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zoho zbrains field services

The Zoho, ZBrains, and Field Service Relationship

You may be wondering how these three things are related. Let’s begin by asking: What is Zoho, and who are ZBrains? Why are their offerings important to field services companies and improved customer experience?

zoho field services architect

What is Zoho?

Zoho is a cloud-based business suite geared to optimize your business by automating processes.  Zoho encompasses not just customer management, but finance, project management, and a host of other business needs.  Using all these apps effectively can be a lot to handle – and to boot, last year Zoho introduced Zoho One, its entire suite of 35+ apps, in one platform.  This has given users access to many more apps than before, many with overlapping functionality.  We’ve noticed it can be a little challenging to learn about the uses of all the different Zoho apps, especially when having to deal with day-to-day office or field work at the same time.

Who are ZBrains?

ZBrains is a Zoho Premium Partner that focuses on adding value to Zoho’s existing ecosystem, with a focus on field services companies.  Our services include process consulting and training on various apps, providing integrations to different third-party apps, and even implementing custom add-ons to automate setting service appointments, optimize service or delivery routes, create mobile work orders, and even calculate commissions.  Our in-house developers and consultants make sure you have an open line of communication to our home office.

Find out below how the union of Zoho & ZBrains is beneficial for your field service business:

zoho field services mobile devices


Imagine this: a field technician arrives at an appointment to meet with a customer, only to discover he is unprepared: A communication error in your scheduling department has caused him to bring improper materials to the appointment. This situation likely not only upsets your customer, but can also have a negative impact on your bottom line. Thus, having all elements of your business integrated is essential: It helps to avoid miscommunications and eliminates human error caused by manually transferring information. According to Field Technologies online,  the most important concept in field service management is integration. Here at ZBrains, we can help you do this with Zoho solutions tailor-made for your unique business needs.


It can be difficult to make important decisions and move your business forward when you’re bogged down with manual day-to-day processes. By automating your general workflow, you can let your software do the grunt work and keep the hard decisions for yourself. With Zoho One, you have access to apps that not only help your CRM run smoothly, but can help you in all areas of your business. This allows you to collect and analyze data from almost every department to help you strategically plan your next steps.


Increased real-time information is the unity of the cloud and mobile devices. If you’re out in the field, it’s important that you stay apprised of any scheduling changes or updated client information. Zoho has developed their apps to work with you wherever you may be accessing them through your phone, tablet, or other device!  To match this, we’ve made our Zoho SmartScheduler to work on all mobile devices as well! It will schedule your appointments for you, taking into account parameters you set, including territories and areas of expertise. With drive time calculation and Google Maps integration for drive time calculation, it’s the only scheduling optimization tool you need!

zoho field services happy customer

Better customer experience

The increased data accuracy achieved by integrating and automating your systems allows for faster response times and productivity from the different departments that run your business. With a steady flow of more accurate information that is able to be accessed on the go, you can easily keep your customers engaged and deliver messages when they’re most crucial. Integration, automation, and mobile capability together allow for more time to cultivate the most important relationship of your business – the one you share with your customer. When they’re happy, you get more referrals and repeat business, leading to a healthy bottom line.

ZBrains is able to ascertain just how Zoho can be best used for your business by engaging you in an exploratory consulting session called a Business Process Analysis.  In this session, a ZBrains consultant takes full stock of your business and can recommend a Zoho solution that is customized for your business – and then, construct the resulting system according to that vision.


Interested in learning more? Reach out to a member of our team today! We are Zoho Certified Consultants here to help! Give us a call at (888) 207-4111 or click the button below and we’ll reach out to you. You can also register for our upcoming Stump the Chump webinar tomorrow, Friday, Jan. 26th at 9 am PST. Ask your Zoho questions, and if you stump us, we’ll buy you coffee!


