Review: Zoho

When you think of CRM software that is based on a “software as a service” (or SAAS) model, one company comes to mind. And that is Salesforce. Now that makes sense as they’ve been around forever and pretty much own this market. But another company should pop to mind if you’re looking for CRM software that is on a SAAS model. That company is Zoho. I say that because Zoho offers pretty much everything that any business could need. Be it sales and marketing automation, customer support and a help desk, product configuration and reporting and customer analytics. Not to mention accounting and invoicing among others. But the key thing is that it’s aimed at small to medium business at a price that they can afford.

One thing that’s cool with Zoho is that you get a number of choices when it comes to what you can get for your business:

  • The free edition, which includes just 10 users, comes with sales leads, marketing, and customer support automation with reporting and forecasting tools. You can sign up for that here.
  • The Standard edition includes sales forecasting, customized dashboards, a document library, marketing campaigns, and the ability to send mass email. You are however limited to 100,000 records in terms of the size of the database.
  • The Professional edition includes email integration, social CRM, Google AdWords integration, inventory management, workflow automation, and role-based security, along with an unlimited number of database records.
  • The Enterprise edition adds territory management, custom modules and functions, time-based actions, custom related lists, and multiple currencies.
  • Ultimate takes the Enterprise version and carves out a space for just your business as well as having a handful of other feature for larger businesses.

You can find comparisons of the above tiers here and pricing can be found here.

There are two other tiers that are worth mentioning:

  • Zoho CRM Plus includes all of the features in the Enterprise edition, as well as email marketing, online customer surveys, visitor tracking, and advanced social media marketing and analytics. Pricing starts at $50 a month and you can sign up here here.
  • At the top of the food chain Zoho One. It’s a single license that provides access to every app in Zoho’s portfolio. You can find out pricing here.

A big plus with the Zoho product lineup is Mobile app support that is available across all plans, free and paid. The apps are available for iOS and Android, and even the Apple Watch and from my testing work very, very well. But for me, the thing that stands out are the deep integration of all the apps with each other. Everything is very well integrated and feels like they were built at the same time by the same team. I point that out because it’s main competitor Salesforce doesn’t, or at least no longer has that feel as it feels like certain aspects have been “bolted on” after the fact. A close second in terms of things that stand out is that you have so many features to work with, especially if you pick one of the upper packages. Most business will not utilize all the features that come with Zoho if they pick one of the upper packages, and that’s a good thing because it means that a business is unlikely to grow out of it. There is one other thing that I should point out because it iskind of unique. It is Zia which is Zoho’s AI that your customers can chat with. And because it is context aware, it is highly skilled at finding the right answers from say a knowledgeable of documents for example. But it doesn’t stop there, Zia is available in Zoho’s other apps such as Zoho Writer which is their word processing software so it can offer advice on your writing for example. There are no separate fees for enabling Zia, but some Zia abilities are only available in enterprise-level plans.

The final thing that stands out to me is the most important things that business care about. And that’s price. If you browse through their pricing and compare it to Salesforce, it’s an amazing value seeing as I have heard of companies who have hundreds of people using Salesforce paying as much as $2000 a license a year. This makes Zoho very compelling in my books and well worth a loo if you need CRM software in your business regardless of what size business it is.

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