Insightly vs Zoho (2021): Pricing & Features

Christopher Sirk
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Insightly vs Zoho: What is the difference?

So you're looking for a CRM, and Zoho and Insightly have both caught your eye. 

Both vendors offer full-featured CRM software for everyday business processes, tackling lead generation, sales management, contact management, workflow automation, and more. This surface-level similarity in features can make it tricky to pick one over the other.

As far as market share goes, Zoho claims about 4.35% of all CRM users, making it the fourth most popular platform worldwide. Insightly holds a more modest 0.21% market share, putting it in 37th place overall, but given there are hundreds upon hundreds of vendors out there, it's still a significant achievement.

According to market research and technographic company HG Insights, Zoho is used by 36,824 companies. The same firm's research indicates that Insightly is used by about 2,200 companies.

This disparity in usage doesn't indicate a disparity in quality. And to be fair, Zoho has been around since 1996, while Insightly was founded in 2009, so the former has had a head start.

Both platforms offer well-built, comprehensive customer relationship management. The decision about which vendor is best will come down to your specific business needs. 

With that in mind, read on to find out the differences between Insightly and Zoho, and the pros and cons of each. 

What is Insightly? 

Insightly is a SaaS cloud-based CRM that keeps track of all of your customer data, allows sales teams to close deals and build stronger relationships, and makes your organization more productive overall. It does sales, project, and task management, and features low learning curve, customizable reporting tools.

The basic philosophy behind Insightly is that good UX leads to better CX. And this CX-first vision is built into all the classic CRM features you’d expect, like lead routing, workflow automation, contact management, and in-app email with tracking and bulk emailing to lists. There's also salesforce and marketing automation to help you nurture leads across automated customer journeys.

The CRM platform integrates with G Suite and Microsoft Office 365. The Insightly Sidebar, meanwhile, runs as a handy Chrome extension, letting you save Gmail messages directly to your CRM and easily cross-reference contact information. The CRM is also available in mobile versions for both Android and iOS. 

Features of Insightly

Contact data organization 

Insightly's contact management system integrates directly with social media channels and email. View relationship activity history and make use of dynamic relationship linking, which lets you connect your contacts to one another and glean insights on their networks. It's also easy to export contact data as a CSV file to other platforms.

Lead management 

The platform's lead management toolkit can help drive your sales process by converting more leads to opportunities. Set lead assignment and routing rules and set permissions on lead access, build web to lead forms, link emails to specific opportunities, and scan business cards to extract contact info.

Automating workflow task 

Workflow automation frees you from routine tasks, instantly updating data, sending out emails, and delegating tasks according to workflow rules. Leads can be auto-assigned to a rep, and when a deal is closed, a new post-sale process can be triggered. Webhooks and AWS Lambda functions allow you to automate other business software based on work processes that take place on the Insightly platform. 

Email management 

Manage your business emails with mass email features and email templates for campaign-specific and personalized messaging. Mailchimp integration (available with any paid plan) lets you run email marketing campaigns on that platform while maintaining contact data sync with Insightly.

Linking functionality 

Relationship linking features allow you to understand informal networks and organizational structures at other companies. Link one contact record to another and keep track of complex relationships with customers, suppliers, and everyone else connected to your business.

Organizing pipelines 

Bring order to workflows with visual, linear pipelines for projects and opportunities. Insightly's pipeline management tools allow you to intuitively map out your sales process and monitor deals and opportunities. You can link pipeline stages to activity sets (i.e. task checklists) for individual team members to keep all your work coordinated. 

Custom real-time data dashboards 

Uncover important business insights with customizable data visualizations updated in real-time. A simple drag-and-drop UI allows you to build and tweak dashboards quickly, add custom fields, and select 40+ chart types for viewing your data. Segment data by lead source and a host of other variables, and generate reports filtered by customer profile, industry, and more. 

Tool integration 

Insightly plays nicely with the digital tools you already use (or want to use), with many, many vendor-built app integrations. Email integration helps you capture more leads, and web-to-lead connectivity lets you feed web form data into your CRM automatically. Third-party web form builders can also be plugged into Insightly via Zapier.

