Comparing Marketing Automation platforms

Comparing Marketing Automation platforms featured image

Comparing apples and oranges

Marketing automation is a now something that must sit at the heart of your brand-led business. The old approach of ‘If it’s good they will buy it’ just doesn’t work when they don’t even know you exist.

What is it? It is a software platform that analyses, manages and continuously improves how your marketing campaigns generates sales leads and conversions.

So, what are the top options in this crazy world where sales and marketing systems are rapidly converging? We compare Hubspot, Sharpspring and Pipedrive – think of them as same-same but different.


Their core CRM is free, always (yay!).

But how do they make money? They offer a paid all-in-one set of tools that give visibility across the customer journey from attraction, conversation, close and on-going relationship management.

They offer a very sophisticated Content Management System solution that helps you track customer interactions (intended to replace your website). They do not offer a ‘DIY’ implementation solution, meaning comparatively high implementation costs. The total annual cost can get costly very quickly as each add-on is priced separately. But it’s the old adage of you get what you pay for. Its automatic customer segmentation capabilities make it extremely easy to personalise your marketing and get a better understanding of your customers for new product development.

The complexity and cost of Hubspot make it an excellent fit for large business and enterprise customers that rely on insights across multiple digital touchpoints.


Pipedrive is super easy to set up and start using. It is very visual, stepping you through the setup process. It is well suited to service-based businesses with highly customisable sales processes. It can grow with your business over time, with hundreds of integrations available. Their smart email features make lead generation via email simple. Prospect details can be surfaced through integration with tools like LinkedIn, email templates make it easy to personalise your messages, and you also can see which leads have opened which email campaigns to trigger follow-up activities. The prompt to always have a follow-up activity creates great discipline within your sales teams.

Just imagine what you can do with connections to your email marketing, lead generation and business systems.

Pipedrive is a great place to start for growing businesses that have a DIY mindset and existing marketing tools that they want to continue to use. Its flexible pricing model and modular format mean that it can grow with you over time.


SharpSpring describe themselves as a ‘complete sales and marketing platform’. It has basic functionality, like tracking leads across your deal stages. It can be used to create personalised landing pages, moving potential customers closer to making a sale. It is known for its robust marketing automation features including email automation, dynamic forms and smart emails. Similarly to Hubspot, it requires you to work with a Sharpspring partner as there is no DIY implementation option.

Sharpspring is an excellent place for small and medium-sized businesses to get started, avoiding the need to buy separate email marketing, social media management, blogging, survey/landing page and customer tracking tools.

Use the right technology to save youtime and money without the stress.

Hoist goes beyond technology to solve your most significant sales and marketing challenges and opportunities. We’ve got the perfect blend of marketers, technologists and product managers in our team that know our CMS from our CRM. We help you sell more with less effort and cost by finding the right sales and marketing platforms and processes for your business. Our deep understanding of behavioural change means that we know how to make it stick in your organisation.

To follow up this conversation or to find out what Hoist is working on, email