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Zoho CRM review

Lead management in a simple to use platform

Zoho CRM
(Image: © Zoho)

Our Verdict

Zoho CRM excels at lead capture and management, with automated workflows and integrated email marketing. But, the tiered plan structure makes it pricey for small businesses.

For

  • Very easy to use
  • Tons of integrations through Zoho Marketplace
  • Automatic lead creation from social media mentions

Against

  • Tiered plan structure can be pricey
  • Reporting features aren’t fully customizable
  • Customer service via email only, Monday-Friday

Zoho CRM is an extremely powerful platform for customer management and lead generation. The software is able to cast a wide net for bringing in new customer contacts by scanning social media and LinkedIn. On top of that, the platform is extremely easy to use and offers a number of automated workflows to maximize your sales team’s productivity.

Even better, Zoho CRM is part of the broader Zoho app ecosystem. That means it integrates seamlessly with Zoho’s tools for email marketing, invoicing, and case management. While Zoho CRM can be pricey, the platform is a great choice for medium-sized businesses.

Plans and Pricing

Zoho CRM offers four pricing tiers, plus a free plan for business with less than 10 users.

Zoho CRM Standard costs $12 per user per month. This basic plan comes with a ton of functionality, including sales forecasting, professional reports, and the ability to send mass emails. Plus, your contact database is capped at a whopping 100,000 records.

Zoho CRM 1

(Image credit: Zoho)

Many of Zoho CRM’s best features come with the Professional edition, which costs $20 per user per month. With this plan, you get an unlimited number of contacts, email and workflow automation, and the ability to scrape contacts from social media networks. The Enterprise plan, for $35 per user per month, adds in territory management, the ability to create custom modules, and multi-currency support.

The Plus plan, at $50 per user per month, is less a standalone CRM than a full-blown marketing toolset. In addition to everything in Enterprise, you can create customer surveys, control email marketing campaigns right from your CRM dashboard, and analyze social media interactions.

Features

Zoho CRM 2

(Image credit: Zoho)

Zoho CRM is designed first and foremost for lead management, and it excels at this task. Depending on how your business operates, you can categorize contacts in multiple different ways. A pipeline allows potential customers to be identified as leads before they’re established as contacts and assigned a sales rep. Automated workflows allow you to send leads who meet specific characteristics directly to a selected staff member. In addition, there are numerous scoring methods to prioritize leads based on potential revenue or where the lead came from.

Zoho CRM also uses artificial intelligence to help you take your lead conversion process to the next level. A built-in AI called Zia will help your company identify priority leads based on past trends and suggest the best times to follow up with contacts via phone or email. Alternatively, you can use Zia to automatically send marketing emails to new contacts that meet certain criteria for that campaign.

One of the most exciting things about Zoho CRM is how it helps your business capture new leads. The platform can scrape leads from Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram by monitoring posts that tag your company. An integration with LinkedIn, called LinkedIn Sales Navigator, allows you to pull in prospective clients from the social network without ever leaving the CRM software.

Zoho CRM 3

(Image credit: Zoho)

The analytics features within Zoho CRM are similarly rich. There are tons of standard reporting templates as well as custom filters, although the customization options were slightly lacking compared to CRM competitors like Salesforce. All of the information collected with Zoho CRM can be synthesized with visuals — the platform comes with bar, line, funnel, and area chart displays — and saved for future benchmarking.

As if all that weren’t enough, Zoho CRM also includes email marketing campaigns through SalesInbox. This allows sales reps to quickly — or automatically — sort incoming emails within the CRM interface. In addition, the platform offers the ability to create email templates with a drag-and-drop editor and to maximize open rates with A/B testing.

Zoho CRM 4

(Image credit: Zoho CRM)

Interface and In Use

Zoho CRM is impressively easy to use. Setup is streamlined thanks to step-by-step instructions when you first open the dashboard. Admins will want to spend time adding integrations before opening up the software to reps, but this process is quick if you use the searchable Zoho Marketplace to find extensions. There are tons of options there, including Google Apps, all of Zoho’s other products, Adobe eSign, Evernote, Eventbrite, and ZenDesk Support.

Once the platform is setup, it’ll feel familiar to most users. The interface features a straightforward dashboard with self-explanatory drop-down menus. Individual users have plenty of leeway to change their settings and create custom views, and Zoho CRM doesn’t take for granted that everyone using the software is part of a single sales team.

The platform takes out much of the work of entering contact information. You can import data from a spreadsheet, or the software automatically creates contact records from your emails, online form submissions, and customer support tickets. If you’re clients are large companies themselves, you can create an account for each client and assign multiple contacts within an account.

Zoho CRM also offers an impressive amount of mobile capabilities, particularly for reps in the field. The iOS and Android apps allow users to edit leads and contacts as well as create reports and workflows. You can also take a picture of a business card and Zoho CRM will add the information to a new contact. Better yet, sales reps have access to a map of contacts that shows leads near their current location and can track on-the-ground activity by checking in at customers’ offices.

Zoho CRM 5

(Image credit: Zoho)

Support

Zoho CRM comes with a massive trove of documentation and online support in the form of user forums. However, if you want support from a Zoho rep, your options are more limited. The company only offers customer service via email, and responses are limited to standard working hours Monday-Friday.

The Competition

Zoho CRM’s biggest competitor is Salesforce, the CRM behemoth. Salesforce offers almost all of the same features as Zoho CRM, plus more reporting options and better custom module development. But, Salesforce is expensive, which can be off-putting for small- and medium-sized businesses.

Final Verdict

Zoho CRM is a highly capable customer management software. It offers tons of tools for collecting leads and casts a wide net that includes social media platforms. Automated workflows supplemented by AI are very useful for boosting the productivity of your salespeople. Plus, the platform is extremely easy to use and offers a wide variety of integrations through Zoho Marketplace. While Zoho CRM can be pricey as a result of the tiered plan structure, it’s still a lot cheaper than it’s main competitor, Salesforce.