Infusionsoft Pros And Cons
Infusionsoft is one of the fastest growing email marketing providers. And really, Infusionsoft is so much more than just simple email marketing software. Depending on the version of Infusionsoft you invest in, their complete system includes email marketing, CRM, e-commerce, sales management, contact management, sales & marketing reporting, and so much more!
But before you decide to purchase Infusionsoft for your business, you should definitely weigh the pros and cons. I love pros/cons lists for thinking through important decisions. (Incidentally, did you know that Benjamin Franklin invented pros-cons lists back in 1772. What a guy!)
Let me start by making a disclaimer here: I’m currently a paying customer for Infusionsoft. I’ve been using their software for several years now, and I absolutely love it. It’s definitely not perfect, but it’s enabled me to achieve so many of my business and marketing goals in ways that other software tools could never provide. And believe me, I’ve tried so many other email marketing and CRM tools out there — Zoho, Aweber, Constant Contact, MailChimp, GetResponse, even Office Autopilot (Ontraport). Many of these other tools do offer some great advantages (even some that I still miss today!), but the reason I ultimately chose Infusionsoft over all the rest boils down to one simple reality — I call it “universal customer tracking.” More on that later.
Another thing I’ll say before I lay out the Infusionsoft pros and cons is that my goal here is not to force you to see it my way. I’ve had plenty of clients that I actually encourage not to use Infusionsoft because it just wasn’t the best fit for their business. The goal of this article is to help you make a well reasoned decision about whether or not Infusionsoft is right for you.
The Pros – What I Like About InfusionSoft
There really are many things I love about Infusionsoft. For the purposes of this article, I’ve identified the handful of key advantages I think really make this software stand out from the crowd.
Pro #1 = Universal Tracking
The single best thing about Infusionsoft is that it allows you to track all of the behavior, actions, and purchases of every single contact you have — all under one roof! The reality is, your marketing will always be better if you’re capturing data to inform what you’re doing. Every month, I add something new to my marketing systems, and Infusionsoft makes that possible.
Pro #2 = Smart Email Marketing
Email marketing was really the core element in the “Online Gold Rush” that occurred in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. Simple autoresponder tools like Aweber and Constant Contact made it simple and easy to send automated marketing messages to your prospects. Today, you’re going to have to do much better than that to get massive results. Infusionsoft allows you to do responsive email marketing — what I call “smart email marketing” — because it connects marketing sequences to specific behaviors. If your prospect does X thing (click a link, visit a web page, etc), then (and only then) trigger X email. That’s a very basic example of what’s possible.
Pro #3 = Sales Cycle Management
I didn’t fully understand the sales pipeline in my business until we started using Infusionsoft to manage our service business. Infusionsoft has a module called “Opportunity Management” that allows you to build out specific stages you take your customers through from lead to sale. When we started using Infusionsoft Opportunities, it forced us to create a clear pipeline path that our typical service prospects follow. First we need them to do X, then we need them to do Y, and finally we close them at Z. Today, our sales pipeline has over 7 steps, and we use it to more efficiently and effectively manage the pending sales that are budding up each day, each week, and each month. If you sell anything fairly complex, this part of Infusionsoft is definitely for you! (If you don’t, it’s an optional module.)
Pro #4 = Easy WordPress Integration
We use WordPress for all of our websites. So this was definitely icing on the cake when we discovered how easy it was to integrate Infusionsoft right into our WordPress sites. Integration for traffic and stats tracking is actually really easy no matter what website platform you’re using (it’s a simple line of code) but if you are a WordPress user, Infusionsoft has their own plugin that snaps right into WordPress.
Pro #5 = Easy Membership Integration
Speaking of WordPress, we also use WordPress for our membership website platform here at ConvertWithContent.com We’re using a tool called iMember360 (which I love) and which also integrates exceptionally well with Infusionsoft. One important note: To use imember360 you need to be a bit of a geek — not much, but at least a little bit. Otherwise, Infusionsoft also offers a membership add-on called CustomerHub that plugs right in as well. In my humble opinion, iMember360 is best. But CustomerHub is still a good option.
