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Zoho CRM Review

September 27, 2018

10:05 am

The Zoho logo
  • Established: 1996
  • HQ: Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
  • Strong G Suite integration
  • Good email marketing tools
  • Supports 20 languages

Cost-effective, robust features well-suited for an international business

Zoho CRM software gives businesses small and large a simple platform for management of their customer support, sales, marketing and inventory. The features for the lower tier service plans offers a more limited selection on par with the needs of a smaller business, while an enterprise plan comes will greatly customizable options that should attract massive companies hoping to streamline their customer relations.

  • Serves any size company
  • Prices around industry average
  • Free trial available

What Is Zoho CRM?

India-based software manufacturer Zoho offers a CRM with a good range of features in an easy-to-use platform, backed by an international 24/7 phone support team. Their tiered service plans start with a limited-functionality free plan and end at a $100 per user per month plan, priced for a wide range of businesses

Zoho is a major name in CRM, and a genuine competitor to industry-leader Salesforce. Zoho CRM’s strengths include comprehensive email marketing tools, smart integration options for Google G-Suite, and support for 20 languages. All of this makes the CRM service a good fit for businesses operating internationally. Other supported integrations include Microsoft Outlook, QuickBooks and MailChimp.

The features of Zoho CRM can largely broken down into four of the service plans offered by the company: Free, Standard, Professional, and Enterprise. While a fifth plan, Ultimate, offers expanded benefits, they mostly come in the form of a greater volume or higher quality of a previously available feature, such as enhanced data storage options, or a dedicated data cluster. This review discusses the features found in the first four plans, explaining which business needs each tier best satisfies.

In This Review:

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What Is Zoho CRM Plus?

The Zoho CRM Plus plan is a bundled plan that includes a handful of additional support products alongside the Enterprise version of the company’s CRM platform: Subscribers will be able to use Campaigns, Desk, Social, SalesIQ, Survey, Reports, Motivator, and Projects in addition to the main CRM.

Businesses that begin with a Zoho CRM plan may chose to upgrade to CRM Plus as their business expands in order to keep all of their needed operations and data on a single platform.

Zoho CRM Features

Free

Zoho CRM performance reportThe free plan offers limited functionality for reports, analytics, and workflow management. It gives you a taste of the service, but don’t be fooled by the laundry list of features below. The lack of advanced options and integrations makes this plan unlikely to keep a business happy for long, even if they’re serving relatively few clients.

  • Capped at 3 users
  • Lead management — leads can be profiled and grouped
  • Contact management — contacts can be similarly listed
  • Account management — accounts can be listed and labelled with relevant metrics
  • Custom options — Pages can be customized and tabs can be renamed
  • Standard reports — reports can’t be customized
  • Analytics — charts are available, but no additional data visualizations
  • Social Media — Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ integrations are available
  • 10 Email Templates are available
  • Email opt-outs can be given to leads
  • Forms — web-to-lead forms and web-to-contact forms are available
  • Calendar — a team-wide calendar, as well as options for status updates and direct messages, keeps everyone on the same page
  • File sharing — folder sharing, document attaching, and reuploading are all options
  • Data exporting — data can be exported from the service module, but no data backup options are available
  • Import history — an archive of imported data covers the past 60 days, a feature that’s the same across all plans
  • Integrations — available for most other Zoho services, Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Tasks
  • 1 GB storage
  • 2 security profiles
  • 2 roles — This refers to the organizational hierarchy: Roles may have certain restrictions or greater clearance.
  • Basic support

Since the Free plan lets clients interact with a broad range of basic CRM tools, it’s a good option for businesses that are interested in a paying plan for Zoho CRM, and want to dip their toe in the water first.

Support

Zoho CRM sales forecastingIn addition to the features in the free version, the Support plan offers:

  • Sales forecasting — tracks predicted revenue based on previous performance numbers
  • Email reminders
  • Custom options — 10 custom fields per module can be created for leads
  • Reports — 10 custom reports can be created per module
  • KPIs — included in analytics reports
  • Website visitor tracking
  • 100 Email Templates
  • Mass email: 250 emails/day
  • Groups — teams can collaborate effectively within the CRM (capped at 20)
  • Slack integration
  • G Suite synchronization — synchronize Google Contact and Calendar
  • 5GB of extra storage costs an additional $4/month (this additional fee remains the same across the Professional and Enterprise plans as well)
  • 1 GB storage, with 512 MB/user additional storage
  • Data backups: 2/month
  • 5 security profiles
  • 5 roles
  • Classic Support — includes 8/5 live chat and 24/5 phone support

The Support plan’s additional features make it a functional plan for small businesses that don’t have the client base to justify any deeply data-driven features.

