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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 $20 a month for 20 users and unlimited projects. Have more than 20 users? Pricing for 21-100 users is just an extra $3 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.
Zoho Sprints will simplify project management for your business! Interested in learning more? Our ZBrains team provides tailor-made Zoho solutions for your business. Schedule time to speak with a member of our ZBrains team to see how we can help you!

 

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Guy in a nice jacket looking at his Zoho Reports son his mobile phone

Zoho Reports for iPhone and Android – Finally!

Accessing information on your smartphone is integral to your career success. Think about how much you would miss if you couldn’t respond to email through your iPhone, check sales forecasting through your Android, or take that important phone call from your car? The number of mobile phone users in the world is predicted to pass five billion by the year 2019, which means businesses are increasingly building new apps and integrations for smartphones.

That’s why Zoho Reports is now giving you access to read and review on your iPhone and Android!

“Shut the front door!” you’re saying – and we’re serious. Zoho Reports on mobile is finally here.

Zoho Reports on mobile devices

Here are 5 reasons why we’re so excited Zoho Reports has arrived for iPhone and Android.

1. Because you are no longer restricted by time and place.

Have you been asked, “Hey Joe – how did that email campaign perform against my prospect list?” and you’ve had to respond with, “Oh hey Laura – I’ll get back to you in an hour when I’m at my desk”?

Say goodbye to time and place restrictions. Now, you’ll know how your campaigns performed, who it performed well against, and what you can do to optimize next time- all from your phone!

2. You can collaborate with your colleagues on mobile.

This functionality performs exactly the same way as reports on desktop. You and your colleagues can collaborate and work on reports together, in synchrony, even on mobile. View data, share data, and update your filter on-the-fly.

3. Safety and security remain paramount.

Just because Zoho is bringing reports to a new platform doesn’t mean they’re skimping on safety and security. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. Two-factor authentication for your account is still an option – when downloading the app for the first time, you will have to verify your account through your registered mobile phone number.

4. Favorites make it easier than ever.

Use certain reports more frequently than others? You can favorite your frequently used databases, which will then be listed in the Favorites tab in your home page. With a simple tap of the app and click on the Favorites tab, you will have access to the reports you need quickly and efficiently.

5. Edit and share easier than ever.

Of course, it’s great to have the ability to view a report on your mobile – but what about editing and sharing?

Yes – Zoho Reports for iPhone and Android can do that, too.

Within the app, you can collaborate with colleagues and clients to edit various data points, then share with the email address of specific users. Make changes on-the-fly and share them on-the-go.

We couldn’t be more excited to witness the unveiling of Zoho Reports on iPhone and Android, and we know you will be, too. To learn more about this latest app, click here or schedule a consultation with our ZBrains team today!

 

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An Owl surprised at hot easy migrating to zoho is

Why Migrating to Zoho is Easier Than You Thought

Some CRMs simply don’t live up to expectations – that’s a fact. Many of our clients come to us with the frustration of, “X isn’t doing what I want – so we need another solution”, and we help introduce them to the solution they need (*cough* Zoho). If you have made the decision that your current CRM isn’t working for you, you might wonder whether migrating to Zoho is worth all of the pain and effort. Well, we’re here to tell you that migrating to Zoho is way easier than you thought!

In this blog, we will walk you through the three major areas of migration that will set your CRM up for success, so you’ll get over that hump and get Zoho ready quickly and efficiently.

How Zoho Can Help You

Data, Email, and Inventory – Why Migrating To Zoho Is Easier Than You Thought

Existing CRM Data

One major worry for most sales and marketing teams is data – when migrating over to another CRM, what happens to your data? Until everything is loaded into your new program, many of us would be sweating bullets.

Not with Zoho. Migrating data from your existing CRM to Zoho is simple. Zoho has a great step-by-step guide here to migrate data, giving you everything you need to bring your information over with ease. Within Zoho, you can map modules like users, leads, and accounts to vendors, quotes, and products. The existing fields you have in your current CRM will transfer over. Zoho’s de-duplication process also help to avoid bad data.

Email

For email accounts and data, migrating to Zoho is also a simple process. Migration can be done with many different types of files – if your current CRM is providing EML or ZIP files, these can be uploaded to Zoho Mail. You can also use the Migration Wizard to migrate emails to accounts within Zoho Mail.

Zoho Mail is a webmail interface, just like Outlook or Gmail. It helps keep all of your contact synced with the Zoho CRM, Campaigns, Inventory and more.

