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Zoho CRM Integrations

Top 5 Ways You can utilize Zoho CRM Integrations – Even Though the Options are Almost Endless!

Zoho CRM integration abilities are often billed as the top reason why organizations choose the platform as their CRM and business software solution. It’s an undeniably powerful aspect of these tools. From finance and communication to sales, marketing, and office operations, Zoho ecosystem integrations truly can bring it all together. And if you’re using a service or application that isn’t Zoho, no worries, because Zoho was built with this scenario in mind and there are tools available to bring those apps into the fold, as well. Do you have a vision where information is no longer siloed? Where your teams collaborate easily? We think you may have just found the solution!

[caption id="attachment_5132" align="alignright" width="400"]popular zoho integrations Explore popular Zoho CRM integrations to help you spend less time managing software and more time making your business as successful as it can be! [/caption]

 

In this article, we’ll talk about the five major ways that utilizing Zoho CRM integration can enhance your business’ analytical capabilities from the top down, help to streamline your sales and marketing efforts, and give you the data you need to refine and improve your customer experience. Keep reading to see how integrating your Zoho solutions can help you spend less time managing software and more time doing the important things to make your business as successful as it can be.

 

1 Accounting and Finance Integrations

One question we hear A LOT is “Does Zoho CRM Integrate with QuickBooks?” And yes, it does, but it’s not even near the only accounting and finance option for playing nicely with Zoho. We do that work quite often for many clients, but QuickBooks is just one  accounting and finance option available out there!  Whether you’re using QB Desktop, QB Online, Sage programs, or another option, the Zoho capabilities exist to solve for double data entry, and can end the frustration of ongoing disconnect between your CRM and Financial data. 

 

Our client, Lavoro Technologies found the freedom to scale and evolve with their integration, and we think you might, too. Zoho itself has several solutions i f you’re not using any of the applications we just mentioned. Options are based on your business model and needs:

[caption id="attachment_5131" align="alignleft" width="400"]does zoho crm integrate with quickbooks Accounting and Finance Integrations for Zoho remove the task of double entry, streamline your operations, and help you gain accuracy.[/caption]

 

Zoho Books simplifies collaboration between sales and finance teams. It removes the need for duplicate data entry when integrated with Zoho CRM, and allows sales teams to record their estimates, sales orders, and estimates in CRM. It also provides purchase and transaction history details in CRM, and gives you the ability to automate some processes.

Zoho Expense helps salespeople capture expenses as they occur for their Accounts, Contacts, and Potentials. You submit approvals to CRM, where you can use Analytics to keep a pulse on spending. Take advantage of custom approvals, or you can even automate approvals when specific criteria are met. How much time could that save your sales team?

Zoho Subscription “bridges the gap between subscription and customer information” letting sales teams work in Zoho CRM to manage subscriptions because the customer information is seamlessly synchronized between the two apps in Zoho!

 

2 Communication Apps

All businesses run on communication, it’s basically the thing we do all day, every day. And Zoho has no shortage of available tools within their own ecosystem, and no shortage of other applications it connects to. Here are a few popular solutions for communication tools that integrate with Zoho.

 

Collaboration tools are at the top of the list of needs for many teams, ours here at ZBrains, too! Is your organization still working remotely or have dispersed teams? It is essential for your teams to keep in touch and communicate in real time. Zoho provides the essential tools and integrations required to collaborate perfectly. While it can integrate with Slack, Zoho has its own tool like it, called Cliq, and even that integrates with the applications you use most including: Dropbox, Trello, and Zoho Desk, Zoho People, and of course Zoho CRM. For deeper project management needs, we suggest Zoho Projects.

Telephony & SMS

As much as most of us probably wouldn’t like to admit it, we still use and need to make calls. Because this tech is still here and important to many, integrations for telephony solutions like RingCentral are there for good old fashioned calls! Messaging integrations like Twilio integration with Zoho CRM can help you with SMS campaigns.  Perfect for when you want to prime a contact with a text before calling, or to follow up after you reach them.

 

[caption id="attachment_5130" align="alignright" width="400"]Zoho Webinar and Zoho Meet for Sales and Marketing Teams Collaborative communication apps from Zoho like Webinar and Meeting help remote teams connect with colleagues, clients, and leads![/caption]

Live Chat and Meetings for Sales, Marketing & Customer Service

Live Chat allows you to connect with your customers and leads when they want to connect with you. SalesIQ from Zoho is an incredibly powerful integration that shows your CRM data in the application, so your Customer Service or Sales agents are set and ready with account information, or lead visit details. There’s even a mobile app!

Zooms and Webinars are everyday occurrences now, too. And we’re a bit of a broken record here, but Zoom and apps like GoToWebinar (plus others) integrate with Zoho. And Zoho has its own solutions for events and meetings, aptly named Zoho Webinar and Zoho Meeting, which you can use directly from CRM.

3 Marketing and Sales Integrations

Zoho CRM email marketing integration and Zoho social media integration are no-brainers. Zoho addresses your entire lead-to-cash cycle with these tools. 

Marketing Integrations

[caption id="attachment_5129" align="alignleft" width="400"]Zoho social media integrations Zoho features integration that brings your sales and marketing teams closer together, from social media lead metrics to customer surveys![/caption]
  • Zoho Social and Zoho CRM integration starts with generating new leads, then lets you identify the most successful channels, moving those leads to sales for faster closing. The system in Zoho Social has automation features, pushes leads from Facebook Ads directly to Zoho CRM with one click, gives you social listening capabilities, and of course, gives you the tools to track revenue in order to repeat your most successful strategies.
  • Zoho Marketing Automation contains tools to help you generate leads, understand their behaviors, and analyze the data from your lead cycle to enable greater sales. Additionally, as the name implies, you can automate customer journeys for your leads and customers using data from journey actions and CRM data for very specific segmentation that is virtually personalized. This integration takes your marketing activities beyond just email.
  • Zoho Survey closes the loop on customer experience with Zoho Survey and CRM integration. Gather, report, and act on survey responses, and use the insight to create better sales pitches when you know what’s working and what’s not.

