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Category : Certified Zoho Consultants

Zoho CRM Last Activity Field

What is “Last Activity Time” in Zoho CRM?

If you’re like a lot of other Zoho CRM users, you’re using the application to track sales agent activity and customer interactions throughout your sales process. The information captured by the Last Activity Time in Zoho CRM helps you assess whether or not your deals and customer relationships are headed in the right direction. In this article you’ll learn exactly what this field is. You’ll see where it can be accessed. We also share the types of activities and updates recorded as Last Activity Time.  

So, what is Last Activity time in Zoho CRM? 

Each time changes are made on a record, Last Activity Time is there to track it. This includes activities ranging from adding notes or closing a task, to sending emails or editing fields. Everything tracked here can be used in reporting. An example might be a report on activity recency for your accounts in a certain region or for a specific sales person. Having the data available from the Last Activity Time field is the key to answering questions just like that. 

 

You might be asking yourself, “How can I report on Last Activity Time in Zoho CRM?”

This is a great question! Firstly, you’ll find that there are several key benefits to reporting on Last Activity Time that support your sales team, including:

  • CRM user sitting at a tablet computerCapacity Planning for Sales Agents; you may notice that a record owner has many records that haven’t been touched in awhile, but activity is high, perhaps they require some help, or it’s time to grow your sales team.
  • Gain Insight Into Cross-Sell Opportunities; you can segment your customers using RFM Scoring (Recency Frequency Monetary feature) or Account Score with Last Activity Time. This will help you identify and prioritize direct outreach to accounts who haven’t purchased in a while. 
  • Enhance Your Customer’s Experience; with Last Activity Time you can quickly identify customers that need engagement. Anticipate their needs by calling or outreaching to them before they contact you.
  • Better Business Through Reporting; looking to prioritize the best use of your valuable data, but need help to get your reporting up and running? Contact ZBrains.

If you’re taking notes, the Last Activity time in Zoho CRM is viewable in all modules with the exception of the Activities module. This means that you can use this field as a filter to do tasks like creating a filtered segment in your Leads module, or do the same in Accounts to see quickly how many accounts may need an outreach. 

To use this field in Reports, you’ll find it is available for Leads, Contacts, Accounts, and Deals; and the questions you can answer are more or less limitless when your good data is put to use in Reports!

 

Which Activities and Updates will record as Last Activity Time?

Learn the nine primary ways that Last Activity Time is recorded inZoho CRM. It is helpful to know this information to understand the reporting or any filtered lists you reference. For example, bulk actions like restoring accounts could skew your report if you are looking for recent activities on a set of records. You may not see the results you are looking for if you are looking for data on completed Tasks in Last Activity Time (they’re not tracked here!).

  1. When you edit fields in a record.
  2. When you add new Activities, or update Activities such as Tasks, Events, and Calls.
  3. Adding a new Note or editing a Note will record.
  4. Sending Emails to Leads and Contacts in Zoho CRM will update this field.
  5. Last Activity Time is recorded when you change the Owner of a record.
  6. Adding Deals and Contacts under an Account will record it.
  7. Deleting or restoring a record, whether individually or in bulk.
  8. When you add or delete a record, it will record this field. One caveat here is, this does not include when you delete a record associated with the parent record. 
  9. Closing a Task will record; however, this does not apply to Events.  After the End Date, Events are automatically moved to closed activities.

How are you going to harness the data captured by Last Activity Time in Zoho CRM? 

Whether you’re questioning how to get the most out of your CRM data or looking to make improvements to your sales dashboards and reporting capabilities, the ZBrains team of Premium Partner Consultants  is here to help. Don’t hesitate to let us know how we can help with your digital business transformation along any step of the way from implementation and customization to consulting. Contact us any time!

CRM Activity Managment Blog Header

Activity Management in Zoho CRM: Overview 

Understanding task management is an essential part of making your CRM successful for your business and your users. The data captured here informs your sales pipeline, the activities of your sales staff, and can even tell you if any clients are being left behind. Keep reading to learn about CRM tasks in Zoho CRM.

What CRM Tasks are in Zoho CRM?

