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Category : Zoho One

zoho vs hubspot crm

Zoho vs Hubspot: Which CRM for Field Service Companies?

Zoho vs Hubspot CRM – which one is the better choice for your business needs? Field service companies face several unique challenges—from measuring and tracking job performance to scheduling and routing technicians to customer sites, numerous moving parts go into running a successful business.

With customer relationships at the core of any service-based business, field service companies need CRM software to manage leads, scheduling, invoicing, and other nuanced customer relations tasks.

Zoho and HubSpot are two popular CRM systems that make it easy for field service companies to streamline operations and grow their business while nurturing their most important asset—their customers. Here, we’ll take a look at the features, benefits, and costs of both Zoho CRM and HubSpot to help you decide which system is right for your business.

Zoho CRM vs. HubSpot: A Comparison of CRM Features

Zoho CRM and HubSpot are both comprehensive customer relationship management (CRM) systems that help field service companies manage their accounts and contact information, automate sales processes like quoting and invoicing, and track customer interactions.

Each has an impressive reputation in the marketplace. But while Zoho offers a full range of apps and comparable features, Hubspot has doubled down on its marketing and email capabilities.

  • Zoho CRM is one of the many applications included in the Zoho ONE platform, an end-to-end platform that offers powerful features like marketing automation, sales tracking, customer service tools, a full finance suite, and more. It also integrates with popular programs like Xero, Dropbox, and QuickBooks.
  • HubSpot, on the other hand, is better known for its sales, marketing automation, and customer service tools. It also offers a marketplace of third-party apps that extend the system’s functionality.

How Zoho CRM and HubSpot Stack Up

Let’s take a look at how Zoho CRM and HubSpot compare when it comes to features, benefits, and costs.

Contact and Lead Management

HubSpot and Zoho CRM are not only easy to use for organizing contact and lead information, but also for managing sales data, such as call logs and sales signals. With the paid versions of both software programs, you can also score leads to determine which ones should receive priority outreach.

However, there are a few differences to be aware of. HubSpot’s duplicate management feature, for example, is only available on the company’s Professional and Enterprise plans, which can be costly. Zoho CRM de-duplicates data on its top three-tier plans for a lower price, potentially making it a better option for smaller field service businesses.

Lead Generation and Sales Quoting

Another significant benefit to Zoho CRM is its end-to-end software. While HubSpot has many integrators, keeping everything on the same platform reduces data silos and supports processes like marketing lead gen; ‘configure, price, quote’ (CPQ) task management; job scheduling and work order management; and billing, invoicing, and job costing.

Since field services companies often have complex pricing models, automated lead funnels and CPQ software that can quickly generate automated quotes is invaluable. Zoho CRM, with its CPQ capabilities, makes this task simple and efficient. While HubSpot can handle these tasks, most require the use of add-ons that must be purchased separately.

Field Service Processes

When it comes to managing field service processes, Zoho CRM simply offers more features than HubSpot. For example, Zoho’s capabilities can support job scheduling and dispatching, billing and invoicing, job costing, and an offline mode built-in for reps who travel to places with low cell reception.

With Zoho ONE, you can reduce data silos, the number of vendors you use, support and maintenance costs, implementation time, integration points, and risk of system failure—all while keeping your costs low.

HubSpot doesn’t have a dedicated, integrated field service app, but it does offer some features that can support field service companies, such as a robust task management application, customer support ticketing, and contact tracking.


Generally speaking, Zoho is much cheaper than Hubspot—especially if you go with their all-inclusive Zoho ONE package, which includes access to several integrated applications (including CRM and field service) for one low monthly price.

HubSpot’s lowest-tier plan is significantly more expensive than Zoho ONE, but it does offer a more traditional email marketing platform compared to Zoho’s email marketing solution. The Professional and Enterprise tiers of HubSpot also offer features like lead scoring, contact segmentation, and more that aren’t available on the company’s Basic plan, but which are offered by Zoho’s ONE’s competitively priced plan.


With HubSpot, you can have three free dashboards with 10 reports each. If you upgrade to a paid plan, you can store up to 50 dashboards, each of which can have 10-30 reports at a time. The Professional and Enterprise plans let you create 100 and 500 custom reports, respectively—a feature unavailable on any other plan.

All paid plans of Zoho CRM come with standard reports, as well as the ability to schedule these reports. Zoho’s Standard plan offers 100 custom reports, while the three higher-tier plans offer an unlimited number for any KPIs you want to track.

Zoho CRM vs. HubSpot: Which Should You Choose?