Sales Integration for Zoho CRM

CRM is often seen as the pinnacle of sales tools, and you can already see from the sheer volume of things that integrate with Zoho CRM how this is true. They all add up to give sales professionals, and sales leaders the insight and information they need in order to best serve the right clients with the right solutions at the right time. 

 

Doing business with your organization should be as simple and seamless as it can be. Making your system easy to use, with highly integrated data sources, ensures that it is. Imagine giving your sales teams all the tools and information they require to get more sales, more quickly, that allows them to hold on to each hard earned customer for longer with a more profitable result. We’ll share a little more in the next section about the operational tools that also assist Sales.

 

4 Office Operations & E-commerce

[caption id="attachment_5128" align="alignright" width="400"]Zoho form integration Zoho Sign helps manage paperless workflow for digital signatures, allowing you to close deals faster![/caption]

Some of the most time consuming aspects of daily work are the office operations that we don’t often give a second thought to. We just do the work and move on. However, Zoho CRM integrates with such a vast number of tools both from Zoho itself, and others, to make this daily necessity more lightweight. You’ll find that once you integrate these always-used applications with Zoho CRM that the minutes per day that you shave off searching for emails and documents, sending and signing them, and generally managing the day-to-day storage and document shuffle of office life really do add up to a substantial amount of time. Here are a few integrations we like most.

Daily Operations

  • GSuite and Zoho CRM integrate so you can easily sync and access Gmail contacts, your tasks, and your Google calendar events in CRM.
  • Microsoft Office / Office 365 and Zoho Integration brings your presentations, spreadsheets, docs, etc. into one space within Zoho CRM for easier management. For example, you can access the Office suite from CRM for mail merge to automatically create customized documents. 
  • Google Drive, DropBox, and other integrations with Zoho CRM are available solutions for document storage. And you can access these directly from CRM, as well!

Paperless Office

  • And document signing, or paperless workflow for digital signatures, is another set of tasks that takes a lot of time and personal bandwidth to manage. Of course, Zoho has addressed this with its own secure solution, Zoho Sign, but offers integrations for other tools as well. For example, Adobe Sign Zoho CRM integration gives you visibility to document signing status, and both can shorten time to close by keeping the process digital.

E-Commerce

  • Finally, for online sellers, shippers, and e-commerce, Zoho CRM integrates with Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, and other platforms to help streamline your online transactions from click-to-buy, to invoice, payment collection, and shipping!

 

5 Almost Endless Zoho Integration Options 

So far you’ve read about some of the most universal business needs that are addressed when you use Zoho’s application ecosystem, like Zoho One, or integrate it with some popular solutions you might already have. But wait – there’s more! We weren’t really exaggerating when we said that the integration options are more or less endless. Zoho Creator is the platform to address almost any custom application or integration you can fathom, “from simple call logs to complex ERPs that integrate with your existing processes.”

 

ERP Solutions for Zoho CRM Integration

The good news is that some of these solutions for field services, manufacturers, and similar industries are already available from ZBrains. If you’re seeking solutions for any of the following processes, and would like to integrate with Zoho – drop us a line!

  • Quote Calculator (CPQ): Configure Price Quote tool enables your sales staff to generate Zoho CRM quotes or standalone quotes quickly and easily, using just one simple system.
  • Commission Calculator: Give your sales team back their confidence by calculating their commissions quickly and easily.
  • Payment Processing: Accept payments in Zoho CRM. Certain Zoho apps like Creator, Books, and Invoice have accepted credit card payments for some time.  But, it hasn’t been possible to process those transactions with a Zoho CRM credit card integration–until now.
  • SmartScheduler™: Using parameters you set, the Zoho SmartScheduler™ recommends possible appointment times for you or you staff to streamline your scheduling tasks and ensure that the right resources are assigned to jobs.
  • Executive Dashboards: Building a better Executive Dashboard with ZBrains means you can ensure all the reporting is done accurately, showing you results for all your KPI’s so you can make informed decisions instantly.
  • Inventory Management: Generate accurate insight into your business performance by syncing with inventory, order management and financial data. Centralize your operations with a Zoho ERP solution. 
  • Zoho Job Costing: This add-on for Zoho CRM enables your sales staff to generate quotes, manage proposals, and  track every dollar and hour spent on completing a job quickly and easily, using just one simple system – not the array of programs and personnel you might be used to dealing with.

 

Final Thoughts & Next Steps

Don’t see the solutions you need on this list, or mentioned in this article? Get in touch with us!  We know from experience that Zoho integrations can enable your team. They can help you drive your business with accurate data while saving you countless hours of effort chasing loose ends. Take the first steps today and empower your team and stay connected with your business! 

Zoho Implementations for Tech and SaaS

SaaS & Tech Companies: Zoho Implementation Works for You!

As one of the largest SaaS companies in the world, we like to think that Zoho knows a thing or two about making software systems for this segment. If you’re in the market for a new system, or starting your research here, this article will help you understand the capabilities of Zoho for SaaS and tech companies. And we’ll share details about what it’s like to work with ZBrains on your Zoho implementation.

This is your bread and butter, so you know that the details – KPI’s, clean data, and seamless integration – are paramount for most businesses, but are especially important for Tech & SaaS. 

[caption id="attachment_5119" align="alignright" width="450"]Zoho Implementations for SaaS Zoho is one of the world’s largest SaaS companies, and serves over 60 million users worldwide with their solutions.[/caption]

Before we get into it, ask yourself: What would your business look like if you could integrate your solutions for managing subscriptions, keeping an active CRM, giving internal and external customers an easy to use service ticket system, and being able to keep your accounting accurate and streamlined in order to maximize customer retention?

You need to keep a pulse 24/7 on all the numbers to ensure profitability and customer satisfaction. This is where the power of Zoho implementation and its integrations become very apparent. 

