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SugarCRM Sugar Sell Review

Posted by admin on 29 March 2023
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SugarCRM Sugar Sell Review

I’ve covered business technology for more than 25 years, and in that time I’ve reviewed hundreds of products and services and written a similar number of trend and analysis stories. My first job in journalism was with PC Magazine in the 1990s, but I’ve also written for other enterprise technology publications, including Computer Shopper, InformationWeek, InfoWorld, and InternetWeek.

SugarCRM Sugar Professional Add Account

The Bottom Line

SugarCRM is complex and expensive, but it is one of the most feature-rich CRMs we tested. If you’re looking for a long-term CRM commitment, and you’re willing to jump through significant implementation hoops to get there, then SugarCRM could be a fine fit.

PCMag editors select and review products independently. If you buy through affiliate links, we may earn commissions, which help support our testing.

SugarCRM Sugar Sell Specs

Document LibraryYes
Live ChatNo
Chatbot/Conversational AINo
Multi-Currency SupportYes
Pipeline ManagementYes
Integrated Email MarketingNo
Custom DashboardsYes
Email RoutingNo
24-Hour SupportYes
Phone SupportYes
User ForumsYes

SugarCRM may be the best-known name in customer relationship management (CRM) systems, next only to Editors’ Choice-winner Salesforce Sales Cloud Lightning Professional. That’s mainly because it’s one of the oldest, having debuted in 2004.

Like Salesforce, SugarCRM is evolving from just a CRM to an end-to-end customer interaction platform addressing not just sales, but marketing and service desk features, too. On the downside, even though SugarCRM’s features aren’t quite as deep as Salesforce’s at the very high end (though they’re close), it’s almost as complex to use and nearly as expensive.

Where SugarCRM sets itself apart is in its customizability. Having roots as an open-source project, SugarCRM is the most developer-oriented CRM we’ve reviewed thus far. Developers aren’t just handed an API with this CRM; they’re also given tools for editing every module, report, and portal.

The trade-off is complexity. SugarCRM isn’t a sign-up-and-go CRM. If you’re looking for small and simple, you’re much better off with one of our more small-business-focused CRMs, like Insightly, or an even smaller name, like Salesflare.

Similar Products

Salesforce Sales Cloud Lightning Professional

Zoho CRM

HubSpot CRM

Freshsales CRM

Zendesk Sell

Less Annoying CRM

Creatio CRM

Apptivo CRM

Insightly CRM

Pipedrive CRM

Act! CRM

Getting Started With SugarCRM

SugarCRM was kind enough to set us up with a working instance for testing purposes, already pre-populated with users and data. However, we went through the usual steps of adding a new user, and importing contact and opportunity data.

As expected, the process is more involved than we saw in other systems. First, you need Administrator credentials to get access to the User Management module. Here, SugarCRM presents fields with far more information than just a name and email address, though you can decide what’s required and what isn’t. User name, primary email, job role, which license you want to source them from, and where they are in the reporting chain are the minimums.

However, before you start adding people, you’ll first need to create a list of role-specific permissions and sales teams. That’s because not only do individual users have their permissions mapped to roles, but teams also have permissions, and those can modify users’ settings. For even a midsize organization, mapping out all of those relationships is not a lightweight task.

To be fair, most customers will import their users in bulk from other systems at the outset, but that doesn’t get you off the hook for setting up team and role organization before you start. If anything, it makes it even more important. For bulk imports, SugarCRM can talk to user repositories in Google Workspace and Microsoft 365, as well as some identity management systems via OAuth. That said, importing from those sources requires IT-level tech chops.

Manually importing contacts, however, is more straightforward—or at least it started out that way. You can upload existing data for accounts, contacts, opportunities, and leads, all using CSV files. A short import wizard asks you to select your file, map your fields, confirm your choices, and import. The wizard recommends you use SugarCRM’s own CSV templates and offers to download them for your automatically.