The activities you can create in Zoho CRM are Tasks, Meetings (formerly Events), and Calls.

  • Task: Use tasks to organize the things you need to complete within a certain time frame, but maybe not at a specific time. And remember, these can even be recurring. For example, schedule a recurring task for yourself every Monday to review all of your deals with an expected close date this week. Then schedule a Meeting or log each Call…
  • Meetings: The previous name for this was Events, an update was made July 2020. This is an activity that takes place at a certain time and place, and can include invitees. These can also be recurring for things like your weekly sales meetings, or quarterly reporting deadlines.
  • Call: This one probably doesn’t need further explanation. However, the important thing to know about Calls is that it is used for easily logging inbound and outbound calls to and from your clients as they happen.

 

Creating CRM Tasks For Yourself

You can create tasks, calls, or meetings from anywhere in CRM using the “+” button on the upper right of the main navigation. (Look just to the left of your avatar image.) This will pop up the activity, and you then enter in all of the relevant information, including Account, Contact, and/or Deal to be associated with your activity.

To cut down on the data entry, you can also create tasks from any Account, Contact, Lead, or Deal record. Navigate to the “Open Activities” section of the page and click the + next to Task, Call, or Meeting. Doing so will generate a pop up with relevant Account, Contact, Lead, or Deal data pre-populated in your activity.

 

Where to find Activities in Zoho CRM

Great news here! This feature is baked right into Zoho CRM in a module aptly named Activities! Within you can see and manage tasks, meetings & calls.

The Activity View lets you filter records based on activity parameters such as date, time, type, etc. You create filtered views here like “Today’s Activities,” “Tomorrow’s Activities,” and “Overdue Activities” and save them for quick reference.

The CRM View can be applied to any Activity View using your choice of two formats.

  • The first view format is the “Tabular View.” This view presents as a list which can be sorted by column in whichever ways are most meaningful for you.
  • The second view is the Kanban view, which groups your selected Activity View into four categories: Customers, Open Deals, Leads/Contacts, and Others. Within those categories, activities are sorted with the latest at the top.

For both, clicking on any record will open the detail view for all the information and notes about your activity.  Which leads us to…

 

Managing Your Zoho CRM Activities

Now you understand where to find and view calls, tasks, and meetings in the Zoho CRM Activity module. Next, let’s talk about the details within these activity types and why they’re important to that clean flow of information your business needs.

In the detail view of Zoho CRM activities, you find areas of information for the following:

 

  • sales person's deskBasic Details & Task Information: This area provides details like Task Owner, Due Date, Status, etc.
  • Notes: It is best practice to include some notes for your interactions with clients, or to add in details you would like to reference in the future. Keeping in mind that information here can be utilized by others in your organization should the account change hands, or require assistance from other associates on your team.
  • Attachments: Here you can add any documentation pertaining to your task, call, or meeting.
  • Links: Use this to configure custom links for your activity.
  • Upcoming Actions: Pending actions related to this activity.

 

From this activity detail view, you can close your task, call, or meeting and the system will mark the status as Complete. At this point, you’ll also see a prompt to schedule a follow-up activity. On tasks, click the “Reminder” toggle to select the time you’d like to receive a task reminder pop up. For Calls and Meetings, select the reminder time from the drop down menu. For Meetings, you can set a self reminder, and use “Participants Reminder” to send a reminder to invitees.  (A good example of why two reminders might be used: set your self reminder 30 minutes prior to prepare, and send your attendees a reminder 10 minutes before so they can join on time.)

 

Creating Tasks for Other Users

In Zoho CRM, don’t forget that you can schedule activities for other users! You can cut down on the emails you’re sending internally by using the Activities function in this way. It creates a record of information hand-off, giving more visibility across teams. Here’s the quick info on how it works:

  • Tasks: Schedule tasks for other CRM users by updating the Owner field on the Task Information pop-up. Remember to check the “notify owner” check box.
  • Meetings: If you’d like to schedule a meeting for another user, put their name in the Host field when you create the meeting. On the meeting Information pop-up, choose “Add more details” to enter more information for the host in the Details field.
  • Calls: Call Owner is the field to update if you wish to create this activity type for another user. It’s important to note, you won’t see this option until the Call Start Time is set to a future time.

