"Fully-featured AI-powered CRM software"
0 Price
0 Ease Of Use
0 Features
0 Help And Support
Pros
  • Can launch the application with dummy data and a free account to get a feel for how it works
  • There’s an artificial intelligence engine that learns the more you use it and provides timely recommendations
  • It’s completely customizable (colors, fonts, layout, elements, etc.)
  • Multichannel communication management from one platform
Cons
  • It can be a bit overwhelming at first if you’re new to CRM tools
  • The number of workflows that can be created is limiting for many users
Company Background

Zoho was founded in 1996 by Sridhar Vembu and Tony Thomas. Over the last few decades, it has grown into a powerhouse in the business application space. It offers everything from email management to document management and CRM software for businesses of all sizes. Depending on the application, it can be ideal for freelancers or large enterprise users. The CRM, which was launched in 2005, is geared towards small and medium sized businesses. With that being said, the company seems to take support seriously and offers many ways to get in touch.

Plans & Pricing

Zoho CRM comes with four pricing tiers and each one has different features and usage limits. There is also a free plan with the basic functionality. The paid plans all have the option of a 15-day free trial. If you’re unsatisfied, you can request a refund within 30 days on the monthly plan or 45 days on the annual plan. All things considered, it’s a fairly priced CRM with many robust features.

Standard
30-day money-back guarantee
$18/mo
+$18 per user
15-day FREE trial
Professional
30-day money-back guarantee
$30/mo
+$30 per user
15-day FREE trial
Enterprise
30-day money-back guarantee
$45/mo
+$45 per user
15-day FREE trial
Ultimate
30-day money-back guarantee
$55/mo
+$55 per user
15-day FREE trial

Standard

The standard plan is $18/mo per user and builds on the free plan with sales forecasting, email insights, support for multiple currencies, and scoring rules. It also gives you the flexibility to create multiple pipelines, custom fields, basic workflows, and basic reports.

Professional

The professional plan is $30/mo per user and offers assignment rules, custom links, validation rules, unlimited custom list views, and up to three active blueprints. You also get access to the webhooks feature, unlimited custom reports, and inventory management tools.

Enterprise

The Enterprise plan is $45/mo per user and provides custom lists and signals, an email parser, custom modules, access to Canvas view, translations, and subforms. It also has deeper process management, access to the AI named ZIA, more robust analytics (funnels, cohorts, quadrants, etc.), and marketing attribution.   

Ultimate

The largest plan, Ultimate is $55/mo per user. It increases the usage limits. It also adds data sharing rules, 250 groups, user portals, customer segmentation, and much more.

Features & Functionality
General Features

Zoho CRM is a fully featured application that has the core features you’d expect and many unique features that you’ll be hard pressed to find somewhere else. Of course, you get sales pipeline management, lead management, and sales forecasting. It also has deep process management, an artificial intelligence engine called ZIA, customization features, and so much more.

Canvas customization

Every organization is different and, by extension, the processes they use are unique. Because of this, the default settings may not serve them well or be difficult for their teams to understand. Zoho offers unmatched flexibility in customizing your CRM. You can change everything from where the buttons go to how the information is presented. This is accomplished via a simple drag and drop editor that allows you to customize each individual element. Colors, styles, icons, layouts, and more are available to edit.

ZIA AI

ZIA a conversational artificial intelligence assistant developed by Zoho. It can receive commands via text or voice and enhance your overall CRM experience and efficiency. ZIA, referred to as a ‘she’ by Zoho can fetch data, detect issues with sales data, recommend and optimize automation workflows based on real usage data, data enrichment, and a lot more.

Process management

There’s always room for improvement and the Zoho CRM process management tools ensure you’re always getting better. It makes it possible to document every aspect of your sales process and then turn it into a blueprint that the newest or most experienced reps can take advantage of. Some of the processes you can manage include lead scoring, approvals, assigning to different people, your escalation process, etc.

Integrations

A CRM serves as the center of many businesses so, naturally, it should be plugged into the rest of your tech stack. Zoho has an integrations directory it refers to as a marketplace. There are multiple categories like customer service, marketing, telephony, and even sales. A few notable integrations include PandaDoc, WooCommerce, FedEx, and Front.

There seem to be many integrations on the surface but a lot of the other CRMs in the market have even more integrations. Put another way, they have even more useful integrations.

Features
  • Workflow Capability
  • Document Management
  • Social Network Integration
  • Integration API's
  • Customization
  • Data Import & Export
  • Test Environments
  • Project Management
Marketing Automation
Features
  • Lead Management
  • Email Marketing
  • Campaign Management
Sales Automation
Features
  • Opportunity & Pipeline Management
  • Desktop Integration
  • Contact Management
  • Product & Price Management
  • Customer Contract Management
  • Call Management
  • Channel Management
Analytics & Reports
Features
  • Reporting
  • Forecasting
  • Marketing Analytics
Ease of Use

Zoho CRM is both simple and difficult. I call it simple because when I was using it, I was able to navigate through it easily due to the clearly labeled menu options. I could access the major features in moments. It was difficult because there’s a lot of depth and it can be a challenge to figure out exactly how to do something like set up your first sales pipeline or figure out the automations. Set up was a bit difficult but after initial configuration and training, it becomes much easier. One thing I found strange was that most of the screens looked the same.

Customer Support

There are multiple support options such as email, live chat, a knowledgebase, etc. It also offers phone support which will be localized based on your location and is available 24/5 Monday through Friday. A few of the offices are in Australia, India, China, and the United States so you should be able to interact with someone that speaks your language. The knowledgebase is comprehensive enough that you may never need to reach out to the customer support team.
When reaching out to live chat support via the website, I got a reply in less than thirty seconds. I had a few quick questions which the support rep was able to answer and they also pointed me in the direction of a knowledgebase article which was helpful. After finishing up with live chat, I tested phone support. The phone rep gave a vague answer to my question then told me they’d call me back when I pressed for more clarification. To their credit, they did reach out within five minutes and solve my issue.

24/7 Support: This is available as a separate premium plan which is 25% of your annual subscription cost.
Live Online Chat: Live chat is available to all customers irrespective of the plan chosen.
Video Tutorials: There is a robust video library on the website that is arranged based on what you want to accomplish. For example, you can access getting started videos, automation videos, data administration, etc.
FAQ: The FAQ or knowledgebase has a large collection of detailed articles that cover every aspect of the tool.
Blog: It maintains a blog that deals with product updates, sales and CRM tips, and other related topics.

Phone Support
Phone Support
Phone support is available Monday through Friday 24 hours a day.
Live Online Chat
Live Online Chat
There is a live chat
Email
Email
There is an option for all users to email the support team.
Video Tutorials
Video Tutorials
There are a number of videos available on YouTube.
FAQ
FAQ
The FAQ covers basic and advanced software-related issues.
Blog
Blog
Blog available on the website.
Final Word

Zoho CRM has been around since 2005 and in that time, it has grown into a robust platform for the sales teams of small and medium businesses. It has the features and functionality that you’d expect and some that are ahead of its time like ZIA and Canvas. With that being said, there is a learning curve and many of the screens look so similar that you can get lost while using it. Zoho offers solid support on multiple channels. Even though my phone support experience wasn’t ideal, the live chat rep was knowledgeable and helped me solve my issue.

Daniel Ndukwu
Author: Daniel Ndukwu
Daniel is a small business owner at large helping his peers navigate the challenges they experience on a day to day basis. His philosophy is simple, if it isn’t broken you can still make it better.