Small business crm

Small business crm

Best Small Business CRM Software 2017: Insightly vs Zoho vs Salesforce

CRM software gives your sales team the organizational tools and brainpower to close more deals more efficiently. We looked at the most popular options and rising stars and decided to review Insightly, Zoho, and Salesforce. These companies cover the range of options for small businesses in terms of price, features and integrations.

Best CRM Software for Small Business Owners: Insightly

We recommend Insightly as the best CRM for small business owners because it’s the system your team is most likely to actually use and embrace thanks to its intuitive menus, fast-loading design, and advanced features that focus on quality over quantity. It’s also the system we use here at Fit Small Business.

Insightly vs Zoho vs Salesforce Summary

10am – 6pm EST, Mon-Fri

24 hours, Mon-Fri

(24/ 7 available for extra)

Strong easy-to-use sales and project management.

Manage leads, sales projects. Great reporting.

Highly customizable CRM and phone integration.

Highly customizable with lots of custom fields workflow “triggers.”

Integrate lots of different software into your sales process.

Massive collection of add-ons integrations.

Why We Chose Insightly as the Best CRM for Small Business Owners

We recommend Insightly because it’s the system your sales team is most likely to actually use and embrace. While a CRM promises extra efficiency, the first hurdle is getting your team to adopt it. By providing intuitive menus, quick loading times, and simple admin tools, I found Insightly to be the easiest system to learn, use and manage.

Like Zoho and Salesforce, Insightly also has advanced features once you’re ready for them. Custom fields on contacts or opportunities allow you to track the extra tidbits your business needs, like type of business or customer’s birthday. Webform email integration allow for lightning-fast outreach: Get an alert when a new lead comes in, and immediately fire-off an email using one of your pre-saved templates. Insightly’s custom reporting engine allows you to generate reports using any metric in the system: whether it’s the amount of revenue in your pipeline, the number of open tasks by employee, and so on.

All these features come at a very low price: $12/user/month. Most systems charge at least $30-$50+ for this functionality, or as high as $75, like Salesforce. While Zoho has a similarly-priced edition, it’s not quite as easy to setup and use.

Insightly also provides some of its own unique features, including native project management. While this can be added to both Zoho and Salesforce at an additional cost, Insightly includes project management for free. Like their other tools, it’s simple but highly effective; it’s the system we use to manage our articles and internal projects at Fit Small Business.

If there’s any downside to Insightly, it’s the lack of features for larger teams (20+ employees). There’s no hierarchical territory management, which can be helpful for organizing larger sales teams, nor are there quotes, invoices and purchase orders, which are provided by Zoho and Salesforce. There’s also a much smaller range of integrations compared Salesforce. They do, however, support many key programs, including Gmail, Outlook, Mailchimp, Xero, Quickbooks Online and Wufoo.

Best CRM For Customization: Zoho

If you want a greater range of sales and marketing tools, like quotes, purchase orders and website visitor tracking, or if you want to have greater control over the layout and data in your system, then Zoho CRM is your best option.

Zoho is a very close runner-up to Insightly. It’s also extremely cost-effective (starting at $12/user/month) and easy-to-use with a simple and fast-loading interface. The main difference is that Zoho packs in extra features and customization tools, which become available at their $20/month edition and higher.

Most notably, Zoho has robust automation tools that allow a slicker sales experience: You can auto-assign leads to different sales teams depending on the their location. You can setup alerts for managers when a sale reaches the final stage, or surpasses a certain dollar value. For suppliers or retailers, you could automatically send customers a followup email 1 week after delivery. This puts it in the same class as Salesforce, though at a fraction of the cost.

Insightly recently unveiled many of these tools (known as workflow automation and lead assignment rules) but you need a Professional account or higher to access them ($50+). With Salesforce, it will cost you $150/user/month. Zoho, by contrast, makes them available on their free edition, gradually adding functionality with each tier.

So, if Zoho has all these advantages, why do we recommend Insightly? It all comes down to the setup and administration. Insightly is much easier to setup on your own, and should you need to make any changes— say, to create a new workflow — you or any employee can easily hop in to make the change.

Zoho requires a bit more expertise and training, which isn’t going to be worth it if you’re just looking to use the sales CRM features. I recommend that you the Zoho alternatives article to learn more about simple to use and powerful alternatives. However, if you need the extra customization and automation, then Zoho is well worth the effort.

Best CRM For Integrations: Salesforce

If you use a lot of different programs during your sales process, like digital signatures, quoting, proposals, invoices, etc. — Salesforce gives you a way to combine them into one system.

Like Zoho, Salesforce is a highly advanced, customizable CRM. Where Salesforce takes the lead, however, is with their integrations. For one, the AppExchange has over 3,000 different programs you can integrate with Salesforce. Secondly, you can integrate many apps in a far more robust way, like using programs directly within Salesforce, and working tasks like e-signing contracts into your workflows.

The downside to Salesforce is its high price tag ($150/user per month if you want the real deal). It also takes a lot of work to administer. There’s a huge array of backend tools that will require training to understand and use. Unlike Insightly, which any business owner should be able to set up themselves, Salesforce will likely require an outside expert to setup and administrate their system.

Detailed Comparison


Most CRM pricing is subscription-based, typically purchased for 1 year at a time. Each company has a range of editions, varying in their features and amount of storage.

Both Insightly and Zoho are the most affordable options, starting at $12/user/month. They both also offer free editions with limited storage/features. Salesforce is significantly more expensive, starting at $75/user/month for their full CRM package (although they have the very basic SalesforceIQ at a lower price).

Below we’ll briefly compare each company, then dive into their full pricing information:

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