Zoho CRM Review

Zoho CRM Review
3.8
3.8 of 5 stars 1 review
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Pros

  • Powerful lead management
  • Robust analytics and reporting backed by artificial intelligence
  • Multiplatform lead generation
  • Ample automation features
  • Solid mobile app
  • Affordable and scalable pricing plans
  • A good number of integrations

Cons

  • Dated interface
  • Time-consuming set up
  • Limited customer service

ABOUT

The Zoho Corporation has been around for over two decades now. It was founded in 1996 by Sridhar Vembu in a small apartment in Chennai, India. Since those humble beginnings, this privately bootstrapped company has released over 40 apps that help businesses handle everything from HR to accounting, customer support, and social media management. Launched in 2005, Zoho CRM is one of the company’s earliest and best-selling releases. It is a cloud-based, end-to-end customer relationship management app.

Since its launch, this simple and affordable CRM software has established itself as a credible alternative to more complex solutions such as Salesforce and Microsoft. Presently, it is used by over 150,000 companies in 180 countries worldwide. Its popularity is in no small measure due to its value-for-money appeal. It is popularly known as ‘the poor man’s Salesforce.’ But it is a lightweight solution. The software boasts a surprising number of premium features that are as robust as they are easy to use. Interestingly, the company rebuffed a takeover attempt by Salesforce in its fledgling days, which just goes to show its standing within the CRM community.

Who is Zoho CRM For?

While Zoho CRM was launched to make life easier for small business owners, it has since grown to accommodate large enterprises as well. This growth is evidenced by its impressive clientele list that boasts of companies such as Netflix, Amazon, and Bose. Simply put, the software has the tools to satisfy the needs of a wide range of companies, from solo entrepreneurs and micro-businesses to large corporations. Additionally, with its scalable pricing plans that start from free and go up to enterprise-level plans, you have a software that your business can stay with as it grows. The software is especially useful for marketing and sales-focused businesses. Helpfully, it has tailor-made solutions for different industries such as the health industry, retail industry, and real estate industry.

PRICING

Zoho CRM has four pricing plans on a monthly or annual billing basis. The software is a pay-as-you-go service, so you can cancel or upgrade your plans whenever you want. Importantly, the software has a free plan that small businesses with tight budgets can take advantage of. Furthermore, all paid plans come with a 15-day free trial.

Here are the pricing details:

Plans

Free

Standard

Professional

Enterprise

Ultimate

Price/Month

Free

$18/user

$30/user

$45/user

$100/user

Contacts & Leads

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Deals

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Custom List Views

50

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

Workflow Rules

1

6

20

50

50

Email Templates

10

100

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

Webforms

1/module

5/module

10/module

20/module

20/module

Standard Reports

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Records

5000

100,000

2.5 Million

5 Million

5 Million

Audit Logs

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Marketing Campaigns

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Social Media Integration

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Sales Forecasting

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Sales & Purchase Orders

Yes

Yes

Yes

Anomaly Detectors

Yes

Yes

Auto Responders

Yes

Yes

Email Sentiment

Yes

Data Enrichment

Yes

Custom Reports

100

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

FEATURES​

  1. Lead Management
  2. Contact Management
  3. Performance Management
  4. Marketing Features
  5. Team Collaboration
  6. Telephony
  7. Reporting
  8. Customer Portal

1. Lead Management

Zoho CRM’s lead management feature is one of its crowning jewels. Not only does it streamline the process of moving leads through the sales pipeline, but it also helps you generate more leads. The software offers users several ways to pull in leads, including web forms, email campaigns, live chats, direct marketing, and APIs. Additionally, it can harvest leads from multiple channels, including social media and LinkedIn.

The software intuitively assigns each potential lead with a profitability score based on user-set metrics such as location, job title, positive social media mentions, response times, or survey results. Once a lead is generated and qualified, the software automatically assigns it to a sales representative, saving you the trouble of manually assigning tasks. What’s more, you can also set workflow rules to ensure that tasks are assigned to team members according to parameters such as seniority, location, product, or department.

Furthermore, the software’s AI tool, Zia, spots, and alerts you of any irregularities in the sales process using trend analysis. Helpfully, it also provides you with the optimum times to follow up on emails and calls to convert leads into deals. Zia also allows you to forecast the leads each campaign will generate.

2. Contact Management

This CRM app’s contact management module gives you a bird’ s-eye view of all your contacts. Along with storing necessary information such as names, email addresses, and locations of your contacts, the module also allows you to monitor your interactions with them. These include emails sent or received, social media mentions, and purchase orders. Uniquely, each contact has a history tab where you can store detailed notes on them. These details could help you win some brownie points with them the next time you interact. Another great feature is the built-in analytics, which enables you to identify your most valuable accounts and analyze their buying patterns. You can then set up loyalty programs for these accounts and assign your most experienced employees to them.

