(This post originally appeared on Forbes)
Infusionsoft is now called Keap. But the re-branding is not the only big change that happened.
The Arizona-based company, known for its powerful CRM and marketing automation applications, is also changing its focus. Sure, its core products will continue to be developed and sold as Infusionsoft. But the company’s leaders have decided to pivot from just offering a CRM application to offering a more comprehensive set of business tools specifically for small businesses that work in and around the CRM model.
“We’ll continue to lead the CRM and marketing automation industry with exciting updates coming this year with what we are now calling Infusionsoft by Keap,” the company’s COO Keith Reed said in a press release. “With the introduction of our new Keap product, we are able to serve an even larger market of small service providers who have been shut out of the benefits of automation because software providers have made it too hard and expensive.”
I’m still a little fuzzy on the name Keap, but I get the idea. Major CRM brands have been in a historic (and losing) battle to truly meet the demands of small businesses. The problem has been that either their products are too complex or they require too many add-ons to make them full-functioning.
This is why we’re seeing more and more suites of offerings – like Zoho (my company sells Zoho products) Apptivo, OneUp and Sugar – that are taking over a greater share of the small business CRM market. These products – some are CRM, some are accounting with CRM features – are being marketed as a one-stop-shop solution of applications that not only provide CRM functionality but financial, billing and service capabilities all under one roof. This is the holy grail for most of my small business clients who don’t have the resources, or the patience, to deal with multiple, complicated applications that (supposedly) integrate with each other.
Keap is also taking things to a more granular level. Rather than trying to have its cake and eat it with all small businesses (and there are tens of millions of us) the company is focusing on small service providers like consulting firms, contractors, interior design, home repair and fitness companies. Basically, any small business that needs a single resource for client management, appointment setting, billing, payment, quoting and of course basic CRM functionalities like lead and pipeline management would be a targeted customer for Keap.
“Over the last two years, we’ve talked with thousands of small business owners to get a deeper understanding of their unique challenges in today’s market,” Keap CEO Clate Mask wrote in a letter to its website visitors and in its press release. “We discovered small service providers waste time juggling five to seven tools just to book appointments, send communications, provide quotes or collect payments. That is 50 hours a month that could be spent servicing more clients, growing the business or at home with family.”
Based on my experience, Keap is going to have its challenges. I’m sure the application is great, but let’s face it: small businesses can be a tough audience – and the smaller the firm, the tougher. We tend to be irrationally demanding as if we’re a large company. Because of the stresses that challenge us every day we are oftentimes impatient, inconsistent and difficult to nail down. Because our resources are limited we sometimes to push the envelope for services and pricing. And because of our financial challenges we sometimes reverse course, delay decisions and struggle to live up to our promises. Well, at least that’s me. But I think I can comfortably say that many of these factors apply to the hundreds of small business clients my company serves as well. So Keap will have its work cut out.
But then again, maybe not. Maybe, because Keap will be focused on delivering a more full-featured one-stop-shop business application to its small business customers that helps them perform many of their core business functions out of one place the company will succeed in this fickle market. Considering all that they’re offering, I hope they do.