Instantly vs Apollo: Which Is The Right Sales Tool for Your Business?

Instantly vs Apollo: Which Is The Right Sales Tool for Your Business?

In our latest series of sales software reviews, we’re comparing two well-known platforms—Instantly and Apollo, to help you decide which one’s better suited for your team. 

We’ve already done a detailed Apollo.io review for those interested, but now, it’s time to see how it measures up compared to a smaller but faster-growing alternative—Instantly. 

In a nutshell, Instantly and Apollo both share the ultimate mission of improving sales and marketing prospecting, outreach, and conversions through efficiency-driven automation.  

Now, it’s time to examine which of the two is better. 

Apollo vs Instantly: The overview 

Right off the bat, both tools are very similar in functionality, though, Apollo is positioned more as a go-to-market sales engagement platform, whereas Instantly—an all-in-one platform for getting more clients. 

Both platforms offer native lead databases, multichannel sales engagement sequences, email deliverability features, integrations, and analytics. Also, they both come equipped with some form of AI powers, though quite different in nature. 

With both tools rated very highly on reputable sites like G2 (Apollo – 4.8/5; Instantly – 4.9/5), along with thousands of verified reviews from real users, it’s safe to say that both are viable and solid options for businesses to invest their money in.

After reading through hundreds of reviews, the most commonly-mentioned pros and cons of the two tools are the following (we’ll start with Instantly): 

Instantly pros & cons

Instantly’s website

✅Users consistently praise Instantly’s email deliverability, reporting high deliverability rates in their outreach campaigns;
✅Simple, easy-to-use user interface, which is a breath of fresh air for such complex automation tools;
✅Centralized ‘Unibox’ feature that allows users to seamlessly manage multiple mailboxes under one roof; 

❎Low-accuracy lead data at times, often resulting in higher bounce rates and affecting deliverability; 
❎Instantly doesn’t have a freemium plan (more on that later), and some users report that the low-tier plan is fairly limited for full-functional business outreach;
❎Some users report limited integration capabilities with third-party tools like CRMs (though, Instantly positions itself as a CRM of its own).  

And, let’s dive into Apollo’s pluses and minuses:

Apollo pros & cons

Apollo’s website

✅Users love the vast and accurate contact database, which is crucial for effective prospecting;
✅The platform’s clean and intuitive dashboard UI makes it easy to navigate and use;
✅The automated outreach sequences, while simplistic in nature, work flawlessly without any issues; 

❎Some users find the initial setup and onboarding process complex, though, I did not experience that at all;
❎The Free plan is too limited for any form of business use, which is a negative for those looking for a functional sales automation tool at no cost;
❎At times, users report minor bugs and glitches with the platform, though I did not experience a single one during my testing of the product. 

Alright, let’s kick off the showdown between these tools!

Apollo vs Instantly: The battle of the features   

Both of these powerful tools have an abundance of features, but we will focus on the most important ones to get a better understanding of how they measure up against each other. 

Let’s get down to it.

Lead database  

Starting us off, both tools have their own native contact databases, which is a pretty must-have addition for modern sales & marketing platforms. 

instantly ai vs apollo and databases

Apollo’s lead database 

Instantly’s lead database offers 160M contacts, whereas Apollo’s—275M, both promising to regularly verify all existing prospects/companies and add more as time goes on. 

Instantly’s lead database 

In terms of usability, both (don’t forget, we’re here about Instantly vs Apollo) are pretty simple in their nature—users simply put in their filters (location, company size, job title, etc.), and get extensive lists of targeted prospects for their campaigns. Both tools allow users to seamlessly add these contact lists to their campaigns with a click of a button. 

The one thing I will mention is that Apollo provides significantly more search filters for its database, including intent and buying signals (for example, company expansion), allowing users to prioritize the more purchase-ready leads. 

On the other hand, Instantly has a neat ‘keyword’ search filter that simplifies prospecting.

