About 10 years ago I launched a cloud based email marketing solution called Newsletter Sender. It was an instant success due to it’s then unique PAYG pricing. Over the years that followed the site attracted 100s of clients and turned over a good profit.
The backbone of the technology was the UK office of GraphicMail, they supplied the email sending capabilities and I supplied the website, taking care of the marketing, sales and support. I worked hard getting the business of the ground, luckily my hard graft paid off with every increasing sending numbers and a good stream of word of mouth recommendations.
I never had to advertise nor worry about hard sales.
At my prime, my clients were sending is excess of 1-2 million emails per month via Newsletter Sender, I had a fantastic relationship with GraphicMail and had direct access to their MD.
Then out of the blue I receive a call from the MD, late one Friday, informing me that their franchise hadn’t been renewed and that this call was the last I would hear from them as they were closing their doors at 5pm that day.
To say that was a bombshell would be an understatement, I had built up my business on the back of theirs and all I got was 5 minutes notice of the end of our relationship. Terry told me that my business was being transferred to the company who had acquired them, FastSpring.com, apparently they were aware of my market share in the UK and would look after me.
Utter Disgrace, & Complete Contempt
If I had the time and patience I could easily write another 10 pages on how bad I was treated, how their support was an utter disgrace. I was treated with a level of contempt I have never experienced the whole time I have been in business.
My Customers Ran a Mile
My client base had always been loyal to me, but the new system they were moved to without them or me having a say in the matter, was way to much for them to put up with.
I lost 99% of my client base in under a month, the support I received was so poor I was embarrassed to be associated with them. I can’t remember the exact date but I vividly remember waking up one morning and deciding enough was enough. I gave them the required notice to close the reseller account.
It Didn’t End There
What followed was an even bigger disgrace, SharpSpring then tried to blackmail my remaining clients into signing up to an expensive monthly subscription (where as they were used to PAYG) and if they didn’t their account would be closed. I was receiving calls and emails from people who couldn’t believe what was happening to them. Worse still for me was that I was unable to help them.
I’m glad to say that none, not a single one of my customers remained a client of SharpSpring. Due to the short time frame I had, I didn’t have a backup solution ready, but I did manage to salvage some of the bigger clients who was with me for service rather than price, most are still with me today.
GraphicMail is no more, and I am certain that if SharpSpring treated their other resellers with the same contempt they treated me, they will not have many left. How can a company go through an acquisition process only to lose all their major clientele?
That ordeal was enough for me to be glad I was out of email marketing, it cost me dearly, in lost revenue, reputation and wasted time. SharpSpring are still out there but I am glad they still haven’t made a massive impact in the UK market.