Customer Management Articles

GetCast 4: Insightly, Online CRM for Small Business.

by Jimmy Flores
Published on 15 December 2014

Subscribe to the GetApp podcast on iTunes and learn about which apps help a crm for small business grow.

What apps does a CRM for small business use internally?

Loretta Jones VP of marketing at Insightly shares with us some of the tools that makes Insightly such an amazing CRM for small business.

Visit our guest at…

In this show you'll learn why Insightly uses…

*this is a machine generated transcription please excuse any typos*

Jimmy: Hello and welcome everybody back to the GetApp Podcast of How Apps Help me Grow my Business. Before we get into today's show which we have a really special guest today, let me tell you a little bit about GetApp.

GetApp is a business application directory that is designed to help small businesses find the best apps for their needs. When you're a small business, when you're starting a business or even when you have a very large enterprise, there are always little things that you need to do internally. And right now, thanks to a lot of applications being hosted in the Cloud, there are a lot of services that have been designed to solve all sorts of different problems.

Let's say you're looking for a new CRM, well you could come to GetApp and discover a whole bunch of options and hopefully you'll make the choice of going with Insightly who is our guest today. Thank you so much Loretta Jones for being on the show today.

Loretta: Thank you Jimmy. I appreciate you having me here as a guest.

Jimmy: So everybody knows Loretta is Vice-President of Marketing at Insightly. Before we talk a little bit about Insightly, I'd like to know a little bit about you because I see from experience, you've been at some really interesting companies one of them being Adobe and I think another was Covio if I don't remember wrong.

Loretta: Covio, yes exactly. Also, Ecosign before Adobe as well.

Jimmy: What has your experience been like up until now with previous companies? What is it about marketing that keeps you going and that keeps you enthused?

Loretta: I tend to think of marketing as 50% data … and 50% creative. They kind of feed off each other. And so, I think both of those two different aspects of marketing that have synergy kind of keep me interested.

From the creative perspective, you are already always trying new things, new ideas to engage your customers and to draw customers. Then, the data obviously supports those creative ideas. Many times what you think is going to happen you determine actually either didn't happen or happened in a different way that you didn't think about.

The other thing that always gets me interested about marketing is the way that my customers generally use the product that I'm marketing. You're within the company with Insightly now … than the way when you actually get out the field and find out how they're actually using it. It's actually quite fascinating in many ways.

Jimmy: Okay, that's really interesting to lead into kind of my first question which is what are the problems that Insightly is solving for its users? What have you seen that has surprised you as a problem that maybe you might not have envisioned it exactly how the final user was using it?

Loretta: For example, Insightly was designed as an easy to use CRM for small businesses. Our sweet spot are businesses that have 1-200 employees. In example, when you typically think of a CRM you think of it maybe being used in traditional sales organization. That's obviously kind of how CRM started and came to market.

For example, we have customers, a lot of customers that use Insightly in the non-profit and we have customers that use this at local and state business level. You don't think typically think that kind of those sectors are using CRMs. But at the end of the day, when you think about those businesses or any businesses using a CRM, really the benefit is internal organization, improved collaboration and the ability to provide better service for your customer wherever your customer is. Maybe your customers is the supplier, maybe your customer is a vendor or your customer is obviously a paying customer to grow your business.

For example, in the case of a local government using Insightly, their customer per-se are their constituents. That's how they are using it. In case of a non-profit using Insightly, their customer might be a donor so that's how they're using the application, traffic management of donors.

There are just very different ways of using what you might traditionally think of ways people use CRM.

Jimmy: So from your experience being at Insightly, have you been privy to any outstanding success story that might be a little bit more emotional nature after having used Insightly? Maybe Insightly helped them to do something radically different or they discovered how to improve something that had a great impact.

Loretta: Yes, I mean one of our customers actually out of New Zealand Bay are customers that are non-profit that is actually trying to address the issue of human trafficking. They are a vendor that sells merchandise to kind of promote the issue of human trafficking, get people aware of it, obviously get people to advocate against human trafficking. They use Insightly to kind of help them.

When I see customers that are kind of using Insightly to help the world and make it a better place it makes me do marketing and applications kind of participate in that kind of activity.

