Here's a little background so you'll understand where I'm coming from when I address the statement "Infusionsoft sucks." (Now I guess it's "Keap sucks.")
Since 1994, while creating readiness documents for personnel in my Air Force group deploying to the Middle East, I've been working with databases.
Since 1998 I've been working with client/server databases in business to register prospects and protect my leads.
Since 2000 I've been working with SaaS CRMs in Corporate America to do the same.
And since 2008 I've worked with Infusionsoft/Keap CRM to help small businesses grow their sales without growing their staff so this ain't my first rodeo and I'm not paid to create this post or to say anything nice about anyone or any company (but you can click on my affiliate links, which will eventually create revenue for me if you end up buying any of those platforms.)
Along those lines I am a certified partner of Keap CRM (Infusionsoft), but since 2008 I've steered more people away from it than towards it because nothing is right for everyone.
However, with Keap CRM being developed with an emphasis on simplicity, affordability, and unlimited emails, it's possible that I end up helping more people get started with them than I have in recent years because it looks to be more viable for speakers, authors, coaches, and other solo-preneurs and small businesses.
However, I also resell and support users on HubSpot, Ontraport, ActiveCampaign, and Nimble because these platforms each have unique selling points and features that I am uniquely qualified to determine after decades of experience.
So proceed with confidence through this post, my site, and the Best CRM For Me quiz, because for me to get paid I have to add value to your life by helping you make the best decision. Capitalism is indeed a beautiful thing, isn't it?
The even more beautifuleringly thing is that all of these platforms are affordable to launch and run.
- ActiveCampaign starts as low as $9/mo
- Nimble starts at $22/mo
- Ontraport starts at $79/mo
- HubSpot has a ton of free tools and paid options starting at $50/mo. (Personally I'm on the Enterprise level, which is $3,200/mo with the $50/mo add-on as well as their hosting, which is $300/mo. But I have my reasons and it works for me and my business goals. If you'd like to discuss how I might be able to help you achieve your business goals let's talk.)
If you're not sure which is the best CRM for you, take my free CRM quiz and it'll help you sort through the many variables that come into play for businesses of varying sizes, budgets, and goals.
Now onto the topic of whether or not Infusionsoft Sucks
As a CMAC (Certified Marketing Automation Coach) / ICC (Infusionsoft Certified Consultant) / ICP (Infusionsoft Certified Partner) since the Fall of 2008, author of "The Definitive Guide To Infusionsoft," 2013 Infusionsoft Partner of the Year, I have gotten to know the good people at Keap (Infusionsoft) quite well, and I like them.
Yes, at times they've driven me batshit crazy, but hey, what are friends for, huh?
To throw around a blanket statement like "Infusionsoft sucks" or "Keap CRM sucks" is like saying "soccer sucks" or "Ford sucks" or "IPA beer sucks."
While I understand you may not understand the sport or you had a bad experience with a Ford vehicle or you don't like the hoppy taste of an IPA, to then apply a blanket statement like that to an entire brand or market segment is ignorant at best and arrogant at worst.
Maybe "Ford sucks in my experience" or "Infusionsoft sucks for my needs" would be more accurate. But when you're butt-hurt—justifiably or not—you want your pound of flesh.
Yes, I've had some frustrations with the features—or lack thereof—inside Keap CRM/ Infusionsoft over the years, but the platform they created has empowered millions of entrepreneurs since the early 2000's in growing their sales without growing their staff.
Some Hard Truths About What Caused So Many People To Scream Infusionsoft Sucks
When you spend a large chunk of your days and nights on something for over a decade you pick up on a few things, including some skeletons and some gems.
I think the biggest contributing factor to the "Infusionsoft sucks" drum-beating is that Infusionsoft was first to market for the small business marketing automation segment.
And being first is fine as long as you stay small and lean.
Infusionsoft didn't stay lean and mean.
Things blew up and they added fuel to the fire by hiring Dan Kennedy who is the king of RAISE YOUR PRICES WHILE YOU MARKET LIKE CRAZY AND FIX YOUR SHIT ALONG THE WAY!
I know because I've been a student of Dan Kennedy's since at least 2006.
I have most of his books, have attended many of his InfoSummit and SuperConferences, and even spoke at one in Jacksonville.
It was my desire to meet Dan Kennedy in the late summer of 2008 that brought me to Infusionsoft, so their 4-city tour back then worked!
(That's Dan and me at that conference, in fact.)
