Infusionsoft vs Hubspot: The Titan’s Battle Blitz

What is it about the shift in the marketing paradigm, that is at the heart of all marketing automation technology and what generally speaking governs the way we do online marketing today. If you’re reading this, you’re probably well aware of the shift I am alluding to and you’re research has proved fruitful in in guiding you to hone in on perhaps, the two most successful and useful tools for marketing and sales for medium and small businesses: Infusionsoft vs Hubspot.

The great shift folks, is beautifully and precisely captured by the founding members of Hubspot; Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, by their phrase “Inbound marketing”. Now, although they might have coined the term and captured the idea neatly, they certainly weren’t single handedly responsible for this shift. The shift has been a while coming and is the  gradual culmination of the emergence of various technological variables, including email marketing tools, CRM tools, and a variety of other platforms. 

Even though marketing automation is revolutionary, it remains a dead system, without your inputs and you’re imagination. I am sure you’re aware that it doesn’t do the marketing for you; it feeds off of your strategies and inputs and then extrapolates.

Now, although, Inbound marketing refers to a certain methodology and way of doing things, it also more importantly born out of an attitude and mindset regarding how online marketing should and can be done. So, what is inbound marketing? In a few words, it is the gambit of tactics that are focused on attracting attention to your company, website etc by amplifying the quality of your content. Instead of  traditionally paying for attention, you focus on earning traffic and attention through content specific activities.

The above goal of earning traffic, is what Infusionsoft and Hubspot’s automation is designed to do. Both these platforms are powerful tools that have taken the automation world by storm. Not only are they great marketing platforms, they both share a rich and vibrant culture and community.

So, without anymore talk, let’s give you what you came for. Even though there are aspects that are missing, these two platforms: Infusionsoft vs Hubspot, are the closest bet to an all-in-one marketing solution in the market today. In that sense and in the spirit of marketing automation, this truly is the battle of the small/mid-cap industry titans.

Let’s take a closer look…

Company Overview

INFUSIONSOFT

  • Infusionsoft was founded in 2004.
  • Infusionsoft’s goal and purpose is to help small businesses thrive and their platform is designed specifically to cater to the sales and marketing need of small businesses.
  • The company consists of over 400 employees and has helped more than 12,500 small and medium cap businesses succeed.
  • Infusionsoft takes their company culture very seriously, but tells its employees not to take themselves too seriously. In my personal experience with them, I have found them to be an honest, care free but hard working bunch of crazies. The stuff of greatness!

HUBSPOT

  • Hubspot was founded in 2006.
  • Hubspot is all about “Inbound  marketing”; a term that they coined to communicate the shift in the marketing paradigm that their automation platform implements with extreme success.
  • They have over 11,500 current clients and have a presence in over 70 countries, with 650 employees working tirelessly to make the Hubspot experience a reality.
  • They received the glassdoor, employees’ choice, best place to work award in 2014. Just goes to show that they have an incredible work culture.

Getting started

What becoming a user with either platform entails, including the purchasing process, the time it takes to learn the software, coaching and other support options.

INFUSIONSOFT

  • No free trial.
  • Easy access to a free demo.
  • Get started.
  • Have to go through a Sales rep; there is no option of an instant sign up.
  • Unless you purchase directly from an Infusionsoft certified partner.

HUBSPOT

  • Free trial for 30 days. Simply Sign up.
  • The free trial gives you total autonomy over the full version of the Professional plan for 30 days. Save for a few tech limits, like the number of limits you can send, you get an in-depth insight into what its like to become a Hubspot user.
  • Inorder to get started, you could either sign up for the free trial or give them a call and they will tell you exactly how their system will help your business to grow.
  • Hubspot also carries out live demonstrations for qualified companies, by using custom data from your own company website, competitors and industry! Sign up for the free demo here.

TRAINING AND KICK-STARTER PACKAGES

INFUSIONSOFT

  • Mandatory upfront investment for mandatory kick starter coaching.
  • Kickstarter cost: $2000-$3000 (Kickstarter package)
  • Coaching is really helpful and in my opinion, it is more than necessary to learn the software and use it fully. However, what is not necessary is the price tag.
  • The platform is complex and does require some time to learn. In my experience an absolute newbie to automation generally takes 3 months to learn the ropes well. Without the coaching, however, there is no telling how long you would take!

