Dadgum it. I never was a fan of soap operas. But this is a terrible saga of love at first sight followed by the slow painful death of love.
Sounds kinda like the soaps. Maybe it is one?
Salesforce was like my first “love.” But Confusionsoft, I mean Infusionsoft, complicated things.
If you’re reading this page then there’s a 97.3% chance you’re considering Infusionsoft vs. Salesforce and therefore, this will be one of the most useful pages you’ll find and the entire interwebs.
Since I use Infusionsoft everyday and used Salesforce long enough to realize it didn’t meet my needs, I’ve been where you’re at. I’ve put in the time to get to know both platforms.
What you have here is my answer… which is cool because from now on when people ask me that question I can just send them here.
In all honesty, I couldn’t care less if you bought one or the other. My only hope is that if you’re going to invest in one or the other, you make sure that it’s right for your business so you don’t make the mistakes I did.
Salesforce (SF) is one of the largest and most prolific customer relationship management (CRM) platforms for business on planet earth and I’m a sucker for good software. Compared to Infusionsoft (IS), it’s like David and Goliath.
But like every software on this side of the galaxy, each has major flaws and blindspots.
There’s no such thing as perfect software, even if you build it yourself.
In the case of Salesforce vs. Infusionsoft, they aren’t even that alike. They’re almost in completely different categories. It’s like a 50-yard fake-out, you think it looks like what you want but then when it gets closer you realize you were crazy (Did I really just say that?)
Goliath is humongous, slow, stiff and exposed in the forehead and the army people behind him may be overconfident. David is fast, flexible, smart but somewhat overconfident while being inexperienced and never wearing his armor.
This whole deal between Infusionsoft and Salesforce is kinda like that.
Apples and Oranges? More like Okra and Passion Fruit
What’s interesting is that people compare Salesforce and Infusionsoft as if they’re interchangeable.
Not so folks.
The reality is that the two are not even in the same category of software… but it’s easy to think that they are because of all the misinformation out there.
There are literally only a couple features that overlap, everything else is unique to one or the other.
That means that by the time you’re done watching the video above and reading this page it should be crystal clear to you whether you should strap your business to Salesforce or Infusionsoft.
I Don’t Usually Do this But I Have a Bias… On Purpose
Although I like to stay as unbiased as possible when writing about software, when it comes to the battle between SF and IS, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t in the IS camp.
Why? Because Infusionsoft has made me a grundle of money, a lot of it while I’m sleeping. Salesforce never did that for me.
There’s a simple reason for that, Salesforce did not in any way meet my marketing needs.
In my businesses, I like to make sales all day and night. Only way to do that is to automate as much of my sales and marketing as possible so that I’m making money while watching the game.
There, I said it. I like to make money while I’m sitting in a lazy-boy relaxing. Work hard in the day, relax in the evening knowing my bizness is running smoothly.
The Choice is Yours
After running the gauntlet myself in choosing between the two and considering it back and forth for far too long (i.e. wasting inordinate amounts of time and money twiddling my thumbs because I didn’t want to make a poor decision and waste money… and time), I realized the choice was clear all along.
Salesforce is fantastic. It does an amazing job for all things CRM. It’s pervasive, and rightfully so. They do a core set of things really well and have a massive user base with a litany of integrations to other popular platforms. It’s convenient and relatively affordable.
And their mobile apps are amazing.
Truth be told, they are a far better CRM than Infusionsoft.
So what gives?
The lack of marketing features in Salesforce broke me down so I threw in the towel. I needed more than just a fancy organization tool.
I wish they invested into building the marketing features I needed. I’m talking about simple stuff like basic 21st century automated email responses so we didn’t have to go in manually and send email 1000 times a day or be limited by 250 emails a day.
But alas, it never happened.
It was pretty clear that SF was just a one trick pony and I needed some more tricks and I didn’t want to pay $X,XXX for basic marketing functionality.
So I bailed.
Even then, bailing is hard because Salesforce is like the thing to do… it’s hard to be different and go a separate way sometimes. You feel like you’re missing something, maybe there’s some big brand loyalty.
That’s where it gets funny to me… I’m convinced more people sign up for Salesforce because of the everyone-is-doing-it peer pressure mentality than it actually being right for their business.
SF just seems like the right thing to do. That’s powerful branding and brand loyalty right there.
Maybe because SF is too big of a company and change is hard. Maybe because they knew what their core competency was and didn’t want to branch out. (That’s what I meant by Goliath being old and slow).
At any rate, you and I are here now so let’s dive in.
What’s Most Important
What I hear small businesses need most is three things:
- People problems.
Organization. We have so much data coming from everywhere and if it’s not managed, we get buried. Problem is, too many of us are stuck in our ways using things like ACT!, Bento, Microsoft Access, spreadsheets, and even pieces of paper in a file box (yes, there’s people that do that still).
Organizational efficiency is critical to any business.