But even using SugarCRM’s template, it took us several tries to import our contacts, and even then we only got some of them. SugarCRM is finicky when it comes to how imported data is presented and how you must proof your data mapping. There’s training available to help, and we’d certainly have gotten all our contacts imported eventually if we’d kept plugging away at it. Compared to the 1-2-3 import process we saw in easier CRMs, like Insightly or Zendesk Sell, SugarCRM has a much steeper learning curve.

SugarCRM’s List Views

True to its developer-centric roots, SugarCRM presents most of its initial portals as lists, including Accounts, Contacts, Opportunities, and Leads. You can modify those lists using filters. There are pre-canned filters (like My Contacts versus All Contacts, for example), but you can build your own by stringing several filters together using drop-down boxes at the top of the list. The list adjusts on the fly, and you can save these views for quick access later. You can also add color coding or text emphasis to individual rows.

Recently, SugarCRM made these lists more spreadsheet-like by adding frozen first columns, header rows, and pagination. This definitely makes worming your way through long lists easier, but it’s a little surprising that these capabilities weren’t there from the start, considering how list-happy the app has always been.

List views also have a user-definable dashboard box on the right. You can leave that empty, or you can set up a related dashboard that’ll pop up dynamically updated information without you having to scour through the list. So, for example, you could configure your right-side dashboard field to have graphical dashboards for "Leads by Likelihood to Convert" and "Leads by Lead Source." For Opportunities, that could be "Currently Open Deals," "Deals About to Close," and so on.

SugarCRM and Dashlets

Setting up dashboards in SugarCRM is easy as long as you don’t want to get too fancy. Clicking Add Dashboard lets you build or modify dashboards using what SugarCRM calls "dashlets." You can think of these as quick mini-reports, though they have other uses. You can click a dashlet list, give the new dashboard a name, add some basic filter information (time slice or account type, for instance), and a new dashboard is born. If you manage a dashboard from a specific portal, such as Opportunities or Leads, the dashboard automatically appears on the right side. If not, you’ll find it in your Dashboard Home view.

But dashlets can do more than build dashboards. Another example of a dashlet is your product catalog. Product catalogs add product or service descriptions, SKU, price, margins, and other data to an opportunity. The list of fields is rather lengthy compared to other CRMs we tested, but few are mandatory. You can customize which fields get presented and even the fields themselves, though this is something best done with the help of a developer during the initial implementation of the product, rather than on the fly.

Once the product catalog is configured, you can add the Product Catalog dashlet to your Opportunities module. This lets you preview the product (perhaps a picture or a descriptive summary if it’s a service) to make sure it’s the right one. You can also see a list and then select the one you need. That’s a bit better than some of our out-of-box contenders, which only present a list. You can also modify the product data in the dashlet, and if your user role has the right permissions any changes you make will be reflected for other users. For example, a supervisor could delete an out-of-date product so that their team couldn’t accidentally attach it to a record.

The new Sugar Cloud Drive dashlet integrates and syncs your Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive accounts. You’ll see your cloud storage service inside SugarCRM and you can upload, download, or organize files there them inside the app. You can download a file, copy a link, or convert files into a Sugar Document, which means you’ll be able to manipulate or edit it directly in the UI.

If you’re thinking that dashlets are useful, you’re right. Just remember that for most anything except an individual dashboard, users will be constrained to the list of dashlets they’re presented. If you want a customized dashlet that goes beyond basic reporting data, you’ll want to engage a developer.

Accounts, Contacts, Opportunities, and Leads

The Opportunities and Leads modules have a tile view option, in addition to the usual list view. You won’t see as many records per page, but these views are more than just visually appealing. Each card displays where it is in a business process, and you can drag them around to move them along. Yes, many CRMs do this when it comes to moving deals or contacts along the sales pipeline, and that’s certainly available here. Still, SugarCRM takes this a step further by letting you define other business processes this way, beyond just pipelines.

For example, in the Opportunities view, you can click an opportunity from the list or opt for the tile view, where you can default to seeing where the opportunity is in the pipeline or switch to a tile view that shows when it’s expected to close using a linear monthly calendar. You can set up several such views and switch between them on the fly.

