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Tag : Zoho Integrations

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!

Connect with Us

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

 

Learn about Zoho Support from ZBrains

What You Should Know About Zoho Support Plans

When you decide to invest in Zoho support, whether that’s an ongoing, monthly support contract or hourly support agreement, your business gets timely, professional service for software updates, break/fixes, bug fixes, new feature development, and a lot more. From right-the-first-time answers for ‘quick questions’ to assistance with long-term Zoho ecosystem planning and support to meet your business goals, we’re talking today about all the things you should know about software support plans from ZBrains.

What is software support?

Zoho support plans typically take one of two forms; long term support and incident-based help. We like this simple definition as a starting point:

“Software support services are generally technical support or break/fix services that are delivered for specific software products. These services include revenue derived from long-term technical-support contracts or pay-as-you-go, incident-based support. Software support services typically include remote troubleshooting capabilities, installation (implementation) assistance and basic usability assistance.” 

gartner.com

It’s easy to see the scenarios in your business where a support plan for Zoho CRM, Zoho One, or your custom Zoho solution could come in handy; however, have you considered all the possible ways that investing in Zoho Support can benefit your organization?

 

What do Zoho support services at ZBrains include?

 

[caption id="attachment_4906" align="alignleft" width="400"] If you are already using Zoho, ask yourself if now is the time to start using your support plan to further your business initiatives.[/caption]

1) New product implementation services

If you are already using Zoho, ask yourself if any of these scenarios sound familiar:

    • Is now the time for phase 2 or phase 3 of diminishing siloed data in your organization? You can implement those solutions through your support plan. 
    • Is it time to reduce double data entry by integrating your CRM and financial software solution?

    • Or perhaps you need to cut down on double data entry from your e-commerce solution? We offer a full range of 3rd party integrations, and can even build a custom integration to suit your needs! We integrate Zoho and Shopify as one example.

2) Zoho product updates

Maybe you have an associate or in-house resource who’s in charge of keeping IT solutions operating seamlessly, but Zoho or your customized Zoho application like FieldTech is just a little outside their wheelhouse. Stay on top of update installations and just email or call the ZBrains Support Team whenever you need help in this area. We’ll help you keep running smoothly through every, numerous, Zoho update!

3) Proactive, not just reactive services

We believe proactive planning is one of the greatest functions of any ongoing support plan. We like to plan quarterly sessions with our clients. This ensures that we know your current business goals. Then your Zoho ecosystem is charged and ready to take on success! Your business won’t miss a beat.

Because we’re a Certified Zoho Partner, we have great insight to what’s coming up  from Zoho that you could potentially use, too. This takes the guesswork out of what you ‘could do’ and helps maximize the value of your Zoho purchase.

And don’t forget, you’re getting a personalized level of support in any situation. 

4) Support for custom applications

Maybe you’re using a custom application that doesn’t work well with Zoho, or you’ve already optimized for your custom needs with a  Zoho Solution. Support services can help you keep them always running optimally. 

Whether we built it, or are inheriting a solution built by others, our support team can solve complex problems in applications that might not be working optimally for you now.

5) Product or feature implementation 

Current ZBrains clients know this because they’ve been through the Business Process Analysis with us. And because we use this process with each client, we understand your business, we know your business, and we can advise on best practices of how a Zoho feature can be applied to what you do and how. 

 

Software support contract pricing with ZBrains

[caption id="attachment_4904" align="alignleft" width="400"] Why would you want hourly support and a monthly support plan from ZBrains? Having control over your costs is just the start![/caption]

We make it really easy with two options, an hourly support contract, or a monthly one. We offer these options to give you the best solution for your business. 

 

Many clients opt for both and here’s why:

Their monthly plan gives them access for break-and-fix when they don’t have a dedicated in-house resource, and then they use the ad hoc hourly service to optimize, take advantage of new features, or plan future initiatives.

Let’s talk about the benefits to each, and you’ll see how they can fold together for the best coverage and control of expenses.