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zoho erp to scale your business

Scale Your Business to Excellence with Zoho ERP

When it comes to scaling your business with Zoho, lots of kinds of businesses have a good trajectory – but, that’s not always the case for manufacturers and distributors.  Out of the box, many of Zoho’s apps, even Zoho Books and Inventory, simply don’t stand up to the customization needs of those kinds of businesses, so those companies are forced to either limp along with lackluster procedures and reporting, or pack up and go elsewhere entirely.

But, a proper ERP solution doesn’t have to be outside Zoho at all, in fact.  Zoho ERP harnesses all the power of Zoho Creator to do the things that regular Zoho apps don’t do.  That is, it takes the best of what’s already there and customizes it to make it even better.  Many business owners know exactly what they need their systems to do, but just don’t know how to get them in place.  Would you benefit from having an ERP add-on to manage your orders and inventory?

Here are four ways Zoho ERP picks up the slack and helps you take back control of your business.

Order Management

Zoho ERP’s ability to split purchase orders into multiple sales orders, and to split a single sales order into multiple purchase orders, comes in handy for many manufacturers and distributors.  The add-on allows for storing unused line items in their own repositories, and then picking your preferred vendors from a list for any given item.  Then, you can send them off to be fulfilled with just a click.  Additionally, Zoho ERP fills the gap that Zoho Books leaves open, which is customizing products at the line item level (for freight amounts and the like).


Zoho ERP being built on the Zoho Creator platform means syncing with any back-office software that has an accessible API. From buying inventory to shipping goods, you can track all data across platforms, from start to finish, so you can keep your company moving as smoothly as possible.  Among the objects you can integrate: Receipt of goods, purchase orders, and bills.  Zoho ERP connects with your Zoho CRM as well, giving enhanced visibility to certain users directly inside the CRM, so you never have to have multiple tabs open.


All the fulfillment data you need are right at your fingertips with Zoho ERP.  The system not only tracks inventory on hand, but also the inventory you need to purchase in order to fulfill upcoming orders.  Zoho ERP can even take past PO history, along with SO, Quote, and Invoice history, and use that to project future needs for your business, saving valuable time every time you run a report.


Understanding your customer is one of the more important aspects of running a business. Without them, would you even be in business?  With data collected from sales orders and invoices, shipping and return information, as well as key customer information and communication tracking, you’ll have a better understanding of how to scale your business to better serve your customers, resulting in more positive results and ROI.


Here’s what our clients say:


Interested in learning more? Reach out to a member of our team today! We are Zoho Certified Consultants here to help! Give us a call at (888) 207-4111 or click the button below and we’ll reach out to you. 

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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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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!

love zoho CRM

Why Baby Boomers are leaving their legacy systems behind (and why they love Zoho CRM!)

baby boomers zoho crm

When it comes to software for your business, the opportunities are endless – from CRM to ERP, accounting software to marketing automation, you’re likely receiving cold calls and email outreach every single day. Yet, when it comes to baby boomers, there is a shift happening – a significant change in their business habits. They are leaving their legacy systems behind. Why? Because they are finding new solutions – practical, efficient, and cost-effective solutions – that they were previously unaware of. And when it comes to CRM solutions, we’re finding the now more than every that baby boomers love Zoho CRM. Of course, we knew they would love what Zoho has to offer – but perhaps you have to hear it (or read it) to believe it yourself.

Here are 4 reasons why baby boomers are leaving their legacy systems behind – and why they love Zoho CRM.

1. Because their legacy systems lack efficiency.

It’s not surprising, but it needs to be said. Legacy systems aren’t getting updated as frequently as CRM solutions, like Zoho CRM, are. We are constantly focused on innovative software and updates. We are always introducing new integrations, and we hear you when feedback is expressed.

Here are just a few of the Zoho integrations that we are proud to offer:

2. Legacy systems aren’t always adapted for mobile.

Can you imagine not being able to access your email on your iPhone or Android? It sounds archaic, right?

Now, imagine not being able to access your CRM on mobile. Let’s say you’re on a conference call while traveling, and your client asks for an update on invoice 0001. Imagine having to respond with, “Sorry, Joe – I’ll have to get back to you when I’m in the office on my desktop.”

