Infusionsoft: The Small Startup to Help Small Businesses
Infusionsoft knows how to help small businesses because it was a small business.
The Gilbert, AZ-based firm – proponent of Email Marketing 2.0 – was formed as eNovasys in 2000 by Scott Martineau and Joseph Gledhill. Martineau’s brothers Eric and Brad soon came on board, as did brother-in-law Clate Mask.
As described last week by Brett Gilliland – the company’s “Built to Last” manager – the startup struggled. By 2003 the company was seeing “dark days” and credit cards were maxed out to keep it afloat.
Then came the break, by accident. A customer was in hot water because he had mass-emailed a special promotion and recent purchasers of the service were miffed that they had paid full price weeks earlier.
The customer turned to Infusionsoft, which developed a customer relationship management system that could “tag” customers on various lists for more targeted – and effective – interactions.
Infusionsoft’s Brett Gilliland stands beside the Double Your Sales Club wall of success stories during a recent tour.
By organizing and automating customer contacts for small businesses, the company saw its future and its purpose: to empower entrepreneurs.
“We want to help them work 9 to 6, not 6 to 9,” Gilliland told a group of 15 during a recent tour. “We don’t want their dream to become a nightmare.
Infusionsoft now has more than 5,000 customers, with the vast majority employing two to 10 people. The customers are small, with revenues over $200,000, but have websites they hope to drive customers to and lists with customer data.
“We help them fix their lists to make the company more profitable,” he said.
Email Marketing 2.0 is Infusionsoft’s approach to more productive direct contact with customers.
Using email lists and links within emails, Infusionsoft helps businesses track customers’ interests, which can lead to efficient follow-up sequences.
Customers can be assigned to new-lead campaigns, new-customer campaigns and long-term nurture campaigns.
For many small businesses, creating and maintaining such a database is intimidating and time-consuming. Infusionsoft looks to make it simpler, Gilliland said.
The company received venture capital infusions in 2007 and 2008 and hopes to be profitable this year. It now employs 130 and last year expanded its space off Guadalupe Road.
The indoor football field at Infusionsoft.
It moved into a former fitness facility. When the landlord discussed removing some basketball hoops and a small indoor football field, the company said no. It liked the idea of a unique setting that was fun, recreational and competitive. The freedom reflects the company’s entrepreneurial spirit.
Employees are also encouraged to explore their individual dreams. The company has a reading room with various books, including “Built To Last.” It was the book by James Collins and Jerry Porras that inspired Gilliland’s title when he came aboard earlier this year.
“We want to do the things that will make us last,” he said.
The Infusionsoft reading room.
The company looks to energize its workforce. It features a snack room with a wide variety of cereals. The firm’s Employee of the Month gets to drive a 320Z and park in a designated space. Lounge chairs and a popcorn machine are at the firm’s entrance.
The cereal shelf.
While competitors like ConstantContact are larger, Infusionsoft is not deviating from its strategy to serve small businesses. It follows its own approach to marketing and hasn’t considered refocusing on “larger fish” to serve.
“We want to make life easier for entrepreneurs,” Gilliland said.