Leaving Ontraport for Infusionsoft – A Story of Automation Heartbreak
Let me start by saying this post is NOT one on bashing Ontraport (Office Autopilot) to praise Infusionsoft.
They are both solid platforms that will do what you need them to do if you know how to unlock them to get more for your money and marketing.
There are some core differences in the feature sets but I’ll save that for a more hands-on review of both. This post is focused on the events that led me to jump ship (for now) from Ontraport/Office Autopilot to Infusionsoft.
What is Ontraport?
To keep it simple…Ontraport is Office Autopilot 3.0. The name change exemplifies their biggest product upgrade since their initial launch.
As I write this Office Autopilot is version 2.4 and Ontraport is version 3.0. Same team built it just changed the name and added features.
That being said they are two separate platforms. Different workflows and even a different API. So I will refer to my experience with them both separately throughout this post.
I’m no rookie to Office Autopilot. I’ve been managing accounts for clients for years. It’s how I learned my way around the platform and was exposed to the power of it.
So I am not speaking from the standpoint of someone who tried it for a couple days, couldn’t figure it out, and left. I’ve used Office Autopilot extensively and have been able to do something very impressive things with it.
For the record I absolutely love the Office Autopilot/Ontraport team and have the highest form of respect for Landon Ray.
Unfortunately, what I recently experienced and foresee in the near future raises HEAVY concerns for me.
Office Autopilot vs. Infusionsoft: The Great Debate
To understand the history between Office Autopilot and Infusionsoft you have to travel back a couple years. A time before Infusionsoft’s most recent upgrade to their platform.
At that time Infusionsoft’s interface was not only difficult to navigate (earning the name “Confusionsoft”) but it was also very buggy. This led to a LOT of frustrated customers who:
- Couldn’t figure the platform out
- Couldn’t get it to work once they figured it out due to the bugs
Since Office Autopilot was the same price point ($297/mo) and had no sign up fee (Infusionsoft charges a required start up training fee of $2,000 called KickStarter) it made a lot of sense to switch over to the competition. Not to mention Office Autopilot’s platform was targeted more towards online entrepreneurs like speakers, coaches, consultants, and authors; while Infusionsoft was primarily targeting brick and mortar small business owners.
Fast forward to now and the story is a bit different. Entrepreneurs like Jermaine Griggs, who used Infusionsoft to grow his online business to over $1 million, proved what Infusionsoft was truly capable of with the right expertise. Infusionsoft also updated their interface to be more user-friendly and added a Campaign Builder (which is truly revolutionary). In doing so, however, they also frustrated a lot of customers and lost quite a few because…
Upgrading platforms is NEVER a smooth process. Especially when you have 1,000s of users whose business success depends on your software.
However, I’m sure Infusionsoft is happy they made the update and finally worked out the bugs because the platform is more stable and flexible now than it has ever been.
Which brings me back to Office Autopilot. I see the same thing in the future when Office Autopilot forces everybody to update to Ontraport. Lots of bugs, lost of frustration, and lots of customers jumping ship. I hope I’m wrong (I really do), but something is telling me it’s gonna be a long road forward for Office Autopilot/Ontraport.
Is Ontraport Ready?
Short answer…no. Absolutely not. But that’s no surprise. Landon Ray himself, who frequents the FB user community, stated they are fixing 100s of issues weekly to get Ontraport up to standards.
And it was those bugs that ultimately drove me to jump ship.
Here are a few bugs that I experienced when I upgraded to Ontraport:
Wrong time zone
Upon upgrading, it automatically set my time zone to Africa. The only way I caught it was by subscribing to my own sequences and experiencing my emails going out at the wrong time. A call to support fixed it immediately. I had to call support since there were no US timezones in my profile panel to choose from to fix it myself.
Simple processes like applying tags worked functionally but didn’t display correctly. When you viewed a contact’s record the tags wouldn’t appear. Giving you the impression that it wasn’t applied.
A call to support helped verify it was a bug that would be fixed when you cleared your cache and cookies and restarted your browser.
I did both with no luck. Fortunately, a couple days later they added a prompt within the user interface that prompted me to refresh my browser to download the latest software and it worked like a charm.
Random Tracking Performance
One of my favorite features of Ontraport is the ability to track your subscriber’s web page visits then trigger responses based on the pages they visit (really powerful stuff). Unfortunately, it just didn’t work consistently.
When users filled out my web form Ontraport would track some and not others. So some contacts would have that data in their contact record while others wouldn’t even though they both filled out the same form on the same page.
Zaps Be Gone
I love Zapier. Their recent addition of Office Autopilot to their apps was a godsend to most in the Ontraport community. It allowed you to extend Office Autopilot’s limited integration with 3rd party apps to over 250 apps.