Are you already using several applications to keep your operations in line?  If you’re considering a new implementation, or improving what you’ve got with greater integration, having the right system and partners in place can make a world of difference. Here’s our advice and insight on the process needed to make it happen.

Begin by Evaluating Your Inputs

A single source of truth is invaluable, so maybe it’s time to stop using siloed data, and multiple systems that don’t quite ‘talk to each other.’ Believe it or not, you can get a true picture of profitability, costs, and almost any other meaningful KPI with the help of a well-appointed Zoho implementation.

You know what data is needed, so let ZBrains assist in getting you up and running in a system that brings everything together. The ZBrains process is key to ensuring your success, and we’ve spent every year since 2012 steadily improving our business as Zoho Certified Consultants. This process is the heart of what keeps us – and you after implementation – running smoothly.  Let’s take a closer look at the ‘what,’ ‘why,’ and ‘how’ of the importance of integrated software, including subscription billing, CRM, service tickets, and the other applications from Zoho to keep your Tech or SaaS business running effortlessly.

 

Why should you consider a Zoho Implementation?

In a SaaS or tech company, like almost any other business, an  software is meant to help maintain operations, make them run smoothly, and provide visibility to your most important metrics. When you have organizational efficiency and combine it with the ability to keep your fingers on the pulse of your most important KPI’s is where the true power of an integrated software is recognized.

We like to ask clients this question: “How would your business change if you were able to keep subscriptions, product data, and financial data in the same system? What about the ability to centralize your operations including everything from insight into customers, quotes, sales orders and invoices, to product inventory, work orders and process automation?”

Your business, and oftentimes your clients, will require you to have easy access to this information. Without it, your customer service suffers, user experience can be a miss, and  inevitably your subscriptions dwindle and profits suffer.  Are you sure that all of your KPI’s are accounted for and are you able to measure them and benefit from the results of knowing what’s working and what’s not? Software is the key to organizing processes, people, and data you need to make sure you can.

Business Process Management On a New Level

Take a moment and imagine having a system in place that can offer you:

“a disciplined approach to identify, design, execute, document, measure, monitor, and control both automated and non-automated business processes to achieve consistent, targeted results” that are aligned with your strategic goals. 

When you are finally able to align consistency with your business goals, every little step in that direction adds up, and gets you one step closer to success. Does this idea intrigue and energize you? If so, keep reading. 

 

Can good business processes really solve problems?

How do the aspects of the definition above apply to common activities you do in your business like: quoting, time tracking, equipment tracking, job costing, inventory management, scheduling, invoice and expense tracking, customer service, and subscriptions management? Do you currently have a way to achieve each of these points?

  • Is the process simple to see data and share between teams and/or departments? Or is the data siloed?
  • Does it take more than one hand to count how many software systems you’re using?
  • Are your associates able to seamlessly handoff projects from one department or process to another?
  • Does information get lost in the shuffle or is never considered at a global level?
  • Can you see which associates are working, where they are, and how effective they are in a given project? 
  • Is your subscription management process automated, including dunning management?

You’ve come to the right place if implementing solutions for any of these problems feels like a good next step for your business. You can achieve streamlined operations and processes with Zoho, but first let’s discuss some benefits of standardized processes.

 

6 Ways Standardized Processes Help Tech or SaaS Organizations

Which of these points could benefit your business the most? 

1) Increase Your Productivity 

Imagine a solution that could give you access to your service team status and location immediately, or that would allow you to create a quote faster. Or what if resources spent less time with double-data entry? And document handling was all digital? What if you could automate some of your routines? How could this affect your productivity factor?

2) Quality Control & Customer Experience

[caption id="attachment_5120" align="alignleft" width="450"]Zoho Customer Management Zoho’s subscription lifecycle management tools include features that can improve customer experience, helping you retain more subscribers than ever.[/caption]

When reviewing your NPS or customer feedback, does it say that some customer experiences are perfect while others fall short? Standardization makes your business, project planning, and deliverables executions more straightforward. This data also means you can streamline the training/onboarding process. Subscription lifecycle management features an also improve customer experience including:

    • Recurring payments and accounting features that ensure payments come on time and can facilitate payments through multiple methods.
    • Subscription metrics & reports help you stay up to date on your subscription business metrics and provide comprehensive reports
    • Even subscription automation that allows you to automate billing and subscription related tasks with the help of workflow rules and webhooks.

3) Bring Teams & Customers Together with Easier Collaboration

A well-provisioned system allows for more meaningful collaboration across teams because it helps to remove siloed information. Transparency in your organization helps your teams identify best practices, remove redundancies, and share expertise across departments more easily. Additionally, a good solution for your organization could include a customer portal where they can view invoices, make payments, or connect with an agent via a ticketing system to solve technical issues or request work.

4) Reduce Operational Costs

This can take many forms from being able to accurately quote and job cost, to giving clients self-serve options and giving your employees the tools needed to easily track time and materials in order to avoid overages or oversights. We’re just scratching the surface of how effective software helps reduce costs. Now imagine a system that can offer recurring billing and invoicing, and even dunning management to deal with payment failures and declines. The system can automatically initiate a recovery process which will save time in your financial department and reduce churn rate!

5) Give Yourself More Time for Innovation & Beat the Competition

Combining your entrepreneurial business instinct with the data an integrated system like Zoho One can capture is almost like a superpower. Put experience to work, plan and implement your innovations, and then use metrics you’ve captured to measure the results. With the power of data behind you, you are able to make accurate and incremental changes often and quickly. When you continually add automation to the mix, you’ll be giving yourself more time for innovation. Using the time you’ve saved to innovate, you’ll  be well on the way to being able to beat your competition.

How much time do you spend wrangling data? Checking multiple sources, and rechecking? What time is lost chasing invoices, customer data, and subscription information? When you are spending less time searching for data, managing individuals, and chasing processes, you can spend more time working in your business. With this gain in time you can focus on the innovations that move your business ahead of your competition! 

