If you are currently facing Infusionsoft Problems or considering using the platform, let’s talk!
For the uninitiated, Infusionsoft is an excellent platform for automating your company’s marketing efforts. Over 20,000 small businesses depend on the platform, invested in by Goldman Sachs and endorsed by Daymond John (Shark Tank, Fubu) among many others. It includes a very robust eCommerce system, drag and drop email marketing sequences, credit card processing, membership site support and customizable web forms. When properly setup, it can be a fully automated marketing and sales engine, requiring very little changes to keep things running smoothly and profitable.
I have worked with the Infusionsoft platform for over 6 years, having used it to provide the backend marketing and ecommerce engine for the fastest growing real estate product in history. Our company grew so fast, we became the largest customer (by revenue) on Infusionsoft.
Because we grew so quickly, we were constantly putting a strain on the Infusionsoft servers–causing issues for us and even their other customers. It was such a problem – one day we received a call from Infusionsoft CEO Clate Mask inviting us to move onto a product designed for bigger business. Yikes! Here I was hoping they would upgrade their system and instead they are kicking us off!
Life after Infusionsoft..?
Well growth can be exciting but often painful. I began evaluating systems that we could upgrade to and handle our volume. I personally began implementation plans with Netsuite, Salesforce.com, Magento and several other large platforms to ensure we were making the right decision. After the 6 months evaluation process, it was determined the most affordable solution would cost no less than $700,000 to implement and migrate all of our systems, processes, marketing materials, customers–you name it. This was going to be a tough sell.
The Answer (and Best Compromise)
In the end, the decision was a no brainer. Spending $700,000 on a new platform was simply out of the question. The cost alone would be more than 100x what we had already invested in the platform that grew us from nothing to over $12,000,000 per year. We had to come up with a better way of working with InfusionSoft that everyone could live with.
The answer was to develop customized internal applications, buffers, that could handle the higher load activities and act as a flood gate for the order processing and other communication that was going into and out of InfusionSoft. We became InfusionSoft API ninja’s and developed the most impressive solutions for replicating the InfusionSoft engine onto our own systems. We worked closely with the InfusionSoft development team making requests for API enhancements that would allow us to more efficiently request data from their system.
We used these solutions to provide superior reporting, real time dashboards, telephone integration, lead scoring, batched order processing/updating, and even leads sorted by most likely to close being automatically dialed for our sales team. It was magical.
Although that company still runs on Infusionsoft (over 6 years), I have since moved on to bigger things and now help other businesses achieve success.
Things To Consider
I work with over 15 various CRM platforms, but I often end up recommending Infusionsoft. It’s features, support and price point are very hard to beat. It’s not perfect, but it’s often the best solution for companies that are just getting started and likely need every feature that comes built-in to Infusionsoft.
Before I recommend any solution, it’s important for me to explain the limitations to my clients in order for them to be confident in their decision and to manage expectations. I’ve created this list to help guide my clients purchasing decisions and wanted to share these with anyone else considering jumping onto the Infusionsoft bandwagon.
10 – Limited reporting
The built in reports will provide a good overview of what products are selling, your active customers and popular pages. However, it lacks consistency across the system. Many fields are not available for filtering and most reports behave differently from the others. Most systems on the market provide a consistent interface and access to fields, field grouping and filtering that work regardless of the type of data you are trying to extract. Not so here.
9 – Shopping Cart Dated
The shopping cart system is one of the biggest complaints I have. It has received very little attention over the years. It’s difficult to customize and many of the fields do not include data validation. Most fields are simple text boxes, leaving it up to the customer to enter their information properly. Many new customers will enter data into the incorrect fields creating invalid orders. With the growth of mobile commerce, things are only getting worse.
Unfortunately the system provides no support to determine if the customer enters their birth date into the zip code field, or their address into the name field, etc. On average Infusionsoft customers can expect 10-17% of their database to have bad data in one or more fields. This is not a major problem if you’re only going for a ‘one time quick sell’, but when you have multiple products and plans for repeat purchases – it can create big headaches immediately (shipping, contacting customer, returns) and long term (migration, analytics, marketing statistics, ROI).
8 – API
The API is very flexible but has some limitations. For customers with a lot of data, it’s easy to exceed the enforced throttling limitation that ensures you can’t put excessive strain on their system.
As you add features and add-on products, customizations and data analysis tools to your business, you can quickly run into a bottleneck in throughput. Your API integration will begin to conflict with each other. When the API limit is exceeding, all API excess is shut off. This can cause errors to occur and poor user experience when the system won’t process in real time.
