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Author : Jeremy Mozlin

Zoho Adds Even More Value with Free Remotely Suite

Zoho Remotely is free until July 2020

zoho remotely

In times of crisis, Zoho really seems to have their finger on the pulse of their customers.  They know well that many of their customers are SMBs.  And by that logic, the coronavirus pandemic likely affects a great number of them.  So, Zoho did what it does best: it added even more value to their customers’ experience with the Emergency Subscription Assistance Program (ESAP).  ESAP allows customers (still, as of this writing) to apply for Zoho licensing forgiveness if their organizations include 25 or fewer users.

But, obviously, not every organization is going to fall into that category, and some are still needing assistance.  To that end, Zoho has made an entire suite of their products free to use through the end of June 2020.  That suite, called Remotely, is made of apps already in the Zoho One suite, but which are designed specifically for remote collaboration.  And, in a time where many now work from home by default, what could be better?

Remotely includes these Zoho apps:

  1. Projects, for collaboration on team projects.
  2. Sprints, specific to remote teams collaborating on software sprints.
  3. Cliq, for sending instant chat messages to colleagues across your organization.
  4. Meeting, for virtual meetings with groups–for sales, support, or otherwise.
  5. Assist, for remote one-on-one support sessions (including mouse control options) with clients.
  6. Lens, similar to Assist but accesses a client’s smartphone’s camera to identify physical (non-software) problems.
  7. Show, for putting together presentations for clients.
  8. Showtime, for giving training content to your clients.
  9. Workdrive, Writer, and Sheet, similar to Google Drive, Google Docs, and Google Sheets, except integrated with your Zoho environment–great for storing files related to your clients or projects.

zoho remotely

Chances are your business needs more software than just Zoho Remotely to achieve success.  For example, you’ll notice the suite is noticeably lacking the CRM, help desk, finance platforms, etc.  But, if you would benefit from using even one of these apps in the Remotely suite, it could be worth a look.  You may end up using a combination of a la carte apps plus the Remotely suite.  Or, even Zoho CRM Plus and the Zoho Remotely suite.

If you aren’t sure what to do, let us know when you contact us.

Who benefits most from Zoho Remotely?

Aside from the obvious–that the suite is geared towards teams who work remotely–it seems Zoho Remotely is designed for teams in specific industries, too.  This makes more sense if you consider Remotely has existed in Zoho’s library since long before the recent pandemic.  In fact, Remotely has been around since 2019.

While many of the apps included in Zoho Remotely truly are general-purpose, others are quite specific.  The more general apps include:

  • Projects
  • Cliq
  • Meeting
  • Show
  • Workdrive, Writer, and Sheet

zoho remotely

Projects is a good app for any team needing to collaborate on a project that requires multiple steps or dependencies.  Cliq is Zoho’s equivalent of Slack, making it a great intra-office communication tool.  Meeting is similar to Zoom, meaning virtual conferences are on the table.  Show is like PowerPoint or Google Slides.  Similarly, Workdrive, Writer, and Sheet are similar to their Google Apps counterparts: Drive, Docs, and Sheets, which many businesses already use today.  With the possible exception of Projects, one could argue nearly any organization could benefit from using this combination of apps.

So, what about the more specific apps not included here?

More industry-specific apps in Remotely include:

  • Sprints
  • Assist
  • Lens
  • Showtime

Zoho Sprints is geared towards software development sprints; so, tech companies developing programs or apps would find it useful.  It isn’t uncommon for companies like this to employ a remote workforce anyway, so this app’s inclusion in the suite makes sense.

Zoho Assist is similar to Zoho Meet, except it’s used for one-on-one support sessions rather than team meetings.  It gives the presenter the ability to control a guest’s mouse (with their permission, of course), making it great for technical support cases.  Again, this sort of work is usually done remotely anyway.

zoho remotely

Zoho Lens is somewhat similar to Zoho Assist above, what with its device-controlling attributes.  However, Lens gives the meeting originator access to a participant’s smartphone camera, allowing them to see whatever the camera sees.  This is useful when diagnosing certain mechanical problems–or others where a visual display is important.  Again, this would necessarily be remote work, as the only alternative would be to bring an additional person to the work site.

zoho remotely

Zoho Showtime is like PowerPoint, or Google Slides, except it’s specifically made for showing training content.  In it, you can not only show special training videos, but also administer quizzes and track engagement.  As with the other aforementioned apps, this is necessarily a remote job.  The next-best thing would be to get your staff into a classroom, which is hardly ever feasible in the best of times–and especially not in today’s climate of perpetual social distancing.

Little confusing?  You’ve got power in your corner

Times are difficult enough these days, and while Zoho means well to add another software choice to its arsenal, some may not have the time to really sit down and analyze whether using it would be a good idea.  (Choosing the wrong software and/or provider seems to be a popular reason system implementations fail, when they do.)

If that sounds like you, just let us know and we’ll be happy to analyze your situation for you, then let you know if you’d benefit from using Remotely.  You don’t have to take a big chance on something like this; leave it to a team of experienced Zoho consultants to lend a hand and put you back in the Zoho power seat.

 

Zoho Aims for Enterprise Businesses

zoho for enterprise businessesZoho Corporation is looking to revamp its image as it grows, adding more partners who service larger businesses.  Historically, Zoho has been known as an inexpensive software option, especially useful for smaller businesses.  However, when enterprise-level customers do come knocking, they’re frequently impressed.

Zoho has done just fine by gathering up smaller businesses, making the relationships “sticky” with suites of apps like Zoho One, and growing with (until recently) hardly any US advertising.  But, Zoho is showing Salesforce isn’t the only game in town for larger businesses.

So, what does this mean for Zoho Corporation, for you (whether part of a small business or a larger one), and for us as Zoho consultants?