6) A Single Source of Truth to Rule Them All 

After points one through five, you can easily recognize how standardized processes can improve business operations beyond the basics. Zoho can help you bring your data to one ecosystem, and provide you with a single source of truth. Imagine a single sign-on that lets you access Zoho apps to operate every department, and gives peace of mind with security protocols that more than 60 million users rely on every day at work.

Have the scenarios we’ve shared about how Zoho can help your Tech or SaaS business been resonating with you? If so, you’re likely a serious candidate for implementing Zoho. And maybe you’re also convinced that ZBrains is the certified Zoho Partner to assist in your implementation. Let’s keep the conversation going!

 

What’s the ZBrains Business Process Analysis?  And how does it impact my Zoho implementation?

Every new engagement with ZBrains begins with a Business Process Analysis or BPA. Using what we know about all of the reasoning we shared above, we’ve developed a process that applies the same principles to our assessments. This is what is looks like:

Starting a BPA with ZBrains

The business process analysis is integral to all ZBrains consulting projects and Zoho implementations. As with any planning effort, it ensures a successful project plan is in place that fits with your business processes. We always start by getting to know you and your business.The best way we can solve your business problems is to first completely understand your current state.

Here’s what we do:

  • First we analyze expectations and identify any existing performance gaps in your business processes. 
  • Next, we examine your business from a wider industry perspective. What makes you the same and differentiates your business from others?
  • Then, ZBrains Certified Zoho consultants evaluate opportunities for improvement. 
  • Lastly, we decide which methods need to be introduced to positively impact the business.

We start by meeting with your team to thoroughly discuss and review your processes. This means taking time with sales, marketing, accounting, customer service, finance, and your operations teams to ensure every requirement is captured, and that we fully understand your existing systems. We’ll identify the best way to consolidate your operations into a centralized platform with Zoho as the hub.

After the BPA is finished, you receive expert recommendations on changes, augmentations or implementations from our team that are needed to meet your goals. We share a project timeline, deliverables, and an outline of targets so that you’ll always know project status. The strategy you receive can be executed with precision to create a successful business plan for the upcoming quarters and beyond.

 

How we work with Technology and SaaS Businesses

Zoho and ZBrains are both in this industry, and because of it we believe we’re uniquely positioned to offer our expertise here. And ZBrains specializes in small to medium businesses, just like yours. Here’s what a Business Process Analysis with ZBrains looks like for you:

Most often, we work with a champion from your company, normally a President, VP, or another C-level representative. We’ll talk about your executive dashboards, and business analysis tools, areas for improvement, and overall company goals with a new Zoho system.

Also, we ask to include members from teams across your organization in the intake sessions. This means representatives from all teams who will be using the software. We like to include SME’s from your Sales, Estimating, Marketing teams, Customer Service teams, and other Service or Resource Management representatives, and of course, Finance. This ensures that we get a global perspective of the business in our  intake, and we find that it encourages greater user adoption later on!

 

What information does ZBrains gather during a BPA?

During our sessions with each of your various team representatives, ZBrains will collect detailed information about their daily/weekly/monthly processes. We’ll see what’s working for them, what isn’t, and what improvements are needed. Discussions with your teams will often include the following:

[caption id="attachment_5121" align="alignright" width="450"]ZBrains assessment Process for Tech Businesses ZBrains collects detailed information about all your business processes. We’ll see what’s working, what isn’t, and what improvements are needed.[/caption]

Sales and Estimating

We’ll review and discuss all points of your sales process. Then, we look at if and how your quotes or estimates are created and shared with clients. What other documents are required and will they be managed digitally? We’ll dive into how new leads are addressed, and how is existing business managed? How do you measure success – what are your critical Sales KPI’s?

Finance & Subscription Management

We’ll drill down to completely understand what information is required from your front office to back office. We include review of documents for customers, all the way through to which data is required in order to generate executive reports. We’ll also dive into how you’re managing subscriptions, reporting on churn, and ensuring that payments are received. What information are you capturing from usage stats in order to segment and serve (or market to) your clients?

Customer Service & Support Teams

Keeping any hard-earned client happy is almost always less expensive than onboarding a new lead. For this reason, we’ll look at all of your CRM data and service ticket processes for service requests, including options like live chat for support. Do your current systems integrate? Do you want them to? We’ll also discuss document requirements.

Project Management Teams

What are your current project management tools? Who is using them? Are you taking advantage of features such as: task automation, team collaboration, issue  & time tracking, and mobile project management options?

Production & Installation

Are you a SaaS or Tech business that also sells product, like an IaaS or IOT as a Service org? If so, how do you procure goods? Are you purchasing parts or equipment? Do you have composite items and  a need for CPQ? What is your current process for handling bill of materials, work orders, and routing? How are you handling time tracking? We also get into your potential needs for planning capacity, and on-site maintenance, to name a few. 

Additionally, how are your installation teams scheduled and dispatched? Are factors like crew size, availability, proximity, or skill set taken into consideration?  How is time tracking addressed? Are your production or field/on-site service teams tracking their own inventory, and assets? What about work orders, scheduling, and routing?

Inventory Management

If you are stocking products, we go into detail about your inventory management processes including current and desired states. Do you have multiple warehouses, mobile warehouses? How are you handling order fulfillment? What about installation or service components? Are you ordering the same components from multiple vendors depending on lead time, price, and other factors?  Do you need to track reorder levels for items you keep in stock?

Other Zoho Integrations

Finally, we’ll look at your current integrations to determine compatibility with Zoho. We can also help identify any new integrations that might benefit your business processes. Some of the Zoho integrations commonly used by Tech and SaaS organizations include:

    • ShipStation,
    • TaxJar,
    • Avalara,
    • QuickBooks (Online and Desktop),
    • Xero,
    • Ecommerce solutions like Shopify or Magento,
    • SMS solutions like Twilio,
    • And many, many, others.

