The HubSpot vs Infusionsoft Debate Rages On
It kinda feels like
- Superman vs Batman
- Mercedes vs BMW
- Single Malt vs Blended Whisky (If you're buying I'll have what you're drinking)
HubSpot vs Infusionsoft Index
Why I Now Primarily Use HubSpot
(See the true and total cost of ownership when it comes to HubSpot vs Infusionsoft.)
On Sept 30, 2014, after 5 years of consideration—and 6 years of exclusively supporting the Infusionsoft platform—I became a HubSpot Partner.
(In October of 2014 I got my Ontraport certification, but that's the topic of another post: Ontraport vs Infusionsoft.)
(And in November 2015 I moved my 8+ year old website with 220 pages and 700+ posts from Wordpress to the HubSpot COS to host my entire site, but that's another topic for another series Wordpress vs HubSpot posts.)
"Why did it take you so long to move to HubSpot, Wes?"
I have to admit that not fully understanding the HubSpot offering and appreciating its power lead me to be a bit harsh in my early reviews of HubSpot.
No platform—Infusionsoft, HubSpot, Ontraport, etc— is right for everyone.
By focusing on Infusionsoft and going all-in on Infusionsoft since the Fall of 2008 I built a healthy business that I run from home and I could not have done it without the power, the support, and the community of the Infusionsoft family.
After working so long and hard inside the Infusionsoft platform—and writing a 700 page Infusionsoft book—I have fully experienced the benefits and the limitations of Infusionsoft.
In 2014 the limitations of Infusionsoft were beginning to outweigh their benefits primarily because they had stretched their original platform beyond its capacity.
The world needed Infusionsoft 3.0 but they were stuck on Infusionsoft 1.0...and it showed.
It showed so much that I began to doubt / worry for the future of the company and I could no longer wholeheartedly support and promote them.
So I took a long, hard look at not only Infusionsoft but how I wanted to structure and grow The Sales Whisperer® moving forward.
I realized I had too many eggs in once basket, which lead me to get certified in both HubSpot and Ontraport in late 2014.
In fact, as of December 2016 I'm one of only a few partners in the world with all 12 HubSpot certifications.
But I'm still not "all-in" on HubSpot, primarily because selling, training, and supporting small to medium-sized businesses on sales and marketing automation platforms is what I do and Infusionsoft still does a lot of things right at an affordable price.
(Yes, Infusionsoft has moved well into Infusionsoft 2.0 and is quickly approaching the Infusionsoft 3.0 level it needs while still keeping their pricing the same while offering unlimited support. More on that later.)
However, based on how my business has grown and evolved, I've made the decision that HubSpot can help me take my business.
So as of Nov 2014 I've been primarily using HubSpot in my business but I still use and like many aspects of Infusionsoft because
- they scratch itches the others don't, and
- my business is helping professional salespeople, sales managers, business owners and entrepreneurs automate their sales and marketing so I need to be well-versed in the leading tools on the market to help you make the best decision for your business.
Looking back on when I bought my domain name in September 2006, I wasn't ready for HubSpot. (I also hadn't heard of them, so I have that in my defense!)
After two years of cold calling and knocking on doors I found myself back in Corporate America when the Big Collapse hit but I was still building my own business.
In the summer of 2008 when I went to meet Dan Kennedy in the Anaheim Convention Center during Infusionsoft's four city marketing tour, Infusionsoft's energy and enthusiasm and optimism—along with their sales and marketing automation platform—was exactly what I needed.
In time I
- wrote a book on Infusionsoft,
- became one of the few Platinum Plus resellers in the world, and
- was named Infusionsoft Partner of the Year in 2013.
But now I see the content-creation and analytics and reporting and lead-capture tools HubSpot offers and I'm excited to leverage them to grow even faster.
With that said, thanks for visiting this page and enjoy this updated post on HubSpot vs Infusionsoft.
As I started writing this analysis (in August 2013) on HubSpot vs Infusionsoft, I was thinking it was like comparing Mercedes vs. BMW, and in a way it is. Both HubSpot and Infusionsoft offer strong sales and marketing solutions, and if you use even a fraction of what each offers your business will be better off.
But the more I dove into this analysis the more I realized the Mercedes vs. BMW comparison is not totally accurate.
HubSpot vs Infusionsoft is more like comparing an X-Ray to an MRI or a Bellhop to a private Concierge.
Both have their place and both serve an important need at different price points.
In these analogies, Infusionsoft is the X-Ray and the Bellhop, while HubSpot is the MRI / Concierge.
While both require an up-front training investment ranging from $0 (with a contract with Infusionsoft) to $500 to $999 all the way up to $3,000, and both offer sales and marketing automation, they go about it in dramatically different fashions.