 

What Zoho CRM activity shortcuts or tips were you able to find in this article? 

Whether you’re questioning how to get the most out of your CRM data or looking to make improvements to your sales dashboards and activity reporting capabilities, the ZBrains team of Premium Partner Consultants  is here to help. Don’t hesitate to let us know how we can help with your digital business transformation along any step of the way from implementation and customization to consulting. Contact us any time!

Zoho CRM Implementation

9 Reasons CRM Projects Fail

CRM implementation failures can happen for many reasons. Most often CRM projects fail because the solution is ineffective and doesn’t improve your processes, the project was late, or it was over budget. Another indicator of failure is low user adoption.

If you’ve found this article, there’s a good chance you’re just starting to research Zoho CRM or Zoho One and how to implement it, or you’re down the road a bit further and you might need some help. We hope the information here about common reasons CRM projects fail and what to look out for will provide the insight you need to start off on the right foot – or even better – can help you get back on the right track with your project! Keep reading for 9 reasons CRM implementations fail, and the considerations you should address to ensure a successful Zoho CRM or Zoho One implementation. 

 

#1) Not having a goal from the start

Every successful software implementation, especially customer relationship management software, begins with your business goals. Ask yourself: 

  • What are the important success indicators or KPI’s for my business and sales teams? 
  • How do I want my business to look in 12 to 24 months? 
  • …5 years from now?

Make time to invest in your vision, and document it.  Your vision for success, the targets you wish to achieve, and making sure you are specific about them in planning will have great returns in your CRM implementation.

 

CRM Failure #2) Not customer focused

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We’re talking here about the experience of your system users and external customers. A successful CRM will make the work inside your business easier and more efficient for your associates by providing a trustworthy source of truth with the data it records. And the outcome is that your external, or paying customers, gain the benefit of working with a well-organized firm that provides excellent customer service as a result of having useful insight about them. Remember to give attention to both the users and external clients who will be impacted by CRM implementation. 

 

#3) Lack of planning

The best foundation for your CRM implementation is impeccable planning, whether that’s Zoho CRM or another product you might be researching and learning about.  Your plan should include:

  • Developing and understanding your goals (see CRM Failure 1).
  • Selecting a team or partner to see you through the journey and beyond.
  • Examining and documenting all workflows for every team using or inputting to CRM (see CRM Failure 2 & 4).
  • Fully understanding and documenting your organization’s technology stack.
  • Having a plan for testing, training & deployment. 
  • Keeping the vision for your business’ future in sight.

 

CRM Failure #4) No one is using the tool (i.e. Poor User Adoption)

CRM User Adoption

Involve your CRM users from the start and utilize their input and experiences as a part of the overall goals to gain buy-in for a system upgrade. Learn what is important to your users and important to your business, then plan for evolution. Consider the required phases to reach your goal. Think “crawl, walk, run”, and how a multi-stage plan will help with Zoho user adoption. (Tip: Watch out for scope creep here. Bad planning also causes scope creep. Don’t look at CRM implementation as a single project, rather a tool that you want to grow and improve with your business over time.)

Understand their challenges, workflows, and how a positive outcome will impact your business (greater efficiency!). Involving your teams in this process does help with overall adoption – and bonus – you may uncover new ideas to improve workflows with CRM! For example, data around processes like sales qualification can easily be entered, tracked, and reported in a CRM. No more managing clients through email inboxes. In the right CRM, your reminders, tasks, and saved filtered views can help deliver useful information at-a-glance.

 

#5)  No Support (Yes, this includes training!)

Starting off knowing your internal champions and whether or not you have executive support for a CRM project is paramount to its success. In your planning phase, identify internal champions keeping in mind you may have more than one depending on the complexity of your business and the teams who will use your new CRM. Additionally, executive support will be indispensable when it comes to your implementation. In our experience here at ZBrains, this high-level buy in – not only regarding budget, but for strategy and execution – can make or break an implementation.

