Zoho CRM Review

Deyan Georgiev
Deyan Georgiev

Updated · Aug 03, 2022

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Zoho CRM is a software package that helps enterprises handle business interactions with their customers. It is quite a popular solution, but is it right for you? My Zoho CRM review will help you decide. 

Free version

Yes

Analytical tools

Yes, available

Automation

Yes

Ease of use

4.4/5

Third-party integration

Yes

Team collaboration

Yes

Free trial

15 days

No. of supported languages

28

WORKS ON:

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Zoho CRM logo

MINIMUM PRICE $20 per user per month

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Best for: Medium-sized businesses

Strengths
Strengths Very customizable
Strengths Extensive third-party integration
Strengths Affordable
Strengths Comprehensive features
Weaknesses
Weaknesses Limited free version
Weaknesses Complex user interface
Weaknesses Steep learning curve

What Is Zoho CRM?

Zoho CRM is a customer relationship management platform that helps businesses efficiently engage with their customers. It unites enterprise sales, marketing, and customer support activities under one roof.

The platform is a product of the Zoho Corporation, an Indian technology company specializing in low-cost cloud-based software. It was founded in 1996 by an entrepreneur named Sridhar Vembu. It's headquartered in Chennai, India, and employs over 12,000 people globally. 

More than 250,000 businesses worldwide use Zoho CRM. Its customer base consists of majorly small and medium-sized businesses and a few large enterprises.

So, it is the right CRM software for you?

Zoho CRM Features

You can access a lot of features on Zoho CRM, including:

Sales Force Automation

In every enterprise, sales involve a lot of mundane but necessary tasks that demand a lot of time. Zoho CRM lets you automate these tasks and free up time for your sales force to concentrate on closing deals.

There are endless examples of sales functions you can automate by using Zoho CRM. They include: 

  • lead management 
  • deal management 
  • account management 
  • forecasting

Let’s dive deeper:

Lead management

With Zoho CRM, you can create web forms for lead collection without typing a single line of code. You can embed the form into your website, and any information entered into it automatically appears on your Zoho CRM dashboard.

In addition, you can perform A/B testing. This type of testing entails creating web forms with different parameters to determine which one gets the most replies.

Another way Zoho automates lead management is by extracting information from business cards. With the mobile app, you can scan a card or QR badge and automatically import the contact information on them. 

By using the Zoho CRM app, you can also convert visitors into leads by embedding a live chat system on your website. It lets you converse with customers directly from your dashboard.

Deal management

At any given time, you may have dozens of potential or established business deals in the works. It’s essential to keep track of them, especially when you have many. The good thing is that Zoho CRM lets you create sales pipelines

It is a visual representation of your sales process and the details about it. For example, it shows how many deals you have, how long a particular one has lasted, monetary values, etc. 

If you’re dealing with multiple products or services, you can create different sales pipelines for each of them.

Account Management

The Zoho CRM app lets you input detailed information concerning every customer so that your employees can access them from a single location. It can include critical metrics such as pending deals, associated contacts, ongoing projects, etc. When your sales staff can fetch this information at any time, it’ll be easy to work with customers.

Forecasting

Predicting sales can be challenging, mainly when doing it manually. Zoho CRM helps users forecast sales automatically using the data on their dashboard.

The data-driven method that Zoho uses to predict sales helps it deliver realistic figures. 

Zoho CRM Email

The CRM has built-in integration with Zoho Mail.

You can contact your business partners directly from the CRM dashboard. To do this, you must first set up a Zoho Mail account for your business. You can use your custom domain name.

From the dashboard, you can generate a record of your email interactions with any customer. This way, you'll always be well-informed about their sales details and past conversations to make your interaction more effective.

Zoho CRM Portal

A Zoho CRM Portal is a tool that grants third parties access to your CRM dashboard. The third parties could be customers, vendors, business partners, etc. For example, a restaurant franchise might want to let franchisees access some business records. Likewise, a school might want to let parents update their wards’ details. 

