a business just starting in content marketing and automation is The Content.  Content like blog posts, video, infographics, whitepapers… differentiate you from competition and allows you the opportunity to connect in a very meaningful way with prospects.

Don’t get me wrong.  Automation is required to scale revenue generation and the earlier the better but content is king.

Your content can be crafted to reach the exact audience that best fits your solution driving the best possible prospective customer directly to your site.

And strategically designed content reaches your ideal prospect where they live in the way they want to interact.

Your business can become a valuable resource before you ever sell to them. And in the process begin building trust.

Content is the fuel that makes the marketing machine run. It’s what attracts the right prospects to your site.

The more budget spent on SOFTWARE the less budget that remains for CONTENT and MARKETING SERVICES that drive visits to your site.

SECOND, the inbound marketing machine can’t run without continual adjustment and optimization in real-time. The content-driven marketing machine requires deep strategic planning to run effectively, produce leads in volume AND quality.

A well-designed inbound marketing automation implementation stimulates visitors to convert to known leads. Email and social automation intelligently nurture contacts with personalized emails and content until they’re ready to buy.

Expert services (whether consulting or hired staff) are required to run fast and far. If you have an great staff of content strategists, content writers, marketing technologists and marketing quants on staff, you’re in great shape and will likely require a smaller budget for consulting. Maybe annual/quarterly strategic planning sessions to keep the ship pointed in the right direction.

Most organizations I’ve interacted with skimp on the most important buckets (content and consulting experts) and over-extend on the software bucket.

HubSpot vs SharpSpring:

SharpSpring Inbound Marketing Automation Customer Examples

SharpSpring is acquiring customers at an incredibly fast pace. The company’s growth is on track to explode and its acquiring more agency distribution partners than any other marketing automation platform on the market. Here are a few SharpSpring customer examples:

HubSpot vs SharpSpring: HubSpot Inbound Marketing Automation Customer Examples

HubSpot has built a content marketing engine that is second to none. They strategically plan, publish content in volume and continually optimize for improved impact. As a result they’ve become the de facto name for inbound marketing automation and have great brands as customers. Here are a few HubSpot customer examples:

Insinkerator makes and markets food disposal and kitchen gadgets worldwide.

SharpSpring and HubSpot Reviews

TrustRadius Customer Reviews

8.3 / 10

8.5 / 10

MarTech Customer Reviews

4.1 / 5

4 / 5

SharpSpring Inbound Marketing Automation Feature Demonstration

HubSpot Inbound Marketing Automation Feature Demonstration

CONCLUSION. Which is the best platform in this HubSpot vs SharpSpring comparison?

The question comes down to who is doing the buying and how much budget they have available.

HubSpot is a great fit for companies with very generous marketing budgets, ample internal resources and a need for strong attribution reporting. Especially when they want to utilize 100% of HubSpot’s platform capabilities. HubSpot’s intuitive user interface and unified platform make it a strong fit for these types of organizations too. Because if the size of the upfront investment it becomes much easier if the head of marketing can sign off independently, although justifying HubSpot has become akin to justifying Salesforce… the name carries swagger.

SharpSpring is a great fit for companies with a smaller marketing team’s want HubSpot marketing hub functionality but don’t have the expansive budgets. If you’ve made the decision to double down on content marketing but don’t have the budget to afford HubSpot AND the requisite marketing services investment, then SharpSpring is a great fit. Because SharpSpring’s agency partners resell the solution bundled with value-added services, the same budget dollars that simply acquire HubSpot’s technology can provide a faster ROI and greater long-term impact.

I think SharpSpring is the better fit for more business use cases like:

  • Budget conscious established technology and services companies
  • Well-funded startups
  • Younger companies beginning to invest in digital marketing and content marketing
  • Companies looking for a long-term platform that fits today’s budget and can scale functionally and financially

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