Make sure your Zoho System is set up correctly for your Tech/SaaS or Subscription Business
Zoho does a great job of positioning itself as a great choice for subscription-based businesses, or anyone dealing with technology. You’ve got the all-important Zoho CRM, and Zoho Subscriptions – which plugs wonderfully into Zoho Books. You also have Zoho Inventory for any physical items that dovetail with your tech offerings. And, you have Zoho Desk for managing support requests that invariably come up. You may even decide Zoho One, with its suite of 45+ apps, is the best choice. (For many companies, it is.)
But, obviously, no two technology, SaaS, or subscription-based businesses are alike. And, Zoho software, even with all its power and flexibility – and documentation – really needs more than just that if it’s going to work for you.
We live in a digital world, but not everything is so intuitive. You deserve a resource to help you with the software side of managing your business.
Zoho gives you all the power you could possibly want to put together a system that works for you – but, without understanding your business, Zoho can’t advise you one way or the other on best practices. That goes for:
- Setting up the system properly to solve your current problems
- Setting it up to anticipate future issues with growth
- Making it so your employees (or contractors) will actually want to use the system
Technology, SaaS, or subscription-based businesses often face particular issues when deploying Zoho. When deploying your own system, you may want to consider these listed below. To supplement this, we also offer business assessments for deploying a Zoho system. This is specific to tech/SaaS companies, and any deployment projects include Zoho consulting and training on any apps.
3 Problems that Technology, SaaS, or Subcription-based Businesses face with Zoho
…And how to help alleviate them
#1. Recognition of Revenue
This obvious problem arises in any subscription-based business; it affects many technology companies who use that business model, particularly. This comes up because subscription-based businesses have a choice: Recognize revenue for, say, an annual contract, in chunks once per year, or recognize it on a monthly basis. There are a few different ways to accommodate this need.
- For recurring services, you could create one deal per year with an amount equivalent to the year of service, or create recurring deals each month.
- You could also create multiple deals ahead of time and future-date their closing dates.
- Lastly, you could use the deals module only for current monthly deals, use the sales orders module for future monthly deals, and the invoices module for closed-won deals (in this case, paid invoices).
In tandem with or instead of using deals, you could also use Zoho Subscriptions to track monthly subscription revenue (as well as any one-time startup or deployment fees) and integrate this directly with the accounts module of Zoho CRM, as well as Zoho Books.
Bear in mind there is no simple way to determine which of these ways is best, however. Figuring this out almost always warrants a larger discussion about how your business works generally.
#2. Complex Quoting and Job Costing
If you only sell software, you can get by using a combination of Zoho CRM, Zoho Books, and Zoho Subscriptions as your customer hub and financial hubs. However, if you offer physical products in tandem with software, things become a little trickier. And, if your services involve installation or delivery of said hardware too, it can be even more confusing to figure out exactly how to get everything working correctly. Standard Zoho apps simply aren’t enough to accommodate complex quoting needs.
- Rather than bang your head against a wall, you could use a custom Zoho CPQ tool, built on Zoho Creator. This tool can use your own factors, triggers, and calculations to assemble quotes that include not just software, but hardware and even services. The app includes a quote configurator, as well as kitting or bundling. If you need quotes assembled from in the field, you could use a mobile Zoho CPQ app, which includes these very same features plus mobile capability.
Like complex quote assembly, Zoho similarly doesn’t provide a standard solution for calculating costs of individual jobs. Of course, it’s possible to simply integrate QuickBooks with Zoho, but those who don’t already use the program probably won’t jump at the opportunity to use it solely for job costing.
- To that end, you might consider a custom Zoho job costing module, also built on Zoho Creator. This tool allows for combining the values of running software, the cost of hardware, and even the cost to deploy that hardware and software on-site, so you can accurately gauge your profitability. It’s work you could probably do yourself, given enough time. But, for many, the opportunity cost is simply too great and it isn’t worth it to reinvent the wheel.
#3. Multiple Subscriptions for the Same Product
If you run a business that sells more than one of a certain kind of product to any respective business where expiration dates can vary, it may not make sense to use Zoho Subscriptions. Rather, you could utilize something simpler, the deals module of Zoho CRM. Using the deals module for this scenario would allow for creating as many deals as necessary, associating any product with those deals, and modifying each deal closing date according to the subscription renewal dates.
This sort of fix could apply to any B2B SaaS, technology, or other subscription-based company selling to end-users within a company, where those users are expected to renew their own licenses and receive reimbursement for the costs. As always, it’s best to talk with a certified Zoho consultant before adopting a system like this for your own business.
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Even with a modest number of apps that cater to businesses like yours, Zoho seems to expand its offerings almost monthly. And, that’s a double-edged sword for the end-user. It’s great that so many great apps are available. But, it’s also not-so-great because can never be quite sure if you’re doing things the right way.
Instead of leaving it to chance, contact us for an assessment that’s geared specifically to your business, whether you deal in SaaS, other technology, or you use subscriptions in any form.