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The Top 3 Things You Should Know When Setting Up Insightly

In networking meetings across the country, I find business owners are sitting down together and discussing the same topic, CRM software. You, too, may be ready to jump on board with a CRM to create a more organized, efficient, and structured business system. After choosing a CRM, the next 2 big questions are:

  1. How can I make the most out of my CRM?     
  2. How can I set it up right the first time?

Hi everyone! We’re Erin Mathie and Melissa Bamfo, the CEOs of Business Made Simple. We deliver business success by creating powerful business systems that are simple enough to run themselves. Business Made Simple has been blessed to work with hundreds of business owners around the world to create systems and automate them through CRMs like Insightly (our personal favorite). We are passionate about what we do because we know that life is about much more than what you do from 9-5.

We’re excited to share our tips and tricks with you for how you can maximize your use of Insightly and set it up right the first time. During the next 60 minutes I’ll be posting my insights in 3 parts and will be here live in the community answering your questions during this online discussion. Please post your questions below (don’t forget to login!). I’d love to hear your tips for setting up Insightly as well, so don’t be shy - chime in to the discussion!


If you’ve read The Four Hour Work Week or The E Myth Revisited, you understand the importance of a systematized business. A strong system managed in a CRM increases the strength and implementation of the system. Any CRM is only as good as the system you use to manage it. To make the most out of Insightly, start by thinking about your systems.

A great place to start tackling your business systems is by thinking about your pipelines. Pipelines are processes in your business that contain a series of tasks or phases that happen the same way each time. A good example of this is hiring. You’ll have the following steps each time:

  1. Advertise
  2. Interview
  3. Onboarding paperwork
  4. Training

You’ll have pipelines that apply to every area of your business including finance, sales, marketing, leadership, customer service, and product development. Discover what those pipelines are, their stages, and the tasks associated with each stage. These pipelines will create a great foundation for your business system and help you identify what you need Insightly to manage for you.

The next step is to determine how to run your system in Insightly.

I recommend watching Insightly’s How To Videos to learn the Insightly basics. As you watch each video, look at all the functionality that Insightly offers and ask yourself how that functionality could apply in your business.

The key takeaway for you here is: Plan out your system before implementing a CRM. Pipelines are a great place to start with this.

Part 1 follow up questions:

How have you used Insightly’s pipeline feature?

What is your favorite business systems book?

What areas of your business would you like to have more systemized?


You’ll want your Insightly system to last the test of time and so it is important to think about the growth of your business and how those changes will affect it. One of the most common changes that we see as business grows is the need to hire new team members. I recommend planning for those new team members by determining what roles you’ll need to fill and creating training for how they will be using Insightly.

Insightly’s teams are a great placeholder for future employees. If you are currently doing the work for yourself and for the future assistant you plan to hire, create a team called “assistant” and assign yourself as the team member. As you create repeating tasks and outline tasks that are part of a pipeline, assign the tasks that you want your future assistant to do to the “assistant” team. Once you hire your assistant, simply change the assistant team member from yourself to the new hire and all of the tasks will automatically be assigned to your new hire.

Once you have your Insighty account up and running, create training videos on how your team should use it. Training videos specific to your business will reduce the implementation time needed to get your entire team using Insightly. Training videos will also greatly reduce the training time needed for new employees. It is helpful to have some general trainings on how to add tasks and contacts, as well as some more specific training for each role.

The key takeaway for you here is: Create training on how to run your Insightly system to support your team with implementation.

Part 2 follow up questions:

What is your team building strategy?

How do you like to document your processes?


Insightly’s advanced reporting features can provide powerful data for your business. Think about what your dream reports would contain. In order to pull reports on that information, you need to plan to have that information tracked in Insightly. Custom fields and tags can be used to record information you would like to pull reports on. Custom fields are limited by your Insightly plan but allow for more consistency of information through checkboxes and dropdown menus. You can have an unlimited amount of tags but they can get cumbersome if you have too many and allow for more user error. Consistency of data entry is critical to ensure that the reports you pull are accurate. Include how and when to record data into training for your team.

When your business has been using Insightly for a few months, you will have sufficient data to start utilizing the reporting features. I recommend setting up your custom reports and then scheduling them to be sent to you on a regular basis. For analyzing your beautiful new data, it’s often easier to analyze if you can visualize. Power BI is a powerful and beautiful visualization tool, and an integration between Power BI and Insightly has made it simple to start using Power BI.

The key takeaway for you here is: Build custom fields and tags into Insightly to gather the data vital to your business.

Part 3 follow up questions:

What reports have you found most helpful for your business?

Have you built and scheduled reports in Insightly?

What data visualization tools have you tried?


Insightly is our favorite CRM for small business. To get the most out of Insightly, take the time to plan your strategy. Remember that a CRM is only as good as the system you are asking it to automate. Putting a broken system into a CRM does not fix the system much like putting the best gas into a broken down car doesn’t make the car work.