Pro #6 = Responsible Email Delivery
This is one most people don’t think about. Have you ever stopped to consider if your email marketing provider is actually ethical and responsible? It never occurred to me just how important this is until somebody pointed it out. The analogy they used was, “When you’re using an email marketing system and there are literally thousands of subscribers using that same tool, you need to be sure your email marketing provider is kicking out spammers. If they don’t regularly kick out email spammers and bad marketers, it’s like letting people pee in the pool.” Thank god Infusionsoft polices their email marketing like crazy. (Sometimes you’ll read about people complaining about this. The reality is, the complainers are usually the bad email marketers themselves — whether they realize it or not.)
Pro #7 = Strong Support Team
Look, Infusionsoft is complicated and complex. We wouldn’t be singing its long-lasting praises if it wasn’t! But with complexity comes frustration. So it’s a good thing that Infusionsoft has a strong support team on hand pretty much all the time to help out. Phone support, live chat support, email support — hell, you can even drive over to their office complex in Chandler, Arizona and get a real person to sit down and help you right there. (Yes, I’ve done exactly that. They even gave me coffee.)
Pro #8 = Excellent Training Team
When I started using Infusionsoft, I took advantage of their initial Coaching & Implementation program. This is covered by the initial setup fee. My coach’s name was Brina, and she was fantastic! (I think she trains the other coaches now.) Brina helped me think through my marketing strategies while explaining exactly how my application worked and walking me through things like Sales Opportunities, Campaign Builder, Ecommerce Settings, and lots of other stuff. Those first coaching sessions gave me the confidence I needed to really be successful with the software.
Pro #9 = Dedicated Business Team
I just realized recently how important this point is — Infusionsoft is a really good business with really good people at the helm. That matters a great deal when you think about how fast the Online Marketing landscape changes every year. These guys are really serious about building the most powerful all-in-one small business marketing CRM out there! They have been very successful building the base of subscribers and even acquiring great tools and add-ons to make the software better all the time. In 2013 they even announced receiving $54M in venture capital funding from Goldman Sachs. If that isn’t a major vote of confidence for the future, I don’t know what is! Again, this factor is so important because if you’re going to grow your entire business and “trust the farm” on these guys, then you want to know they’re going to be around for years to come.
Pro #10 = Detailed Sales & Marketing Reports
My final pro for Infusionsoft is all about the reports. Since I started using this app to run my business, I’ve been able to pull so many interesting and revealing reports that reveal the true health of my business. If you’re familiar with the Hawthorne Effect, you know that measuring things in your business almost always results in improvement. As Peter Drucker famously put it, “What gets measured gets managed!” Infusionsoft’s reporting system has forced me to mature as a business owner and really get good at watching the numbers.
There’s simply no such thing as a “perfect” CRM or email marketing system. And Infusionsoft is no exception to that rule. In fact, some of the things I love about Infusionsoft also sometimes annoy me and frustrate me. That’s the double-edged sword of technology. We all want things to work perfectly all the time even though it’s simply never going to be that way. (Even as I write this, our website is down due to a worldwide outage with our hosting provider.) In making my Infusionsoft Cons list below, I’ve tried to be very honest and very open about the problems I’ve had, despite my general love of the software.
Con #1 = Expensive Pricing
Yup, Infusionsoft is going to cost you a pretty penny to get started. First, there’s the monthly fee. Depending on which version of the software you purchase, you’re looking at $200-$300 per month for the base software. Then, there’s the add-ons. Recently, Infusionsoft started charging for total number of contacts (leads and customers) and total number of emails sent per month. The good news is, if you’re business grows, then your app costs will grow and it shouldn’t really impact your bottom-line. Finally, there’s the startup costs. A lot of people argue about this, but what you’re paying for is the “Kickstart Services” that you get when you sign up. Generally, you’re looking at about $2,000-$3,000 for this initial one-time fee. I labeled this con “expensive pricing” but it’s really relative to where you are with your business and what you compare this to. If you compare Infusionsoft to Aweber, for example, $20/month vs. $200/month seems ridiculous. But Aweber is a fraction of the price because it does a fraction of the stuff.