No matter what, Zoho still wants to help you

Businesspeople shouldn’t look at this move by Zoho as an eschewing of the company’s roots.  Rather, smaller businesses make up the vast majority of the global market.  And, chances are larger businesses have even more connections to smaller businesses that Zoho can use to its advantage–namely for referrals.  So, no, Zoho won’t likely turn into a one-dimensional company from this move.

zoho for enterprise businesses

Is it better to be big, or small?

The question remains: Is Zoho still better suited for larger businesses, or is it better for smaller ones?  Zoho purposefully paints with a very broad brush, offering software packages suited for both larger and smaller enterprises, with pricing plans to match.

The answer is it doesn’t really matter, and it all depends on your preference–as always.

Zoho purposefully gears themselves towards smaller organizations.  

Their competitive price points make the barrier to entry very low.  As well, Zoho’s plasticity makes it easy for some businesses to turn on an app and start using it in production right away.  And, suites like Zoho One or Zoho CRM Plus provide a whole system of apps for less than their constituent parts combined.  Recent additions like Zoho Remotely and the Emergency Subscription Assistance Program (ESAP) ease small business pains related to working from home, or from the recent COVID-19 outbreak.

zoho for enterprise businesses

Zoho Corporation clearly values their SMB clients greatly.  However, they expect some companies to grow larger as a natural function of their success.

Zoho’s customizability makes it a perfect choice for enterprise-level companies.

Anyone can turn on Zoho CRM and start tracking lead data.  However, many Zoho apps boast a slew of features specific to automating workflow and simplifying processes for large departments.  (Take blueprint, for example, available in Zoho CRM and Zoho Desk too.)  Many Zoho apps can communicate with each other.  Others can also integrate with third-party apps like QuickBooks Desktop or Sage 100 ERP.  Furthermore, Zoho’s platform-as-a-service, Zoho Creator, puts it on par with Salesforce by allowing for creating custom apps and connecting with Zoho CRM.

zoho for enterprise businesses

Clearly Zoho has designed their apps with both small and large companies in mind.  Some businesses may have growth plans that don’t include Zoho.  And, for some, that is to be expected, a natural part of growth.  But, Zoho purposefully designs software to last, and includes “sticky” apps that companies won’t want to stop using after starting to use them!  So, even if some companies actually plan not to use Zoho forever, they sometimes find their plans change due to their users benefiting greatly from using the software.  Again, this is a natural part of growth as a company.

What does this push to enterprise businesses mean for us as Zoho consultants?

As Zoho consultants, our job hasn’t changed.  No matter the size of your business, our job remains to devise the best Zoho solution for you given your business goals.  We’ve done this for one-man shows and we’ve done it for companies with hundreds of users.

If Zoho begins to attract more large companies, however, Zoho Corporation will likely begin expanding upon newer apps like MarketingHub. They’ll also probably offer more industry-specific solutions, and improve upon Zoho Creator.  Zoho will probably release those improvements to larger and smaller companies alike.  And this, in turn, makes our job that much easier, as it makes Zoho that much easier to sell.

And, whether Zoho adds functionality to Zoho Creator itself or creates new apps specific to industries like field services, construction, or manufacturing, larger companies have everything to gain.

How Zoho Helps SMBs in Crisis

Who can small businesses turn to in the face of a crisis like the coronavirus?

zoho coronavirus help

Here’s why Zoho is just the software–and the company–to take advantage of.

Even perpetual doomsayers likely could not have predicted the wave of confusion–and businesses forced to close–in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Whether your business was forced to transition to a work-from-home model, or you lost business due to the COVID-19 pandemic, or you were simply forced to shut your doors, chances are the virus has affected you in some way.

And, whether or not you even use Zoho software, you’re probably looking for guidance to power it through this troubling time.

Fortunately, Zoho software was practically built for situations like these, even if you didn’t know it already.

How Zoho software positions itself to help businesses

zoho coronavirus help

Zoho is well-known for being an inexpensive business software option.  And, unfortunately, this lends it a bad rap among some circles.  It’s widely known that highly-priced products are seen as more valuable than lower-priced ones, even if that isn’t actually the case.  And, in this case, it couldn’t be further from the truth.

For example, despite Salesforce being a household name, Zoho packs about 95% of the features of Salesforce.  Furthermore, any small gaps can usually be filled by Zoho’s platform-as-a-service, Zoho Creator.  But, the difference in price between Zoho and Salesforce is anything but small.

Zoho’s flagship offering, Zoho One, goes for $35/user/month.  And, that gives you nearly every app (40+) in Zoho’s arsenal.

Compare that with Salesforce’s enterprise-level solution, which comes in at $150/user/month–and that’s just for the CRM!  Add extra apps and the recurring price only rises.  Businesses who have switched from Salesforce to Zoho know all too well about these differences in costs.

Zoho’s Emergency Subscription Assistance Program (ESAP)

zoho coronavirus help

Zoho already prices itself very competitively.  But, the recent coronavirus pandemic has caused Zoho Corporation to take swift action to help its customers even more.  Zoho knows that many of its clientele are small businesses.  And, because of the size of these businesses, statistically the coronavirus outbreak affects them most.  Zoho wants to do everything it can to help keep these customers in business.  After all, small these businesses have been a key to Zoho’s success thus far.  Furthermore, the loss of their business software wouldn’t just mean these companies would move to another platform.  Rather, it could mean the end for some, if not most of them.

For these reasons, Zoho has launched the Emergency Subscription Assistance Program.  This allows any severely affected Zoho customer with 25 or fewer employees to apply for completely free licensing for up to three months.  While ESAP requires an application to receive help, its availability to begin with shows Zoho’s great empathy for its customers.