You have to be careful to monitor how much and how often your API requests are interacting in order to prevent a disaster. If your volume is low, you have nothing to worry about. But on your biggest sales day, when things stop working – it can be very painful to troubleshoot and ultimately extremely costly if for example that ‘Up sell’ add-on is blocked from accessing the API, it can leave your customer with an error and block their purchase. Closing the deal during that moment is crucial, and although some customers may come back later when the system is less busy-I’ve personally experienced a loss of over $100k in sales due to this unexpected issue. This is especially painful after a very successful webinar where you just motivated everyone to make that first purchase.
7 – It’s Not All Rainbows
Even the best marketing engine can’t sell a product that isn’t well thought out. I’ve worked with many clients who purchased InfusionSoft without thinking through their actual product offering. Take the time to figure out what your offering will look like before making a purchase. The system is not built to guide you through product development, it’s a system to implement a vision. If you think understanding all of the features will help you in building a product strategy, use the InfusionSoft features list as your guide. Having the system without a plan will only create unnecessary confusion.
6 – Performance
At various times throughout the day the interface can become overly sluggish. Loading the dashboard, accessing customer records or pulling reports are all common activities necessary for business operations. Although InfusionSoft has made great strides to improve the end user experience and performance, it on occasion can become slow to respond. If you intend to have a team of customer service representatives that are handling customer calls and need to access their data, time is money.
5 – Compatibility
Infusionsoft exists in it’s own playground–that is, it doesn’t play well with others. If you want to customize some parts of the system to say, work with WordPress or a different commerce system – you are on your own. While there may appear to be endless tools for integration, the reality is that most of them don’t work very well, aren’t documented and are rarely supported.
4 – eCommerce is secondary
I’m going to out on a limb here and make a wild assumption – the eCommerce engine has had very little updates in 5 years. Problems and complaints that plague the forums have gone un-addressed for an extended period of time. My gut is that the are in a very bad place with improving the ecommerce system, for one reason or another. From an outside perspective and a long time user, I simply can’t understand why they haven’t made any improvements in this area. I often recommend that customers use Infusionsoft exclusively as a marketing engine and use something entirely different for hosting their products and checkout process. This eliminates some of the value Infusionsoft brings to the table, however the marketing engine alone pays for itself. Often this is an easy compromise. If you’re only selling one product per ‘order form’, rather than needing a full blown shopping cart–this is less of an issue.
3 – Watch out for SPAM complaints
Here’s a major one. Many customers rely on Infusionsoft for all of their marketing emails. In addition to sending marketing follow ups and newsletters, Infusionsoft also sends emails when customers purchase or renew your products. Some customers send login information or digital goods via email when a purchase is made.
Here is the catch — If for some reason you send out a big marketing message and you upset too many people, Infusionsoft will completely shut off your email ability while they review these spam complaints. During this time your entire order processing can become disabled. When you address their concerns and they re-activate your email powers, the previously unsent emails can be lost forever. Now you are stuck manually sorting out which customers did or did not receive the information you thought they did. Even worse, if you violate this policy too many times – you may get kicked off the system entirely.
“Not a problem” you say – “we don’t send spam.” From experience, when you have multiple marketing professionals using the system, they can accidentally send blank or unfinished emails to your entire customer list. This confusing experience can provoke even your biggest fans to mark your emails as spam and unknowingly shut you down. Tread lightly and you’ll be fine, but one mistake–as we found out the hard way–and your biggest sales day of the year may be completely scrapped due to a simple mistake.
2 – Upgrades cause problems
Over the years it has become almost expected for every Infusionsoft customer to fear system upgrades. When Infusionsoft rolls out new updates to the software, there is a good chance you will experience an unexpected issue. I’ve never seen a company the size of Infusionsoft make such a seemingly low level of concern with breaking their customers systems during an upgrade. It’s far too common for undocumented feature enhancements to roll out and break your order processing. You usually find this out a few days after things have been broken when one confused customer gives you a call. Infusionsoft has been taking these issues a little more seriously lately and I’d love for them to completely eliminate this concern. There is absolutely no excuse for it.
1 – Portability
If you ever decide to leave the platform you should know that the campaign builder and your marketing sequences are not exportable. This is partly due to the fact that there is no standard marketing sequence system, which is what makes Infusionsoft powerful and unique. Should you ever outgrow the system, all of the hard work in marketing campaign design, emails and timing sequences will need to be developed from scratch.
Tags: automation, infusionsoft, marketing
Are you considering using InfusionSoft or already a customer? Do you disagree with my opinion or think I left something out? Any questions? Please let me know in the comments below.