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Zoho CRM Review

Jeff Hale
Jeff Hale
Business News Daily Contributing Writer
Updated Aug 23, 2022

The free plan's feature set is so limited that it doesn't provide a useful example of Zoho's capabilities.

  • CRM tools help you organize and streamline your lead and customer data, identifying the areas where you should focus your marketing and sales efforts.
  • Zoho CRM can automate business processes so you don’t repeat certain tasks.
  • With Zoho CRM, you get real-time notifications when customers interact with your business.
  • This article is for business owners and professionals who want a detailed breakdown of Zoho CRM, our best pick for remote teams.

Zoho CRM is a widely adopted customer relationship management (CRM) platform, which has a strong emphasis on increasing leads, accelerating sales and measuring performance. It makes great use of artificial intelligence (AI), and its business intelligence features can empower remote workforces to achieve more together. Advanced options such as Zia, the AI-powered assistant, provide exceptional lead and deal predictions to identify the potential customers who are most likely to convert, helping sales teams focus their efforts in the most efficient way possible. The user-friendly platform integrates with hundreds of popular apps and software, making it easy to build a custom CRM for any business, including those in the healthcare industry that need to maintain HIPAA compliance.

Zoho CRM Review

Zoho CRM

The Verdict

Zoho CRM offers useful tools for remote teams, helping automate tasks and improve communication with real-time notifications and follow-up prompts.

Zoho Editor’s Score: 92/100

Ease of use95
Features94
Integrations94
Pricing92
Customer support87

Why We Chose Zoho CRM for Remote Teams

Zoho CRM’s ease of use, effective mobile apps and built-in communications features make it an excellent CRM for employees and teams that spend the majority of their time away from the office. Teams in different areas can come together easily within their CRM for sales pitches and product demos through a wide range of available conferencing integrations, including BlueJeans, GoTo Meeting, Join.me, TeamViewer, Zoom Meeting and Cisco Webex. With real-time prospect alerts, you can ensure the appropriate members of your sales team are alerted when anyone visits your website, opens your email or talks about your brand on social media. Subscribers to the Enterprise and Ultimate plans get access to Zia AI, a virtual assistant with data analysis capabilities to identify patterns in your platform’s activity history and suggest workflow improvements and timesaving automations. Zia can also determine when your clients are most likely to open an email, answer a call or visit your website. Zia can even help you cross-sell by analyzing sales patterns and recommending products for each customer at the ideal time. The mobile app with business card-scanning capabilities puts all of your customers’ data in one place and automatically logs call data for added accuracy and convenience.

Pros

  • You can conduct team meetings and client presentations from the CRM.
  • You can set notifications to alert remote workers when new leads interact with your business.
  • The platform is easy to use without any in-office training sessions.

Cons

  • Standard support is limited to weekdays. You’ll have to pay extra for Premium or Enterprise support with any plan.
  • Many of the best features rely on Zia AI, which is only on the upper-tier Enterprise and Ultimate plans.
  • Many features, including email notifications and webhooks, are restricted with daily limits.

Usability

Zoho’s dashboard is user-friendly, thanks to the ability to quickly toggle between classic, personalized and custom homepage views. The upper navigation bar puts many sales-focused tasks, notifications and features at your fingertips, but you can also add components and reorder your page to better suit your needs. The sales agent’s personalized homepage sets the day’s open tasks and leads as the top priority.

Other helpful tools that are easily accessible from the top navigation menu include the “Feeds” notification module. From here, you can communicate with remote team members and share your views to speed up the decision-making process — as if you’re all in the office together. It will also notify you when someone makes changes to a relevant lead or deal you’re following. When utilized properly, this area serves as both a system of record and collaborative space to ensure that remote team members are always working on the same page with the same information. [See our list of the most important features to look for in a CRM.]

You can also use the modular dashboard-building Canvas design studio tool to easily create custom solutions for yourself and other departments across your organization. Users can work from a gallery of templates created by certified designers or browse through Zoho’s list of design partners to develop a custom solution. The drag-and-drop system provides endless homepage combinations, so it won’t take long to cobble together a tailored solution for your business. Once you’ve built your CRM dashboard, you can save it and share it across your team, department, division or company.

Zoho CRM Features

LeadsCustom modules store and display the details about your leads as individual records.
MotivatorYou can gamify sales efforts by turning routine tasks into rewarding, routine-breaking contests.
Artificial intelligenceEnterprise and Ultimate subscribers receive a full suite of prediction and AI features.
Add-ons and integrationsZoom, Slack, Mailchimp and Amazon Seller are just some of the integrations that all paid subscriptions include.

Leads

Leads are the second drop-down menu after “Home” on Zoho’s dashboard navigation menu, letting you know how important they are to Zoho’s functionality. The software collects all of the individuals or representatives of an organization with whom you could potentially convert into a customer.

You can also use the SalesSignals feature to track your leads’ interactions with your brand across multiple channels, such as emails, cold calls, surveys and social campaigns, and get notifications when your lead visits a new section of your website. Details like where your lead is interacting on your website and for how long can provide valuable information to help your sales agents nurture leads into loyal customers.