You won’t run into this problem with Zoho! It’s so important that your desktop and mobile software solutions work in synchrony, and we shouldn’t expect anything less from a CRM.

baby boomers zoho crm

3. They make Millennials skeptical.

By 2025, 3 out of every 4 employees globally will be within the Millennial market. So, we need to pave the way for Millennials to take over – because they will.

Millennials need on-the-go, mobile solutions. They need to have data in the palm of their hand, 24/7. Don’t let your outdated legacy systems drive away Millennials, your future employees.

4. Training and Support are nonexistent.

Legacy solutions lack training and account management representatives – because no one uses them anymore! Innovation is key within new software solutions. Baby boomers are quickly realizing this, and understand the importance of having account management by your side.

Innovation is truly integral to business success. Using software that is efficient and effective for your business means impacting your bottom line and generating ROI for your team. When searching for new software and systems, find a solution that will work with you – helping your company every step of the way.

Curious about how Zoho services and solutions can work for your business? Schedule a consultation with a member of our ZBrains team today!

SalesIQ Mobile App – Never miss a chat again!

zoho salesiq mobile app

The big picture: You’ve probably shied away from SalesIQ in the past because you were afraid it would look bad if your sales team wasn’t logged in.  But, what if you could solve that problem with a mobile app?

If so, this is the one for you.  A programmable chat window on your website ensures your visitors have someone to talk to – and now, with the SalesIQ mobile app, you can be there whenever you want, even when you’re not at your desk.


It seems like these days, Zoho comes out with a new feature almost every week.

And, I’m not talking about silly, useless updates either – these are the real deal.  Last week, they released an update for Zoho Creator, the Zoho AppCreator, which allows for creating functional apps in Creator with a simple drag-and-drop interface… Impressive.  (Look for a piece going into a little more depth on that later this week.)

zoho salesiq mobile app

And, just today, I heard about this great update for Zoho SalesIQ – the SalesIQ mobile app.  As with any good mobile app, it’s lightweight (18 MB for Apple devices and only 9 for Androids) and provides enough functionality to make sense without giving you all the controls you get with the full version of SalesIQ.  For an example of what I mean, you can set your status to Away or Busy with the SalesIQ mobile app, but you can’t change your company’s business hours or address information.  I don’t know why you’d need to do that from your mobile, though.  (Before continuing, if you aren’t sure what SalesIQ is, I’d suggest reading this.)

The app doesn’t have the nice orbiting display the full version of SalesIQ boasts, but it does show numbers of visitors in each orbit you have set up, and then offers a detailed view you can use to chat those individual visitors up if you’d like.

Most importantly, the Zoho SalesIQ mobile app includes the option to make noise, vibrate, and flash the screen when someone responds to one of your website triggers.  That way you never miss your visitors’ requests when you’re away from your desk.

zoho salesiq mobile appZoho SalesIQ mobile app features and screens:

  • Visitors Online – Shows numbers of visitors in each category on your website(s) with the SalesIQ code embedded in them.  (You can get the code for this from inside the full version of SalesIQ, but not the SalesIQ mobile app.)
    • Detail – Shows individual profiles of visitors on your websites, including their names (if you or they have filled out that info), IP addresses, the current page they’re on, their referral method, their browser, and their operating system – just like the full SalesIQ.
  • Visitor History – Shows profiles of either all visitors or returning visitors to your websites, including all info from the Detail screen mentioned above.  My only gripe with this SalesIQ mobile app feature is the visitors don’t seem to be in any logical order, and there’s no way to sort them (yet).
  • Visitor Chats – Separate from the Visitors Online screen, this is where your chats take place.  You can choose between viewing Ongoing, Missed, or Historical chats here.
  • User Chats – This is for communicating with team members also online (whether on the SalesIQ mobile app or on the full version), good for announcements related to the product, e.g., you’re running a contest for your Sales team members to see how many conversions they can get that day.  You can send private messages or “message board” messages, which are like group chats.  (These features are available in the full version of SalesIQ too.)

