Salesforce vs. Insightly for Consultants

Choosing the right CRM for your consulting firm

Client demands. New business acquisition. Rising costs. These are just a few of the many reasons why running a consulting firm is challenging. The industry is constantly evolving with technology and new players. With your team of employees working independently in their roles, it’s highly important for your consulting firm to have a feature-rich application that is the single source of truth for the firm. That application is often a customer relationship management system (CRM).

How do I choose a CRM for consulting firms?

You’re convinced…you know you need a CRM for your consulting firm, the question is, which CRM should you select? Salesforce and Insightly are both popular CRM platforms that cater to a wide range of industries, including consulting firms. In fact, you may find one or both of these CRMs at work in the companies you are consulting for, so it pays to be familiar with both.

These platforms offer features and functions designed to automate workflows and repetitive tasks, manage customer relationships, and create efficiencies. In the context of consulting firms, let’s compare Salesforce and Insightly across various key features and functions. Keep in mind that Salesforce is considered a legacy CRM whereas Insightly is a modern CRM, so many of these comparisons will be conducted with that fact in mind. In fact, you may be a part of the platform’s partner program to sell it to your customer base. 

  1. CRM Scalability:
  • Salesforce: Salesforce is specially designed for large-scale enterprises. Since most consulting businesses don’t fall into this category, it is not a popular choice for the overwhelming majority of consulting businesses in general. Its highly customizable platform would allow your firm to adapt and grow as your client base evolves. However, the sheer size and complexity of the platform would make it a highly unlikely choice for firms other than a handful of global consulting organizations.
  • Insightly: Insightly is designed for growing businesses, which means that it can be a powerful, affordable tool for consulting firms that are seeking power and value. Many firms who are hands-on with Salesforce via their client base are delighted to have the full feature function of Insightly when running their own business. This is because it has the features and power they experience via Salesforce but at a much more affordable price and with significantly less complexity. Insightly’s scalability extends to its price point in that Insightly can accommodate all types of budgets. 
  1. Customization:
  • Salesforce: The diverse needs of individual clients means that a CRM has to be customizable to truly work for a consulting firm. While Salesforce excels in offering extensive customization options, enabling consulting firms to tailor the platform to their unique needs, these customizations come at a price. As such, rather than pay expensive integrators or developers, many firms use Salesforce out of the box. 
  • Insightly: Insightly offers extensive customization features that are as robust as Salesforce in terms of flexibility. However, since Insightly is a modern CRM, customizations are easy to make with in-house resources. This could be a consideration for consulting firms since it will be easy in Insightly to address the diverse needs of consulting projects and adapt workflows in Insightly accordingly.
  1. Integration Capabilities:
  • Salesforce: Consulting firms will look to integrate with accounting systems for billing, communication systems, and marketing platforms (e.g. marketing automation). Salesforce has an ecosystem of technologies that work with the platform, facilitating integrations with third-party applications. This is valuable, but integrations are costly, and those costs add up quickly. As such, if your firm selects Salesforce, you’ll likely need to prioritize your requested integrations, and you may need to skip a few at the outset due to budget constraints. 
  • Insightly: Integrations in Insightly are facilitated by AppConnect, a middleware product that is part of the Insightly platform. AppConnect offers the ability to create low-code/no-code integrations, and there are more than 1000 pre-built connections that are ready to use. The connections that the typical consulting firm needs are highly likely to be available; if not, they can be established via an open API.
  1. User-Friendly Interface:
  • Salesforce: Slow…that’s the best way to describe page load speeds in Salesforce. There is a great deal of information on each page, but you’ll need to wait for it to load every time. This is because Salesforce is a legacy CRM, and therefore its interface is dated. While it has improved its user interface to be more intuitive and user-friendly, page load speeds are still slow, and the interface appears complex. This also equals a steep learning curve for new users.
  • Insightly: Insightly is often praised for its user-friendly interface, making it easier for teams to adopt quickly. The popular blade view allows users to drill down into data without loading additional pages. And when pages are loaded, they are quick. The intuitive interface means the training for Insightly will be much shorter than it is for Salesforce.

Here is an example of a consulting firm that has relied on Insightly to fit their needs: Insightly Customer Testimonial – Sullivan & Stanley

  1. Pricing:
  • Salesforce: Salesforce is a premium CRM solution and is priced accordingly.  The comprehensive features may be justified for global consulting firms, but it could be a significant cost factor for small to mid-sized businesses.
  • Insightly: Insightly generally offers more affordable pricing plans (and even a free plan if you’re just hanging out your own shingle as a new business), making it an attractive option for growing consulting businesses. With the change from retainers to gig work, every penny counts. As such, consulting forms will find Insightly’s price point to be quite competitive. 
  1. Project Management:
  • Salesforce: How will you manage your accounts after you win the deal? Salesforce is a CRM primarily and does not have post-sale project tracking built in. You’ll need to acquire an additional application to manage clients after the pass through your sales process.. 
  • Insightly: Great news – Insightly has a plethora of project management functions built right into the CRM. Using the familiar sales pipeline interface from your sales process, you can create project delivery pipelines to track your accounts, tasks, and relationships. This can be a real money and time saver for consulting firms that don’t want to acquire multiple pieces of software. 

Insightly vs Salesforce for Consulting Firms

The choice between Salesforce and Insightly as a CRM for consulting firms of all sizes depends on factors such as the size of the firm, your customization needs, budget, and the number of integrations you’ll need to operate your business. Salesforce is costly, but with its scalability and extensive enterprise features, it could be a good fit for global firms with multiple locations and complex workflows. Insightly is a modern, affordable CRM that is an attractive option for consulting businesses of all sizes looking for a CRM that offers good value to grow.