How much functionality is too much? Easy: It's too much the moment a user begins to get bogged down by myriad tools and features -- or has to throw her hands up in frustration because of them. For owners of small businesses, functionality and efficiency are key -- but so is simplicity. Those running small businesses are busy putting out daily fires. The last thing they want is a headache caused by a complicated CRM solution. Bearing this in mind and targeting the small-business and entrepreneurial markets, Infusionsoft, a provider of marketing automation solutions, has segmented its CRM offerings to address the varying needs of small companies.
According to Dave Lee, the company's vice president of product and marketing, the three editions -- broken down into Basic, Deluxe, and Pro -- offer different sets of functionality and pricing to address the demands of Infusionsoft’s growing customer base. “For the past 4 years, we've been running with a one-size-fits-all integrated marketing automation system,” he says. “What we [have seen develop over time] is three pretty unique groups of people.”
Lee says that Infusionsoft is often approached by customers that have graduated from Act! by Sage and have started to do some email marketing. They want an all-in-one solution, but with basic functionality. Another category of customer, he says, is more savvy in its marketing and might have already been using affiliate-marketing programs. Those firms are looking for the alleviation of headaches, a reduction in costs, and increases in efficiency, Lee says. The final group is one that needs a ton of automation and richer tools.
The products break down as follows:
- Basic Edition: For a monthly cost of $199 per month for two users ($50 per additional user), a small company can access core Infusionsoft components of robust contact management and segmentation, Web integration, email marketing and all of the automated follow up-marketing sequences, direct mail, fax, and email responses, and all of the automation and triggers.
- Deluxe Edition: At $299 per month for up to four users ($79 per additional user), Lee describes this edition as “full-blown, with all the bells and whistles” -- an edition with everything users could want or need out of a CRM system and more. In addition to core email marketing automation, users have access to capabilities such as affiliate management. The solution, as Lee puts it, eliminates “the Frankensteining” of different applications.
- Pro Edition: This solution, at $499 per month for up to five users ($79 per additional user), is intended for small-business marketing gurus -- the kind of people who are ultrasuccessful and have a huge following. The edition has the same robust offerings as the deluxe version, with increased storage and email lists.
Lee says that current Infusionsoft customers will be able to continue running the original version of the software and won’t be grandfathered into a new version.
Brent Leary, cofounder and partner of small-business CRM consulting and advisory firm CRM Essentials, points out that the tiered approach should serve Infusionsoft well -- and do a good job reaching a broader audience. Prior to the three editions, Infusionsoft was working with a “kitchen sink” offering, Leary says, which was great for users who needed that much functionality. However, the complexity and pricing might have scared off some companies. Leary maintains that Infusionsoft must focus on its messaging to prospective customers -- especially the companies new to automation who need to get the message that the Basic edition is easy and affordable. “[Infusionsoft needs to] really let small businesses know that these products are geared toward them and [they] have options,” he says. “Those messages will resonate and give small businesses enough confidence to say, ‘Lets try this out and try to grow the business.’ ”
Given the state of the economy, Leary says, what’s really important is that, since Infusionsoft is subscription-based, small businesses won’t be locked into the solution. “You can try this out month-to-month -- and if it doesn’t work, you aren't stuck,” he says. “You have the opportunity to kick the tires and see what this can do.”
Lee says that economic conditions haven't dampened interest in Infusionsoft among his pool of prospects. “Especially in the small-business world that we live in -- 25 employees or less -- you'd think they'd be hurting,” he says. “They're the ones that are being really smart and are thriving right now…. It’s very encouraging to see there's demand out there.” Lee notes that the final quarter of 2008 was Infusionsoft’s best to date. According to the Infusionsoft team, the company has tripled its customer base over the last two years. The company also picked up $7.9 million in Series B financing in December.
“To see a company that doubled down and stayed heavily entrenched and engaging in small business is a smart move,” Leary says. He notes that vendors such as Salesforce.com and NetSuite once focused exclusively on small businesses, but moved upstream toward the enterprise after gaining success -- moves that left a vacuum within the small-business CRM market. “[Infusionsoft is] giving small businesses more flexibility and more opportunity to use CRM to help them with this ‘finding and captivating customers’ thing,” Leary says. “And what’s cool is they're doing it at a price point where really solid marketing automation is obtainable.”
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