Insightly CRM Review: highly customizable & simple contact importation

Insightly is a customer relationship management (CRM) platform that caters specifically to the needs of small and medium-sized businesses and is very simple to use (SMBs). The user interface of the software is straightforward and, perhaps more importantly, the process of entering data into the system is not overly complicated. Insightly is more user-friendly than our Editors’ Choice pick for SMB-friendly CRM, which is Zoho CRM; however, Insightly does not have as many features and can cost almost twice as much at its most expensive level. Despite this, many of its positive aspects make it a good CRM application for small and medium-sized businesses.

How to Begin with Insightly

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Insightly, much like the majority of its rivals, presents you with a landing page that you can personalize and configure to display your most urgent to-do items, unanswered emails, or reporting dashboards when you first log in. You won’t need to jump into a separate designer like you would for some of the other competing CRMs, including Act! CRM, in order to customize this interface. On the fly, you can add new objects to your dashboard, delete existing ones, modify existing ones, or move them around.

You have the option to select which of Insightly’s four dashboards will serve as the application’s default dashboard. Recent Activity, Opportunities Dashboard, Project Dashboard, and Leads Dashboard are the four that make up this dashboard. Having said that, you also have the ability to create completely new dashboards from scratch and share them with other individuals or teams that are associated with your account. Other customer relationship management systems will offer these features, but Insightly organizes everything in a way that makes it simple to find and put into action.

An all-up settings view is available in Insightly, just like it is in Zoho CRM. On the other hand, it is only for settings that are directly related to a particular user and can be found under the tab labeled “User Profile.” If you have the permissions to be an administrator, the System Settings tab will be accessible to you. This tab contains features that are applicable to the entire organization, such as an active user list and the ability to add new users. Options for data administration, workflow automation, and app integrations will all be located in this section of the interface.

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Because these administrative settings aren’t exactly user-friendly, you might find it necessary to contact Insightly’s support team for assistance. In addition, there is only a fundamental, functionalist view available for the majority of the options. For example, the process of creating new data objects begins with a fundamental list view of all of your objects. You are only able to create one new object at a time from that location onward. The fact that most SMBs won’t require thousands of objects is one of the platform’s strengths because it makes it simple to get started. On the other hand, as your business expands, you will require more objects than this particular kind of engine can easily manage to process.

Importing data, typically pertaining to contacts and deals, is required to get any CRM up and running. Importing a small CSV file that contains fifty test contacts allows us to conduct our evaluations. The importation process in Insightly was, once again, what we anticipated; however, it was just a little bit simpler (and ran just a little bit more smoothly) than the majority of the software that is currently available. Here are the steps:

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While the majority of customer relationship management systems (CRMs) can only import contacts via a custom integration or a CSV file, Insightly provides several other options. You can import contacts, for instance, straight from an Excel file (why don’t more CRMs do that?). or through the use of Microsoft Outlook or Google Workspace. Insightly provides this functionality out of the box, in addition to options for Act! Premium and Mailchimp, whereas most CRMs require you to add an integration in order to access that functionality.

In addition, the import of our CSV file went off without a hitch, which was a welcome departure from the experience we had with some of Insightly’s rivals (Salesflare was particularly frustrating during this import process). After we had selected our file, Insightly took the first row of the spreadsheet, made some educated guesses about what each field ought to be, and then presented us with its findings along with the option to change anything that it had gotten wrong. In our particular instance, there was only one mystery field, and it was called EU Importer. Everything else was identified by Insightly, and the import user interface allowed us to define EU as a custom field directly there.

Organizations and Contacts

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Simply clicking on the Contacts tab located on the left-hand side of the Insightly navigation bar will display a list formatted with all of your contacts. A more aesthetically pleasing interface, such as Zoho CRM’s Kanban cards or something else along those lines, is something that we really want to see. The user interface, on the other hand, makes it very simple to apply tags in order to filter your list. You are able to define tags for contacts, organizations, deals, and other data points with Zoho and many other CRMs; however, Insightly places these tags directly on the user interface so that you can filter them more easily. Additionally, you have the ability to make your own tags and use them within the Organizations and Opportunities sections.

In addition to tags, you can also sort the view using a number of filters, such as Contacts Added in the Last 7 Days and Recently Viewed. Those filters, on the other hand, are not modifiable in any way.

Once you drill down, there is a long list of things you can do to an individual contact, such as assigning a new owner, exporting to a vCard or Mailchimp, and adding a new activity record. You can do all of these things by clicking on the contact in question. Even though the fields in the Organizations, Leads, and Opportunities views are organized somewhat differently from one another, the fundamental process that you go through remains the same.

There is a strong connection between contacts and organizations. When you manually add a contact to the Insightly database and choose to associate that contact with a business that does not already exist in the database, the application prompts you to Create a New Organization. After you have finished doing that, you will be able to finish adding your contact.

