- Free plan for up to two users
- Integrations with Gmail and browser-based email clients
- Task management protocol
- Limited integrations with marketing automation software
- Restricted workflow automations
- Stability and use issues
- Stability and use issues
Insightly is a customer relationship management (CRM) platform that focuses on task management, conversion, and data. Like Pipedrive, Insightly is a flexible CRM experience offering users excellent management capabilities. However, the platform falls short in critical areas when it comes to applications for nonprofits.
Insightly, an alternative CRM with limited use for advocacy
While enterprise solutions such as Salesforce continuously dominate CRM software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms, there is a growing but already crowded market for “alternative CRMs” that include Insightly and other offerings (e.g., Agile, Pipedrive, Drip, ZoHo, etc.) In the case of Insightly, this platform is a flexible browser-based experience mainly focused on task management and the continuum of communication between an organization and its clients, stakeholders, or donors. Built around pipelines and workflows like most CRMs, Insightly shifts its user experience to be primarily focused on direct person-to-person contact over automating key marketing aspects.
Insightly doesn’t have any marketing automation tools built into the platform, ultimately limiting its use among advocacy groups and campaigns to donor affairs. On the front of donor interactions, Insightly is undoubtedly built up more compared to Flat Creek’s Datrm.in (pronounced “determine”). Critically, however, Datrm.in was built for political and advocacy campaigns by operators and consultants while Insightly wasn’t.
How does it work for advocacy?
Insightly is ultimately a task management and pipeline tool with a CRM functionality. Users can create contacts, track correspondence, monitor workflow progress, and interact with calendars and other software, as all CRM platforms do by nature. However, where the disconnect occurs with Insightly is that it is meant to manage schedules and tasks over functions campaigns and advocacy groups generally use CRM for, such as aggressively converting donations and automating marketing strategies to connect to voters and audiences. Granted, there are few “political” CRMs, forcing campaigns to choose more “mainstream” marketing and sales software used in the private and nonprofit sectors.
Ease of use and support
During our research, Insightly users primarily reported that the software was easy to use after overcoming initial barriers. These new user barriers include a lack of onboarding materials and migration support from the Insightly team while others cited that they were confused by the first dashboard. Our demo on the Insightly platform was the primary use-case that our reviewers had. Being that we approached the platform with a “new-user” perspective, Insightly was a bit challenging to pick up on at first. After a few hours of using the platform, we were able to get the hang of it and found it easier to learn than most enterprise CRMs like Salesforce.
New users are given a setup checklist with guides plus tutorials, online user reviews, and in-platform support lines to contribute to an “eased” experience. However, users on consumer review sites G2Crowd, Fit Small Business, and Software Advice all reported issues with the live support team. While our testing was limited by time, we did not have that issue.
Task management, collaboration, and cross-platform use
We enjoyed the task management tools built into Insightly. Users can create very detailed to-do lists and manage tasks and projects at all phases in a specific work pipeline. To note, the collaboration features in the platform are industry standard. For example, users can create individual or shared dashboards, task lists, contact lists, and workflows by the click of just a few buttons. Though not necessarily unique, Insightly does an excellent job of creating an industry-standard collaborative experience for task management.
In general, collaboration on the platform is easy to deploy. Users can restrict and grant permissions to sub-users, teams, and entire organizations. Like with any collaborative workplace SaaS platform, admin users can invite users via email. Additionally, the platform has mobile app experiences for Apple and Android devices. Users have generally enjoyed stable, holistic experiences packed into the palm of their hand. We tested Insightly’s Android app with the browser-based version of the platform on a Google Chromebook. Syncing and data transfer between both was quick with the mobile app continuously updating periodically throughout the day, even when idle. Both mobile apps are free to download from Google Play and the Apple App Store.
Sidebar and integrations with other software
Insightly has native integration with Google Suite and other services. The most flexible one that Insightly has developed is its Sidebar add-on for Outlook and Gmail. This integration can be added via the Google Chrome Web Store or the Microsoft App Store and installed as a plugin to the online versions of Gmail and Outlook. The Insightly Sidebar can be used to import contacts into the CRM, create tasks, and send and respond to emails with prospects. The sidebar also has features tracking emailed correspondence while syncing all necessary data to the central and mobile platforms. This integration, while convenient, has several noted stability and syncing issues, particularly with Gmail; the plugin appears not to have been updated in some time, giving the user an old experience that doesn’t play well with the updated Gmail dashboard. Outlook has similar syncing problems but is more stable with fewer glitches and crashes.
Aside from this, Insightly doesn’t have too many other integrations with external software. However, users can augment their experience by integrating with Mailchimp, PandaDoc, Slack, Quickbooks, and a few others. Developers can access Insightly’s REST API for further customization.
Insightly is competitively priced with paid plans beginning at $29 per month. Users who are seeking a bargain can utilize Insightly’s free plan for two people or, if the team is bigger and more features are needed, qualifying nonprofit groups can receive 50 percent off their plan. Comparatively, Pipedrive plans begin at $12.50 per month, while a valid “Salesforce alternative” like Agile CRM starts at $8.99 per month with marketing automation built-in.
What we think
Insightly has high marks for the Sidebar integration’s convenience (whenever it works), a clean and comfortable to learn browser-based dashboard and a well built mobile experience for Android and Apple devices. Nevertheless, the Sidebar also serves as a significant point of concern when it comes to syncing. As a whole, Insightly could use more native integrations with external software, but, the platform does make it up by offering a tool that works. Organizations that want to give Insightly a try should do so, but we recommend starting with the free plan.
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