Ensure your vendor can train your teams on Zoho and offer ongoing support, if you need it. And chances are that you really will because after the switches are flipped, your teams need to be ready to go. Vendor support is crucial when taking into consideration the plan for your CRM and your business goals. Have you selected the right software and partner?  We mentioned this in planning, but it cannot be stressed enough: CRM implementation shouldn’t be considered a one-off project. Look for a partnership that aligns with and enhances your business.

 

CRM Failure #6) It’s the wrong software

CRM Failure FrustrationYou find yourself thinking, “it just doesn’t do what I need it to do” and you’re putting workarounds in to practice left and right then chances are it hasn’t been built or customized to envelop your workflows.  This goes back to project scope. Was an important process or workflow not considered during planning? Be sure that you are talking to your software consultant or partner about planning phases for your CRM implementation, and ensuring that each stage aligns with your business goals so you don’t end up with a software that isn’t helping you like it should.  You need a software that works for your business and improves your work. Avoid applications that things down, or make straightforward tasks or reporting convoluted and difficult. 

After you’ve implemented, you might find yourself thinking, “It’s not being widely used (by everyone) in my organization.” Be sure to check in: does everyone understand their role in using the CRM, and do they have the proper training to utilize the software in the best way possible?

 

#7) Your data is weird

When data is not well organized or largely incomplete, just because you put it into CRM doesn’t mean you’ll get great results. Knowing what data your business is tracking and why will help you understand the best way to organize it. Knowing what you want to get out of a CRM will absolutely impact what needs to go in, both in terms of the implementation and the data itself. CRM is often expected to be a single source of truth. This means that all of your associates must be on board with standards, governance should be deployed, and training is essential so that all of your teams have a similar sense of the data being entered, and how it is intended to be used. It’s an old adage you’ve heard before, but it’s still true: “Garbage in, garbage out.” When you have data integrity, your CRM implementation and results will shine even greater.

 

CRM Failure #8) Your vendor doesn’t get your goals

Successful Zoho Partner

Have you found the right vendor for your CRM implementation? When you’re using lingo from field services and construction industries, or distribution and manufacturing, do they know what you mean? The right vendor already knows your language. They’ll use their time getting to understand your unique business needs even better. Here are some things to look for (and avoid) in a partner:

  • Avoid boilerplate solutions or partners who won’t take the time to meet you and investigate your operations. 
  • If planning isn’t a priority for them, buyer beware. They may just wish to capitalize on scope creep. A consultant worth their weight will tell you, you can never give them too much information about your business and your goals.
  • Be sure to ask your potential consultants for references from businesses in industries like yours. Contact them.
  • Look for vendors who are interested in your partnership from consulting and implementation, through to future customization and optimization. Select a partner that wants to celebrate your growth and successes.  

 

# 9) You’re trying to do it on your own

At your organization, maybe you’ve done a project like software implementation before, or maybe you haven’t, but you’re convinced to shave some expenses off the top by trying to do an implementation on your own. Be sure to ask yourself the right questions: 

  • Are your key stakeholders available to commit the time needed to implement a new CRM?
  • Would this project take them away from their normal responsibilities and have a negative impact on your business? 
  • Does your team have the necessary skills to scope, plan, implement, train, and support a new CRM implementation? 
  • What would happen if any one of the team were to leave in the middle of the project? Could the others cover this gap in both skillset and time commitment? 
  • If you honestly evaluate the internal costs (expense and timeline) against the cost of hiring a consultant, are you still saving money and time?

Do your answers to any of these questions leave you feeling wary? Consider finding a partner for your project. If you’re still searching for a partner, or you want assistance with a CRM implementation that didn’t meet your expectations, drop us a line. We’d love to get to know you better. Contact us any time.

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 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.

