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Your Buyers Guide to Zoho CRM

With a lot of CRM’s out there on the market, it becomes a difficult choice to choose the right one. In this article, we will give you an honest overview of what Zoho CRM can do for you, and is it worth your buy?

Zoho has been there for a long time in the market. It’s just that many have known about them recently. The most well-known solution for Zoho has been its CRM application and has been making a lot of buzzes recently for its innovative feature offerings like AI-based Zia, Control center, Blueprint, and many more.
 
With the powerful features available within Zoho CRM, its main motto is to help you manage the customer lifecycle completely. Customers can reach out to you from multiple sources, may it be your contact-us form on your company website, user chat, or through a Facebook ad campaign you might be doing and this data is pushed automatically into Zoho CRM. Further Zoho CRM provides features like pipeline management, Account management, Contact management, Deal management, Campaign management, Workflow automation, and many more.
 
When a prospect contacts you, it becomes important to store the information in a well-organized format or you might have a list of contacts you won’t want to target to make your sale. This is your pipeline which you would want to manage and keep a track of. Zoho provides you with a pipeline management feature that allows you to track your pipeline and all the activities you have been performing.
 
When these prospects qualify Zoho allows you to create a deal/opportunity which can track the potential in terms of revenue you can expect if the customer signs up.
 
Zoho also allows you to manage your accounts, contacts, and other activities including all the mail communication you have been with the lead, account, contact, or deal. This is great because you then know how much engaged a customer is with you and can trace back any communication you have been doing years back.
 
I know what you might be thinking, these features are very general and must-have in any CRM but the advantage comes when you look at the automation capabilities of Zoho CRM. You can create and modify fields on the fly, create new customized modules, and add new functionality with a blink of an eye. You have features such Blueprint which allows you to define processes for your lead generation, qualification, and management. Zoho’s Zia AI also adds to the list as it can suggest you the best time you can contact your customer and boost your response rate.

Is Zoho CRM right for you?

If your goal is to better manage your pipeline and track deals, Zoho’s capability is no match for the price it is offered at. Of course, there is competition from applications like Microsoft CRM and Salesforce and to be honest, I love Salesforce for its enterprise-grade capability to automate things which unfortunately burns out your pocket.
 
Zoho is simple with a minimal learning curve for its users and provides necessary automation capabilities for smaller to mid-sized sales teams which also becomes its advantage over Salesforce which has a lot of features that generally don’t get used by most of the businesses. I have seen companies use Salesforce and after 1 or 2 years switch to Zoho for its cost-effective nature.
 
If you are a solopreneur, I would defiantly recommend you should try Zoho CRM free edition or use Hubspot free CRM as both of them provide the necessary features to manage your sales. Unfortunately with Hubspot, unlike Zoho CRM there are no upgrade plans available.
 
If you are a very small company and just starting up with a limited budget, you can look at Zoho Bigin. Obviously, you won’t get the capabilities of Zoho CRM but the user interface is simply great and you won’t complain about how easy it is to manage your pipeline.
 

Image Credit: Zoho

Would Zoho CRM impress you?

The good part (and the bad part) about Zoho CRM is that it is not industry-specific. But it provides a great platform to customize and get align the tool to your business processes. You could either do it yourself or engage with a Zoho Partner who can help you with these configurations and customizations to suit you.
 
Zoho CRM is a product that has been in the market for several years now and is quite mature to provide you with capabilities that only a few other CRM’s provide.
 
This means that if you are planning to buy Zoho CRM and expecting that it will work great for your business without the right configurations, you will be fooling yourself unless your need is basic pipeline management and no expectations on the automation side.
 
With a highly customizable report writer, Zoho CRM provides you with many out of the box reports as well as dashboard components that you can place on your dashboards. The best part is you also get the ability to create your own reports and dashboard components which might be very specific to you.
 
The interface of Zoho CRM has drastically changed over years. With a modern look and feel and easy navigation options, you will never feel lost.
 Smarter business decisions with Zoho CRM analytics - Zoho Blog
 Image Credit: Zoho
 
Also with a lot of out of the box integrations available in the marketplace, you can connect the CRM to other applications you use so you have all the information needed in one place and your automation work right.
 
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Zoho’s Market place is loaded with integrations and custom solutions developed by Zoho Partner’s which can help you up and running quickly. I personally use The G-Suite, Mailchimp, and GoToMeeting integration which makes my life easy. Not to say Zoho CRM also provides you with integration to its own other products like Books, Meetings, Zoho Sign, Analytics, and many more.
So if you are someone who is looking for a clean easy to use application allowing you the power to automate at an affordable price, Zoho CRM would more than impress you.