Inventory

If your business relies on the tracking of physical inventory, we are sure you will be pleased to know that Zoho offers incredible inventory tracking – and can migrate all of your current data to Zoho. Avoid double entries and safe time by migrating everything over – even if it’s on an excel sheet.

With inventory migration, you can transfer modules such as contacts, items, sales orders, invoices, bills and more. Zoho offers a great cheat sheet on how to prepare and import your files here.

We are proud of how easy it is to migrate your data to Zoho. Regardless of the CRM you are using now – Salesforce, Pipedrive, Highrise and more – we can transfer your data, email, inventory and more into Zoho. Also, with the several integrations and add-ons available, you can customize it to fit your business.

If you are ready to learn more about how you can make the switch to Zoho, our team is ready to help you along every step of the way. Schedule a consultation with one of our Zoho certified consultants, to learn more.

 

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Guy sitting at his computer looking at Zoho integrations by Zbrains

Looking for Zoho Integrations? (We’ve got you)

Working in marketing, sales, and business development means you have a multitude of apps and software that you use on a daily basis. From email to social media, CRM to accounting, you utilize many different programs to perform activities each and every day. So, when it comes to your CRM in particular, it’s important to integrate with the programs for not only overall ease of use, but to give you more insights into your clients and prospects than ever before. That’s why we love Zoho integrations.

Zoho integrates with dozens of programs – that’s why we’re sharing our top four most favorite integrations with Zoho that we are sure you’ll love for your business.

Here are the four Zoho integrations that we can’t get enough of.

quickbooks integration
1. Quickbooks Desktop

Did you know that Quickbooks can integrate with Zoho CRM? Well, now you do. It is one of our favorite Zoho integrations!

This integration can create and update customers, all of your sales orders invoices, and products. This integration allows you to sync data with the Zoho CRM, so you can have complete visibility of your customer updates through Zoho.

For example, if you are hopping on the phone with a client and they’re asking about the latest sales order that was processed, instead of flipping through the QuickBooks program itself, you can stay within their Zoho account profile and answer any and all questions they have. Need help with deployment of our integration? No problem! Our ZBrains team can help you with both your Quickbooks Desktop or Quickbooks Online integrations!

2. HelloSignhellosign integration

One of our favorite (and most efficient) integrations is HelloSign. Gone are the days of signing contracts on paper and waiting for snail mail to arrive; now, you can speed up your sales cycle and integrate HelloSign (signing documents online) within your CRM.

As soon as a client signs a contract with your business, this integration syncs the signed contract with their profile – keeping all of your data and files in one easy place.You can do it with the Zoho HelloSign integration built specifically for use with Zoho CRM.

google drive integration

3. Google Drive

When saving files, whether it is marketing collateral or signed contracts, you need a safe and secure place to store them. Many companies use storage solutions like Google Drive or DropBox, but such solutions often go out into the abyss and aren’t used or updated regularly.

With the Zoho CRM Google Drive integration, you can keep all collateral and files in one secure place, keeping the attachments you need within each prospect file. Google Drive integrates within Zoho CRM, creating a folder or series of folders that link to your CRM records of choice.

4. MailChimpmailchimp integration

Your marketing team is likely all over email – segmenting audiences, scheduling campaigns and dissecting data. Yet, what good is it if you can’t view this data within your CRM as your sales team is actively prospecting for new opportunities?

MailChimp integrates within Zoho so you can view this data within each prospect record – whether they’ve opened an email, what lists they are part of and so much more. Our Zoho MailChimp integration syncs the contacts you need for a successful marketing campaign right to Zoho CRM as if the programs were made for each other.

There are a plethora of Zoho integrations that will work for your business – and we’re so thrilled. With over 30 different programs that will integrate with Zoho CRM, this is truly just the tip of the iceberg. To learn more, or to uncover if your favorite program will integrate with Zoho, schedule time with one of our Zoho Certified Consultants.

 

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

3 Common CRM Issues and Their 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, MailChimp, 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

Software as a Utility vs a Commodity

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 $30 per employee, per month. The price point positions this software as one that lends itself remarkably well to profitability.

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, schedule a consultation with us here.

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?

Zoho One is a truly revolutionary suite that can run your entire business – seriously. It has 40+ integrated applications that encompasses 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.

Zoho One includes apps like:

  1. Zoho CRM
  2. Zoho Desk
  3. Zoho Projects
  4. Zoho Finance Suite (including Books, Inventory, Expense, and Subscriptions)
  5. Zoho SalesIQ
  6. Zoho MarketingHub
  7. Zoho Campaigns
  8. And over 30+ others.  The list grows nearly every day.