The opportunity loss due to inefficiency is astronomical. Customers and prospects fall through the cracks and our business is prostrate on the floor, gasping for air and hemorhaging itself to death.
That’s sad… every time that happens a fairy dies and you go home at the end of the done feeling like something’s missing. And we lose sleep at night over it. Our relationships suffer because of stress. It’s bad. If you’ve been there you know what I’m talking about.
Marketing. There is nothing more important in a business than marketing. That’s what brings eyeballs and grows your business. Everything else is secondary.
But most business owners are intimidated, scared or just plain lazy when it comes to marketing. So that marketing itch is always there and you’re never able to scratch it.
I get it, nobody started a business to become a marketer. It’s learned over time and it takes time and time is valuable and scarce.
But everyone, I mean everyone, comes to a point in time where if they don’t start marketing, their business is going to suffer.
The idea is to get your marketing running mostly on autopilot, while leaving time for everything else that’s important to running a business.
Imagine going home knowing that while you’re sleeping, your prospects are being taken care of… that’s what marketing software provides.
People problems. We all know that in today’s climate it’s expensive to have people working for you. The liabilities are growing and people’s propensity to focus and work hard is lessening. Their productive time is more valuable than ever so efficiency is priceless.
Since the average employees only provide three hours of productive work each day, it’s annoying to pay for 8 hours when you probably only get about 3 in return.
But your people may be maxed out. You have so many internal processes and habits that it’s hard to add anything to the mix, even if it’s as important as marketing.
So how do you get your sales and marketing done but optimize your people time?
How many emails or communications are sent to prospects each day? You or your staff should be doing that quite a bit. Is it consistent and efficient?
What if you could set something up ONCE and your clients and prospects are contacted automatically 24/7 without you or your people doing anything?
You can even follow them around as if you’re in their back pocket watching their every move on your website and send an email right at the moment when they’re most likely to buy… without spending any additional people time.
Or, what if instead of prospecting, your sales team only talks to people who are ready to buy now?
Marketing automation is what makes a business sing. It frees up your people time, efficiency and it makes you more money.
So think on that as we go through the breakdown between Infusionsoft and Salesforce and you decide for yourself which option does that better for you.
How I FEEL About Them
I like them both, but I have NO attachment to either one. I honestly don’t care what tools I use for my business so long as they work. But if I had to say it, I feel like Salesforce had my trust because I’m a techy kinda guy and I LOVED their integration with almost everything on planet earth that a business uses to run things.
That said, Salesforce, for as HUGE as they are, has a system that to me is very outdated and archaic. Their user experience is clunky and boring. Compared to modern CRMs it’s obvious that there’s a lot to be lacking with SF. The reason SF is doing so well is because they were one of the first to the market and people are reluctant to change.
The learning curve was quite high, even for me. Infusionsoft has a better user interface but will make you bleed through your eyeballs at how long the learning curve is (could be several months for most people since IS is way more robust than Salesforce).
Most Important to Me
I mentioned earlier that Salesforce broke me down for their lack of an ability to market to my customers, clients and prospects. But there were a few other things that really bothered me.
I don’t think any one business is the same. Each has unique needs. Salesforce was rigid in that it was like a mold that I tried to pour my business into.
Didn’t take long before stuff started spilling over the edge and things fell out, through the cracks and were gone forever… means the inflexibility was costing me money.
Salesforce was not much more than a fancy way to organize my information with little value add in the way of processes. There are dozens of CRMs, even free ones, that can do that.
I thought a filing cabinet for my stuff wasn’t worth the monthly bill.
Infusionsoft is not anywhere near as good of a digital filing cabinet, however, for me, they were infinitely more flexible where it mattered most. I could create and deploy any process I wanted. My businesses don’t have many leaky holes anymore. If they do, it’s because I’m not aware of them.
All in all, I had to give up a bit of CRM capability in order to get a platform that actually made me money instead of just being digital furniture
Let’s Break it Down
What follows is a breakdown of features. It should be easy to see that there isn’t much overlap between the two.
Emails and Autoresponders
SF. Good. Because it uses your own email accounts.
IS: Above industry standards for emailing because that’s the core function of a marketing platform and Infusionsoft does it right. There’s nothing more economical and efficient for marketing than email.
Create and send emails.
SF: Limited to text emails.
IS: Design anything you want. Drag and drop editor. Accepts HTML. Send to any specified segment of your contacts.
SF: None. (Meaning, you have to send manually). This is the one thing that bothered me the most. You can email via mass email up to 250 people at a time with a daily send limit. You can also send ONE email at a time through Outlook, etc.
IS: Unlimited email messages on autopilot customized with customer/prospect info and sent based on their behavior. Means, you can do just about anything you want with email other than spamming. Some accounts have threshholds for inluded email sends.
It’s critical to see what’s going on in your business at one glance.
