The most critical component of any business is communication. You need to stay in touch with your clients, employees, and teammates. Furthermore, to really excel, you need to track with whom you spoke, about what you both discussed, and when you discussed it. But people quickly tire of communication that isn’t streamlined, organized, and simple. That’s where customer relationship management (CRM) and lead management (LM) tools come in. Insightly CRM (which begins at $12 per user per month) is easy-to-use online CRM software that helps businesses organize interactions with clients. It also helps them keep track of projects, emails, notes, leads, milestones, and much more. An administrator can create a team and track all members’ activity from Insightly CRM’s website or by using the applications for Android and iPhone.
Compared with our Editors’ Choices Apptivo CRM, Salesforce Sales Cloud Lightning Professional, and Zoho CRM, Insightly CRM could stand to offer more functionality for larger organizations. But what Insightly CRM does, it does very well, with a few minor caveats. The user interface (UI) is easy to follow, and there are plenty of customizations and integrations. However, it cannot natively handle all aspects of your business like Apptivo CRM can, nor does it offer custom reports and dashboards like Salesforce Sales Cloud Professional and Zoho CRM do.
Insightly CRM Pricing
Insightly CRM is available in five tiers: Free, Basic, Plus, Professional, and Enterprise. A free 14-day trial is also available. The free plan offers limited functionality for just two users, but you don’t get MailChimp integration or Google contact and calendar sync. The Basic package ($15 per user per month, or $12 per user per month with an annual contract) is the plan we reviewed. This plan offers unlimited users, lead management, 25,000 records, 1 GB of storage, and more. The Plus tier ($29 per user per month billed annually, $35 month-to-month) ups capacity significantly to 2,500 emails per day, 10 GB storage, 100,000 records, and 250 custom fields. The Professional tier ($49 per user per month billed annually, $59 month-to-month) ups limits to 100 GB storage, 5,000 emails, 500 custom fields, and 250,000 records. If all of that capacity isn’t enough, then the $99-per-user per-month Enterprise subscription ($129 month-to-month) is intended for larger companies; it gives you 10,000 emails, 250 GB of storage, 500,000 records, and 1,000 custom fields. Insightly CRM doesn’t offer any refunds, not even for the unused portions of your annual plan. Once you cancel, you still have access to the account until the end of the month to export your data. The company also provides business card scanning, custom branding, and onboarding sessions for all tiers but the free plan.
Clicking Sign Up Free brings you to the pricing page. Here, you can choose one of the different subscription levels or click the free trial link at the top to test drive the Professional plan. The trial does not require credit card information, so there’s no risk of forgetting to cancel and subsequently being billed. However, any data you’ve stored in Insightly CRM will be deleted at the end of the trial; you can export it beforehand, though.
Because Insightly CRM has the capability to do so many things, it can be a bit overwhelming at first. To help ease new users into the software, the Insightly CRM Home tab comes loaded with several tasks to walk you through the basics, giving you a taste of all the functionality Insightly CRM brings to the table.
Insightly CRM’s Facebook-like layout immediately feels familiar, with a Recent Activity feed front and center after login and navigation links on the left-hand side. Your feed can be filtered by activity type and user, so you can quickly see emails that were recently sent or monitor a specific team member’s progress. The navigation panel links you to your team’s tasks, contacts, organizations, leads, opportunities, projects, emails, and reports.
Users, Contacts, and Lead Management
Adding users and teams is as easy as clicking System Settings under the drop-down menu in the upper right-hand corner, and then clicking Users or Teams. Users can be given specific permissions, and can be automatically assigned to various leads or contacts either manually or via a workflow process.
To create a lead, click the Lead tab in the navigation pane, and then the red New Lead button at the top of the page. There is also a plus (+) button at the very top center of every page, which you can use to add a record. Every entry you create in Insightly CRM is referred to as a Record, and this includes projects, leads, and more. When you add a new record, you can set the privacy controls to everyone, only the record creator, or specific team members. You can create detailed records and link them to one or more projects, contacts, organizations, and even other records.
Leads can also be pulled in from a web form. Insightly CRM has a tool that will create HTML code that can be dropped into your website and will automatically pull respondents into either your contacts or leads list. (Note: This will not work for WordPress sites, and some tweaking is needed for Google Sites.)
Besides the usual contact information, you can include data for leads such as their status and source (a referral, web form, etc.). When leads become qualified as possible customers, they are “converted” and moved into the Opportunities category (with both the organization and individual name at top). It is at this point that they become a Contact.
The Home screen shows all recent activity. Information about each lead and contact can be found by using tabs; just click on a different tab to show contact history, notes, attached files, tasks, and events. While this allows for seeing a great deal of information about a lead, apps such as Zoho CRM show all of the information about the lead on a single screen, which could suit some users better.
Adding users and teams is as easy as clicking System Settings under the drop-down menu in the upper right-hand corner, and then clicking Users or Teams. Insightly CRM also recently added new lead assignment rules to the platform. This lets leads be distributed automatically based on logic such as assigning by region, importing leads from conferences or job fairs, or automating lead assignment by individual or by team. Users can add lead assignment rules either via web form when importing leads from a CSV file, Microsoft Excel file, or through the Insightly application programming interface (API).
The idea is to make it easier for sales managers to coordinate lead assignment through automated means to keep sales teams on task. When configuring a rule, you can select from Insightly’s default lead fields or from any custom fields you’ve created, and then designate the rule criteria to apply to a specific team or multiple users. The only catch with this feature is that it’s only available to Professional and Enterprise tiers, whereas in a tool like Infusionsoft this kind of lead automation is baked into the base CRM features—though at a much higher starting price point.