The contacts dashboard acts like a central command center where you can keep track of your accounts, collaborate with vendors, and monitor all your transactions from one location. Importantly, the software supports parent-child account designations, so you can associate accounts with their subdivisions or subsidiaries, negating the need for a separate account for each. This unification will help you keep track of and cater to the different needs of the same company more efficiently.

3. Performance Management

The software gives you several tools with which to monitor and improve your sales team’s performance. First, you can set realistic goals for your teams to achieve by forecasting your revenues and assigning targets to each team member. Helpfully, you can track each forecast by employee, team, or territory. This feature not only gives you more precise insights into your company’s sales performance but also helps you identify star performers and assess the strengths and weaknesses of each team based on the targets they have met.

Second, the software allows you to turn tasks in your sales pipelines, such as email follow-ups and lead conversions, into a game that employees can take part in with its Gamescope feature. This activity acts as an incentive for team members to complete more tasks and chase down deals more efficiently. The feature allows sales representatives to initiate a game with a coworker or to play as a team, adding a bit of fun to mundane workplace activities.

Finally, the app has a Territory Management tool that classifies your sales team’s workloads according to the geographical location of your leads. This classification gives you a comprehensive overview of your sales transactions by territory, allowing you to pinpoint your high-profit regions. You can then organize your teams and allocate the right resources to each region accordingly. You can also set territory rules that the software uses to assign each account to the correct location automatically.

4. Marketing Features

Zoho CRM has three marketing tools with which you can generate leads: campaign module, web forms, and email marketing. With the campaign module, you can track any marketing campaign from an online advertisement to a PR event or TV commercial. The software tracks metrics such as campaign duration, location, budget, and actual costs, giving you invaluable data on the ROI on each campaign.

With the app’s web forms, you can capture visitor’s information from your website directly into your CRM software. You can set up a web form for any custom module you have in your account, including leads, contacts, and widgets. The software’s form builder has a drag-and-drop functionality that makes it easy to create a customized web form for your website. You can even add Captcha, email opt-out options, and a privacy policy consent to your forms. Additionally, you can personalize it even more by changing the font, text color, background, alignment, and the width of your form. Once a visitor fills out a web form, the software automatically captures all the data as a lead.

Like web forms, the software’s bulk email feature is available for all your custom modules. With it, you can either send out mass emails immediately or schedule it for a later date. The software has several email templates to choose from for different categories, such as seasonal holidays, follow-ups, and product promotions. Furthermore, you can enable autoresponders to follow up with your contacts within an email campaign. This feature, however, is only available for the leads and capture module. Importantly, the software comes with analytics that tracks email clicks, open rates, and bounces.

5. Team Collaboration

Zoho CRM does not have an inbuilt chat app. For that, you will have to integrate with a third-party chat application. That said, team members can collaborate, share sales updates, discuss ideas, and make significant announcements using the software’s Feeds Forum. Employees can use the forum to start a group chat or a one-on-one conversation with a coworker. Helpfully, they can also share data files, images, or presentations with their coworkers by dragging and dropping the related records into the feed box. You can also draw an employee’s attention to a post by tagging them in the notes, and the software sends them a notification of your action.

6. Telephony

The software’s PhoneBridge connector allows you to integrate with over 50 telephony apps, letting you make outbound calls with one click from within the software. If you add customer calls to your sales pipeline, the software automatically schedules and assigns calls. It then sends you reminders for upcoming calls and alert notifications if you have missed one. Helpfully, during a sales call, you can take notes and create follow-up activities using the pop-up call window.

When it comes to inbound calls, the app will let you know if the caller is an established prospect or someone new so that you can prepare accordingly. The software automatically logs all your outbound and inbound calls in the activities module from where you can check call details and replay recordings for clarifications. Managers can view reports based on call data and gain valuable insights into team performance. For example, using this information, they can find team members who excel at making sales calls and assign a majority of the outbound calls to them in the future.

7. Reporting

The software has over 40 default reports in the sales, activity, and marketing modules to choose from. Apart from these, you can build custom reports across multiple modules as well. All reports are available in tabular, summary, or matrix views with advanced filters to customize. Similarly, you can turn your reports into a visual representation of your team’s performance using a variety of chart options ranging from bar to funnel graphs and pie charts. Once a report is generated, you can send it to your team as an email attachment or export it as XLS, PDF, or CSV files. Managers can also use the sales and marketing reports to populate their team’s dashboard, giving team members a visual reminder of their performance.

8. Customer Portal

Customers and vendors can use the app’s client portal to update account information and view their purchase orders and invoices. Similarly, affiliate partners can access old leads and add new ones through this forum. Another highlight of this feature is that you can set up E-catalogs within the portal so that customers see all your products or services every time they log in to view their account.

INTEGRATIONS

Zoho CRM integrates with over 350 third-party apps. While this may pale compared to the 1200+ integrations that Salesforce has, it is still an impressive number.