 

Considerations for Budgeting and Timeline for Zoho Implementation

As we mentioned earlier, Zoho is uniquely positioned for the SMB. For example, Zoho One includes more than 40 integrated applications in a single ecosystem. You’ll be hard pressed to find a solution that isn’t included, and when you can’t or you have a preferred tool, you can almost always integrate. 

A major software implementation for a large business can be as high as six-figures to implement, plus another five figures for the service costs. These incredibly robust enterprise tools are really powerful, but for a small or medium business like yours, they’re oftentimes out of reach. You shouldn’t dismiss the functionality just because the big names are cost prohibitive. Upon inspecting more closely, we think you’ll see that these big-name-solutions themselves are more often than not complete overkill. This is another reason how a BPA can help any small or medium sized business identify the actual tools they will need and utilize.

Incase you need more talking points: Why Zoho is a Solid Choice

  • You deserve a solution that is also robust in functionality and nuanced for your business! 
  • More often than not, Zoho is less expensive to implement and has a lower total cost of ownership than competing solutions.
  • Zoho applications are built to suit your business, and customization is possible using rapid development platforms like Zoho Creator.
  • Zoho is accessible. Built and designed with the SMB in mind, and you don’t need a dev at every turn. Simply add custom fields or new reports. Customize dashboards. Drag and drop functions make it easy to do this work in house, without sacrificing enterprise functionality. 

As a fellow in our industry, you probably already know how common it is for technology implementations to end in low user adoption. They can be too complicated and cumbersome for users and they become bogged down. Sometimes the new apps are placed, but don’t fit into the workflow. However, when you take the time to address the business needs, then build your system to solve for nuances of your business – and you get insight users in every department – you get better user adoption and a higher chance of success. As you can imagine, with so many variables, the budget and timeline for your Zoho implementation will not be exactly like any other. (However, you can get a price range using our instant quote tool.)

Thanks for reading through, and learning about the ZBrains process. We hope it’s been useful. If you’re interested in the next steps or have any questions, our Zoho Certified Consultants are ready to help you get started with your implementation or new integration – just get in touch!

 

Connect with Us

 

implementing field services ERP

Implementing ERP Software That Works For Field Services & Construction

Are you researching FieldTech, Salesforce Field Service, Service Titan, or Oracle as an option for field services software? Whether you’re just beginning research about scheduling software, or looking for a change, this article’s for you.

It’s no secret that in large part the success of your contracting business is based on accuracy, from bidding and job costing, to capacity planning and reporting.

For both for Field Services and Construction, it’s essential to have a handle on all the numbers to ensure profitability and customer satisfaction. If you don’t already use an ERP software to keep your operations in line, or it’s a slice of business you’re looking to improve, having the right applications in place can make a world of difference. 

[caption id="attachment_5038" align="alignleft" width="400"]Contractors ERP Software options from Zoho It might be time to let technology help you scale your contracting business for the 21st century. ERP solutions from Zoho might be the answer.[/caption]

Start with the Right Steps

Stop doing back-of-the-napkin estimates that sometimes happen in your business, and start getting a look at the true data you need. Put losses in productivity and profit behind you.

Zoho ERP solutions can be the keystone to simply and successfully capturing the details of your contracting for field services business. And we’ll show you the best ways to utilize data once the Zoho implementation for your teams are in place. We’re going to give you all the details about what it means to work with ZBrains, including our process – the heart of what keeps us and you – running smoothly.  Let’s take a closer look at the ‘what,’ ‘why,’ and ‘how’ of the importance of ERP software, including field service scheduling software.

 

What function does a Construction ERP software or Field Services ERP serve?

Fundamentally, an ERP like a field services software is meant to help you ensure operations are running smoothly, but that’s just one aspect. This organizational efficiency coupled with the ability to keep your fingers on the pulse of your most important KPI’s is where the true power of ERP software is recognized.

Take a moment for this quick exercise, and ask yourself: “How would my business change if I could sync inventory, order management and financial data? What about the ability to centralize my operations including everything from insight into customers, quotes, sales orders and invoices, to product inventory, work orders and process automation?”

Construction, field services, and contracting in general require precision. Without it, your service quality suffers, workmanship can fail, and  inevitably your customers and profits suffer.  Do you have all of your KPI’s accounted for and are you able to measure them and benefit from the results? ERP software is the key to organizing process, people, and data you need to make sure you can.

Why does Business Process Management matter?

Before you read further, take another moment and imagine having:

“a disciplined approach to identify, design, execute, document, measure, monitor, and control both automated and non-automated business processes to achieve consistent, targeted results” that are aligned with your strategic goals. 

[caption id="attachment_5037" align="alignright" width="400"]Construction workers review plans ERP software helps your business integrate functions such as quoting, time tracking, equipment tracking, job costing, inventory management, and more.[/caption]

This consistency, when aligned with business goals, is how some of the most successful businesses you already know are getting great results. Does this idea intrigue and energize you? If so, keep reading. 

 

Does good business processes actually solve problems?

Consider how the aspects of the definition above applies to common activities you do in your business like: quoting, time tracking, equipment tracking, job costing, inventory management, scheduling, invoice and expense tracking, commission tracking, and returns management. Do you currently have a way to achieve each of these points?

  • Can you easily access data and share between teams and/or departments? Or is it siloed?
  • Does it take more than one hand to count how many software systems you’re using?
  • Is the handoff from one department or process to another seamless?
  • Does information get lost in the shuffle or is never considered at a global level?
  • Is is easy to see who’s working, where they are, and how effective they are in a given project? 

You’re on the right path if implementing solutions for any of these problems is making sense for you. There are a lot of ways to achieve streamlined operations and processes, but let’s talk about some of the benefits first.

 

7 Benefits Of Standardized Processes for Field Services or Construction

Which of these 7 benefits could help you improve your business the most? 

1) Increase Productivity 

Imagine a solution that could give you access to your service team status and location immediately, or that would allow you to create a quote faster. Or what if resources spent less time with double-data entry? How could this affect your productivity factor?

