- author: Darren Gordon
Zoho CRM is an on demand customer relationship management software designed to help teams take care of sales, marketing, customer support and inventory management with a single system. The product can be used by small and large businesses alike, but the powerful set of features that allows teams to streamline multiple workflows at the same time make it a more fitting choice for large enterprises.
Plans & Pricing
Zoho CRM offers 5 different packages: Free, Standard, Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate. There is also a free, 15-day, Enterprise-level trial available to anyone who wants to get the feel of the product before committing. The pricing is broken down as follows:
Free ($0) – Not the same as the free trial, the Free plan is free for 3 users and includes very basic features like contacts and leads management, documents management, mobile app, etc. Interestingly enough, the plan also includes prioritized, 24/7 customer support, which is a big plus for startups.
Standard ($12/user/month) – The Standard plan includes all features of the Free plan plus a bunch of advanced features like lead scoring, sales forecasting and roles and profiles for clients.
Professional ($20/user/month) – The Professional package includes everything from the previous plan plus email, AdWords and social media integrations, automated workflows and inventory management. From our experience, if you want to get maximum value out of the product, you’d want to go for (at least) the Professional package.
Enterprise ($35/user/month) – This is the most popular plan. It comes with the additions of various artificial intelligence elements and in-depth lead management features.
Ultimate ($100/user/month) – This package is designed for large companies. It includes automation suggestions, enhanced storage and security, and free premium customer support.
Features and Functionality
Zoho CRM is an all-in-one solution for many organizations since its designed to help users streamline their sales and marketing activities in unison, while also allowing teams to deliver high quality customer support and manage inventory efficiently (highly suitable for e-commerce businesses, for instance).
Most of the usual features are available to all users, such as: contacts, leads and account management, sales deals, tasks, notes and assignments along with importing and exporting data, analyzing reports and accessing various dashboards.
However, as mentioned above, in order to access the advanced features that can really make a difference for most businesses, you’d get the most out of the Professional plan. Most features are customizable and can be adapted to your processes, but the amount of customizability isn’t on par with some of the other, similar products on the market.
The tool is available on website and mobile devices (iOS and Android), is compatible with all browsers, and works perfectly on both MAC and Windows operating systems.
As for the special features, Zoho CRM doesn’t offer anything fancy or out of the ordinary. Rather, all the special features are designed to enhance the basic toolkit with the help of smart predictions, analytics and AI elements, allowing you to create deep connections between marketing, sales and customer support. Here are some enhanced features worth mentioning:
SalesInbox is the dedicated, multichannel collaboration section of the tool, which can be used to interact with leads and customers through every channel including email, phone, social media, live chat, etc.
Once you have connected every relevant account, you will be able to stay updated on important interactions like emails opened by customers, support requests, social media comments, missed calls, etc. Users do this with the help of SalesSignals – an automation feature allows users to configure all the interactions and notifications as they want.
Zoho CRM is equipped with powerful automation features that allow users to save tremendous amounts of time on routine activities. For instance, you can configure and assign workflow rules to every stage of the sales cycle to automatically promote leads to the next stage as soon as your predefined criteria is met. Lead assignment rules help position newly created leads in the sales pipeline according to where they came from, as well as including them into a premade workflow with just a few clicks.
A lead scoring system allows you to classify leads based on their properties and behavior to easily identify and focus on those that are more likely to convert. Case escalation rules are designed to streamline your customer support, helping teams identify unsolved cases and prioritize them over the rest.
Zoho CRM’s AI, called Zia, can be a really powerful force for any large enterprise. Zia can:
- Assist during phone calls and live chats by instantly bringing up any information you need.
- Identify the probability of closing/losing deals based on past activities of each record.
- Monitor and improve your existing workflows
- Analyze the tone of customer emails to help you craft corresponding responses.
- Keep your data up-to-date by auto-filling clients’ demographics, phone numbers, and social media accounts.
- Calculate the best time to reach out to your leads based on their past behavior.
As Zia receives more and more data about your business, team, and customers, she will be able to come up with smart suggestions and predictions on trends, market anomalies, and deal closing techniques, inviting your attention to details that you may have missed otherwise, ultimately helping you perfect your processes.
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Ease of Use
The tool itself is fairly easy to navigate and manipulate to fit your needs and processes. The dashboard is very handy, shows all the important information that you need and is easily customizable, while every basic tab inside the tool is self-explanatory.
On the other hand, you’ll need to be a qualified user if you want to take advantage of all the tool’s benefits and features. When it comes to automation, capturing lead information and unifying all systems to work in harmony, it takes a great deal of understanding. This can be somewhat limiting to new teams, especially since the CRM isn’t necessarily “newbie-friendly” and doesn’t come with free onboarding sessions.
Contacts & Users
Lead and contact management is pretty straightforward. You can easily import/export, manually add leads and filter them to find all the data you need. The level of detailed information that you can store for each lead is very high. This gives your team all the tools needed to craft comprehensive and personalized offers.
As for the sales pipeline, it can be accessed through the deal reports section in the reports tab. There are multiple angles that you can view the pipeline from, depending on what you need to analyze, such as probability, stage, lead source, etc.
Again, you’ll need to be an advanced user to use this information correctly, since the tool requires you to build all reports and pipelines yourself, depending on what you’re trying to achieve.
Reporting & Integrations
There are a ton of reporting options available, which let you analyze just about any aspect of your sales, marketing and/or customer support efforts; but you’ll need to construct them yourself. Also, there are quite a few enhanced sales reporting add-ons available through integrations via other Zoho products, Salesforce, MailChimp, G-Suite, QuickBooks, etc. Finally, there is a separate tool, Zoho Reports, that can be integrated with your CRM at an additional cost based on the plan you choose to help construct comprehensive and insightful reports. As for the integrations, Zoho CRM is equipped with an API and can be easily integrated with various mobile and desktop apps, plug-ins and widgets including Slack, Microsoft Integrations, social media, Zendesk, etc.
Pros & Cons
- Robust functionality
- Robust functionality
- Exceptional automation features
- Highly Valuable AI
- Steep learning curve
- Costly for small businesses
In terms of customer support, there are various options available, however, they all either depend on your package or come at an additional cost. Classic customer support, which includes 24/5 support via email and phone with an 8 hour response time is free for all users. Premium support is only available to Professional and above plans via annual subscription at the cost of 20% of the license fee, and includes 24/7 email, phone and live chat support (1 hour response time Monday-Friday), along with a dedicated success manager, one on one onboarding and coaching sessions.
24/7 Help & Support24/7 support is available at an additional cost for Professional and Enterprise users, while 24/5 support is free for all users.
Phone Support24/5 phone support is free for all users.
Live Online ChatIt’s only available as a Premium support option.
Video TutorialsThere are many video tutorials available on a range of topics.
FAQThere is a comprehensive FAQ section.
Community ForumThere is an active community forum.
BlogThere is a regularly updated blog on various topics.
Overall, Zoho CRM offers substantial benefits to large, experienced teams that are looking for an all-in-one solution for their sales, marketing, customer support and inventory management initiatives. It offers robust functionality, highly detailed and productivity-focused features, and a number of supporting apps that can be easily integrated with the tool. However, all this luxury comes at a price. If you choose Zoho CRM, you should be ready to spend quite a lot on customer support and onboarding sessions, and dedicate a fair amount of resources to the supporting apps (Zoho Reports, Zoho Help Desk, etc.) since the potential benefits of those are simply too good to miss out on.