Jimmy: Yeah, it's always interesting to see how - I think that in the beginning, when somebody develops an application like Insightly, I think it's always surprising to see that eventually you really find out that these apps are being used for so much more than what we can assume as just business.

A lot of people are using this to do so much good in the world that isn't really transactional based as just making more money. That's interesting that it's being used in a type of a non-profit world. Have you had any feedback from other non-profits? Do you treat them in a special way or something along those lines?

Loretta: Yes, for non-profit we actually give them a 50% discount off our licenses. We do it not in terms of dollars but in terms of seat. So for example, if someone purchases 2 seats, then they'll get 4 seats. That's how we offer discounts to our non-profit customers.

Jimmy: And seats are users.

Loretta: Seats are users, yes, excuse me. Seats are users. I kind of use that 'seat' licenses and users that term in particular.

Jimmy: Okay, cool. For example, in what case would multiple people be connecting to the same platform?

Loretta: In terms of what you mean what? In a company with multiple users, is that what you mean?

Jimmy: Yeah.

Loretta: It really depends on any type of organization, how large the organization is and how many people they want to actually use our application. Obviously if you are a solo-preneur, you're using to kind of track your business and to be more organized. But really the benefit of a CRM is that you have, the more people use it, the more people are on the same page because everybody has access to the same data. If you want certain people to have access to private data, you can do that.

But the benefit is everybody is on the same page, everybody is logging in and seeing kind of the activity with all of your customers or partners or suppliers or whoever you are tracking.

Jimmy: Right. There's one thing that I'd like to know because when somebody is looking at onboarding a new product or maybe replacing their more outdated CRM and updating to Insightly, one of the things that I find happens a lot is they're already using a bunch of applications that they need to continue to use.

I guess I'd like to know a little bit about what integrations Insightly has and if there is - if you can kind of shed light if there are some upcoming ones that will add more value to your users.

Loretta: Yeah, for sure. Everybody is actually … for Insightly 2014 continue to be a key initiative actually … mobile with 2015 because we completely agree that as you bring in a new application, doesn't mean that the existing applications that you have aren't valuable or don't provide the same value anymore.

Insightly have integrations with email applications for example MailChimp. We have another integration with another email application called … We have integrations with name integrations with obviously Google Apps. We actually just launched an integration with Quickbooks online. We're actually pretty proud of that. We had requests from users to basically integrate CRM with their accounting which makes sense because obviously if you're tracking the money that's coming in to your business through the CRM using an opportunity, then obviously you want to be able to attract as to when that person has paged you or when they had a page view, etcetera.

We just launched that and we'll continue to actually add more integrations in the accounting space in 2015.

We also have an integration with Zapier. I'm not sure if you're familiar with them. They're almost like what I call an integration marketplace and they create 'zaps' which are your point-to-point integrations between different applications.

The reason why that's important to us is obviously as a vendor, we can't integrate with every single application that our customers have out there. If our customer comes to use and says, "Do you integrate with Product X?" and we don't have it, we refer them to Zapier because in many cases there will be a point-to-point integration between Insightly and that particular application.

Jimmy: I'm just going to explain a little bit from how I understand if maybe there might be someone listening that doesn't really understand what we're talking about. Basically what Zapier is it kind of allows this type of logic that if this happens here, then do this over there type of thing. From what I understand, by Insightly having an integration with Zapier, there's a bunch of other things that you can do with Insightly and whatever apps are hosted, that integrates with Zapier that will just like double or triple the functionality of Insightly, correct?

Loretta: That's exactly right. For example, oftentimes people get request to integrate Insightly with contracting application and that's something that we natively get anyway. When people ask that, I refer them to Zapier because Zapier has integrations with contracting applications.

For example, if you put in a time in a contracting application and you've been in Zapier, then for example those hours that you put in that contracting application are integrated through Zapier to Insightly so you can see that information in there. So, yes your definition is exactly right.

Jimmy: Yeah, this is something that is really, really good. I think that for someone who's kind of shopping around this is one of those things that is you might not fully understand off the bat but having an integration with an app like Zapier, it just doubles or triples the amount of things that you can potentially do. It's really good to see that Zapier is an integration of Insightly.

Over the years, how has Insightly evolved as a product by taking that feedback from its customers? I guess most of these integration you do because they are things that your customers are asking for.

