[UPDATE: Yes, the persistent follow ups have commenced, as forecast. See bottom of article for “bonus” responses added since this was published. Steve]

Before you engage a vendor to put the marketing of your blogs and other communications onto auto pilot, consider the risk of marketing automation fails, such as the one I have experienced with one of the larger vendors, Infusionsoft.

Two and a half years ago, I wrote about the woes of poorly executed marketing automation in,  Hello *|NAME|* this automated marketing message is just for you.

I had hoped the industry would have matured and built in more safety valves to stop automated systems from verging into the realm of harrassment.

But I have no such news. Instead, I will briefly recap the key points and then share with you the hilariously frustrating trails of contacts and my requests for removal from the Infusionsoft system that really sets a very bad example of the very worst use of automated marketing systems.

How to avoid marketing automation fails

Marketing automation refers to taking a systematic approach to drawing in and then following up prospects so you can engage with them, qualify them and then sell to them.

It’s just like real marketing, only that your potential customer is interacting with canned communications and responses. At points along this pre-planned pathway, the system can ask a human to intervene to “hurry things along” or “close the deal” while the “robotic” processes do the grunt work of getting and keeping attention, building affinity and warming your prospect up.

One way to avoid “fails” is to NOT use marketing automation. Quite simply, do not head down this pathway unless  you have considered the pros and cons of this tool. This decision will need to take into account the nature of your market, the way you want to be perceived and the numbers of prospects you need to “sort” or “qualify”. It is surprising how often marketing automation is not needed but is rather being sought out as a quick, “lazy” fix.

Furthermore, having just completed some more content marketing plans for clients over the last few weeks, I really cannot stress enough the importance of doing NOTHING automated until you have such a plan in place.

Another protective move is to clean your databases and then clean them again. So many have missing fields or wrong information in wrong fields, creating an instant gotcha moment for you when your client gets an email that starts, Dear sd (as I often do because my personal email address begins sd@).

Perhaps the most important thing is to NOT LIE. Be up front and let people know that this is a planned message we’ve scheduled for you (and explain the reason, eg, to help you get the most out of your recent purchase, etc).

There are more things to consider, of course, but these points should provide us with some pause for thought.

Now, for your pleasure, here is my angst-ridden journey in the Infusionsoft sales funnel since a client asked me to assess the system in May 2013. Despite repeated, desperate, some civil and some exasperated pleas to be removed from the Infusionsoft database, I am still there and still being annoyed and harrassed. Enjoy.

Welcome to my experience of Infusionsoft

Melisa Martinez
16/05/2013
Hi Steve, I see you were recently on our site and checked out the demo. I am on your website now. I would love to learn more about your business and what caused you to look into Infusionsoft. I am in the office Monday-Friday 8am-5pm Mountain Standard Time. When is a good time to connect? To your success, Melisa

Steve Davis
16/05/2013
Hi Melisa, A client asked me to check it out. There’ll be no need for further action at this time. Thanks Steve

My first strong hint of NO ACTION REQUIRED

Melisa Martinez
17/05/2013
Hi Steve, Thank you for the quick response. You mentioned you are looking on behalf of your client. I would like to share the Lifecycle Marketing Webinar. Lifecycle Marketing is the philosophy behind our software, please take the time to watch it. This will help you determine ifInfusionsoft is a good fit for your clients’ business needs. If you have any questions, give me a call. To your success, Melisa Martinez

I did not reply.

Melisa Martinez
04/09/2013
Hey Steve – Here at Infusionsoft we work everyday to help small businesses grow.  Iron Tribe, a crossfit gym company, increased leads by over 300% using Infusionsoft.  How many leads are you capturing this month? And are they all getting follow-up? I’d be happy to schedule a 30-minute call with you on how you can capture more leads and follow up with them.
Small Business Growth Expert
MELISA MARTINEZ
Lead Development Specialist

I did not reply. Then I got these.

Infusionsoft 001

And then, having never connected or discussed business goals, I got this.

Mary McNamara
05/11/2013
Hello Steve – Let’s re-connect. It’s been weeks since we discussed your business goals. Can you jump on a quick 15-minute call to check in? If I’ve done something wrong that’s causing you to not reach out, I apologize. I just want to help you succeed with your business.
Small Business Growth Expert
MARY MCNAMARA
Partner Sales and Marketing Consultant

I did not reply. Along came more.

infusionsoft-emails-002

I still had not spoken to Mary. However, her conversation, with herself on my behalf, continued.