Deciding exactly what these viewing options are is a backend problem, which means you’ll need to rope in developers during your implementation process and beyond. New views are built in the Module Editor portion of your SugarCRM developers’ tool kit, so if you want a new view, you’ll need to talk to a dev. The good news is that your dev will be able to knock that out for you. With many smaller and simpler CRMs, this kind of customization either isn’t an option or requires custom work from your vendor (read: mucho bucks).

Drilling into a record for a detailed view also gives you all the contact information, a health indicator, a view of where the account is in the pipeline for every deal it has open, or even a Google Maps-style view of its location. You can also add the Sugar Hint option, which takes your basic contact or account information and then scours third-party, external data to further flesh out your record, such as public social media information and deeper company data. This feature isn’t unique to SugarCRM, but it can be useful if you need more detailed information, not just for sales but also for marketing purposes.

What you see in any of these modules is up to your developer and administrator. They’ll need to organize these options not just by module, but also by role and team permissions. That represents a lot of potential variables, so the more customization you do, the more implementation time you’ll need not just for programming but for testing, too.

Analytics, Forecasting, and Reporting

Dip your toe into reporting and you’ll find the same basic tools as in our other contenders. But deeper down, there’s a lot more to SugarCRM. Clicking the Reports module gets you the usual spreadsheet-style list view of all your available reports and basic information, like its type, when it was last run, and who owns it. You can create dashboard-style views of your favorite reports on the right side of the Reports screen, and these update automatically with a quick, graphical view of the data you need most often.

If you need a new report, click Create to enter the report builder. You’ll choose the report type you need (row-column, summation, summation with details, or matrix). You’ll then associate the report with one of SugarCRM’s modules. This doesn’t refer to just the core modules (Accounts, Contacts, Opportunities, and Leads), but every data-bearing feature. That could include Notes, Product Categories, Tags, and everything in between, including Bugs if you’re a programmer. Basically, any module your company has purchased and to which you have permissions.

All that is easy enough, but the next bit will throw users who aren’t so tech savvy. This is where you’ll select the data fields you need in the report, both from the module you selected and any related child modules you might need. Then you’ll add operator logic via a drop-down menu, and if it works as you need, you can add it as a filter. Power users should be able to worm through this with some struggling, but your average user will need training. Or, better yet, a Sugar-savvy staffer who can build them what they need after some back-and-forth discussion.

That’s just scratching SugarCRM’s surface for analytics. If you pay for the Premier tier you can add advanced forecasting and pipeline analytics to your reporting arsenal. This definitely isn’t lightweight to configure either, so be sure to drop it onto your poor developer’s plate during implementation. Depending on the data you’re looking to get, however, even that developer assistance might not get you off the hook, because analytics requires certain data to work, and you may need to add that to your business process. That’ll mean some lengthy meetings to understand how your business really works, and the data that’s needed to make accurate predictions.

Once you’ve got it set up and have given it some time to "learn," this AI-powered analysis can show you a wealth of information across six dashlets: Deal Size, Win Rate, Sales Cycle, Sales Velocity, Idle Opportunities, and Top Reps. All of this gets presented in a six-paned dashboard, and you can either explode the view or mouse-over data points to get more detailed data or a drill-down option. You can tweak certain data points for more information (like going more detailed on a time slice or a geographic region, for example).

Once the engine has had some time to crunch your results, it’ll let your sales reps and teams forecast success and revenue projections. That means team managers and individual sales reps can commit to goals and SugarCRM can predict the likelihood of those outcomes. It works on a commitments-to-results basis, but takes history into account when determining success or failure probabilities. It can also take external data into account, such as overall trends in your industry, if you add that during setup.

How to Buy SugarCRM

Don’t be thrown by the product’s new pricing nomenclature. Just like most of its competition, SugarCRM has evolved from a mere CRM package into a platform that also includes marketing and service desk features. That umbrella covers all your various customer touchpoints, so you can pool and process that data through a single pane of glass.