zoho salesiq mobile app

  • Settings – This screen is pretty basic, but gives you all the functionality you’d really need from a mobile chat app:
    • Profile – Displays your photo, same as the regular SalesIQ.  Also displays your privilege level (Administrator, member, etc.) and the name of your company.  Useful in situations when you’re responding on behalf of others in your organization, or on behalf of other organizations (which as a Zoho certified consultancy we sometimes do).
    • StatusThe most important screen.  Allows you to set your status as Available or Busy.  This stays consistent between any instances of SalesIQ that are open, which is also very nice.
    • Notifications – Allows for setting the kinds of notifications you want in your SalesIQ mobile app (sounds, vibrations, and pop-ups) for new chat messages, followup messages, and messages from within your organization.
    • Theme – Allows for a slight skin modification.  Kinda cool if you have a favorite color, or you’re in a particularly orange or pink mood today 🙂
    • Reset data – Clears all data from SalesIQ.  If you ran a few test chats and want to clear those out, this is good to have, but I’m actually a little scared of hitting this by accident one day.  I don’t know why this is included in the app.
    • Sign out – Signs the current user out of the Zoho SalesIQ mobile app (but not your full version of SalesIQ, if applicable).

The SalesIQ mobile app is a great way to stay on top of your chat game

In short, this is a fine product for anyone looking to engage website visitors a little better.  To make the best use of this, set up automated SalesIQ triggers for website visitors so your system pushes notifications to visitors automatically and you can worry about people contacting you instead of fumbling with your mobile keyboard to type personalized messages to everyone you see.

As with most new apps, there are a couple of features that would benefit from a little tweaking, but overall this SalesIQ mobile app is a great addition to the Zoho family.  And, it’s only been around since March 30th of this year, so I’m guessing Zoho will improve this one and perhaps even add more features as time goes on.

I’m online right now (at least until 7 PM, when I tend to fall over from exhaustion)… are you?





Insightly vs Zoho CRM

Insightly vs Zoho CRM

insightly vs zoho crm

insightly vs zoho crm

Will insight trump customization in this battle?

The cloud-based Insightly has a variety of easy-to-use sales features designed to make office life a bit easier than you might be used to when it comes to fussing with a CRM system.  And, when comparing it to Zoho, it seems a battle of Insightly vs Zoho CRM might be the closest thing we’ve seen to a draw yet.  Both of these cloud-based CRM systems seemingly have it all: great sales tools, marketing automation abilities, social integrations, and, of course, the ability to sync with other programs.

So, how do we determine a victor?

We’ll take a deeper dive into the specifics of Insightly vs Zoho CRM so we know exactly what’s going on.  Come on down!

Round One: Sales Tracking

insightly vs zoho crm

A CRM’s sales monitoring capability is its bread and butter, so, it’s very important for your customer relationship management system to come with a fully stacked system.  In this regard, both Zoho CRM and Insightly are no exception.

Both Insightly and Zoho CRM have basic sales modules like Leads and Contacts, as well as built-in calendars for viewing appointments and other events, the ability to search your entire CRM for any bit of text, file sharing, and – of course – custom fields.

To augment its powerful CRM-wide text-searching tool, Insightly packs a great feature, contact tagging, which is exactly what it sounds like: It allows users to tag CRM contacts with text of their choosing, making finding contacts that fit in a certain group or have certain characteristics all the easier to find – and reach out to – in your system.  Zoho CRM does not have a feature like this.

And, to answer Insightly’s specialized tagging feature, Zoho CRM gives its users the ability to create entire custom modules, allowing for customized functions (and fields) and, for that matter, a truly unique workflow experience.  Insightly users can’t create custom modules.

insightly vs zoho crm

Both Insightly and Zoho CRM contain another useful feature called feeds, which sets the normal CRM engine in a collaborative, social network-like environment.  This allows users to follow certain tasks and contacts, and allows users to communicate easily with each other through commenting and tagging.