Ultimately, when evaluating the features of each program, Zoho CRM is the clear winner for service companies. With more features tailored to field services, a lower price tag, and more comprehensive reporting capabilities, Zoho is the logical choice for most field service businesses.

That said, HubSpot’s email marketing platform is one of the best out there. If you’re looking for a traditional email marketing platform—or if you’re only interested in sales and marketing tools and can get what you need from the company’s lowest-tier plan—HubSpot could be a good fit for you.

Consider your business needs carefully before making a decision. Or, if you need help comparing the two programs, reach out to ZBrains. Our expert team can support you in evaluating both options to determine which solution will best meet your needs going forward.

Identify Operational Inefficiencies

Overcoming Operational Inefficiencies: How to Identify and Solve Them

As a business owner or operator, it’s important to you to be aware of operational inefficiencies. You want to cut them off at the start, and keep your business heading in the right direction. You’ll find a lot of business advice online; however, the goal of this article is to help you identify the areas to look for operational inefficiencies. We’ll offer some considerations for you in terms of addressing the gaps in data you might experience as the operator of your business.

Get to know some indicators that your efficiencies could be off track are found in the realms of Planning, Scheduling & Quality Control. For example:

  • You may feel as though you don’t have control of your resources, 
  • You don’t have visibility to planning and scheduling (or there is a lack of it) 
  • Projects don’t seem to be the quality you want for your business
  • KPI’s are falling flat

These areas of uncertainty can leave you in a position of being unsure which issues to tackle next.

Firstly, consider each of the four scenarios above and how they apply to your business. What do you think you’re losing out on each month, or each day by not having access to the data required to solve these issues? Naturally, you’ll prioritize your biggest information gaps, and tackle those first. But how much more productive could your business be if right now you could see detail that gives actionable insight on each of these key points of operational efficiency?

With the right operating system for your business, you gain this visibility and will be on your way to identifying inefficiency with ease. In some cases you may even be able to become aware of the triggers that cause operational inefficiencies.

How can my business identify and track operational efficiency?

You’re having trouble getting a complete story for your business. Day to day it feels like the various resources you use to gain insight are contradictory at best. When you dig in it feels like micromanaging. As a result, there doesn’t seem to be a good way to get all the business metrics you need in one place. Your resources are dispersed across systems, and few if any of those systems are talking to each other, much less reporting together.

Zoho One is an operating system for your business. Comprehensive, integrated and customizable, this platform with 40+ applications can eradicate the roadblocks you’ve become accustomed to experiencing. Resulting in fewer or no departmental silos, but tools for everyone in your organization from Sales and Marketing to HR, Finance, and Operations.

Here are a few of the tools for each area of business that will be capturing the operational data you need:

  • Sales tools like mobile CRM, email, Telephony, social selling tools, live chat, online meetings and team communication tools are a part of Zoho One. Additionally, there are tools for  business intelligence, quotes, orders, and invoices that you need to fortify sales operations.
  • Marketing tools offered are also robust and include website builder, A/B testing, analytics, goal tracking, personalization, and multi-channel marketing applications. Wrap it up with marketing automation, reporting, and trackable KPI & ROI data.
  • Customer support is a lifeline for your customers in many cases. Zoho One tools like email, phone, social support (ticketing), live chat, self-service resources, remote assistance give many channels for communicating with your team. Additionally, bigger picture tools include support process automation, business intelligence, AI, CRM, and team communication tools. All this for an improved customer experience and the data you’re looking for. 

Don’t forget HR, Accounting, and Operations

  • HR Tools keep business running with solutions for talent acquisition, onboard, training, policy creation, resource management, and communications tools contributing to a culture of collaboration.
  • Accounting & Finance 
    • Receivables tracking: estimates, invoices, payments, and transaction matching.
    • Payables & Expenses: purchase orders, expense management, mileage tracking for reimbursement, and time tracking for projects.
    • Additional solutions include subscription management, recurring billing, and hosted pricing pages. 
  • Operations Tools consist of order fulfillment, service deployment, order management, multi-channel selling, warehouse management, project-based billing, and project management. Siloed communications are solved with the internal social network. Moreover, you can bridge with Sales & Customer Support teams using the customer portal. 

For any process or system not addressed, Zoho has tools to develop custom apps for web and mobile. And it offers integrations for greater business intelligence!

What is the solution to operational inefficiencies? 