This one Zoho 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, everyone can use various applications that suit business needs in order to go about daily tasks. 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 individual program – which increases the potential of lost or stolen passwords.

In addition, this one 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 they won’t stop at 45.

Zoho One is enhanced by its developer ecosystem, meaning 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 in Zoho within a certain means of framework, Zoho One 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

Zoho One pricing starts at $35 per employee, per month (or $30 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.

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 $30 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 actually 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

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, as Zoho makes it a bit of a chore to add people who are already recognized as Zoho app administrators to your org.  So, if anyone has gone rogue and deployed their own app, be it Zoho CRM, Campaigns, or People, 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!)

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, Zoho gives you great control over what your staff can and cannot do once you begin implementing the suite.  Here’s what I can tell you:

  1. 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. 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. 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 Zoho One

Third of all – and this is more of a caveat – remember that all of your W-2 employees need to be members of your organization, per the Zoho One licensing agreement.  (Zoho says you can buy “flexible user pricing” if you really don’t want to have all your employees as org members, but this is $75/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 Zoho One, 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, I know what you’re thinking.

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

Just not buy licenses for all your employees.

Well, I have this word of advice for you: 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, please drop us a line using the webform at the bottom of this post, and explore some of our Zoho consulting options.

 

 

Optimze Your CRM Avoid Bad Data Find Zoho Solutions

Avoid Bad Data, Find Zoho Solutions

When it comes to optimizing your CRM, having a clean set of data is extremely important. You should ask yourself a few questions: Are your customers receiving duplicate emails? Have multiple sales reps reached out to the same lead? If these sound familiar to you, then you know these situations can cause you to lose both existing and potential customers.

What is the leading cause for mistakes like this? Duplicate or bad data – records with the same email or phone numbers, stored under different names.

Here are a 2 ways that duplicate or bad data can affect your business.

  • Lower Sales Productivity, Higher Consumption of Resources. Bad data affects everyone from sales to IT. Often, are not made on the spot but instead overlooked in order to complete the task on hand. Once left uncorrected, it can cause a lead to be contacted multiple times, issues to be overlooked, and upset customers.

    Bad or uncorrected data can create a ripple effect within your business – a “Hidden Data Factory”- where knowledge workers waste 50% of their time identifying and trying to correct errors in data. This bad data costs the US economy about $3.1 Trillion Dollars a year. Don’t lose money or allow a hidden data factory to grow within your business.
  • Duplicate Data means Duplicate Emails, Higher Unsubscribe Rates. Bad data can also have a damaging impact on your email marketing campaigns and your reputation. With bad or duplicate data affecting your system, your customers may be receiving duplicate or incorrect emails leading to higher unsubscribe rates.

    While you want to stay at the top of your customers’ minds, you don’t want to bombard them. 48.3% of people who unsubscribe from emails list cite receiving too many emails as the reason. When you customers unsubscribe, you fall off their radar.

A business spends on average about $14 million on data quality. Zoho CRM is able to improve data quality by eliminating duplicate data, because businesses should not spend large amounts of money on maintaining data quality.

How Zoho can help you with your bad data

Zoho CRM solves your data problems 2 ways

  • Zoho CRM Unique Fields.
    Through the layout setting option, you can choose to mark certain fields as unique (name, phone number, etc.). Any time a new record with the same variable in any of those fields is being added to the CRM, a prompt will appear saying that a duplicate is about to be created and the action will not be allowed. This ensures that no duplicates are created in Zoho CRM.

  • De-Duplication option for existing data.
    If you already have duplicates in your data, Zoho CRM has a solution for that as well! The de-duplicate option is present under the “more options” ( the button with three dots) in the Leads, Contacts, Vendors, and Accounts module. You decide upon the fields you wish to check, then an automated de-duplication process will run in the background. It will merge records with completely identical variables in the selected fields. If there is a conflict between the duplicates, you can resolve it and manually merge the records.

Using Zoho CRM’s built-in tools can drastically reduce the number of duplicate records you have in your system – and, using the tools on a schedule is a surefire way to eliminate duplicates entirely. Maintaining good data quality can improve your efficiency, and have a direct impact on your revenue.

If you would like to learn more about how Zoho CRM can optimize your business, reach out to us! At ZBrains, we are proud to be a leader in experience and industry knowledge with Zoho, CRM management, business processes, and integrated solutions.  You never have to feel like you’re alone in the Zoho universe with Zoho-certified consultants around – we’re here with you every step of the way.  Contact us today!

launch soho crm

How To Launch Zoho CRM in Two Days

When hiring a new vendor or signing a contract with a software company, there can be feelings of both excitement and fear – excitement at the opportunity to have such a solution make your life easier, and fear at the concern that launching such a service or platform might take hours upon hours to get off the ground. Well, we’re here to tell you that when it comes to Zoho, you can launch Zoho CRM in as little as two days. Yes, you read that right. Two days.