All other things being equal (and, they do seem to be that way), it’s difficult to compare the value of contact tagging to that of custom module creation, as different types of businesses will clearly require different functions from their CRMs.  For that reason, this round is a tie.

Round Two: Marketing Automation

insightly vs zoho crm

Second only after keeping track of sales, marketing automation is a huge part of what value a CRM system can bring to a business.  As sales tracking allows the business to take in information, marketing automation allows that business to reach out to groups of its customers without much work on the part of a salesperson at all – hence the word automation.

Both Insightly and Zoho CRM provide for themselves similarly well in this arena.  Both systems provide users mass emailing capability, the ability to create email templates, and web-to-lead capability in the form of customizable webforms.  These are fairly standard features of a CRM system.

Zoho CRM and Insightly can each integrate to social networks as well, giving its users access to those networks (and the ability to see which networks its clients and prospects use) without having to navigate between multiple windows.  In this regard, Insightly comes out on top, boasting integrations to many social networks, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter, while Zoho CRM only provides integration capability for Facebook and Twitter.

insightly vs zoho crm

Zoho gets a leg up on Insightly, however, with its Zoho Campaigns add-on, which doesn’t have an equivalent in Insightly.  Zoho Campaigns allows for mailing list synchronization straight from Zoho CRM, and houses email templates designed especially for marketing campaigns.  The Zoho Campaigns engine also provides detailed analytics on individual campaign performance, allowing users to know exactly how effective their marketing efforts are.

Although Zoho Campaigns ends up adding to the overall price of Zoho CRM, the fact that users can organize automated marketing campaigns at all inside Zoho CRM gives this round to Zoho.

Round Three: Project Management

insightly vs zoho crm

Project management capability inside a CRM is key for service companies involved in budgeted or fixed projects, whose members often collaborate with each other.  The project management arm of a CRM can house data imported right from the CRM itself, and vice-versa; it provides a more detailed view of projects and the amount of work (and hence productivity) applied to each project.

For something that provides such value, it’s important that any competitive CRM have this sort of function.  And, thankfully, both Zoho CRM and Insightly have project management capabilities.

Aside from standard task listing and team member assignment functions, both Zoho CRM and Insightly can keep track of project milestones (smaller tasks within tasks), can be programmed to send out email reminders when certain tasks are approaching their due dates or when someone adds to a conversational thread.  Both Insightly and Zoho CRM allow users to view past completed projects – but, Zoho CRM only allows this functionality for an additional fee.  (Zoho users can still access Zoho Projects in a more limited capacity for free.)

Obviously, price is important in the grand scheme of things.  (We’ll cover price as a whole later in this article.)  For that reason, Insightly wins the Project Management round.

Round Four: Mobile Power

insightly vs zoho crm

In today’s business climate, the ability to take your business outside the office is just as important as working at your desk, if not more so.  By using mobile apps that connect to their CRMs, business owners and salespeople can perform most any task they would in the office from the palms of their hands, making CRMs that have mobile capability much more accessible at trade shows and other out-of-office situations.

Both Zoho CRM and Insightly have mobile apps associated with them, making them perfect for those sorts of scenarios.  Zoho CRM has a family of mobile apps, including Zoho CRM itself, a Leads app, and a dedicated Card Scanner app for business cards.  (You can read more about all three of these by looking at this Zoho mobile CRM apps page.)  Insightly has a fully functional mobile CRM app itself (found here) that has a built-in business card scanner – and, the whole thing can be viewed as a widget, adding convenience that Zoho’s mobile app doesn’t provide.  For this reason, the mobile round is a tie.

Insightly vs Zoho CRM Bonus Round: The Cost

insightly vs zoho crm

Product cost notwithstanding, Insightly vs Zoho CRM has been quite an even match; both CRMs provide a great assortment of features, both are very customizable, and both have robust sales and marketing tracking features.