Motivator

The sales floor can be an exciting atmosphere – something that can be a challenge for remote teams to manage – and Zoho builds on that to take your sales team’s targets, incentives and promotions to new levels of success. Every lead generated, call made and deal closed turns into trophies and badges to create a competitive sales atmosphere – no matter where your team takes their calls.

Features such as pop-up notifications can keep your teams on their toes and let them know how close they are to reaching their daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or annual goals.

Artificial Intelligence

Zia, an AI-powered assistant available at the top two tiers, helps your team collect customer data, write documents or find helpful information such as sales numbers to make everyone’s job easier. Zia analyzes when each client usually opens emails, answers calls, or visits your website, and then suggests the best time to contact them. The intelligent assistant can also streamline your sales efforts by predicting which deals are most likely to close soon, letting your team members focus on those deals and delegate tasks accordingly.

Add-ons and Integrations

Each of the four paid subscription bundles includes the option to integrate with popular third-party software and apps for online meetings, team collaboration, telephony, productivity, storage, analytics, email marketing, customer service, finance, business operations and website visitor tracking. You’ll find tools for Zoom, GoTo Meeting, Slack, Trello, Dropbox, Google Analytics, Mailchimp, Zendesk and QuickBooks. (Learn more in our review of QuickBooks.)

Zoho CRM Cost

Zoho offers transparent pricing based on monthly and annual terms. There are four bundled service options. Free trials are available for each subscription level. Zoho is unique in offering a free version for up to three users with salesforce automation tools for leads, contacts, calendars, accounts, deals, tasks, events and more. The Standard bundle includes everything in the free version plus added features, and each successive tier includes everything available in the bundles that precede it.

  • Standard
    • Pricing: $14 per user per month when billed annually
    • Additional features: Automated workflows, custom dashboards, bulk emails, prospect scoring, sales forecasting, email insights, reminders, 50 custom modules, 1GB of file storage
  • Professional
    • Pricing: $23 per user per month when billed annually
    • Additional features: Real-time sales notifications, blueprint business processes, inventory management, validation rules, web-to-case forms, up to 10GB of data storage
  • Enterprise (most popular)
    • Pricing: $40 per user per month when billed annually
    • Additional features: Zia AI, customer journey command center, Canvas visual CRM view, advanced customization, mobile software development kit and mobile device management, up to 15GB of data storage, multiuser portals
  • Ultimate
    • Pricing: $52 per user per month when billed annually
    • Additional features: Advanced business intelligence and analytics software, 5GB of file storage, up to 30GB of data storage, higher feature limits across the system

Setup

Zoho customers are provided with personalized onboarding help through a specialist. Your support specialist will walk you through your tailored implementation plan in a series of one-on-one meetings to help you set up and configure the platform to your needs.

If you require any additional help or prefer to hand the implementation over to Zoho, the company offers a “jump-start” service that costs between $2,000 and $8,000, with 10 to 40 hours of work done by a dedicated expert.

Customer Service

Zoho has Basic, Classic, Premium and Enterprise customer service plans. The Classic plan is free and includes live chat and toll-free support eight hours a day, five days a week. The Premium option, which costs 20% of your license fee, adds remote assistance, product onboarding, configuration assistance and 24-hour support five days a week. The Enterprise option costs 25% of your license fee and provides support within one hour, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It also gives you access to a technical account manager and quarterly reporting with recommendations.

Zoho has an impressive resource list for its customers, including free training webinars and paid courses for administrators, developers, sales reps and sales managers. It also has e-books, guided step-by-step tutorials, useful tips and a self-service request portal. You can also request a concierge to serve as a personalized consultant for any questions you have.

Drawbacks

Zoho’s standout features, such as Zia AI and unlimited customization, are not available unless they are bundled with many other features. While Zoho provides a great set of basic tools for free, there is a large gap between the lower- and upper-tier options, pushing most customers to a high-priced bundle. Standard data and file storage may also feel low for some businesses.

Customer support could be incredibly expensive for larger organizations, as the price would be a significant percentage of their license fee. The free support provided by the entry-level bundle provides basic support during business hours. However, the potential of having to wait until the next day for a response could spell disaster for some companies should an emergency arise. These types of service options are similar to what some of the other CRM solutions we looked into offer (see our Salesforce review for an example).

Overall Value

We recommend Zoho CRM for …

  • Small businesses looking to implement their first unified CRM solution.
  • Any business with a sales-focused model that wants to gamify the selling process to build camaraderie and competitiveness across remote teams.
  • Midsize businesses that want to streamline their sales processes with helpful organization and insights from an AI-powered assistant.

We don’t recommend Zoho CRM for …

  • Small businesses without a tech-savvy staff member to handle issues.
  • Small and midsize businesses that want to pay for certain core and premium features only.
Zoho CRM Review

Zoho CRM

The Verdict

Zoho CRM offers useful tools for remote teams, helping automate tasks and improve communication with real-time notifications and follow-up prompts.

Jeff Hale
Jeff Hale
Business News Daily Contributing Writer
Jeff Hale is a writer and editor based in San Diego with a background in business development and marketing. He has identified new market opportunities for Fortune 500 companies and developed communications strategies and digital branding for tech startups and small businesses. Jeff covers emerging technologies and business solutions with a focus on efficiency and growth. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California, Irvine, and an MBA from Chapman University.