 


Hourly Zoho Support Plans

At ZBrains, our hourly support contracts include the availability of consulting services for your projects that require additional Zoho customization, integrations with other software systems, even our proprietary integrations for software like QuickBooks!

We recommend this service for experienced Zoho users. Also, for businesses that already have a dedicated resource for Zoho needs, but might need occasional assistance with highly technical aspects of Zoho. Additionally, we recommend this for very small businesses with  simplified systems that are not heavily customized. You can use hourly support as needed. Support hours are sold in blocks of 8 hours, and expire one year from purchase. With your Zoho Support Hours from ZBrains, you can:

    • Dedicate some of your hours to education/training to stay on top of the ever-changing and improving Zoho experience.
    • Use your hours for quarterly planning and support your business growth plan.
    • Earmark some of your hours to new implementations and take them bit by bit for better user adoption.
    • Plan to use some hours to break fixes. Now, your teams aren’t left hanging when something isn’t working quite right.

You can be proactive with hourly support! It gives dedicated time toward understanding and implementing best practices, and lets your optimizations become incremental instead of large projects that need more time. Take time now, and complete more, smaller work items over time, and next thing you know, you’re more agile.

 


Monthly Zoho Support Plans

We recommend this plan for clients with no in-house resources, highly customized solutions, and/or who have a lot of Zoho-to-Zoho integrations. 

    • The greatest benefit to investing in monthly support is stability: you control and anticipate the expense of break-and-fix service, and ensure your Zoho system is always primed for peak performance with no surprises. 

Both of these options help with reaching your business goals in a measured manner. They keep you aligned with a budget, and keep you on top of the game in terms of your Zoho ecosystem and business operations. Still unsure what the best approach is? Our team is always here to talk through it with you – just let us know!

 


 

ZBrains makes Zoho support straightforward and accessible

Zoho Support, Zoho CRM Support, and more are all just an email away. At ZBrains, our Zoho Certified Consultants and Developers are US-based, and with a simple email to our Support team, your ticket (via Zoho Desk, of course!) gets routed directly to the person or people who can help. 

We hope this article has been helpful in understanding what Zoho Support with ZBrains can do for your organization. If you’re already on a plan and have questions – let us know. Or if you’re new to Zoho Support from ZBrains – get in touch today!

 

GET ZOHO SUPPORT FROM ZBRAINS

 

designing solutions to business problems with Zoho

How to Design Solutions to Business Problems for Every Department with Zoho

Regardless of your industry, there’s a good chance your organization has multiple departments working together to keep business rolling ahead. This includes Operations, Finance, Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, and maybe you have others, too. We’re here to share that it’s more straightforward than you might have thought to implement or design solutions to business problems for every department with Zoho applications.

 

You’ll see here an overview of the Zoho solutions offered for each department of your business; however, this quick article is just meant to get thoughts flowing. In other words, it’s just the start of what Zoho can do.  

 

If you could solve your business problems head on with a Zoho solution, how much time would open up for innovation in your organization?

 

Let’s take a look at what Zoho has to offer for each department in your organization:

Operations

It’s a hefty lift finding an all-in-one solution for operational problems; however, within Zoho’s more than 40 applications they exist. Certainly, there’s a good chance that you don’t need  – or really want – that many apps to run your business. This is where Zoho One comes into play. 

While the 40+ integrated applications encompass everything from CRM, finance, email newsletters, and 

documents, to project management, inventory, and more; you can choose which fit your business needs. You simply need a username and password, integrate your applications, and you’re set; one dashboard to rule all. In your operations department some highlight features include:

  • Project management style flexibility lets you choose from waterfall, agile, and kanban task boards. 
  • Team communication, collaboration, and client portal options ease keeping in touch with dispersed teams and customers.
  • Order fulfillment, multi-channel selling, and warehouse management tools.
  • The ability to create apps that meet the needs of specific business processes, like a  Zoho ERP app developed on Zoho Creator.
  • And we’ve only scratched the surface…

 

Finance

Zoho Books offers tax compliance, and is integrated with 40+ of Zoho’s applications – or whichever you choose to use –  for visibility across your business. You’ve got the basics and more covered in this full-scope solution including being able to see those details about your contacts, time tracking, banking, inventory, payables, receivables, and robust reporting.  

