Marketing Automation Tips From A CRM Newbie

Brooke BallardHaving recently started my own company, I knew at some point we’d need a CRM. And Constant Contact or MailChimp for sending emails and newsletters. Eventually we’d want an online store and accounting software behind it. And, oh yeah, we wanted the ability to create really cool landing pages, so we’d need something like Unbounce or Kissmetrics.

I priced each platform out and wished there were an easier way.

Until one day …

Enter The All-In-One CRM

After taking a webinar from Hubspot, I realized there was an easier way. And even though Hubspot was more than happy to provide it for me, my penny-pinching partner really wanted me to shop around.

So, for four months I did. I looked at Bronto, Marketo, Hubspot, and Infusionsoft just to name a few.

It finally came down to: Hubspot, Marketo and Infusionsoft.


Though any of the software platforms that made it to the final three would have worked for us, Infusionsoft worked best because it literally had everything we needed: CRM, E-Commerce, accounting, marketing automation, sales and lead generation reporting, lead scoring, landing page creation, newsletter and mailing tools, etc.

Tip #2: Think ahead, not NOW.

We ended up with a slew of items we weren’t quite ready for, but knew we’d grow into. Why have the pain of adding something later when you can have it all now?

Tip #3: Cough it up (aka: There’s no such thing as a cheap lunch with GOOD automation)

Deposits run in the thousands and then there are monthly fees. Have more than a few users? Be prepared to pay extra.  Know what your budget is and don’t be shy conveying that to your sales rep. They usually have “wiggle room” to make the deal.

Tip#4: Have a plan

Most of the all-in-one CRMs come with training (called a “Success Coach with Infusionsoft). You get a limited amount of time to “train” with this person.

Don’t go in blind. Have a set plan for each training call and know want you want to achieve (i.e.: automated newsletter campaign or landing page design).

Tip #5: Set time aside

Even after your coach or training, there will be a thousand little things you didn’t learn. And it’s no secret that Infusionsoft is very robust and therefore not an overnight “read.”

Make sure you set time aside daily, or at least weekly, to learn ALL of the ins and outs of your software. Read the blog (if they have one).  Infusionsoft is nice enough to have weekly webinars and other free training for customers. Sign up for those and DON’T MISS!

Tip #6: Use the Buddy System

Find someone in your circles, your entrepreneur group, or your LinkedIn Groups who uses the same system. Partner up; learn from each other and share ideas.

Picking your CRM or marketing automation software should not be a quick decision. Take your time, do your homework, know what you need and how much you’re willing to spend to get it.

About the author

Brook Ballard is Founder and Chief Social Strategist at B Squared Media, LLC.  Using tactics developed in her yearlong honors thesis study, Brooke helps bright and innovative entities develop social strategies around content curation. Good content boosts trust and loyalty among customers. By focusing on “what is” (psychographics: values, interests, beliefs and attitudes) and letting go of “what might be” (demographics) brands can secure a closer connection to consumers and their buying habits. Simply put: Think Conversation, Not Campaign.™  Connect with Brook on Twitter, Facebook, or her blog.



  1. says

    Yes, other than InfustionSoft, none of the above are actually “all-in-one” applications. They are single-point applications. One thing you’re absolutely right about is that they’re all really expensive. However, you don’t have to spend thousands up front and you can get a sophisticated, integrated all-in-one solution at a very affordable price point. That’s Venntive ( No, we don’t charge $2000 up front for the privilege of opening an account or have a 4-figure monthly minimum.

    We just added demographic and activity lead scoring with predictive analytics coming soon. But, that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Check us out and set up a free trial without having to submit a form or schedule a demo first. We won’t bombard you with tons of emails either.

    Email me directly or call 415.324.5825 with any questions or requests.

  2. says

    As a virtual assistant, I work with InfusionSoft for my clients and I love it. It has it’s quirks but overall it’s the workhorse of CRMs.

    Congrats on your growing biz.

  3. Joseph Mello says

    Good choice, and there are several good players in that marketplace. Curious what your top decision points were? was it range of features, price, usability, customization?

    Also, for some businesses that are established, integration with an existing CRM or other systems, and phasing the implementation are important considerations. Unlike some other technologies, Marketing automation can be put into play a few pieces at a time, showing positive results as you go.

    • says

      My answer would have to be, “all of the above” – if that makes sense, Joseph. There were so many reasons it fit for *US*, which is why I encourage everyone to do their homework, talk to reps, take test drives (if you can), and mostly, just have a plan or strategy going in.
      You really can’t decide on something so major without knowing exactly what your needs and goals are.


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