Loretta: For the most part, yes. From an integration perspective, we obviously can't integrate with every application that's out there that's why we use Zapier. What we try to do is we look at the most popular applications that our customers are asking for and then we will do direct integrations to those applications.

For example, as I mentioned Quickbooks. We just launched an integration with Quickbooks Online. We did that because that was overwhelming with kind of most popular accounting application that our users were asking for. So with that, we had an integration with Quickbooks Online. Then we'll look at other popular applications that are customers are asking for. Typically, what we do is we integrate with the most popular applications that our customers are asking for kind of as the first cut. Then, we'll kind of build on the line looking at different applications and different verticals.

Jimmy: How do you see the evolution of the product over the time that you've been there?

Loretta: I kind of see them in different phases. Actually, this is before my time. Originally, when Insightly was kind of born and brought into the market, you can only use Insightly if you have Google Apps. That was the first evolution of the product. It was tightly integrated with Google Apps by design.

Jimmy: That's interesting. So it started out as an add-on, as a Google App.

Loretta: Yes, it's a Google App. Our CEO at the time when he was actually building the application worked around at the time did not see a good CRM, a good CRM that was targeted to small business that was integrated with Google Apps. He decided that it was going to be his niche. That's kind of how the application got started. That was kind of the first entry point of Insightly into the world.

Then, a couple of years ago in 2012, the product evolved because we developed a version of the application that you can use without Google Apps. If you have Microsoft Outlook or if you have any email system, you can then use Insightly. Now, our integration with Google Apps, it's kind of a channels, one of our channels.

Over time, the product has become a broader product that you reach a product. It's always kind of fine line because as I mentioned our DNA is really to make it, to have a CRM that's very easy to use for small business so they can get up and running. They don't have to a lot of IT training. They don't have to have a lot of media training. We want it to be as intuitive as possible.

Unlike any vendor, when you can kind of start with ease-of-use being your main programming design point, when you add more features it's always a dance kind of make sure that you add additional functionality but still make it easy to use.

Jimmy: Right. From this evolution of starting out as a Google App and evolving into a platform onto itself, what in your opinion has been the one thing that you would love for the audience to know about Insightly and how it could really have an impact on their lives?

Loretta: I think one thing from a small business perspective is really helping your business run more efficiently and more effectively. It's really what it comes down to and that's for a lot of - when you're a very small business, you're wearing a lot of hat. There's not enough hours in the day when you're a small business whether it's just you yourself as a consultant or maybe 10, 20, 50 people, right? Insightly is still a start-up and so we all here wear different hats.

When you're in that mode, when you're wearing a lot of different hats the way to be most effective and efficient is to be organized. It's kind of know what's going on, know what the right hand and the left hand are doing. You think of corporations where the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing.

But even in small companies, if everyone is not on the same page and kind of not going towards the same goal, there are issues that will slow you down but that is really not necessary. They are roadblocks, internal roadblocks that Insightly can help you resolve very quickly just making sure that everyone is on the same page.

Jimmy: Interesting. Kind of changing gears a little bit but still staying, still talking about Insightly, one of the things that I really like about Insightly that I don't know if I'm stretching things a little bit here, but when I found your University Series, the Insightly University which to whoever doesn't know is basically a series of videos that guide you through lots of different functionality within Insightly.

This series, I find it very - it's one of those things that I wish everyone would do because frankly it shows, in my opinion - this is just my own idea, but it shows that you're really caring about the user and how fast they can understand how to use Insightly. It also ties in a little bit with that little heart in the logo. There's something about this that really at least to me that there's someone that's thinking a lot about helping the user really understand the platform so that their life is easier.

What has kind of been the thought put into this Insightly University?

Loretta: Insightly University came about because we realized that a lot of customers this is the first time they've used the CRM. A CRM even Insightly that is designed for small businesses, it's designed to be easy to use. If you haven't used a CRM before, it's a little bit hard to get your head around the concepts of a CRM - leads, contacts, organizations, opportunities, projects, etcetera.