Maximize Business Processes with Zoho Flow

Maximize Your Business Processes with Zoho Flow

Even if it’s not immediately apparent, your business has all kinds of moving parts that contribute to its overall performance– and, sometimes one bad part can bring down the whole lot. Even if you have a suite of Zoho apps that function like a well-oiled machine, if you aren’t automating simple workflow processes between apps, chances are you’re losing out on valuable productive work time. With this in mind, Zoho has created Flow, a tool to do just that: help your business do what you want it to do with very little extra input by helping information flow across your third-party apps to your Zoho apps automatically! Zoho Flow brings the power of Zoho into even more of your business and allows for all sorts of optimization that wasn’t possible before, giving you the power to make the very most of your most significant and repetitive workflows.

Zoho Flow iconHere’s how Zoho Flow helps you maximize your Business Processes

Within the workspace, you’ll find a handful of tools to keep your workflows organized and manageable. Here’s a breakdown of six key areas to get you started!

 

User-friendly Flows Custom Builder

Search and create new workflows in the Zoho Flow Builder Tab! Here, you can connect and integrate the key applications that your business uses. This dynamic builder helps you to visualize and customize your workflows as needed. Begin by giving your workflow a name and description if desired, then use the easy drag-and-drop function to configure the apps you use, and the triggers, actions, and steps that follow. Use Flow’s logic to create contextual workflows and introduce decision branches. Build, configure, or edit your workflow by using four simple builder tools: Save, Auto Arrange, Undo, and Redo.

Advanced Flow Design

Need to customize your integrations further? Zoho Flow allows you to get down to the nitty gritty using Zoho’s Deluge scripting language. Using the Customer Functions tool, you can solve your integration complications and create more detailed automated decisions. Flow gives you the ability to use Deluge scripting for complex functions, workflow reformatting, and creation of advanced decision workflow trees. Whether you choose the simplified editor or custom function, Zoho Flow enhances visibility into your workflows and makes it easier to automate processes than ever before.

Data-driven Insights Dashboard

zoho flow data-insightsWith Zoho Flow, you don’t have to sift through multiple applications and platforms to manage and track your business workflows. Keep track of total, live, paused, and drafted flows in the Dashboard. This gives you full visibility of your processes and metrics to get real-time data driven-insights about your workflows, up to the current year’s execution success or failure rate. The Dashboard gives you actionable insights into your flows to help you determine what works best. As soon as a workflow isn’t executing properly, you’ll know, and you’ll be able to address it! View your top five flows and recent executions as well to stay on top of your business processes.

Monitor and Troubleshoot Flow History

zoho flow history-monitorEvery action of your workflows is recorded, making it convenient to track and troubleshoot what may have gone wrong. With a centralized log of the history of each of your workflows, you can identify any actions and problems as they occur. Apply filters to view a specific timeframe on the specific workflow in mind. This tool allows you to troubleshoot and fix any issues as they arise, instead of waiting until they occur again, or they turn into bigger issues.

Coordinate and collaborate with your team

When building workflows across multiple teams, or across multiple departments, it’s important that you orchestrate your processes and functions together. Collaborate with your team, and save time with the ability to add members to your flows, and build workflows that will benefit everyone involved. Manage the members of your team and decide their user-level and deactivate, reactivate, or remove members. Your team can also share, unshare, test, and reconnect connections to limit and allow the flow of data as needed.

Explore Templates and Apps in the Flow Gallery

Wondering if there’s an app you aren’t using yet that will maximize your control and automate your business to perfection? Zoho has identified common workflows and created convenient templates for you to explore and use if you see fit. With over 90 applications (and counting) to choose from, and 200 templates (or Flows) that cover the most important automations, you can explore ideas and solutions you may not have thought of on your own. This growing collection features the bios, triggers, and actions of all the apps available that you can use to simplify your business’s workflow processes.

Zoho flow gallery


Interested in learning more? Reach out to a member of our team today! We’re Zoho Certified Consultants here to help! Give us a call at (888) 207-4111 or click the button below and we’ll reach out to you. You can also register for our upcoming Live Zoho Blueprint Q&A Webinar next Thursday, Feb 22nd at 10 am PST. Ask a Certified Zoho Consultant your questions, and if you stump him we’ll buy you coffee! 

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4 Common Problems Manufactuers Face and how zoho and zbrains can solve them

Top 4 Problems Manufacturers Experience and how ZBrains can help!

zoho manufacturing

Manufacturers hold the most important position of all at the figurative heart of most any tangible good: if they hadn’t made it, you wouldn’t have it.  Even with such an obvious thought – and so much importance given to manufacturers generally – many of these companies still operate at a fraction of their full potential, owing largely to problems that are in their control but not always so easy to really sit down and tackle.

Here are 4 common issues in the manufacturing industry that Zoho and ZBrains can help improve.

Lack of Lean Manufacturing Methodology

Lean may be the way to go for some, but many businesses still struggle with outdated production methods, multiple exchanges of inventory, too-large lots, and below-average build quality as a result.  Many of these issues stem from a simple lack of a system to help manage production correctly, and implementing a system that accounts for leaner manufacturing can quite literally help turn a struggling business around – or even just help boost sales and improve productivity.  Zoho Inventory can help manage inventory in multiple warehouses, and the more robust Zoho Creator ERP can help you order your raw materials more effectively, manage your picking, and even optimize your production routing, all ultimately helping to reduce wasted product and time.

zoho manufacturing forecasting mobile

Subpar Forecasting

If you don’t know who’s buying what, and when they’re buying it, you’re left with too much or too little to move your product at the correct pace. Future forecasting in Zoho Inventory gives you better visibility into what is needed with custom dashboards and less data input. Insights into customer trends and demands gives valuable feedback into what your optimal reorder point is and can help you use older inventory as needed. Data-driven insights help you understand your customers on a whole new level, allowing for more accurate forecasting into the material needs for production.

Bad Customer Experience, Leading to Worse Business Experience

Are you getting your customers what they want, when they want? With the advent of online reviews and the popularity of the instant gratification mentality, consumers have more input than ever before.  Sales can definitely be stifled by bad data or inaccurate lead times, and your customers can definitely be disappointed by the slow turnaround. At times, products are even sent to market without proper development because somewhere else in the supply chain, someone dropped the ball, and you’re left to pick up the slack. Maybe you just have a supplier that simply doesn’t suit your operation anymore. These are all common issues that can contribute to a less-than-stellar customer experience.  However, using a tool like Zoho CRM can give you not only the visibility you need to gauge the overall health of your manufacturing or distribution business, but can directly help your sales staff engage your customers and vendors – and, in the process help you see where to improve things.

zoho manufacturing chart

Resistance to R&D

If you’re not already ahead of the curve and using a streamlined ERP solution to manage your inventory and orders, changing the way your business operates to adapt to the technological environment may seem daunting. Why bother if resistance from your team or adaption to new technology will only take away from the main goal of delivering a product, right? Adopting new technology to fuel your business isn’t just a set-it-and-forget-it phase; it requires continuous input and adaptability. But, when done correctly, you’ll find your business flows like never before, with less waste, and even less money spent!

At ZBrains, we’re here to help you face all these problems head-on with the help of our Zoho certified consultants and our slew of software solutions.  Interested in learning more? Reach out to a member of our team today! Give us a call at (888) 207-4111 or click the button below and we’ll reach out to you. You can also join one of our upcoming Live Zoho Q&A webinars on Feb. 9th at 9 am, or Feb. 22nd at 10 am.

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Zoho forms New Updates

Zoho Forms Updates – Take Payments and More!

If you use Zoho in any capacity, you know that the more information you have, the easier it is for you to sell to your clients – and, by the same token, the easier it is for your clients to give you information, the easier it is for you to sell to those very same clients!  Zoho Forms is built to collect information, of course, but Zoho Corporation has recently augmented it with a couple of great new features designed especially to make your customers’ lives easier: Collecting payments and sorting answer options by relevance.

What is Zoho Forms?

Zoho Forms is a form building tool that gives you the ability to create and share online forms for your business. This is a great tool to use for reaching out to your customers to easily collect information. You can fully customize the forms to match your company’s aesthetic. The easy-to-use drag-and-drop editor allows you to build forms to ask the right questions, and includes the ability to perform calculations and use conditional logic.

Zoho Forms Homepage

Along with these basic functions, you can also customize field rules, form rules, and personalize the end pages. You can share these forms through public links, email campaigns, or embed them on your web page! Reach your customers wherever they are and customize your email notifications so you know exactly when a form is submitted! Zoho Forms also integrates with Zoho CRM, Campaigns, and Desk, helping you stay on top of your data!

New Features!

Zoho Forms Now Accepts Payments

zoho forms paymentsYou can now accept payments to your organization from right within Zoho Forms, saving you even more time and improving your customer experience! With the addition of a payment field, you can now accept payments or donations in fixed or variable amounts. Collect payments in your preferred currency, through your choice of these pre-integrated third-party gateways: PayPal, Stripe, and 2Checkout.

 

The Addition of Group Choices

Organize the dropdown fields of your form with the addition of group choices! This allows for further customizing your dropdown choices by categorizing them under a parent choice. For example, if you run a sports equipment store and you’re gathering information on what equipment your clients need based on which sport they play, you can create an option for Baseball with the group choices being, baseball bat, glove, and cleats. You can then create a second for Football with the group choices being helmet and shoulder pads.

 

 

After creating your group choices, you can further customize the information your client sees to only show options relevant to them in the field rules tab. By using our previous sports example, you can add an additional field to your form to include Sports options. Then, create a field rule to only show the group options which are related to their previous answer. So if they choose Baseball, the grouped options will only show the Baseball equipment options, and will not include options for other sports.

Interested in learning more? Reach out to a member of our team today! We are Zoho Certified Consultants here to help! Give us a call at (888) 207-4111 or click the button below and we’ll reach out to you. You can also register for our upcoming Zoho Q&A webinar tomorrow, Friday, Feb 9th at 9 am PST. Ask your Zoho questions, and if you stump us, we’ll buy you coffee!

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zoho zbrains field services

The Zoho, ZBrains, and Field Service Relationship

You may be wondering how these three things are related. Let’s begin by asking: What is Zoho, and who are ZBrains? Why are their offerings important to field services companies and improved customer experience?

zoho field services architect

What is Zoho?

Zoho is a cloud-based business suite geared to optimize your business by automating processes.  Zoho encompasses not just customer management, but finance, project management, and a host of other business needs.  Using all these apps effectively can be a lot to handle – and to boot, last year Zoho introduced Zoho One, its entire suite of 35+ apps, in one platform.  This has given users access to many more apps than before, many with overlapping functionality.  We’ve noticed it can be a little challenging to learn about the uses of all the different Zoho apps, especially when having to deal with day-to-day office or field work at the same time.

Who are ZBrains?

ZBrains is a Zoho Premium Partner that focuses on adding value to Zoho’s existing ecosystem, with a focus on field services companies.  Our services include process consulting and training on various apps, providing integrations to different third-party apps, and even implementing custom add-ons to automate setting service appointments, optimize service or delivery routes, create mobile work orders, and even calculate commissions.  Our in-house developers and consultants make sure you have an open line of communication to our home office.

Find out below how the union of Zoho & ZBrains is beneficial for your field service business:

zoho field services mobile devices

Integration

Imagine this: a field technician arrives at an appointment to meet with a customer, only to discover he is unprepared: A communication error in your scheduling department has caused him to bring improper materials to the appointment. This situation likely not only upsets your customer, but can also have a negative impact on your bottom line. Thus, having all elements of your business integrated is essential: It helps to avoid miscommunications and eliminates human error caused by manually transferring information. According to Field Technologies online,  the most important concept in field service management is integration. Here at ZBrains, we can help you do this with Zoho solutions tailor-made for your unique business needs.

Automation

It can be difficult to make important decisions and move your business forward when you’re bogged down with manual day-to-day processes. By automating your general workflow, you can let your software do the grunt work and keep the hard decisions for yourself. With Zoho One, you have access to apps that not only help your CRM run smoothly, but can help you in all areas of your business. This allows you to collect and analyze data from almost every department to help you strategically plan your next steps.

Mobile-Readiness

Increased real-time information is the unity of the cloud and mobile devices. If you’re out in the field, it’s important that you stay apprised of any scheduling changes or updated client information. Zoho has developed their apps to work with you wherever you may be accessing them through your phone, tablet, or other device!  To match this, we’ve made our Zoho SmartScheduler to work on all mobile devices as well! It will schedule your appointments for you, taking into account parameters you set, including territories and areas of expertise. With drive time calculation and Google Maps integration for drive time calculation, it’s the only scheduling optimization tool you need!

zoho field services happy customer

Better customer experience

The increased data accuracy achieved by integrating and automating your systems allows for faster response times and productivity from the different departments that run your business. With a steady flow of more accurate information that is able to be accessed on the go, you can easily keep your customers engaged and deliver messages when they’re most crucial. Integration, automation, and mobile capability together allow for more time to cultivate the most important relationship of your business – the one you share with your customer. When they’re happy, you get more referrals and repeat business, leading to a healthy bottom line.

ZBrains is able to ascertain just how Zoho can be best used for your business by engaging you in an exploratory consulting session called a Business Process Analysis.  In this session, a ZBrains consultant takes full stock of your business and can recommend a Zoho solution that is customized for your business – and then, construct the resulting system according to that vision.

 

Interested in learning more? Reach out to a member of our team today! We are Zoho Certified Consultants here to help! Give us a call at (888) 207-4111 or click the button below and we’ll reach out to you. You can also register for our upcoming Stump the Chump webinar tomorrow, Friday, Jan. 26th at 9 am PST. Ask your Zoho questions, and if you stump us, we’ll buy you coffee!

 

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zoho wordpress lead magnet

Zoho + WordPress New Lead Magnet

Your business’ website provides clients, or potential clients, with the best information for them to make informed decisions. There are many ways for them to land on your page, but do you have a sense for why they are landing there? For example, are they researching their options, or are they already motivated buyers? Considering 79% of leads never convert into sales, and underdeveloped lead nurturing tactics are often to blame, it’s important for you to know your lead conversion rate.

Understanding and capturing the visitors to your website is crucial to maximizing your website as a functional sales tool. Making it easy for your potential clients to get in touch with you is crucial, and no one understands this better than both Zoho and WordPress. The two have teamed up to introduce a new Lead Magnet update! Now, you never have to miss the window of opportunity to capture and qualify a lead to close a sale!  

zoho wordpress new lead magnet

Here’s how you’ll improve your lead conversion rate with Zoho + WordPress New Lead Magnet

Quality Information, Faster Response

The conversion rate yardstick is not static, as it depends on your business’ definition of a qualified lead. For some, it may just be an email address, but for others, you may want to know the size or location of the business, the needs, or the authority of the person in contact with you, among other factors. With the Zoho CRM forms plugin for WordPress, you can easily create forms using Zoho CRM webforms or the Contact form 7 plugin. The lead information that’s entered is automatically pushed into your CRM. You’ll never miss an incoming lead, and even better, you’ll be equipped to respond to them faster!

Customize Forms

Every business is unique, and so it follows that the information you collect from your prospects is unique as well. This plugin takes that into account and allows for mapping custom fields from the Leads module of your CRM.  However, the plugin does not limit you to only capturing lead information. With this new lead magnet plugin, you can send information to custom modules created in the CRM, so everything a prospect or contact can tell you is recorded properly.

Simple Installation, Configuration & Use

zoho wordpress new lead magnet

You can install the Zoho CRM forms plugin from the WordPress plugin marketplace with just a few easy clicks. After that, creating a form from the plugin interface incredibly simple. It’s light on code, so you’ll only need to do a few drag & drops and copy-pastes, then your form short-code will be ready for use anywhere on your WP site.  If you’re already on Zoho CRM and host your website from WordPress, the new lead magnet plugin is free to use!

Interested in learning more? Reach out to a member of our team today! We are Zoho Certified Consultants here to help! Give us a call at (888) 207-4111 or click the button below and we’ll reach out to you. You can also register for our upcoming Stump the Chump webinar on Friday, Jan. 26th at 9 am PST. Ask your Zoho questions, and if you stump us, we’ll buy you coffee!

 

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