Bearing that in mind, one would think the deciding factor in the match to be the cost of the products.  Let’s take a look at some real numbers:

  • To include the features listed here, Zoho CRM costs $35 per user per month.  This also includes unlimited CRM records.
  • For the features listed here, Insightly costs exactly the same: $35 per user per month.  Insightly also gives its users the option to pay a one-time annual fee of $348, which works out to $29 per month.

With these two products so evenly matched, it seems we have our first bona fide tie.  While Zoho CRM emphasizes customization and plasticity to draw in customers, Insightly emphasizes ease of use and consolidation – and, in this case, both products succeed.

However, before jumping to conclusions, it’s important to note that Zoho offers an entire suite of business apps for less than the cost of Zoho CRM – only $30/user/month when paid annually.  This offering, called Zoho One, contains 40+ apps under the Zoho umbrella, and the number grows nearly every month.  Apps include not only the aforementioned CRM, Campaigns, and Projects, but Zoho Books as well.  This variety of apps to use, all with the ability to integrate to each other as needed, lends much more power to Zoho as a choice overall.  (The only caveat to this choice is that all of your organization’s W-2 employees are required to use Zoho One, so it isn’t a good fit for everyone – but it does help in many cases.)

Before you make a decision about which CRM, Insightly vs Zoho CRM, to implement with your business, note that this article doesn’t compare things like ease of use or quality of customer support, which are quite subjective.  Do your due diligence before jumping into anything and you’ll be better off than you were before because of the knowledge you will have gained.

Method CRM vs Zoho CRM Review

method crm vs zoho crm review

method crm vs zoho crm review

Good method, or just madness?

This CRM face-off of Method CRM vs Zoho CRM is a little different than most.  Whereas most CRM software systems have a specific use that’s geared toward the size of your business, Method CRM is a little different.  Method CRM is designed purposefully, specifically, to integrate with QuickBooks.  Ostensibly, this (and by proxy its backing by Intuit themselves) is its biggest selling point.

However, Zoho CRM too has the ability to sync data with QuickBooks via QuickBooks CRM integration.  Does that mean it’s as good as or better than Method CRM, though?  Not necessarily.  There’s only one way to settle this…

Round One: The cost (of integration and more)

method crm vs zoho crm review

As one of Method CRM’s claims to fame is its seamless QuickBooks integration, one would expect the program to be quite expensive.  It certainly isn’t free, but, compared to other CRMs on the market, it doesn’t seem so bad.  Zoho CRM, with all its customizable features, clocks in at only a little cheaper:

  • It costs $40 per month to board one user on Method CRM Pro.  To board ten users for a year, you’d pay $4800
  • It costs $35 per month to board one user on Zoho CRM Professional Edition (PE).  To board ten users for a year, you’d pay $4200

As we see, an extra $600 in either direction probably isn’t going to make or break your businesses for the convenience of boarding ten users.  And, if you have any doubts, you can go back and see you’re only paying or saving an extra $5 per month per user.

However, the real price difference comes when talking about the integration itself.  Method CRM’s QuickBooks integration comes at no additional cost, whereas Zoho’s QuickBooks integration, while customized to fit the program exactly, costs an additional one-time fee of between $495 and $1295 depending on how many modules you need synchronized, plus a monthly fee of between $49 and $129 depending on the same.

That makes the winner of this round Method CRM by a healthy margin.

Round Two: Tracking your Sales

method crm vs zoho crm review

Keeping track of sales and where customers are in your pipeline(s) are the most important aspects of any CRM system.  Method CRM comes into the game with standard abilities to track calls, services performed, associated appointments, and services performed on individual records.  Method software also boasts self-professed unlimited contacts per company, alleviating a common problem of only having one or two contacts possible per record.  It also comes with standard data importing ability, custom record views, custom reporting, and team selling options.

Zoho CRM comes with many of the same options as Method CRM in this regard: Call and email tracking, appointment and service records, custom data views, importing ability, customized reporting, and team selling options alike.  Rather than infinite contacts per record, Zoho allows a fairly sizable 50 custom fields per module, likely enough to satisfy anyone’s multi-contact cravings (and also add a few useful fields to your standard modules).

