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Review: "The Truth About Infusionsoft and Successful Implementations"
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Clifford Jones profile photo
Updated October 02, 2015

Review: "The Truth About Infusionsoft and Successful Implementations"

Score 1 out of 101
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Software Version
Premier
Modules Used
Ecommerce, Affiliate Partners, CRM, Email Marketing, Campaign Builder, and more

Overall Satisfaction with Infusionsoft

We have used Infusionsoft for basic CRM function, email marketing and selling our business, sales and marketing advice (Contract CMO/CSO) and related services such as search marketing, lead gen, sales enablement, content, etc. It has enabled our team to organize much of our business process.
  • It's all in one which is good and bad.
  • Keep us organized when the entire team commits to using it consistently.
  • Helped us manage new, inbound leads we generated, even though setting up lead scoring was a pain in the butt.
  • We set up our "products" which we sell as services and integrated with Auth.net and our merchant account.
  • Created internal notifications for new leads, tasks, etc.
  • We build campaigns using the campaign builder, by far the best element of the solution.
  • Enabled us to set up pretty solid campaigns and track results even though report features are not so strong.
  • It's all in one so every element of the solution is compromised.
  • It's has bugs and they really need to hone in on development.
  • Their sales practices are very direct. Never buy any software in a seminar and expect it to be a well though out decision. Do your research before you buy this solution.
  • It get's expensive fast, even when they promote their red light specials. Too many pay walls in lieu of native integrations.
  • The best practice is to make sure whomever implements you into this software has vast sales, marketing, and tech experience to ensure your success. Cookie cutter solutions don't work.
  • It's foolish to think most if any real business owners will ever learn to run a software application like this. If you're good at making paper clips or envelopes and selling them by the billion then stick to that and plan to hire a professional and pay them at least $175 - $250 per hour. Otherwise you'll likely get a tech person pretending to be a business adviser.
  • All software like this is only as good as the strategy, content and work flow you put into it. Garbage in, garbage out.
  • Our success is NEVER based on software. Neither is yours. Software is a tool. Your success and ours in business and life have more to do with your strategy, discipline, focus, ethics, team and overall desire to succeed no matter what.
  • I used to be far more in favor of this solution until I got to see a number of new competitors who focus on pure automation, business intelligence, ease of use for professionals to implement, etc.
  • The worst part about this solution is how hard they make it to import and clean list, regardless of source, and begin using the system to send emails, which is it's core function. They make it hard to do this on purpose, under the guise that it's about list integrity, deliverability, etc. And they compel recipients of emails to report you for spam on the tail end of an opt out. Yuck. Many competitors will not make it so hard! But this doesn't mean you can import crappy lists and perform spammy email practices.
The others are not trying to be all things to all people. The others don't pretend their solution is the end-all-be-all to save small business owners. They are not all in one and don't pretend to be, regardless of the price points, from lower to higher. We used Infusionsoft because I, as the owner of the company, was willing to invest hundreds of hours learning and using the system. Plus, I paid out thousands of dollars over the first several years for others to help me integrate it with our marketing campaigns because I am not a programmer and never will be. I enjoy doing this kind of work on top of the coaching and advising I do for a living. Then I made automation and content marketing a natural extension of my business. It complimented by business model, until recently, when we found a better solution that does not try to be all things to all people and save the world.
Never buy software in a seminar or trust a friend or "trusted adviser" who tells you how awesome this software is. Hire an objective business, sales, and marketing adviser who you pay to give you advise on what is best for you, much like anything else that costs a lot of money, time and is essential
to the success of your business. Their sales people have one objective which is to sell you their software. It is a sales focused culture. Good sales and marketing strategy is CRITICAL BEFORE you invest in any solution like this. Do your homework. The single biggest mistake we see is lack of clarity on strategy, or really lousy strategy going into this and other systems like it.

