Salesforce vs. Insightly for Solar Businesses

Choosing the right CRM for your solar firm

Changing regulations. Innovations. Supply delays. These are just a few of the many reasons why running a solar firm is challenging. The renewable energy industry is constantly evolving. With a large team of employees working independently in their roles, it’s highly important for a solar firm to have a powerful tech tool 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 solar?

Now that you know you need a CRM for your solar firm, the question is, which one to choose? Salesforce and Insightly are both popular CRM platforms that cater to a wide range of industries, including the solar business. These platforms offer features and functions designed to automate processes, grow customer relationships, and increase efficiency. In the context of solar firms, let’s compare Salesforce and Insightly across various key decision points. Keep in mind that Salesforce is considered a legacy CRM whereas Insightly is a modern CRM, so many of these comparisons will be evident through that lens. 

  1. CRM Scalability:
  • Salesforce: Renowned for its scalability, Salesforce is well-suited for businesses of all sizes, but it is especially designed for large-scale enterprises. Since most solar businesses don’t fall into this category, it is not a popular choice for solar businesses in general. Its highly customizable platform would allow solar businesses to adapt and grow as the industry evolves.
  • Insightly: Insightly is designed for growing businesses, which means that it can be a powerful, affordable tool for small and mid-sized businesses but still has the features and power for large-scale solar operations. Insightly’s scalability extends to its price point in that Insightly can accommodate all types of budgets. 
  1. Customization:
  • Salesforce: Salesforce excels in offering extensive customization options, enabling solar businesses to tailor the platform to their unique needs. While these customizations can be costly, they can be powerful. This is particularly beneficial for addressing the specific challenges and workflows within the solar energy sector.
  • Insightly: Insightly offers extensive customization features that are as robust as Salesforce in terms of flexibility. However, since Insightly is a modern CRM, customizations can be made without hiring outside technical resources. This could be a consideration for solar firms since the construction aspects of a solar operation can be very specific to each organization. You can customize Insightly to your unique needs without having to allocate a large budget to hire and retain help from costly integration providers.

    Here is an example of a solar firm that has made extensive customizations to Insightly to fit their needs: Insightly Customer Testimonial – Better Earth Solar 
  1. Integration Capabilities:
  • Salesforce: Salesforce offers a large ecosystem of technologies that work with the platform, facilitating integrations with third-party applications. This is crucial for solar businesses looking to integrate their CRM with solar project management tools, renewable energy monitoring systems, or other industry-specific applications.
  • Insightly: Insightly’s integration capabilities 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. Solar businesses can be assured that the connections they need are available; if not, they can be established via an open API.
  1. User-Friendly Interface:
  • Salesforce: Since Salesforce is a legacy CRM, 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. As such, there is a steep learning curve for some users.
  • Insightly: Insightly is often praised for its user-friendly interface, making it easier for teams to adopt quickly.  Solar firms will have a large number of users in the system, particularly for post-sale activities. The training for Insightly will be minimal.
  1. Pricing:
  • Salesforce: Salesforce is known for being a premium CRM solution, and its pricing reflects that. The comprehensive features may be justified for larger solar enterprises, but they could be a significant cost factor for smaller businesses.
  • Insightly: Insightly generally offers more affordable pricing plans (and even a free plan to get started), making it an attractive option for growing solar businesses. With shrinking margins and growing competition, solar businesses will find Insightly’s price point to be fair and competitive. 
  1. Project Management:
  • Salesforce: 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 projects after they are closed-won. 
  • Insightly: Insightly has a robust project management function built right into the CRM. Using the familiar sales pipeline interface, you can create project delivery pipelines to track your deals through delivery. This is vital for solar businesses, which, much like a construction project, relies on having equipment, labor, and materials to be coordinated in detail. 

Insightly vs Salesforce for Solar Firms

The choice between Salesforce and Insightly as a CRM for solar businesses depends on factors such as the size of the enterprise, specific customization needs, budget constraints, and the level of integration required. Salesforce is costly, but with its scalability and extensive features, it could be a good fit for larger solar enterprises with complex workflows. Insightly’s affordability and user-friendly interface could make it an attractive option for solar businesses of all sizes looking for a CRM that offers good value to grow.