One area where Zoho sets itself apart is in its feeds feature.  Feeds turns your CRM into a social network of sorts, allowing for individual record or event tracking (“following”) as well as commenting, for a much more collaborative, project-like CRM experience.  One notable benefit of this feature is that all comments are recorded and easily searchable, making it much easier to find conversations associated with particular records than it would be, say, scanning through your emails.

Aside from feeds, Zoho also features a competitor tracking ability, sales forecast reports, and sales quota tracking.

For these extra features, the sales tracking round goes to Zoho CRM.

Round Three: Any Other Integrations?

method crm vs zoho crm review

By now we know all about Method CRM’s and Zoho CRM’s respective abilities to integrate with QuickBooks, but, surely they can work well with other programs… right?

Well, of course.

Method CRM integrates with Gmail, Outlook, and MailChimp, giving its users a solution for the arguably most popular email clients.  Method also boasts an integration to SmartVault, numerous VOIP options (for an extra charge), as well as custom apps.

Zoho CRM features integrations with all three email clients as well, plus VOIP and custom apps.  (As with Method CRM, integrated VOIP comes at an extra cost.)  While Zoho CRM doesn’t integrate to SmartVault, it does integrate to Dropbox, which achieves the same effect.

That said, there doesn’t seem to be a clear winner of the integration round of Method CRM vs Zoho CRM.  It’s a tie.

Round Four: To Market Socially or Not to Market Socially…

method crm vs zoho crm review

This round combined social media and marketing integrations and abilities, if only to highlight one interesting aspect of Method CRM: it doesn’t seem to contain any of these.

Zoho CRM, on the other hand, contains out-of-the-box software integration capabilities for both Facebook and Twitter, as well as a built-in CRM tab and a way to monitor social mentions.  On the marketing side, Zoho CRM features web-to-lead capturing ability, plus email templates, a campaign manager, mass emailing ability, and autoresponders.  This is likely enough to get a marketing campaign off the ground, and probably enough to monitor your social networks adequately.

With that, the winner of this round is clearly Zoho CRM, but, this raises an important question for people who are already in love with Method CRM: does a CRM really need social media and marketing integrations in order to be good?  This will be the topic of a future blog post, so, keep your eyes peeled.

(For those awaiting my answer with bated breath… I say yes, without a doubt.)

Method CRM vs Zoho CRM Champion?

method crm vs zoho crm review

This is a tough one.  On one hand, you have Method CRM, which is very straightforward and seemingly light, its main feature being a complete QuickBooks integration.  On the other, you have Zoho CRM, which also integrates to QuickBooks – for a price some may consider hefty – but, in return, packs a host of great features, including some essential ones, that simply can’t be found in Method CRM.  So, how do you decide between Method CRM vs Zoho CRM?

On the basis of needing some of these features in order to run your business properly – and, going off the assumption that eventually you’ll need to purchase some other marketing or social media monitoring service in order to adequately satisfy clients and prospects on those particular channels – this bout goes to Zoho CRM.

Bonus Round: What else do you get with Zoho?

As Zoho CRM consultants, we’re obviously a little biased, but hear us out!  One thing that separates Zoho from a platform like Method CRM, aside from everything we’ve mentioned so far, is that by choosing Zoho, you get access to Zoho’s network of Zoho partners – including us at ZBrains.  Having a Zoho partner along for your CRM deployment means you have a dedicated business partner who can help you by determining the best way to use Zoho.  And, that’s not just the CRM; that can be for many other apps like Zoho Campaigns, Projects, or Desk – anything in the Zoho One suite of apps, in fact.  We can’t personally vouch for Intuit’s support of Method CRM, but with the tools Zoho puts at your disposal, the choice of Zoho partners can be a huge advantage for anyone looking to decide between Zoho CRM and Method CRM.

Why Integrate QuickBooks with Zoho CRM?

Why Integrate QuickBooks and Zoho CRM?