HUBSPOT

  • Like Infusionsoft, Hubspot also has mandatory training for all their users.
  • Basic users have to pay 300$ for training, while users availing of both the Professional as well as the Enterprise editions have to pay 2000$ for their training. There is also the option to secure advanced training for 7000$. Even though this is a one time cost, it’s just through the roof!
  • Again, just as with Infusionsoft the training is essential and goes along way in preparing the user to really juice the platform for what its worth.

SUPPORT OPTIONS

Tech support and other support sources, including videos, courses, libraries etc.

INFUSIONSOFT

  •  There are many layers of customer service and they do not assign you a committed customer representative. Although you have access to an account manager, it’s just not the same level of experience.
  • The tech support is absolutely free and unlimited. They are available on the phone and online pretty frequently.
  • Although online chat can be slow, they have people available 24/7.
  • They host many events and having been very successful at their annual Infusioncon (ICON). ICON15 just wrapped up this past month, and although I wasn’t able to make this time, my colleagues tell me it was a truly spectacular event.
  • The Virtual Academy is another invaluable learning resource that caters specifically to new user.
  • The Inbound university training sessions cater to the more advanced users and focus on key practices surrounding the core functionalities of the software.

HUBSPOT

  • There are a number of options that you as a user have access to depending on the urgency of your support issue.
  • Their newest feature called, “Support calls you” allows you to leave a question online and have support get back to you as when they have answers.
  • They have a support ticket facility, where a support engineer answers your specific needs. This is really awesome, personalized and prompt service.
  • Their support is great as well, but you might have to wait a few minutes to talk to their representative. Say around 10-15 in my experience.
  • The Dedicated support is not free, like all the above, since here you are assigned a single contact point who’s it is to know your account implementation through and through. This service costs $500.
  • Like ICON, Hubspot has the Inbound conference. It is a 3 day annual conference, where they talk about the future, invite speakers, launch new features and conduct training sessions for their new and advanced users.
  •  The Hubspot Academy is user paradise. here you will find a wide variety of webinars, case studies, templates and other user information.

Pricing and Editions

INFUSIONSOFT

  • Monthly cost: $199-$379.
  • They have 4 different models, with the Sales Automation and E-commerce in between your basic and the complete editions. (See complete Pricing details).
  • The option to pay monthly, is a huge boon, in my opinion. If you have a change of heart, you get to save thousands of dollars that you would otherwise go to waste.
  • No money back guarantee
  • Email caps at 500k emails each month

HUBSPOT

  • Monthly cost: $200-$2400.
  • There are 3 different editions. The basic ($200), Professional ($800), and the Enterprise solutions ($2400). See complete pricing details here.
  • The 3 different pricing editions differ on contact database quantity. Each extra 1000 contacts cost $50. in the Pro and Enterprise Editions, emails per month are unlimited as well as the number of users.
  • The downer, in my opinion, is that you have to enter into an annual contract. Although, they insist that this arrangement helps their users to gain the most out of the software, I do not agree. A monthly system is always more convenient.

The Campaign Builder and CMS

How well do both systems integrate with content management systems, how does their integration benefit overall automation and what are the differences in the campaign building process of both platforms. Both these tools and aspects are crucial in the role they play towards attracting customers: one directly addresses content creation and optimization, while the builder helps you structure and automate your communications into planned sequences.

CMS Capabilities

INFUSIONSOFT

  •  Infusionsoft does not have an in-built Content management system.
  •  This does have its limitations in terms of limiting design aspects, especially if you’re not a techie. Also, having an in-built CMS is huge bonus as far as automation is concerned, since it really helps tie all the drifting parts together.
  • As I mentioned earlier, CMS plays a major role in attracting customers to your website. With Infusionsoft, you will have to integrate with your preferred CMS, which could be either WordPress, where I have my content, or Drupal. Most options works just fine.
  • So in my case, WordPress “holds” all of my content, including videos etc and Infusionsoft plugs into my site.

HUBSPOT

  • Hubspot on the other hand does have a fully functional and robust CMS built right into the platform.
  • Hubspot’s CMS or COS (Content Optimization System) as they like to call it, really is much more robust than just a foundation for building or hosting your website/Blog/landing pages.
  • Hubspot’s new and improved COS system is very impressive, in fact it is at par with WordPress and that’s saying a lot for an all-in-one platform with may tricks.
  • There is a major focus on SEO and analytics: Apart from the traditional on-page stuff and an awesome keyword analysis/tracking tool, there is a custom blogging tool that tracks and analyzes your blogging efforts relative to lead generation and guides you to attract more leads.
  • Talking about robust functionality, the tool also tracks inbound links, helps personalise content to different visitors and employs full-funnel marketing analytics that cover the entire gambit of your content marketing efforts.
  • It is also optimized for mobile right out of the box. And, you can even integrate with a CMS of your choice, as with Infusionsoft, if you prefer another CMS.

