Zoho’s free, full-featured web collaboration suite has matured over the past few years. The power and level of development of the service is comparable to the free Google Docs solution. As it turned out in my tests, the company’s entry into the customer relationship management software market is slightly less successful. Despite this, the service is very functional at a low cost, and is especially useful for existing ZOHO CRM and Google Apps users.
Editions and prices
Zoho has three main CRM packages. The free version has simple sales, marketing and customer support automation features; there are reports, forecasts and Web-forms (more on them below). Professional edition cost – $ 12 / month for one user; it is supplemented with functions for managing warehouse stocks, customer data, security and document flow. The top-level Enterprise edition is priced at $ 25 / mo per user; it has group conversations, Web tabs, autoresponders, escalation rules, and some additional data manipulation tools.
In general, the Professional edition will be most beneficial for most small businesses, but some vendors will benefit from the additional service-related features of the Enterprise edition. In addition to these costs, you have to purchase separately the Zoho Mail, Outlook, and Office plugins; their prices range from $ 3 to $ 5 / mo per user, depending on the package to which they are subscribed. Unlike Sugar Professional 6 (Beta) (US dropshipping price from $ 0.00 to $ 60.00), Zoho CRM subscriber pays as you use the system; you can expand, reduce the range of services at any time, or completely abandon the service. Costs add up, but Zoho Professional costs significantly less than the best CRM software, Salesforce.com Professional Edition (in the US, the price for dropshipping from 0.00 to 250.
Interface, leads and document flow
The structure of Zoho CRM is not impressive, but simple and easy to understand. For example, the home page looks pretty boring, but it is completely customizable; modules for displaying specific data can be placed anywhere. Numerous built-in Zoho CRM dashboards can be displayed on the home page. The three Potential dashboards are especially helpful, which show at a glance how close the various deals are to completion. Overall, this is an acceptable approach, but inventory views are reduced to separate windows filled with text, instead of the various projections of sales data in Salesforce.com and Sugar Professional 6, or in-depth social media monitoring and help in BatchBookRoyalBlue Edition (from 9.95 up to $ 99.95) from BatchBlue Software.
You can assign customers individual accounts and assign multiple contacts to each account as business relationships are established with a wider range of people in the organization. Contacts and leads are tracked separately, but the overview pages are pretty static and won’t give you a lot of useful information at first glance. For example, there is no status field on the lead overview page, although items can be moved and added. A chronic drawback seen in the various tabs is the need to make some adjustments to use Zoho CRM effectively. To some extent, this flaw is inherent in all the major CRM packages I’ve tested recently, but Zoho needs customization from the beginning. If you do not spend time and delve into the parameters, starting to work with the service, then the impression of Zoho CRM becomes a bit like Act! By Sage 2010 (US $ 299 DRO).
As I dived into the program, I found it extremely convenient to manage leads and contacts with Zoho, especially with multiple salespeople. To enter data into the system, you can import Excel, CSV, and VCF files and convert them to active leads and other information. The number of files in batch processing is different for each edition of the product, although even the capabilities of the free version should be enough for many small companies (at least in this respect). A major merit, introduced in March 2010, is the Google snapping, which allows Google Apps users to access Zoho CRM and Zoho Projects from Google Apps.
Web Forms, Email Marketing & Conclusions
Integration of Web forms with your company’s website is especially attractive of SEO company. It works like this: a customer can enter a name, address, and other important information on your Web site. After the data is submitted, it is transferred to the Zoho CRM contact. These forms can be prepared inside CRM: Web to Lead. You can also choose a return URL (for example, the “Thank you” page), or send new contacts obtained this way to sales representatives in different regions. Since all of the functionality is hosted in the cloud, it is sufficient to embed the form as HTML into the website. This same method can be used to prepare customer support forms and problem tickets. You can prepare basic email marketing templates for campaigns.
You can also extract fields from contact and lead databases, and insert them as variables. Zoho CRM connects to external email programs, but they are still Zoho products, with the same look, feel, and overall user interface. For example, Zoho has built a Meeting product into the CRM system, from which you can share a screen with multiple clients, or take control of a client screen for diagnostics via remote assistance. Zoho has prepared a website for iPhone and Android mobile users (mobile.zoho.com/crm); beta testing of the BlackBerry version is currently underway. from which you can share the screen with multiple clients, or take control of the client screen for diagnostics via Remote Assistance. Zoho has prepared a website for iPhone and Android mobile users (mobile.zoho.com/crm); beta testing of the BlackBerry version is currently underway. from which you can share the screen with multiple clients, or take control of the client screen for diagnostics via Remote Assistance. Zoho has prepared a website for iPhone and Android mobile users (mobile.zoho.com/crm); beta testing of the BlackBerry version is currently underway.
Zoho has a long way to go to get closer to the level of excellence of Salesforce.com and Sugar CRM; fortunately, Zoho is less expensive than the two services, although the Zoho Enterprise package is close to the Sugar CRM service tier with similar functionality ($ 30). In addition, the Zoho developers did not get as creative as the Batch Book authors, who focused on social media and focused on an entrepreneurial interface with a convenient process of staging a CRM database. Zoho has no social tracking features at all. However, the database-like, logical Zoho CRM interface may be optimal for small business owners who pay attention to detail and want to expand their sales force.