How about working from home?  Zoho covers you there with Remotely, too.

zoho coronavirus help

Even if coronavirus hasn’t sidelined you completely, you’ve likely shifted at least some operations from an external office to a home office.  Any business can use Zoho CRM Plus if they need a whole suite of apps, but what happens if a business needs to be a little more collaborative than CRM Plus allows?

Zoho Corporation has made their Remotely suite completely free to use through July 1, 2020.  This move will surely help businesses through these troubling times.  Remotely contains these apps, which focus on collaboration or general communication between team members:

  1. Zoho Cliq
  2. Zoho Meeting
  3. Zoho ShowTime
  4. Zoho WorkDrive
  5. Zoho Projects
  6. Zoho Sprints
  7. Zoho Assist
  8. Zoho Lens
  9. Zoho Writer
  10. Zoho Sheet
  11. Zoho Show

What can ZBrains do?

As always, we maintain our full staff of Zoho certified consultants and developers completely on-site to help with any Zoho project.  No matter what you need–from consulting, training, integration, or a custom ERP app–we have the tools to help.

zoho coronavirus help

We don’t often recommend jumping into action, especially if we haven’t already analyzed your Zoho software and helped plan your next moves.  However, if you don’t have time to spare, doing something–anything–may be miles better than doing nothing.  Let us know exactly how you’d like to engage with a Zoho partner, and we’ll do our very best to make that a reality.

As a small business ourselves, we know what you’re going through, and we care about you.  Above all else, stay safe, and we hope to collaborate with you soon.

Should you use Zoho Finance or FieldTech?

Should you use Zoho Finance, or FieldTech?

Like with all things Zoho, your software choice should depend on your business.

fieldtech zoho finance

There’s a new player in town when it comes to the ERP side of Zoho.  We released FieldTech formally several months ago, and while a good number of companies enjoy its benefits today, it isn’t always clear what the differences are between FieldTech and the Zoho Finance platform at large.  So, we present this post in hopes of clearing that up.

When should you use Zoho Finance?

If your accounting and ERP needs are relatively simple–or if you don’t use inventory–you may not need anything more than Zoho Finance.  Finance works well for professional services companies, as well as distributors with very light or uncomplicated inventory.  For anything a little more complex, Zoho’s custom functions can transmit information between the modules of different apps, and workflow automation can speed up slow processes and prevent certain tasks from falling through the cracks.

fieldtech zoho finance

And, for anything more complex than that, businesses can use Zoho Creator to built separate apps to then connect to the Finance platform.  These apps give these businesses ways to manipulate their data that Zoho Finance could not do on its own.

The drawback to simply building your own Zoho Creator ERP apps is doing so takes lots of time: Someone has to architect your solution given the way you do business, then actually build and implement it for you.  This is one of the chief reasons we built FieldTech: to address this potential need of many companies who wouldn’t be satisfied with just Zoho Finance, and who don’t have the time to develop their very own apps.

When should you use FieldTech?

Zoho Finance’s familiar array of features suits the needs of a lot of businesses.  But, the suite tends to alienate several other kinds of companies inadvertently:

fieldtech zoho finance

These kinds of companies depend on certain features available in ERP software that Zoho Finance doesn’t provide, or only partially provides.  Things like:

  1. Complex, mobile quote creation on-the-fly (with a CPQ tool)
  2. Assisted scheduling of appointments or work orders
  3. Work order management, including tracking time, materials used, and equipment
  4. Production (manufacturing) order management
  5. Advanced inventory management, including MRP and an RMA module
  6. Job costing, factoring in both labor and materials
  7. Commission calculation for salespeople

And, this isn’t to say those companies with these needs can’t use Zoho Finance at all!  They can, and often do–sometimes to their detriment–for years.

The point is Zoho Finance isn’t always enough for these companies.

The reason for FieldTech’s existence

As Zoho consultants, we get calls about the shortcomings of many Zoho apps, including the Finance suite, on a daily basis.  Zoho Corporation is notorious for improving apps and releasing features at a breakneck pace, but this doesn’t usually translate into accommodating the sort of requests we were getting (and still get) from the kinds of companies mentioned before.

Eventually we wisened up to the fact that our customers needed more than what standard Zoho apps could reasonably offer, at the pace it was needed.  So, over the course of years, we built the FieldTech platform to help address these needs.

Is it possible to use both suites at once?

fieldtech zoho finance

As Zoho Finance isn’t always enough for some businesses, and FieldTech can supplement the Finance suite’s features,  many companies find it useful to use both Zoho Finance and FieldTech together.  The FieldTech suite has many standard integrations with Zoho Books, Zoho Inventory, Zoho CRM, and even Zoho Desk.

Could we cut out Zoho Finance entirely?

From time to time, people ask us why they need Zoho Finance at all, if FieldTech works so well as a sort of Zoho ERP.  The answer is that Zoho Finance, in spite of its shortcomings, packs a lot of extremely useful accounting functions and third-party banking integrations.  We could develop these things for FieldTech too, but, except in very extreme cases, we’d be reinventing the wheel.  Better to let Zoho do what they do best.

Get the full Zoho Finance vs FieldTech Feature List

This post serves as a very general overview of Zoho Finance vs FieldTech.  But, if you’d like to really dive into the weeds and explore the full feature list, we’ve got you covered.  The feature list shows exactly where FieldTech shines, where Zoho Finance shines, and where the capabilities of the two overlap.  It also breaks features down by category for easy navigation.

Contact us using this form and we’ll send you the full feature comparison list.

 

 

3 Reasons to Use a CRM Consultancy When Implementing Your CRM

3 Reasons to Use a CRM Consultancy when Implementing your CRM

crm consultancy

No matter what kind of business you run, implementing a CRM correctly is no small feat.  Sure, it may seem tempting to ease your way into any CRM by simply turning it on.  But then, the wealth of features you’ll probably see before you might just make you hang up your hat before you even get started.