Unfortunately, with the API switch (Office Autopilot and Ontraport both have different APIs) Zapier has taken down the integration until they can get it stable again. So if you had existing zaps they stayed in place. If not, the integration is gone until Zapier figures out how to support both APIs or just Ontraport.
Customer Support, or lack thereof
Office Autopilot has always had amazing support. Ontraport not so much. However, there is a reason behind it.
Since releasing Ontraport, Landon has been expanding his team like crazy to support the efforts. This is a sign of growth. Unfortunately, these new employees are the ones answering the support line.
So for people like me, a bit more advanced, there was no help they could offer me. In fact, very few of them knew their way around the platform themselves. Often resulting in them creating a support ticket for my issue to be resolved via email instead of right on the phone.
This was extremely frustrating because you just can’t get the immediate help and resolution you need. Unless you know the workaround…
One way to get a more experienced rep in the phone is to request one. I met the entire team last year at Ontrapalooza so I know who to ask for if I really need something fixed. All the older employees are absolute rock stars, it’s just unfortunate you have to jump through the hoops for some quality support.
This is another highly frustrating area of Ontraport. They updated the UI to look a lot more clean, which it does. They’ve also improved their workflows so it’s easier than ever to get your sequences built out (I love it).
However, it’s filled with data that is hard to read due to multiple UI issues.
The biggest being that the columns in the data grid are not resizable and don’t automatically expand horizontally. Leaving you with data that is cut off by the limited width of the columns.
The interface is also filled with icons that are too small to see and understand what they mean or do.
These were some of the most prominent issues I experienced when upgrading to Ontraport 3.0. The team is aware of them all and working on fixes as I type.
However, it’s just gonna take a lot of time to fix them all and that’s what concerned me the most and made me contemplate if I wanted to take my business on this long road trip with them.
How to fix Ontraport
There is a way to immediately fix ALL the bugs I mentioned. Downgrade back to Office Autopilot 2.4. OAP 2.4 is battle tested and works like a champ. So you do have that option available to you. You won’t get the enhancements of Ontraport, but you’ll be running on a proven platform.
However, since there is no downgrade path, you will need to export your data from Ontraport and import it which can be a major pain.
And that’s where my trepidation lies. I see Office Autopilot/Ontraport embarking on the same upgrade journey Infusionsoft just went through. The bugs and frustrated customers that will ultimately result in a more polished product. I’m just not sure how long it will take them to get it right.
Why I Chose Infusionsoft
Infusionsoft has come a long way. From a technology side as well as sales reps. I’ve always hated how pushy their sales reps were and strongly disliked mandating thousands dollars worth of training just to sign up for the platform.
I’ve been managing Infusionsoft accounts for a lot of clients lately that has enabled me to bypass the start-up fee and get some true experience with the product.
Needless to say I’ve learned the interface pretty quickly and am extremely comfortable using it. My experience with Infusionsoft has been really good.
There are still some things that are just ridiculously hard to figure out (like creating a double opt-in link that forwards subscribers to a custom “Success Page”), but a bit of searching on the internet provided the exact solution I was looking for.
Infusionsoft has native integrations with a LOT of 3rd party software and services like PlusThis and Zapier to extend its functionality even more.
Needless to say Infusionsoft’s platform is very stable, flexible, and reliable. Which made me wonder…
“Why am I not using it for my business? Especially with the recurring bugs and issues I’ve been experiencing with Ontraport”
The only answer I could come up with, besides my personal love for the entire Ontraport team, was:
- Infusionsoft’s KickStarter fee for someone as experienced as myself
- The drastic learning curve (which I went through fairly quickly)
Those were the only objections I had since I know both tools intimately. Now I probably wouldn’t have even asked myself the question if I wasn’t running into roadblocks with Ontraport and I didn’t have any personal experience with Infusionsoft.
Since I had both the discussion became purely about money.
I contacted Infusionsoft to talk possibilities and spoke with a rep who was an absolute joy to work with (his name is Chad). I won’t disclose numbers but he was able to “minimize” my KickStarter fee tremendously and give me a monthly rate lower than any other platform on the market.
So I jumped ship and decided to wait it out with Ontraport. I will still be posting tutorials on how to do things in both Office Autopilot and Ontraport, but will be using Infusionsoft in my personal business.
Remember, no software is perfect. There will always be bugs and issues you will have to work through. So deciding to go with Infusionsoft or Ontraport will always boil down to what works for you in your business and what you’re willing to put up with and work through.
If you’ve had a similar experience with any of the items listed for either platform please let me know in the comments. If you agree or disagree, those comments are welcomed as well.