Author : Jeremy Mozlin

Getting Buy-in When You’re Just Starting on Zoho

Getting Buy-in When You’re Just Starting on Zoho

On a time crunch?  This is a 7-minute read.

If there’s one thing we’ve said before but really can’t stress enough, it’s the importance of proper adoption when deploying Zoho apps for the first time.  Don’t worry, I can already see your eyes glazing over with that barrage of buzzwords. Because I understand your pain, I’ll try to make this “Zoho for beginners” article as painless as possible while also being informative.  The truth is there are several solid suggestions to ensure you have the strength of your whole team behind you when getting started on Zoho – and you can avoid spitting instructions at a bored or disgruntled room.

We may be salespeople here at ZBrains, but we aren’t psychologists, so there won’t be any Jedi mind tricks here, aside from those already built into Zoho’s software (they are the clever ones).  Without further ado, let’s get started!

zoho for beginners canary in coalmine

Zoho Cliq: Your Canary in the Coalmine

Before you buy a new car, you’ll probably want to test-drive it.  In this case, I want you to think of Zoho Cliq as a precursor to more involved Zoho apps like Zoho CRM, Zoho Books, Desk, Projects, and others.  Cliq, as you may already know, is Zoho’s answer to Slack, a popular intra-office chat software.  

Cliq is nice because it does basically the same thing as Slack, but it comes pre-integrated into Zoho CRM, Zoho Desk, and Zoho People – the idea being that your staff who use primarily one app the whole day don’t have to log into another app just to chat with other folks in the office.

The other nice thing about Cliq is it’s really darn easy to use, at least for most people.  You could add a safeguard against low adoption to your Zoho rollout by choosing to deploy Cliq for your whole team first, then letting the questions roll in.  And, if there aren’t any stragglers, you can safely assume you can roll out more difficult and important apps like CRM with only the usual training-related questions.  (And, fortunately for you, we provide Zoho training, so that’s even less on your plate.)

zoho for beginners training

Zoho Desk: like a Miniature CRM

Ready for yet another driving analogy?  Good, I’m not either. But, the fact is there’s another way to prepare for something as complex as Zoho CRM.  Rolling out Zoho Cliq first is great at letting you know who your “problem children” might be, but it’s not the same as sticking them into the fire, so to speak, and watching them try to survive.  And, I don’t want you to think about doing that. Instead, consider deploying a slightly more complex app, something that has a lot of the same features as the CRM without being the CRM itself.  That app is Zoho Desk.  

Desk has ways to sort through customers, prioritize emails in the form of tickets, and progress tickets through a series of possible actions with Blueprint, a feature that was first introduced in Zoho CRM.  From an administrative standpoint, it even includes workflow automation, so your CRM admin-to-be can get their feet wet with that, too. That way, they can be better prepared  for working with it more heavily in the CRM.

Even if Zoho Desk isn’t quite as easy as Cliq for year team to get their collective head around, it’s what our Chief Solutions Architect James Converse calls a “soft landing” point.  Essentially, if you’re gonna crash-land, make it on a nice comfy mattress instead of the hard asphalt.

All Done Testing? Time to Implement in Earnest

If you’ve already gone through these motions and it looks like your staff is ready to roll with you on Zoho, then that’s great!  Staff buy-in is one of the most important pieces of a successful Zoho deployment, especially if it involves using more than one Zoho app.

When it comes to Zoho implementation, you have the option to do it yourself or hire a consultant to help you.  There are advantages and pitfalls to both ways of doing it, so we’ll analyze those here:

zoho adoption consulting

Ensuring Zoho Adoption When You Implement Yourself

We usually tell people the most important part of any Zoho implementation isn’t the deployment of their specific custom fields, modules, and screens.  Nor is it the programming of workflow automation and blueprint (when necessary), or the writing of custom functions to ensure their system adheres to very specific business logic.  It’s not any of that.  Actually, it’s a lot more basic.

It’s the training.

Training in this case is almost like buy-in, and sometimes the two are interchangeable!  Some of your staff will give you their buy-in from being trained, and others will need to buy into an idea before opening themselves to the idea of learning a new system – but, it all looks the same in the end.

In any case, properly training your staff ensures everyone uses your system the way it was meant to be used.  You’ll probably need to train administrators at your business and have those admins train your other staff members.  Maybe you’re the only admin – and, that’s fine too. But, you’ll need to confirm that each person using a specific app knows exactly what to do in that app and when to do it.  

For example: in Zoho CRM, you might want to impart to a salesperson how to enter leads into your database, how and when to convert them to contacts, accounts, and deals, and how to use the Activities module and tasks to structure their day.  And that’s just a small portion!