 

zoho sales toolsStreamline all of your back office duties with Zoho Books and organize all of your transactions in one place. If this isn’t the solution for you, Zoho also integrates with other solutions Quickbooks, but given this set of features you may want to take a closer look at Zoho Books:

  • Collect online payments securely and quickly.
  • Keep records of all your invoices, estimates, credit notes, and even recurring invoices in one place.
  • Convert estimates to invoices in just a few clicks.
  • Automatically remind overdue clients with payment reminders.
  • Never lose a minute of billable hours by monitoring and tracking how labor is spent in your company.
  • Manage inventory and even automate redundant tasks
  •  Capture and view all financial information related to your asset, liability, revenue, or expense accounts and organize them how you want.
  • Simplify tax season in just a few clicks to generate tax reports so you are set when tax season arrives.

Customer Service

Zoho Desk customer service app provides the platform you need for customer support teams ranging from startup to enterprise. Scaled capabilities make it easy to get the basics like customer feedback and a ticketing system, with the option to grow and add more. With small business features you gain even more capability such as:

 

  • Automate routine tasks using blueprint, 
  • Optimize resource management by connecting clients with the proper support agent, 
  • Improve customer experience with team collaboration,
  • And just like every Zoho app, the data is there and ready to meet your insights and analytics needs. 

marketing tools from Zoho

Marketing

Marketing departments are often called upon to design solutions to business problems, and the tools from Zoho certainly help! You’ll find an arsenal of applications in Zoho to support your marketing efforts from website creation and testing, to email marketing and social media. And because they integrate with CRM and the rest of the Zoho One suite, you’ll also get end-to-end data for a full story of lead to sale for every contact. With this sort of insight, Zoho makes answering big questions about your marketing strategy – and any adjustments you should consider – very direct. Learn more about marketing tools in Zoho One.

Sales

If your sales department is like any other we’ve met since starting ZBrains in 2012, you’re putting a lot of eggs into any CRM solution you choose. Don’t dig around looking for solutions only to wonder if they’ll work. We strongly recommend a partner for any CRM implementation involving this aspect of your organization and avoid common pitfalls:

  • Starting an implementation project without a planning roadmap in place.
  • You’ve got a new tool, but user adoption is poor.
  • You don’t have support – and this means internal training and external partnership.
  • You’re trying to do it on your own and it’s just not working out.

 

Trust in Zoho-certified CRM consultants at ZBrains to help you implement your new system and Zoho CRM in a way that truly complements your business. Our goal is to really invest time in getting to know your business so you get you all the tools you need to succeed. We even invented a name for how we do it – Business Process Analysis. Imagine the power you can put behind your sales team when a correctly implemented CRM is in place to foster your sales process from lead to sale, to cross-selling and upselling opps!

 

We hope this high level overview explaining how Zoho apps, and Zoho One can help you design solutions to business problems for every department in your organization has been informative. And as always, if there’s something you read that sparks an idea, there’s a pretty good chance that Zoho has a solution. At ZBrains we love the opportunity to address and solve those big questions whenever we partner with a new client. How can we help you?

 

Connect with a Consultant

 

zoho for manufacturing and distribution

How Zoho Can Solve Business Problems for Manufacturing and Distribution Companies

In this article, we’ll look at how to solve business problems around three common issues we’ve seen impact others in your industry and share some ideas that have been successful for them. Zoho solves business problems for many types of businesses, but Distribution and Manufacturing by the nature of their industry are especially suited for the use of Zoho CRM and other Zoho applications.

You might spend time trying to solve for traveling work orders, time tracking, asset management, RMA and MRP requirements. If you’re encountering them, these problems can take up a lot of time and inhibit innovation.

You’d rather be focusing on hard numbers, actionable steps, and measurable KPI efforts like:

  • operating efficiency
  • utilizing capacity to the fullest extent
  • keeping a keen eye on profitability
  • working to ensure that your shipping is staying on time

These days you may also be looking for even more in-depth functionality in order to do more with existing resources, including redeploying talent, improving productivity, and shifting operations. Let’s take a closer look at three problems in manufacturing and distribution that Zoho can help you solve.

