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Zoho review

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Zoho is probably best known as a cloud software vendor providing tools you need to run different aspects of a business or even entirely on it. It’s no wonder that you’ll also find it offers Zoho CRM that helps you discover new leads, nurture your contacts, and monitor your sales.

Of course, it comes with a suite of third party add-ons. It integrates productivity and collaboration tools like Google Workspace, Microsoft 365, and Quickbooks. This helps save time you and your employees don’t have to switch tabs or apps and manually copy data and documents from one to another. A mobile app gives you and your team more flexibility about where you want to work.

Zoho operates globally with headquarters in India. It was founded as far back as 1996, what some might describe as the Wild West of the Internet.

Pros and cons of Zoho

Besides what’d you expect from a CRM (contact and deal management), Zoho offers mail marketing, call logging, meeting management, and task reminders. It also gives you pipeline recommendations and predictions but only in the higher-tier plans.

Pros

  • signup without credit card
  • multilingual support
  • you can hold your teams meetings or client presentations right in your CRM account
  • work remotely with the mobile app

Cons

  • Previous experience with CRMs needed, you may find it has a learning curve

Who is Zoho for?

You can use Zoho CRM to manage a small but growing list of contacts so that you can organise and streamline your lead and customer data. It’ll help you find areas where you should focus your marketing and sales efforts as well as automate business processes so you don’t need to do the tedious and repetitive tasks yourself. If you and your team are working remotely, Zoho is a good choice, since it offers mobile apps and built-in communications features.

Zoho serves businesses of all sizes that want to make more out of their customer data. It serves 250’000 and counting businesses and doesn’t hesitate to name clients such as Bose or Suzuki. Although it’s better known for small to midsize businesses with a feature set that rivals those of the incumbents (think SalesforceSalesforce).

That said, for small and very small businesses, the feature set may still be overwhelming. Hence, Zoho has designed with Bigin a CRM for small to midsize businesses to address their needs. Bigin is a simplified version of Zoho CRM with a less overwhelming feature list.

How easy is Zoho to use?

Zoho is a strange beast. It’s easy to create an account and set up the basics. This translates into: “it’s a good choice for SMEs or teams that need something quick and dirty”.

It’s also easy to use on the surface. With a clear and uncluttered interface, it’s easy to navigate. You can easily create a new contact, task, or even a product.

It’s easy enough to create a new contact, task, or even a product

But now it rears its head: it can be challenging to figure out how to do a specific task like creating your first pipeline or setting up your first workflow automation.

Key features

Deciding to use a CRM is because you want to

  • identify and track your leads
  • keep track of your contacts’ interactions
  • follow up and convert your contacts
  • close deals
  • have an eye on your sales performance

And with Zoho, you can do all that from one place.

Contacts and communication

The piece de resistance is Zoho’s multichannel contact management. You can see and manage your contacts, leads, and customers across multichannel touch points.

There’s a handy filter by fields or by default filters

From within your account, you can communicate with your customer through different communication channels. That is of course, after you’ve set up your communications channels

And when your contact interacts, be it by browsing your online website, reading your email, or mentioning your brand on social media, Zoho will notify you.

Automation

It’s practical, no doubt, to automate your routine marketing, support, and sales functions. Create your automation workflow to

  • automatically design and send your emails
  • update and autofill certain fields
  • trigger certain actions based on the contact’s interaction
Add new automation workflows

AI assistant

When you subscribe to one of the top two plans, Zoho provides you with Zia, the AI assistant to help you take notes, give sales estimates, automate tasks, detect anomalies, and more.

Zoho integrations

Zoho has a rich marketplace for add-ons, apps, or integrations that you can install. This includes add-ons for its own products such as Zoho Webinar. It also has built-in add-ons for third-party apps.

Zoho customer support

All plans include Zoho’s Classic Support. This means you can contact its support team via email, call, chat, or schedule a remote support session.

Zoho pricing

Zoho CRM is a classical example of getting what you pay for. The higher the tier, the more features you get.

Zoho prices

That said, with its Standard plan, you and your sales and marketing teams get what you need to hit the ground running:

  • sales forecasting
  • lead scoring rules
  • multiple pipelines
  • custom reports (but limited to 100)
  • KPI analyses
  • marketing campaign automation

Is Zoho the right tool for you?

How do you know Zoho or another CRM provider is the right tool for you? It all boils down to these questions:

  1. How should customer relations be managed in your company?
  2. What tech stack or which tools can or should CRM use for automated customer relationship management?
  3. What are the steps that you and your employees need to go through to manage and nurture your contacts?

The first question has to do with your strategy. How easy and with what tools can you automate your work has to do with what kind of technology you’re already using. And the last question has to do with your business processes.

You should also ask yourself how much hand-holding (aka support) you need. A CRM is key in your business ecosystem and hopefully, you don’t need to change it down the road.

Thanks to its marketing and sales features, Zoho CRM is a solid contender. It’s also practical to have inbuilt invoicing and integrations to its other products.

But it doesn’t have the best option if you

  • are a fast growing business
  • need more advanced automation
  • Are sensitive with data

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