Mary McNamara
25/02/2014
Hey Steve, Last week was social media week, and for new Infusionsoft customer’s we created an exclusive package available this month only. I forgot to tell you about it and there are just a few days left to get it. This is a brand new package that I thought you might be interested in.
Give me a call, reply to this email or click this link to let me know you’re interested in chatting about what the package includes.Let me know.
Warmest Regards,
Small Business Growth Expert
MARY MCNAMARA
Partner Sales and Marketing Consultant

More emails arrived.

infusionsoft-emails-003

Despite the fact I was still not “moving forward”, I received this.

Mary McNamara
30/04/2014
Hi Steve, Considering Infusionsoft for your business is a great first step, and I’m glad you’re moving forward! But I wanted to let you know today is a great day to move from “considering” to “choosing.” We have some great end-of-the-month specials that might just tip the scales. Call me and I’ll give you the rundown. My phone # is below. Talk to you soon,
Small Business Growth Expert
MARY MCNAMARA
Partner Sales and Marketing Consultant

Then, I met Ray. And, I did lose my temper.

Ray Wick
11/06/2014
Hi Steve, Are you available to briefly chat sometime today? I was asked to reach out to you regarding a pilot program we are running here, thought you might be a good fit given your previous conversation with my colleague. If you could give me a quick call or shoot me a response here I would really appreciate it. Best,
Small Business Growth Expert
RAY WICK
Sales Associate

Steve Davis <steve@bakermarketingservices.com>
11/06/2014
Hi Ray, I am actually drafting a blog post called: Infusionsoft I hate you, let me count thy ways. I need every single mention of me in any database you have, completely erased. One of your colleagues rang me at 3am, the last straw after an annoying barrage of pesky sales follow up after I had ONE look at your software. If this is what your software and process is all about, I never want my clients acting in this manner, ever. So please cease and desist from ALL contact. Kind regards Steve

Ray Wick
11/06/2014
Sorry for the inconvenience Steve please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you out.

I had naively thought that was the end of the matter. I was wrong. Mind you, at least his automated, ghostly self forgot my first name.

Ray Wick
01/07/2014
Hi, Are you available to briefly chat sometime today? I was asked to reach out to you regarding a pilot program we are running here, thought you might be a good fit given your previous conversation with my colleague. If you could give me a quick call or shoot me a response here I would really appreciate it. Do you have some time to chat?? Y or N? Best, Ray
Small Business Growth Expert
RAY WICK
Sales Associate

Then some extra emails.

infusionsoft-emails-004

Then, another.

Ray Wick
01/05/2015
Hey , We getting people on board with Infusionsoft for cheaper than ever. If you want to get on board for virtually no upfront price please let me know. Are you interested? Y or N Best Regards, Ray Wick
Infusionsoftsoft

Steve Davis
01/05/2015
Ray
N
And a million effing nos. I have told you b&^%$rds to take me out of your database a million bl*&$y times.
Steve

I thought that had finally worked. But, no. Fast forward a few months.

Jason Whisenhunt <jason.whisenhunt@infusionsoft.com>
1 Nov (8 days ago)
Hey, One of my colleagues just had a deal back out because their business partner signed up an hour earlier than they did.  Well, their loss is your gain. I have a promotional code that will save you hundreds even thousands depending on your options. Do you have time to talk now or will later this afternoon work better? Whenever there is a returned promotional code, finance only gives us about 24 hours to use it again. With your success in mind,
Small Business Growth Expert
JASON WHISENHUNT
Regional Sales Consultant
480-397-6350
jason.whisenhunt@infusionsoft. com

To which I forecast today’s post.

Steve Davis
1 Nov (8 days ago)
Yet again, Jason, remove my address from every single system within Infusionsoft’s evil lair please.
However, this has inspired me to write a new blog post about how eagerly I advise clients against using your service because just one false move ends up in annoying customers and poisoning your reputation. Exactly as Infusionsoft has done, itself, to me.
And yet, I expect to still keep getting unsolicited emails from Infusionsoft in perpetuity, which has inspired a further idea: I can keep adding each new one to my blog post.
So, I suppose your email has been a blessing and a curse.
Steve

I am sure this story will continue into an infinite abyss of bad marketing practice … watch this space.

Updates start here

So, as expected, yet another email has arrived.

Jason Whisenhunt
1 Dec 14:07 (9 minutes ago)

Hey, We are here late and closing this month out strong. What do we need to do to earn your business?

Small Business Growth Expert
JASON WHISENHUNT
Regional Sales Consultant
480-397-6350
jason.whisenhunt@infusionsoft. com

Here is my reply.

How to win my business? There is no way you can do that. How to avoid my ire? Remove every single contact detail you have for me from your system, oh, and read this blog post: https://bakermarketingservices.com/2016/11/marketing-automation-fails-how-infusionsoft-has-driven-me-mad/

Watch this space.

Image: 70809 President Business front by Brickset via Flickr. CC BY 2.0

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This