Obviously, administering training for a Zoho app yourself is a big deal.  It isn’t for everyone, especially if you’re already trying to run a business.  You just don’t have time!

Zoho adoption training

Ensuring Adoption When Using a Zoho Consultant

Fortunately, you don’t have to work terribly hard to ensure proper Zoho adoption if you hire a Zoho consultant to help with system deployment.  That’s our job! We’ve done Zoho implementations many, many times, and while no business is exactly the same as the next, basic training on Zoho CRM and other apps tend to be pretty regimented.  We almost always give training sessions in advance of the actual app deployments.  And, we allot some time at the end of our training sessions for a Q&A session.  The answers to those questions usually get everyone’s noggins joggin’, and this makes the following Zoho consulting sessions to configure custom fields and screens that much more fruitful.

Now, you’re probably wondering how we find out about your business enough to recommend a Zoho plan that includes training on it, right?

The Truth About Our Zoho Consulting

It’s true that (nearly) everyone needs proper Zoho training, but after the training sessions our consulting sessions become much more tailored towards your business.  Zoho can be both a blessing and a curse in that it gives you multiple ways to do almost anything in business.  The question is always:

“What’s the best way to do all these things in the context of my own business?”  

We figure out exactly which way to go with you by sitting down for a consulting session called a Business Process Analysis.  In a BPA, we spend time with you and your team in order to get our heads around your whole business – then we make our formal recommendations to you, kind of like a doctor.  Only, this isn’t just a five-minute wham-bam appointment. And, there’s no smelly waiting room either.

You may be starting to see just how much goes into deploying Zoho.  It’s not something we take lightly, and you shouldn’t either. We’re here to help you every step of the way, from planning, to training, to deployment – and beyond.

zoho for beginners getting buy-in

To Recap

We covered a fair bit in this article, so to recap, we:

  1. Suggested implementing Zoho Cliq or Zoho Desk as a way to prepare your staff for a more complete Zoho deployment
  2. Demonstrated training as a way to get ultimate staff buy-in
  3. Discussed the value of a  business consulting session to get a plan in place to ensure you do everything the right way.

This isn’t a call to carry all these out yourself, of course. In the grand scheme of things, you may be working with much more than Zoho CRM, Cliq, and Desk.  (There’s Zoho Books for your finances…and 40+ other apps in the whole Zoho One suite.)  And, as Zoho consultants, we’d probably do it in a reverse order (point 3, then 2, then 1).  But, that may not be your style, so if you don’t want to engage with a Zoho consultant like us, you could really do any of these to help ensure buy-in from your staff.  Regardless, as mentioned before, hopefully these points on Zoho for beginners get the old noggin joggin’.

Let us know if you need any help with Zoho by clicking the Contact Us button in the upper right-hand corner of this page.

Zoho CRM vs Close.io

Zoho CRM vs Close.io CRM: Different Strokes for Different Folks

zoho crm vs close.io

In the search for the best CRM for your business, you have more than just a handful of options – and more of them are popping up every day.  Beginning in 2013, Close.io has emerged as a competitor to Zoho, so it’s time we took a good look at both platforms to determine the pros and cons of Zoho CRM vs Close.io.  

In the spirit of delivering instant gratification (it is 2019, after all!), I’ll say this to start: Choosing between Zoho CRM vs Close.io really depends on the type of business you run.  Even more to the point: Do you run a call center with very few business software needs aside from the CRM? Then, consider Close.io.

What makes Close.io so appealing?

zoho crm vs close.io

In a word: Simplicity.  When people come to us at ZBrains with some questions about getting Zoho to work best for their businesses, they often remark that Zoho seems simple, but in taking a look under the hood, they realize there’s a lot than can be done to customize or improve the software, and the DIY approach that Zoho Corp themselves like to tout isn’t always the best.  Not to mention Zoho CRM can connect to a slew of other Zoho apps, potentially.

Conversely, with Close.io CRM, the interface looks very simple and easily customizable – perhaps even on your own.  Close.io is very direct in its approach to selling you, the consumer, on their software, too: whereas Zoho is a family of apps, Close is a CRM equipped with a powerful phone integration, SMS integration, and email integration – and, that’s it.  For some businesses, this is enough – at least to start with. But, it’s probably not for everyone.

How do the features of Zoho CRM vs Close.io stack up?

Close.io is banking on its simplicity to entice potential customers, so I’ll go through the list of features advertised on Close.io’s own website and compare those to anything Zoho offers in the same realm.

