Provider Overview

Zoho CRM is part of the Zoho Office Suite, a SaaS business suite offered by Zoho Corporation. Zoho was founded in 1996 as AdventNet Inc. In 2009, the company rebranded itself after its online office suite of the same name. Early versions of Zoho CRM were included in that original office suite. Zoho formerly filed headquarters in Pleasanton, California. Currently, Zoho Corporation is headquartered in Estancia IT Park, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.  

Zoho Pricing and Services

Free Trial: 15-day trial of any plan

Free Version: Yes; up to 10 users

Most Popular Plan: Enterprise; $35/user/month billed annually

Available Features:

Lead ManagementTask ManagementAccount ManagementInternal MessagingAdvanced FiltersSocial Media Integration
Email TemplatesEmail Opt-outWebsite Visitor TrackingDocument SharingWeb-to-LeadWeb-to-Contact
Developer APIWorkflow Rules, Alerts, TasksGmail GadgetZoho Mobile App  

Additional Features:

Sales ForecastingEmail InsightsMacrosSalesSignalsGamescopeMass Email
Marketing CampaignsAuto-RespondersCustomer Support (Helpdesk)Inventory ManagementCustom & Scheduled ReportsStandard & Custom Dashboards
Expanded StorageData BackupsData De-DuplicationField-Level SecurityData Sharing RulesTerritory Management
Advanced Workflow ManagementMicrosoft Outlook & Office Plug-insZoho Phonebridge IntegrationGoogle Calendar & Contact Sync  

Contacts Management:

Contact/Customer DatabaseCustom FormsMass EmailMass DeleteContact Approval
Custom FieldsCustom Views Import/Export Contacts Import Notes

All Available Plans & Services:

  • Free, up to 10 users, Lead Management, Contact Management, Account Management, Opportunity Management, Tasks, Events, Call Logs, Notes, Advanced Filters, Team Collaboration, Social Integration, 10 Email Templates, Email Opt-Out, Website Visitor Tracking, Document Sharing, Standard Analytics Reports, Web to Lead/Contact Forms, 1GB Free Storage, 25k Data Storage (all modules), API for 3rd Party Integration, Workflow Management, Integration with Google Apps
  • Standard, $12/user/month, Includes all features in Free + Sales Forecasting, Reports and Dashboards, Document Library, Roles and Profiles, Mass Email, Call Center Connectors, 100,000 Records
  • Professional, $20/user/month, Includes all features in Standard + Email Integration, Social CRM, Google AdWords Integration, Workflow Automation, Inventory Management, Macros, Unlimited Records
  • Enterprise, $35/user/month, Includes all features in Professional + Territory Management, Custom Applications, Custom Buttons, Workflow Automation Processes, Page Layouts, Custom Modules, Multiple Currencies
  • Ultimate, $100/user/month, Includes all features in Enterprise + Sandbox, Dedicated Database Cluster, Priority Support, Advanced Customization, Advanced CRM Analytics, Enhanced Storage

Help & Support Options: Zoho can be reached for inquiries by email. Relevant email addresses are as follows:

Zoho, as a corporation, offers customer support for paid customers through phone and social media. Their customer support numbers are:

  • US: +1(888) 900 9646
  • UK: +44 (20) 35647890
  • Australia: +61-2-80662898
  • India: +91-44-67447000

Zoho can also be tweeted at @zohocares. Phone and social media support is available 24 hours a day, Monday to Friday. Zoho has an extensive community dedicated to their specific software offerings. Their CRM forum has discussion relating to feature implementation for specific use cases, as well as sub forums for Custom Functions, QuickBooks Integration, Using Zoho CRM Plugins and more. Visit the Zoho Support Center for feature-specific FAQs and detailed guides. For official technical support, Zoho CRM staff can be reached at [email protected].  