HubSpot charges a healthy sum for convenience,
good great analytics, elegant tools for creating your content such as emails, lead magnets, and landing pages, and great support.
Previously I compared HubSpot to RedHat, who makes money helping people with the free OS, Linux, but HubSpot offers a lot more than that and I'll be doing some screen shots of my own application as I build it out but during my free trial (which Infusionsoft does not offer) and copious discussions with their sales team, technical team, and technical support, my eyes were opened as to just how much more powerful the HubSpot reporting and analytics tools are.
They are much more than just a Yoast Wordpress SEO plugin or an SEOMoz account.
HubSpot also requires you to prepay for a year (or at least commmit to a one year agreement), and that's a big pill to swallow for many small businesses (and it's why I didn't pull the trigger on their software for FIVE YEARS!)
But you and I know that entrepreneurs can be a flighty group and sometimes we need to just dig deep, pay a healthy sum and use that big credit card statement as an attention-focusing tool that makes us stick with one thing to realize an ROI because doing 37 things to 90% completion just leaves you tired, frustrated and broke.
Case In Point: I help quite a few people switch over from Ontraport to Infusionsoft on a regular basis. Ontraport offers a free trial, an optional setup fee and a 90-day refund when you start. So people jump in to Ontraport literally expecting to not use it.
They are LOOKING for reasons to not like it. And guess what?
They find those reasons, but only after wasting 90 days with something that didn't meet their needs. So they come to me, pay the $999 to $2,999 Infusionsoft Kickstart and get the help and the tool they need to grow. So charging a decent amount for a great tool and great support is a good thing.
Infusionsoft, on the other hand, after the $999 to $1,999 Kickstart, offers a month-to-month contract. However, despite this more affordable approach to bringing on new clients, I still see too many people cancel Infusionsoft both after a very short time—like during their 30-day Kickstart—and even months and years later because they just aren't using the software.
(That being said, I also just signed up a client on Infusionsoft that was not renewing her HubSpot Professional edition because it was overkill for her business. Like I said at the top, there is no perfect tool for every entrepreneur and business.)
Creating, running and building a business is hard work. Any powerful, business-multiplying tool will cost some money and take some effort to learn. So what you need to look at when you compare any sales automation / marketing automation platform includes:
Both HubSpot and Infusionsoft are run and staffed by passionate, motivated professionals who are committed to helping entrepreneurs grow and I like what I've seen and experienced with both.
Affordability / ROI - I've touched on this a bit and will offer more insight below but you are looking at coming up with at least $2,000 up front for HubSpot and you could easily get into the $15,000 to $22,000 range for your first year of HubSpot ownership.
With Infusionsoft you're looking at $999 to $1,999 up front and monthly service access fees ranging from $199 to $379/mo with additional charges for more users and/or more emails/contacts, which could add $50 - $350 more per month.
So over the course of 12 months you could spend $4,387 on Infusionsoft's most rudimentary package up to $6,547 for their Complete package and I've seen clients in the $9,187 per year range on Infusionsoft, put paid monthly instead of annually.
So if Infusionsoft offers exactly what you need right out of the box with no customization, it is obviously more affordable. (I've used it to build a half-million dollar business with no employees, no sales staff, and almost no advertising, but I had to learn a lot of things on my own.)
But if you need more help on the inbound marketing side of things and you need more help and training in creating that content, testing your Calls-to-Action, measuring everything you do in that regard, and getting detailed reports on your marketing efforts, the extra money for HubSpot could be justified.
Via both live support and documentation - Both have solid documentation and HubSpot offers live support on the phone 24/7 but limited at nights, which is fine. Infusionsoft offers live chat support 24/5 as well as during the day on weekends to augment their live phone support during the day, Monday to Friday, with an option to pay for an even higher level of 24/7 support for just $29/mo.
Ease-of-use - both have steep learning curves if you are brand new to this type of technology, but both offer Kickstart services to get you up and running quickly.
HubSpot is teaching advanced concepts as it pertains to mastering Inbound Marketing. This includes blogging, social media, landing pages, lead magnets, calls-to-action, A/B split testing, then measuring, monitoring, and then adjusting your offers to increase your results and helping you automate your Attraction, Conversion, Closing and Delighting. (I've learned most of this on my own and it was an exhausting, grueling experience that I wouldn't wish on anyone.)
HubSpot has a nice CRM—FINALLY—but they do have elegant integrations with the larger players in the CRM space such as Salesforce.com and the larger eCommerce players out there such as Shopify.
Infusionsoft, with their built-in CRM, sales and marketing automation functionality and shopping cart (in the $379/mo Complete package) is helping you automate 50-100% of your entire business, but they do not have a CMS (Content Management System) to help you create and measure the effectiveness of your inbound marketing.