[caption id="attachment_3507" align="aligncenter" width="600"]zoho crm vs close.io Close.io’s pipeline management[/caption]

Workflow and pipeline management

Close comes with a feature akin to Zoho CRM’s Feeds called Timeline View to make sure you see what you’ve already done (and, likely show an administrator what you’ve been up to as well).  You can manage your pipeline with a built-in feature that reminds me of Zoho SalesInbox, which organizes emails in order of importance, by associated deal size, etc.  

Close.io also includes canned and customizable reports, a search tool that covers the whole CRM, as well as custom lead module views so you can filter through leads easily and see only the ones you need.  All of these are useful features to have, but nothing revolutionary.

The Phones: Where Close.io Shines

The chief difference between Zoho CRM vs Close.io CRM, other than the latter’s lightness, is its native power dialer, predictive dialer, and SMS integration.  Power dialers are very useful in situations when you have a sales staff that needs to spend as much time on the phone as possible, as it automatically dials numbers and minimizes the time your team spends disconnected, as it were.

Close.io combines this power dialer with a predictive dialer (in select software editions), which takes the power dialer up a notch by only dialing numbers that have the best chance of connecting.  This, in turn, allows users to have more successful phone conversations, and also reduce the number of calls that don’t connect.

Lastly, Close.io CRM packs a built-in SMS message integration, which allows users to send texts straight from the CRM – either individually or in bulk.

[caption id="attachment_3506" align="aligncenter" width="600"]zoho crm vs close.io Zoho CRM’s phone integration[/caption]

Zoho, while sporting many native phone system integrations such as RingCentral and Jive, doesn’t have a built-in power dialer or predictive dialing system of its own.  (You can use the Zoho Twilio SMS integration to send text messages for an extra development fee, however.)

The Integrations: Close.io CRM vs Zoho CRM

zoho crm vs close.io

Both Close.io and Zoho CRM boast a fair number of native integrations, but Zoho’s advantage in this regard is almost unfair.  This is because Zoho isn’t just a CRM but an entire family of apps designed to support each other. With Close.io you get their CRM, of course – and you get access to help desk integrations, marketing campaign tools, a website messaging app, lead generation apps, reporting apps, and even third-party sync tools like Zapier – to connect other third-party apps.  Some of these integrations are native and others are third-party.

Zoho’s native integrations help its case significantly

On the other hand, with Zoho, you also get access to many of those same kinds of tools: a help desk (Zoho Desk), marketing automation (Zoho Campaigns), website messaging (Zoho SalesIQ), advanced analytics, and about 35 other apps.  The difference with Zoho is all of their apps integrate natively and, in many cases, have the same UI so the user experience is much more unified than it would be otherwise.

The importance of your software being able to communicate natively with other apps in the same family can’t be understated – take it from someone who regularly counsels business owners on whether to use Zoho Books in conjunction with CRM or use a Zoho CRM integration with QuickBooks.  Sometimes the QuickBooks integration is the only way to go – and we’re happy to supply the integration to those in need – but whenever the business has a choice, we always recommend going native and staying away from third-party integrations, as those are inherently less stable than something that’s already part of your software system.

What’s more: Custom Zoho apps make Zoho CRM a big winner

[caption id="attachment_3510" align="alignleft" width="300"]zoho crm vs close.io Make your own masterpiece (app) with Zoho Creator[/caption]

The thing that really separates Zoho CRM from Close.io CRM, however, isn’t just the number of apps it can plug into – it’s the ability to build your very own custom apps and connect them to the CRM, using the power of Zoho Creator.  Granted, you may need some Zoho consulting to determine the best possible way to build your app, or connect it to the CRM, using the context of your entire business.  But, the very possibility (and notable companies verifying its success) make Zoho an enterprise-level solution that Close.io simply cannot parallel, even with its collection of native features and integrations.

Zoho CRM vs Close.io CRM Pricing: It’s no contest

zoho crm vs close.io

Whereas in many areas, Zoho CRM and Close.io are pretty comparable, pricing is an area where Zoho shows its sheer power by not only undercutting the competition, but by offering much more bang for your buck.  

Close.io has three service tiers ranging in price from $65 to $145 per user per month.  For a team of ten employees, that’s between $650 and $1,450 per month in software licensing costs.  Add in the costs of any third-party connected apps, and you could be looking at several hundred dollars more per month in recurring costs.