The default portal on Zoho CRM is called a client portal. A user can perform various actions, depending on the permissions you grant them. For example, they can edit records associated with them. They can also edit records shared with them, such as email addresses and phone numbers.  

All you need to invite a portal user is their email, and you can send single or bulk invitations. It’s one of the best features I observed when testing the platform for this Zoho CRM review

You can create one portal for free and invite up to 10,000 users. If you want to add more people, however, you’ll have to pay for each additional one. The license costs between $5 and $10 per month, which is pretty costly, especially for large enterprises. 

Zoho CRM Analytics

The platform has extensive analytical abilities to serve businesses. For example, you can generate detailed reports from various data points on your CRM dashboard. 

You can create them using a custom visual builder. All you have to do is select the CRM modules you want to make data sets from and add the required fields. For example, you can generate an expense report to analyze marketing costs. You can also compare expenses against your deal report to analyze marketing costs relative to the value of generated deals. 

Another way to make good use of Zoho CRM analytics is by creating charts. On the app, you can generate different types from your reports with a single click. 

Chart options include, but are not limited to:

  • bar 
  • pie 
  • donut 
  • funnel 
  • heat map 

Team Collaboration

The Zoho CRM system has many collaborative features built into it, including: 

  • feeds 
  • chat 
  • notes 
  • tags
  • groups

Feeds works like a social network where employees interact and pass information to each other. It’s a centralized area for all internal CRM discussions, which goes a long way in encouraging workplace collaboration.

With the Chat feature, employees can communicate instantly with each other at any time. They can also keep notes on sales records. Notes also leave a paper trail for anyone else that may get involved in the deal.

In addition, you can tag another sales rep within your notes to call their attention. Likewise, you can add tags to sales records to make it easy to search, sort, and filter through them.

You can also create specialized user groups for specific employees on Zoho CRM. This way, it’s easy to maintain focus on whatever purpose you create the group for.

Zoho CRM Integrations

The platform has direct integration with many third-party apps for additional functionality. 

For example, you can use the Zoho CRM alongside:

  • Google Workspace 
  • Slack
  • Microsoft Exchange
  • QuickBooks 

The Google Workspace integration allows users to easily access their Gmail contacts, tasks, and Google calendar events.

Slack is used by more than 10 million people daily, so chances are most of your colleagues and customers are already familiar with it. The integration makes it easy to share Zoho CRM records and fetch them using slash commands.

With Microsoft Exchange, you can sync your contacts, tasks, emails, and events. 

QuickBooks is among the accounting software. Thanks to the integration, you can view customer details, products, invoices, and payment information inside Zoho CRM. 

Zoho CRM Mobile App

The Zoho CRM mobile app is available on iOS and Android. Thanks to it, your sales team can freely interact with customers from any location and at any time.

We’ve talked about scanning business cards to extract information, which is a feature exclusive to the mobile app. 

But, another noteworthy feature, mentioned in numerous Zoho CRM user reviews, is the mapping solution and route planner called RouteIQ.

When you have sales staff visiting multiple customers at physical locations, planning the best routes can take a lot of time. The feature helps by selecting the fastest routes automatically. All you need to do is input the addresses you plan to visit.

Zoho CRM Security

The platform uses the AES-256 protocol to encrypt all customers’ data and decrypt it when required.

You can restrict access to your Zoho CRM dashboard to select IP addresses. This way, only people from your organization can access sensitive business details. Likewise, you can keep track of every user that logs into the dashboard for audit and investigational purposes.

In addition, you can select which cloud computing region you want to host your data on. Zoho has data centers in the US and European Union (EU). It’s advisable to pick the one closest to you for speed, security, and compliance purposes. 

Notably, customers that choose the EU region are covered by the strict GDPR data privacy and security laws.

Zoho CRM Ease of Use and Interface

I found it pretty easy to set up the Zoho CRM software. You just have to create an account, which is free. 

After setting up the platform, you can access your CRM dashboard immediately. 

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with the interface. But, there are tutorials to help first-time users navigate through it. It gets easier with time.