Campaign Builder

INFUSIONSOFT

  • This is where Infusionsoft excels. This where setting and forgetting truly becomes a breeze and automation takes over.
  •  The tool allows you customize and build the entire marketing and sales process, including emails, landing pages and more.
  • You drag parts of sequences on to the canvas and create intuitive connections between them; here Infusionsoft automatically generates the features to implement your plan.
  • The visual WYSIWYG drag and drop editor is at par with enterprise solutions worth thousands of dollars per month like Marketo and Eloqua.
  •  When you’re mind map is complete, you can activate individual parts of your sequence and mark them as “ready”. You can also set up all your landing pages, autoresponders and webforms with the editor.
  • To learn more about the campaign builder and walk through it, you can schedule a demo here, which is amazing in and of itself.
  • Infusionsoft also have an awesome library of established marketing automation campaigns that you can drag and drop into your campaign dashboard.

HUBSPOT

  • There is no doubt that Infusionsoft has a richer and more visually appealing graphical interface for creating workflows and campaigns.
  • Hubspot offers a solid platform on which to build workflows as well, but it doesn’t possess the visual drag and drop editor. There is just no beating Infusionsoft in this aspect.
  • You can design workflows and sequences and personalize them in a way that is tailored to your customer preferences and objectives.
  • Your campaigns can be multi-layered as well as have multiple levels. Once a specific set goal for a lead is reached you can transfer him to an entirely different campaign governed by different follow-ups and other internal notifications.
  • However, all the while moving your lead around, you can keep communications personalized and effective by placing your lead in a workflow that has the most relevant info for him/her.

CRM

We’ve spoken about setting up automated sequences and workflows. Now we come to the crucial nurturing and relationship building process that is at the heart of all successful marketing. Both Infusionsoft and Hubspot have powerful CRM functionalities that are much more that just client data stores, but actually have systems in place foster strong client relationships.

INFUSIONSOFT

  •  There is a lot more room to play apart from adding/ managing contacts and companies. You can manage contacts, opportunities, and referral partners.
  • Tag a contact who is at a certain phase of your campaign and then run email marketing accordingly to meet their specific desires.
  • Assign a value to a lead, like star or two or three, depending on how close they are to a sale with awesome lead scoring functionality. As with most things Infusionsoft, even this has a nice visual appeal.
  • When you dive down into a Contact to access marketing history, contact history and your customer’s web history as well as order history’ you can see everything in a singe snap shot.
  • The CRM hugely simplifies sales management and analytics which gathers and sorts crucial client data that covers the entire customer-life cycle. This really helps with segmentation and target marketing.
  • However, along with no social media integration, Infusionsoft does not have a built –in CMS, as I mentioned earlier, which can be a problem if you’re not a techie and you’re looking to soop up design, then having the CMS baked into the platform can potentially simply and speed up the process.
  • Overall, an incredibly powerful tool that gives you all the necessary data to optimize your communication and develop a loyal customer base over time.

HUBSPOT

  • Until recently Hubspot did not have its own CRM and integrated with industry giants like Salesforce to provide its users with CRM functionality. Hubspot was primarily known for its famous COS (Content Management system).
  • Hubspot has changed its game. in the last year alone, they have invested a few million on R&D. In the last Inbound Conference, they announced the release of their new CRM that works for you and that avoids many data entry roadblocks that are inherent in most CRM solutions in the market today.
  • The Hubspot CRM works on a simple principle. It directly reduces the amount of work that sales reps have to do in order to use the system effectively by increasing the amount of data that they can get out of the system.
  • With Hubspot’s CRM, your sales reps are actually in a position to start at the interest point with every customer because they have immediate access to previous dialogue, and they effectively know exactly how a particular customer has transitioned through the entire marketing funnel. So, it’s easy to cater to the needs of any customer on the spot.
  • The CRM feeds off of the same inbound database as marketing, so there is very little data entry that has to be done. The system provides you all the information you need, including website visits, social media feedback such as recent tweets and other relevant metrics that give a quick picture of where the client is at in their head, so to speak.
  • Your reps can place calls to clients from within the CRM itself. Not only that, but the call is recorded, so that have access to a complete history of interactions, including notes, emails, and phone calls. Also, all calls, emails can be sent without opening contact records, which contributes to enormous time saved otherwise doing mundane tasks.

