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Zoho CRM Plus vs Zoho One Review

Zoho CRM Plus vs Zoho One

Zoho is at once an amazing and frustrating product.  You probably have some idea of this, or maybe you’re still in the dark – but, the truth is out there.  

crm plus vs zoho one

Zoho is incredible in the scope of what it can do and at the price you pay for it.  

There are very few, if any other platforms that provide so many different software apps, and so much useful functionality, for such a low price, comparatively.  But, at the same time, Zoho’s various products – whose functionality often overlap – and software bundles with the very same issue, are often not explained in enough detail for potential customers to make informed buying decisions.

There is so much information about Zoho products available.  How can none of it accurately tell you the difference between, for example, Zoho CRM Plus vs Zoho One?  It’s enough to drive you up the wall.  

When comparing CRM Plus vs Zoho One on the surface, the offerings seem similar enough: Bundles of Zoho apps for members of your company to use.  But, one bundle includes many Zoho apps (Zoho One) and one includes comparatively fewer (CRM Plus).  And, Zoho One is more expensive… Unless you get your whole company on the software, in which case it becomes much cheaper.  Is this gaming the system? What gives?

Well, not quite.  There’s actually a method to the madness that is the different pricing and different apps present in the Zoho One and Zoho CRM Plus bundles.  In this post, we’ll address the two problems that seem to arise from having different bundles with seemingly (but not actually) illogical pricing models.  Then, we’ll lay out some facts to help you determine which bundle is best for your business. Finally, we’ll give you a bit of history that led to the introduction of Zoho One at all.

crm plus vs zoho one

One problem: Why are Zoho offering two different bundles at all?

The answer here is simple on its surface.  Zoho One and Zoho CRM Plus exist to meet two different distinct software needs.

What is Zoho One? 

Zoho One is Zoho’s all-inclusive bundle, boasting 40+ fully-featured apps, all Enterprise-level (Zoho’s top tier of features).  You can purchase a license for any number of employees at your company for $90/user/month. However, if all employees at your company use Zoho One, the price is only $35/user/month.  Obviously, that’s a substantial difference.

What is Zoho CRM Plus? 

CRM Plus is the original Zoho bundle: Nine essential Zoho apps, all Enterprise-level, for $60/user/month, regardless of how many employees use the apps.  This gives companies a better overall cost than they would get from buying different Zoho apps a la carte. (Apps include Zoho CRM, Campaigns, Zoho Desk, SalesIQ, Social, Projects, Survey, Analytics, and Motivator.)

So, we can see these two bundles serve distinct purposes.  We can deduce from the pricing info that CRM Plus is an intuitive choice for a company looking to save on licensing for many of the apps they would need anyway. But, they might not want to give all of their employees a license.  This situation comes up frequently for manufacturers, who often have many employees who work in a warehouse or factory and never interact with computers at all.  There’s no point in those employees having Zoho licenses they will never use.

Zoho One, on the other hand, is a great choice for a company that is either:

  1. Looking to save tremendously on business software licensing costs by buying licenses for all employees, even if not all of them use the software,
  2. Needs all of their employees to use Zoho One anyway, or
  3. Stands to save a considerable amount of money by allowing some of their employees to use Zoho One rather than CRM Plus or a la carte apps.

zoho crm plus vs zoho one

The Devil’s in the Details

This is a lot to unpack, but…better the devil you know than the devil you don’t, right?  Strap in and let’s examine the three Zoho One use cases posed above.

  • Businesses stand to save a good deal on Zoho One even if not all of them use the software.  This would happen in situations where a company with fifty employees had thirty of them in need of the software, and twenty with no need for Zoho One licenses at all.  In this case, it makes more sense to eat the cost of ten additional licenses than only buy licenses for forty employees.  This is because for only forty employees, the cost of the licenses increases by nearly a factor of three!
    • 30 users * $90/user/mo (Zoho One flexible user count) = $2,700/mo in licensing
    • 50 users * $35/user/mo (Zoho One for all employees) = $1,750/mo in licensing
  • You can benefit from Zoho One for certain if you need all of your employees to use the software anyway.  No matter how many you employ, the offer is $35/user/mo if you purchase a license for all your employees.  Especially for smaller companies, this seems almost too good to be true – and, more on that below, shortly.
  • For some companies who only need some of their employees to use business software, Zoho One may make more sense than CRM Plus simply because the $90/user/mo price provides more needed functionality than would be available with CRM Plus, or CRM Plus and a combination of a la carte Zoho apps.
    • 10 users of Zoho CRM Plus with Zoho Finance Plus and Zoho Webinar ($60/user/mo + $149/company/mo + $39/user/mo) = $600/mo + $149/mo + $390/mo = $1,139/mo
    • 10 users of Zoho One (flexible user count) ($90/user/mo) = $900/mo

Remember, before deciding about Zoho CRM Plus vs Zoho One, it’s always best to get some Zoho CRM Plus consulting, or Zoho One-specific help.  You can use that consulting time not only to set up the apps you need, but to get an expert’s recommendation on which bundle to pick, Zoho CRM Plus vs Zoho One, if either are a good idea for you.