Problem 1: You’re aiming for Lean Manufacturing goals and falling short

Lean manufacturing goals with ZohoAs a decision maker in the manufacturing industry you need to introduce and foster ideas and methods to increase sales, manage orders and the warehouse, and more. You do all of this while trying to keep a pulse on the end-to-end tracking of your process, too.

Zoho Inventory helps here:

  • So you can manage inventory in multiple warehouses.
  • It integrates with Zoho CRM and Zoho Books to automatically sync contacts and your orders.
  • You get a few steps closer to the financial data you need, while addressing lean wastes of waiting and extra processing.

Zoho Inventory not cutting it? No sweat, tools like FieldTech have been produced for more robust ERP requirements using Zoho Creator for things like inventory management, and to optimize your production routing.

These ideas scratch the surface of the data you can access with the Zoho ecosystem.  How else could organized and actionable data provide information to help guide your lean manufacturing efforts as you solve business problems you encounter?

Problem 2: Forecasting for your business is a foggy endeavor

forecasting for distribution and manufacturingYou need visibility to what’s being produced, purchased – and when –  in order to make the best inventory management decisions. And if you can get the information in a tidy dashboard with less data input, even better!

Zoho Inventory provides data-driven insights to help you understand your customers in a meaningful way. You gain a more accurate forecasting for production material needs.

Add Zia’s prediction tool in Zoho CRM to take advantage of key business indicators such as the likelihood of a lead converting to a deal, revenue forecasts, and how likely a site visitor is to purchase. Zia predictions can be implemented for both standard and custom modules so your business can take advantage of this tool.

What predictors would be most meaningful for your organization?

Creating a prediction using Zia is relatively straightforward, but you can also work with a ZBrains Zoho Certified Consultant to get a head start on taking advantage of your data.

Finally, in addition to predictions, Zia also looks for trends. Using the data you have, Zia relies on past experiences to offer predictions. Receive alerts for spikes or dips without having to check on a dashboard daily. Decide if you want notifications about leads, contacts, deals, tasks, events, calls, email, or something different depending on the components you select for Zia to watch.

Having the power to forecast and even predict business events in distribution and manufacturing is essential to smooth operations.

Problem 3: You need solve business problems more quickly and spend more time on innovation

people meeting with laptopUntangling from daily business operations and on-the-fly problem solving in your organization can be a daunting undertaking. In other words, it’s time to start solving those issues more quickly. You want to resolve them completely so you have time to devote to innovation.

Naturally, this is where a business can cut even more of the lean wastes. They can spend money less on operations, and begin to excel. If you had the time, what innovation would you put into place immediately for your organization?

Having a plan to remain adaptable, and the visibility to metrics you need to communicate for success starts with information architecture. Zoho’s CRM and streamlined ERP solution to manage your inventory and orders, along with the multitude of possible integrations to fit your process is a great place to start your journey. Consider this change if you currently:

  • Pay for several systems wherein a change to one affects the others resulting in development expenses.
  • You manage multiple vendors, and spend a lot of time reiterating the same business needs and goals.
  • Your teams are working from siloed data.
  • Existing systems make global reporting cost-prohibitive and time consuming.

Start with a Zoho solution that gives end-to-end visibility to your organization. Quit struggling to track, report, and act on data. Finally start solving problems for good so you can achieve a better, leaner business.

Begin solving business problems for your manufacturing or distribution organizations with Zoho solutions.  Don’t put it off any longer, contact us for an assessment that’s geared specifically to your business – our ZBrains team of Zoho Certified Consultants are eager to help!

Connect with a Consultant

Identify Operational Inefficiencies

How to Identify Operational Inefficiencies

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

How can my business identify and track operational efficiency?