Here are my top 3 takeaways for you as you implement Insightly:

  1. Start designing your system by outlining pipelines.
  2. Create training for your team, current and future, on how your business runs Insightly.
  3. Determine the reports that would most benefit your business and build in ways to track those items with custom fields and tagging.


Conclusion follow up questions:

What advice would you give to a new Insightly user?

What do you wish you would have known when setting up your Insightly account?

What is your most used Insightly feature?



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    Hi everyone! I am excited to share my favorite tips for setting up Insightly with you today. 


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    Hi Erin. I'm curious to know this -- When you're working with clients who are already using Insightly, what feature or area do you find the majority aren’t taking full advantage of? Just wanting to make sure I'm getting/using all I can/should. Thanks.

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    Hi Bengt,

    Great question. I often see holes in activity sets associated with pipelines and underutilization of reporting features. Customization for each business can be quite variable. What type of business are you in?


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    I haven't used the pipeline feature YET but we have a new sales rep who is (hopefully) going to track her progress using the pipeline so I'm eager to get some tips from this discussion!

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    Ah. Reporting is not my strong suit. I own an archery shop. Ha.

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    Pipelines can be so helpful for sales reps. Do you have any specific questions I can answer for you?


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    Thanks for joining us, Printing! Erin will be live online for the next 50 minutes taking your questions! Feel free to ask her anything. :)

    Great to see you Amanda. Thanks for joining us!

    Bengt - What a cool store. I loved archery as a kid.

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    Archery, that is fun! With the new reporting features you can get great business intelligence. We will talk more about reporting in one of the next sections of this discussion. 

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    No questions yet, we're pretty much starting from scratch. We currently use Contacts, Organizations, Tasks and Email but have yet to venture into Pipelines. 

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    I would love to offer a Pipeline Swipe File for anyone in the discussion. This swipe file will give you common business pipelines and help you identify your own. It will also walk you through the process of how we identify the tasks associated with each pipeline stage. You can pick that up here. 

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    Looking forward to it, Erin. 

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    How have you used Insightly’s pipeline feature?

    We use it in our real estate business. We have stages for new listing, potential buyer, under contract, and closed. 


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    Thanks for that file Erin. Can I reorder my pipelines once I create it? I want to make some changes.

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    That is great! Do you have activity sets associated with your stages or do you just use the stages alone?

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    Very cool tool for use with setting a Pipeline! Thanks for sharing this with us, Erin!

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    You can reorder the pipelines on the back end for future use but not within a current project or opportunity.

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    We have activity sets as well. One stage has I think 15 different tasks that go on. I do have a question. I have never really payed much attention. If you change the stage of the pipeline does it get rid of or mark as complete the task that are associated with the previous stage?

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    I am the client relations manager for my son's Plumbing & Water Treatment business. I spend a good deal of my time contacting potential clients in the property management industry. Constantly meeting new people who are potential clients and also others who are associated with our industry. New user to Insightly. Not sure how to use leads versus contacts? When does a lead become a contact? Should I have the same custom fields for both leads and contacts? Should associates and other people I meet be included in leads?

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    It does not complete the tasks or delete them once you advance the pipeline stage. You would need to do that manually. 

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    Hi Richard,

    Welcome to Insightly! If the potential property management clients are cold contacts, I would add them to your leads. Once the lead becomes ready for a sales conversation, convert the lead to an opportunity and Insightly will also change the lead to a contact. 


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    Part 2 of Erin and Melissa's discussion has been posted! Please refresh your screen to see more on "The Top 3 things you should know when setting up Insightly".

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    You can have the same custom fields or different for leads and contacts. Currently, the custom fields do not transfer over when you convert a lead to a contact. 

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    If you have had personal contact with someone, I typically consider them a contact. 

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    I like the tips you have for business continuity. The use of Teams for an assistant is an excellent suggestion. Do you have more tips related to database maintenance or for setting up email templates?

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    Training videos sound like a smart way of getting people in my company to use Insightly. Do you have any particular software that you like using? Do you have any other tips on how to get our employees to use Insightly?

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    Hi Micah,

    I have google apps set up to automatically forward all outgoing email to Insightly and it does add a lot of extra contacts into my database. I recommend filtering contacts added in the last 30 days and cleaning them up once a month. 

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    I have a very hard time getting some of my team members to use Insightly. They do not see how great of a tool it is. Any tips to help get them on board would be wonderful!

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    Great question. I personally create videos using Snagit and then host the unlisted videos on Youtube.

    Implementation really starts from the top. Make sure upper management is committed to Insightly. Consider running company wide contests on Insightly implementation such as no over due tasks, most contacts updated, etc. 

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    It sounds like there are a lot of questions on team implementation.

    I think you need to sell them on the big picture and why it is important to the company overall with tracking data and improving your Key Performance Indicators.

    Once they see the big picture, include them in the design stage of setting it up.

    Next, make it as easy as possible to learn to use through training videos.

    Finally, hold them accountable and gamify the implementation if possible. 

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