Working with a product like Zoho, which advertises itself as DIY, we see this kind of thing happen a lot.

And, we get calls about it weeks, months, or even years after the initial projects start.  It’s still not off the ground, or No one is using the system correctly.  People lose faith in themselves at that point.

Well, I want to tell you not to give up.  Most CRMs are tricky to use correctly because they’re very powerful, and Zoho CRM is no exception to this.  Play around with Zoho One long enough and you might get really confused at the array of 45+ apps.  It’s not your fault.  And, I believe software as powerful as Zoho should come with sufficient resources to help you along the way.  Chances are you believe that too, if you’re reading this blog post.

With that in mind, let me tell you three ways using a CRM consultancy (like us!) helps greatly with proper CRM deployment.  You may get some ideas of your own from this.

#1: Your CRM consultancy will make sure you’re using your system in the best way possible for your business.

crm consultancy

Even with documentation, deploying a CRM and related business apps by yourself is at best a chore. At worst, it’s a show-stopper.  With no one to help, it can be difficult to know if you’ve deployed your software the very best way.  Tech-savvy team members certainly do help, but unless they themselves are CRM experts, that’s only one piece of the puzzle.  Having someone on staff who has worked previously with the CRM you’re deploying is closer to what you’ll need – but, if they too worked with a faulty system in the past, they may not know the very best way to do things either.  Your best bet at a successful CRM implementation is with a CRM consultant at your side.  If you plan to deploy Zoho CRM, for example, you’ll want a Zoho CRM consultancy to assist you.

Ordinarily, using a CRM consultancy helps with figuring out the best way to use your CRM by exploring how you do business. That can involve everything from a business process analysis, review of current software systems and purposes, and interviewing key personnel to gauge their responsibilities.  It also takes into consideration the business owner’s vision for the company moving forward, as this vision usually highly impacts how your business software is utilized.

Once this analysis is complete, your CRM consultancy will have everything they need to present you with a clear plan for moving forward, and you’ll have what you need to make an informed decision on what exactly you’d like to do, which parts of the plan make sense, and which parts need revision.  It’s not a simple process, but it’s necessary for you to get the very most out of your new system.

#2: Your CRM consultancy will make sure you have a high adoption rate so you don’t end up with another failed project.

crm consultancy

Even if your CRM is set up correctly, that doesn’t guarantee your staff will always use it the right way.  We’re all human, but sometimes we find our customers’ Zoho CRMs set up in ways that actually hurt productivity.  And, it’s not their fault!  Those people did what they thought was easiest and best, and no one was there to tell them yes or no.  And, of course, CRM usage (adoption) eventually dwindled because the CRM wasn’t deployed in a way that actually provided value to the users.

While a good CRM consultancy likely won’t recommend bending the rules of CRM to fit someone’s arbitrary desire, one can usually account for quirks by setting up additional reminders, workflow automation, and the like, to steer things in the proper direction.  Setting up the system the right way ensures the CRM works better without needing additional customizations that end up bloating the system and making things more confusing in the long run.

Your CRM consultancy will be able to figure out the extent of the “quirks” during the business process analysis. They will complete interviews, and make recommendations. This is to set up workflow automation, reminders, or custom function that actually help your team’s performance and make them want to use the system more.

#3: Your CRM consultancy will ensure your system stays up-to-date and scalable, depending on your plans for the business.

crm consultancy

Aside from helping to solve your current problems and make sure your new CRM has a high rate of adoption, the next-most important thing a CRM consultancy can do is make sure your system can also solve future problems.  And, it’s not as if your system can anticipate problems before they come up all by itself.  Rather, the system needs to be configured to act that way!  And, the way a consultancy does this is simple in theory, but a little complicated in practice.

A good CRM consultancy will be able to predict what problems can come up based on how you already do business. They can help with how you plan to grow your business.  To understand these parts of your business, a CRM consultancy will carry out interviews. They speak to key personnel to understand their current business responsibilities, current system duties (if any), and their trajectories in your business.  Then, based on business knowledge, the consultancy will put a plan in place that accounts for those future problems.

Future-planning like this can solve problems as large as a planned change in your business model in five years and as small as how to organize the departments in your website chat widget once you ramp up your website traffic to a certain number per day.

Looking to the future

crm consultancy

As proper deployment of your CRM leads to success for years to come, don’t take it lightly.  You may have the time and ability to tackle your deployment head-on, but if you’re unsure, it’s best to contact a certified CRM consultant.  Around half of IT projects fail to some degree, whether out-of-budget, working only partially, or a complete loss.  You stand a much better chance of succeeding by putting your business sense together with someone who has CRM sense.  Together, you really do have the best of both worlds.

On that note, will our worlds collide anytime soon?  Contact us and let’s see if we’d be a good fit for your CRM system goals.

Zoho CRM Plus vs Zoho One Review

Zoho CRM Plus vs Zoho One

Zoho is at once an amazing and frustrating product.  You probably have some idea of this, or maybe you’re still in the dark – but, the truth is out there.  

crm plus vs zoho one

Zoho is incredible in the scope of what it can do and at the price you pay for it.  

There are very few, if any other platforms that provide so many different software apps, and so much useful functionality, for such a low price, comparatively.  But, at the same time, Zoho’s various products – whose functionality often overlap – and software bundles with the very same issue, are often not explained in enough detail for potential customers to make informed buying decisions.

There is so much information about Zoho products available.  How can none of it accurately tell you the difference between, for example, Zoho CRM Plus vs Zoho One?  It’s enough to drive you up the wall.  

When comparing CRM Plus vs Zoho One on the surface, the offerings seem similar enough: Bundles of Zoho apps for members of your company to use.  But, one bundle includes many Zoho apps (Zoho One) and one includes comparatively fewer (CRM Plus).  And, Zoho One is more expensive… Unless you get your whole company on the software, in which case it becomes much cheaper.  Is this gaming the system? What gives?