This means you’ll be presented with four versions of SugarCRM when it’s time to buy: Market, Sell, Service, and Enterprise. We’ve tested the Sell module, with some of the higher-end Enterprise features thrown in. Marketing and Serve are SugarCRM’s digital marketing and help desk packages, which is why they’re priced separately, though you’ll access them through the same UI if you buy them. You’ll find separate pricing tiers within each of these four platforms.

For Sugar Sell, that breaks down to Sell Essentials, Advanced, and Premier. Essentials is for teams with up to five users, and includes all the CRM basics (as well as team management and business process features). This tier costs $49 per user per month.

Sell Advanced jumps to $80 per user per month, but adds the AI layer for analytics and better support for customization and third-party integrations. Sell Premier, which is the tier we tested, hops up to $135 per user per month. It includes Hint, geo-mapping, and the advanced forecasting features described above.

Comparing those prices to the rest of the field shows SugarCRM to be among the more expensive CRMs we tested, though it’s also the most feature-rich outside of our Editors’ Choice winners, which include Apptivo CRM, Salesforce, and Zoho CRM. It also has arguably the best integration between its CRM, marketing, and service desk modules out of those three contenders, though you’ll need to do throw in significant programming muscle to make that happen. Zoho won’t integrate those features quite as tightly, but then it won’t require much developer expense either.

Dollar for dollar, Zoho CRM blows the doors off SugarCRM on the pricing side, with its lowest tier running just $14 per user per month, and its Ultimate tier only jumping up to $52 per user per month. Salesforce is a more favorable comparison. Although its low-end plan starts at $25 per user per month, the tier most comparable to Sell Premier costs $150 per user per month. The Salesforce Unlimited tier costs an eye-opening $300 per user per month.

Complex, Expensive, and Excellent

SugarCRM is for customers who want to squeeze every last benefit they can from their CRM. That means not just ponying up for a higher price tag, but also devoting significant implementation time (as well as development and business process talent that may cost extra).

If you’re in the market for a "quick-fix" CRM aimed at a smaller business that just needs CRM features fast, then SugarCRM is definitely not for you. This is a meaty platform that’ll require both money and patience if you want to get the most out of it. This is an old-school CRM; to get the full benefit of your SugarCRM investment, you’ll need time and a good programming resource, though Sugar can help with that at higher support levels. That time will be devoted to fully understanding how your salespeople do their jobs, how your business feeds that process, and then mapping and customizing SugarCRM’s features so they can help. That’ll take time for planning, development, and testing. And, yes, that means it’ll probably cost more than what’s in the basic pricing tiers, too.

Still, if you’re looking to make a long-term commitment to a CRM that’s regularly updated with competitive features, and you’re willing to jump those initial hurdles, SugarCRM is a worthwhile alternative to Salesforce or Zoho.

Insightly CRM Review

I’ve covered business technology for more than 25 years, and in that time I’ve reviewed hundreds of products and services and written a similar number of trend and analysis stories. My first job in journalism was with PC Magazine in the 1990s, but I’ve also written for other enterprise technology publications, including Computer Shopper, InformationWeek, InfoWorld, and InternetWeek.

Insightly CRM Logo

The Bottom Line

Insightly’s easy-to-use interface, customization, and fluid data importation make it a CRM that can greatly enhance your business.

PCMag editors select and review products independently. If you buy through affiliate links, we may earn commissions, which help support our testing.

Insightly CRM Specs

Document LibraryYes
Builds Forms to Collect DataYes
Inventory ManagerNo
Live ChatYes
Automated ResponsesNo
In-App EmailYes
Chatbot/Conversational AINo
Creates Pipelines for LeadsYes
In-App SchedulingYes
Multi-Currency SupportYes
Automatically Collects Social Networking DataNo
Task ManagementYes
Pipeline ManagementYes
Virtual Dashboard BuilderYes
Integrated Email MarketingNo
Custom DashboardsYes
Pipeline DesignerYes
AI Chatbot DesignerNo
24-Hour SupportYes
AI AnalyticsNo
Email RoutingYes
Phone SupportNo
Custom ReportingNo
User ForumsNo
Workflow DesignerNo
Integrated Digital MarketingNo
Role-Based Access ControlYes
Dedicated Mobile AppsYes
Third-Party App MarketplaceNo
24/7 Phone SupportNo

