One of the challenges any small business faces is how to best leverage their limited resources. One thing many small business sometimes overlook is the need for a Customer Relation Management (CRM) tool. While many may associate a CRM with being something that only large enterprises use, rapidly growing smaller companies can benefit from a CRM as well. One challenge for a small business seeking a CRM is how to find a system that is appropriate for their sized company. A CRM with all the bells and whistles from a company like Oracle may look great on paper, but is probably overkill for most small businesses. Luckily for IT pros at smaller companies, a rapidly growing startup named Insightly has designed a CRM from the ground up that is specifically targeted to meet the needs of smaller companies. Joining us today to discuss Insightly's CRM system is Insightly CEO and founder Anthony Smith. IT Specialist Thank you for sharing some thoughts with us Anthony. Can you provide some brief background on Insightly, such as what year you were started and the background of the founders? Anthony I founded Insightly in 2009 after identifying a need in the market for a customer relationship management (CRM) solution that addressed the needs of small businesses. I bootstrapped the company and worked for six months from my basement, building and perfecting the tool. I have previous experience designing and building CRM software for enterprise use. Prior to Insightly, I worked as a consultant for IBM, and as a software engineer for global mining consultancy Snowden. IT Specialist Could you please provide an overview of what exactly CRM is, and why is it so important to companies? Anthony CRM stands for customer relationship management, and Insightly provides small businesses with a software as a solution (SaaS) tool that helps them better manage and serve customers. However, it is not just about the technology; it is about bringing together people and processes, with the support of technology. For example, small business owners can use a CRM solution to house all of their customer and prospective customer contact information, and set reminders to follow up with certain prospects on a specific day and time. It also serves as a running record of a business’ interactions with its customers. Below are a few reasons companies choose to implement a CRM solution. Manage contacts more effectively Provide better customer interactions Become more organized Improve internal collaboration and efficiency Provide a macro or micro overview of your business Increase sales Reduce manual processes IT Specialist How would you describe the current overall state of the CRM market today? Are CRM vendors offering primarily SaaS solutions at this point? Anthony The CRM market is a well-known entity among enterprise companies due to the success of Salesforce.com, and other enterprise-grade solutions from big players such as Microsoft and Oracle. On the other end of the spectrum, there are a number of CRMs specifically targeting SMBs, small office/home offices (SOHO) and entrepreneurs. In some aspects, this segment of the market is quite crowded, and with so many solutions, SMBs have the luxury of picking the application that works best for their business. Despite the number of CRM solutions available to SMBs, there are still many individuals and small business owners that don’t know what a CRM is, so education is still a priority at the low end of the market. In addition to educating potential users on a CRM, there is also education needed on the value of the cloud. Small business CRM vendors could not offer packages and price points for very small businesses without the cloud; it has enabled many advantages for technology providers and customers. There are people and companies who still fear the cloud, especially when it comes to storing personally identifiable information and company details. At Insightly, we work with a company called TRUSTe, which audits and verifies that our data management policies meet the company’s standards regarding the collection, storing, use and sharing of users’ data. IT Specialist Moving now to Insightly’s core focus, I understand you are very heavily targeted towards small businesses, correct? What made you decide to focus on SMBs instead of larger enterprises? How do the CRM needs of small businesses differ from those of larger enterprises – and how have you designed your product to accommodate the specific needs of small businesses? Anthony When we created this tool, we set out to focus on smaller organizations. Existing tools, especially those targeted at larger enterprises, are typically geared towards salespeople that sell in certain sales territories with certain quotas to meet. However, if you look at small businesses, owners and employees often wear many hats. One person may be a salesman, and that same person can be the accountant, marketer and more. We wanted to build a CRM tool for employees that do not sit in a CRM tool all day and that can be used beyond sales. We deemphasize territory management, focus more on sharing contacts among the team, and capture correspondence among those contacts. It is very easy to use and available on the go, whether via iPad, iPhone, tablet or Android. IT Specialist Turning now to your product, one of your solutions helps small businesses deal with the vital task of managing your contacts, organizations, partners, vendors and suppliers, is that correct? And then you’re second core solution provides integrated product management support? Could you briefly highlight the features and advantages of these two solutions? Anthony Both of these functionalities are available in a single solution. Insightly offers customer relationship management and project management in one solution so that users can stay up to date on their customer relationships at every stage. Within the Insightly tool, a user can see everything about his contacts, such as background information, email history, important dates, and any projects or opportunities they’ve participated in. Furthermore, in the project overview screen, he can see the recent activity on any project and track project performance. More specifically, he can create milestones, pipelines and tasks for projects; set automatic email reminders; view task and event reports; view completed tasks by project; and more. IT Specialist From the perspective of an IT specialist at a small business – who may be managing most or all of their companies IT needs and consequently is pulled in all directions – how easy is it for him or her an Insightly solution. And, how difficult is the ongoing support required to maintain it? Anthony At Insightly, we know that workers at small businesses have their hands in many different sections of the business, and therefore we emphasize simplicity. In fact, when we first created Insightly, we tested the product with business owners that did not have strong technical background to guarantee that it was easy to use for anyone. Getting started is quite simple. We have many instructional videos available on our website at Insightly University ( http://help.insightly.com/en/faq/videos/ ) to help users get up and running. Also, we integrate with Gmail and Outlook, so users can easily import contacts into the system. The tool is easy to maintain as long as users are diligent about updating it. We also have mobile apps available for the iPhone and Android. This is vital for our users that need to access and update information about their customers on the go. IT Specialist Who are Insightly’s main competitors, and how do you compare to the large market leaders like Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics? Anthony Our main competitors are: Zoho, Nimble, HighRise, Podio and Pipedrive. Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics are targeted at large enterprises, and are therefore much more expensive and complex than Insightly. We created Insightly with the small business worker in mind. Traditionally, CRM tools have been targeted at salespeople, but as stated above, the salesperson often does more than just sales. IT Specialist Turning now to Insightly at the corporate level, are there any particular customers or customer case studies you could share with us? How many total customers do you have? We have more than 600,000 users worldwide in 110 countries. We have many customer case studies available on our website: https://www.insightly.com/Clients IT Specialist How much funding has Insightly raised and who are your main investors? Anthony Insightly has raised a total of $13 million in funding. The company raised $3 million in a Series A round from Emergence Capital Partners in October 2012, as well as $10 million in a Series B round from Emergence Capital Partners , Sozo Ventures , Matt Holleran and TrueBridge Capital Partners in September 2013. IT Specialist Finally, for those who might want to trial your solution, what would be the best way to learn more? Is there a contact person with whom they should interface? Anthony Readers who are interested in trying out Insightly can visit https://www.insightly.com/pricing to learn more about how to get started. The free version can be used by up to three users, and can store up to 2,500 records. IT Specialist Thank you for sharing your thoughts Anthony, and best of luck going forward.