The reason people quit Infusionsoft is because they don't have processes to automate and don't want to take the time and effort to document what they do or how they'd like to do it.
The reason people quit HubSpot is for the same reason. While HubSpot puts a lot of things under one roof, you still have to take the time to create the content and the workflows and test and measure and monitor and adjust your results. (Whomever said owning and running and building your own business is a walk in the park lied to you.)
As you'll see in the three images below, I have sequences that completely automate the outbound / follow-up call process, long term nurture sequences and the entire sales cycle through the CRM functionality of Infusionsoft. (I'll be showing these in my HubSpot account soon.)
Let's say it takes 4 minutes to update a Contact's record after you leave them a voice mail, which includes adding the "Left VM" note, sending them an email saying "Sorry I missed you. When can you talk?" and assigning yourself a Task to call them a day or two later. If you have just 2 salespeople making 30 calls a day that's 60 calls times 4 minutes = 240 minutes or fours per day, 20 hours a week, 1,000 hours per year your two salespeople are wasting with menial tasks that they do not perform correctly 100% of the time.
What if it takes you and me 8 hours to customize a workflow / follow-up automation sequence that can be enabled via 3 clicks on one internal web form like I show below? Would you be happy with an ROI of 8 hours to get 1,000 hours per year back from your 2-person sales staff? If you're paying them $15/hr that's $15,000 per year PLUS the additional sales they'll make because they're not forgetting to follow up.
Now, what if you could clone this follow-up sequence and tweak it for a different product or division within your company?
Now that 8 hours you spent in development originally is cut down to two hours to update the new sequence and your ROI is quadrupled.
So saying "Infusionsoft / HubSpot is hard to use" is like saying "Excel is hard to use. I prefer a paper ledger and pencil."
Give me a break!
Infusionsoft CRM Sales Pipeline Example
Infusionsoft Longterm Nurture Sequence Example
Automate Your Outbound Calling Sequence With Infusionsoft
If you own either of these platforms already and are only nibbling around the edges instead of going all-in on your business, stop reading now and commit to learning and mastering what you already own.
Check here to join the Make Every Sale program for lifetime access, live group training and a private group for realtime support. If you need private help, Contact Me today and we'll discuss what's right for you. If you are still pondering which one to use for your business, the Best CRM For Me free survey can help.
At the end of the day...
You're a busy entrepreneur with ADD and Bright-Shiny-Object syndrome so here's my (almost) unbiased recommendation after looking under the hood closely at HubSpot and using Infusionsoft since 2008 to grow my business and helping 400+ business owners do the same: You need more of the right traffic, which you attract by creating great content with great offers, that helps you convert more window-shoppers into qualified leads that you can then nurture and bond and connect with to then make the sale then over-deliver to then secure testimonials and referrals.
But ultimately you need more sales. (I've never seen a business problem that couldn't be improved by doubling sales.)
Sure, traffic is a component of sales but if you have a crappy site, crappier Calls To Action and crappy follow up, you won't be in business long.
Let's look at traffic-generation for a moment.
HubSpot's main emphasis is on perfecting your "inbound marketing," which I love and support 100% and it's how I built The Sales Whisperer®.
What put me off for so long on HubSpot was that I felt as though they were forcing me to pay THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS A YEAR, every year, up front, to get help
- making a Wordpress Page or Post,
- getting some social media ideas and
- tracking some analytics you can get from Google for free.
But now I see they do so much more than that, and with the new HubSpot CRM, HubSpot makes much more sense for even smaller companies by not forcing you to pay for and connect that crucial component to your business.
I am not a "techie" or "geek" or "coder" but at the ripe young age of 39, while holding down a full time job as I built my company, raising six (now seven) children with my stay-at-home wife who is home-schooling
three four of our kids, and coaching Little League and soccer, I self-taught myself Wordpress and now have a site with 438 614 published Posts and 175 187 published Pages (see images below) with good SEO, good analytics and enough traffic to feed my family, keep a roof over our head, open a new office, staff it with great people and my only cost is my monthly hosting, which can run as little as $3.96/mo.
Update 11/16: This site is my "money site," and I have since moved to the HubSpot COS to host my entire website, which you are reading now. However, many of my ancillary sites are still on the quite-inexpensive hosting mentioned above, although I am moving more and more of them to my HubSpot-hosted site.
HubSpot vs Infusionsoft Wordpress Page Creation
(Before moving to the HubSpot COS hosted platform after 7 years on Wordpress.)
HubSpot vs Infusionsoft Wordpress Blog Post Creation
(Before moving to the HubSpot COS hosted platform after 7 years on Wordpress.)
