Insightly goes beyond a CRM

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Insightly recently released a massive interface upgrade that includes several performance gains and an improved workflow. Insightly brands itself as a customer relationship manager, but I think it really goes further than that, and I’d like to take the time to explain why it’s great and how I use it to run my IT consultancy.

Pricing

Insightly offers a multi-tier “freemium” model for pricing, on the gratis(free) plan you can have 3 team members, 2500 contacts and 200mb of storage. That’s a ton of usability for no cost to your business. Paid plans start at $29/Month and go to $299/Month or more.

How does my company use Insightly?

The Obvious

It’s my companies CRM tool, with the google apps integrations it provides a _much_ more intuitive contact manager than gmail, it allows me to break them into organizations and relate tasks, projects and opportunities to individual contacts. With Google Apps for Business and Insightly, Outlook is a thing of the past for me.

Project Management

Being an IT consultant, most of my work is project based. Insightly’s project manager offers everything you would expect from a standalone product with the added advantage of being deeply integrated into your contacts and team members. With the pipeline feature Insightly allows me to  use projects for repeatable, multi-part tasks too (Like writing blog posts, building normal websites, etc).

When you create a project in insightly you just select the projects option from the left navigation menu, from this page push “New Project”. From here you name the project, include any details or descriptions that you’d want. assign it categories that you’d use internally, give it a pre defined pipeline, pre defined task sets and can even control who can and cannot see the project inside your company. I use a custom field “Quoted Price” when creating a project just to keep an eye level on what this project is worth throughout it’s life span.

Once the project is created it takes you to the project screen where you can see the pipeline, status, history, notes, files, tasks, and events associated with it. The entire project lives inside this screen. If you have (and who doesn’t?) multiple projects going on at the same time you can see where they stand in the pipelines from the project dashboard

The not so obvious

Insightly replaced my separate ticketing system I used to have in place. By design it’s not great for ticketing but the use case made sense for me, here’s how:

I’m a one man show

That makes multiple applications very clumsy for me, having my projects live in one space, my emails live in another, and my support tickets living in another makes scheduling bad for me. When my scheduling suffers so does my customer support. Most of my support tickets come in via text or email (and for that I am grateful to my clients!) because of this, and Insightlys excellent integration with Gmail it’s very natural to take an email from “my printer does not work” to a task inside insightly, related to the customer so that all of the information is available and a new item on my google calendar.

I like my software like I like my web design, elegant, simple, functional. Insightly meets or exceeds all of those requirements and the requirements of my business. If you’re not using a CRM you need one, once you try Insightly you’ll be hard pressed to use another.

Author

Jimmy Simpson III

I work small and micro businesses (between 1 and 75 users). I offer WordPress Development, Virtual IT Director Services, System Administration and Web Hosting.

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