Well, not quite.  There’s actually a method to the madness that is the different pricing and different apps present in the Zoho One and Zoho CRM Plus bundles.  In this post, we’ll address the two problems that seem to arise from having different bundles with seemingly (but not actually) illogical pricing models.  Then, we’ll lay out some facts to help you determine which bundle is best for your business. Finally, we’ll give you a bit of history that led to the introduction of Zoho One at all.

crm plus vs zoho one

One problem: Why are Zoho offering two different bundles at all?

The answer here is simple on its surface.  Zoho One and Zoho CRM Plus exist to meet two different distinct software needs.

What is Zoho One? 

Zoho One is Zoho’s all-inclusive bundle, boasting 40+ fully-featured apps, all Enterprise-level (Zoho’s top tier of features).  You can purchase a license for any number of employees at your company for $90/user/month. However, if all employees at your company use Zoho One, the price is only $35/user/month.  Obviously, that’s a substantial difference.

What is Zoho CRM Plus? 

CRM Plus is the original Zoho bundle: Nine essential Zoho apps, all Enterprise-level, for $60/user/month, regardless of how many employees use the apps.  This gives companies a better overall cost than they would get from buying different Zoho apps a la carte. (Apps include Zoho CRM, Campaigns, Zoho Desk, SalesIQ, Social, Projects, Survey, Analytics, and Motivator.)

So, we can see these two bundles serve distinct purposes.  We can deduce from the pricing info that CRM Plus is an intuitive choice for a company looking to save on licensing for many of the apps they would need anyway. But, they might not want to give all of their employees a license.  This situation comes up frequently for manufacturers, who often have many employees who work in a warehouse or factory and never interact with computers at all.  There’s no point in those employees having Zoho licenses they will never use.

Zoho One, on the other hand, is a great choice for a company that is either:

  1. Looking to save tremendously on business software licensing costs by buying licenses for all employees, even if not all of them use the software,
  2. Needs all of their employees to use Zoho One anyway, or
  3. Stands to save a considerable amount of money by allowing some of their employees to use Zoho One rather than CRM Plus or a la carte apps.

zoho crm plus vs zoho one

The Devil’s in the Details

This is a lot to unpack, but…better the devil you know than the devil you don’t, right?  Strap in and let’s examine the three Zoho One use cases posed above.

  • Businesses stand to save a good deal on Zoho One even if not all of them use the software.  This would happen in situations where a company with fifty employees had thirty of them in need of the software, and twenty with no need for Zoho One licenses at all.  In this case, it makes more sense to eat the cost of ten additional licenses than only buy licenses for forty employees.  This is because for only forty employees, the cost of the licenses increases by nearly a factor of three!
    • 30 users * $90/user/mo (Zoho One flexible user count) = $2,700/mo in licensing
    • 50 users * $35/user/mo (Zoho One for all employees) = $1,750/mo in licensing
  • You can benefit from Zoho One for certain if you need all of your employees to use the software anyway.  No matter how many you employ, the offer is $35/user/mo if you purchase a license for all your employees.  Especially for smaller companies, this seems almost too good to be true – and, more on that below, shortly.
  • For some companies who only need some of their employees to use business software, Zoho One may make more sense than CRM Plus simply because the $90/user/mo price provides more needed functionality than would be available with CRM Plus, or CRM Plus and a combination of a la carte Zoho apps.
    • 10 users of Zoho CRM Plus with Zoho Finance Plus and Zoho Webinar ($60/user/mo + $149/company/mo + $39/user/mo) = $600/mo + $149/mo + $390/mo = $1,139/mo
    • 10 users of Zoho One (flexible user count) ($90/user/mo) = $900/mo

Remember, before deciding about Zoho CRM Plus vs Zoho One, it’s always best to get some Zoho CRM Plus consulting, or Zoho One-specific help.  You can use that consulting time not only to set up the apps you need, but to get an expert’s recommendation on which bundle to pick, Zoho CRM Plus vs Zoho One, if either are a good idea for you.

Now that we’ve gone into great detail about the different apps and scenarios when one might be better than the other, there’s still one nagging question…

Another problem: Why are Zoho losing their shirts by offering Zoho One at such a discount compared to CRM Plus?

[caption id="attachment_3832" align="alignright" width="400"]crm plus vs zoho one Okay, not quite 80% off…but darn close.[/caption]

At first glance, this looks positively insane, and you’ll be certain you’re gaming the system by buying Zoho One.  This is especially true if you run a smaller company. Imagine having so much functionality that every employee can enjoy for only $35/user/month!

But, it’s not a mistake.  Zoho has a very, very good reason for doing this.

They’re playing what’s known as a long game.  And, to put this game into context, we have to imagine what life was like before Zoho One.

The good old days

Believe it or not, there was a time when Zoho One was but a twinkle in the eye of Zoho Corporation CEO Sridar Vembu.  As they say, necessity is the mother of invention, and in this case, Zoho Corporation noticed something quite significant in their sales.

They were losing the attention of smaller businesses.

crm plus vs zoho one

A la carte apps and CRM Plus (the original bundle of apps offered by Zoho) were great for some companies.  But, for others who needed a lot of functionality to help them off the ground, Zoho’s cost for entry was simply too high.  Zoho likely lost a good number of clients to attrition during this time, and certainly lost many who simply could not stomach the price of CRM Plus, or even a handful of a la carte apps.  Others probably liked what they were getting with the a la carte apps but found themselves unable to scale, so they abandoned the platform.

In Zoho’s eyes, this was an untapped market.  And, Zoho’s idea was not just to make a bigger, badder bundle that would accommodate the needs of companies who needed more functionality.  No. They were going to offer everything they had, at a price even lower than the cost of their next-best bundle.