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

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

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

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

Don’t forget HR, Accounting, and Operations

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

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

What is the solution to operational inefficiencies? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

reasons to process credit cards in zoho

Three Reasons to Process Credit Cards in Zoho

Today’s blog post is a guest post brought to you by our partner, Century Business Solutions.  Century is a technology-based merchant services provider that specializes in software integrations – kind of like we do.  Aside from being a partner of ZBrains for years, they provide credit card processing integrations to programs like QuickBooks, Microsoft Dynamics – and even Zoho CRM.  Because of the similarities in how we think, this post is in line with lots of other material you’ve probably read on this blog – and expands upon the topic of processing credit cards in Zoho much further.  So, without further ado…

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3 Reasons to Process Credit Cards in Zoho

Running a business is hard. But, you probably already knew that.

Despite the challenges and the late hours, you keep striving to bring success to your company. The reason you get out of bed every morning might be as basic as needing to keep food on the table or as visionary as wanting to change the world.

Whatever your reason, you want your business to do well.

Processing credit cards in Zoho is a simple adjustment that will save you time and money and make your work life more efficient.

ZBrains, a Zoho Premium Partner and Zoho consulting company, can set you up with a payment processor that works seamlessly with your Zoho CRM software.    

But before we discuss that further, let’s dive into the three main reasons to process credit cards in Zoho.

Lower Processing Costs

Money is always a big concern for businesses. Companies should take opportunities to cut costs whenever possible. And if you’re currently using Zoho CRM but are processing payments outside of your CRM account, you’re probably paying a lot more than you need to.

Why is that?

It has to do with the level at which a card is processed.

process credit cards in zoho

All card transactions fall into one of three processing categories: Level 1, Level 2, or Level 3. The higher the level, the lower the processing fees.

Integrated payment software solutions are designed to pull all relevant customer data, merchant information, product specifications, tax amount, and more from your CRM software when processing a credit card. When you send more line-item details with a transaction, the card is qualified at a higher level, and you pay less in credit card processing fees.

When your payment processing is separate from your CRM system, your cards are qualified at lower levels (Levels 1 and 2) because key information is not automatically sent with transactions.

All of this is to say that when you sign up with a reputable payment processor that integrates with Zoho, you’ll cut down on monthly processing costs. Not to mention you’ll also save a ton of time through automation, so you won’t have to manually re-enter transactions into your CRM account.

Which leads us to our next point…

No More Double Data Entry

process credit cards in zoho

The dreaded double data entry dilemma.   

An unfortunate struggle known to all who process credit cards outside of their Zoho CRM system.

If that’s you, then don’t lose hope. There’s a light at the end of this tunnel: an integrated payment solution.

An integrated payment solution enters into your CRM system and allows the two systems to work as one. Which means—drumroll—no more double data entry!

It’s a fine thing when you can run a card and your CRM automatically reflects the transaction.

Go ahead…imagine what that would mean for you.

At the end of a long work day, instead of expending time and energy manually re-entering transactions into Zoho, you and your team could work on growing the business.  

Not only will integrated payment processing save your business a considerable amount of time (especially for businesses with a high transaction volume), it will also prevent human mistakes from occurring by automatically updating information directly in your CRM software.

Convenience is Key  

process credit cards in zoho easy button

Time moves fast. And when you end up wasting a lot of it, you can feel pretty defeated.

That’s why products are geared towards providing convenience and saving you time. Microwaves make heating up food a cinch, phones make it easy to contact someone, and your car gets you around town within minutes—granted the traffic is light.

Time saving products and services aren’t just beneficial for your personal life. Your business can be hugely impacted by simple changes, like utilizing a payment processor that works in Zoho.

Think of it like this. An integrated system will keep all your payment processing in one place, so you don’t have to switch between systems when taking a payment. It will make it easy for you and your team to stay organized and reduce the chance of human error. And it will allow you to set up recurring payments for customers who have repeat orders.

process credit cards in zoho tokenization

Integrated systems also use tokenization to make processing payments more convenient. Tokenization is a method of creating a unique string of numbers and letters to replace a credit card’s information. The token is used when a customer pays an invoice or when the merchant charges their card. The actual card number and CVV code are stored securely in the payment processor’s vault.

