Should your business invest in InfusionSoft?

So you’re thinking about investing in marketing automation software and decided to take a closer look at InfusionSoft. You probably run a Small/Medium Enterprise (SME) and want to know if Infusionsoft ticks all of the boxes. And, if you’re like many SME business owners, you already have a marketing process that partly works, but you know it can be more efficient. The catch is, spending the time to implement new marketing processes is likely to be relegated to the last place on your TO DO list.

Marketing Automation

Based on this common experience, it is understandable that the ‘automation’ part of the InfusionSoft offer can be very appealing. It brings the promise to dramatically reduce the amount of time required to perform mundane sales and marketing activities such as follow-up calls, lead qualification and on-going nurturing. InfusionSoft’s offer goes on to describe that licensing of its product will enable you (or your sales team) to focus on the ‘hottest leads and prospects’. Once again promising to save time.

InfusionSoft enables you to ‘digitise’ your sales process by nurturing your leads until they either completely drop out of your funnel (unsubscribe) or develop into a prospect.

Now, here is one very important thing to consider for all new or potential InfusionSofters – “in order to digitise and subsequently automate your sales and marketing processes using InfusionSoft, you must first HAVE, a sales and marketing process defined. It is impossible to improve the effectiveness of something that doesn’t yet exist. You first need to create it – but that is a whole new post.

 


For the uninitiated, InfusionSoft offers the following areas of functionality:

Segmentation

InfusionSoft uses a fairly flexible tagging system to segment the contact database. Tags are then used as the main segmentation tool for performing marketing activities and reporting.

Infusionsoft-Tags

Email Marketing

Ability to send email broadcast to a particular segment of your contact database.

Campaign Manager

A graphical flowchart tool that allows certain sales and marketing functions to be automated. It is based on scheduling activities that get triggered by other specific conditions being met (e.g. if contact opened email A – send email B)Infusionsoft

E-Commerce

A rudimentary online store that can integrate with most global merchant gateways such as EWay or SecurePay. You can also connect your PayPal account to it if you don’t have existing merchant facilities.

Infusionsoft Ecommerce

Sales Management

A sales team planning and management tool that allows the business to either manually or automatically assign leads and prospects to particular individuals for follow-up. This is especially useful with a bigger sales team where you need to make sure that you are tracking all opportunities and not letting anything drop through the cracks.

 


There is also a plugin Marketplace provided by InfusionSoft where you can find plugins to replace, fill or improve your specific functional or integration needs. The majority of these plugins are authored by third party developers.

Some of these are even stand-alone systems. For example InfusionSoft acquired CustomerHub a number of years back. CustomerHub is basically a Content Management System which reveals certain content as the users pay for it. Subsequently, it works well for business wanting to publish and sell Informational Products.

 


Pros & Cons

Next, let me quickly cover InfusionSoft’s key positives and negatives:

The Campaign Manager

This has always been a highlight for me. It’s simple, visual and easy to use (if only the rest of InfusionSoft’s UI had the same amount of thought put into it). You can easily add goals, sequences and conditions to your campaigns just by dragging them onto a canvas and then connecting them to define a process. These can get fairly elaborate.

Having used dozens of CRMs over the last decade I can comfortably say that InfusionSoft’s Campaign Manager is one of the best I have seen/used. It is just fun to use.

Designed for SME’s

The theory here is that after completing the InfusionSoft KickStart program most individuals should be able to use InfusionSoft confidently. However, my experience is that the coverage of the KickStart program is not great and isn’t reinforced or put into practice during the training. Which means users constantly need refreshers and professional support.

In saying this I still believe that for the amount of functionality and components that InfusionSoft offers it does a fairly good job of being focused on tailoring its functionality and UI to the SME market.

Support

I have seen a lot of InfusionSoft users from Australia (where we are) complaining about the poor support that InfusionSoft provides. However, my experience has been very positive. On average we are supporting half a dozen clients that use InfusionSoft Australia. The on-line chat queues are short and can answer almost every question we fire at them.

For those who don’t like to on-line chat you can call their support line at a cost of a local phone call.

All in one package

This is actually both an advantage and disadvantage. It is an advantage because all your contact data such as:

    • web forms they filled out
    • emails you sent them and they interacted with products they bought

 Infusionsoft All In One

Based on this data you can easily figure out what type of message resonates best with a certain audience. This certainly makes it easier to market into that audience. InfusionSoft makes it easy for you to market in this way.

However, if you have multiple data sources such as multiple CRM systems or regional offices that manage their own data and occasionally send it through to the ‘head office’ a lot of operations become more difficult.

For example the way InfusionSoft handles duplicates is extremely complicated vs. something like MailChimp, and almost requires a Computer Science graduate to perform effectively (this may be a slight exaggeration).

For our clients we generally use a SQL enabled database system to first import and cleanse the data before importing the clean list into InfusionSoft. However, not every business has such resources at their disposal and therefore this is a definite negative.

Lack of Localisation

Until a week ago, you couldn’t set your time zone in InfusionSoft, therefore everything had to be recalculated into EST (New York) time. For example if you wanted to send a follow-up email on a Monday morning at 9am Australia Eastern Standard Time – you would have to calculate what time it would be on the east cost of the United States. This was painful and unnecessary.

There are many other examples of this – for example when setting up your E-commerce store in Australia it will always show AUD before the price of the product instead of dollar sign ($). Naturally, if the patrons of your store are ALL Australian this becomes very silly, very quickly. The list of these little idiosyncrasies is fairly long.

Absence of A/B Testing

This one actually surprised me the most when I found out about it. The key advantage of marketing digitally is the ability to better test, measure and subsequently iterate your marketing message. Why InfusionSoft decided to leave this one out is very disappointing. Hell, some CRM businesses exist to solely provide A/B Testing, it is that important.

 


Conclusion

In conclusion, I believe InfusionSoft is a solid performer and will certainly offer a significant improvement for most SME organisations that are looking to enter the world of digital marketing.

InfusionSoft can fill most roles such as a CRM, Email Broadcast Tool or an online store with ease. Yet, you will not be able to do everything by yourself and sometimes you will need to call in an expert to help you with that really complex project. I believe this to be acceptable at a time when the complexity of all such services is growing exponentially. What is your time better spent on – keeping up with your CRM’s functions or running and growing your business?

I know which I would choose.