Outreach.io vs. Instantly.ai: Which One Should You Buy?

2 minute read

We suppose you're here because you are evaluating Outreach and Instantly. In that case, I assume you are leading or managing a sales team, or lead generation, booking meetings, and building a revenue pipeline are among your primary responsibilities.

First, you're already doing the right thing by looking for an AI solution to scale lead generation and multichannel outreach.

So…between the two sales outreach tools, which suits your business? 

Through this post, we objectively examine their features, inspect how their current and past users perceive them, consider the use cases in which each excels, and then give our verdict on who would be best adopting Outreach.io and who would be best opting for Instantly.

How are Outreach.io and Instantly.ai different from each other? 

Both Outreach and Instantly are in the business of sales outreach and engagement, i.e., they help sales reps automate a series of tasks in their sales processes. However, they both have distinct as well as intersecting capabilities.

Outreach.io: A comprehensive platform that spans from prospecting to forecasting

Outreach positions itself as a 'sales execution platform' and promises to help B2B sales teams close the "sales execution gap." They're an all-in-one sales platform that allows sales organizations to be more productive across the sales cycle—prospecting, sales engagement, deal management, forecasting, and more.

While we cover their detailed offering at length later in the blog, here's a visual snapshot of everything Outreach offers in its sales execution platform.

Outreach has built a single platform that enables sales orgs to innovate faster and collect rich sales action data from all interactions across the buyers' journey. Although the product is targeted mainly at sales teams, its general benefits to help businesses create automated outreach and acquisition make it a relevant platform for marketing (or even recruiting) teams.

While Outreach is comprehensive in its capabilities, mastering its intricacies involves a learning curve. 🎯

Instantly.ai: Your friendly AI copilot for B2B outreach

Instantly.ai embodies the nimble newcomer and takes a best-of-breed approach. It is a cutting-edge cold email platform that helps you find leads, build lists, manage leads, warm up domains and mailboxes, and set up personalized email sequences and AI-driven analytics.

Interestingly, it's a tool built in public by the founders (Reio Suun and Nils Schneider) based on continuous feedback, and it's evident based on the way it's priced.

instantly.ai

Unlike most email outreach tools, Instantly.ai doesn't constrain you with limited mailbox capabilities or limit you to emails per user (most other tools restrict you to one email per user and make you pay for every additional email, even for the same user).

If you're a small business or a digital agency and your primary use case is email outreach—Instantly.ai provides value for your money. 🎯

Choosing between Outreach.io and Instantly.ai

When you are comparing two SaaS products, it’s best to evaluate them from three critical lenses. 

Key factors for evaluation: 

1. Ease of use 

The ease of using a sales engagement tool is an important factor to consider since it determines how well your sales and other teams can use the product and maximize its full range of functionalities. 

Questions to ask: 
  • How easy or hard is it to set up and implement the software? 
  • Do you need a dedicated person to administer the tool? 
  • Can you trial the tool by yourself? 
  • How complex is the user interface for you to start using the tool?

2. Product capabilities 

The next step in comparing Outreach.io and Instantly.io is on the features front. To successfully evaluate a product, you should be able to understand what it can do for you. 

Questions to ask:
  • How comprehensive is the software in terms of its feature offerings?
  • Are its functionalities out-of-the-box or customizable? 
  • What integrations does it support? 
  • Does it support native integrations or via some third-party API connectors? 

3. Pricing 

Pricing is an important component for making a purchase decision since it directly maps to the ROI (return on investment). For growing teams, pricing also impacts product adoption and the scale at which it can solve their growing needs.

Questions to ask: 
  • Does the app offer a free trial or a freemium subscription? 
  • Is the pricing affordable, flexible, and fair for your business use cases?
  • Does it have flexible monthly billing options? Does it force you to sign annual contracts?
  • Are there any hidden costs or add-on service fees?

Outreach.io vs Instantly.ai: side-by-side comparison 

The TL;DR version

instantly.ai

1. Ease of use 

Outreach.io 

Outreach users highly rate the platform's user interface and ease of use. In G2, it scores 4.3 out of 5 from 3375 reviews. 

Outreach customers particularly admire the platform for having all the essential functions they need on one page—making calls, setting up email cadences, and sending messages via LinkedIn—without having to keep a bunch of different apps open to do the job.

I've been using Outreach for a while. I love the user interface for outreach and how customizable it is. Once you set it up, it's straightforward and efficient.

- Arthur Stier, Senior Enterprise BDR, Fivetran

Instantly.ai

Instantly's users rate the platform even higher than Outreach—probably because the scope of the platform is much narrower in comparison. In G2, it scores 4.9 out of 5 from 1600 reviews. 

Instantly.ai brings AI-powered email outreach to your fingertips, making it easier to generate personalized and engaging emails at scale—from creating email templates to setting up automated sequences.

Instantly stands out for its user-friendly interface and rapid performance. The platform's best feature is its impressive speed in delivering real-time results, making it a top choice for quick and accurate information. The sleek design enhances the overall experience, ensuring easy navigation.

- Karen Connell, Founder, The SMALLmighty

2. Product capabilities

Outreach.io

Given the target audience, Outreach is obviously more comprehensive and feature-dense, which explains why its setup is not as breezy as Instantly's. However, from the capabilities standpoint, you can do much more with Outreach functionalities and customize them to achieve your goals. 