Tokenization reduces the amount of time and energy you and your team spend re-entering card information. Once a customer pays an invoice or the merchant enters the card information into their integrated payment solution, their card data will be stored as a token for future purchases.

Sounds pretty good, right?

If you’ve been processing payments without an integrated payment provider, then you’ve been doing things the hard way. But thankfully, making the switch to an integrated solution is easy.  

Start Your Journey Today

If you’ve been nodding your head while reading and are ready to learn more about how to process credit cards in Zoho, then:

  1. Contact our partner, ZBrains.  They’re experienced Zoho consultants, and as such, they’re equipped to customize your payment needs and add efficiency to your business.
  2. Allow them to set up the payment integration for Zoho CRM.
  3. Sit back, relax, and watch as your payment processing gets a whole lot easier.

Zoho CRM vs Close.io

Zoho CRM vs Close.io CRM: Different Strokes for Different Folks

zoho crm vs close.io

In the search for the best CRM for your business, you have more than just a handful of options – and more of them are popping up every day.  Beginning in 2013, Close.io has emerged as a competitor to Zoho, so it’s time we took a good look at both platforms to determine the pros and cons of Zoho CRM vs Close.io.  

In the spirit of delivering instant gratification, we’ll say this to start: Choosing between Zoho CRM vs Close.io really depends on the type of business you run. Even more to the point: Do you run a call center with very few business software needs aside from the CRM? Then, consider Close.io.

What makes Close.io so appealing?

zoho crm vs close.io

In a word: Simplicity.  When people come to us at ZBrains with some questions about getting Zoho to work best for their businesses, they often remark that Zoho seems simple, but in taking a look under the hood, they realize there’s a lot than can be done to customize or improve the software, and the DIY approach that Zoho Corp themselves like to tout isn’t always the best.  Not to mention Zoho CRM can connect to a slew of other Zoho apps, potentially.

Conversely, with Close.io CRM, the interface looks very simple and easily customizable – perhaps even on your own.  Close.io is very direct in its approach to selling you, the consumer, on their software, too: whereas Zoho is a family of apps, Close is a CRM equipped with a powerful phone integration, SMS integration, and email integration – and, that’s it.  For some businesses, this is enough – at least to start with. But, it’s probably not for everyone.

How do the features of Zoho CRM vs Close.io stack up?

Close.io is banking on its simplicity to entice potential customers, so I’ll go through the list of features advertised on Close.io’s own website and compare those to anything Zoho offers in the same realm.

[caption id="attachment_3507" align="aligncenter" width="600"]zoho crm vs close.io Close.io’s pipeline management[/caption]

Workflow and pipeline management

Close comes with a feature akin to Zoho CRM’s Feeds called Timeline View to make sure you see what you’ve already done (and, likely show an administrator what you’ve been up to as well).  You can manage your pipeline with a built-in feature that reminds me of Zoho SalesInbox, which organizes emails in order of importance, by associated deal size, etc.  

Close.io also includes canned and customizable reports, a search tool that covers the whole CRM, as well as custom lead module views so you can filter through leads easily and see only the ones you need.  All of these are useful features to have, but nothing revolutionary.

The Phones: Where Close.io Shines

The chief difference between Zoho CRM vs Close.io CRM, other than the latter’s lightness, is its native power dialer, predictive dialer, and SMS integration.  Power dialers are very useful in situations when you have a sales staff that needs to spend as much time on the phone as possible, as it automatically dials numbers and minimizes the time your team spends disconnected, as it were.

Close.io combines this power dialer with a predictive dialer (in select software editions), which takes the power dialer up a notch by only dialing numbers that have the best chance of connecting.  This, in turn, allows users to have more successful phone conversations, and also reduce the number of calls that don’t connect.

Lastly, Close.io CRM packs a built-in SMS message integration, which allows users to send texts straight from the CRM – either individually or in bulk.