2) Quality Control

Does your customer feedback say that some of your projects are perfect while others fall short? Standardization makes your business and project planning more straightforward. This includes scheduling, and ensuring you have the correct resources and materials for the job. Additionally, with this data you can streamline the training/onboarding process. 

3) Easier Collaboration

A well-provisioned ERP allows for more meaningful collaboration across teams because it helps to remove siloed information. Transparency in your organization helps your teams identify best practices, remove redundancies, and share expertise across departments more easily.

4) Reduce Costs

Accurate job costing that’s visible from a centralized dashboard will help you identify areas of material and labor waste that might have previously gone unseen for ages. Employees can easily track time and materials on a a job, giving you direct insight into job and company profitability.  This is just one facet of how an ERP helps reduce costs, now imagine data for equipment tracking, scheduling, inventory, and more all in one place.

5) Innovation & Adaptation

You don’t have to operate your business on gut feeling, but instead rely on instinct PLUS data together! Use your experience to plan your changes, implement them, and then use metrics you’ve captured to measure the results. When you have the data in hand, create incremental changes toward improvement! All of this is possible with the right contracting ERP or field services software.

6) Beat the Competition

When you are spending less time searching for data, managing individuals, and chasing processes, and more time working in your business, you actually gain productive time. With more productive time, you can focus on the innovations that move your business ahead of your competition! 

7) Single Source of Truth 

Speaking to many of the points above, standardized processes help in business operations beyond the basics. In order to scale comfortably, Zoho can help you tie everything together with a single source of truth. Solutions from Zoho take pride in security protocols for their softwares, but this translates to your business overall.

 

Now, if you’ve made it this far, you’re likely a serious candidate for Zoho’s field services ERP software. And maybe you’re also convinced that ZBrains is the certified Zoho Partner to assist in your implementation. Let’s keep the conversation going!

 

How does the ZBrains Business Process Analysis work for ERP and  field service scheduling software solutions from Zoho?

Let’s talk about how an engagement with ZBrains begins – with a Business Process Analysis. We take all the reasoning and research described above, and apply the same principles to our own assessments. Here’s what it looks like: 

This is a BPA with ZBrains

The BPA, or business process analysis, is integral to all ZBrains consulting projects. Just like any other planning effort, it ensures a successful implementation that fits with your business processes. It’s always our goal to begin solving your business problems by first fully understanding your current state.

Here’s what we do:

    • We start  by analyzing expectations and performance gaps in your business processes. 
    • Then, we examine your business from a wider industry perspective. 
    • Next, our consultants evaluate the opportunities for improvement. 
    • Finally, we decide which methods need to be introduced to positively impact the business.

This happens when we meet with your team and thoroughly review processes. It includes sitting with your sales, marketing, operations, and accounting representatives to make sure we understand all requirements and current systems. The goal here is to consolidate your business operations into a centralized platform with Zoho as the hub. 

When the BPA is complete, you receive our expert recommendations on changes, augmentations or implementations needed to meet your goals. You get to see a timeline, the goals, and and outline of targets. You receive a strategy that can be executed with precision to create a successful business plan for the upcoming quarters and beyond.

 

This is how we work with Field Services, Construction, and other Contractors

A lot of our clients are in these industries, so much so that we built a software called FieldTech just for you and businesses like you! Our work specializes in small to medium businesses, just like yours. Here’s what a Business Process Analysis with ZBrains looks like for you:

We often work with a single champion, normally a President, VP, or another C-level representative of the company. We include members from teams across your organization in the intake sessions. Anyone who will be using the ERP software. We include your Sales, Estimating, and Marketing teams, Field Services or Construction Teams, Inventory Management representatives, and Finance. It’s important to include input from the people who will be using the system. The reason is to ensure that we get a global perspective of the business, and we find that this also encourages user adoption later on!

 

What information does ZBrains gather during a BPA?

During our sessions with each department or team representative, we collect a lot of detailed information about their processes. Discussions with your teams will often include the following:

Sales and Estimating

We ask about your sales process. Then, we look at how your quotes or estimates are created and shared. How are you handling new leads, and how is existing business addressed? How do you measure success? And finally, what are the important KPI’s here?

Field Teams

How are teams scheduled and dispatched? Do you consider factors like crew size, availability, proximity ,or skill set? How is time tracking addressed? Are field teams tracking their own inventory, and assets? What about work orders, scheduling, and routing? 

Production

How do you procure goods? Are you purchasing or manufacturing parts? Do you have composite items and  a need for CPQ? What is your current process for handling bill of materials, work orders, and routing? How are you handling time tracking? We also get into your potential needs for planning capacity, batch/lot tracking, and on-site maintenance, to name a few.

Inventory Management

We go into detail about your inventory management processes including current and desired states. Do you have multiple warehouses, mobile warehouses? How are you handling order fulfillment? What about installation or service components?  Do you order the same components from multiple vendors depending on lead time, price, and other factors?  Do you need to track reorder levels for items you keep in stock?

Finance

We’ll drill down to completely understand what information is required from your front office to back office. We include review of documents for customers, all the way through to which data is required in order to  generate executive reports. 

Other Integrations

During consultation, we’ll also ask about your current integrations to determine compatibility and to see if any new integrations could benefit your business processes. Some of the Zoho integrations commonly used by manufacturing and distribution organizations include:

      • ShipStation,
      • TaxJar,
      • Avalara,
      • QuickBooks (Online and Desktop),
      • and Xero for example.

 

Budgeting and Timeline for Field Services and Construction ERP Software Implementation

[caption id="attachment_5039" align="alignright" width="400"]Solar panel installation contractor Major software implementation doesn’t have to be a six-figure proposition. Zoho is is less expensive to implement and has a lower total cost of ownership than many other solutions.[/caption]

Major software implementation for a large contractor’s business can be as high as a six-figure implementation cost, in addition to another five figures for the service costs. These incredibly robust enterprise tools are really powerful, but for a small or medium business like yours, they’re oftentimes out of reach. Projects like this can be extremely cost prohibitive. The solutions themselves are more often than not complete overkill in terms of what a small or medium sized business will need and utilize.