A number of our users as I mentioned are first time CRM users, they're coming from a position of managing your customers either from email or in a spreadsheet. If you can kind of make that leap mentally to kind of make that …, that's part of the reason why we put up the Insightly University with short tutorial videos. That's why we have our online knowledge base with FAQs which are great … when we are writing our FAQs to make them as easy to read as possible, not make it them that complicated, have the big screenshots so people can easily find the information that they are looking for.

Recently, we actually put up a resources page on our website that has a 'getting started' guide. It has a section for people who are barely new to CRM. In fact at the very top of the page it says 'new at CRM, start here'. And it has in that section of the page, it has assets like 'what is a CRM', 'why should I use on', 'things to look for to determine if a CRM will work for you', 'advice of how to implement CRM from a business perspective not just from a technical, features and functions perspective'.

Then, the second half of the resources page is 'new to Insightly'. We have additional tools to help people get up and running quickly because at the end of the day, if someone is going to make an investment in an application like Insightly, we want them to get the most out of it.

The whole idea of helping our customers get up and running and get more friction is actually an evolving one. We are now looking at evaluating kind of our onboarding process to make that as seamless as possible. We use an application called PREACT to actually help us get a sense of what our customers are using in the product from an aggregate level. It's a customer service application that we use. Looking at that, we can also help determine the most popular features that people use, how they're using the product and again continue on our evolution to make, to continue to make the product a really good application to use but at the same time, very easy and intuitive.

Jimmy: What was the name of that application that you mentioned?

Loretta: It's called PREACT. It's a customer success platform.

Jimmy: PREACT, okay cool. I guess now that we've mentioned one of the apps that you use, let's jump into that directly. What are some more of these premium apps that you're using at Insightly to help you do all of the great stuff that you're doing?

Loretta: From a marketing automation perspective, we use Marketo.

Jimmy: Tell me about Marketo because I'm not too familiar with them. I believe you're the second guest who's mentioned them.

Loretta: Marketo is a marketing automation platform that I've actually used for probably seven, eight years now.

Jimmy: Really?

Loretta: I actually used Marketo when I was working at Ecosign and that's how I was introduced to Marketo. Then, I brought Marketo here to Insightly so I've been a user of Marketo for a long time.

Obviously, like all products that have been around that have been a little bit mature, Marketo has evolved as well. When it started, it was primarily like a mass email marketing application. You can create landing pages with it. When I first, in theory of Marketo back again like I said seven or eight years ago, the thing that appealed to me was that it kind of let me control my own destiny to certain perspective, from a marketing perspective.

For example, the former Marketo, if I wanted to create custom landing pages to try and campaign for that sort of thing, I would have to send it to my developers, my web developers to create them. Marketo gave me an avenue to actually create those myself. It has the landing page editor, etcera.

Obviously, I can do mass email campaign. I can do nurture campaigns. Obviously, over the years Marketo has become more sophisticated. I used it for a while. I think it's a very valuable addition to kind of the tool set that we use here.

Jimmy: You know, I really like to hear when people go move around from - they might move ahead in their career and they go to another company and they actually bring some tools with them. I find it fascinating because it really shows that it's valuable. That it's very, very valuable to you.

That's good to know. I'm going to see if I can reach out to someone at Marketo to have them on the show because they seem to be doing some good stuff.


Jimmy: Who else are you using at Insightly?

Loretta: We use Optimizely to do a lot of AP testing on our website. I also Crazy Egg as well to help us evaluate our website. For example, we put up the resources page. We actually are doing AP testing on our resources page design. Then, we actually use Crazy Egg to kind of keep maps and see what people click and that sort of thing.

Jimmy: That's interesting. Cool. As far as Optimizely, why use Optimizely instead of trying to do something in-house with this?

Loretta: Again because it just makes the marketing team more autonomous and to kind of control … and create these things ourselves without having to reach out to IT or more technical resources company to kind of help us. IT has their own issues to deal with. The last thing they want is to have someone from marketing come in and say, "Hey, can you help me?"

Same thing with developers, our developers want to actually develop features that our users can enjoy and kind of continue to have product evolve. They don't want a marketing person to come in and say, "Hey, can you help me develop this or can you create this for me?"

I think that any marketing department or marketing group can be autonomous, the better off they will be. For example, we use Optimizely. We do AP testing. We look at the results and we say, "Okay, let's do another test.' It also helps us kind of react very quickly as well. All of these tools that we use help us react quickly to the marketplace and help us react quickly to our customers for feedback.

