About Sharanya R

Sharanya is a Product Marketer @ Zoho Campaigns. You can start a conversation with her by leaving a comment in any of her blog posts or you can also tweet out to @sharuram.

Reach out to customers on birthdays and holidays with Coconect and Zoho CRM

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This is a Guest Post by Melinda Yeoh, CEO of Coconect.com

We understand that it’s tedious to remember and send birthday greetings to customers. Also, when you are busy, it’s easy to lose track of the time where you didn’t keep in touch with your contacts – An easy mistake for most business owners & sales professionals.

Coconect now integrates with Zoho CRM so that you will never miss sending birthday greetings to your customers. Plus, you’ll have a systematic way to schedule in bulk and send messages, the whole year through. You also do not have to set reminders and tasks for each contact one by one, hooray! All you have to do is to link your Zoho CRM contacts, and your e-card or text messages will be sent to your contacts for the whole year.

Why are we doing this? We believe that every great business is built on relationships. And two things are needed to build a relationship – time and effort. We cut down both, and even added some fun in exchange! Coconect is an efficient way to build relationships and stay in touch consistently with many customers in one go. While Zoho CRM concentrates on helping you to manage contacts and follow up your sales & marketing pipeline; Coconect provides an extension to reach out consistently to your contacts on holidays and events, without overloading them on sales messages.

Go ahead and give it a try, we are pretty sure that your customers will be impressed by your thoughtfulness.

Oh yes, join us on Facebook too.  Looking forward to see ya!

- Melinda

Get more info about customers in a single click!

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How would it be if you could navigate to a customer’s Twitter profile in a single click from your CRM account?

Or, how about Facebook profiles?

How much easier could selling get?

As a Zoho CRM User, you can now create custom links that help you use your customer data in an efficient manner. You might depend on other online Apps for information – like Zoho Support for tracking your Customer Support Requests. By defining custom links, you can navigate to the required service directly from your CRM account.

How’s this making selling easy? Well, take this case. Before talking to a prospect, it’s obvious that you’ll do your homework. You’ll gather information about the prospect from several sources – Social Media being the primary source. By taking the ‘Twitter’ field as the reference, you can create a custom link for the Contacts module. Then, all it takes is one click. You land on your prospect’s Twitter profile instantly. You save time spent on searching, and you can do what you are good at – selling!

This is just one of the many possibilities. Weather, Maps, Search… it’s all at the click of a button.

Construct your own links and do let me know how it worked for you. Add your comments right below.

- Sharanya R

Sales follow-ups just got better with Zoho CRM

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While looking at the recently launched Pulse module, have these questions ever crossed your mind?

I see all these details, but where do I see a list of all records that I’m following?

How many records am I following?

I wish I could get more details about this record from this page itself. I don’t have to navigate away from what I’m doing.

Who else is following this record?

If yes, then, this is for you. With the recent update that we made to Pulse, it’s even easier to locate the data that you are looking for.

The Pulse module inside Zoho CRM gives an overview of your sales follow-ups. It gives you updates to records that are the most important to you. Over time, you would be following a number of records and is likely that you would have lost track of the records that you are following.

How many follow-ups and what are they?

Let’s say, you started following a lead around 2 months back. The lead has moved on to become a Customer. The updates to this record are no more frequent. You may not want to follow this record anymore. How do you search for the record from the list of updates? The Followed by me option makes it easy for you to locate the record and unfollow it.

There’s a little more to the story. How would you know the number of people who are following a particular record? You have this option from the Pulse page too. You’d know if your manager is following any prospect that you’re dealing with. You’ll definitely be on your toes. ;)

While you’re looking up this ‘important prospect’, you may want to get a quick view of the deal – like the stage, the probability, the expected revenue and the closing date. Now that the Summary View is a part of the Pulse page, it is easy to see more details about any record that you’re following. You do not have to navigate away from the Pulse module, either. You’re better equipped and you save time.

The fields shown in the summary view depend on the customization that you would have done earlier.

That’s about Pulse for now.

There are a few more improvements that we have made to reports and workflow flow rules. More details about this update are available in our forum discussion right here.

And now, I have these questions for you:

With the updates made to Pulse, how does it help you track your sales deals better?
Are you more productive?

Do leave your comments below.

