Martech Starter Kit

Insightly CRM

By Jason Compton | 11.14.17

What was Insightly’s motivation for this major update?

Developers have grappled for decades with the problem of making customer relationship management software both convenient and appealing to use. The formula for tilting at that particular windmill is largely unchanged over the years and Insightly is following the time-honored, two-pronged playbook:


Step 1: Focus on features that appeal to business needs of the moment. In Insightly’s case, it’s all about exploring networks, finding connections, and taking the shortest route to advancing (or walking away from) a relationship.


Step 2: Find ways to disappear into other apps people already use. Insightly is built to be used in sync with either Google or Microsoft email platforms.


A product refresh in mid-2017 introduced Microsoft integration, better user authentication, and a streamlined user experience including improved search.

What marketing problem does it help tackle?

As a CRM tool, Insightly has a strong sales activity focus. Marketing integration includes automated workflow and lead routing. There’s also project management capability, which makes it easier for coordinated teams to collaborate on putting together a deal and then delivering it to customers. “You’re able to rally people around a customer initiative, and then when you close the opportunity, manage that project to its conclusion,” says Tony Kavanaugh, Insightly’s CMO. “And that’s one of the ways we keep CRM from being something people only use for a couple of hours at the end of a Friday.”


What opportunities does it help marketers grasp?

Beyond supporting the usual CRM goals of closing better deals faster and reaching more qualified leads more efficiently, Insightly has a novel feature. Its Relationship Linking component is designed to help sales and marketing teams map out a customer’s key contacts, influencers, and challenges, including the ability to automatically assign relationships from inside an email.


What size company is it primarily intended for?

Smaller organizations, typically those with 300 employees or fewer. Insightly’s largest customer as of this writing has 600 active users. The median size is about 30 users.


What does it take to add this product to a marketing organization’s existing tech stack?


Estimated implementation timeframe – The average Insightly customer transitions within eight weeks. Because it’s a cloud-based app, activation time is minimal. Most of the time is spent converting data from previous CRM systems or spreadsheets, introducing users, and encouraging adoption.


Integrations – Insightly was originally developed for the Google business cloud stack, but is now available for the Microsoft cloud, as well. Native integration is also available for Mailchimp, Quickbooks, Xero, and dozens of other common business cloud apps. Custom connectors to other applications and data sources can be built through a REST API.


Dedicated administrator? – Insightly provides an administration control panel to power users, but the tool does not typically require a full-time admin.


Typically, who are the users – Small business sales and marketing professionals are the primary users. Client services teams may also be users, particularly if a company is using the project management capabilities.


Typical number of users – Expect all sales and marketing staff and managers to be users, and possibly the entire client services delivery team, as well.


Amount of initial training for users – Minimal training is needed to start using the solution. Insightly offers additional training for admins, team leads, new feature rollouts, and new hires.


Data sources – Core CRM data is provided through native integrations with the host Google or Microsoft cloud stack. Additional data sources can be connected via API.


Notable process changes – A sales organization running on a loose aggregation of shared spreadsheets and personal contact databases always has some transition period to a more formal CRM solution. Blending project management with sales and marketing will mean the introduction of a new tool to service delivery professionals who may be tracking progress and collaborating in other systems, as well.


Can you test the product before purchase?

Yes, there’s a free trial version with limited features for up to two users.


Does it come with any consulting or implementation services?

Services are provided a la carte by partners in large markets including the U.S., UK, Spain, and Australia, as well as by Insightly.


Who “owns” it over time and where does it sit?

As a sales-first solution, typically the sales organization owns the deployment.


What’s the enterprise pricing model?

Between $348 and $1188 per user per year. Monthly rates are available, but at a premium.


What’s the projected time to ROI?

According to TechValidate, 62% of users saw ROI in three months or less, and 95% of users saw ROI within one year.


What’s the solution’s competitive advantage?

Building for the modern Google and Microsoft Office365 clouds puts capabilities and user experience closer to the way more smaller businesses operate today. And supporting capabilities from lead generation through project delivery is uncommon for a small-business solution.


What’s the word from a customer?

“A single source of truth across our organization.... Massive time savings across the board.” –New West End Company, via G2Crowd.


What’s an analyst’s take?

"Actively managing customer relationships affects a company’s revenue by reducing churn and increasing customer lifetime value and advocacy." – Kate Leggett, Forrester, "Navigate the Future of CRM in 2017"


Where can I find more information?

Check out the Insightly CRM splash page

Read reviews about Insightly on G2Crowd

Read about Insightly on Cabinet M

Download a PDF version of this article.

About the Author

Ginger Conlon found freelance writer Jason Compton shoved in a desk drawer by her predecessor at CRM magazine. He has covered CRM and marketing topics extensively since 1999, largely in her service.

Find him at @jpcwrites and on LinkedIn