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When you bring up the details card for either Organizations or Contacts, you will see four different options to choose from. There are tabs for Details, Related, Activity, and Timeline located within the Contacts section. Details is all of the information that you entered, and Related is any other touchpoint that the Contact has with Insightly, such as other deals, projects, or open tickets. Details is a subset of the Contact record. Activity is the point at which Tasks, which will be covered in a later lesson, intersect with Contacts. A Timeline is merely a scheduling view that displays all of the unfinished Tasks along with the dates on which they are due.

On the drill-down card for an organization, you’ll also find tabs labeled Details, Related, and Activity, all of which function in the same way. As the fourth available option, Insightly now provides a News view rather than a Timeline view. This is the section where Insightly will search the internet for the most recent information pertaining to your prospective company and then surface it there.

The appearance of Leads is very similar to that of Contacts; however, Leads are not considered Contacts until you explicitly designate them as such. You will need to fill out the same information as you would under Contacts; however, any new organizations that you add will not be immediately added to the database (and the lead only shows up in the Leads tab).

You have the ability to add notes and files, and you can also email the lead to another member of the team as a Task (or just by giving them permission to view it). You have the option of closing the lead by clicking the Close button or deleting it entirely if it does not produce any results. If you decide to convert the lead, you will have the option to manually select “Convert this Lead to a Contact,” which will cause it to be added to your list of Contacts.

It’s possible that all of this will sound complicated, but in reality, it’s not. It is beneficial to maintain a distinction between leads (individuals with whom you are certain you will conduct business) and contacts (people who you may have only shook hands with once). This separation is also not something you will find in other small business customer relationship management systems (SMB CRMs), most notably Onpipeline and Salesflare.

Tasks, Opportunities, and Scheduling: The Fundamentals

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Although the Tasks tab of Insightly is not technically a project management interface, it is an efficient task tracker that can be utilized by both users and managers. Because tasks are tracked on a milestone basis, the view is able to surface even partial progress even when they are assigned by a user, assigned by a teammate, or assigned by the manager. The drill-down view of the task displays the details of the task as well as any related tasks. You also have the ability to assign them to a specific Opportunity, which will make them visible in the reporting associated with that Opportunity. When you assign a task to a particular contact, that task will show up in the contact record for that contact as well as the organization record if applicable.

The Calendar view is precisely what one would anticipate it to be. It is possible to synchronize it with Google Workspace or Microsoft Exchange, as well as link it to a user’s calendar. However, in a rare instance of oversight on the part of Insightly, that indicates a local version of Exchange rather than the cloud-based version. In this day and age, that constitutes a bit of an error, and Insightly ought to immediately address the matter. At this point, the integration with Microsoft Office 365 should only require three clicks, just like it does with Google.

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When you start using Insightly for the first time, you’ll most likely already have a few opportunities in the pipeline. These can be imported from a CSV file, but after that you will need to manually update the pipeline progress. This can be done at any time. If you’re trying to convert your numerical fields into visual data, you might run into a bit of a learning curve in the process, but it’s not an especially steep one.

In Insightly, the fundamental procedure for manually adding a new opportunity is the same as the procedure for adding anything else. You enter the specifics of the deal, such as the name of the company, and it is matched to the appropriate entry in the database. You are also able to specify the open and close dates, information about the product or service, information about the revenue, and the current stage of the pipeline. You are able to delegate responsibilities and link those responsibilities to other team members who are actively involved in the transaction. When you have finished creating the opportunity, it will be displayed in the list view alongside a concise visual representation of its current position in the pipeline. A simple click moves the transaction forward and adds Tasks, which will also show up under the Organization and Task lists for the member of the team who is responsible for completing them.

One of the aspects of Insightly that we appreciated the most was how well everything was linked together. Although the process of detailing everything takes some time, in practice, it is simple to add information in one location and have it automatically appear wherever else it is required. This makes the process much more efficient. This not only makes the input process simpler, but it also gives salespeople the ability to work from whatever perspective best suits them.

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Another location where you’ll find this to be of great assistance is in the Projects tab. Think of a project as any other complicated activity that needs to take place in order to complete an opportunity, such as order fulfillment or maybe some nonstandard shipping process. This activity needs to take place in order for the opportunity to be realized. To make one, you must first give it a name, after which you must specify its current status, the category type, where it is in the pipeline process, who is responsible for it, and any additional project information that you require. After it has been created, it will appear in other views as a series of tasks, activities that are related to it, as well as in the timeline.

It may all appear to be common sense, but competing CRM platforms, including Zoho and especially Salesforce, make you jump through more hoops than Insightly does. With Insightly, everything is ready to go and has already been set up. Adding contacts and organizations, then linking them to opportunities and pipelines, is all that is required of you.

Using Email

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Once email syncing has been set up, you will be able to send emails directly from within Insightly. That is not the case with every other CRM on the market. For instance, the Act! For this purpose, CRM launches your personal email client on your computer. Insightly also makes it simple to create and modify email templates, despite the fact that these templates are more simplistic than others.