Insightly is an easy-to-use customer relationship management (CRM) system that’s squarely focused on small to midsize businesses (SMBs). The software’s interface isn’t hard to pick up, and, more importantly, getting data into the system isn’t overly convoluted. Insightly is easier to use than our Editors’ Choice pick for SMB-friendly CRM, Zoho CRM, it’s not as feature-deep, and costs almost twice as much money at the high end. Still, its many positives make it a SMB-friendly CRM application.

Getting Started With Insightly

Like most of its competitors, Insightly starts you off on a customizable landing page that you can configure with your most important tasks, outstanding emails, or reporting dashboards. Unlike several competing CRMs, including Act! CRM, you don’t need to hop into a separate designer to tweak this interface. You can add, delete, modify or move objects on your dashboard on the fly.

Insightly offers four dashboards, and it lets you pick one to act as the default. The four are Recent Activity, Opportunities Dashboard, Project Dashboard, and Leads Dashboard. That said, you can also create entirely new dashboards from scratch, and distribute them to other individuals or teams associated with your account. You’ll find these options in other CRMs, but Insightly makes everything easy to find and use.

Like Zoho CRM, Insightly has an all-up settings view. However, it’s located in the User Profile tab, and it’s only for settings directly related to a particular user. If you have administrator permissions, you’ll find a System Settings tab that has features for the entire organization, such as an active user list and the ability to add new users. This is also where you’ll find data administration, workflow automation, and app integrations options.

Similar Products

Salesforce Sales Cloud Lightning Professional

Zoho CRM

HubSpot CRM

Freshsales CRM

Zendesk Sell

Less Annoying CRM

Creatio CRM

SugarCRM Sugar Sell

Apptivo CRM

Pipedrive CRM

Act! CRM

These admin-level options aren’t particularly intuitive, so you may need to tap Insightly’s support team. In addition, there’s only a basic, utilitarian view for most options. Creating new data objects, for example, starts with a basic list view of all your objects. From there you can create new objects, but only one at a time. Most SMBs won’t need thousands of objects, so the strength here is that it’s easy to get started. However, as your company grows, you’ll want more objects than this kind of engine can easily handle.

Spinning up any CRM means importing data, usually related to contacts and deals. For our reviews, we import a small CSV file containing 50 test contacts. Insightly’s importation process was, again, what we expected, except it was just a little easier (and ran just a little bit more smoothly) than most competing software. Here’s how.

Most CRMs import contacts only through a custom integration or CSV file, but Insightly offers several other options. For example, you can import contacts directly from an Excel file (why don’t more CRMs do that?) or from Google Workspace or Microsoft Outlook. Most CRMs make you add an integration for that functionality, but Insightly offers it out of the box along with options for Act! Premium and Mailchimp.

In addition, we imported our CSV file without a hitch, which was a nice change from some of Insightly’s competitors (Salesflare was particularly frustrating during this import process). Once we selected our file, Insightly grabbed the first row of the spreadsheet, made educated guesses about what each field should be, and then presented us with its findings along with the option to change anything it got wrong. In our case, we only had one mystery field, called EU Importer. Insightly identified everything else, and let us define EU as a custom field directly from the import UI.

Contacts and Organizations

Hopping over to the Contacts tab on Insightly’s left-hand nav brings up all your contacts in a basic list view. We really would like to see a more visually pleasing interface, like Zoho CRM’s Kanban cards or something similar. Then again, the interface makes it easy to use tags to filter your list. Zoho and many other CRMs let you define tags for contacts, organizations, deals, and other data points, but Insightly places them directly on the UI so you can easily filter them. You can also create your own tags, and use them under Organizations and Opportunities.

Aside from tags, you can sort the view by several filters, including Recently Viewed and Contacts Added in the Last 7 days. Those filters aren’t customizable, however.