Infusionsoft followed Dan's guidance and started charging $5,000 for their software with just one option of five user seats for $299/mo.
Take it or leave it.
And people took it.
They were making money hand over fist and they made plans to grow bigger than Salesforce instead of working on the product.
Before they knew it they had a huge and growing user base, stiff competition, and a code stack that was build on old technology, which meant they couldn't easily update it.
So they rolled out major updates each year and would show them off at ICON but that wasn't enough and it was underwhelming.
So they moved to steady, continuous updates, which were pretty good, but they proved to not be enough because there was so much competition.
So they considered making an entirely new platform...and they considered it again...and they considered it again...and they stopped dancing with who brung 'em...and they considered some new software...then realized they needed new software and they needed to update the old code.
That has taken at least five years and maybe $60 million in VC funding to figure out. (I'm doing some guestimating here but I don't think I'm too far off.)
And now we have Keap by Infusionsoft and we'll see how that goes.
The next factor that lead people to scream "Infusionsoft Sucks" is that because it was priced so affordably—they eventually reduced the setup to FREE! then $1,999 then $999 then settled at $1,499 but stuck with the $299/mo—that every knucklehead with a credit card and an idea bought the software and Infusionsoft was happy to sell it to them.
It didn't matter if they didn't know what a browser was, didn't have a website, had never sold anything online, and had never built a list online. If they could fog a mirror, Infusionsoft would sell them a user license.
Conversely, you had super-geeks coming from under rocks, out of basements, and from the hallowed server rooms of Fortune 1000 companies who expected Infusionsoft to map the human genome, cure cancer, and beat Watson at chess all for $299/mo with some API calls.
So the newbies would forget how to login, the rocket surgeons and brain scientists would complain that it wasn't as robust as $20,000/mo enterprise platforms, and soon everyone seemed to be bitching and moaning like sailors denied shore leave.
Did the Infusionsoft executives think they might be able to go public soon and not have to worry about cleaning up some things? Maybe.
Did the fat-cat VC executives push the founders of Infusionsoft too hard so they could recoup their investment? Maybe.
Did the founders of Infusionsoft set out to build an industry-shaking platform back in 2005'ish from a strip mall in Gilbert, AZ. Ahhh...no.
Were some honest mistakes made as they grew? Yes.
Did they underestimate or turn a blind eye to the severity and impact of some of those mistakes for too long? Ahhh...yes!
Moving right along...
Infusionsoft Support Sucks?
I read this online often and I don't totally get it.
The staff has treated me like gold for well over a decade and they go out of their way to help professional salespeople, sales managers, business owners, and entrepreneurs grow their sales.
The chat support is usually timely if not immediate and the phone support was shaky back around 2013 when they had such explosive—unrealistic—growth but that was due mainly to the large influx of new hires they had to bring on quickly who had to learn the platform.
And, no, I don't get better support because I’m an Infusionsoft Consultant.
I’m also not some world-renowned super marketer or diva.
I'm just a stubborn Air Force veteran with 7 kids building my own sales and marketing consulting gig in the bowels of SoCal with a passion for sales and marketing training/consulting and I call 'em like I see 'em.
Is the Infusionsoft support as good as HubSpot support?
It's hard to beat 24/7 phone support from a company worth nearly $2 billion, but you pay for that level of support. (It's also why I'm an Apple user. I like reaching a smart tech support person in my time zone that knows how to communicate.)
Does the support rep sometimes get bad input from their higher-level support and/or the product development team?
Yes. I think they do.
I also think Infusionsoft has kicked the can down the road for too long on some critical components and that has bitten them in the ass.
I think they are now owning this and we'll start to see this turn around. (Once again, this is a guestimation on my part, but I do think they are committed to restoring some luster back to the brand.)
You wanna know which CRM really sucks for the small businesses that Infusionsoft supports? Salesforce.com.
Don't get me wrong.
I'm not saying Salesforce sucks as a whole. After all, they are the 800-lb hippo that essentially invented the CRM SaaS model and they are all-powerful.
I first started using SFDC back in 2004 as a traveling salesman with various tech companies.
I was also certified as a trainer with Salesforce.com when Dell deployed it back in 2007-2008, and have helped many grow their sales with improved CRM pipeline management with Salesforce.
Salesforce is a great tool for larger companies with larger staffs and the budgets to run them.
But they are expensive, confusing, and they don't offer the toolset small business owners need to automate their sales and marketing.