[caption id="attachment_3506" align="aligncenter" width="600"]zoho crm vs close.io Zoho CRM’s phone integration[/caption]

Zoho, while sporting many native phone system integrations such as RingCentral and Jive, doesn’t have a built-in power dialer or predictive dialing system of its own.  (You can use the Zoho Twilio SMS integration to send text messages for an extra development fee, however.  See other Zoho Unified Communications options here.)

The Integrations: Close.io CRM vs Zoho CRM

zoho crm vs close.io

Both Close.io and Zoho CRM boast a fair number of native integrations, but Zoho’s advantage in this regard is almost unfair.  This is because Zoho isn’t just a CRM but an entire family of apps designed to support each other. With Close.io you get their CRM, of course. You get access to help desk integrations, marketing campaign tools, a website messaging app, lead generation apps, and reporting apps. It also includes third-party sync tools like Zapier – to connect other third-party apps.  Some of these integrations are native and others are third-party.

Zoho’s native integrations help its case significantly

On the other hand, with Zoho, you also get access to many of those same kinds of tools: a help desk (Zoho Desk), marketing automation (Zoho Campaigns), website messaging (Zoho SalesIQ), advanced analytics, and about 35 other apps.  The difference with Zoho is all of their apps integrate natively and, in many cases, have the same UI so the user experience is much more unified than it would be otherwise.

The importance of your software being able to communicate natively with other apps in the same family can’t be understated – take it from someone who regularly counsels business owners on whether to use Zoho Books and Inventory in conjunction with CRM or use a Zoho CRM integration with QuickBooks.  Sometimes the QuickBooks integration is the only way to go – and we’re happy to supply the integration to those in need – but whenever the business has a choice, we always recommend going native and staying away from third-party integrations, as those are inherently less stable than something that’s already part of your software system.

What’s more: Custom Zoho apps make Zoho CRM a big winner

[caption id="attachment_3510" align="alignleft" width="300"]zoho crm vs close.io Make your own masterpiece (app) with Zoho Creator[/caption]

The thing that really separates Zoho CRM from Close.io CRM, however, isn’t just the number of apps it can plug into – it’s the ability to build your very own custom apps and connect them to the CRM, using the power of Zoho Creator.  Granted, you may need some Zoho consulting to determine the best possible way to build your app, or connect it to the CRM, using the context of your entire business.  But, the very possibility (and notable companies verifying its success) make Zoho an enterprise-level solution that Close.io simply cannot parallel, even with its collection of native features and integrations.

Zoho CRM vs Close.io CRM Pricing: It’s no contest

zoho crm vs close.io

Whereas in many areas, Zoho CRM and Close.io are pretty comparable, pricing is an area where Zoho shows its sheer power by not only undercutting the competition, but by offering much more bang for your buck.  

Close.io has three service tiers ranging in price from $65 to $145 per user per month.  For a team of ten employees, that’s between $650 and $1,450 per month in software licensing costs.  Add in the costs of any third-party connected apps, and you could be looking at several hundred dollars more per month in recurring costs.

Zoho, on the other hand, also offers different tiers of service, ranging from $20 to $65 per user per month. But, this isn’t even where Zoho really shines. Zoho’s flagship offering, Zoho One – a suite of over 40 business apps whose numbers and features grow on a monthly basis – is just $45 per user per month*, as long as all of your W-2 employees use the system.  (1099 contractors are not affected by this; only W-2 employees are forced to have accounts.) For a similar team of ten employees, you’d be looking at up to $450/mo. Even factoring in a few hundred more dollars for other apps you may need to use along with Zoho One, the costs are only comparable to the lowest level of Close.io. And you get so much more functionality. *Prices updated June 2021

Which one should you choose? Depends on your business trajectory

Despite the huge difference in pricing between Zoho CRM vs Close.io, and despite the gap in functionality as well, Close.io is strong in one very specific area: communication integrations.  Clearly, they are targeting a specific sort of business. The question is, do you run that kind of business?  And, will that type of business ever change or grow as you scale?

Close.io CRM is fantastic for heavy phone sales. They also give you the ability to connect many different business apps you may already use.  But, Zoho excels in many other areas besides CRM, and their pricing structure makes choosing Zoho an absolute home run in the short term and the long run.