Jimmy: For example, with Crazy Egg, what's an example of some learning that if you hadn't had Crazy Egg, you would have been completely at a loss?

Loretta: Here's an interesting example. You know kind of the trend in websites and homepages now is to have very, very long color pages, really useful. I don't know four or five screens. It's almost like the website is like one page. Then at the top, you can dropdown that kind of thing.

Prior to this, we had one page that was probably - our home page is maybe is a screen and a half. It was very, relatively speaking it was short home page vertically. We have this discussion about if we can kind of make our design similar to what seems to be the popular website design for homepages, to scroll down, down, down.

We did an AP test with Optimizely of our existing page at the time and the long page. My favorite … with the TLD are … where you scroll down. We did that test with Optimizely but what happened was when actually added …, what we found was after two screens, 50% of our users weren't getting to the data at the bottom of the two screens. That type of design might work for other vendors, but for our specific users, people that are coming to our sight, that long, long homepage where you have to scroll down four or five screens doesn't work for us. It really works as two screens that's kind of acts as - now two screens is kind of max where we have our webpage. That's an example of something of the Crazy Egg has brought us.

Jimmy: That's very interesting, really, really interesting because I think it's easy to get caught up in, "Oh, look. This is a design trend," and you just kind of do it. It's a callback to what you were mentioning before on how data plays a big role in decision making. If you don't have this data, it's really how you're making your decisions.

Loretta: Right, exactly.

Jimmy: So you're using Crazy Egg, Optimizely and anyone else that you're using internally?

Loretta: Internally we're using also KISSMetrics and Google Analytics as well for our main analytics packages.

Jimmy: Okay, so talk to me a little bit about KISSMetrics because this is another company that I'm a fan of. I'd like to know kind of what they provide you that's outside of what Google Analytics is doing for 'free'.

Loretta: It's interesting because you mentioned Google Analytics it's free. With KISSmetrics, we actually pay. So people have asked me even internally to kind of justify what we pay for KISSmetrics so we can probably get the same thing in Google Analytics. The truth is we probably can but to be perfectly honest, from my perspective, Google Analytics is a great tool but in many ways it's a complex tool. For me, I would rather pay money for a tool that is easy to use user interface and makes it easy for me to … my data, kind of chalk it down and use the data that I want in a manner that's very easy. I would rather pay for that but know that I'm getting more for that tool than to go into Google Analytics try to learn it and see that it's really complex and that sort of thing.

I worked with companies where Google Analytics has been a main analytics package. I think that's great. What I found is that in those companies, you actually have to have Google Analytics experts, if you will, people that kind of live and breathe that application to get the most out of it.

Whereas at it KISSMetrics because it's easier to use from a user interface perspective, the design perspective, I think I can be effective with that tool without kind of having to learn, to live and breathe it.

I would say from a Google Analytics perspective, I'm probably an advanced beginner. With KISSMetrics perspective, I probably … to advanced user.

The other reason why we use both of these is because in many ways I like to kind of validate the data in one with the other. It's something - the data in KISSMetrics is showing this data that's something off the charts, I look into Google Analytics and I don't see that. Again, that is totally something off and kind of I can go in and search and see what's going on and why it's having these discrepancies. That's another reason why we use both.

Jimmy: Interesting. I completely agree. I think it's one of those things that, yeah you can have everything, potentially everything for example in Google Analytics but the interface is just so, so important. It's like in books, the type face. People take them for granted but it's a type face a lot of times that really helps a reader finish a book and get through a book and make reading a book a very light and enjoyable experience. It's that interaction with something that isn't the content.

I think interface design is something that needs to be greatly considered.

Loretta: No, there's no question. Even from our experience here in Insightly like I mentioned, the way that something is easy to use is because of the interface. It's what the person sees as soon as they go into a product or having tweaks that have to do to accomplish something.

I think when you look at a lot of the most successful companies out there is because that they pay so much attention to that interface and because it's so very easy to use.

Jimmy: Switching gears, kind of, are there - how much of a fan of you of smart phones? Are you a person who has a lot of apps on their phone?

Loretta: No, I would probably - no. Relatively speaking, I do not have a lot of apps on my phone, I would say.