How can we make this happen? Because here at ZBrains, we have the magic formula to launch your CRM quickly and efficiently – simply because we’ve done it hundreds and hundreds of times for our clients.

Here are four easy steps on how you can launch Zoho CRM in two days.

1. Plan.

During the planning stage, it is important to define your sales and overall business process, with both the data and actions at each stage of your sales process. Your sales manager and lead sales people should know this process like the back of their hand – they just need to put it on paper.

For example, consider the following:

  • What happens when a lead comes through your website?
  • Who should be on the initial introduction call?
  • What are the steps you need to take when a prospect turns into an opportunity or proposal?
  • Who signs off on a won deal?

You certainly have all of this information in your head – your team simply needs to integrate such plans into documents.

2. Specification.

Once you have documented your sales process, you should convert your process into a specification document, which lists each field by module, action, trigger, and user. Start with all the standard fields in Zoho CRM, then add your own custom fields, as well as remove the fields you’re not going to use from your specification document. Go through this process a few times as you’re specifying just to ensure that you haven’t missed a step. It always helps to document in the initial planning and specification stage as much as possible.

3. Build.

Now is the time to build and customize your CRM from your specification document. Granted, if your process involves custom programming, or if you don’t have any of the content, it might take a longer than 2 days to build, but just to get started, 90% of companies do not need custom programming for their sales process.

But that’s just an aside. Building the process and framework typically takes two days alone – and remember, you can always customize as your team learns and adapts the Zoho CRM platform.

Which brings us to…

4. Train.

After the system is actually built, you should conduct a Zoho training session with your users, as well as help them get acquainted with the new system. We always recommend recording training sessions as much as possible, so that your team can go back and re-watch after your official training sessions are held.

If your team is wondering how long an implementation process takes, you can rest knowing that the response is two days. To launch Zoho CRM within this timeframe takes into account that your team has come to the initial planning meeting with an idea of the sales process and other marketing content that is available. All information is good information! We can turn this into actionable strategy and tactics for your team while using Zoho CRM.

SugarCRM vs Zoho CRM

sugarcrm vs zoho crm review

sugarcrm vs zoho crm review

Just how sweet is Sugar?

This matchup of SugarCRM vs Zoho is interesting because, although SugarCRM is more expensive than Zoho CRM (seemingly) as a rule, SugarCRM Professional Edition (PE), a mid-level business program, costs the same per user as Zoho CRM Enterprise Edition (EE), a higher-level business program.  We won’t rush to conclusions yet, because words like professional, standard, and enterprise are all quite subjective terms.  We’ll take a look at actual product specs to see how these two really match up.

SugarCRM vs Zoho Round One: The Costs

sugarcrm vs zoho crm review

As aforementioned, we’ll be comparing two different-tiered programs with the same price: both Zoho CRM EE and SugarCRM PE are priced as follows: $35 per user per month.

  • It costs $4200 to board 10 users of either Zoho CRM EE or SugarCRM PE for a year.
  • For the sake of comparison, it costs $7200 to board ten users on SugarCRM EE, the supposed equivalent to Zoho CRM EE.  That won’t be factored into our decision at the end of this bout, but, keep it in mind.

Another thing to keep in mind: Zoho CRM offers a monthly pricing plan (truly $35 per month) whereas the price per user for SugarCRM is still $35 per month, but, it can only be paid in one sum annually.  Thus, you have slightly less flexibility with SugarCRM’s payment plan.  However, this won’t affect every business owner.

As the price is dead even between SugarCRM vs Zoho CRM in this round, we’re calling it a tie.

sugarcrm vs zoho crm review

Round Two: Tracking the Sales

Sales is the bread and butter of most businesses, so, having a robust system for tracking sales is of utmost importance.  Both SugarCRM and Zoho recognize this; SugarCRM packs the ability to track Leads, Contacts, and Opportunities, plus the ability to generate Sales Forecasts and Quotas.  While this is a sizable list of features in itself, Zoho CRM packs all these and the ability to track competitors, sell as a team, create macros, and keep track of certain activities using a feature called feeds.