(A Theoretical Journey)

integrate quickbooks

There are many reasons to integrate QuickBooks and Zoho CRM, but, if you’re not so familiar with the capabilities of both programs, those reasons for integrating may not be so obvious.  And, if you’re someone who has done business one particular way for many years, you may not yet realize the importance of connecting business software programs.

In order to illustrate a point…let’s go on a short excursion.

Lousy communication looks like this

integrate quickbooks

It may be cliché, but, in the world of business, it’s nearly always better to work together with your colleagues than to work separately.  Being separated from your fellow workers comes with its share of disadvantages:

  1. Nobody knows what the other is doing
  2. Information has to be relayed between parties (and sometimes a third party) if it wants to get anywhere
  3. Transferring information takes a long time

integrate quickbooks

There’s a common thread connecting these, of course: it’s all about communication.  Not communicating can really slow things down in a business, at times even preventing things from happening entirely.  As a reader of this blog, you’re probably at least somewhat tech-minded, and you’re likely familiar with some effective communication methods as they apply to business.  For example, you probably:

  • Call up a coworker or leave a message in a chat room rather than do nothing when you’re checking in on someone, and you can’t be there in the same room.  This way, your colleagues know you’re trying to communicate.
  • Use a direct route of communicating for important matters–like a shout or a walk down the hallway–rather than tell someone else to pass along a message.  That way, nothing gets lost in translation.
  • Work expeditiously to get your messages across to colleagues, vendors, and everyone else important in your life.  That way, you get your required tasks finished quickly.

These are standard business practices, not to mention life practices.  And, you’re probably nodding your head anticipating something slightly less obvious…

Well, try this notion on for size: in spite of knowing well how to communicate verbal information efficiently in the office, many companies do not use these same principles when thinking about their software programs.

Back to reality: Why integrate QuickBooks and CRM at all?

integrate quickbooks

So, why would you want to integrate Zoho with QuickBooks Desktop or QuickBooks Online?  We can apply the same principles from effective human verbal communication to effective software communication.  Software programs essentially do the jobs people can’t quite do themselves.  For example, a CRM remembers countless lines of data; QuickBooks tracks all your company’s finances.

It follows, then, that not integrating software programs creates situations similar to those created when people aren’t integrated properly in the workplace:

  1. One program doesn’t know what the other is doing
  2. Information needs to go through a not-always-compatible third party to get anywhere, and that sometimes corrupts data
  3. The transfer of information is unnecessarily slow

Programs these days…

Just as technology has increased communication in humans dramatically over the past years, technology has done the same for software programs.  Many programs that previously had no connective capability are now built especially for integration.  Rather than have the three situations above, with integrated programs you have something much more effective:

  • Programs “knowing” what each other is doing
  • Information going through a specially-designed electronic corridor
  • Much quicker transfers of information, sometimes instantaneous

So, why integrate QuickBooks with Zoho CRM, specifically?

integrate quickbooks

Now that we know basically why it’s better for humans to work together than not, and why it’s better for software programs to integrate in order to do the same, we should be able to glean why it’s good to integrate QuickBooks and Zoho CRM:  Communicating efficiently is better than communicating slowly, or, not at all.

But, what are some specific things that QuickBooks and Zoho can communicate between each other?

  • Accounts and Contacts: If you have a record of someone in your CRM, chances are you’ll want to either pay them for services or goods, or charge them for your own, by having a record of that person in QuickBooks.  Or, you’ll want to transfer that record from QuickBooks to your CRM so you can add additional notes on that person.
  • Invoices, Quotes, Sales Orders, Purchase Orders:  The same ideas from above apply here.  Use your CRM to take detailed notes on purchases, and use QuickBooks to collect payment.
  • Vendors: Again, synchronicity allows for detailed tracking in CRM and actual payments in QuickBooks.

When you integrate QuickBooks with Zoho CRM, you eliminate countless hours of manual data entry; you also ensure communication between the two programs.  For example, you can turn Quotes in Zoho into Invoices in QuickBooks at the push of a button.  That means no more having to manually enter order details.