SF: They’ve got extensive reporting that connects to most of the popular executive dashboard apps. I liked that. It looked like garbage but was very good.
IS: They’ve known for a long time that their reporting is weak. They just launched a new feature that enhances the at-a-glance needs of an entrepreneur. Both allow custom reports that you pretty much have to configure on your own. So… that assumes you know which reports you need which can be a struggle for some business owners (like it was for me).
SF: It seems like I’ve gotten some CS reps that didn’t speak english very well. I don’t know if that’s my bad luck, but I hope SF doesn’t outsource their customer service. Other than that, the CS has been really good for me. I’ve only needed to use it a few times which means their support docs and training is awesome. I’m usually a self-serve kinda guy.
IS: Because IS is growing so rapidly, there are now several levels of support. I know Infusionsoft so well that a lot of times I know more about it than the first and second level CS reps, that is flat out annoying sometimes but I understand how it’s impossible for Infusionsoft to do anything about that. All companies struggle with that. They do a great job of putting new people through enough training that they can handle most calls efficiently. They now have some availability 24/7 because they added people overseas. So at least the chat is available when needed.
Community and Events
SF: I haven’t been involved much in the SF community largely because it was only ever a filing cabinet for me and I didn’t see much need to stand around the virtual water cooler and talk about how cool the filing cabinet is. I don’t think there’s an app that has more integrations than Salesforce. That is alive and well and is untouchable by any platform I know of… other than maybe Facebook 🙂
IS: Great, robust community. This is largely because there are so many uses for Infusionsoft (ecommerce, CRM, email, social media, etc) and it’s flexible enough to fit most businesses. The user forum has saved me many times. The marketplace has great apps. They do regular live events with ICON being the yearly user conference. It’s in Phoenix and they fill up the convention center. Awesome.
SF: Goes without saying, nobody can really touch the features of SF.
IS: Decent CRM. Limited to mostly contact record fields, however, all the marketing wizbang shenanigans you want to do can be automated easily so it turns a normal CRM into a marketing machine. SF doesn’t do that.
IS: Process payments manually or use an order form or the built in shopping cart. Adapt their full shopping cart to sell any product or subscription on your website. Run an affiliate program (have others sell your products for you). Manage products and subscriptions. Process shipping and fulfillment.
SF: This was the nail in the coffin. The deal breaker. All SF does is collect a set of data that tracks results of a “campaign” that you run by yourself outside of Salesforce. It doesn’t actually run a marketing campaign. You have to run it yourself… like do a tradeshow, etc.
IS: Run any kind of marketing campaign you want and collect all the relevant data to track your results. The campaign builder is literally drag and drop. Really simple to learn and has the capability manage a large portion of sales and marketing, if not all of it. There are dozens of powerful apps to enhance marketing features even further.
The BIG Problems with Salesforce
Before we go any further, I’m just going to tell you what nobody at Salesforce would care to tell you.
There are two massive problems with the platform:
Problem 1. Salesforce is nothing more than a giant organizational system for data. Don’t get me wrong, it’s awesome at being a filing cabinet.
It does amazing stuff with data. Turns it into charts and diagrams and associates data points one to another. Keeps your junk all organized.
That organizational aspect can be important.
But, it does nothing to make your company more money other than to keep things organized and manage data with limited pipeline sales management.
Problem 2. Salesforce is mostly all hands on stuff. Very little automation. The dream of “set it and forget it” just doesn’t happen there. That was the second nail in the coffin for me.
The beautiful thing about all of this is that thousands of people have, just like me, went to Infusionsoft so the team over there is really good at onboarding data from Salesforce.
All that said, SF and I had a short romance until my dreams were dashed. That’s not to say it’s been all peachy with Infusionsoft, ain’t no way.
The Big Problems with Infusionsoft
Yeah, I have a pile of problems to talk about concerning Infusionsoft.
To save me some copy and paste, let me direct you hence to where I wrote all about the love hate relationship that I have with Infusionsoft over here on this page.
So Which is Right For Me?
Even after writing this post, I still get the question, “That’s great Seth, but which is right for me?”
Here’s the simplest response I can give:
Salesforce is right for you if…
Your company has grown to adequate size and you are wanting to maintain where you’re at by streamlining pre-existing internal processes, organizing data and having at-a-glance access to that data.
In most cases, only big businesses fit that category and I stand by that assessment.
Infusionsoft is right for you if…
Your company is looking to grow through automated sales and marketing by capturing, nurturing and converting new leads into long term customers while managing a sales team (if need be) and customer data seamlessly.
Basically, if you have a growing small business, Infusionsoft is in your wheel house.
That’s as simple as the choice needs to be. Salesforce is literally a fancy digital filing cabinet, Infusionsoft is a tool with unlimited flexibility that allows you to be an effective
Of course there are all kinds of other questions you could have so if I can help in any way, just drop me an email below.
Chances are, if you’ve got a question, I can answer it so hit me up below.