Jimmy: From the ones that you do have, are there any that you can't live without?

Loretta: Are there any that I can't live without? To be perfectly honest, no. I could probably live without most of them. The applications that I have on my phone are kind of nice-to-have applications.

Jimmy: Are what?

Loretta: Nice to have applications. They are not must-have applications.

Jimmy: That's interesting. From your own personal day to day are there any other apps that you're using that are must-haves?

Loretta: For a personal perspective, probably not. No. I would have to say.

Jimmy: So these are kind of the lot that make your day go round.

Loretta: Yes. They make my life easier. If I didn't have them, will I can't? Probably not. I'll just probably figure out a way, another way to get the information that I need or another way to get from A to B to be perfectly honest.

Jimmy: That sounds great. From all of the apps that you've been using until now, would you say - do you feel that there's something that could be improved? Is there perhaps a little recurring annoyance that you still have and got to work around for?

Loretta: Yes. The reality is that every product needs to be improved. Every product kind of evolve and becomes better over time because obviously if products don't then …, they're not in business anymore. I like to say of all the vendors that I mentioned, most of them are very responsive to their user and anytime I have a specific question, in many case I'm not the first person to say, "Oh, can you add this feature-type-of-thing?"

Most of the vendors that I mentioned had addressed the shortcomings in their products over time. Obviously not every vendor can address an issue right away. But over time, they need to be addressed.

For the most part, I would say I'm happy with them which is obviously why I continue to purchase them and invest in them. … since the free application.

Jimmy: Okay, great. I guess before we finish up, do you have anything else that you like the listeners to know about Insightly before we wrap up?

Loretta: Hopefully I spoken a lot about Insightly. Hopefully people can get a sense of the value that it brings to businesses to be able to make your business function internally better. We use the term around productivity ninja but also it helps you build your business from sales perspective as well and kind of see the business that money that's coming into your business and manage it more effectively as well.

And also, I would like to give you guys a plug, you have been one of the key vendors that I have used over the years to kind of promote Insightly and help with customer acquisition. So I want to thank you for that.

Jimmy: Well, thank you for having faith in GetApp because one of the things that I feel and I see internally is that we really value and love the work that all of our vendors are doing. I think that the work that's being to put in to create these tools from so many people, it's something that is not as appreciated as it should be. I think that once you create a tool like Insightly and it gets out into the world that it really does have a big impact on the lives on very real people.

I don't think tools like Insightly get enough credit for that. I think too often there's criticisms on, "Oh, it doesn't have this feature. It doesn't have that thing." But in the end, these tools, these apps area really doing amazing things for people. From my point of view, GetApp, we're really working hard to show the world and to help small businesses and large businesses discover tools like Insightly so that they just have a better experience, a better business that their customers are happier. We're trying very hard to do justice to all the people on our platform.

Thank you very much for those kind words, Loretta. It's good to hear.

Loretta: Of course, I definitely appreciate the value that you guys brought for us over the years for sure. No question about that.

Jimmy: I can tell you one thing that we're going to keep trying harder every day to make Insightly as happy as possible as well as all of our vendors.

One of the things that I would encourage our listeners to do who are also fans of Insightly is to go to and leave a review. Those reviews help Insightly move up in rank. Those reviews not only help Insightly move up in rank, but they ultimately help people who are discovering CRMs and kind of comparing and seeing which one might be the best fit for them, your reviews are ultimately something that people really, really use to make a final decision. The more reviews that they have to go through, the better experience they have. It's even more likely that they make the best decision the first time around.

If you're a user of Insightly, I encourage you go and leave a review because it really helps Insightly and ultimately it helps other people that are shopping for a solution like CRM. With that being said, again GetApp is your small business application directory. Go check it out. Find a bunch of apps. Get them all a shot. With that being said, thank you so much Loretta. Any last plugs you want to give before we sign off.

Loretta: No. I just want to thank you for your time. I appreciate it and I hope that the listeners find value in it.

Jimmy: Cool. Visit Visit Give them a chance. I'm pretty sure you're not going to regret it. Until next time, this is the GetApp Podcast and we're trying to teach you how to grow your business with some cool apps. See you next time. Bye, bye.


Apps mentioned in this article