With Zoho One, you’ll have your business situated in an ecosystem with a single sign on. For instance, this makes it simpler as an owner or manager to have complete control over business data. This includes identifying and addressing the Planning, Scheduling & Quality Control operational inefficiencies we mentioned at the start of the article.

In other words,  you can do it all within one ecosystem that utilizes the apps we just outlined.

Zoho One currently contains over 40 applications, all integrated. Firstly, they operate on the same platform so customization is generally more straightforward. Reporting on the business data you need to ensure efficiency in your operations is readily accessible. Additionally, only individuals you choose can access programs containing sensitive data, ensuring the information stays in the right hands.

If you’re looking for something that you can’t find in Zoho One, Zoho Creator is the low-code platform for creating your custom application. You can utilize it either on your own or with help from a Zoho Certified Consultant

Intriguing, you might be thinking. But all of that sounds too expensive and like quite an undertaking – it just doesn’t have to be with the right partner. ZBrains certified consultants have assisted clients since 2012. Above all, our speciality is value rewarding Zoho implementations and customizations so you don’t have to go it alone.

If you’re taking the next steps to learn more about squashing operational inefficiencies with Zoho One, contact us any time.

Zoho CRM Plus vs Zoho One Review

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

crm plus vs zoho one

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

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

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

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

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

crm plus vs zoho one

One problem: Why does Zoho offer two different bundles?

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

What is Zoho One? 

Zoho One is Zoho’s all-inclusive bundle, boasting 40+ fully-featured apps, all Enterprise-level (Zoho’s top tier of features).  You can purchase a license for any number of employees at your company for $105/user/month*. However, if all employees at your company use Zoho One, the price is only $45/user/month*.  Obviously, that’s a substantial difference.

What is Zoho CRM Plus? 

CRM Plus is the original Zoho bundle: Nine essential Zoho apps, all Enterprise-level, for $69/user/month*, regardless of how many employees use the apps.  This gives companies a better overall cost than they would get from buying different Zoho apps a la carte. (Apps include Zoho CRM, Campaigns, Zoho Desk, SalesIQ, Social, Projects, Survey, Analytics, and Motivator.)

*Pricing updated June 2021

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

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

  1. To save significantly on software licensing costs, consider purchasing licenses for all employees, regardless of their software usage.
  2. Needs all of their employees to use Zoho One anyway, or
  3. Stands to save a considerable amount of money by allowing some of their employees to use Zoho One rather than CRM Plus or a la carte apps.

The Devil’s in the Details

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

Use Case #1

zoho crm plus vs zoho oneBusinesses stand to save a good deal on Zoho One even if not all of them use the software.  This would happen in situations where a company with fifty employees had thirty of them in need of the software, and twenty with no need for Zoho One licenses at all.  In this case, it makes more sense to eat the cost of ten additional licenses than only buy licenses for forty employees.  This is because for only forty employees, the cost of the licenses increases by nearly a factor of three!

      • 30 users * $105/user/mo (Zoho One flexible user count) = $3,150/mo in licensing
      • 50 users * $45/user/mo (Zoho One for all employees) = $2,250/mo in licensing

Use Case #2

You can benefit from Zoho One for certain if you need all of your employees to use the software anyway.  No matter how many you employ, the offer is $45/user/mo if you purchase a license for all your employees.  Especially for smaller companies, this seems almost too good to be true – and, more on that below, shortly.

Use Case #3

For some companies who only need some of their employees to use business software, Zoho One may make more sense than CRM Plus simply because the $105/user/mo price provides more needed functionality than would be available with CRM Plus, or CRM Plus and a combination of a la carte Zoho apps.

      • 10 users of Zoho CRM Plus with Zoho Finance Plus and Zoho Webinar ($69/user/mo + $249/company/mo + $19/mo) = $958/mo
      • 10 users of Zoho One (flexible user count) ($105/user/mo) = $1050/mo

The savings may seem to favor a la carte options, but additional limitations and add-on costs should be considered. For example, webinar events are limited to 25 people, and there are extra fees for users, warehouses, orders, and labels, ranging from $9-10 each for the add-ons.

What are your next steps to implementing Zoho?

Remember, before deciding about Zoho CRM Plus vs Zoho One, it’s always best to get some Zoho CRM Plus consulting, or Zoho One-specific help.  You can use that consulting time to set up the apps you need. Additionally, you can use it to get an expert’s recommendation on which bundle to pick, Zoho CRM Plus vs Zoho One, if either are a good idea for you.

After discussing various apps and scenarios where one may outperform the other, a lingering question remains.