Zoho, on the other hand, also offers different tiers of service, ranging from $18 to $45 per user per month.  But, this isn’t even where Zoho really shines. Zoho’s flagship offering, Zoho One – a suite of over 40 business apps whose numbers and features grow on a monthly basis – is just $35 per user per month, as long as all of your W-2 employees use the system.  (1099 contractors are not affected by this; only W-2 employees are forced to have accounts.) For a similar team of ten employees, you’d be looking at up to $350/mo. Even factoring in a few hundred more dollars for other apps you may need to use along with Zoho One, the costs are only comparable to the lowest level of Close.io – and you get so much more functionality.

Which one should you choose? Depends on your business trajectory

Despite the huge difference in pricing between Zoho CRM vs Close.io, and despite the gap in functionality as well, Close.io is strong in one very specific area: communication integrations.  Clearly, they are targeting a specific sort of business. The question is, do you run that kind of business?  And, will that type of business ever change or grow as you scale?

Close.io CRM is fantastic for heavy phone sales, and they give you the ability to connect to many different business apps you may already use.  But, Zoho excels in many other areas besides CRM, and their pricing structure makes choosing Zoho an absolute home run in the short term and the long run.

February 2019 New Feature Roundup: Zoho Books, Zoho Expense, and More

February 2019 New Feature Roundup: Zoho Books, Zoho Expense, and More

zoho books zoho expense

At a time when Zoho CRM has been dubbed either a “Leader” or “High Performer” in every business category according to a G2Crowd report, Zoho Corporation has used the momentum from their growing flagship app to push out some great updates to a different suite, the Zoho Finance Platform.  This suite, which includes Zoho Books, Zoho Expense, Zoho Inventory, and Zoho Subscriptions, can be used alongside the CRM to manage a business’s finances, while the CRM handles sales activities and forecasting.

Zoho is innovation at its core

Improving existing apps is the name of the game for Zoho, and this current round of updates should only strengthen Zoho’s brand in the coming months and years.  And given all that, we could not be happier to share these updates with you!

These are just some of the updates Zoho is pushing to their Finance Plus platform.  Keep an eye out for these and many more on the horizon:

zoho books zoho expense

Zoho Books

  1. File 1099s easily with a Yearli integration.  Yearli, which files 1099-MISC forms to the US federal government and applicable state governments during tax season, now integrates directly with Zoho Books.  This means no more double-entry between those two platforms. You can activate this integration from inside of Yearli and import data directly, where it will be ready to submit.
  2. Got new users?  Show them “What’s Next.”  Similar to the Zoho CRM blueprint feature, a new “What’s Next” tab in the Invoices module of Zoho Books tells users of your system the potential actions they can take next, related to an invoice record.  These actions are customizable based on any user’s permissions, and you can turn this new feature on and off as needed.
  3. Branding and Client Portal modules are combined.  Pretty self-explanatory; these modules had been separated, but now you can control the look of your customers’ invoices, actions customers can take, and your custom portal domain all from the same place.
  4. Get quicker answers to your Zoho Books questions.  Page Tips, available near the upper right corner of Zoho Books, now has a search bar that links directly to Zoho Books FAQ.  This will likely cut down on time spent calling your Zoho consultant for help (although we are always happy to hear from you too!).

zoho books zoho expense

Zoho Expense

  1. Different Expense categories = different experiences.  Now, you can personalize the expense creation experience based on the expense category selected by your staff.  Use categories to enable or disable certain fields, pre-fill values in fields, or add tooltips or hints to fields to streamline users’ experience.  This particular update for Zoho Expense is coming soon, so keep your eyes peeled!
  2. Use Web Tabs for a more integrated experience.  When you’re switching between related tabs in Zoho Expense, what could be better than having related websites directly integrated as you enter or approve expenses?  Use new Web Tabs to keep booking sites or other pricing sites you frequent close at hand, integrated with Zoho Expense.
  3. Do you use Xero?  Now you can integrate it with Expense.  This prevents having to enter expense info across two platforms.  The integration syncs Customers, Expense Accounts, and Categories between Xero and Zoho Expense.  Plus, all approved expenses can be synced to Xero automatically. Nice time saver!

zoho books zoho expense

Zoho Inventory

  1. Do you categorize your items?  So does Inventory.  This is a simple but much-needed update to organize inventory based on category.  Zoho Inventory allows you to run reports not just on items themselves, but on categories of items to gauge performance.
  2. Process only what you need, and nothing you don’t.  You can now manually add items to a package to ship, or even scan their barcodes for an even quicker experience.  This ensures you only process items you need to ship, regardless of the items’ quantity on a related Sales Order.
  3. Simpler orders?  Ship quickly and invoice instantly!  For less involved orders, you now have the ability to select a SO and create a manual shipment without needing to create a Package record first.  (You can also mark those shipments as delivered right away, manually.) Last but not least, create invoices directly from SOs without going through the usual invoice edit page.
  4. Never go Less Than Zero.  It’s easy to get bogged down when dealing with multiple orders at once, and it’s possible to exhaust your product stock when managing it on two different screens.  Now, you can restrict creation of a transaction when it would bring an item’s stock below 0 – and, you can turn this feature on and off as needed.