Consider all this:

Zoho Corporation makes its living on recurring revenue from their software.  They want businesses to use their software as long as possible by providing customers with value.  And – this is a big one – according to NAICS, there are about 1.5 million businesses that have more than 10 employees in the USA.  

This number, 1.5 million, is essentially who Zoho was marketing to in the USA with their CRM Plus software bundle.  But, if you follow the link you’ll see that there are just as many businesses in just the 5-9 employee count category.  As if that’s not crazy enough, look one row up and you’ll see there are seven times as many businesses listed as between 1-4 employees.

Again, what an enormous market.

Like Miracle-Gro for Small Biz

zoho crm plus vs zoho one

Zoho came up with this fantastic Zoho One package because they knew businesses needed some help just entering the world of Zoho. That way, they could not only realize immediate benefits of using the software, but also see what benefits they’d reap if they grew their companies.

Many small businesses remain one size forever because that’s what works for them – but, for companies that start small and grow with Zoho, those are customers Zoho never would have had access to previously.

Add in the fact that happy customers are prone to talking with their like-minded friends who run businesses, and suddenly Zoho has potentially increased their reach by millions in the USA alone.  Perhaps tens of millions worldwide!

By offering Zoho One, Zoho is betting you’ll start small with them and then grow into something that may not have been possible without the software.  Starting with Zoho and using it to grow makes it less likely you’ll use another platform in the future. If it works for you, why try anything else?

The Zoho CRM Plus vs Zoho One Review

Zoho CRM Plus and Zoho One may seem pretty confusing in how similar they are.  But, if you look beyond the names of the familiar apps, analyze the pricing a bit, and consider Zoho’s history, you see the distinctions between the two packages are pretty clear.

The Road Ahead

crm plus vs zoho one

All this, however, doesn’t mean we expect you to read this blog post and suddenly know just how to decide between Zoho CRM Plus vs Zoho One!  You’ll still have to prepare your own cost breakdowns according to what you need. And, if you don’t have time to put all that together, let alone examine your own business thoroughly to determine that exact need, this all may not have helped your stress levels.

So, let’s turn that around!  We’ve helped lots of businesspeople who were strapped for time, not only in determining which Zoho apps would work best for them, but which exact package would be best.  Is it Zoho One? CRM Plus? Maybe neither of the two? It remains to be seen, but we can show you the way so you turn from would-be Zoho user to Zoho Hero.

Then, if you need help with Zoho implementation or Zoho training, you can rest assured you made the best software choice, so you’ll have the best chance of really growing your company with Zoho, as opposed to just getting by.

Contact us today for help determining which Zoho suite to use, or for anything else Zoho-related.

3 Things a Zoho Campaigns Consultant Does For You

Zoho Campaigns Consultant = Peace of Mind

If you’re reading about marketing strategies in a blog that’s specific to Zoho consulting, chances are you’re looking for some help with Zoho Campaigns, or one of the many other apps in Zoho’s marketing stack.  And, we can definitely provide that to you. But, what you may not know is that using a Zoho Campaigns consultant is about more than just getting your Campaigns app set up the right way. It’s about giving you confidence in Zoho’s flagship marketing app (well, at least until MarketingHub usurps it) and taking stress off your plate.  It’s about giving you peace of mind in an area where you previously didn’t have much.

zoho campaigns consultant

What can a Zoho Campaigns Consultant do for you?

Zoho Campaigns gives you a lot to play with, especially during setup.  Upon first login, you’re greeted with an enormous dashboard and no good place to start.  What’s to do?

Well, that all depends.  In order to know what exactly to do with setting up Campaigns, you (or your consultant, in this case) will want to take a step back and consider some questions:

  1. What is your marketing objective by using Zoho Campaigns?
  2. How frequently do you want to email your prospects?
  3. What metrics do you use to measure marketing success?

The reason for asking these questions is simple.  Anyone can set up Zoho Campaigns so it works correctly.  But, whether or not the system is set up for your business’s needs is something else entirely.  Your answers to those questions will help your consultant set up Zoho Campaigns for you.

Diving a little deeper…

Let’s explore these questions in a little more depth.

  1. What is your marketing objective by using Zoho Campaigns?  
    • Believe it or not, your answer matters here.  For example, your app will need a different configuration for garnering new leads (outbound marketing) than it will for contacting lists of customers or prospects who already know you (inbound marketing).  You’ll use different aspects of Campaigns, either way. And, your answer will inform what kinds of information you’ll need synced to Zoho CRM.
  2. How frequently do you want to email your prospects or customers?
    • Zoho’s pricing model varies depending on the number of emails you’d like to send per month – or, the number of contacts you’d like to be able to send emails to.  For emailing large numbers of contacts, you may want to set up segments for your mailing lists. And, to protect against spam reports for very large lists, you may want to vary your sender name or even your email domain in some cases.  This ultimately protects your domain and your brand so you can use Zoho Campaigns without worrying about a blacklist every time you hit Send.
  3. What metrics do you use to measure marketing success?

zoho campaigns consultant

    • The stats you want to track to measure your own success will dictate how you set up your Campaigns.  For example, maybe you measure success in the number of signups you get for a service, or maybe you’re only tracking email opens – or, maybe you want your email marketing to lead your prospects down the entire sales funnel.  Of course, you’ll modify the content you create based on these goals too.  But, your Zoho Campaigns consultant will recommend a slightly different setup depending on your goals.

By coordinating with a Zoho Campaigns expert, you can make sure your marketing app will be set up according to the answers to these questions, and more.  Proper training would of course cover the whole spectrum of the app, but that too would be tailored to your needs somewhat to avoid confusion.

Let’s reframe: What happens without a Zoho Campaigns Consultant?