-Sharanya R

Overlapping schedules? Check availability first

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Picture this:

Ben, a business contact calls, and he’s upset. He’s upset because of an issue that he’s facing with the product. As it would typically happen, you schedule a web meeting at a time that Ben’s free.

What’s next? You would open up your CRM, schedule an event, and assign it to the best Customer Support Executive (let’s call him Peter) that you have in your team. You’re relieved. You’re confident that Ben’s problem would be solved, right? Wrong! The web meeting never happened. And why so? Simply because Peter wasn’t free at the time that you had scheduled the event.

Now what if it had happened like this?

Ben calls, and you promise a web meeting. He tells you a time that is convenient for him. While scheduling the event, you check Peter’s calendar to see if he’s free. You find that he isn’t and then assign the event to another person. Simpler?

The ability to check the availability becomes very important when it comes to Customer Service. After all, executives cannot attend to more than one customer at a particular time, can they?

Take a look at the Add Event section in Zoho CRM‘s new design. You can now check the calendar right before scheduling an event and you do not have to navigate away from the page either. We call this feature Check Availability.

Zoho CRM Check Availability

“A localized Sales calendar” – this is what it means for your Sales Team. Data is available in a single place and there’s no overlapping of meetings or schedules.

Working as a team is a lot easier! Do you agree with me? Add your comments below.

You asked, We listened. More control over your CRM

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@headhunter: @zoho ROCKS … new CRM GUI is just simply STUNNING….Would  have to be one of the best web apps I have EVER seen – EVER – Usability PLUS!

This was one of the responses to the public launch of our new UI.

It has been just a month since we launched the new look of Zoho CRM and the response we received was encouraging. The whole idea of the change was to make all our customers more productive at work.

Most of you liked the change. But, not everyone’s tastes are the same. We understand. A few of you who were still accustomed to the old UI felt that you were missing some functionality.

You asked, we listened and here are the updates that we have made…

Reflect your priorities. Customize Business Card View

For Sales Reps who just want to focus on selling and not on data entry, the business card view gives instant access to customer information. As a user, you could also change the fields – so, if you prefer to see the contact’s mobile number instead of the email id, you could set it from a list.

While this is very helpful, some of our users also asked for an option to change the priorities of the fields. For example, here’s a comment we received in our forums:
The problem with the business card view is that it does not reflect my priorities, but someone else’s. When I click through on a contact, I do not want to see my own name. Nor would I have chosen the items you have chosen…”

We now have that option. You can not only select the fields but also change their order. There’s more. In case you feel that you do not want to see the instant information, you can hide it too.

How do you benefit from this? More customer information on the screen and minimal scrolling. Less scrolling means you can get to your information faster.

Do not want the Quick Actions? Hide It.

Quick Actions – these are the basic actions you can take from a record’s detail page. For example, if you want to add a task related to a contact, it’s easy to do so right from the contact’s detail page itself.

This is a time-saver! But it is not necessary that you’d want to use these links always. Like this comment we received: “These ‘Quick Actions’ to the right of the new business card also have no useful function for me. Sorry to be so negative, but this is the truth. I just don’t use them...”.

You can now choose to hide the Quick Actions from a record’s detail page and work the way you want to.

Wide Screen? No problems now!

Previously, we had set a fixed width of the page. Customers who are using wide screens or high resolution monitors told us that this wasn’t pleasing to the eye. “We rely heavily on the wide screen view for all of our data to be visible and this new UI does not scale automatically…“, was a comment we received.

With the latest update, you can choose the layout that you prefer. Fixed or Wide Screen, Zoho CRM fits your screen just the way you want it!

Sticky Recent Items

In our new interface, we changed the Recent Items list to a drop-down at the top menu bar. It could be clicked and used whenever needed. But then, you could not keep those items in view always.

This is another option we have provided now. You can pin the Recent Items list to your screen while you navigate within your account. You can always close it once you are done.

Let your CRM match your company’s image

A cleaner, clutter-free look. This is what we achieved with the colors that we had selected for the new UI. Color preferences can vary, of course. For example, we received a comment like this: “But if I could “skin” my UI to match my company colors, I’d feel a little more in control of what changes were coming my way…

Zoho CRM already had the ability to add your company’s logo to your account. And now, with custom themes, you can set the colors for your tabs and also choose a different background. Your account will look unique and match your company’s brand image.

