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 Cliq: Your Canary in the Coalmine
Before you buy a new car, you’ll probably want to test-drive it. In this case, I want you to think of Zoho Cliq as a precursor to more involved Zoho apps like Zoho CRM, Zoho Books, Desk, Projects, and others. Cliq, as you may already know, is Zoho’s answer to Slack, a popular intra-office chat software.
Cliq is nice because it does basically the same thing as Slack, but it comes pre-integrated into Zoho CRM, Zoho Desk, and Zoho People – the idea being that your staff who use primarily one app the whole day don’t have to log into another app just to chat with other folks in the office.
The other nice thing about Cliq is it’s really darn easy to use, at least for most people. You could add a safeguard against low adoption to your Zoho rollout by choosing to deploy Cliq for your whole team first, then letting the questions roll in. And, if there aren’t any stragglers, you can safely assume you can roll out more difficult and important apps like CRM with only the usual training-related questions. (And, fortunately for you, we provide Zoho training, so that’s even less on your plate.)
Zoho 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:
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!
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.
We covered a fair bit in this article, so to recap, we:
- Suggested implementing Zoho Cliq or Zoho Desk as a way to prepare your staff for a more complete Zoho deployment
- Demonstrated training as a way to get ultimate staff buy-in
- 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.