One great thing about Zoho CRM is its multi-lingual support. You can choose from 28 languages, making it suitable for a global audience.

You can download the desktop app on Windows, macOS, or Linux, the three most popular operating systems. Zoho CRM is one of the few CRM platforms with a native Linux app, which is commendable.  Likewise, you can download the mobile app on iOS (Apple App Store) or Android (Google Play Store). Or you can just use the web solution.

Customer Support

Zoho offers direct customer support for paid customers through phone, live chat, or email 24/7

As a paid user, you can always contact the company’s support representatives directly when you encounter any challenges. 

Likewise, there’s a section on Zoho’s official help portal dedicated to its CRM app. This online portal contains comprehensive user guides, how-tos, and answers to frequently asked questions concerning Zoho CRM. It’s an ideal place to learn how to use the software and seek solutions to commonly encountered problems. 

Many Zoho CRM user reviews praise the support team. I gotta agree, the agent I talked to was helpful and knowledgeable. 

Pricing

Zoho CRM is a freemium app. 

The free Zoho CRM version has limited features, e.g., it allows a maximum of three users. Hence, it isn’t ideal if you want to use the app broadly. 

There are four premium packages:

Standard

$20/user/month

This plan includes basic features such as sales forecasting, email insights, and support for multiple currencies.

Professional

$35/user/month

You get more advanced features, such as user groups, charts, analytics, etc.

Enterprise

$50/user/month

All features of the Professional plan, plus data encryption, inventory management, record sharing, etc.

Ultimate

$65/user/month

This plan unlocks access to all Zoho CRM features, including extensive third-party integration.

Zoho offers a 15-day free trial 

period for each plan. You can also request a full refund for up to 30 days after your payment. 

Zoho CRM vs. Freshsales CRM

Freshsales is made by Freshworks Inc, an Indian technology company, just like its counterpart. Both companies are headquartered in Chennai, India.

Just as there’s a free Zoho CRM version, there’s also a free package for Freshsales users, which also has its limitations.

Freshsales’ premium plans are more expensive than Zoho’s. The app has three premium plans; Growth, Pro, and Enterprise, costing $18, $47, and $83/per user/month respectively. On the other hand, Zoho CRM’s most expensive plan costs $69 monthly for each user, making it more affordable.

But, Freshsales offers a 21-day free trial period, compared to 15 days by its competitor.

In third-party integration, the Zoho CRM marketplace provides more options at the time of writing. Freshsales, however, is still relatively new, so this might change with time.

Likewise, Freshsales has limited customization options compared to its rival. Zoho gives more leeway for developers to tweak its CRM platform. I also found the platform’s customer analytics feature to be far ahead of its rival.

Nonetheless, Freshsales remains one of the best Zoho CRM competitors on the market.

Verdict

Zoho CRM is a very effective CRM tool. Its primary advantage is being affordable, making it a smart choice for small and medium-sized businesses. With the app, you can access a lot of features on the go. 

The primary is the pretty complex user interface. You may find it hard to navigate the platform, predominantly as a first-time user. On the bright side, you can access comprehensive tutorials to help you find your way within the app.

Overall, Zoho CRM has my vote. If you’re still on the fence, why don’t you try the free version? You just need an account!

FAQ.


Is Zoho CRM really free?

It’s a freemium app, meaning there are free and paid Zoho CRM plans.

What is Zoho CRM good for?

It is good for businesses across all industries and recommended for medium-sized companies.

Who uses Zoho CRM?

When researching for this Zoho CRM review, I observed the app’s predominant user base to be small and medium-sized businesses.

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Deyan Georgiev

Deyan Georgiev

Deyan has been fascinated by technology his whole life. From the first Tetris game all the way to Falcon Heavy. Working for TechJury is like a dream come true, combining both his passions – writing and technology. In his free time (which is pretty scarce, thanks to his three kids), Deyan enjoys traveling and exploring new places. Always with a few chargers and a couple of gadgets in the backpack. He makes mean dizzying Island Paradise cocktails too.

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