Campaign management 

Both Instantly and Apollo.io allow users to create automated, multi-touch engagement sequences, the only difference is—Instantly only focuses on emails (calls and SMS coming soon), whereas Apollo.io also includes cloud calls and semi-automated LinkedIn for outreach channels. 

instantly vs apollo and how they outreach

Apollo’s outreach campaign

In all fairness, Instantly’s email outreach capabilities are more impressive than Apollo’s, with unlimited mailboxes and extensive deliverability features, but Apollo offers the luxury of multichannel outreach.

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apollo vs instantly in buidling outreach campaigns

Instantly’s outreach campaign

Both platforms (and we’re talking about Instantly.ai vs Apollo) leverage the powers of AI to generate tailored sequences for your unique campaigns, as well as personalized messaging at scale, significantly reducing the time your sales and marketing teams spend on generating their hundreds or thousands of impactful emails manually. 

Instantly has a pretty near AI personalization tab that’s super easy to use: 

AI features in Instantly

On the other hand, Apollo’s AI features kick in right from the beginning of your campaign, asking you to define your campaign goals, value proposition, CTA, etc., allowing it to create the most impactful campaign: 

Apollo AI features

For those looking to take their sales outreach to the next level, Reply.io offers more outreach channels and touchpoints, as well as a native AI SDR that not only generates hyper-personalized messages (from sourcing relevant prospect data) but also handles responses on your behalf, check it out for yourself!

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Say hello to Jason, your AI SDR, booking meetings on autopilot and handling everything from finding prospects to managing responses.

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Email warm-up & deliverability 

When it comes to email warm-up and deliverability, the clear winner here is Instantly. 

In fact, Instantly’s unlimited email warm-up and detailed deliverability dashboard are some of its biggest selling points, and rightfully so, considering just how important email deliverability has become in 2024! 

Psss…Reply does the same with unlimited mailboxes and warmups, but also throws in multichannel outreach, so you’ve got even more ways to connect and engage!

in instantly ai vs apollo the first has warmups

Warm-up in Instantly

Apollo, on the other hand, only provides a limited ‘Inbox Ramp-up’ feature that gradually increases the volume of your email outreach to avoid spam filters, and even then — it’s still in beta. 

Unique bonus feature(s)

What’s the one key feature that makes each of the two tools stand out? 

Speaking about Apollo.io, it has to use its Inbound Optimization and Deal Management features, both making it a fully-fledged sales automation suite. 

The platform allows users to create customizable forms, and then, depending on the prospect and/or company data provided—AI will generate a personalized message for all relevant inbound leads:

in instantly vs apollo the last have inbound features

Inbound features in Apollo

In other words, inbound leads will go through the AI-powered lead scoring process discussed in the previous section and then be pushed into automated inbound nurturing sequences, depending on their purchase-readiness.

Now to Apollo’s Deal Management feature: users get to experience a clear view of all their deals right from the home dashboard, which accounts bring in what amount of money, which businesses are ideal for upselling or cross-selling opportunities, which are soon ending their subscriptions, and so on: 

Deal management is better in apollo vs instantly

Deal management in Apollo

Now, it’s Instantly’s turn to shine! 

While they don’t have a unique stand-out feature like Apollo, it does have something worth our attention, and that is its brand-new transition into an AI-powered CRM. 

What this means is that, being a traditional email outreach platform, Instantly will now have the capacity to compete with the ‘big players’ of sales and marketing automation, and that’s pretty cool if you ask me. 

CRM in instantly ai vs apollo is better

CRM in Instantly

From AI workflows (Dealflow), multichannel sequences (including calls and SMS), seamless integration with its lead database, and more targeted sales campaigns (Salesflow), Instantly is on its way to becoming way more than a simple email outreach tool, so watch out competitors!

Instantly vs Apollo: Pricing plans

Heavy automation tools such as sales or marketing platforms are serious investments, with most businesses committing to annual subscriptions to strike better deals. Therefore, pricing is of no less importance when making this decision. 

