Category : Zoho Desk

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 Zoho Books, Zoho Inventory, Zoho 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 Desk Time and Payments Tracking

Zoho Desk Time and Payments Tracking

Track Time Automatically or Manually with the Zoho Desk Timer

A recent upgrade to Zoho Desk has made this web-based help desk software even more valuable. Zoho Desk Time Tracking is the newest feature, allowing you to track time spent on tickets and add billable time entries based on predefined costs. The ease and efficiency of this new component is instantly identifiable — it’s such a no-brainer that you may wonder how Zoho Desk ever existed without it! We’ve spelled out the details of this streamlined process below:

The timer is a stopwatch on the top of the page that tracks the amount of time spent working on a ticket or task. Press pause and start to pause and resume the timer as needed. When you click pause, the accumulated time is held for you. You can restart the timer to pick up where you left off, or you can apply the accumulated time to your timesheet. There is also a refresh button to reset the timer, allowing you to start the timer over.

zoho desk time tracking

  • Timer displays accumulated time in the HH:MM:SS format, starting at the one-second mark
  • Timers can be run on multiple tickets simultaneously

Zoho Desk Time Tracking for Tasks

Simplicity is the name of the game, which is why tracking time for tasks is very similar to tickets. The chief difference? An administrator could restrict you from running the timer on multiple tasks at once. When this happens, a pop-up on the upper right area of the screen prompts you to submit the time spent on the current task before beginning the timer on the new one.

zoho desk time tracking

Clicking “Yes” in the above box will submit the timer for the accumulated time for the current task and start the timer on the new task.

How to Track Active Timers

Although you could run the timer on multiple tickets and tasks, it’s useless if you don’t remember to stop and submit their time. When you have lots of work on your plate, paying extra attention to a timer is the last thing you want to do. That’s why Zoho Desk includes My Active Timers, a view that lists all of your active timers in the department. (Because let’s face it, multitasking is no longer just a mark of efficiency, it’s a way of life.)

zoho desk time tracking

To view your active timers:

1. Log into Zoho Desk
2. Check the Pending Activities icon zoho desk time tracking

3. A new window slides open on the right hand side of the screen

4. Click the My Active Timers iconzoho desk time tracking at the top of the window.

Your active timers along and their accumulated time are listed here. You can pause, stop or reset the timer corresponding to a ticket or a task from here.

Automatic Zoho Desk Time Tracking for Tickets

In automatic tracking, the timer starts every time a ticket is opened in your browser and stops when an action is completed. The actions to be tracked are set up at the department level by your administrator. For example, sending a reply, drafting a response, leaving a comment, etc. If no action is completed the timer does not record an entry. Also, while you can pause, resume, and reset time on an automatic timer, you cannot stop or submit your time since it gets added once you complete an action on a ticket.

*The timer is visible only if your administrator has enabled your ability to view the timer under settings. Otherwise your time will be submitted in the background.*

Reviewing Time in Zoho Desk

If you started the timer one hour ago, but at some point you took a 15 minute break, you must discard this time before submitting it. That’s why Zoho Desk allows you to review and edit your time spent on a ticket. A pop-up window appears with the choice to submit or ignore the spent time. You have 10 seconds to review the time before it gets auto-submitted.

zoho desk time tracking

For example in the image above, you have 10 seconds from when the window appears to submit the accumulated time. Failure to do so will automatically submit the displayed time. However, if you need more than 10 seconds for review, click on the tracked time to remove the countdown and remain on the window.

*This review window is visible only if your administrator has enabled your ability to edit your time spent on tickets.*

**You cannot review or edit the time spent in manual Zoho Desk time tracking mode.**

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.

Look!  Blueprint is now a component of Zoho Desk, too

zoho desk blueprint

Zoho has added blueprint functionality to Zoho Desk, which means you can give your support agents the same daily structure you give to your sales team.  It also means you get all the same reports for your help desk that you do for your sales team, from time spent per transition to time spent on each blueprint itself.  And that, in turn, lets you analyze your weak points and work to eliminate bottlenecks in your process.

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!