Now that we’ve gone into great detail about the different apps and scenarios when one might be better than the other, there’s still one nagging question…

Another problem: Why are Zoho losing their shirts by offering Zoho One at such a discount compared to CRM Plus?

crm plus vs zoho one

Okay, not quite 80% off…but darn close.

At first glance, this looks positively insane, and you’ll be certain you’re gaming the system by buying Zoho One.  This is especially true if you run a smaller company. Imagine having so much functionality that every employee can enjoy for only $35/user/month!

But, it’s not a mistake.  Zoho has a very, very good reason for doing this.

They’re playing what’s known as a long game.  And, to put this game into context, we have to imagine what life was like before Zoho One.

The good old days

Believe it or not, there was a time when Zoho One was but a twinkle in the eye of Zoho Corporation CEO Sridar Vembu.  As they say, necessity is the mother of invention, and in this case, Zoho Corporation noticed something quite significant in their sales.

They were losing the attention of smaller businesses.

crm plus vs zoho one

A la carte apps and CRM Plus (the original bundle of apps offered by Zoho) were great for some companies.  But, for others who needed a lot of functionality to help them off the ground, Zoho’s cost for entry was simply too high.  Zoho likely lost a good number of clients to attrition during this time, and certainly lost many who simply could not stomach the price of CRM Plus, or even a handful of a la carte apps.  Others probably liked what they were getting with the a la carte apps but found themselves unable to scale, so they abandoned the platform.

In Zoho’s eyes, this was an untapped market.  And, Zoho’s idea was not just to make a bigger, badder bundle that would accommodate the needs of companies who needed more functionality.  No. They were going to offer everything they had, at a price even lower than the cost of their next-best bundle.

Consider all this:

Zoho Corporation makes its living on recurring revenue from their software.  They want businesses to use their software as long as possible by providing customers with value.  And – this is a big one – according to NAICS, there are about 1.5 million businesses that have more than 10 employees in the USA.  

This number, 1.5 million, is essentially who Zoho was marketing to in the USA with their CRM Plus software bundle.  But, if you follow the link you’ll see that there are just as many businesses in just the 5-9 employee count category.  As if that’s not crazy enough, look one row up and you’ll see there are seven times as many businesses listed as between 1-4 employees.

Again, what an enormous market.

Like Miracle-Gro for Small Biz

zoho crm plus vs zoho one

Zoho came up with this fantastic Zoho One package because they knew businesses needed some help just entering the world of Zoho. That way, they could not only realize immediate benefits of using the software, but also see what benefits they’d reap if they grew their companies.

Many small businesses remain one size forever because that’s what works for them – but, for companies that start small and grow with Zoho, those are customers Zoho never would have had access to previously.

Add in the fact that happy customers are prone to talking with their like-minded friends who run businesses, and suddenly Zoho has potentially increased their reach by millions in the USA alone.  Perhaps tens of millions worldwide!

By offering Zoho One, Zoho is betting you’ll start small with them and then grow into something that may not have been possible without the software.  Starting with Zoho and using it to grow makes it less likely you’ll use another platform in the future. If it works for you, why try anything else?

The Zoho CRM Plus vs Zoho One Review

Zoho CRM Plus and Zoho One may seem pretty confusing in how similar they are.  But, if you look beyond the names of the familiar apps, analyze the pricing a bit, and consider Zoho’s history, you see the distinctions between the two packages are pretty clear.

The Road Ahead

crm plus vs zoho one

All this, however, doesn’t mean we expect you to read this blog post and suddenly know just how to decide between Zoho CRM Plus vs Zoho One!  You’ll still have to prepare your own cost breakdowns according to what you need. And, if you don’t have time to put all that together, let alone examine your own business thoroughly to determine that exact need, this all may not have helped your stress levels.

So, let’s turn that around!  We’ve helped lots of businesspeople who were strapped for time, not only in determining which Zoho apps would work best for them, but which exact package would be best.  Is it Zoho One? CRM Plus? Maybe neither of the two? It remains to be seen, but we can show you the way so you turn from would-be Zoho user to Zoho Hero.

Then, if you need help with Zoho implementation or Zoho training, you can rest assured you made the best software choice, so you’ll have the best chance of really growing your company with Zoho, as opposed to just getting by.

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Musician, car junkie, and burgeoning tech guy.

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