A number of things can happen.  From best to worst:

  1. Campaigns won’t be set up according to your needs.  So, even if it’s somewhat effective for boosting business, you may have untold room for improvement.
  2. Your staff will find the software too difficult to use due to improper training – or lack thereof entirely.
  3. Your marketing efforts might even confuse your customers because they misunderstand the software’s purpose, and you could actually lose business.

Don’t fall victim to improper Zoho usage!  Your success is imminent.

zoho campaigns consultant

Good email marketing can mean the difference between a flat year or a banner year for your business.  And, you have the power to decide how it all goes.

If you’re like most people involved in a business, you don’t have time for another set of responsibilities, or at the very least you’d like having some work taken off your plate.

Don’t stand for figuring out another piece of marketing software on your own.  Contact us today to get an assessment at ZBrains and begin your journey with a guide.

Zoho Commission Calculator Webinar – Thursday, June 6th!

Stop wasting time with calculations – Start paying your employees easily

Our in-depth webinar on the Zoho commission app shows you just what you can do

commission calculator webinar

It’s a shame that after all the hard work you can do in building and improving different facets of your business – whether through optimizing sales processes, increasing efficiency in operations or fulfillment, or making sure you retain the clients you worked so hard to earn – employee payments tend to be one of the most overlooked, and most inefficient parts of a company.  Of course, everyone you employ gets paid.  Maybe you even get everyone paid on time, every time.  But, how much time do you spent calculating payments or doing manual work to prepare payments so you can be on time?

If you have a complicated commission structure, chances are you spend a lot of time doing just that.  Maybe you even have someone who works full-time doing that for you!

Now, we aren’t in the business of putting people out of work, but we do like to help people better their businesses, and that includes making processes more efficient – including commission calculation. To that end, we’ve developed commission calculation software on Zoho Creator that helps do just that.

We’ll be demoing the commission calculator and going through all its various features during a Live Commission Calculator Webinar on June 6th at 10 AM PDT.  

What’s so hot about this particular commission calculator webinar?

Aside from the fact that we built this app on Zoho Creator (so it integrates with Zoho CRM and other programs), this commission app is part of a software suite called FieldTech.  FieldTech is a software bundle built on Zoho that improves the functionality of Zoho, especially for service, construction, and manufacturing/distribution companies.  You don’t have to use all of FieldTech to use this commission calculator.  But, if you need to, the option is there – and we consider it a great “gateway” to the FieldTech suite, for those looking to refresh and optimize their business software suite.

Some features we’ll be going over in the webinar:

  • Calculating commission based on a fixed amount, revenue amount, or profit margin
  • Spiffs and incentives
  • Splitting commission between multiple reps or teams
  • Commission overrides
  • Commission approvals
  • Clawbacks or credits for refunds
  • Sales rep portal for up-to-the-minute commission totals
  • Emailed commission statements
  • Integration with Zoho CRM
  • Integration with Zoho Finance

commission calculator webinar

Stay right there for the Q&A session after the walkthrough!

After we show the features of the commission calculator, we’ll be answering any questions you have about the app.  Stay tuned in so you can ask us questions about the app, as well as listen to others ask questions of their own.

==> Register for the webinar here.

Thank you for stopping by this post, and we’ll see you on Thursday!

Zoho Creator Record Templates

Zoho Creator Record Templates make your custom apps even more personalized

When you think of Zoho, you undoubtedly think of a few different words or phrases.  One of those is very likely “customizable.” When you use Zoho, you know you have all sorts of options for customizing all the apps in the suite.  Following that tradition, Zoho has brought customization to record templates in Zoho Creator, so you can customize even more of your experience – or, in this case, your customers’ experience.

zoho creator record templates

Custom Record Templates in Zoho Creator? What for?

Zoho Creator record templates behave pretty similarly to Zoho CRM custom inventory templates.  Those custom templates allow you to customize what your customer sees when you send them an invoice, for example.  You may track all sorts of information related to your invoice in the CRM – but, how that invoice appears to your customer is very much up to you.  Place information exactly where you want it on your template with merge fields in Zoho Creator, just like you would on inventory templates in Zoho CRM.

But, wait. Why use Zoho Creator for this stuff at all?

It’s a common question: Zoho has so many different ways of doing nearly anything.  Why use Zoho Creator to create these record templates when you could just use the CRM?

You’ll want to use Zoho Creator when you have particular business needs that standard Zoho apps won’t meet.  Creator can be customized much more heavily than even very malleable Zoho apps, so the possibilities for your custom app are far greater.  At the end of the day, you’ll likely store some data in the Zoho Creator app instead of a standard app like Zoho CRM.  Zoho Creator record templates provide a way to act on the data in that system so you don’t have to transfer it to the CRM first.

Sound confusing?  We hope not – but if so, just ask us and we can walk you through it.

zoho creator record templates

Create all kinds of record templates

The possibilities are endless; here are just a few you could use in your own apps:

  • Estimates or custom quotes
  • Brochures, catalogs, or sell sheets
  • Certificates
  • Newsletters or campaign emails
  • Name tags

These templates will all be tied to different record types.  For example, you may keep records in your Zoho Creator app called Estimates, Brochures, Certificates, or Newsletters.  The templates you design will allow you to customize how each of these records look.

Starting is a cinch!

Creating your own Zoho Creator record templates or modifying pre-built templates is easy:

  1. Navigate to your Creator app Settings menu and select Record Templates.  
  2. Click the New Template button, where you’ll choose between modifying a pre-designed record template, or creating a brand new template you can mark up as needed.

The drag-and-drop interface makes creating or editing record templates simple.  And, if you’re somewhat code-savvy, you can even drop HTML into the templates. Then your record templates are ready to use.