As a sales rep, you get all the capabilities and insights you might need to build a pipeline, run meetings, navigate buying committees, and manage deals to close.

For instance, Outreach lets you schedule email sequences at scale from a single central hub. And it's not confined to email alone—you can automatically pull prospect information from LinkedIn and send them highly personalized cold emails.

One of their best features is that you can pause outreach cadences. So, if you want to have more control over your automated emails in case you want to pause them during the Holidays or while you are out of office, Outreach is a reliable platform.

And if you're a sales leader with Outreach, you get a complete picture of the entire sales cycle to increase your deal velocity, pipeline conversion, and rep productivity. 

Here's a snapshot of the spectrum of features Outreach offers:

And then the big one—Integrations! Outreach has its own marketplace and integrates with almost every major CRM, mailbox, sales productivity tool, ABM platform, and more.

Check out the Outreach marketplace

Instantly.ai

Instantly.ai is clearly not for every sales and revenue team. They integrate with very few CRMs like HubSpot, Salesforce, and Pipedrive. If you're using any third-party services and want to use Instantly as part of the workflow—you might have to rely on Zapier.

But if you're a small-medium business and your primary use case is building a pipeline through email outreach—Instantly is brilliant for you!

Out of the box, they offer five features to help you in your cold email outreach:

  • Lead Finder: It helps you find verified B2B prospects from a database of 160 million+ contacts filterable to specific job titles, industry, revenue, and more—without leaving the app. 
  • Campaigns: The Lead Finder and Campaigns work in tandem. As the name suggests, Campaigns allow you to set up email campaigns for the leads and sequences you create. It's intuitive to set up advanced functions such as A/Z tests to auto-optimize, set limits to max new leads, set up CC and BCC to your emails, and more.
instantly.ai
  • Unibox and CRM: It's a centralized inbox where you can view and reply to all emails. Warm-up automation comes along with the Unibox, helping you ensure that the email addresses are warmed up, thus increasing your domain reputation so that the emails land in the inbox of your recipients.
  • Tracking and Analytics: It helps you understand how your campaigns are performing and gives you insights into how your prospects interact with your emails. It captures critical metrics such as open rate, click rate, reply rate, and opportunities. 
  • Lead Management: Manage all your leads from a centralized place. It helps you quickly move leads from lists to campaigns and vice versa.


What is Instantly.ai missing (for small-medium business users)?

Even if you are not looking for as comprehensive a solution as Outreach—there are some key features that Instantly.ai is currently missing (probably on their roadmap for now):

Multichannel prospecting

Unlike a modern AI-powered multichannel outreach platform like Plena that helps you reach out to your prospects via multiple channels such as emails, social media, calls, and SMS, Instantly.ai serves only the email channel (at least for now).

Additionally, the lack of native integrations with many of the tools you might use with email is something to consider.

3. Pricing 

Outreach.io 

One of the frustrations many prospects of Outreach share is that they neither share their pricing on their website nor offer a free trial. But wading through various forums, you can get a ballpark even if the vendors try their best to keep it confidential. 

Our research suggests that Outreach's base price starts at $120/user/mo plus an implementation fee ranging between $1K to $8K—depending on your requirements.

Talking to an ex-customer of Outreach who is currently with an early-stage startup, here's what she had to say:

When we implemented Outreach in our previous company, the cost per seat was between $155 and $185 monthly (upfront annual contract, with no cancellation option). There was nearly a $10,000 implementation fee, plus priority support costing $15 to $20/seat/mo.

Unless you have a well-established process and need their end-to-end sales engagement features, it's a hefty spend.

Instantly.ai

Instantly.ai offers good value-for-money plans and lets you try out their product before purchasing. Their pricing is available in a simple format on their website, as you would expect with any standard SaaS business. 

Their Growth plan starts at $37 & Hypergrowth at $97/mo. 

They allow you to connect as many inboxes as you want, i.e., you don't pay for additional emails as long as they are from the same user. And instead of paying around $150/month for warm-up services, you get it for FREE in Instantly.ai.

instantly.ai

instantly.ai

Scalability—they are not comparable

When buying sales engagement software, you should consider how it can solve your future needs. The best software grows with your growing requirements. But when you compare Outreach and Instantly, the scalability factor is not an apples-to-apples comparison.

Outreach can scale in terms of use cases, whereas Instantly.ai scales in email campaign size and not usecases.

Our verdict 

It's much easier to give a clear verdict if we compare two similar products where one comes out on top in 8/10 factors. However, in the case of Outreach and Instantly—they both operate on different scales and for very different audiences.

However, there are our thoughts that'll help you choose what suits you best:

  • If you're a midsize or enterprise organization with a mature sales engagement process and prefer a comprehensive all-in-one platform to handle everything from prospecting to conversation intelligence to forecasting, you might want to go for Outreach.
  • If you're a small business seeking value for money and primarily looking for an email outreach tool without the bells and whistles you wouldn't use for a while—Instantly.ai is a no-brainer.

Each day without Plena = Lost Sales

With Plena — list building, contact enrichment and scalable multi-channel outreach is a breeze.