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

[caption id="attachment_3832" align="alignright" width="400"]selecting the correct fit Okay, not quite 80% off…but darn close.[/caption]

At first glance, this looks positively insane, and you’ll be certain you’re gaming the system by buying Zoho One.  This is especially true if you run a smaller company. Imagine having so much functionality that every employee can enjoy for only $45/user/month!

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

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

The Good Old Days

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

They were losing the attention of smaller businesses.

zoho one or Zoho CRM

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

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

Consider this:

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

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

Again, what an enormous market.

Like Miracle-Gro for Small Biz

zoho crm plus vs zoho one

Zoho came up with this fantastic Zoho One package because they knew businesses needed some help just entering the world of Zoho. That way, they could realize immediate benefits of using the software. And also see what benefits they’d reap if they grew their companies!

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

It’s accepted that happy customers with talk with their like-minded friends who run businesses. Because of this, suddenly Zoho has potentially increased their reach by millions in the USA alone.  Perhaps tens of millions worldwide!

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

The Zoho CRM Plus vs Zoho One Review

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

The Road Ahead for Zoho CRM Plus vs Zoho one

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

[caption id="attachment_3837" align="alignright" width="401"]zoho crm plus ZBrains Expert Consultants help guide you to which Zoho apps are best for your business, and we’ve helped clients like you since 2012![/caption]

So, let’s turn that around! ZBrains has helped lots of businesspeople who were strapped for time. This includes determining which Zoho apps would work best for them, and which exact package would be best.  Is it Zoho One? CRM Plus? Maybe neither of the two? It remains to be seen. But we can show you the way so you turn from would-be Zoho user to Zoho Hero.

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

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

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Zoho Sprints is here and ready to get you over hurdles like this jumping dog

Zoho Sprints is Here! – Agile Project Management Solution

Project Management can be a real bear if you don’t have the proper tools to organize your team members, track their responsibilities, and gather insight about how they’re all contributing to the big picture – your business. With that in mind, Zoho introduces Zoho Sprints, an agile project management app designed to manage software sprints and help everyone get over their respective hurdles.

Zoho Sprint Dashboard

Here arZoho Sprints Icone 5 ways Zoho Sprints makes project management effortless.

1. Get a Quick Overview with the Dashboard

Easily take a look at the big picture with the Sprints Dashboard. You can track team member engagement, review your backlog metrics, and see completion levels of your sprints. The dashboards capabilities allow you to ensure that you distribute work effectively and increase your team members’ efficiency. Even when working on individual sprints, you can always take a look at the big picture with an easy-to-read overview.

Zoho Sprints Reports2. Dive Deep with Analytics

With Velocity Charts, Burn-down and Burn-up Charts, and Cumulative flow diagrams, you can stay on top of your data! The analytics update in real time, helping you make predictions, make adjustments, and identify bottlenecks. Additionally, with release reporting you can also take a retrospective look at closed and completed sprints and which team resources were used. Reports on Zoho Sprints will help you take your business to the next level by turning your data into actionable insights.

3. Manage and Track Time Effectively

Manage your time Zoho Sprints’ Timesheets tab allow you to track and log hours and separate billable and nonbillable hours for your sprints. When logging your time you can start the timer from anywhere in Sprints. The Meetings tab allows you to easily schedule meetings, set agendas, and choose the participants. Meeting reminders and the ability to search meetings will take the pain out of logistics and planning. Time is money, and Zoho Sprints is here to help you use your time efficiently.

4. Track your Team – The Scrum BoardZoho Sprint Scrum Board

The Scrum Board allows you to see where your team stands. Personalize your board by creating custom statuses, sorting, and views. You can monitor your Sprint Activity as well, with graphs based on the status of your tasks. Don’t let tasks get lost in the cracks. The Scrum Board will give you and your team a clear view into your projects!

5. The Price is Right

Pricing is user-based with a free option for 5 users and 5 projects. Paid plans start at $14 a month for 12 users and unlimited projects. Have more than 20 users? Pricing for 13-100 users is just an extra $6 per user per month*, and that includes unlimited project and access to all features. Zoho Sprints is also included in Zoho One. You can read more about Zoho One in our blog here. *Pricing updated June 2021

Zoho Sprints will simplify project management for your business! Interested in learning more? Our ZBrains team provides tailor-made Zoho solutions for your business. Or contact us to schedule time to speak with a member of our ZBrains team to see how we can help!