There’s a long list of things you can do to an individual contact once you drill down, including assigning a new owner, exporting to a vCard or Mailchimp, and adding a new activity record. It’s the same basic process when you’re in the Organizations, Leads, and Opportunities views, though the fields change slightly in each section.

Contacts and Organizations are tightly linked. If you manually add a contact and associate it with a company that’s not in the Insightly database, the application opens the Create New Organization dialog. Complete that, and you can finish adding your contact.

When you pull up either the Organizations’ or the Contacts’ details card, you’ll see four options. Under Contacts, that’s Details, Related, Activity, and Timeline. Details is all the information you entered, while Related is any other touchpoint the Contact has with Insightly, including other deals, projects, and open tickets. Activity is where Contacts crosses paths with Tasks, which we’ll discuss later. Timeline is just a scheduling view that shows all the outstanding Tasks, and when they’re due.

Details, Related, and Activity also appear on an Organizations’ drill-down card, and they work the same fashion. Instead of a Timeline as the fourth option, Insightly adds a News view. That’s where Insightly scans the web for the latest news about your prospect organization, and surfaces the information there.

Leads looks very much like Contacts, except Leads aren’t contacts until you designate them as such. You fill out the same information as you would under Contacts, except any new organization you add isn’t automatically entered into the database (and the lead only shows up in the Leads tab).

You can add notes and files, and expose the lead to another team member as a Task via email (or just by giving them permission to view it). If you never get anywhere with the lead, you can click Close or just delete it. If you convert the lead, you can manually hit the "Convert this Lead to a Contact" option so that it appears in your Contacts list.

All of this might sound complex, but it’s not in practice. It’s nice to have a separation between leads (people you know you’re going to do business with) and contacts (people who you may have only shook hands with once). This separation is also something you won’t find in other SMB CRMs, notably both Onpipeline and Salesflare.

The Basics: Tasks, Opportunities, and Scheduling

Insightly’s Tasks tab isn’t quite a project management interface, but it is an effective task tracker for both users and managers. Tasks can be assigned by a user, teammate, or the boss, and they’re tracked on a milestone basis so the view surfaces even partial progress. The Task drill-down view shows the task details and any related tasks. Plus, you can assign them to a particular Opportunity, which then surfaces them in that Opportunity’s reporting, too. Tasks that you associate with specific contacts show up in the appropriate Contact or Organization records.

The Calendar view is exactly what you’d expect. You can link it to a user’s calendar, and sync to Google Workspace or Microsoft Exchange. But in a rare Insightly oversight, that means a local version of Exchange, not the cloud version. That’s a bit of a blunder in this day and age, and Insightly should immediately address it. At this point, Microsoft Office 365 should be a three-click integration, just like Google.

When you first spin up Insightly, you’ll probably have some opportunities already in the works. These can be imported from a CSV file, but you’ll need to go in afterward and manually update your pipeline progress. That can be a bit of a learning curve if you’re trying to turn your numerical fields into visual data, but it isn’t overly steep.

Manually adding a new opportunity is the same basic process as for anything else in Insightly. You put in deal details, such as the organization’s name, matched to the right entry in the database. You can also specify open and close dates, product or service information, revenue information, and the current pipeline stage. You can assign tasks, and associate them and the deal with other team members who are involved. Once you’ve created the opportunity, it’ll show up in the list view along with a quick visual of where it is in the pipeline. A quick click moves the deal along and adds Tasks, which will also show up under the Organization and Task lists for the team member who’s responsible for completing them.

All this interlinking is one of the things we liked best about Insightly. It takes a while to detail all of it, but in practice, it’s easy to add information in one place and have it automatically appear wherever else it’s needed. That not only makes input easier, but it also lets salespeople work from whichever view they prefer.

The Projects tab is another place where this really comes in handy. Think of a project as any other complicated activity that needs to happen in order to complete an opportunity, like order fulfillment or maybe some nonstandard shipping process. To create one, you start with a name and then add a status, the category type, where it is in the pipeline process, who’s responsible for it, and any other project information you need. Once it’s created, it’ll show up in other views as a series of tasks, related activities, and in the timeline.