Professional

The Zoho CRM Blueprint featureUnder the Professional plan, options such as raft of inventory management and customer support features open up for the first time. This plan also offers some impressive support options, including a dedicated customer relationship manager, though this support plan comes at an additional cost.

In addition to the features in the Support plan, the Professional plan offers:

  • Sales Signals — a service that sends real-time analytics and notifications to your team letting them immediately follow up with customers
  • Active Blueprints — build workflow charts called “Blueprints” that use drag-and-drop elements to create a customized, easy-to-follow process. Capped at 3 per module.
  • Unlimited Custom Reports
  • Social tab — manages all social media from within a single CRM tab and allows you to interact with leads or contacts over social media
  • Inventory management — track and prioritize products, price books, sales quotes and orders, vendors, and invoices
  • Unlimited Email Templates
  • Mass email: 500 emails/day
  • 30 Groups
  • 1 GB storage, with 512 MB/user additional storage
  • Data backups: 2/month
  • 15 security profiles
  • 10 roles
  • Premium Support — includes 24/5 live chat and 24/7 phone support, a dedicated customer relationship manager, onboarding support, 1-on-1 support

The Professional plan is best for businesses with a large potential audience that they need to better connect with, from capturing additional leads through social media channels to handling invoices.

Enterprise

The Zoho CRM Zia Voice AIIn addition to the features in the Professional plan, the Enterprise plan offers:

  • Zia Voice — A conversational AI that predicts lead conversions and deal closures, offers reminders and finds the best time to contact leads
  • Multiple currencies — tracks more than one form of currency across the CRM platform
  • 50 custom modules
  • 20 Active Blueprints/module
  • Auto-responders — 3 marketing auto-responders can be set up for leads
  • Mass email: 1,000 emails/day
  • User portal — create a free user portal for up to 10,000 users
  • 50 Groups
  • 1 GB storage, with 512 MB/user additional storage
  • Data backups: 2/month
  • 25 security profiles
  • 250 roles
  • Premium Support

The expanded analytics options make Enterprise the most effective plan to streamline operations across a large corporation and capitalize on any previously lost value found in customer data.

Video: Zoho CRM Plus Overview

Need to know more about Zoho CRM Plus, the end-to-end service plan? Watch this quick overview, which explains why the bundled plan is so useful: Because it follows a customer across each stage of their lifecycle, meeting them where they are in order to keep customer contentment steady.

Zoho Customer Support

Zoho offers 24/7 phone support to paying customers in ten countries: US, UK, Australia, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, France, and India. They also offer a searchable online knowledge base with user guides, ebooks, videos, FAQs, and documentation, as well as a community forum of users.

Three-day in-person training sessions are available in select cities internationally on a rolling basis. Classes located in the United States start at $799 for an individual, or $650 each for a team of three or more.

A 15-day free trial of Zoho CRM is available with no credit card requirement, and a one-hour web conference demo is available upon request.

Support & Training

Support options

  • online forum
  • Web conference
  • 24/7 Phone support

Training options

  • Webinars
  • Documentation
  • In-person sessions

Zoho CRM Pricing

The Free plan is, as you might imagine, free. The Standard plan costs $12/user/month, the Professional plan costs $20/user/month, and the Enterprise plan costs $35/user/month.

Premium support options are available for the Professional and Enterprise plans at an additional 20% of their license fees.

A final service plan, Ultimate, costs $100/user/month. Its subscribers will enjoy dedicated benefits including a database cluster and enhanced storage. They’ll also have access to automation suggestions, data enrichment and free premium support service.

The Zoho CRM Plus plan bundle costs $50/user/month, and includes Zoho’s Campaigns, Desk, Social, SalesIQ, Survey, Reports, Motivator, and Projects services in addition to the Enterprise CRM plan. At just another $15/user/month beyond the CRM Enterprise platform, it’s an attractive option for companies looking for an end-to-end business management software.

All plans are billed annually and include any applicable taxes; month-to-month versions of the Standard, Professional, and Enterprise plans cost $18, $30, and $45 per user per month, respectively. The Ultimate plan is not available on a monthly basis.

The Verdict

We recommend Zoho CRM for an entrepreneur or small business in need of a flexible way to manage their customer relations, and we recommend it for a larger business located across multiple languages, given the service’s language support and internationally based support team.

See how Zoho compares
to other leading CRM software providers.

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Adam is a writer with an interest in a variety of mediums, from podcasts to comic books to video essays to novels to blogging — too many, basically. He's based out of Seattle, and remains a staunch defender of his state's slogan: "sayWA." In his spare time, he recommends articles about science fiction on Twitter, @AdamRRowe

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