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Woman sitting at her desk reading about common crm issues and zoho solutions

Overcoming CRM Challenges: Expert Insights and Solutions

When new clients come to us at ZBrains, we often hear one of two things – either they have faced significant challenges with a previous CRM software they have used and they’re ready to move on, or they have just signed with Zoho and are unsure where to start. With these two challenges, you could say that we’ve heard it all – from A to Z; so, you can be sure that we have answers to your common CRM issues.

After thousands of conversations with various clients, we’ve wrangled our experts at ZBrains to tell us their top 3 most common CRM issues from new clients. If you’re brand new to CRM management or perhaps you have questions about your current CRM, we’re sure you’ll identify with one (or more) of the challenges below.

Here are the top 3 common CRM issues (and their solutions).

Business woman on phone looking at Zoho mobile applicationChallenge: I can’t access my CRM on-the-go.

Imagine you want to access a client contact history while en route to a meeting, or away from your desk – but you can’t access your CRM through your phone. Ugh.

Solution: Discover a CRM that works on-the-go.

Challenge: My team does not know how to use my CRM properly.

Whether it’s because of lack of process or lack of training, your team just doesn’t understand or know how to use the major features of your CRM, it can be difficult to get your employees on-board entirely with your CRM.

Solution: Educate, Track, Customize.

Save time by tracking everything- from emails to phone calls, and meeting logs in between. Zoho has it all – enabling your team to make the most of your CRM. Have a program that educates your team on the benefits and use-cases before diving in head first. In our experience, this has truly made a difference in overall adoption and usage. Develop a solid process for your team and have customizable solutions for your business processes. Get started on the right foot by signing up for one of our Zoho implementation plans.

Challenge: My CRM doesn’t integrate with the software I use every day.

Are you always flipping through tabs, browsers, applications and spending far too much time logging-in, or recovering lost passwords?Is it just another application that you need to manage?

Solution: Find an all-in-one solution.zoho one

This is especially true for sales and marketing teams, who certainly use many, many applications on a daily basis. From CRM to email, social media posting applications and more, it can be a challenge to keep track of it all. Zoho One has 35+ integrated applications that encompass everything from CRM, email newsletters, documents, inventory, and more. Here at ZBrains, we offer additional add-ons and custom integrations for your favorite business products, such as QuickBooks,  Magento, and more.

It’s important to find a CRM that can integrate with a variety of solutions to optimize the potential of your business. It will keep you on-track and ready to close more, win more, and earn more.

From employees using your CRM (properly) to finding software that works for all teams in your company, these are our top 4 common CRM issues and their solutions. They’ve been compiled by our Zoho certified consultants here at ZBrains who are here to help you with your burning questions.  Feel free to drop us a line!


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Sortware as utility no longer a commodity

Zoho One Review: Shifting Software from Commodity to Utility

Information technology and developed software are growing and innovating at remarkable rates. IT jobs, in particular, are expected to grow by 20% through the year 2020; it’s no surprise that this is faster than average. So, as we look at software in particular, the question to ask ourselves is – do we consider it to be a utility, or a commodity?

What is software as a utility?

The definition of a utility is the state of being useful, profitable or beneficial. In relation to technology, software can be positioned as something that holds immense value. It is technology that provides revenue and shows a true source of ROI for businesses and brands. It is a software that can manage a plethora of business applications under one system.

What is software as a commodity?

Traditionally, software has been considered to be a commodity. As a refresher, the term “commodity” refers to a basic good used in commerce that is interchangeable with other commodities of the same type. Consider the way in which many software vendors have approached you, a decision maker. You receive hundreds of pitches per year – perhaps even per month – mostly landing in your inbox. The sales person on the other end is treating their product as a commodity, as an economic exchange.

Which would you rather – the software you select to be used as a utility, or as a commodity?Zoho one Software

When it comes to Zoho One, we know that it is shifting away from the traditional perception of software as a commodity. Zoho One is a true example of a utility – a useful, profitable and beneficial product that provides unmatched ROI for your business. Here’s why…

Zoho One is affordable.

Unlike the commodity of economic exchange – those darn cold emails that are floating in your inbox right now – Zoho One is truly affordable per user. Software is traditionally expensive, which is why the thought of it as a commodity has often been true. Instead, Zoho One starts at $45 per employee, per month.* The price point positions this software as one that lends itself remarkably well to profitability. *Pricing updated June 2021

It increases efficiency – and efficiency means additional revenue.

The beauty of Zoho One is that you can manage a multitude of business applications under one system. This means no more flipping through tabs, browsers, applications and spending far too much time logging-in, or recovering lost passwords. Saved time means increased efficiency – and increased efficiency means additional revenue. It means that your team can spend more time doing their job instead of performing administrative tasks each and every day.