E-COMMERCE

INFUSIONSOFT

  • Infusionsoft has a full blown E-commerce platform with an in-built shopping cart and order forms. They have literally conceived of it all – you can market, generate leads, convert to customers, build valuable relationships based on customer behavior and even sell your product, if you have one, all from the same platform!
  • The shopping cart works best, if you offer a variety of products up for sale. there is no limit on the number of products a customer can purchase.
  • Everything from ‘customization’ of your shopping cart, to ‘checkout’, to ‘payments’, to ‘promotions’, and to ‘shipping options’ can be set up and running without too many hassles.
  • You can add products individually or import entire lists from a different system. If you are not using Infusionsoft’s Shopping front, you can use product bundle links to integrate the shopping cart easily enough with your website.
  • There is a lot more to said about the shopping cart, order forms and shipping and fulfillment options. To know more about Infusionsoft’s e-commerce platfrom, read my Infusionsoft vs Ontraport review.

HUBSPOT

  • Hubspot does not have any substantial e-commerce functionality, nothing that supports a shopping cart at any rate. They have a lot of work to do in this department, if they want to offer an “out-of the-box” solution like Infusionsoft.
  • Despite this, it is easy to integrate your chosen E-commerce platform into Hubspot through the agency of Hubspot’s vast Marketplace. They have multiple apps that cater perfectly to this need.
  •  I will, however, give them credit for having an extremely dedicated support team that is 100% committed to the success of their E-commerce customers.

Email Capabilities

Email Creation

INFUSIONSOFT

  • Create professional looking email templates with Infusionsoft’s branding center or choose from a variety of templates. Once you have created a template, all the future emails that you create will retain the same characteristics and feel.
  • Creating broadcast emails is quick and easy with the amazing drag and drop email builder.-
  • With Infusionsoft, the automation links you add to your broadcast emails, can track a customer’s click through responses and fire a series of actions to automatically update tags and follow-ups. there is also an option to create image and text automation links.
  • Creating HTML email is also easy enough with the drag and drop email builder. Learning how to use the builder and create email using HTML code is relatively simple and there are quite a lot of room to play around with the code builder.
  • You can personalize your emails with different merge field options, however, these are limited to contact info and custom fields, which can be a tad bit annoying.

HUBSPOT

  • Email creation is a fun and creative process with Hubspot. There are over a dozen templates that are built-in, which are awesome. You can build you’re own or buy one from the marketplace.
  • All the templates are industry tested for conversion and look pretty good on all devices, especially your phone.
  • The email tool is a dual interface content creation wizzard that displays your final product while you’re busy editing.
  • You can add videos, pictures, edit font sizes, text, add CTA’s all from within the editing wizard. Talk about the time you save!
  • The awesome edge you get with Hubspot’s email creation is the extent to which you can personalize emails. You can insert information you’ve collected from your contacts that speak directly to your target audience, without, re-writing, cloning or performing any manual tasks.

Email Sending & Analytics

INFUSIONSOFT

  • Maintaining an autoresponder sequence with Infusionsoft’s campaign builder is  a breeze.
  • With Infusionsoft you can truly create and send personalized responses, which are far from cold and detached while also cancelling out the automated feel that most autoresponders possess.
  • The autoresponder capability is extremely flexible. You can create and automate sequences according to date, events and tag based sequences, which are great for various bi-monthly reports and anniversaries, festivals or birthdays.
  • The if-then statements you can create are limited and all automation is run off of specific actions, which does further limit the process.
  •  They maintain an email deliverability of over 98%.
  • A surprising reality with Infusionsoft, is that there is no formal split testing ability built into the system. This is really something they need to work on.