Everything is extra with Salesforce unless you're on their most expensive packages, which is why I say Salesforce sucks for small businesses way more than Infusionsoft sucks.
Stop kicking tires and uploading your logo to a bunch of tools you don't know how to use and why you want to use them and what you want them to accomplish for you.
Map out your processes before you login, then...
Those who buy Keap CRM for their small business benefit when they are looking to:
- embed web forms.
- build a database.
- tag that database for future, relevant correspondence.
- communicate with that database regularly with good, relevant content.
- codify and quantify their unique selling propositions to ensure their messaging is delivered to 100% of prospects 100% of the time.
- track open rates with HTML emails and trackable links embedded in the emails.
- process credit cards (ecommerce) for both one time orders and subscriptions via order forms and/or a shopping cart.
- offer an upsell at the time of checkout.
- store and share notes and files/documents with small teams.
I’m glad the Keap CRM Setup has been lowered to make it more affordable for small business owners.
Back in the day it was $5,000—and it's still one of the best investments I ever made!
Then it went to $1,999, $1,499, $999, and now it's as low as $299, depending on how much setup and support you need to get started.
That setup fee gets you a dedicated person (like me) to help you get started with up to 4 hours (5 to 10 hours if you order Keap CRM through me) of private assistance. Try getting that from some of the other guys.
Keap CRM, when installed and used properly, is PERFECT for the one-office dentist, Realtor, mortgage broker, promotional items company, IT VAR, restaurant owner, etc with 1 – 25 employees and thinks marketing is putting a wrap on their car and their picture on their business card and expect the phone to ring.
I’ve been selling and/or training since 1995 and I can tell you that Keap CRM/Infusionsoft and Dan Kennedy made me stretch to fully comprehend and begin to master the art of marketing through persuasive copywriting, consistent follow up and upsells.
Did Infusionsoft sell a little more than they could handle back in 2007-2009? Probably. (How many small businesses [or former small businesses] wished they had that problem?)
Did it cause some pain for some users? Obviously.
Are some of their sales people a little pushy and cheesy?
Yes (but none of them have been through my sales training courses like the Make Every Sale program, but I've offered!)
Do any of the sales people possess the power of telekinesis or Jedi Mind Tricks that forced people to buy?
Not that I know of.
Do the support staff blow people off?
Apparently, but they’ve never done it to me nor any of my clients and I don’t have ESP, telekinesis or Obi Wan’s powers.
Are the support staff inexperienced? I noticed an influx of rookies as they grow but I'm not sure how any fast-growing company can change that. Fast-growth has its own unique pains and getting support people up to speed quickly and affordably will always be a challenge.
Without a doubt.
If you’re a 90-person company with 650 SKUs and you’re growing 50% a year and you’re adding 5 products a month, neither Keap CRM nor Infusionsoft would be right for you, but they admit it.
If you don’t have a list, you’re just starting out online, you’ve never created a webform and you’ve never even used the “Categories” feature in Outlook to segment your contacts, might you be better off with a ConstantContact account for $19 or $29/mo?
But how big do you want to be and how quickly?
If the answer is “BIG” and “fast” then it may be worth it for you to start out with Keap/Infusionsoft.
If you’re a 10-person company with two sales people and you, the owner, are involved in sales and and you’re doing manual, duplicate entry and sales and leads are falling off the table then Infusionsoft can be a life-saver.
But if you’ve never written a follow-up sequence or exported contacts as CSV files or tagged/categorized contacts, and you can’t explain your own company’s USP and you can’t rattle off in your sleep 3 COMPELLING reasons why I should buy from YOU then you’d be well-advised to take the $299 you just saved on the Infusionsoft setup fee and retain someone to help you set all of this up for you FROM DAY ONE!
Because sales and marketing are:
- Not the same.
- Not as easy as it looks.
- Friggin’ IMPOSSIBLE to master in a timely fashion for the typical “E-Myth” technician that thinks “I can shimmy a door better than my jerk of a boss” and goes out on his own to open his own contracting business only to have his ass, kidneys, liver, lungs, nostrils, knee caps and esophagus handed to him a mere 6 months later after he’s run out of fancy business cards and relatives he can beg business off of.
If you try to duct tape your marketing and bootstrap any platform, in 4 months you’ll be out $800 to $3,000 in consulting in fees, $8-$20,000 in lost opportunity costs, and 80 hours of software-induced frustration and you’ll be posting on here your love for Infusionsoft rather than Infusionsoft is awful or Infusionsoft sucks.
Now go sell something.