We understand that every user has different work patterns. Thank you very much for your feedback and we hope that you like these updates.

Any other ideas? Let us know in the comments below.

- Sharanya R

How we took Zoho CRM’s UI from “The Worst” to “S-U-P-E-R-B!”

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In Quick – out quick, nobody gets hurt” – That captures what we set out to do with our new CRM. Thanks, Gary, for noticing it.

But we must admit that was not always the case. Our old UI was pretty bad. Why? And most importantly – why and how did we fix it?

Well, traditionally we focused on the MANAGEMENT side of Sales. We were making CRM Administrators and VPs of Sales happy.  Their goal is to automate the entire sales process and also get insight into their sales funnel! With our features around Customization, Role Based Security, Workflow Management, Web Forms, Reports and Dashboards and so on, that was very easy to do.

For example, this is the kind of feedback we were getting from THAT audience.

 @sarahschaeff: Loving the flexibility & functionality in @zohocrm
So we were making sales execs and CRM admins happy. But what about the daily users?

The WORST UI! That’s what Meaghan said. We needed to hear that. Thanks again, Meaghan. We took that to heart.

By talking with our users, sales & marketing folks – the people who cannot live without a CRM system on a day-to-day basis – we learned what should have been obvious since the beginning: they want to sell more and spend very little time inside their CRM. To be more productive is all they wanted. Consider your typical sales rep. Their focus is to qualify more leads, close more deals and meet the monthly sales targets. They don’t like spending time inside the CRM system and updating status.

So then we asked ourselves questions like:

How do Sales people behave inside a CRM system?
- What do they expect a CRM system to offer?

- What are their CRM usage patterns?

And then we understood. We needed to provide a balance between Automation and Productivity. Our feature set was good enough to automate any business, but we had to re-design the user interface of Zoho CRM for easier navigation and data access. It should be a CRM system that helps Sales Reps to focus more on managing their customer relationships and less on CRMing.

After 9 months of iteration and iteration, the outcome of our efforts is almost ready:   

So we were, understandably so, elated when we saw Gary’s tweet. We think we’re on the right track.

Here are some of the highlights of the new design:

An new, organized setup.
The Setup page is better organized with all links grouped under relevant headings. It’s easier to find what you are looking for and there’s no more scrolling.

The Business Card View. Goodbye Scrolling!
When clicking a contact, you’ll find the basic information at the top of the page. So, if you have a call with a contact, you do not have to hunt for details like the phone number or the account name. It’s right where you can see it.



Faster access to customer conversations
Right below the Business Card view is the Notes section – which you can get to quickly during a call. And we made it easier for sales reps to enter notes. And from our very own, internal experience, usage of notes inside CRM sky-rocketed.

Those are just three examples of the many changes we made.

The public launch of the New Zoho CRM is not very far away. Meanwhile, you can start working on the new CRM, right now. We’re still fixing some details – so please let us know your feedback. Please take into account that you’ll be accessing your live DATA but with a different UI. Any changes that you make will be reflected on your “other” account – it’s just the same data, just looking at it through a different – and hopefully better – window.

Check out our new CRM today. Head over to


Stay tuned for more!

TeamSupport.com Integrates with Zoho CRM

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This is a guest post by Robert C. Johnson, CEO of TeamSupport.com.



TeamSupport.com, a cloud based customer support management solution, is excited to announce the completion of a powerful new integration with Zoho CRM.

Once the simple setup is completed, the integration provides for the seamless transfer of select customer and contact information from Zoho CRM directly into TeamSupport.  When new support tickets are created in TeamSupport they are automatically added as notes into Zoho so that the sales team can be kept in the loop on support issues.

The transfer and update of contact names, addresses and phone numbers happens seamlessly in the background with no intervention required by either TeamSupport or Zoho users.  When a Zoho user marks an account as a “Customer” then that data is automatically sent to TeamSupport.

TeamSupport is a powerfully simple customer support software, and our integration with Zoho CRM brings two best of breed solutions together for our mutual customers.  We’re very excited about our integration with Zoho and look forward to a great partnership!

Read more about the TeamSupport – Zoho CRM integration here.