Some of its important integrations include:

  • GSuite
  • Office 365
  • MailChimp
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • WordPress
  • Quickbooks
  • Dropbox
  • Slack
  • SurveyMonkey
  • Zapier
  • HubSpot Marketing

Additionally, the software integrates with 30 other Zoho apps to form an interconnected network of Zoho products. These include Zoho Campaigns, Zoho People, Zoho Backstage, Zoho Projects, Zoho Cliq, and Zoho Inventory.

More About Zoho CRM

Set Up And Ease Of Use

Given its plethora of features and customization options, Zoho CRM takes a little time to set up and implement. That said, even newbies can set it up without the help of a tech team. After logging in for the first time, the software outlines all the steps you need to take, complete with links to help articles that walk you through each step. The getting started guide enables you to configure the software’s basic functionalities and define your leads, contacts, and activities. Helpfully, the software allows you to bulk import this data from existing external files in your system. It supports imports in CSV, XLS, XLSX, and VCF file formats.

Once you have powered through the time-consuming setup process, the software has an intuitive and easy-to-use interface. The design, although a little dated, is clean with intuitively placed buttons and drop-down menus. The home dashboard has a horizontal menu that features all the essential modules, such as Leads, Contacts, Accounts, Feeds, and Reports. Once a module is selected, more detailed options for it appear on the left side of the screen, making it easy to navigate through each feature from one central location. This page layout also makes it easy for managers to handle multiple products or teams from a single account.

Device Compatibility

Desktop Browser App

Android App

iOS App

Windows Phone App

Apple Watch App

X

X

 

The software’s mobile applications, while not as robust as its desktop version, gives you a lot of on-the-go functionality. With it, you can access and change customer information wherever you are, even if you are offline. What’s more, you can call a customer from within the software with one click, a nice feature for sales reps who want to catch up on work while they are travelling.

The app also allows you to record voice notes after a call or sales meeting and automatically converts them to text later. Furthermore, you can remotely check into a team group chat from your mobile device with a geotagged location so that your team members know where you are.

Another nice feature is the software’s card scanner with which you can scan a business card or QR code. The app then converts the scanned data into a lead or contact within the CRM. The card scanner scans business cards in 17 different languages, including Norwegian, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, and French, and stores the information in your native language.

Customer Support

The customer support services you receive from Zoho CRM heavily depend on your pricing plan. All users get an 8-hour phone and email support on weekdays with a maximum response time of 8 hours. With the Premium Edition plan, you get 24-hour weekday support with a maximum response time of 3 hours, product onboarding, and remote assistance. However, this comes at an additional cost of 20% of your licensing fee. Advanced customer support for the Enterprise Edition plan will cost you 25% of your licensing fee. The benefits include 24/7 support with a max response time of 1 hour, a dedicated account manager, and quarterly feature reports.

Aside from phone and email support, the software has several resources you can turn to for help. These include:

  • Videos: A repository of 30+ videos that are under 10 minutes and teach users how to navigate through all the software’s basic features
  • Help Center: This is a comprehensive knowledge base equipped with how-to guides, articles, blogs, eBooks, and FAQs on a range of topics
  • Training Programs and webinars: You can enroll in the Zoho CRM’s training programs at an additional cost. Zoho specialists and CRM experts conduct these sessions.
  • Certified Consultants: The software has a network of certified consultants who can help you overcome any CRM related issues. Once again, these come at an additional cost.
  • Zoho Community: Here, you can connect with the worldwide community of Zoho CRM users to post questions, get tips and tricks from CRM experts, and discuss common issues and their solutions.

Online Security

Zoho CRM has security measures in place that are compliant with industry standards. These include:

  • Encryption of data in transit and at rest
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Security breach alerts
  • HTTPS for all web pages
  • Audit logs
  • IP restrictions

Uniquely, you have the option of choosing where you want your data to be stored from various locations in the US and EU. All the software’s data centers boast of state-of-the-art security services, including 24/7 video surveillance, bullet-resistant walls, and biometric access. Additionally, data is backed up regularly across multiple servers. The software keeps customer data even after service cancellation.

PROS AND CONS

PROS

  • Powerful lead management
  • Robust analytics and reporting backed by artificial intelligence
  • Multiplatform lead generation
  • Ample automation features
  • Solid mobile app
  • Affordable and scalable pricing plans
  • A good number of integrations

CONS

  • Dated interface
  • Time-consuming set up
  • Limited customer service

CONCLUSION

With decades worth of experience behind them, it is no wonder that Zoho CRM is a trusted and powerful CRM tool. Aside from its limited customer support and a dated user interface, there’s not much to complain about. The software will allow you to efficiently manage your business’ sales, marketing, contacts, and team performance from a single application.

While its customization and integration options may not be as comprehensive as that of Salesforce, it offers similar functionality at half the cost. As such, it is an excellent alternative to implementation-rich and high-cost products. Given its competent free plan and flexible prices, it is especially beneficial for businesses looking to get a great bang for their buck. If nothing else, its robust set of features certainly merit taking advantage of their 14-day trial to see if it is a good fit for your business.

Check out our list of the best Contact Management (CRM) Software companies

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