It can run your entire business in one suite.

zoho one software screenIf you haven’t checked out Zoho One, now is the time – because we’re sure you’re going to love that this software can run your entire business through one suite. Seriously.

With one administrative log-in, you can work through over 35 applications, including your CRM, email newsletters, documents, inventory checks and more. Your team can send emails to your prospects, engage with your clients, and check to see which of your prospects are checking out your website. This is all through one software with a variety of applications.

It was once thought that software was a commodity exclusively, mostly because of the steep price tag that many companies have set. Instead, with the introduction of Zoho to the market, the mindset has truly shifted to that of software as a utility; a solution that generates revenue through increased efficiency, and truly proved profit and benefit.

We know you’ll love Zoho One, and we’re confident you’ll realize just how much of an impact it will have on your business. We here at ZBrains are Zoho Certified Consultants, as well as a Zoho developers with a handful of powerful Zoho integration tools. To learn more about how Zoho One can work for you, connect with us!

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Zoho One What and Why Business woman speaking on phone

Zoho One – What And Why

If you could manage a plethora of business applications under one software system, you would, wouldn’t you? (The answer is yes – of course you would). Instead of flipping through various tabs, opening multiple browsers, and downloading too many applications that you’ve now lost count of, the solution is to find just that – a solution. A solution that can increase your efficiency in all facets of your business practices. That solution is Zoho One.

What is Zoho One?

With an ever-expanding array of software tools available, finding the right solutions to streamline your operations can prove daunting. That’s where Zoho One comes in—a comprehensive suite of applications designed to empower businesses of all sizes. In this Zoho One review, we’ll delve deep into the world of integrated software and explore how this all-in-one solution can transform your business.

It is a truly revolutionary suite that can run your entire business – seriously. It has 40+ integrated applications that encompass everything like CRM, email newsletters, documents, inventory, and more. You simply need a username and password, integrate your applications, and you’re set; one dashboard to rule all.

A Multifaceted Solution

Zoho One boasts an impressive range of applications, catering to virtually every facet of business management. Here are some key highlights:

Zoho One includes apps like:

  1. Zoho CRM: Efficiently manage customer relationships, from lead generation to conversion and beyond.
  2. Zoho Books: Simplify your accounting processes, encompassing invoicing, expense tracking, and financial reporting.
  3. Zoho Projects: Keep your team on track through collaborative project management tools, ensuring deadlines are met and objectives are achieved.
  4. Zoho Marketing Hub: Streamline your marketing efforts with automation and analytics, enabling data-driven decisions.
  5. Zoho Analytics: Harness data’s power by transforming it into actionable insights with potent reporting and analytics tools.
  6. Zoho Desk: Deliver exceptional customer support with a unified helpdesk and multi-channel support.
  7. Zoho Creator: Customize applications to meet your unique business needs without extensive coding knowledge.
  8. And over 30+ others.  The list grows nearly every day.

This exceptional software suite can be used across all areas of your business, from sales and marketing to customer support and accounting. This means that everyone can log in, and everyone can use various applications that suit business needs to go about daily tasks.

The Power of Integration

Zoho One’s standout feature lies in its seamless integration of applications. By using Zoho One, you will no longer need to toggle between multiple software platforms or fret about data inconsistency. You can instantly utilize customer data captured in your CRM for your marketing campaigns, project management tasks, and financial reporting, creating a holistic view of your business.

Cost-Effective Scalability

Zoho One’s pricing model emerges as one of its most attractive features. Rather than paying for individual applications separately, you pay a fixed monthly fee per user. This model proves cost-effective, especially for growing businesses, as it allows you to access the entire suite of applications without breaking the bank.

User-Friendly Interface

Another aspect of Zoho One that stands out is its user-friendly interface. With a clean, intuitive design, even those with minimal technical expertise can swiftly learn to navigate the various applications. Zoho’s commitment to user experience ensures you can start using the software effectively from day one.

Customer Support and Training

Zoho Corporation places strong emphasis on customer support and training. You gain access to a wealth of resources, including webinars, documentation, and a responsive customer support team, all aimed at helping you make the most of Zoho One.

zoho one implementation

Here’s why we love Zoho One – and why you will, too.

It provides unmatched security across your business.

Zoho One gives account administrators one secure account for applications and overall control. This means that you’ll have one account to access all of your programs – such as the CRM, email, and more. Gone are the days of different login credentials for each program – which increases the potential of lost or stolen passwords.