Using Infusionsoft

3 - Sales, marketing, programming, content, design, etc.
2 - You need to know how to use this or any other software by sucking it up and putting in the time and money. Otherwise, plan to pay a qualified professional. Our designers, programmers, and sales people use a solution like this.
  • Marketing people use it for broadcasting and automated marketing campaign functions. Broadcast email > track opens/clicks > get a marketing or business result you can measure.
  • Sales people use it for adding and managing contacts, tasks, notes, opportunities.
  • Sales and marketing uses it's minimalist cart for products, links to products so we can sell a product or service and take in the revenue through our gateway and merchant card account.
  • Sales management/owner uses it to track limited data due to system reporting limitations, unless you went to MIT or work at NASA.
  • Owner uses it for campaign mapping, sales activities, CRM and reports.
  • We keep it simple. You don't need to be Albert Einstein to know, "Everything Should Be Made as Simple as Possible, But Not Simpler." Yes, he said that.
  • We could pay up the wazoo for a host of applications that sit behind pay walls to get innovative. We could add hours of programming to get the open API to dial in with other applications. Or we could use Zapier to do some of this.
  • See #1.
  • We are not planning to use it as primary platform of Oct 1, 2015. We found a better way, for us.
  • We could stick with it and continue to be frustrated by it's all in one and many limitations, bugs. If there is a more suitable, cost effective solution then seek a qualified adviser to help you.
We are a certified partner and we keep that status in good standing. But we don't use it as our core platform any longer. It's important to disclose that we work with many other technology and other solution partners/companies and remain agnostic in delivering these solutions to clients.

Evaluating Infusionsoft and Competitors

Yes - I used ACT for the prior 15 years or so and had great success scaling my former business before I sold it and started my sales and marketing advisory practice in 2003. It wasn't until late 2006 that I started searching for a new solution when I came up Infusionsoft. I wanted an online solution that was more robust.

The real key was being a SaaS solution. I saw that as the future and wanted to be mobile and remote as much as possible because I built this business as a lifestyle business. I didn't want to be tied to an office, internal servers, IT people, etc. I wanted a system I could take command of, learn to run it well and optimize it as I grew.

The truth is I just do for other small companies what I learned to do with these systems. I need solid but not off the charts CRM like most small companies, I need to add custom fields and customize the application a bit, and I need several core marketing campaigns running at any given time including my new lead, new customer, long term nurture and targeted promotions.

So it is all about Infusionsoft having given me and my small team what we needed at the time.
  • Price
  • Product Features
It was affordable for us at the time in 2008, except I had a much higher internal cost of time and money to get it to do what we needed it to do then and up until we move on. To be honest all of these solutions for email, marketing, reporting and contact management have a cost to implement and optimize. So I, like everyone else, have to factor the elements that are best for my goals, needs and team capabilities.

Again, I strongly suggest you do your homework before you buy any solution.

I believe that when any business owner evaluates any system for even email marketing by itself, that there is a natural tendency, a resistance or reluctance even, to learn and optimize the software solution. So it sits there, underutilized. And like I do with some of the software I buy for our company and personal use, it gets used part of the way. And any time I want to use it more of the way, and it's beyond my skill set, I am more than happy to pony up what it costs to hire someone who can help me. I practice what I preach which makes for a clean living and healthy business practice.
Back then Infusionsoft was breakthrough. There wasn't any real competition if you wanted all in one. We migrated from ACT and iContact back in 2008. But that has all changed in recent years and Infusionsoft has the ugly reputation it has for a number of reasons. Can't live with it any longer.

Today, take your time working with a real trusted adviser whom you are wiling to pay to help you make a fully informed decision based on you, your team and your business, sales and marketing goals. There are many great alternatives on the market today. Thank goodness. Solutions like this make it way easier to start, fund, market, sell, manage and scale any small business. There are tons of success stories when it comes to marketing automation campaigns for both B2B and B2C. There are also tons of train wrecks regardless of the technology solution. You can't go into any of these solutions half-assed. You have to be prepared to really dig in yourself, ask if this is the best and most productive use of your time and determine at what point you need to hire outside or in house talent you can really trust to take the lead.

Make sure you have a great person to run this or other automation systems.