zoho books zoho expense

Zoho Subscriptions

  1. View all your credit notes as a list.  Now, instead of searching in different places for a customer’s credit notes, you can see them all in a list view.  Simple, but absolutely a time-saver!
  2. Extend subscriptions instantly.  Extending subscriptions when they were meant to be limited used to be a pain, what with having to create a new subscription record and crowding up your customers’ records.  Now, you can extend any limited subscription by a specific number of cycles, and you’re good to go.

zoho books zoho expense

Hop on this train before it leaves the station

Given all these updates to the Zoho Finance platform, and coupled with Zoho’s already inexpensive price point (for example, Zoho Books can be just $29/mo per company by itself), it’s never been a better time to get into Zoho.  Zoho CRM picks up market share seemingly daily, and the Zoho Finance apps will likely follow suit as their feature library continues to grow.  

Wouldn’t it be nice to get in on the ground floor…when it’s still on the ground?  If you’ve ever been curious about Zoho Books, Zoho Expense, or any other Zoho app, it’s a great time to contact us so we can show you how your business would run on Zoho. Whether you use a simple spreadsheet or you’re well-versed in all things accounting – there’s something for everyone here.  Contact us and let’s chat!

Zoho CRM Blueprint – The Blueprint to Sales Success

Zoho CRM Blueprint – The Blueprint to Sales Success

Hello, everyone!  This is the second post in a series on the latest new offerings in the realm of Zoho CRM.  Zoho has chosen to focus heavily on sales automation for this round of upgrades, and with good reason: as CRM is the most expensive and arguably most important Zoho offering, Zoho wants to ensure you get the most bang for your buck.  These new offerings are only available with Zoho CRM Enterprise (and now Zoho One), so the powers that be really want to entice you to use that version of the software.  And, for good reason – it’s already the best version of the system.  So, without further ado, let’s talk Zoho CRM Blueprint.

(You can find the first post of the series on Zia, the AI-powered sales tool, right here.)

I say Blueprint, you say…

When someone mentions a blueprint to you, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

Probably a plan to build a house or other structure, but it isn’t a full rendering.  Really more like a cross section showing all the walls, windows, and beyond… The guts of the edifice, where the wires and pipes go, the lighting fixtures – everything.

And so it is with your sales cycle, in a manner of speaking.  Even if you don’t see everything at once.

See, sometimes your salespeople need a blueprint to get from A to B.  Obviously they know how to sell, but, especially in today’s technology-driven work environment, outside stimuli are everywhere.  And, it can be easy to get distracted and lose focus.

So, wouldn’t it be nice if your salespeople had a blueprint, a sort of road map to get where they need to go, in terms of sales?

Obviously this is all a little abstract, but I’m hoping you’re with me so far!  This is Zoho CRM Blueprint:

zoho crm blueprint

What we essentially have here is a literal blueprint to success for your sales team.  This document has a few different color-coded blocks: White rectangles correspond to stages in the Deals module, while the gold parallelograms correspond to potential actions your salespeople can take in relation to those stages.

Now, ordinarily, your sales staff might have deal stages in front of them and just be expected to follow up with clients on a schedule, moving the deals stages accordingly when appropriate.  But, that isn’t always enough to ensure success, as general instructions aren’t always clear.  Even if you or your Zoho consultant of choice have set up workflow rules for your sales staff to let them know what tasks they need to carry out in relation to a deal, salespeople still have to access the task and click “complete.”  Zoho CRM Blueprint takes this routine a step further, making it possible to complete tasks directly from the Deal screen and giving those tasks a wider context from which salespeople can view them and understand exactly where they are in the sales cycle.

Zoho CRM blueprint allows for setting simple instructions, as the illustration above shows: Start.  Schedule Appointment.  Qualify.  And so on.  Like a Zoho training session, but better.

Drawing up your Zoho CRM Blueprint

Unlike conventional blueprints, using Zoho CRM blueprint doesn’t require the use of drafting programs to really nail down – in fact, you don’t even really need a steady hand.  It really is as easy as creating deal stages, creating per-deal tasks for salespeople (called “transitions”), connecting the dots, and doing a little drag-and-drop.  Observe:

zoho crm blueprint

You can give conditions to Zoho CRM Blueprint transitions, too.

