Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM logo.

Zoho CRM is an on-demand, SaaS-based customer relationship management (CRM) software solution designed to manage sales data, marketing, contacts, customer support, and other business functions in a single cohesive platform.

Zoho CRM was launched in 2005 and now offers a platform of 45 applications as well as third-party integrations. The platform includes applications that cover most general business operations. It also includes a web-based office and productivity suite that provides an alternative to popular solutions such as Microsoft Office. Together, the combination of applications offers an all-in-one business solution.

Zoho CRM ranks third in CRM market share (11%) in 2021, with 92% of customers saying it delivers good value for the price.

Who uses Zoho CRM?

Zoho CRM has over 50 million users in over 180 countries, making it one of the most popular CRMs on the market. It is used in professional services, manufacturing, construction and real estate, retail, consumer packaged goods, banking, and financial services, education, media, distribution, and life sciences. The majority of customers are organizations with over 100 employees.

Key features and benefits of Zoho CRM

Zoho’s core functionality is as a CRM. Part of the popularity of the application is Zoho’s emphasis on customer experience (CX). For users, limited setup and customization are required out of the box to start using the platform. For users with more complex needs or deeper data sets, some setup and customization may be required, but generally less than for other such comprehensive solutions like Salesforce.

Multiple applications and integrations

The range of features is expanded by a subscription to Zoho One, an array of more than 45 applications, and corresponding mobile applications that integrate with Zoho CRM. Zoho One is touted by Zoho as “an operating system for business.” Zoho CRM integration is accomplished through a comprehensive set of applications and modules that covers a broad range of activities, such as marketing, data analytics and visualization, sales, customer support, operations, finance, recruiting, HR, office suite, mail, personal productivity, collaboration, drag-and-drop app builder, legal and compliance activities, support team live chat, and IT and help desk. The shared application platform also allows for extensive workflow automation.

An additional selection of applications is available through Zoho Workplace, which is a complete suite of office and productivity applications. Zoho Workplace replaces common office and productivity applications so customers don’t have to cobble together a mishmash of third-party applications. Users benefit from a unified set of word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, data storage repository, analytics, collaboration, mail, chat, and video conferencing applications.

Centralized administration

To facilitate integration and use, all of the applications can be accessed and configured from one administrative console. Zoho applications can also be integrated with popular third-party applications such as individual Google apps, G Suite, WordPress, MailChimp, Evernote, and Unbounce through the Zoho Marketplace. 

This wide-spanning ecosystem of applications and integrations translates to business-wide operational integration and automation, breaking down the silos between departments. For businesses looking for an all-in-one solution, Zoho is a strong contender due to both its own proprietary applications and its ability to play well with third-party applications.

Leverages existing tech stack

Zoho’s CRM implementation also offers automation and features designed to deepen the value of a company’s existing applications. Zoho Acceleration Network (ZAN) is an edge computing network designed to reduce latency for customers utilizing its cloud solutions. Higher service level agreements also leverage data for Zoho’s AI and machine learning. This data processing manifests as Zia, Zoho CRM’s smart assistant that offers insights and predictive analytics, scans emails for urgency, suggests the best times to contact customers, contextualizes data for sharing and connecting all departments, and more.

Security & privacy

All Zoho products also come with admin controls to manage mailboxes, storage limits, and security features such as managing roles and permissions. It also comes with built-in measures for standard data security, compliance, and privacy.

Overall, Zoho offers a comprehensive and scalable application ecosystem built to serve as a one-stop solution for small and medium businesses. The main downside is that the streamlining for the sake of ease of use came at the expense of customizability. Zoho CRM’s lack of customizability may be insufficient for some large enterprises with specific needs.

Get hands-on experience with Zoho CRM’s free trial.

Zoho CRM Editions

Zoho CRM is available in a number of editions and pricing plans, including Free, Standard, Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate. Basically, this means different packages with different feature sets, allowing business owners to choose the features that meet specific business requirements while controlling the overall cost of the CRM package.

Alternatives to Zoho CRM

While Zoho’s CRM system targets small and medium enterprises, its solutions are sufficiently comprehensive to be considered by large enterprises. That makes Zoho CRM a contender with some of the biggest players in the CRM field that offer all-in-one solutions, such as:

Learn more about CRMs

According to one survey, 65% of respondents reported “ease of use” as an important requirement when choosing a CRM. But sifting through the options for the solution that balances convenience and specific business needs can be a challenge.

For more background and tools to help with the research and selection of the ideal CRM for your organization’s needs, check out these resources.

NOTE: This article was updated in November 2021 by Lucas Ledbetter.

Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal is a freelance business and technology writer covering Internet technologies and online business since the late '90s.

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