Infusionsoft Implementation

It was frustrating as hell. You can't teach a kid to ride a bike in a seminar, you can't do it over the phone with tech support, unless you have some talent and the patience of Job. Being is business is hard enough. Adding new software is a pain in the butt. The path of least resistance is to find a professional who lives in this stuff and pay up for the talent. It's less expensive in the long run and you'll likely not need to self medicate. As much.
  • Implemented in-house
I was just geeky and curious and willing enough to invest over 10,000 hours to become a master at this.

If you want to be a master of Infusionsoft and your business, you need to be good. Really good.

Focus on your highest and most productive use of time.

Outsource or delegate the rest to people smarter than you who specialize. The alternative is suffering longer than you should and losing money.
Yes - You can set up a core campaign to launch and this kind of software is never an event, it's always an ongoing function until the day you decide to sell your business, shut it down and take the day job you hated in the first place. Do NOT plan on implementing this or any other real software on your own in a seminar, especially if you are really good at what you do and want to keep focused on your core business. Do NOT buy software in a seminar. Do NOT come back to the office all pumped up to dump this or any other new software implementation burden on your assistant, sales person, or anyone else unless they plan to become a real expert and own this system as if they paid for it by themselves.
Change management was a major issue with the implementation - The word change must be qualified by disruption, which is true for any major software implementation, especially this one.
  • Frustration.
  • Frustration.
  • Joy when we got it working for us.

Infusionsoft Training

  • Online training
  • In-person training
  • Self-taught
This training is taught often to the lowest common denominator so as to help as many customers of theirs as possible. We do the training and coaching and implementations for our clients. But clients who I know who have been to their training get trained well. The gap that can exist lies in you doing your part and really investing in using and building out the application.

The training and education is only as good as your willingness to apply it.
If you're willing to click and learn as you go, there are great resources for training including on page help and video.
No. Not at all.

Training is an event. Coaching is a process. This is a system that demands ongoing coaching and training.

Get a real pro to look at your sales and marketing strategy and advise you to get the training or coaching you need.

Certified consultants have continuing education and exam re certification every year.

Configuring Infusionsoft

If you want lose your mind and you're not a software person, or you don't have one on your team, plan on paying a professional! Plan on investing thousands. Don't let some kid in a cubicle do your Kick Start. The partners they pay for Kick Starts see it as a loss leader, work for peanuts on the rev share they get of your money and who knows what you'll get.

You can configure the CRM, campaigns, templates, pages, etc. on your own, but why the hell would you want to do this if you enjoy and are good at what you already do? Keep it simple, like Einstein. You can configure the campaigns really well using the Campaign Builder, by far the best feature of this software. But why when you can more easily white board or use a mind mapping tool or whatever it is you like best. That's where these guys got the idea for the Campaign Builder. Their best and most successful business people and certified partners were doing this in the first place.

Everything Should Be Made as Simple as Possible, But Not Simpler

Plan on paying a qualified professional whom you like and trust at least several thousand dollars over 1-3 months for solid advice and implementation services. Or pay them and plan on being disappointed. Anything less than this and you'll be pissed.
Yes - we have customized the interface extensively -  Not much to do here but tweak user preferences for the dashboard. Why bother in the first place unless you want to blow extra money that small businesses don't have in the first place.
Yes - we have added extensive custom code - The custom coding goes with making this work well with your website, API integrations, etc. Keep it simple small business owners and people!

Everything Should Be Made as Simple as Possible, But Not Simpler. - Albert Einstein

No. We keep it simple and so should you unless you need and want some Starship Enterprise function which is akin to me taking my 1974 Chevy Vega and tricking it out with carpet on the dash, an 8-track, and fat tires and wheels. Yeah, I was a punk kid growing up in Laconia, NH. But seriously, this is your business. If you need to trick this dog out then you should have looked at other solutions instead.