Part of drawing up your sales process involves setting parameters, and of course you’ll want to make sure everyone is on the same page.  You can use these parameters to ensure that, for example, contracts are closed within a certain window of time, or that your sales staff doesn’t go crazy with giving out discounts.  When your sales team goes to complete a transition, they’ll see an additional dialog box if you choose to add one asking for some details:

zoho crm blueprint

Not only does this keep your sales team in line with your company vision, but it gives you even more data with which to build reports and gauge the health of your company.  For example, with the data collected from this dialog box to the right, you’ll be able to determine the average discount rate given by all sales team members, the average discount given by salesperson, and of course the amount of time taken to close a deal by salesperson and on the whole, if you aren’t already collecting that data elsewhere.

Thankfully, Zoho CRM anticipates this is just what you’ll be doing and created a screen just for drilling down into this data.  Kinda makes me want to go in and start playing with it right now… Either that or make some sales; I haven’t quite decided yet.

zoho crm blueprint

How do these Blueprints fit into Zoho’s ultimate vision for the CRM?

Again, Zoho’s game as of late seems to be taking the sales process and automating as much of it as humanly possible, so after implementation you hardly have to touch it at all.  After all, why spend any time thinking of what to do to improve sales processes if a machine can analyze your behavior and tell you exactly what works and what doesn’t?  Why fret over which tasks to complete in what order if you can have the Zoho CRM blueprint right in front of you?  Of course, Zoho recognizes that less time spent thinking means more time spent doing actual work, and since, barring your deftly-worded phone conversations, sales procedures themselves don’t tend to be all that individualized – that is, they tend to fit right onto a blueprint.

Hungry for more?

Well, that makes at least two of us.  I can’t wait to see what else Zoho has in store in terms of sales automation.  The very prospect is a little mind-boggling: someone had to design the sales process itself, but once it’s committed to the blueprint and you have a dedicated staff to carry it out, it arguably runs itself.

Stay tuned for more updates like these, and let me know if you have any questions by clicking the link below this post!

 

 

Introducing Zia, Zoho CRM’s AI-powered assistant

Howdy, you zany, tech-minded readers.  This blog’s been a little quiet lately… and, rather than bore you with my very personal story of wearing 19 different hats, solving global hunger, and curing cancer, I figure I should just get down to business and tell you about some new Zoho offerings, as that is what I seem to do best.  So, without further ado, let’s talk about Zoho’s newest addition to the CRM: Zia.

Zoho CRM is getting even better

zoho crm zia

Zoho has, in fact, been just as busy developing new product extensions as we’ve been over here helping Zoho users.  Their last big CRM update was almost a year ago, in June 2016, when they came out with the new UI, so I suppose they were due for an update.  (Zoho doesn’t seem to be able to fathom letting most apps stagnate for more than a year.)  This round of new additions certainly did not disappoint.  This blog post will cover one of those updates, while some of the next blog posts I write will cover the others.

So, this Zia.  What is it, exactly, and why is it here?

Zia: Like having a business coach right at your desk

zoho crm zia

Zia is a nifty little widget that sits right in the lower right corner of your CRM (if you’re using Enterprise edition, that is) and gathers information about how you use the CRM.  That’s everything from how many tasks you complete (and their types) and which records you interact with, to what emails and templates you’re sending out to your prospects and clients.  Zoho’s AI tool then delivers predictions about how well you’re going to be doing, sales-wise, not only to individual users, but to team leaders as well.

Zia also points out anomalies with special Zoho CRM screens

One important part of forecasting sales is pinpointing aberrations in your trends and finding out just why they occur.  Zia can hopefully help you prevent these weird glitches entirely with the helpful tips, but, if she doesn’t (yes, it’s a she – Zoho told me so), she provides extra screens with charts to help you visualize sales trends versus actual figures.  Pretty neat.

zoho crm zia

But, where else can we find Zia inside Zoho CRM?

Zia isn’t limited to just a few screens and a lower-right widget.  Truth be told, you can find her in every lead or contact you’ve reached out to in the form of SalesSignals, a real-time recommendation as to the best time to call someone.

[caption id="attachment_2411" align="alignleft" width="168"]zoho crm zia Hm, looks like I missed my mark today.[/caption]

And furthermore, Zia will even politely interrupt you after seeing you’ve performed a particularly rudimentary task over and over again, asking if you want to create a macro that simply does that task for you.

So, if it isn’t abundantly clear why you should use Zia, this is the gist:

  1. Zia sees where you’re spending time doing tasks and helps to automate them.
  2. She sees when you’re contacting people, when you’re having the most success, then generates suggestions about how to duplicate that success.
  3. Zia notices anomalies in your forecasting and offers suggestions about how to rectify those before they become realities.

