What is Infusionsoft?
Infusionsoft is a marketing and sales software solution aimed at small businesses that offers that offers CRM and e-commerce functionality in one suite. Through the program subscribers are able to perform a variety of functions such as contact segmentation, customer interaction tracking and run email campaigns with automated triggers based on customer behaviours such as opening an email, clicking on a link, and more. In addition they can perform a range of e-commerce activities such as setting-up digital storefronts and online shopping carts, as well as payment and purchase order fulfilment, and inventory management. Customer quotes, invoices and payment receipts can also be sent.
Through the solution’s reporting and analysis tools, users are able to perform analysis on key parameters like email replies and open rates, campaign performance, and sales and revenue projections in order to track the ROI (Return on Investment) of their sales and marketing activities.
The program can be accessed via Android and iOS devices, and it offers integration with applications like QuickBooks, Salesforce, Outlook and Gmail. It is currently used by more than 23,000 small businesses and freelancers worldwide.
Amongst the benefits offered by the software are:
Built-in e-commerce functionality
Unlike many competing products which rely on third-party integrations, Infusionsoft has built-in e-commerce tools, enabling users to extract contact information from their website, and automatically create it and save it to a customer account. Additionally the program can be used to create an online storefront or order pages, perform post-purchase follow-ups, and handle billing and the collection of payments.
Sales automation capabilities
The program offers powerful sales automation features, which helps ensure consistent brand messaging across all marketing campaigns. Subscribers are able to create and share custom quotes with clients online who can accept them, enabling them to be converted in orders. Pipeline management tools can be used to manage internal projects across sales and marketing teams.
The key features of Infusionsoft are:
Automated Marketing Campaigns
Users are able to create effective marketing campaigns, either by choosing one of the built-in templates, or by creating their own customable designs. Campaigns include email marketing, posts on social media, automated voice broadcasts and direct mail letters. These can be set-up so that they are run on specific dates and times; alternatively, they can be automated so that they are triggered by certain customer behaviours, such as purchases or clicking on a link or landing page.
To ensure that all marketing initiatives and programs are continuously being improved, the program offers web activity tools such as website and landing page analytics, as well as visitor tracking, which can be used with real-time marketing reports to monitor key metrics like open and click-through rates, and social reach.
The program offers tools for customers to design professional-looking business emails, with drag-and-drop functionality. Users have the option of choosing from one of a dozen email templates provided, or they can create their own. Emails can be designed either in HTML format or plain text, and users can include elements like social sharing widgets and textboxes. Layouts can be customised and branded elements introduced through styling tools. The program also offers spam scoring; this is a means of ensuring that emails which are sent out have high inbox delivery rates, and are not rejected by customer spam filters.
In terms of tracking the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, users are able to use the Email Stats page, which displays all the information about a particular broadcast, such as when it was sent, the subject matter, which email template was used, and the number of recipients. A pie chart illustrates how many people opened the email, whilst statistics such as open and click-through rates, bounces and subscribers are also displayed.
Additionally users can monitor how campaigns perform on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ through the Social Reach section.
Infusionsoft offers subscribers the ability to create and manage their contacts and keep a comprehensive record of all customer data, including a complete transaction history. Users can view not only client contact details but also view information such as lead sources and scores, as well as how much money that client has spent with them to date. Tags can also be added – searchable notes that can be used for list segmentation.
The program also allows for the automation of contact management tasks, such as setting-up appointments, or follow-up actions like emails. Active notes can be added on sales leads and clients, and users have the ability to share interaction histories with team mates and colleagues.
Contacts can be imported from third party programs like AWeber, iContact and Microsoft Outlook, or by uploading a .csv file. Custom fields can be added to each contact, and the program asks users whether they plan on including them in email marketing campaigns. If so, then they need to specify details such as how they joined the list, and how often it is intended to send them emails.
The Appointments function is built-into the program, providing users with one place to access customer or lead data, notes and the calendar. It is easy to schedule an appointment or meeting – all it takes is to send a link to a client with a few clicks, saving time that would otherwise be spent on calls, emails or text messages. Once a time has been agreed, a confirmation email is sent to the other party, and a user’s Google Calendar will be updated automatically.
This is the solution’s most recently introduced feature. Pipeline is a lead management tool which helps subscribers organise and manage sales prospects and deals through a single location. It links to customers’ information to that organisations, through one dashboard, can gain insights into all activity and interactions with prospects. The facility is designed to enable organisations to customise sales stages, prioritise work, add a contact or business to a card, and follow-up with leads.
