Customer Management Articles

"There Is a Clear Benefit to Incorporating All Points of Customer Interaction in Your CRM” – Interview With Anthony Smith, CEO and Founder of Insightly

by Julia Rozwens
Published on 20 June 2013

We asked Anthony Smith, CEO and Founder of Insightly, a few questions about his company and view of the markets they serve.

GetApp: Are you a Cloud or a Software-as-a-Service company?

Insightly provides a service - we take care of the customer management needs for our clients including saving and storing vital company data like emails and contact records, task management for employees, and project management to get the job done. And we make all that data available via the cloud on mobile phones, tablets, and the web. So we're both SaaS and cloud, but we pride ourselves on the service we provide to our small business clients.

GetApp:. How do you use and promote usage of Cloud Computing?

The cloud is an ideal solution because it's less expensive than on-premise options. With lower subscription and maintenance costs, small businesses can focus their resources on developing their companies, not buying software and infrastructure. Many SaaS applications give users free trials or accounts, which lets businesses test out different solutions. Small businesses can try out various options until they determine which ones best fit their company and employee needs.

Plus, it's quick and easy to get started with the cloud. Small businesses don't have the time to be held back by IT issues. In many cases, transferring to the cloud is as easy as logging on to a website and signing up with an email address. With cloud-based offerings, small business owners don't need to spend resources hiring IT employees, who are critical for businesses that implement on-premise solutions. Using cloud solutions means employees don't need to worry about backups, server upgrades or security. Instead, they can focus on their main responsibilities within the company.

The flexibility of the cloud is especially helpful today when it's common for employees to work from home or locations other than the business' central office.

GetApp: What are the points of difference of your solutions?

Currently we offer a CRM with integrated project management. This is very helpful, especially if you are in a service business.

Although users can use Insightly with any mail system, we have tight integration with Google Apps/Gmail and Office 365/Outlook 2013.

As far as unique product functionality, one feature we offer the concept of linking. Most CRMs offer a hierarchical linking scheme (i.e. account, contact, opportunity). However, Insightly offers multiple direct relationships between contacts, organizations, opportunities, projects so that you get a real-world, 360 degree view of your customers.

Finally, we have a freemium model. Our free account is not a trial, but a fully functioning free account - for up to 3 users - that is free as long as the user likes. We also provide free online support via trouble ticket or online chat. So all in all it's a great solution for very small businesses and startups.

GetApp: How would you like to be evaluated by a prospect?

We are typically evaluated on ease of use, performance and price. Typically small businesses don't have a lot of IT resources to implement a CRM, nor do they have a lot of time for training with a complicated system. Any application, CRM or other, catering to the small business sector needs to offer easy administration and instant productivity.

GetApp: Why do your customers buy from you?

As I mentioned before, we offer a freemium model so many of our very small customers don't need to buy from us - they can use a fully functioning version of our application for free. Our freemium model also works for larger companies that want to take us for a test drive because there are no 'gotchas' at the free level and they can easily upgrade to a paying account if they need more users or more functionality.

GetApp: Can you mention some of your key clients?

Since our audience is small business we don't have any 'household' brand name customers. However we have over 300,000 global users. I think this is a testament to the popularity of our application as well as a nod to the market potential of small businesses.

GetApp: What do you see as the key trend emerging in the industry?

Social CRM is the latest 'buzz' in the industry and there is a clear benefit to incorporating all points of customer interaction in your CRM.

Integrations are also an emerging trend with sites like Cloudwork and Zapier showing that there needs to be an easy exchange between the myriad of applications that all businesses use.

GetApp: What is THE most important message you feel you should get across to someone considering buying your solutions?

"Step away from the spreadsheet that you are using to manage your customers!" While CRM may be 'old hat' at the larger business/enterprise level, it is still surprisingly a new technology for the small business. For example, only last month someone contacted our support team looking for more information to evaluate Insightly, and she said 'I didn't know what a CRM was until yesterday'. So I think the message is this: if you want to take your business to the next level you need to make an investment in your business and introduce the tools that will make you successful both internally (i.e. better organization, collaboration and efficiency) and externally to your customers.


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