Feeds is a feature that turns Zoho CRM into a sort of social network, giving users the ability to track (or “follow”) certain users, tasks, or records, and lets users communicate about those items by adding comments to them.  This is an especially useful communication method for larger or disconnected offices; comments left this way are searchable inside Zoho and linked to specific activities, making looking up past conversations a bit easier than searching through multiple email threads about the same subject.

Because of Zoho CRM’s added features for the same price, this round goes to Zoho.

Round Three: How Social do you wanna get?

sugarcrm vs zoho crm review

In today’s business climate, having a presence on social networks is absolutely key to engaging prospective customers and keeping current clients in the loop about your goings-on.  That said, in the battle of SugarCRM vs Zoho CRM, both programs have a share of social interaction options.

SugarCRM PE lets its users interact with followers via Facebook and Twitter with integrations to both programs.  By itself, this is a fine starter pack of sorts for social networking, but, that’s all SugarCRM offers in that regard.  Zoho CRM EE offers the ability to monitor social mentions, making it easier to track customer interactions (or places where you’ll want to engage a customer who calls on you publicly), as well as a built-in tab for both Facebook and Twitter.

Overall, Zoho CRM gives users more social networking capability.  Being able to track social mentions would seem worth paying an additional price by itself, but, as Zoho CRM is still the same price as Sugar CRM, this round also goes to Zoho.

Round Four: Wanna Automate that Marketing?

sugarcrm vs zoho crm review

Marketing automation is key for businesses that want to reach a wide audience quickly while also managing email and marketing campaigns.  Marketing automation as a concept seems to have evolved at a perfect time, as social media and other electronic marketing channels are more important than ever to the health of – at the very least – any tech-minded business, and many other kinds as well.

That said, hopefully your answer to that question above is a resounding yes.

Both Zoho CRM EE and SugarCRM PE come out of the box with a host of marketing automation tools, from web-to-lead capturing ability to mass emailing, email templates, and tracking campaigns themselves.  Zoho CRM comes with one extra tool: autoresponders, which send messages to mailing lists based on time or click-through statistics.  Some businesses may find this tool extremely useful, but, I don’t think its inclusion alone is enough to push Zoho over the top; thus, this round is a tie.

SugarCRM vs Zoho CRM Bonus Round: What About Workflow Management?

sugarcrm vs zoho crm review

For those not in the know, workflow management is simply a term for when your CRM reminds you or prepares you to do certain tasks in order.  The tasks you can program a CRM with workflow management capability to carry out are limitless, from simple email reminders upon moving records from one stage to another, to making certain information appear inside custom modules upon modifying a record, to programming a particular action to occur a certain time after another event has occurred.  (It’s kind of like having your own personal assistant.)

Zoho CRM EE comes with all those abilities, including automatic lead assignment, case escalation (which prioritizes certain activities above others in certain circumstances, which you may set), and completely customized functions.  This round is a bit of a mismatch, as SugarCRM PE doesn’t contain any of the marketing automation abilities listed (and none others, either).  This makes Zoho the unequivocal winner of the round.

Who’s the champ in SugarCRM vs Zoho CRM?

sugarcrm vs zoho crm review

Determining the victor between SugarCRM vs Zoho CRM was simple.  For the price, Zoho CRM EE offers more features than SugarCRM PE, plain and simple.  Based on this alone, we dub Zoho CRM the winner of this bout. As always, this review doesn’t take into account things like ease of use, general Zoho consulting services, or Zoho support plans, which can be very subjective topics.  Be sure to schedule a walkthrough of the CRM that interests you most before you make any big decisions.

Bonus Round: There’s even more to Zoho than meets the eye

Just when you think the bout is over and you’ve decided the victor in this Sugar CRM review with Zoho, hang tight!  There’s still one more thing to consider.  We’re admittedly a bit biased over here, as we’re Zoho consultants, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that by choosing Zoho over Sugar, you’re not only gaining access to all of Zoho’s apps aside from the CRM, but you can also tap into Zoho’s extensive network of partners – including us.  You can use your Zoho partner’s expertise to figure out the best way to solve your business problems using Zoho now, and also put together a sort of road map for the years to come, that way there’s no reworking of your system and no abandoning ship after a small handful of years.

Aside from the CRM, Zoho offers a help desk app (Zoho Desk), as well as a finance app (Zoho Books).  Zoho’s platform as a service (Zoho Creator) can be used to improve the functionality of existing Zoho apps, or create entirely new ones to suit your business needs.  If you were considering something like Sugar CRM to begin with, chances are its malleability caught your eye.  Zoho offers that same sort of feature in Creator, and Zoho’s partners can help with this, too.  All of these apps are available as part of Zoho One, a suite of 40+ apps available for $35/user/mo.