Why Zoho is a Solid Choice

  • You deserve a solution that is also robust in functionality and nuanced for your business, because you do! For SMB’s like you, Zoho is a great solution. 
  • This solution is less expensive to implement and has a lower total cost of ownership.
  • Customization using rapid development platforms like Zoho Creator means the applications are built to suit your business.
  • Zoho is accessible. It is built and designed with the SMB in mind. Custom fields and new reports couldn’t be simpler. Drag and drop functions make it easy to use and customize for yourself, all with enterprise functionality. 

In our industry, it’s common to hear that many technology implementations end in low user adoption. Overly complicated and cumbersome software solutions cause users to become bogged down. They don’t fit into the workflow. However, when you build your system to address the nuances of your business – and you consider users from every department in the build – you get better user adoption and a higher chance of success. For this reason, and many of the points discussed above, your budget and timeline will depend on the complexity of your requirements and depth of need. 

 

This is the long way to say, this is why we utilize the Business Process Analysis. We hope that an in depth look at business process management and field services software or ERP solutions  for contractors like you has been useful. If you’re interested in the next steps or have any questions, our Zoho Certified Consultants are ready to help – just get in touch!

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ERP Implementation for Manufacturing

How to Implement a Manufacturing ERP Software That Works For You

Does your organization use manufacturing ERP software like Oracle, Sage100, or Netsuite? If not, or it’s time for a change, this article is for you.

You already know that manufacturing requires precision in almost every single case. Without your attention to precision, parts from the manufacturing floor will lack quality. Then, your supply chain will be disrupted, and eventually your end customers downstream and profits will suffer. 

For this very reason, it’s quite likely that your manufacturing operation uses and benefits from some type of process management – maybe you’re even using a manufacturing ERP software to keep operations in line.   

 

But if your process is currently a little soft or ambiguous, consider the losses in productivity and margin that are mounting with every passing day.

Is it time to reign in operations and get control of your business?

We’re here to help you understand how Zoho ERP solutions can be the keystone to smoothly and successfully capturing the details of your manufacturing and/or distribution business. Furthermore, we want to show you how to take advantage of the data you’ll have with a Zoho implementation fit for manufacturing and distribution organizations.

In this article we’ll break down the process of working with ZBrains to implement a software solution that can give organizational visibility, and foster success. Let’s take a closer look at the ‘what,’ ‘why,’ and ‘how’ of the importance of Manufacturing ERP software.

 

What function does Manufacturing ERP software serve?

Keeping operations running smoothly is just one aspect of an ERP, but from the top down, you could say it’s a foremost consideration. This organizational efficiency coupled with the ability to keep your fingers on the pulse of your most important KPI’s is where the true power of ERP software is recognized.

“Manufacturing ERP refers to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software and systems used to plan, manage and deliver specific functionalities that support manufacturers and manufacturing business operations.”   – qad.com

 

[caption id="attachment_4950" align="alignright" width="450"]ERP software supports precision in manufacturing Manufacturing requires precision. Without it, product quality suffers, supply chain is disrupted, and customers downstream and profits suffer. [/caption]

What is Business Process Management?

To start – and this is probably already a known for you if you’re in the manufacturing industry – we’re sharing a high-level definition of business process management:

“The Association of Business Process Management Professionals defines BPM as:

Business process management (BPM) is a disciplined approach to identify, design, execute, document, measure, monitor, and control both automated and non-automated business processes to achieve consistent, targeted results aligned with an organization’s strategic goals.” – wikipedia 


What types of problems can good business processes solve?

It’s clear even in this short definition how an accurate, and smartly implemented business process is important. However, now you consider the phases – identify, design, execute, document, measure, monitor, and control – apply them to the departments responsible for each facet in your own organization, and ask:

  • Are you sharing data between departments? Or is it siloed?
  • How many software systems are you using currently? 
  • Is the handoff from one department or process to another seamless?
  • Is some of your information getting lost or not considered at a global level?
  • Can your software solution help you make the most of your available resources?

 

If you’re considering the progress you could make by implementing solutions for any of the above questions, you’re right on track. 

 

What are the Benefits Of Standardized Processes?
Here are 8 of them. 

1) Increased productivity is a given. 

Imagine a solution that could speed up order times, allowing you to fulfill faster. Or what if resources spent less time with double-data entry. What would this do to your org’s productivity factor?

2) Standardization equals quality control. 

Standardization makes your business planning more straightforward. Furthermore, the extrapolated benefits include a more streamlined training/onboarding process.

[caption id="attachment_4949" align="alignleft" width="450"]Zoho ERP fosters internal collaboration Transparency in your organization help your teams identify best-in-class best practices, remove redundancies, and share expertise across departments more easily.[/caption]

3) Make internal collaboration simpler.

When an ERP helps to eliminate siloed information, your teams can begin to collaborate on a deeper level. Transparency in your organization helps your teams identify best-in-class best practices, remove redundancies, and share expertise across departments more easily. 

4) You can reduce costs. 

Insight into your manufacturing and distribution data can help you identify and eliminate redundancy, and find areas of material and labor waste.

5) Did you realize you can also gain insight into your customer through analyzing your business processes?  

Find the places where processes might require modifications to better support your customers. As a result, they are more satisfied and you have created return business. And for most businesses, it’s less expensive to keep the customer you have than it is to find a new one.

6) It can help you adapt to changing times.

You don’t have to operate your business on gut feeling, but instead rely on instinct and data together! Plan your changes, implement them, and use metrics you’ve captured to measure the results. Then with the data in mind, create incremental changes toward improvement! All of this is possible with the right manufacturing ERP.

7) Stay ahead of your competition. 