Insightly pricing

  • No-frills plan for up to 2 users is free

  • Plus plan is $29 per user/per month, billed annually

  • Professional plan is $49 per user/per month, billed annually

  • Enterprise plan is $99 per user/per month, billed annually

A 14-day free trial is available for the Plus and Professional plans. 

Pros & cons of Insightly

Pros of Insightly 

  • Ease of use 

Targeted at small businesses and startups, Insightly features a gentle learning curve and a drag-and-drop interface that makes dashboard customization easy. This ease of use carries over to reporting tools as well; you can quickly generate data visualizations assisted by Business Intelligence.

  • Integration 

Insightly has a huge range of integrations with other platforms, including Microsoft Office 365, Gmail, G Suite, Xero, QuickBooks, Mailchimp, and Slack. You can also use Zapier to plug the CRM into 2,000+ apps that don't have vendor-built integrations, so more-or-less every tool that might make up your daily workflow is accounted for. 

  • Mobile app usage 

The platform provides advanced mobile CRM functionality for both iPhone and Android phone users. Manage opportunities stage-by-stage, record voice notes, update project status, scan business cards, and manage your calendar on the go.

  • Ample number of features 

If you're looking for a full-featured, comprehensive CRM, you'll be well served by Insightly. From workflow automation and lead routing to project management and email marketing, the platform's tools help you build efficiencies throughout virtually all work processes.

  • Social media integration 

Social media integration allows you to link contact records with Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn automatically. When you add an email address to a contact, Insightly's social media discovery tool trawls the web for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn matches. Zapier integration makes it easy to build social media "Zaps" to auto-post content across channels.

Cons of Insightly 

  • Slow performance 

While the platform runs well most of the time, some Insightly users have expressed frustration with occasional slow page load times. These intermittent performance issues appear to be related to operating system updates, browser compatibility issues, and the vendor's cloud hosting.

  • Business templates 

Insightly lacks business templates, which is a notable oversight given that many competitor platforms have them. HubSpot, for example, offers a range of prefab budget reports, proposals, and executive summaries.

  • Search functionality limitation 

The platform's search capabilities can be temperamental, and may not pull up the most relevant information. You can create custom filters to view specific groups of leads, contacts, opportunities, etc. but this is not a total solution.

  • Mass email restriction 

Depending on which Insightly plan you subscribe to, you may find your email marketing efforts challenged via a low limit on mass emails per day. Those on the free plan can only send 10 out a day; the Basic paid plan accommodates 500 per day, and the Enterprise-level has a cap of 10,000 per day.

  • Customer service 

Customer service and support can sometimes be slow to resolve issues. Some users complain that Insightly's service team is inconsistent in their standard of service, and have gripes with customer issues occasionally being passed off from one representative to another, then never followed up on. 

 

What is Zoho?

Zoho CRM is a modular platform for daily work that lets you start with the CRM basics, then add on all sorts of other robust features. User-friendly and customizable, Zoho makes it easy to create custom fields, generate new layouts, set project-specific mandates for your sales teams, and more. 

Track deals and categorize task types with Tags feature, and create and assign roles to team members and set privacy permissions for information-sensitive projects. Zoho sends you real-time notifications around the clock to any device whenever your contacts engage with you across any channel. 

The app's AI tool, ‘Zia,’  has pre-programmed macros to automate repetitive tasks, and you can create your own custom macros. Smart task and email templates speed up routine inquiries and interactions with customers and help ensure best practice interactions every time.

Zoho also includes a range of data security systems as well as assignable roles, allowing admins to decide who gets what kind of access.

Features of Zoho

Sales force automation

Everyday tasks like sending follow-ups, scheduling appointments, tracking contacts, and managing sales opportunities take up a lot of your sales team's time. Zoho automates these routine sales processes, so you can focus on connecting with customers, finding leads, and growing your bottom line with more deals closed.

Omnichannel 

Zoho allows you to centralize operations and manage customer interactions across all communications channels. This includes email, phone, social media, live chat, webforms, self-service portal, web conference, and notifications. There's also robust team chat, notifications, and other collaborative tools to coordinate work and have more contextually informed and effective interactions.

Customization 

There's a lot of customizability built into Zoho. You can create custom fields, layouts, overviews, and buttons, tweaking workflow and information capture to suit your business needs. You can test your customizations before implementing them, and switch languages and currencies to your appropriate location.