Basically, it’s like having a coach right there at your desk to help you use the CRM.  Not a bad deal, as the price of Enterprise hasn’t gone up…but, you might just want to upgrade to that version if you aren’t on it yet!

Still need some help with Zoho CRM?

Did you just upgrade to Enterprise edition and get confused by the array of new features, including Zia or Blueprint?  Or, are you a new Zoho user looking for some expert Zoho consulting?  Just contact us using the button below this blog post and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

Cheers,

Jeremy

3 Ways the DIY Zoho QuickBooks Integration Gives You Control

If you’re any sort of follower of this site, you already know that we provide an integration between Zoho CRM and QuickBooks – for both Desktop and Online versions of QuickBooks.

quickbooks zoho integration

However, you may not have known that our new version of the integration is totally do-it-yourself and gives you a host of great new options for managing your data.  Whereas before you’d have to consult with our engineers whenever you needed to change a field mapping or make any sort of tweak to your settings, our new dashboard makes it easier than ever to sync, filter, and back-fill your data.

#1. Customized field mapping for your company

quickbooks zoho integration

If you’ve implemented Zoho CRM you probably know a thing or two about CRM customization – namely, that it has to be done for your business to run effectively.  That said, it probably doesn’t make much sense for you to even attempt to map your data from your CRM to QuickBooks, or vice-versa, using a predetermined mapping scheme.  Our DIY dashboard gives you the ability to set field mapping across platforms yourself, even to custom fields.

 

#2. Record filtering so you only sync what you need

quickbooks zoho integration

Your company might have criteria in place to transfer records from one system to another so your systems don’t get bogged down with unnecessary information.  For example, maybe you only want to transfer a Zoho account record to QuickBooks if that account has an email address present.  Well, just because you’re moving to a new syncing system doesn’t mean you should have to lose that criteria!  With our record filtering module, you can set criteria by which records can sync – as many criteria as you want, and for any of the modules you have available to you.

#3. Migrate your historical data so your systems match

quickbooks zoho integration

When you’re moving from an old system to a new one, it can be a real pain to back-fill all your old data so your systems are communicating with each other effectively.  If you simply don’t have the time to spend babysitting a data migration, why not let our data migration tool do the job for you?  For migrating data from an old system to a fresh, new one, nothing works better: just select your historical sync dates by module and hit Submit.

If you already have some data on your new system, the historical data sync will still work; you’ll just have to make sure the names of your accounts, products, invoices, etc., are consistent across platforms, as the integration uses the name of any record as the key field.  For more info on that, you can contact us and we’ll give you the scoop.

Total business control at your fingertips

With the various market niches that businesses can fill, it happens that no two are alike… And, so it goes with both your CRM platform and your data syncing needs.  Choose a system that allows for deep customization – Zoho CRM – and choose an integration with QuickBooks Desktop or Online that allows for complete customization of your syncing needs.  Have any integration questions?  Contact us at (888) 207-4111.

Migrating (Data) from Salesforce to Zoho | 3 Things to Know

zoho crm salesforce data migration

Lately, we’ve been getting a good number of questions about moving from Salesforce to Zoho CRM: namely, questions about migrating data between the two platforms.

I’m talking about things like:

  1. Does it all transfer from system to system the right way, or do things get lost in translation?
  2. Does it take a long time to do?
  3. Is it expensive?

First things first: it’s absolutely feasible to migrate data from Salesforce to Zoho, and to get your whole team on the platform.  But, the three concerns listed above are clearly important to address, and far be it from me to leave you hanging.

#1. What actually comes over in a data migration?

zoho crm salesforce data migration

Something that can really hamper you when migrating data is when information simply will not transfer from one system to another – that is, things get lost in translation.  At best, this leads to loads of manual entry after the big move; at worst, you’ll permanently lose valuable information about your clients and the overall health and history of your business.

This factor alone can sometimes keep people on a CRM that no longer suits them – and, in the case of staying on Salesforce, this can mean keeping a system that’s too complicated and has low user adoption, a system that’s too expensive to be a wise choice for your business.

Thankfully, there’s one important point to consider: Zoho CRM’s data import tool is able to read the metadata of records exported from Salesforce.  That means you’re able to keep all your notes and other auxiliary data attached to individual records, and that you don’t lose a bit of your past history.  (It’s important not to use the API data migration tool if you want to keep your metadata.)