When you are spending less time chasing processes, and more time working, you actually gain productive time. With more productive time, you can focus on the innovations that move your business ahead of your competition. 

8) Utilize a single source of truth for compliance, security, and safety. 

Speaking to many of the points above, standardized processes help in business operations beyond the manufacturing process, and Zoho can help tie everything together with a single source of truth. Solutions from Zoho take pride in security protocols for their softwares, but this translates to your business overall.

Now, if you’ve made it this far, you’re likely a serious candidate for Zoho’s manufacturing ERP solution. And maybe you’re also convinced that ZBrains is the certified Zoho Partner to assist in your implementation. Let’s keep the conversation going!

 

What is a ZBrains Business Process Analysis for Manufacturing and Distribution ERP solutions from Zoho?

 

Let’s talk about how an engagement with ZBrains begins – with a Business Process Analysis. We take all the reasoning and research described above, and have applied those same principles to our own assessments. Here’s what that looks like:

 

This is a BPA with ZBrains

The BPA, or business process analysis, is integral to all ZBrains consulting projects. Just like any other planning effort, it ensures a successful implementation that fits with your business processes.

You also know that the best way to solve a problem is to first fully understand the way a business runs. We start this by analyzing expectations and performance gaps in your business process. Next, we examine your business from the perspective of the world at large. Then, our experts determine what is working, what is not.  Finally, we decide which methods need to be introduced to change the fabric of your company.

We sit with your team to thoroughly review your sales, marketing, operations, and accounting processes to make sure we understand all requirements and current systems. The goal here is to consolidate your business operations into a centralized platform with Zoho as the hub. 

After the BPA, you receive expert recommendations on changes, augmentations or implementations required to meet your goals. We share a timeline, goals, and outline targets. You receive a strategy that can be executed with precision to create a successful business plan for the upcoming quarters and beyond.

 

This is how we work with Manufacturers and Distributors

Many of our clients are in manufacturing and distribution industries, and our speciality is small to medium businesses, just like yours. Here’s what a Business Process Analysis with ZBrains looks like for you:

We often work with a single champion, normally a President, Vice President, or other C-level representative of the company. And when we begin our intake sessions of a BPA, it’s of the utmost importance to bring in – and hear from – everyone in the organization who will be using the new manufacturing ERP software from Zoho. That includes: Sales and Estimating teams, Production, Inventory Management representatives, and Finance. 

The reason is to ensure that we get a global perspective of the business, and we find that this also encourages user adoption later on!

 

What information do we gather during a BPA?

During these sessions with each department or team representative, we collect a lot of detailed information about their processes. Discussions with your teams will often include the following:

[caption id="attachment_4951" align="alignright" width="450"]ZBrains BPA for manufacturing ERP Business process analysis is integral to all ZBrains consulting projects, and ensures a successful implementation that fits with your business processes.[/caption]

Sales and Estimating

We ask about your sales process. Then, we look at how your quotes or estimates are created and shared. How are you handling new leads, and how is existing business addressed? How do you measure success? And finally, what are the important KPI’s here?

Production

How do you procure goods? Are you purchasing or manufacturing parts? Do you have composite items and  a need for CPQ? What does is your current process for handling bill of materials, work orders,  and routing? How are you handling time tracking? We also get into your potential needs for planning capacity, batch/lot tracking, and on site maintenance, to name a few.

Inventory Management

We go into detail about your inventory management processes including current and desired states. Do you have multiple warehouses, mobile warehouses? How are you handling order fulfillment? What about installation or service components?

Finance

We’ll drill down to completely understand what information is required from your front office to back office. We include review of documents for customers, all the way through to which data is required in order to  generate executive reports. 

Other Integrations

During consultation, we’ll also ask about your current integrations to determine compatibility and to see if any new integrations could benefit your business processes. Some of the Zoho integrations commonly used by manufacturing and distribution organizations include: ShipStation, TaxJar, Avalara, QuickBooks (Online and Desktop), and Xero for example. 

 

Establishing Budget and Timeline for Manufacturing and Distribution ERP Software Implementation

[caption id="attachment_4952" align="alignleft" width="450"]Zoho ERP for manufacturing SMB Zoho is built and designed for SMB (Small and Medium-Sized Businesses). Lower total cost of ownership and an accessible startup cost make it a clear choice.[/caption]

A large business who is taking on system implementation for major softwares, can often anticipate a six-figure implementation cost, along with another five figures for service costs. And that’s because these softwares are incredibly robust, and very powerful enterprise tools. We understand that for a small or medium business like yours, this is simply out of the question. These projects can be extremely cost prohibitive, and the solutions themselves are more often than not complete overkill in terms of your needs.

  • Not to say you don’t deserve a solution that is also robust in functionality and nuanced for your business, because you do! For SMB’s like you, Zoho is a great solution. 
  • It’s less expensive to implement and has a lower total cost of ownership.
  • Zoho applications are built to suit your business through customization using rapid development platforms like Zoho Creator.
  • Zoho is accessible. They built and designed it with the SMB in mind. Need a custom field? A new report? Drag and drop functions make it easy to use and customize for yourself, all with enterprise functionality. 

In our industry, it’s known that a large portion of technology projects have a low user adoption. Users become bogged down because the projects are overly complicated. When you can build your system to address nuances of your business  – and consider user feedback in the build – you get better user adoption and a higher chance of success. For this reason, and many of the points discussed above, your budget and timeline will depend on the complexity of your requirements and depth of need. 

 

This is why we utilize the Business Process Analysis. Hopefully, this in depth look at business process management and manufacturing ERP softwares has been useful. If you’re interested in the next steps or have any questions, our Zoho Certified Consultants are ready to help – just get in touch!

 

Connect with Us

 

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

Integration

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.

Automation

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.

Mobile-Readiness

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).

Synchronization

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.

Fulfillment

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.

Insights

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 contact us and we’ll reach out to you. 

 

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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,  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?

Best,

Jeremy

 

 

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