In addition, this Zoho suite gives owners and managers complete control over business data. Only these individuals can access programs containing sensitive data, ensuring the information stays in the right hands.

Zoho won’t stop here.

45+ applications in the suite already sounds impressive – and it is. Yet, Zoho is always focused on innovation and improvement, which means that it won’t stop at 45.

The developer ecosystem ensures this application suite is enhanced regularly. This means that technology partners can truly customize applications to meet their needs. So, if an application that is customized to your business needs to be included within a certain means of framework, it also provides developers with the ability to make this happen.  That goes for everything from workflow rules in the CRM, custom functions in Zoho Books, or even an entirely new Zoho ERP app developed on Zoho Creator.

Zoho One pricing

Pricing starts at $45 per employee, per month (or $37 per employee, per month*, when paid on an annual basis). This includes all integrated business apps (everything you need), mobile and native apps, centralized administrative control, and more. *Prices updated June 2021

Consider the ROI for this solution. How much time would it take one employee to move between tabs, including logging in and waiting for each application or associated software to start? 10 minutes? 20 minutes? Now, consider your billed or internally set hourly rate. How much time can be saved by consolidating your business applications? Is this worth $45 per month? (We’ll say yes).

Zoho One Implementation

Now that you know the key features of the one Zoho suite, you’re probably asking: What does it mean to implement an entire suite of business software?  Do all the apps turn on at once?  What about permissions?  What do I do to prepare?

zoho one implementation

Taking the first steps

First of all, as soon as you know your organization is going to implement the suite of apps, I would do a quick poll and see who, if anyone, has implemented a Zoho app on their own.  This is not because you want them to spearhead the deployment process for your company!  Rather, it’s to make sure you don’t have any issues when adding all of your employees to your organization. It can be a bit of a chore to add people who are already recognized as Zoho app administrators to your org.

Has anyone gone rogue and deployed their app, be it  CRM, Campaigns, or People? If so, kindly have them switch their email from their company email to a personal email address. (Conversely, if your employee is using their Zoho app to conduct actual company business, that can make things a little more complicated. Contact us for some help!)

Getting Apps Configured

Second of all, don’t fear! Turning on Zoho One does not mean your employees can suddenly run amok and access all the different apps in Zoho; in fact, they give you great control over what your staff can and cannot do once you begin implementing the suite.  Here’s what we can tell you:

  1. Firstly, the apps you’ve already activated in your existing Zoho organization will come pre-selected when you arrive at the main implementation screen
  2. You can configure exactly which additional apps your employees can access
  3. However, even if you don’t activate certain Zoho apps during the initial configuration, you can always come back and turn the other apps on when needed
  4. Finally, your company’s settings, records, and other work stored in the a la carte Zoho apps will not be disturbed when you switch from the a la carte apps to the bundled option

Selecting the Right Licensing

Lastly – and this is more of a caveat – remember that all of your W-2 employees need to be members of your organization, per the licensing agreement.  (They say you can buy “flexible user pricing” if you don’t want to have all your employees as org members, but this is $105/user/mo.)

zoho one implementation

Having Zoho One Licensing Issues?

We’ve heard from quite a few company reps who love the idea of a software suite like this, but don’t want to have to buy licenses for all their W-2 employees – because maybe half or more of their employees don’t ever touch computers for their jobs!  This is especially common with people who use Zoho for manufacturing, or Zoho for field services and construction.

Now, we know what you’re thinking.

You may be tempted to… have employees share logins, or…

Just do not buy licenses for all your employees.

Well, please take this word of advice: Don’t go that route.

Zoho reserves the right to audit your books if you use Zoho One, and they have the right to impose penalties on you (likely monetary ones) if you don’t comply with their licensing agreement.  Instead, just contact ZBrains and we may be able to help you out.

Thank you for stopping by, as always.  If you have any questions or comments, connect with us any time, and explore some of our expert consulting options.

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zoho vs sage act logo

Zoho CRM vs. ACT!

zoho vs act


zoho vs act

Clash of the Titans: Zoho CRM vs ACT!

Zoho CRM vs ACT: Do you need a full CRM or a simpler Contact Manager?

One of the first issues that small businesses run into when they start to grow is the problem of dealing with the increased data flow.  This is especially apparent when dealing with multiple business apps and departments. One of the most damaging information overloads revolves around your customers.