Once you’ve created and distributed records as needed using the record templates, you or your customers can print or export individual records as PDFs (just like inventory templates or emails) using special Zoho Creator URLs.

zoho creator record templates

The hits keep coming

With Zoho, the world really is your oyster – and this new feature in Zoho Creator reinforces that notion, making Creator an even more versatile platform on which to build custom applications.  There’s a lot you can do with Zoho Creator; in fact, we’ve even built our own vertical software for field services and construction companies on it.

In a bind? Contact us!

Let us know if you need any help architecting your own custom app – or just need help with Zoho Creator record templates – and we’ll plan it all out with you.  We can even build it for you if you so choose.

Zoho Premium Partners and Software Commoditization

You Want It, They Got It – And, Now What?

Why having one of the Zoho Premium Partners by your side means more than ever today

Rest easy!  This is only a 5-7 minute read.

zoho premium partners

When you think of the word Zoho, chances are you also think of the word choices.  Within its library of 45+ apps (which expands nearly every month), Zoho also offers a number of subscription editions, each with its own advantages and drawbacks.  And, nearly limitless customization possible in each respective edition. So, when planning to introduce your business to Zoho, the average consumer (or even the above-average one) faces the daunting task of not only keeping that business afloat as usual, but learning a brand-new software system with all its idiosyncrasies, and keeping track of the constant growth and development of that software, too…

It’s a lot to get your head around.  Frankly, I don’t know how anyone goes into a Zoho implementation themselves with even a slight degree of confidence – unless they are already intimately familiar with the system from a previous job.  Self-deployment usually comes with a lot of hard knocks.

But, this post isn’t just a commiseration session.  Instead, I want to bring to light just why this limitless library of software means you need a Zoho consultant in your life.  And, not just any Zoho consultant, but a Zoho Premium Partner.

Really So Obvious?

While it’s true that, yes, you need someone to help you with Zoho because there’s potentially a lot of software to deal with, that’s not the end of the story.  There’s a reason why this is the case.  Something known as the “infinite store shelf” has severely disrupted all sorts of businesses – most notably software vendors.  

Take a Trip Down Memory Lane…

zoho premium partners

The theory goes that we used to just walk into stores to make purchases, and even with larger catalogs, the array of items to choose from had a limit.  And, expanding upon that, people knew the purpose of what they were trying to buy, so there wasn’t much confusion.

Now, in the present day, the situation has completely changed.  Search engines have brought us all much, much closer together. Plus, we’ve brought all the products we peddle along for the ride.  When software companies in particular create new products, other software companies (wisely looking for a piece of the profit that comes with a new product) then offer their own takes on those products.  Then, before you know it, you – the consumer – are in a world with infinite software choices. And furthermore, the moment you learned all there is to learn about, say, one software app of your choice, you then learn the app has been updated, or it’s spun off another, similar app that may be better, or…

Did I mention it was a lot of work?

(This is why Zoho’s own business model of providing more than just a single software app, like Zoho CRM, works so well.  Choice paralysis is very real, so if you’re going to bombard someone with options, the least you can do is make them all easily accessible from underneath your own family of products.  This is what Zoho is aiming for with their Zoho One suite of apps.)

The Harsh Bite of Reality

zoho premium partners

Now, just imagine having to do all that preparation, not just for Zoho CRM, but for Zoho Campaigns, Zoho Books, or even Zoho MarketingHub.  It’s not possible to take on yourself unless doing so is your sole job.

The idea that once a new product is born, it turns into something everyone has to have is called software commoditization (or commodification).  We’ve talked about software as a commodity before, but not at this particular angle.  And, I’m guessing you’re working out why this software commoditization makes having a Zoho consultant so important.

So, that’s easy enough, right?  Why shouldn’t you just pick from a list of Zoho consultants?

What Zoho Premium Partners Mean in the World of Software as a Commodity

zoho premium partners

The overall problem with software as a commodity is that with nearly infinite software choices, the learning curve for your system is potentially infinite as well.  Getting help from a Zoho consultant may get you started on the right foot, but that’s only half the battle.

Zoho Premium Partners like ZBrains are distinct from other Zoho consultants in the breadth of their achievements for other clients.  To achieve the rank of Premium Partner (Zoho’s highest current designation for partners, replacing the old Alliance Partner title), a partner must:

  • Not just generate, but grow Zoho licensing revenue for the clients they serve by $200,000 from the previous year
  • Develop not just on Zoho CRM, but on Zoho Creator as well
  • Produce a number of case studies per year

So, what do all these statistics mean?

    1. Generating Zoho revenue: This means that clients under our watch have successfully grown their businesses with Zoho, to the tune of over $200,000 higher than the previous year.  That doesn’t take into account the number of clients a partner serves; it’s just an overall revenue figure – but, it sets us apart from other Zoho partners who may not have as much experience.
    2. Developing for multiple apps: Zoho CRM is a fantastic hub for most any business, but many businesses need help with more than just customer relationship management.  Choosing a partner who works with multiple Zoho apps, including Zoho Creator (Zoho’s platform as a service), significantly expands your software customization options.
    3. Case study production: Case studies are a great way for Zoho Premium Partners to demonstrate how they’ve helped past clients.  Other types of Zoho partners aren’t required to produce these.

With all that said, we don’t take our distinction as one of the Zoho Premium Partners lightly at all. We worked hard to get to where we are now, and we too attended that school of hard knocks.  But, now we’re here, and our sole purpose is to help you deploy software in the best way possible for your business.

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Bringing It All Together

In summary, the “infinite store shelf” and the general turning of business software from a luxury item into a commodity, makes it much more difficult to master – let alone select – the program(s) your business will end up using.  The more traditional buying experience may be gone, but that doesn’t mean you’re entirely in the dark. You just need a more qualified software consultant to help you deploy your Zoho apps. And, Zoho Premium Partners have more of the necessary qualifications to ensure your deployment not only goes smoothly, but is correct for your business.