Over time I added free and low-cost plugins available through the open source Wordpress community or other entrepreneurs I learned about through friends or mastermind groups or private coaches I could afford because I wasn't spending $22,400 a year on a single sales and marketing automation platform.
Look, if you can create a Word document (I prefer Pages on my Mac) or a PowerPoint (ditto for Keynote on my Mac) then you can make a Wordpress Page or Post. If you need to know what Keywords to include in your post, use Google Analytics and Wordpress SEO by Yoast (it's free!). If you need some help, pay someone $50 - or even $500 - to learn and master these tools and have that knowledge forever for no additional fee.
At the end of the next day, if you can type in a competitor's website or if you know your own product category you can use Google's free Keyword Planner (you need to setup an AdWords account) and get keyword ideas for the titles and descriptions and content of your Wordpress Pages and Posts. (Seeing this kinda reminds of me Steve Martin in "The Jerk" when he saw his name in the phone book. All of these keyword ideas for free!! I'm somebody now!)
Affordable marketing automation is the name of the game.
Let's look at these two pieces separately:
Affordability: As mentioned above, you own Infusionsoft on a month-to-month basis while HubSpot requires you to pay annually.
While I was never a fan of the annual pre-pay, I've seen too many people burned by "free trials" and "no setup cost...just jump in and wallow around until you figure it out...then come to us with your hat—and credit card—in hand and pay what we demand to get you on the right track!" to be a fan of those processes, either.
Both Infusionsoft and HubSpot have setup fees ranging between $600 to $3,000 depending on the platform you purchase, and you can easily pay $4,400 to even $20,000 to get started with HubSpot.
But the reality is, businesses that need to grow can swing that kind of outlay, and in most cases they can eliminate $200 to $1,000 or more per month on other tools they are already using in a "Franken-tool" manner, meaning you are hopping around from login to login wasting time on applications that don't play nicely together.
Infusionsoft's Complete package gives you 10,000 contacts for $379/mo, and I've seen a TON of clients that couldn't afford that.
So it's interesting how HubSpot has actually a "bookend" offering compared to Infusionsoft in that you can start for just $200/mo and really learn marketing automation and inbound marketing then, when you have some processes in place, you can step up to the Professional edition for $800 and really kick things into high gear.
But if you need a Shopping cart and/or a CRM, you're looking at extra expenses with HubSpot compared to Infusionsoft, but the Infusionsoft CRM and shopping cart have some limitations as well.
Nothing, mind you, that has kept me from generating over $54,000 a month working from home, but it's not utopia with either platform.
Automation: This is a tough nut for most people to crack at first because they've just never experienced it, so creating sales and marketing automation needs to be easy.
HubSpot offers Workflows, which are fine, but not as intuitive as Infusionsoft's graphically-driven Campaign Builder, which I've shown above.
Infusionsoft also offers both internal workflow and outbound marketing automation, which really sets it apart. The difficulty people have when setting up Infusionsoft is not the actual software, but the thinking that goes into mapping out their ideal process.
As I've shown above, Infusionsoft gives you the ability to tie your email marketing to your shopping cart to your CRM to your affiliate marketing to your social media marketing to your direct mail marketing to your SMS marketing (via 3rd party integration) to your voice broadcast marketing to your fax broadcasting (yes, some people still use fax machines) to your sky-writing marketing (Just seeing if you're still paying attention...but I am looking into planes and blimps and big kites so stay tuned.)
Tying all of that together will take a little elbow grease and brainpower. Since HubSpot does not give you a CRM or a shopping cart or affiliate marketing, etc. it's going to be easier to setup and use. Duh! It does less but costs more, but what it does, it does very well.
Both platforms offer great business-building tools with a different emphasis and vastly different price points:
- HubSpot focuses on the top of the funnel by giving you frameworks for your social media and website content - but you still have to write the content to create the inbound traffic they - and I - say you need to grow. They also give you great analytics, sexy email templates, split-testing capabilities and great training and support.
- Infusionsoft offers true sales and marketing automation - including CRM, Email Marketing & eCommerce - found nowhere else at their *price point along with great training and support. (*Salesforce bought ExactTarget - who already bought Pardot - for $2.5 billion in June 2013 to bring this type of integrated automation to big businesses that can spend $10,000 to $100,000 per month for CRM, email marketing and automation.)
So when it comes to HubSpot vs Infusionsoft for the small to medium business with a finite marketing budget, I'd say start with Infusionsoft, perfect your sales and marketing processes while you blog for free.
If you have the money for both and are new to blogging and social media and inbound marketing, buy both, or buy Infusionsoft from me and then retain The Sales Whisperer® team to help you with your inbound marketing.
If you need more help growing your sales, check out the following resources scattered around this site and a few others I operate, such as: