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BackToWork with Zoho

Zoho’s BackToWork Apps Free Until End of 2020

Zoho has a mission to help businesses keep on track, especially during this uncertain time. Now they’re doing it again by offering the BackToWork apps free until 12/31/2020. We’ve sure experienced endless changes in 2020 and Zoho is primed to help. (You might remember they did so with Emergency Subscription Assistance Program (ESAP) and even made their Remotely suite free until July 2020 earlier this year.)  

Currently at ZBrains, we’re hearing from a lot of clients who are gearing up to open their doors – or even moving forward already – and the need for digital transformation tools that allow for a safe return to work is evident. As you embark on the journey back to business safely in these new circumstances, take a look at what BackToWork offers in this single pack – no need to subscribe to each one individually. 

What solutions are included in BackToWork?

Six primary modules are associated with this future-driven solution from Zoho. The information and communication we needed to operate seamlessly has changed dramatically. BackToWork can help with your struggles around safety, compliance, communication, facility management, and even asset and maintenance requests, and resource capacity. With Zoho BackToWork, you get “a ready-to-use app that focuses on workforce readiness.

Admin control center module – Welcome your staff back to a safer office space. This dashboard empowers top-level management to assess the preparedness of facilities better, and view individual employee health statuses.

Wellness module – Provide industry-approved surveys. This dashboard lets you circulate and collect self-assessment and contact-tracing forms, and oversee organization-wide health information.

Safe entry module – Determine which employees are ready to work from the office. With this module, perform employee self-assessments, segregate high-risk groups, and evaluate entry requests from employees and visitors.

Employee self-service module – On this dashboard, you can manage asset requests, ranging from office supplies to sanitizer to office space maintenance.

Communications module – Correspond with staff over the phone and the web, and share guidelines, best practices, frameworks, and announcements in a coordinated manner.

Volunteer module – Give back to the community. This module allows organizations to recruit employees, and organize and execute volunteer drives.

How to get BackToWork

How would you use the BackToWork app collection? If you’re already thinking about how it could benefit your business and your team communication, or if you’re looking for other Zoho Solutions to enhance your organiztion, our team of ZBrains consultants would be glad to connect and analyze your situation for you. 

Contact us any time to start the conversation about your digital transformation.

Keeping Your Staff Informed During CRM Implementation

CRM Implementation Tip #3:  | Keep Your Staff in the Loop

As you plan a CRM implementation, it’s important to know exactly how you’ll be using the modules inside your CRM. Who knows your business systems better than the folks who use them every day? Your expertise and their experience is a recipe for success. 


Keep your staff in the loopKeep your staff in the loop.

This one’s very important. Obviously, you don’t want your staff to come in one day to a system they haven’t a clue how to use.  


As soon as you’ve decided you’re going to implement a new CRM, bring in your staff or your key champions, and detail the plan. Be sure to include an implementation timeline.  


As long as your staff knows what you plan to do, they can plan their days around occasional work stoppages, and be prepared the day you launch your new CRM.



Read All CRM Implementation Quick Tips


Visibility for CRM Projects

Deployment is never a one-fell-swoop sort of maneuver, and hiccups do occur from time to time. If you know an issue has surfaced that will affect your staff or put things a little behind schedule, better to let them know as soon as you know than share it later when it seems like a surprise to everyone.


Keeping employees abreast of the latest CRM developments, and inviting them to take part in ideation or input, will ensure their happiness with the new system. Afterall, one of your goals is productivity, isn’t it?


Is there potential for your CRM to work better for your organization? Take the CRM Adoption Survey and find out where you stand.


Take the CRM Adoption Survey


Don’t Overlook CRM Training

CRM Implementation Tip #5 | Don’t Overlook Training


Once your CRM is up and running it can be a relatively common impulse to rush back to work using the new CRM tools you just spent so much time planning for and implementing. 

However, before you take off running back to business, it’s time to think about training.


CRM Training IdeasMake sure everybody who’ll use the system knows exactly how to do so – train them!


Even if your new CRM makes life easier all around the office, your employees probably won’t be able to sit down on launch day and navigate their way through the system without some prior knowledge and CRM training.

You can take all the mystery out of their first days on the new system by giving them training sessions, either set up by you or by a Zoho certified consultant.  You should schedule one session per employee group or department: accounting, sales, marketing, etc.


Each group of employees will likely be using the CRM to perform different functions so their training will vary slightly.


Training Your Staff for a New CRM Implementation

Make sure you allot time to answer questions when you schedule these sessions. Most of us need more than one exposure to learn something new. 


For teams that work together with certain data in the CRM, schedule a training session that includes everyone in those departments so no one is left in the dark about another’s process. For example, an Order Fulfillment team that receives data directly from a Sales team would benefit from training together.


Multi-departmental training also serves to take some strain off you. Now, employees who have questions about certain CRM processes can also rely on each other. This shared knowledge can strengthen teams and inter-departmental communication when one associate can ask CRM questions of someone from another department. If they need help understanding the implications of their specific actions on certain data you aren’t the only resource.


Click through for the rest of our implementation quick tips!


Read All CRM Implementation Quick Tips



We hope this insight is helpful, but if you want to ensure that you’re getting the most possible out of your CRM, we recommend taking this CRM Adoption Survey. Find out if you could be doing better.


Take the CRM Adoption Survey


Transition Your CRM in Phases

CRM Implementation Tip #4 | Transition Your CRM in Phases

Big business changes, especially changes in everyday systems like a new CRM implementation, can be turbulent times. This quick tip describes how to disturb your business the very least during CRM implementation time. This one is really simple.

Transition CRM in stagesTransition your CRM in phases, not all at once

It bears repeating – yes, again – that even a successful CRM implementation doesn’t happen all at once. With so many facets of your  system designed specifically for your business, you’ll need time to test everything out and make sure it’s working as it should.  


For that reason, it’s a great idea to start using parts of your new system a little at a time – gradually – until you’re completely migrated over to your new system. A phased approach can account for some improvements in user adoption, but it’s not always possible to do. Need more quick tips for CRM Implementation? 


Read All CRM Implementation Quick Tips



What if a phased approach won’t work for you?

If it doesn’t make sense to move your entire operations to a new CRM in chunks, you might decide to implement a new CRM behind the scenes while your employees continue working on the old one.  (Of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still keep them informed about what you’re doing.)  If you choose to go that route, you’ll have a little more time to make sure things are working as they should – all the more reason to move deliberately, and in smaller phases.

Is your organization using its CRM to the fullest? Take the CRM Adoption Survey and find out!


Take the CRM Adoption Survey


Streamline Your Procedures, Gain Efficiencies!

CRM Implementation Tip #6 | Streamline Procedures

While you may be in the mood to shake things up by deploying a new CRM, you may not have thought to shake up your very business processes themselves.  Well, in the name of efficiency, why not?


Streamline with a CRMUse your CRM Implementation as an opportunity to streamline your procedures!


There isn’t an exact science behind this, but we’re willing to bet the majority of businesses who elect to set up their own CRMs aren’t so well-versed in how their systems work. There’s a good chance that they’re missing some opportunities to streamline processes inside of their unique CRM systems.


Hand off the right CRM data at the right time

Using a CRM to pass information from one department to another is common in businesses, but, it’s not always done in the best way. For example, your Sales team member’s objective could be to pass information to Sales Managers. Historically, your sales team had to communicate certain information to Sales Managers verbally because of an imperfect information transfer. Now that you’re implementing a new CRM this is a great time to look into how to transfer all relevant information from Sales Agent to Sales Manager!


Read All CRM Implementation Quick Tips



Next steps for CRM Procedure Streamlining


That’s just one small example, of course. We recommend spending time to thoroughly outline all the areas in your business where information passage could be faster or serve the users better.  Then research ways of doing those things inside your new system.  Of course, if you aren’t quite sure what to do or simply don’t have time, you can always consult a professional, too.

Does your current CRM support your current procedures? Take the CRM Adoption Survey and find out where you stand.

Take the CRM Adoption Survey


Use a Project Manager for CRM Implementation

CRM Implementation Tip #10 | Use a Project Manager


If you’ve found this article, there’s a good chance you  know a few basics about getting your new CRM system deployed and running as it should. However, even if everything goes as planned, there’s one other thing you can do that will really cement everything together. It’s also very likely to improve morale for everyone involved.  Not quite a magic bullet, but, it’s darn close.


CRM project managerBe Successful the First Time With a Project Manager.


It’s understandable if you can’t be the one to take this bull by the horns and ensure that all implementation steps are completed in a timely way – after all, you’ve got a business to run.  


Hiring a project manager, or selecting a capable champion within your company to take charge can work wonders for generating enthusiasm among employees. This resource can help with more than answering their questions. They can also act as a liaison between you (or your teams) and your IT department (or your deployment consultants).

If you haven’t already, don’t miss all 10 of the CRM Implementation Quick Tips.


Read All CRM Implementation Quick Tips


Selecting a CRM Project Manager


When selecting a Project Manager from among the ranks of your company, do be sure to pick someone with a sense of authority (read: management skills) and a good amount of charisma. They will need both in order to motivate both your employees and the people behind the implementation itself!


It helps if they also have some experience with your business processes.


The reasons for picking someone with those personality traits are clear: someone with management skills will know how to deliver tasks to your deployment team in a way the team can understand. They also provide it with structure so the team adheres to a schedule.  As well, if that person is charismatic, they will be able to paint the chosen CRM migration in a positive light. They will motivate fellow employees to do their part to ensure the implementation goes smoothly.



Have an Open Door Policy For Your CRM Project

CRM Implementation Tip #9 | Have an Open Door Policy


You can apply this tip to more than just CRM deployment. Upon deploying a new system of any sort, you’ll be greeted with both positive and negative responses. How do you deal with the pushback you might receive for doing something new?


CRM Project visibilityHave a CRM Project Open Door Policy.


Keep your door open, as well as your training sessions and email threads. When making big changes to your business and employees’ work days with a new CRM, consider giving them all the information they need or want to make the transition smoother.


When you do encounter some blowback from your traditionalist employees, be sure to heed their criticisms. Then, explain calmly and succinctly what the new system does to either improve life or alleviate their concerns. Show them how everyone will benefit from the new changes. Keeping your ear open lets employees know you’re willing to consider their feelings. Having an open door policy will ultimately make them happier in the long run, even if they aren’t satisfied at first with the new system. Trite but true, a rising tide lifts all ships, and the same is true with upgrades in technology like Zoho CRM.


Include extra training opportunities


If employees’ problems lie in the fact that they don’t feel they’ve been trained enough on the new system, host another training session, or several of them.  As well, keep everyone in the loop by maintaining a single group email thread, or message channel for company-wide CRM developments and questions. We also recommend these smaller group or department-specific channels for more specific developments and questions.


Read All CRM Implementation Quick Tips



Is your CRM working for you? Take the CRM Adoption Survey and find out where you stand.


Take the CRM Adoption Survey


When in Doubt, Keep Your CRM Simple

CRM Implementation Tip #8 | When in doubt, keep things simple


By now you likely know that CRM deployment isn’t quite as simple as you may have first thought. Your research may have shed a bit of light on problems you weren’t aware of, or made you remember more clearly some implementation problems you’d thought of before.


For a process that’s invariably complex, there’s one thing that always holds true:


Simplify CRM ImplementationWhen in doubt, keep things simple.


The time you implement a new CRM is a great time to re-think your data entry and information-sharing procedures. Ask yourself, “How much information do I need entered in the new system to achieve the desired outcome?”

Perhaps you’ve used a legacy system for years that has data fields in it that have become obsolete. Have you been faced with the task of including only some of your current CRM’s information in your new system?


Read All CRM Implementation Quick Tips



How can you simplify CRM Implementation?

These situations are good because they force you to think in ways you may not have thought before.  


  • Which of the fields in your CRM will you actually need to use?  
  • Can you consolidate any information at play?
  • What data could you archive elsewhere? 
  • If certain information simply isn’t needed, it’s best to hide it behind the scenes.
  • In cases where absolutely sure no one will need it, do away with it entirely.


As well, if it turns out someone in your company needs to see more information, it’s easy to give certain users access to that information once again. With exceptional planning, and pairing down unnecessary data, you may reap the rewards of greater efficiency with your new system. 

Is your current system is too complicated or does it have room for improvement? Take the CRM Adoption Survey and find out where you stand.


Take the CRM Adoption Survey


Don’t Rush CRM Deployment

CRM Implementation Tip  #7 | Don’t Rush CRM Deployment


We’re all imperfect and even the most meticulously planned project doesn’t go live without at least a little need for adjustment. We share this so it’s not a surprise when your system doesn’t work exactly how it should the very first day you go live. 


Our best advice is: Don’t rush deployment; make sure everything works like it should.

CRM Testing pre-deployment

There will be a few hiccups. Some common first-day needs and troubles with a new CRM implementation can include: 

  • Understanding the CRM use processes themselves
  • Answering errant questions missed in training
  • Retraining team members on some aspects of the CRM
  • Finding the data you were sure you migrated correctly  


Don’t worry!  These sorts of speed bumps are absolutely normal during the first few days of  a CRM deployment or an implementation of any new program.

Read All CRM Implementation Quick Tips



Cutting down on new implementation ‘hiccups’


To help minimize the effects of speed bumps, it’s a great idea to ease into implementation. Have a plan at the start to address this. Spread it out as much as you possibly can while keeping your budget in consideration. 


You may spend a little extra on testing and training time. However, the benefit of knowing you’ve made sure your new system works exactly how it should is invaluable and cuts down on something you probably have a lot of: business-related stress! This includes additional rework with your implementation parter, re-training staff, lost productivity due to staff inexperienced with the new system, and lack of user adoption. 


Take the time to deploy your new CRM correctly, making sure everything is working as intended and that your teams are trained, and you’ll certainly reap the benefits later.


If you’ve already addressed this potential pitfall, and you still want to get more from your CRM, take a look at our CRM Adoption Survey and find out your improvement potential!


Take the CRM Adoption Survey


Develop a KPI Strategy

Measuring Success | Developing a KPI Strategy for Your Organization

Knowing the data you’re already collecting and defining your business goals is the first step in developing a KPI strategy for your organization. (Finding the data that’s missing is where ZBrains can help.) However, today we’re going to share the types of KPI’s you should consider when creating a KPI strategy for your organization. Finally, make sure not to miss the end of the article.  We share an infographic of KPI’s you could consider for each department or area of business.

A majority of today’s businesses use multiple systems to capture data about their customers, leads or website visitors, financials, projects, and more.

Many of these companies aren’t fully utilizing the information they can access. Usually, it’s too difficult, time consuming, and cost prohibitive to do reporting on regular intervals, much less on-demand. Does this sound a little too familiar? 

While making data-driven decisions probably isn’t new to you, you can take it to a whole new level with Zoho CRM and its many integrations when you develop KPI’s for each of your organization’s departments. Using your financial and organizational metrics to define strategic KPI’s will result in useful reports and gained visibility to your organization.  


Where should you start your KPI Strategy plan?

When you have a well-rounded knowledge of the different types and functions of key performance indicators you are able to collect and using the correct data needed to analyze your business. As a result, you’ll get a stronger strategy.

And for you Zoho users who already know about Zoho’s end-to-end solution, we hope this refresher can help you find even more opportunities to capitalize on the data you collect for increased successes.

Firstly, let’s start by defining the most common types of KPI’s. Then we’ll share a big list of Key Performance Indicators by organizational departments for you to consider as you are developing a KPI strategy.


What are the types of KPI’s you can use in your strategy?

Quantitative: This is among the most common types of KPI because it relies on data measurement. Generally speaking this is measurable by numbers such as total count, averages, or addition.

Qualitative: This KPI is more subjective, or based on opinions rather than hard numbers. An example could be the results from a customer or employee satisfaction survey. While you may use a numerical rating, the number is based on the individual’s opinion or experience.

Input: The money or resources that you invest to generate results in your organization are considered “input.” Measurable KPI’s of Input include dollars spent on training your staff, research and development, and materials. 

Output: Output KPI’s are calculated from both the financial and non-financial outcomes of your business tasks. For example, outcomes such as revenue are financial and number of new customers acquired in a specific time frame is non-financial. Zoho Books or your Quickbooks integration provides this data.

Leading: Keeping future performance in sight means employing Leading KPI’s because they are the business activities that are commonly predictive of future success or failure. An example is Daily Website Traffic, Leads Generated, New Projects Signed, etc. Leading measures can indicate success in other metrics and initiatives. (For example, a marketing project to improve SEO on site could positively impact website traffic and leads generated.) 

Lagging: Lagging measures show the success or failure of a business event that has already passed. Firstly, this data is helpful in determining if the event should be repeated. Next, you can determine how to revise it for future iterations when working on new strategies and business planning.

Directional: This KPI shows whether your trends are heading in the right direction. Are your directional KPI’s indicative that you need to make improvements, or are you maintaining or exceeding goals? For field services and technology companies this includes measurements like Service Level Agreement Compliance and On-Time Delivery.

More Key Performance Indicator Types for Strategy!

This set of KPI types are slightly more in depth. Challenge your business leaders, department managers, and other decision-makers. Ask them to consider how their area of business can use this type of KPI for deeper, performance improving insight.

Process: This KPI is an efficiency measure and keeping an eye on KPI’s for process help you answer the question, “Is my XYZ process efficient, or can we improve?” The data provided in this KPI informs process changes helping your organization increase efficiencies. Ticketing systems like Zoho Desk can provide many process KPI’s like new tickets created or resolution time. 

Outcome: Outcome KPI’s quantify the performance of a business task. You define a goal or target for your budget and “outcome” is the result. (For example customer retention improvements.) Look at churn rate or customer lifetime value KPI’s for types of Outcome. 

Practical: Practical KPI’s are the results of your business’ most personalized or unique metrics. These are based on your organization’s processes and the impact of those processes on the business and can be hard to track. In other words, maybe you already know what these are, but have difficulty capturing and reporting on them. This is where the ZBrains Difference comes into play! 

Actionable: Whenever you are performing organizational changes, it’s essential to determine if your teams are dedicated to the change, and if it is effective for your business. An actionable key performance indicator distills the project or program metrics.  It shows you where to take the action that ensures that business change efforts remain on track.

Financial: Finally, at the heart of your business are financial metrics. Pairing your financial KPI’s with other metrics allows you to craft a data story for your business. Net profit, Gross Profit Margin, and other familiar KPI’s tell you if your business is healthy, viable, growing, or unstable.


Build KPI Strategy for Your Business

Looking at your business and its goals, next select the KPI’s for each department. Next, select which are necessary to determine whether or not initiatives and teams are on track. In conclusion, this isn’t a comprehensive list, but we hope that the KPI’s by department shared here will be helpful.

As always, if you’re developing a KPI strategy and taking the next steps to gain business insights and efficiencies with improved KPI tracking with Zoho’s suite of solutions, contact us any time.


KPIs by Organizational Departments

KPIs for sales pipeline

With your KPI’s in place and tracking correctly in the Zoho ecosystem, you can create dashboards for areas or departments of your business, like the Sales dashboard seen here. Likewise, you can create executive summary dashboards. The permissions in Zoho allow you, as ever, to display data to only the relevant audiences.

Does this interest you? Then take a look at KPI’s by department to get started with your strategy.


Develop a KPI Strategy