Email marketing features are not included in the standard Insightly account, so you will not have access to them. For this purpose, Insightly offers a separate product known as Marketing, which comes at an additional cost. In addition to that, Insightly has released a new product called Service, which is a help desk offering. For the purposes of this review, however, we focused solely on the CRM even though the test instance we used had access to all of these other tools.

It is important to note, however, that all of these products can be integrated with one another in a smooth and effortless manner, requiring little to no effort on your part. Therefore, if you sign on to these other Insightly products and add a contact in the CRM, anyone using your company’s Insightly Marketing or Service products will automatically see that contact. This is because the CRM is connected to the other Insightly products. In a similar vein, if a help desk technician adds information to a trouble ticket that is associated with a contact or organization, that ticket will also appear in the CRM.

Dashboards and reports

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It’s possible for Insightly’s Reports and Dashboards to have some sort of connection, but you access them through different tabs, and their primary functions are typically quite different.

Although Insightly provides a lengthy list of prebuilt reports, one of its flaws is that you cannot actually create a brand-new report that includes only the data you want, in the location you want it. This is one of Insightly’s most significant limitations. There is a button labeled “New Report,” but when we clicked on it, we discovered that doing so simply means you are running a report rather than making a new one. Exporting to Microsoft Power BI, one of our Editors’ Choice award winners for business intelligence tools, can be done with the click of a single button, which is a very welcome addition. You can either use Power BI as your reporting engine or go to Power BI first to generate new reports, which can then be imported into Insightly through the use of the API (which is probably the more efficient option).

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Your dashboards provide a continuous view into the progress that is being made in terms of sales by your deals, team, and organization. As is the case with Reports, Insightly provides a comprehensive list of premade dashboards that should satisfy the majority of requirements. On the other hand, there is a button labeled “Create Report,” which when clicked, launches a visual editor that’s not too difficult to get the hang of.

You can modify an existing dashboard by selecting it in the visual editor and making the necessary changes. You also have the option of making a brand new one from scratch by deciding which fields should be included, where the information should be displayed on the card, and how it should appear overall.

In general, we would advise ignoring Reports and instead making use of Microsoft Power BI as an alternative. You can use the free version as a reporting engine, and the results will be significantly better than those provided by almost any CRM that is not Salesforce or Zoho CRM’s integration with Zoho Analytics, which is the company’s own product. Then, to create the views you need for day-to-day operations, use Dashboards to your heart’s content.

How to Purchase Insightly

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Pricing for Insightly is broken down into the industry-standard three tiers, which are as follows:

  • You will have restricted access to the majority of features if you opt for Plus, which costs $29 per user per month (billed annually). Most notably, you won’t have any ability to personalize the experience in any way.
  • The Professional plan costs $49 per user per month, but it only integrates third-party apps and has a limited number of Dashboards available.
  • The Enterprise plan comes with full access to all of the features that we have discussed in this evaluation, but it comes at an eye-popping price of $99 per user per month.

Other products from Insightly are also available, and while they are tightly integrated with the CRM, they come at an additional cost. These include Insightly Service and Insightly Marketing, and their pricing is determined by the number of users and is structured similarly to that of Insightly CRM.

It Depends Completely on How You Put It to Use

The Plus and Pro tiers of Insightly come with prices that are comparable to those of other CRMs that we tested and evaluated. On the other hand, the price of its Enterprise tier is nearly twice as much as that of Zoho CRM, the winner of our SMB Editors’ Choice award. In addition to this, Zoho CRM provides data and deal management, an artificial intelligence-powered reporting engine, custom workflow design, and tight, in-house app integration with more than 30 other Zoho office applications. And, to tell you the truth, even if you run a small or midsize business, you should be using the Enterprise tier of Insightly.

On the other hand, utilizing Insightly requires less effort than Zoho CRM does. This may be the deciding factor in whether or not your salespeople view your CRM as useful or as just another hoop they have to jump through before they can get to the “real work.”

This misconception is one of the primary contributors to the failure of so many CRM implementations, and Insightly has done an excellent job of mitigating the potential impact of this possibility. Insightly is worth a look if you are focused on a quick rollout time and an easy learning ramp for your users, despite the fact that it lags behind Zoho CRM in terms of features and price.

In conclusion

Because of its intuitive user interface, extensive customization options, and seamless data importation, Insightly is a CRM that has the potential to significantly benefit your company.


  • Unbroken flow of information and collaboration
  • slick and consistent user interface that’s not hard to get the hang of
  • Highly modifiable and adaptable
  • Simple integration with the help desk and marketing applications offered by Insightly


  • Tiers of extreme luxury and expense
  • Contains no advanced features such as individualized workflows
Techexplains Team

Techexplains Team

We are a team of digital marketing experts with years of experience in website builders. CRM tools, project management software helping businesses of all sizes achieve their marketing goals. We are writing about benefits of using SaaS for businesses, and sharing our top picks for the best tools currently available on the market. Whether you are a small business owner looking to streamline your marketing efforts or a larger enterprise seeking to improve your marketing efficiency, we hope that you will find this useful and informative.