Editor’s Bottom Line of Zoho

  Zoho CRM is a bit difficult to review on its own; as with other integrated software suites, experimenting with one in isolation of the others misses out on a major selling point - its ability to natively share data and functions with complementary business apps offers an advantage over competitive third-party solutions. However, since every business has their individual use case and preferred software - and since evaluating the Zoho SaaS suite for businesses is a significant undertaking way outside the scope of this article - I’ll try to evaluate the Zoho CRM on its own merit. Starting with the UI - Zoho CRM has a clean, minimalist interface with a horizontal top-level menu bar with key features of the platform: a Home dashboard, activity Feeds, Leads, Accounts, Projects, Contacts, Deals, Activities, Reports and so on. Navigating the features is intuitive; highly granular filters can be applied to Leads, Accounts, Contacts and Deals views, simplifying record collation or searches. The Deals view, in addition to filters, allows users to switch between a drag-and-drop column presentation layout of deals by pipeline stage or a traditional list view. The Activities view, also filterable, allows for switching between a column layout and a list view. Buttons at the top right provide single-click access to functions relevant to each module; a plus (+) icon can quickly add a new contact, task, deal; the Import button allows importation of records in several file formats; the ellipses (...) button allows for mass deletion or updating of records in the module according to specified criteria and page printing. I appreciate Zoho CRM’s default understated color scheme and unembellished layout. Staring at a computer screen is taxing, but the pale grays, soft whites and gentle contrast between text and background is designed for easier long-term viewing. If your CRM is a focal point for employee tasks (and a really good CRM would be) then eye-friendly themes is an oft-neglected requisite for willing user adoption. Zoho CRM also offers plenty in the way of collaborative tools. The Feed dashboard, akin to social media feeds, allow colleagues to keep abreast of each other’s activities and remark as needed. Leads, Contacts, Deals and Accounts can be assigned to various owners, internal notes leave reminders to colleagues, and file storage (labeled Documents on the menu bar) allows collective access to documents and media. Collaboration is encouraged with Zoho’s GameScope, available with the Professional Plan, which gamifies CRM functions and rewards collaborative and productive acts like assigning tasks, following projects, completing milestones, and so forth. Certain features are available in the free Zoho CRM that are uncommon even among some paid CRM platforms; website visitor tracking and web-to-lead forms stand out. Tools for email marketing begin with the Standard Plan (the first paid plan) which provides mass email and marketing campaigns, not to mention custom and scheduled reports. This plan also allows synchronization with Google Contacts and Calendar. However, in this reviewer’s opinion, Zoho CRM really gains traction with their mid-tier Professional Plan. Besides expanding on the number of records held within all modules (from 100,000 to unlimited), the Professional plan provides plugins for Microsoft Office and Outlook, increases the limit for daily mass emails, enables the use of macros (configurable one-click multiple-field updates to selected records within a module), provides Zoho’s SalesSignals and Gamescope features, allows for lead capture and social interaction on Twitter and Facebook, provides helpdesk tools, data de-duplication and increased workflow functions. And, lest we forget, while the Standard Plan expands integration with the Zoho SaaS business suite, the Professional Plan goes a step further with add-ons for Zoho Mail and Writer (though complete integration is exclusive to the highest tier plan). In this author’s opinion, a small to midsize business that offers a one major service or product that seeks multichannel engagement with customers (email, social media and phone for sales, marketing and customer support) could find very attractive tools in the Zoho CRM Professional Plan. The Standard Plan might be sufficient for an organization with a social media presence, a basic need for email marketing tools and reports, but no need for, say, Zoho’s inventory management tools; the Free Plan works for small organizations that seek to use CRM primarily for contact, lead, deal and task management. Of course, like all SaaS CRM solutions, these plans are scalable and your subscription can be changed according to your needs. I am impressed with Zoho CRM. It is a robust, full-featured platform that offers considerable features even in lower-priced plans with credible scaling for larger organizations. While it might not suit your specific business use case (there are plenty of industry-specific CRMs out there), Zoho CRM offers such potent, broad CRM capabilities across industries that it certainly warrants your shortlist - and use of its free trial - when selecting your CRM.

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