#2. How long does it take to go from Salesforce to Zoho?

zoho salesforce data migration

It goes without saying that time is of the essence in the business world.  Projects taking too long – even data migration or CRM platform migration projects – can be relegated to the back burner if the project manager knows they will take too long for the company to carry out and not be totally messed up for days on end.  Sometimes, these projects are simply never completed, and the business isn’t able to move on from a system that’s outlived its usefulness – even if it’s something robust like Salesforce.

Zoho Corporation offers a data migration service of their own but with one caveat: it can take up to several weeks to complete.  Even for the price point ($100), not many companies can afford to be in limbo between systems for that long – and, for those in a hurry, it won’t do at all.

Fortunately, Zoho CRM’s built-in tool for migrating data helps immensely with this with its ultra-quick migration time.  Even for many modules and thousands of records, as long as your Zoho consultant knows how to map your fields correctly, data migration only takes two days at most.  That means that portion of the project can be completed over a regular weekend.

#3. What will a Salesforce to Zoho migration cost?

zoho crm salesforce data migration

Cost is yet another factor that can put a data migration project on hold if it’s too much to bear; it’s unfortunate that halting a simple data migration project could ever come down to cost, but it does indeed happen.  ZBrains’s team of consultants can spend a weekend, or even two solid weeknights, with your data to make sure it all flows from Salesforce to Zoho, but in return the service costs more than a flat $100 fee.  (Let us know if you’d like a quote based on the number of modules you need to work with.)

If price is still an object, you might even choose to use a Zoho training session to get familiar with the ins and outs of data migration from Salesforce to Zoho CRM yourself at that point.

Still not sure how to approach migrating from Salesforce to Zoho?

If you still have questions about how this would work, don’t hesitate to contact us.  Salesforce can be quite overwrought for businesses, and we’re happy to take a look at your existing configuration and tell you what it would take to replicate your current system on Zoho – or, even improve upon it.  Contact us today and a certified Zoho consultant will get back to you within 24 hours.

 

 

Increase Zoho CRM Adoption – Use Tooltips

Zoho CRM Tooltips: the three-in-one helper that’s brand new to the CRM

If you’ve ever had to force an entire team to start using a new piece of business software, you know what a pain it can be.

zoho crm tooltips

Not only can your team not read your mind (so they just don’t know how awesome the new system is or how many hours you put into overseeing its development), but training isn’t always engaging for everyone, and sometimes people are left with questions about what to do with the array of new data entry options before them.  Not the best way to success.

zoho crm tooltips

In this breakneck-paced business world, there isn’t always time to ask questions to peers about using your new system properly, let alone flag down your supervisor for a best practices tutorial.  So, people are forced to adapt.  And, they do so – but, not always in the best way, as you find out when you run a report in your system and all the numbers are off.  You might ignore this the first time this happens, but as soon as you see it again, you know something’s amiss; you realize you can’t accurately gauge the health of your company because your staff aren’t using the new system correctly.

So, what’s a business owner to do to make sure the team stays the course and doesn’t break off into a bunch of factions using the new system improperly?

Well…there is something you can do – and, in retrospect it seems like such an obvious feature, I’m really glad Zoho Corp chose to implement it in the new Zoho CRM UI.

Introducing Zoho CRM Tooltips

zoho crm tooltips

Zoho has introduced a tooltips feature in the CRM for custom fields.  The idea here is that standard fields are all going to be pretty self-explanatory, but nonstandard or custom fields might be a little harder for your staff to grasp the meaning of, especially if you just added them yesterday and didn’t tell anyone.

Zoho CRM tooltips places a handy question mark bubble next to custom fields of your choice (the tooltips can be enabled or disabled in CRM custom fields) and allows an explanation of the custom field in question to be set.

This does a few different things for you:

  1. Reminds your team of the proper way to use your custom fields
  2. Ensures more accurate data entry for better employee record-keeping
  3. Allows for more accurate, more complete reports for executives

Of course, providing help to your team in the form of a little question-marked bubble is great, but the real end result – better insight into the health of your business – is unbeatable.  Zoho CRM tooltips is just one more reason to use the new version of CRM if you haven’t begun to already.

Psst! Need a Zoho CRM tutorial for tooltips and other Zoho best practices?

zojo crm tooltips

Zoho realizes what an issue proper system adoption can be, and to that end they’ve released a couple of gamification features: essentially, they turn using the system into a game, with points, badges, a leaderboard, and – as your game director sees fit – the possibility to win prizes.  Gamification in the form of Gamescope is a component of the new Zoho CRM and Zoho Projects; Zoho also uses the leaderboard concept and applies it to sales in general in the Zoho Motivator app.