What is good? - Pros with Zoho CRM

With the kind of balanced officering Zoho provides considering the features and cost it’s defiantly worth a buy. Other similar priced CRM offerings would provide you 50% of what Zoho has to offer. We can say that Zoho provides enterprise-grade features with a cost a startup SaaS company would offer making it a perfect choice for Small and Medium enterprises.
 
Considering Zoho also offers other applications spanning across your business functions which are also very much suited for Small and business enterprise and the out of the box integrations available, it becomes easy for you to scale and use all applications seamlessly integrated.
 
If you leave aside the price factor Salesforce becomes an actual competition for Zoho’s CRM offering. Obviously, Salesforce CRM gets an upper hand for its extended platform and customization ability compared to Zoho, but Zoho CRM is not much behind and catching up rapidly with the customer segmentation and AI capabilities recently getting introduced. The question you have to ask is are all those extended functionalities really worth spending any extra money on?

Where is the struggle? - Cons with Zoho CRM

Every software out there has some areas it could do better, the same is with Zoho’s CRM offering. Considering the vast usage and the type of companies who look at Zoho as their choice, some see it overwhelming while some see a shortage of features that are very specific to their business needs.
 
Well, if you find Zoho CRM overwhelming you always have the option of what you want to see and what should not be shown to you. On the other side if you see that Zoho has some features missing or your process is not a direct fit for the out-of-the-box offering, you can contact an implementation partner who can help you do this job for you.
 
The other aspect which frustrates most of the users is the free support available from Zoho. You just have to wait too long to get a response (Nothing against the support staff at Zoho, they are extremely friendly and helpful once you connect). But hey “It’s a FREE support”. In case you need better support, you should ideally connect a support partner who can help you out for a cost. Bear in mind, Zoho is a product company and they have partners out there like SoftwareSearch who help customers with the necessary services.

Is Zoho CRM free?

Well, In a way you can say that Zoho CRM is free for people who have very limited use or are just starting up. Zoho offers a free edition of its CRM for up to 3 users with full-featured Contact, Leads, Accounts, and Deals modules. You also get some features of Document management and team collaboration in the free edition. Of course, you won’t get the complete set of features and customization ability but yes, it does the job of keeping your data in order very well.
 
You have multiple editions that provide additional functionality based on your needs and you can select the one which suits you.
 
I would suggest you opt for a trial version of the Enterprise Edition so you have a good idea of how the system looks and feels and based on your need and budget upgrade to the paid one.
 
You can have a look at the price and feature comparison of all the editions by downloading this PDF.

What else to consider to make your CRM Choice?

Marketplace Extensions

You would find most of the enterprise grads SAAS CRM like Salesforce having a lot of extensions or ready to use integrations but this ecosystem lacks most of the affordable CRM’s. In my personal opinion having such an ecosystem is extremely important.
 
Zoho has its own marketplace which allows you to easily connect to other Saas products or enhance CRM functionality for the user.

Zoho Marketplace Catagories

You can easily notice that Zoho has most of the categories covered for you so the right applications can connect to the CRM.
 
Zoho also provides you with the ability to build your own extension which can be then published in the Marketplace for other users to use.

Documentation You Deserve

With the ever evolving product it becomes important you have all the documentation around how to use and how to configure at your figure tips. Zoho provides you with an extensive documentation library which includes:
Having all of these resources makes it easy for you to really get going. Not to mention Zoho also provides free support.

Telephoney Integration with CRM

For those who want their call dialingand logging to happen from within the CRM, Zoho offers a seamless telephony integration. Zoho has already worked out with most of the famous telephony providers a integration which is easy to work out with. You can see the list of supported telephony providers on the Zoho CRM website ‘s telephone page.
 
With these telephoney integrations in place you get entire call analytics and with a seamless click-to-call functionality from within the CRM records life becomes easy.

Artificial Intelligence to Help You

Zoho introduced AI in its CRM to help its users better perform their day to day tasks. The AI companion from Zoho known as Zia can fetch the information you want from the CRM, take notes for you, predict the outcome of sales activities, detect anomalies. Zia also provides you with suggestions on the best way and time to contact your customers and can analyze customer tone in an email’s so you know how best to respond.

Conclusion

With a lot of CRM’s in the market, you have a difficult choice to make. There are many verticle specific CRM’s in the market and I believe if you are someone who wants to use the out of box use as-is processes you should choose one of those.
 
But if you are the one who prefers innovation and want your automation to help you grow your business you should choose a CRM which is more horizontal (Zoho, Salesforce and there are many more out there). I personally recommend Zoho’s CRM if you are looking for something which is time tested, has enterprise-grade features and security, and is budget-friendly.
 
When you go with Zoho you get a reputed CRM with a budget which is pokket friendly. You get all the flexibility to customise and integrate with other applications in the zoho ecosystem as well as other appplications which you might be using. 

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