Infusionsoft Support

It may be easy to get someone on chat or phone for which I give these guys credit. But this does not mean you will get the answers you want or like. It's a buggy system. Why? Because it's all in one. The CRM is decent. The cart a joke. The email editor laughable. Affiliate partner function serves a huge business risk unless programmed by a NASA level consultant for which you can and must pay dearly. There are just too many bugs overall.
ProsCons
Support understands my problem
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
Slow Resolution
Poor followup
Less knowledgeable
Not kept informed
Escalation required
Yes - There is no premium support unless you count them selling you consulting services which they do at cut rate fees against often more qualified, independent consultants, the minority of whom have sufficient business, sales, marketing and tech experience to serve you well. So, yes, it comes in the form of even me having to pay my team and subcontractors big bucks to get what I want, and I keep it pretty simple. And I'm cool with being a software adviser only in the context of being a much better business, strategy, sales and marketing guy with 30 years of experience. The average small business owner should plan on investing thousands of dollars to have functional, fully integrated, end-to-end marketing campaigns which includes work done in the app and outside of it on landing pages, sites, etc.
Yes - Duh.
Look, the people who work in support do their best to help customers work on a buggy platform. They are always very nice and very patient. But they don't know much at tier 1. Beyond that, it's a buggy system so everyone is scrambling behind the scenes when not raving about how freaking awesome their company culture is. It gets expensive fast to make this thing work well for any business. The biggest blunder they make is telling the world how easy it is to use, selling the dream of helping really small businesses without talent or much capital, if any, that this software and their internal people can help get sales results. Like with all software, watch the hell out before you pull the trigger and NEVER buy software in a freaking seminar. Geez.

Using Infusionsoft

Buyer beware. Be prepared to invest many hours if you plan to manage this application yourself. This is true of any automation solution. Can you take classes and go to University again and become a great marketing automation expert yourself? Yes, probably. But should you be investing your highest and most productive use of time building out Infusionsoft. Not likely.

Which means you need to plan on finding someone you can trust and that is the plain truth. There are many qualified consultants who have sufficient sales, marketing, business, content, life and Infusionsoft experience to help you get results. But far too many people decry this as an all in one solution that is easy to use. This will never be the case even though the product development team is constantly working to make it a better product and easier to use.

We don't make our own paper clips for a reason. We outsource all the time. We have to make really informed decisions on the solutions we use and then commit to learning best practices for marketing regardless of the platform.

Do not expect to pay someone less than $150-$250 per hour to really make this application sing. Or pay them for training or internal services and then kick yourself.
ProsCons
Well integrated
Do not like to use
Difficult to use
Requires technical support
Inconsistent
Slow to learn
Cumbersome
Lots to learn
  • CRM and that's about it unless you're willing to suck it up and really put in the time and money yourself. What is your time really worth? What are you best at doing in your business? If it's not setting up marketing automation applications plan on hiring a professional.
  • The campaign builder is phenomenal.
  • The dashboard is easy to customize for quick look stats.
  • The campaign builder requires serious time and training, coaching really, to get to learn it. Once you learn it it can be a game changer.
  • The email editor and landing page editors have limitations that can be frustrating when customizing.
  • Shopping cart limited.
Yes - Yes, but the app is weak. You can see contacts and some basic function on it. There is a related app to scan business cards instead of more cumbersome data entry which seems to be a big deal for humans. Hence, the stack of business cards sitting on desktops waiting to be followed up on! Fact of life I suppose.

This is not a mobile based application. It's meant to be used at a computer, mostly on Firefox as the browser of choice for me. Not so friendly in Chrome or IE, etc.

So don't count on this like you would say a Salesforce or other more mobile friendly solutions that are geared to sales enablement or customer relationship management which tends to be the focus for sales-driven companies. This software does have the ability to target mobile users by integrating third party solutions for SMS, mobile commerce, and more.

So don't look to Infusionsoft to be your super mobile friendly stay out of the office and dominate the free world on your smart phone. Plan to be sitting in front of your computer learning and using Infusionsoft or paying someone who is qualified to really get it dialed in for you so you don't lose your mind!

Infusionsoft Reliability

Pricing is user and email and function based. Way too many pay walls and not native function for scaling. It's scaleable with NASA level marketing automation talent you must pay to engage. Otherwise, it gets expensive quickly for scaling to a true small business, which is what they target. Over 25 users and you're screwed. Look at the competition first, evaluate what you really need for your business and start there. Keep it simple, build your cash flow and confidence in the people you hired to make this work and then scale. Don't get sucked into the dream that this thing will help you sell your book to millions and you get famous while hanging on your boat or whatever. Building a small business is hard enough. Adding software often adds complexity in order to successfully scale.
Haven't experienced any real issues with availability. Reliability is another deal.
OMG, it's all in one and that compromises everything, fundamentally. If you want a race car, invest in a race car. If you want a dune buggy, get that. If you want a boat that floats, go for it.