The program also offers users the ability to qualify prospects by assigning lead scores to them. They can customise them according to their needs, and can create various rules, and assign point values to determine the criteria by which a potential lead is assessed, based on a scale of one to five “flames” (with 5 being the warmest leads). Point values can be assigned based on tags from a contact’s information, and might take into account factors like budget or interests, or whether they have been associated, now, or in the past, with any campaigns or opportunities. Users can also set-up automated actions and tasks depending on the score. So, for example, if a prospect reaches three flames that might trigger an automatic email, or a call from a member of the sales team.
The program enables users to create a separate task-orientated dashboard view called “My Day”. Accessible from the main menu, this enables users to adopt some of the methodologies of project management in order to organise their tasks, appointments, notes and opportunities in one central place where they can be seen at a glance, enabling users to set and manage their priorities easily.
For those subscribers who choose to include e-commerce in their package, the program offers a range of tools that enable them to create professional-looking online storefronts for these businesses. Features include digital shopping cards, enabling them to process customer transactions through their website, and customisable templates which can be utilised to design an e-commerce store. Customer payments can be collected either through PayPal or via a credit card – though the vendor does charge a processing fee.
Infusionsoft also offers post-purchase automation. This means that once an order has been placed by a customer, the program will automate the processes for fulfilment and delivery, as well as follow-up actions such as targeted emails and marketing campaigns. Additional e-commerce functionality offered includes inventory management, promotional tools for offering customers discounts and free trials, and referral programs aimed at agency partnerships.
Infusionsoft offers a sliding scale subscription pricing model that increases the more contacts are added to the account. At the base level all plans include one user account, contact management, marketing automation, and the facility to send unlimited emails to contacts. Sales pipeline capabilities and e-commerce functionality can be added for an extra fee. To add an extra user costs an additional US $29 per month.
A sliding calculator on their website can be used to calculate the cost of an individual package. However, as an example:
For 500 contacts and no added extras, the price starts at US $30 per month; if e-commerce is added, this increases to US $48 per month; with sales pipeline as well, the monthly cost is US $66 per month.
Not included in these costs is a one-time fee of US $299 for new user training (online reviews have suggested that this is necessary because the software is not that easy to learn, and the implementation process can take time).
It should be noted that the vendor offers frequent discounts and promotions, so prices may vary from those quoted, although subscribers may need to commit to a minimum 12 month contract to take advantage of some of these offers.
In addition to this, if users want to use Infusionsoft’s built-in payment processing capabilities to accept online payment from customers, they need to pay a flat transaction fee of 2.9% plus US $0.30.
The program offers a free 14-day trial, No credit card details are required but, by signing-up, a prospective customer is warned that they might be contacted via a sales rep. There is also the option to register for a free product demo through their website.
Infusionsoft is a cloud-hosted web-based platform that supports Windows and Mac operating systems. There are mobile apps for Android and iOS, although the online reviews on the various app stores are critical as to the functionality offered to users. In addition, the program can be accessed remotely through mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.
The program offers an open REST (Representational State Transfer) API which offers integration with a host of third party Analytics, Appointments, e-Commerce, Lead Generation and Customer Support programs, and other business solutions, including BigCommerce, Zendesk, WordPress, Booker and Leadpages. In addition it integrates with Outlook and Gmail, and, through Zapier, with hundreds of other apps as well.
I (n the interests of balance, it should be noted that a number of customers have complained that the API does not work properly, and that the integrations promised do not work as they should).
In terms of security, all Infusionsoft’s servers are PCI (Payment Card Industry) – compliant. All the vendor’s data centers are hosted in geographically disparate locations that are protected against physical and cyber-attacks, as well as from natural disasters. Infusionsoft has been certified as meeting the most widely recognised independent security standards. In addition, all network and database activity is logged and monitored for potential security breaches, and user passwords are stored in a one-way hash.
Direct customer support is primarily provided by phone. There are toll-free numbers offered in the US and Canada, the UK and Australia – the main support hours are Monday to Friday 6 am to 7 pm Arizona time. In addition, the UK offers Monday to Saturday support from 2 pm to 3 am; Australia Tuesday to Saturday 11 pm to 12 pm. Support enquiries can also be submitted by email. There is also a live chat facility, although this is primarily for sales-based enquiries.
The vendor can also be contacted via the major social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram.
Subscribers also have the option to seek help from the Infusionsoft community forum – here they can ask questions of fellow users, exchange ideas, and make suggestions for new product features. They can also view the latest product and community announcements, as well as release notes.
In terms of self-service resources, users can access a range of guides and articles, webinars, product videos, and tools. There is also a series of podcasts available for download covering areas of interest for sales teams in small businesses, and a blog section which contain regular posts covering both the product and its application, and more generic business topics.
As regards training, beyond the initial onboarding, users can access the Infusionsoft University which offers online courses. Alternatively, subscribers can choose – at a fee – to work with one of the vendor’s in-house team of trainers.