Apollo’s pricing plans are pretty straightforward, starting at $49/user/month for the ‘Basic’ plan: 

Unlike Instantly, Apollo.io also offers a freemium plan but, realistically speaking, it wouldn’t be sufficient even for the smallest of teams looking to grow their sales or marketing efforts. 

When it comes to Instnatly’s pricing, things get a little tricky. 

For starters, they have separated their platform into two separate products — ‘Sending & Warmup’ and ‘Leads’, each having their own pricing plans and sold separately. 

Perhaps the idea they had in mind was that some businesses may need just their email outreach + warmup features without needing access to their database, and vice versa. However, it’s always best to keep prospecting and outreach under one roof, so we would highly recommend purchasing both, should you choose to go with Instantly. 

However, unlike 99% of sales/marketing platforms on the market, Instantly’s pricing is per workspace/per month, NOT per user/per month. 

As a result, even when combining Instantly’s Hypergrowth and Hyperleads plans, Apollo is still more expensive for teams of 4 or more (on the Professional plan). 

Instantly and Apollo: Alternatives & competitors

While both Instantly and Apollo are (without a doubt) great cold outreach tools, it’s important to mention that there are several other great, and perhaps, more suitable sales automation alternatives out there. 

apollo io competitors

As previously mentioned, choosing an outreach tool is a serious business decision that directly impacts your sales team’s efficiency, as well as how well your business will interact with potential customers, hence having a direct correlation with profits as well, so do take your time.

There’s an overwhelming amount of sales automation platforms available, but only several of them have the true capacity to supercharge your business, and one of them is Reply.io

Much like other leading sales platforms, Reply.io has consolidated over the years into an all-in-one sales automation suite, now offering a dedicated lead database, multichannel campaign sequences, an AI SDR for personalized outreach at scale, an AI Chatbot for capturing and qualifying inbound leads, powerful email deliverability tools, as well as team management and analytics features. 

We have detailed comparisons of Reply.io vs Instantly and Reply.io vs Apollo.io if you’d like to check them out, but here’s a quick rundown of how Reply.io offers users more bang for their buck: 

  • More outreach channels for your sales and marketing campaigns (including email, cloud calls, LinkedIn, SMS, and WhatsApp); 
  • No more limits with unlimited mailboxes and warmups, making your outreach campaigns run super smooth so you can reach more prospects easily.
  • A native AI SDR that hyper-personalizes your outreach AND handles responses on your behalf (including handling common objections and booking meetings); 
  • An awesome AI Chatbot that captures, qualifies, and nurtures inbound leads, empowering businesses to generate more warm leads 24/7; 
  • With Reply’s Google Postmaster and MailToaster integrations, along with a dedicated deliverability team at their disposal, users can enjoy top-class email deliverability for their outreach campaigns, much like with Instantly; 
  • Take advantage of LinkedIn automation to step up your outreach game on one of the top professional networks, making it a breeze to connect with key decision-makers.
  • Last but not least, Reply.io provides much more powerful team management features to keep better track of sales reps’ performance, tasks, KPIs, etc.

For those interested, here are some more back-to-back comparisons of Reply.io and some of the leading sales automation platforms: 

Apollo vs Instantly: The final verdict

Back to our topic, for those who narrowed down their options to Apollo.io and Instantly and are now debating between the two, Instantly makes more practical sense for businesses that simply need a reliable email outreach tool, whether it’s for sales or marketing campaigns (or both).

On the other hand, Apollo.io is the better option for businesses that place more emphasis on their sales efforts, considering it provides a rich contact database for targeted prospecting, AI sales intelligence for efficiently nurturing touchpoints, and deal management features. 

Keep in mind that, for teams of 4 or more, Apollo starts becoming increasingly more expensive than Instantly, though, if you’re looking to fully equip your sales team — it’s probably worth it. 

If you’re in the market for a reliable, AI-driven sales automation platform and can’t seem to find ‘the one’, why not give Reply.io a spin? 

You can test it out for free and see for yourself the fusion of robust features, user-friendly interface, and AI. 

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