Integrating Infusionsoft

Because you need to pay a professional and the sales gurus at Infusionsoft won't always tell you what this really means to you, your small team and your budget. Not to mention your sanity.
  • Beware. If you integrate third party solutions via links and your website, great. Pretty simple.
  • If you want to use Send Out Cards, etc. you hit a pay wall and your cost goes up.
  • If you do API integration plan on paying top dollar. Make sure you need this and carefully evaluate the many competitive solutions with native integration. (Built in.) Plan on paying a programmer and real business, strategy, sales and marketing pro to make this or any other automation platform perform well. Or plan on losing your mind. And more money. Did I mention time and aging in dog years?
  • Not any more. We're moving on because of the many pay walls and all the strings attached. What I mean by this is you have to pay for applications that others have built to integrate added function. They deserve to get paid for this. But in other solutions there are integrations built into the solution so you don't have to pay for a third party solution and the support that goes with it.
It depends. I know of one guy who lives on an island, works in a hut near the beach and does pretty good work and provides decent support. My only concern is what happens to you if something happens to him or her?
  • API (e.g. SOAP or REST)
  • Javascript widgets
  • AppExchange or similar marketplace
Plan to pay an experienced professional. Period.

Relationship with Infusionsoft

They are well trained sales people. They will tell you easy it is. They pay commissions to trusted advisers to sell you into this. They pay partners to sell you into this. They pay pretty much anyone a referral fee to sell you this unless they changed that policy. Which means you better ask the person what's in it for them if you buy this sucker. You should plan to pay a qualified consultant to help you evaluate all solutions so you can be more certain you get what is most SUITABLE FOR YOU. NOT THEM. As a soon to be former certified partner, they are a nightmare to work with. But they put that all on me or others like me who dare to stand up to them and tell them they should drink less Koolaid. Holy cow, Batman.
The vendors are known as partners and developers. (Except a few dishonest ones who overstate their ability and integrity and steal my or your money.) Many I know personally are phenomenal people who are well qualified and have the best of intentions. Use these people. Avoid the internal kick starts and select someone who knows strategy, sales, marketing and the tech or else you are non likely to be very happy. Hence, their reputation being what it is.
When they are not playing red light special sales trained stupid tricks you get what you get. Look at their pricing page. Sometimes they will wheel and deal for you. Don't fall into the sales games sales people play tricks.
Hire an outside consultant who is qualified to advise you on Infusionsoft and other competitive solutions. Period. And NEVER buy software in a seminar because the NLP trained guru assured you how awesome it is.

Upgrading Infusionsoft

Yes - They are doing their best to make the product better and their releases do improve life. But it's still a buggy application. I believe their leadership is committed to making a better product over time. However, the primary focus for this company has been sales: getting and keeping customers, which of course is a priority for all of us. However, we all want to a better product and the way a better product is defined is by what feedback a software company gets from it's customers.

Infusionsoft does take in a lot of feedback from customers and how that impacts internal focus of resources on product development is tough to say from the outside. So the product is always improving in many ways, but there will always be people who find they are frustrated and can't get what they expected for many reasons. We have to count on doing what we can with this solution in terms of it's multi use function including CRM, email, ecommerce, and partner or affiliate tracking. I suggest they streamline the product and really hone in on automation and analytics, plus the ability to build way prettier more customized forms, emails, landing pages, etc.

There have only been a couple of occasions I could not access the product.
  • Campaign Builder released a few years ago was huge. The Legacy builder was a disaster even for guys like me who were willing to be a certified partner.
  • The My Day is a great feature for active users.
  • Small, incremental improvements in building emails.
  • It's imperative they make it easier to build better email designs/templates.
  • It's imperative they make it easier to build better web form designs/templates.
  • It's imperative they make it easier to build better landing page designs/templates.