HUBSPOT

  • Once you’ve created your email, there are 3 ways that you can effectively send your emails.
  • You can send them out immediately after editing, or you can schedule the email for a later time and date, and finally you can send the email as part of automated work flows. Learn how here.
  • When you’re email is ready and good to go, you come to the choosing your recipients. There are two ways to do this; you can either add contacts or exclude them.
  • With Hubspot, you call select lists from virtually any criteria from within the email tool itself. Email is an invaluable part of the system and with Hubspot, the email tool works simultaneously with all the other moving parts to really maximize efficiency.
  • Before you send, your email, you want to preview it. In Hubspot, you can preview your email in a hsst off different email clients as well as test them.
  • With Hubspot’s email analytics, you can split test CTA’s (Calls to action), subject lines, emails and more. You select the percentage of the target segment you want to test with, and the metrics you want to test for (open rate/ click through rate) and then simply run the test. Once the system has tested, it then broadcasts the winning email to the rest of your list.
  • A/B Testing or Split testing with emails is only available with the Enterprise version. This really gets me. It is a basic requisite of email marketing, to be able to test your emails and should available with all editions.

Analytics

Both platforms track and report on the complete life-cycle of the customer: From the very first visit, and form fill, to the conversion and finally the sale.

INFUSIONSOFT

  • You need to embed the Infusionsoft tracking code in the pages that you host on your website for the system to evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing elements.
  • For the pages that Infusionsoft hosts , including web forms, landing pages, order forms, storefront, shopping cart, and thank-you page, the software tracks automatically.
  • Through the web Analytics report, you can view and choose a couple of metrics and web pages according to your liking to gauge the success of your different strategies. You can select between page view, unique visitors, unique contacts, unique customers, average view time and up to 5 pages to analyze on the graph.
  • All that data that is tracked expires after 90 days. Infusionsoft does not give you reliable data, since the page visit aren’t tracked very accurately.
  • I use a 3rd party data analysis tool on Infusionsoft,Although it cab be a pain to not have all your data in one place, you are still better off using Google Analytics or any other tool you feel more comfortable with.
  • To learn more about reports and testing, visit Infusionsoft vs Ontraport.

HUBSPOT

  • Hubspot’s analytics spreads its legs veins into the entire body of data that you collect, to give you a clear picture of what works versus what needs fixing.
  • Reporting spans the full breadth of your marketing efforts. It is easy enough to access metrics on your website, or your contacts and even see how they impact each other!
  • The sources report show you traffic by website during the current year to the date, broken down by source. So you can see how each and every source has performed over the course of the year. Dive down into a successful source to view which keywords are bringing the most leads and customers.
  • You can see how well individual pages are performing via “Page Performance” and check the views, CTA performance, click through rate and the number of back links that point to it.
  • The contact reporting is even more substantial and loaded. You can dig down into a contact’s history and see where they are coming from, and how they have moved through funnel or are moving through on their journeys to sales or becoming customers.
  • Create reports to see how a list of leads or contacts are performing and which stage they are at in your funnel. Build your lists according to any criteria you fancy!

Marketplace

Through this comparative analysis of Infusionsoft vs Hubspot, you would agree that although both are powerful and come relatively close to the idea of all-in-one; they don’t do it all. This is where the market place provides the rope to tie up all the loose ends, in the form of myriad applications towards creating a truly inspiring market automation tool and platform.

INFUSIONSOFT

  • Infusionsoft’s marketplace currently showcases about 80 applications for their users.
  • Each is rated just like an application, with 1 to 5 stars indicating the strength, quality and performance capability of each application.
  • Some are free, while others require a subscription payment.
  • Currently they offer applications under several categories including Business management, e-commerce, accounting, analytics, and Lead generation.
  • Each of these applications are designed and coded specifically to integrate with infusionsoft’s platform.
  • A great example, is LeadPages. You can create awesome looking and effective lead pages which boost your conversions and it integrates extremely well with the platform.
  • On the service side of things, they have close to 70 providers in the country, providing services that range from copy writing and design to social media and data management.
  • Not the strongest and most developer friendly. They are currently working on strengthening their API.

HUBSPOT

  • Hubspot’s marketplace showcases over 150 applications.
  • These applications include: CRM, SEO, Social Media, Email, Analytics, E-commerce and mobile applications.
  • They are rated on a scale of 1-5 as well.
  • Again, just as with Infusionsoft, some are free while other are subscription based
  • Some of the awesome applications include, Salesforce CRM, Zoho, Google Drive, Sidekick, Woohoo, WordPress, Magneto, Google Chrome and more.
  • As for the service side of things, they have a 100 providers offering over 25 services, including blog writing, pay per click and e-commerce integrations.
  • Their API is an open and extremely developer friendly, so if you possess a technical bent of mind are are into that sort of thing, building your own app is not far out of hand.