Business gather customer information in many ways, and use it for product development, social media, sales, billing, and customer service. Making this kind of information available to the right people at all times can be challenging in our very diverse software environments. Your first order of business is to decide if you need a true Customer Relationship Management (CRM) suite or a simple Contact Manager program. Do you need Zoho CRM or ACT! by Sage?  Let’s see how Zoho CRM vs ACT stack up…

zoho vs act

Zoho’s CRM

Zoho CRM is a robust CRM module that can integrate with other platforms; it can also automate workflow. It provides full collaboration ability between multiple departments like accounting, sales, marketing, and customer service to ensure everyone has correct information. As a cloud service, you can access Zoho from anywhere with an internet connection.  This gives Zoho users much more flexibility than they would have while tied to their desktop computer.

Zoho even has email marketing functionality to keep you in contact with your leads automatically. Zoho also provides unparalleled security features, including industry-leading data encryption, field-level security, and security profiles. Zoho’s Google Apps integration also enables even better productivity and access to information for integration and automation. ACT does not have the security parameters of Zoho.  For that reason, we don’t recommend it for organizations with more than five users.

Zoho CRM may be a better fit if you need the following:

  1. Sales – billing and invoicing, mobile access, remote tracking, territory management, workflow rules and management.
  2. Marketing – email marketing, mailing list management, catalog integration of items.
  3. Help Desk – FAQ, forums, knowledge base, online self-serve, recorded demos.
  4. Customer Service – customer service integration and tracking, customization of user interface.
  5. Model and License – SaaS with monthly billing options – 3 user Free Edition – Professional & Enterprise Editions, the number of users that you can add is based on the user licenses purchased.
  6. Security – data encryption, field-level security, create roles and groups, and set up multiple administrative security profiles.
  7. Analytics – Executive dashboards, dashboard customization, forecasting and reporting.
  8. Extra Apps and Add-Ons – Google Apps, Zoho Apps, Microsoft Outlook integration, QuickBooks desktop integration, Zoho Books for light finance, and many other apps.

 zoho vs act

ACT! by Sage CRM

If you run a small business and need constant access to your customer data, ACT’s contact management attributes can save you money while keeping your team up-to-date. With internal memo templates and easy ways to communicate with all sorts of contacts, it makes things much quicker in general. Managers or administrators can pull reports on performance indicators and forecasts by their salespeople.  This, in turn, gives them a better idea of the health of the company in genersal.

ACT also provides another feature not available in most other contact management software; the ability to help manage customer tickets or technical support cases with specific tracking options. This keeps all issues up-to-date and ensures better customer service with accurate tracking. ACT also integrates with Sage products and provides online access but is not as versatile as Zoho. It is also not well suited for mobile device use as is Zoho.

ACT! contact management may be a better fit if you need the following:

  1. Sales – no billing and invoicing – otherwise no obvious differentiation – same available features as Zoho as mentioned above.
  2. Marketing – referral tracking where Zoho does not.
  3. Support – has email and phone capabilities and request forms that Zoho does not.
  4. Model and User License – on premise (not SaaS) with monthly billing option – Windows and MS SQL based database (no for Zoho) – limited to 10 users.
  5. Extra Apps – QuickBooks and Sage 100 integration available.

Why move to Zoho in the cloud?  There are two big reasons

zoho vs act cloud software

Especially as the 21st century moves along, businesses that once used on-premise CRM solutions like Sage ACT find themselves looking for alternatives.  The reasons for this, aside from those aforementioned, are the long-term scalability of a cloud-based solution, as well as security.  The fact that Sage ACT is installed on-premise accounts for both of these reasons.  Relying on a business’s own server to host a CRM and account for changes in users and login locations can (sometimes) render a system unstable.  As well, cloud-based systems are inherently more secure than their on-premise brethren.  They do this by providing an off-site entry point, which means business owners aren’t liable for data breaches, if they occur.

Zoho gives a big advantage with Zoho One

zoho vs act zoho one

In the past couple of years, Zoho has significantly widened their advantage over other CRM apps by providing not only a family of integrated business apps, but offering all of them (over 40 in total) in one software suite called Zoho One.  Zoho One, like all Zoho apps, is cloud-based, and features many integrations with the CRM.  By using Zoho One, you could theoretically run your entire business – as opposed to just your CRM – from Zoho.  This would give your staff and other users a more unified experience.

Ready for some more?

There are many more specific comparisons that can be made between Zoho CRM vs ACT, and these depend on your specific needs as a company, including CRM consulting, CRM training, or support plans. Contact us today and we’ll help you decide which of the two is right for your company.