Performance management 

Performance management features can help you predict sales and accelerate the productivity of your sales team. Track sales by product, region, and team, and use these numbers to allocate team resources and generate realistic sales forecasts. Set goals to motivate team members and make expectations visible, and get perspective with aggregate quotas from your past sales forecast history, as well as deal amounts.

Analytics 

Deep analytical CRM capabilities allow you to make decisions driven by data. Measure sales activity and overall business performance with customizable reports and data intelligence. Analytical widgets can be easily added to any custom dashboard, including charts, KPIs, funnels, and target meters.   

Zoho pricing

Pricing: 

  • A free version is available for up to three users and is targeted at home businesses

  • Standard plan is $12 per user/per month, billed annually

  • Professional plan is $20 per user/per month, billed annually

  • Enterprise plan is $35 per user/per month, billed annually

  • Ultimate plan is $100 per user/per month, billed annually

A free trial is available for the Standard, Professional, and Enterprise plans.

Website: zoho.com/crm

Pros & cons of Zoho

Pros of Zoho 

  • Ease of use 

The platform's UI is built for ease of use and has a low learning curve so you can get up and running quickly. Zoho's included data migration system, called "Zwitch," makes it easy to transfer spreadsheet data and contact records from other platforms.

  • Trust grade 

Zoho CRM has been around for over two decades, and they've built up a reputation as a trustworthy vendor with good security credentials. Zoho's cloud hosting is protected by reliable, sophisticated encryption. For example, all your files are stored on a Distributed File System (DFS), protected by AES 256 algorithm encryption as well as CTR (counter mode) encryption.

  • Account management 

Zoho's account management tools are great at building unified customer profiles, aggregating customer information in one place, including company contacts and associated deals and tasks. This helps you build better long-term relationships with key accounts and identify more sales opportunities. You can segment accounts by value, frequency, and recency. 

  • Integration 

Zoho has a ton of integrations, allowing you to extend the platform's features with marketing, voice, messaging, and customer support tools. A few notable ones are with G Suite, Office 365, Slack, Shopify, Mailchimp, and Facebook Ads. You can also build your own integrations and sell them on the Zoho Marketplace.

  • Customer support 

Zoho's customer support is generally well-regarded for being responsive and knowledgable. Live chat and toll-free support are available during normal business hours for all paid plans, while Premium and Enterprise-level clients can make use of personalized service including remote assistance, product onboarding, and configuration assistance. 

Cons of Zoho 

  • Usability issues 

Zoho's user interface is designed to be simple, but it can sometimes feel clunky. For instance, navigating between dashboards is not always super intuitive; sometimes it feels like there are one or two too many clicks required to get to the feature you want.

  • Contact import 

Contact import features are limited. You can import contacts from spreadsheets, email, and other familiar sources, but you cannot directly pull people and organizations from social media sites. To get them in your CRM contact record, you'll have to do some manual data entry.

  • Limited custom fields 

Zoho's Standard plan only includes 10 custom fields per module, which may not be enough for some users. In order to get access to more custom fields (the Professional edition gives you 155, and the Enterprise plan gives you 310). 

  • Campaign management issues 

Campaign management tools aren't the most effective. Campaign tracking tools can miss key information about contacts, while reporting tools can miss relevant data and paint an incomplete picture. The included forms and templates for email campaigns aren't ideal either.

  • Small business 

Zoho CRM targets small businesses with its simple user interface, customizable modules, automation, and social media features. That's great if you're running a smaller operation, but if you have a medium-sized business or larger, you may find it lacks the firepower of other legacy, full-stack CRM providers.

Conclusion

Insightly and Zoho are both highly customizable, low-learning curve CRMs built to improve business processes and boost customer experience. Insightly probably has a slight edge in the project management and collaborative CRM department, while Zoho's slight edge comes in tools for lead generation and sales processes.

Both offer free, feature-limited plans for a small number of users, and tiered pricing structures that accommodate business growth. That said, it's true that Zoho CRM pricing is lower overall, in line with the vendor's strategy for relying on cheapness and word of mouth, rather than advertising, to grow their user base.

Still not sure which to pick?

Our advice to you isn't rocket science. Get started on the free trials offered by both vendors, and chat with their respective sales teams to see what they can offer businesses in your vertical. You'll quickly find out which of the two is a better fit.

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