Insightly also allows for the creation of pipelines and activity sets, as with other sales pipeline-driven platforms like Pipedrive CRM and PipelineDeals. A pipeline is a series of steps you can assign to make sure your salespeople are following each step along the process – if you repeatedly perform the same tasks, the pipeline lets you visually track progress at a glance. However, Insightly only lets you create pipelines for opportunities (converted leads) and projects.
On the other hand, you can also create an Activity Set, which is a series of tasks for each stage. Unlike pipelines, Activity Sets can be created for leads, opportunities and contacts, as well as organization and projects. You can add an Activity Set manually to one lead or a group of leads. You can also arrange to have the Set trigger automatically when the next stage of a pipeline is reached, but again, this works only for an opportunity or a project.
When dealing with new leads, one of the most useful features of a lead management tool is the ability to automate the initial response, so that you can reach a large number of possible customers without having to spend time manually contacting each. Insightly lets you set up workflow automation via a series of simple forms – for example, you can arrange to automatically send an email to all newly created leads, or send a follow-up email a week later if no response has been recorded.
Reporting and Third-Party Integration
Insightly generates reports by user, organization, category, pipeline stage, and more. It’s easy to see where the team’s time and money are going with these built-in reports. Along with productivity, Insightly can also track whether a recipient has opened an email. If a team member sends a follow-up to the new client, anyone else on the team (who’s been granted access) can click the email in their Recent Activity feed or Email tab to see whether the recipient has opened it. As is typical with email-tracking software, it will not work if the recipient has disabled images in their email. Insightly’s reporting capabilities are a bit basic in comparison to the options available in Salesforce, but the company has addressed this recently through a new integration with Microsoft Power BIbusiness intelligence (BI) to its CRM reporting.
To take advantage of the integration, you’ll need an account set up for Microsoft’s free BI tool. Then to enable the integration, you can connect Power BI to Insightly via each CRM account’s unique Insightly API key, which you can find listed in User Settings under the top right icon of your Insightly dashboard. Once enabled, Power BI fetches Insightly’s CRM data and populates an Insightly dashboard within the BI tool that includes reporting data such as opportunity forecasting, win rate value, and productivity metrics for project and task completion. Each Power BI report also includes an “edit mode” to add additional data visualizations or adjust the CRM fields the report is pulling from Insightly. The integration is well-executed, and adds advanced reporting and Big Data analysis capabilities to a platform that, up until now, was very light on that front. Insightly’s built-in reporting still pales in comparison to Salesforce and Zoho CRM, but if you don’t mind opening another app, Microsoft Power BI makes up a substantial amount of ground.
Most businesses already use some manner of productivity software. Instead of expecting users to abandon the familiar, Insightly CRM integrates also nicely with the tools you are already using, such as Google Apps, Microsoft Outlook, Boomerang, Box, Dropbox, Evernote, Google Calendar, Google Drive, MailChimp, PandaDoc, Proposable, QuickBooks, Xero, and Zapier.
One of our biggest knocks on Insightly has been its shaky integration with Google Apps and lack of automatic email forwarding. However, the new Insightly sidebar for Gmail addresses much of the platform’s shortcomings in that area. The Insightly Sidebar is a Chrome extension giving users access to all Insightly CRM data directly from the Gmail inbox. By pulling up the sidebar, you can view contact and lead information with options to save emails, access the Insightly task list, and create or edit contact records from within Gmail. The Save to Insightly button is still a half-measure to addressing full automatic email forwarding, but the sidebar is a simple addition from the Chrome Web Store to greatly improve the overall experience of working with Insightly in tandem with Google Apps.
Insightly offers apps for Android, iPad, and iPhone as well. While the apps do offer some handy tools, such as business card scanning (it uses actual humans for transcription) and widgets, their email capabilities are noticeably lacking, as you can neither send an email nor check to see whether an email you sent from your computer has been read by your recipients.
There have been significant improvements in the mobile apps of late, though. Insightly has beefed up its mobile workflow management capabilities by adding its Pipelines and Activity Set features to the Android and iOS apps. When adding or editing a lead opportunity or a project in the mobile app, users can now select a Pipeline and update the entry as the opportunity or project progresses to further stages. To change a Pipeline or stage, edit the record you’re viewing by tapping the Pipeline and stage fields and selecting a new stage. When the stage includes an Activity Set, you will be prompted to configure dates and assignments as in the Insightly desktop app.
To apply Activity Sets on mobile in order to trigger template-based tasks and events associated with a project or opportunity, tap the Related tab in a project and then the plus icon, and select a corresponding activity set including start and end dates, and assignees. Insightly has also improved mobile search with icons denoting a task, contact, opportunity, or organization search filter. You still can’t do absolutely everything on mobile that you can do in the main Insightly CRM—the mobile apps can do even more in Apptivo CRM—but the functionality is overall much-improved.
Insightly’s support is helpful and easy to access as well. During our trial, we contacted the company with questions via email and received a response within 24 hours with a satisfactory resolution to issues. We also received one phone call from an Insightly representative who patiently answered all questions and followed up via email a few hours later. Insightly’s support is accessible without being overbearing.
Ample Features, Great Price
If you’re looking for a way to streamline and organize your client and employee networks, then Insightly CRM is a great choice. It may take a little getting used to but, after a short time, the system will be updating contacts and linking projects for you, without much help at all.
Insightly CRM is multiple tools combined into one dashboard so all aspects of your business can be found on one page. The subscription fee seems a small price to pay for that kind of convenience. However, you can get more functionality for about the same price with Apptivo CRM, our Editors’ Choice for CRM. Our other CRM Editors’ Choices, Salesforce Sales Cloud Lightning Professional and Zoho CRM, give you more ability to customize your dashboards and your workflow. But Insightly CRM is an intuitive, affordable, and easy-to-use CRM that might be the right fit for your business.