With the goal of being a “startup oasis in the desert,” Infusionsoft is located in Phoenix, Arizona—far from Silicon Valley. But that seems to suit the 478 employees who work at the CRM solution for small businesses, which posted $60 million in revenue last year, a 54 percent increase from the previous year.
The high-growth, startup energy was clear during a tour of the company’s offices prior to this year’s Infusionsoft conference. A quarter of the building is unused open space, planned for the employees that will soon fill it. A thousand-employee company is just a few years away, according to Senior Manager of Talent Tractor Beam, Laura Hodgson. (Yes, that’s her real title, and yes, it’s on her business card.)
Most of the employees focus on getting the word out about the product, working on sales and marketing. A smaller but growing slice focuses on customer service, and the software developers carve out a corner on the main floor. While there are fun startup perks like a cereal bar and a game room, Hodgson emphasized that all the extras come after the company hits goals. “Entitlement is the total opposite of what entrepreneurship is all about. We don’t want to head in that direction,” she said.
While that strategy makes many think the company is losing plenty of loyal customers as their businesses outgrow the solution, Mask said that’s not the case. He explained that most of Infusionsoft’s customers are “lifestyle entrepreneurs,” who are unlikely to grow pas two, five, or ten employees. They have a passion for what they do and like being independent. Infusionsoft allows them to automate their tasks and free up time to spend on family, travel, or other pursuits. If anything, the company is looking for growth in the other direction, working on a solution that might work for small entrepreneurs who have less than $100k in revenue.
When it comes to product, Infusionsoft’s plan is not to keep adding technology features, but to focus on adoption of those features. Using Infusionsoft should remain easy for the 73,000 subscribers to Infusionsoft. “We measure our success not just by the volume of features, but the success of customers and how they’re using those features,” explained Lindsay Bayuk, the director of product marketing. The company has good reason to pursue this strategy. The number one system Infusionsoft imports from is Salesforce.com. Those “Salesforce dropouts” leave for a reason: the product is too complex and powerful for the needs of the small businesses that try to use the technology, according to Infusionsoft.
On that note, the company rolled out stats emphasizing how well-used the software is, like the 31,000 customer installs of thirty-five pre-built marketing campaigns. One of the most popular was oriented around customers’ birthdays. 90,000 business cards have been scanned since Infusionsoft added the feature. 6,000 people downloaded their new mobile product in the first month. Most importantly, there’s incredible volume at the core of their business, marketing automation. One hundred million emails were sent through Infusionsoft—last week.
Aligned with its focus on education and adoption, not features, the company is moving away from twice-yearly product releases. “In the future, there will be smaller, bite-sized updates” focused on “making aspects simpler, smarter, and faster,” said Bayuk. The company has learned that education and technology must go hand-in-hand in this market A lower-priced product aimed at the “solopreneur” failed a couple of years ago. The company found out that it can’t be as simple as giving less power for a lower price. “It’s not as easy as handing them a piece of software. Running a small business is hard,” said Mask. Both the Icon Conference and Infusionsoft’s programs for its users now focus on helping small businesspeople on all aspects of making their business healthy. “We’re embracing the entire responsibility of helping small businesses be successful,” said Mask.
Check back on destinationCRM.com for more updates from the 2014 Icon Conference.