It all sounds obvious, but some other CRM contenders make you jump through more hoops than Insightly—even Zoho, and certainly Salesforce. With Insightly, this is all set up and ready to go. You just add contacts and organizations, and link them to your opportunities and pipelines.

Working With Email

Once you set up email syncing, you can send emails from inside Insightly. That’s not the case for every competing CRM. For example, Act! CRM pulls up your personal email client for this. Email templates are also easy to create and edit in Insightly, although they’re a little basic.

What you won’t get with your default Insightly account are email marketing features. Insightly sells a separate Marketing product for this, which, naturally, costs extra. There’s also a new Service product, which is Insightly’s help desk offering. Our test instance had access to all of these tools, but we only looked at the CRM for the purposes of this review.

It’s worth noting, though, that all of these products are seamlessly integrated with one another without much effort on your part. So, if you sign on to these other Insightly products and add a contact in the CRM, anyone using your company’s Insightly Marketing or Service products will automatically see that contact. Similarly, if a help desk tech adds trouble ticket information associated with a contact or organization, that ticket appears in the CRM, as well.

Reporting and Dashboards

Insightly’s Reports and Dashboards can be related, but you access them from different tabs, and they’re typically used for different purposes.

Insightly provides a lengthy list of prebuilt reports, but one of its weak points is that you can’t actually create an all-new report that includes only the data you want, where you want it. There’s a New Report button, but when we clicked on it, we found that just means you’re running one, not creating one. However, in a very nice touch, there’s one-button export to Microsoft Power BI, one of our Editors’ Choice winners for business intelligence tools. You can create new reports there, and then import them into Insightly using the API or simply use Power BI as your reporting engine (which is probably the more efficient option).

Dashboards are your constant view into how your deals, team, and organization are doing in terms of sales. As with Reports, Insightly has a lengthy list of premade dashboards that will probably cover most needs. However, there’s a Create Report button that opens up a fairly easy-to-learn visual editor.

In the visual editor, you can pick an existing dashboard and modify it. Alternately, you can create an entirely new one by picking the fields you want, where you want the data to show up on the card, and how you want it to look.

Overall, we’d recommend ignoring Reports and using Microsoft Power BI instead. You can use the free version as a reporting engine, and that’ll be much better than what almost any CRM offers outside of Salesforce, or Zoho CRM’s integration with its own Zoho Analytics product. Then use Dashboards to your heart’s content to create your day-to-day views.

How to Buy Insightly

Insightly comes in the three, standard SaaS pricing tiers:

Plus costs $29 per user per month (billed annually), and gives you limited access to most features. Notably, you won’t be able to customize anything.

Professional costs $49 per user per month, but it has limited Dashboards and third-party app integration.

Enterprise costs an eye-opening $99 per user per month, but it includes full access to everything we’ve mentioned in this review.

Insightly also offers other products that are tightly integrated with the CRM, but they cost extra. These include Insightly Service and Insightly Marketing and they follow the same tiers and per-user pricing as CRM.

It’s All in the Way That You Use It

Compared to the other CRMs we tested, Insightly is competitively priced at its Plus and Pro tiers. However, its Enterprise tier is almost double that of our SMB Editors’ Choice winner, Zoho CRM. What’s more, Zoho CRM also offers data and deal management, an AI-powered reporting engine, custom workflow design, and tight, in-house app integration with more than 30 other Zoho office applications. And, frankly, Enterprise is the Insightly tier you want, even if you run a small or midsize business

Then again, Insightly is easier to use than Zoho CRM. That might make all the difference in whether your salespeople deem your CRM useful or just another hoop they must jump through before they can get to the "real work."

That perception is a key reason why so many CRM implementations fail, and Insightly has done an excellent job of mitigating that eventuality. Although it lags behind Zoho CRM in terms of features and price, Insightly is worth a look if you’re focused on a fast rollout time with an easy learning ramp for your users.