Con #2 = Spotty Tracking
Sometimes things don’t work inside of Infusionsoft. I love all of the Lead Source tracking, for example, but sometimes my leads don’t get tracked correctly. That’s annoying when you want to be sure you can rely upon reports and stats and trends. But the good news here is anytime I’ve had problems I almost always get a solution from Infusionsoft Support.
Con #3 = Additional Employee Training
If you’re like me and you have a team of employees, you’re going to have to train at least some of them when you make the switch. That can be very annoying, but Infusionsoft does offer a whole library of videos you can just have your employees watch to get started. That helps reduce the sting of the initial switch.
Con #4 = Strict Email Delivery
I covered this in my pros list from a different angle. But this can be very frustrating to new Infusionsoft users. Yes, Infusionsoft is super strict about email delivery. If you are trying to send email to cold email addresses (any email you haven’t contacted within 4 months) then Infusionsoft will automatically throttle your email broadcast. This email throttling basically puts a hold on your outgoing messages until Infusionsoft determines what your initial spam rate is. If it’s more than 1 in 1000, you’re going to have to stop and try again. Frustrating yes, but if it helps keep bad email senders out of the “Infusionsoft pool” I’m all for it.
Con #5 = Inconsistent Support Staff
Infusionsoft‘s support staff is so great, I should really take them all out to lunch one day. But I’d also probably have to identify a few people who would need to pay for their own lunch. Haha! Only kidding. Actually, not really. I have had a few bad experiences with some support staff on the phone and via email and live chat. I learned this the hard way, but if it happens to you just end the call or chat and start over again. They’re a fast growing company and there’s simply no way around having younger, less experienced support people floating around.
Con #6 = Excessive Features
There are so many features inside Infusionsoft it can be overwhelming and discouraging in the very beginning. This is why it’s especially important to learn about these many features BEFORE you purchase the software. Some of the features may not be necessary for your business, and you can choose not to include them. You can even add them in later if you realize you do need them.
Con #7 = Additional Fees
As they say, new solutions breed new problems. That’s one little annoying thing that happened to our business after we started using Infusionsoft. I noticed how many other tools I had to buy to really get the most out of the software. Fusedesk, iMember360, and a handful of others. This stuff adds up if you’re not careful. Be sure you need these add-ons before you start paying for them. Obviously, we use these extra tools because they help us make more money and do our job better!
Con #8 = Not Industry Specific
This is a disadvantage that I’ve noticed repels a lot of people. We live in such a “done for me” culture that a lot of people want to use the specific marketing software that was made for their exact industry. Dentists want marketing software for dentists. Insurance agencies want marketing software for insurance agencies. And so on. So yes, Infusionsoft is a general piece of software. But here’s a word of warning — don’t purchase marketing software that’s industry specific just because it’s industry specific. Be sure it can do everything you need to do to grow your business!
Con #9 = Confusing Legacy Tools
“Legacy” is an Infusionsoft term that refers to all of the older features in the software that are slowly being replaced and deprecated. This can be somewhat confusing for new users when they get started. My advice is to forget the word “legacy” all together and just focus on using the tools that work for you. Action Sets, for example, are underrated and underutilized even though most people consider them part of Legacy.
Con #10 = Steep Learning Curve
Ok, here’s the big one. If you can’t get over this final con, then Infusionsoft is definitely not right for you. Here’s the reality — Infusionsoft has a steep learning curve. You’ve got to get in there, learn as much as you can, and really get good at using the app. My advice is to attend at least one of the live training sessions they hold at their office and get as comfortable using the app yourself as you possibly can. Avoid abdicating this over to one of your employees. Getting an employee to help you is a good idea, but having an employee “take over” is a bad idea.
To be fair, I use this software in my business every day, and I really do think it’s the best one out there for small businesses. If you’re a small business with fewer than 25 employees and doing less than say $10 million in revenue per year, this software is probably a very good fit for you.