Our biggest release ever: Announcing Zoho CRM Plus, Google AdWords integration, Zoho SalesIQ and Zoho Social

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When the first CRM packages came into the market in the 1990s, Google AdWords didn’t exist, social media didn’t exist and most companies didn’t see customer retention as strategic. Customer engagement started when a sales person visited a prospect or made a phone call.

Fast-forward two decades, and now companies engage their customers in a very different manner. They interact with them on social media, the sales cycle starts with Google AdWords, and website engagement is paramount. Now, forward-thinking companies recognize that customer retention is just as important as sales.

The way companies interact with customers evolved. Traditional CRM software didn’t. Customer Relationship Management was supposed to mean everything customer-related. Instead, CRMs got stuck in Sales Force Automation – the part where companies take a lead from beginning to close, and sales managers forecast what is about to close. Other pieces of customer-facing software, be it social media, email marketing or customer service became stand-alone categories, rarely -or very weakly- integrated with the core database of customers.

Today we’re announcing Zoho CRM Plus – the only unified software offering that allows companies to become truly customer-centric. With Zoho CRM Plus, companies can engage the right prospects, sell smarter and retain more customers through email marketing, better social media engagement, post-purchase implementation and customer service. Companies can’t become customer-centric if all their customer information is siloed across multiple software vendors. Zoho CRM Plus is the one must-have piece of software for every customer-facing person in an organization.

Engage the Right Prospects

Zoho+SalesIQ+RingsOne of the challenges companies face is not just finding more prospects – but knowing which prospects they should engage with and how to prioritize them. Zoho CRM Plus helps companies identify prospects who engaged with their website, chat with them, connect through social media, send email campaigns and automate other marketing items. Zoho CRM Plus helps convert seemingly random website visitors to engaged prospects.

Sell Smarter
It starts with having all customer and prospect data in the right place. Sales teams cannot become customer-centric if critical customer information is scattered around different systems. Beyond basic lead and contact information, Zoho CRM Plus helps companies keep track of customer support requests, marketing campaigns and website engagement. Did a hot sales prospect just tweet something negative? Better act fast.

Teams that spend time in repetitive tasks or handling low-value prospects don’t help the bottom line. The advanced automation capabilities in Zoho CRM Plus means that sales teams will always be dedicated to the most important customer opportunities. Work smart. Sell smarter.

Retain and Delight More Customers
It is cheaper to keep a customer than to acquire a new one. That is why increasing retention through customer satisfaction initiatives is a priority for modern organizations. Zoho CRM Plus provides advanced customer support tools so every company can provide the right help to the right customer at the right time – whether over phone, email, chat or on social media.

Customer retention starts by delivering your promises on time. Zoho CRM Plus project management tools help delivery teams stay on top of key client deliverables and collaborate on every item to meet all milestones without a hitch. Collaboration features like feeds, document sharing and chat keep everyone on the same page to ensure better customer focus.

Measure & Improve
Zoho CRM Plus helps continually measure and improve every single step across the customer lifecycle. Start by measuring the impact that marketing spend has in customer acquisition rate and revenue. Integration with Google AdWords gives marketing organizations better insights into how their ad spend relates to revenue.

Sales operations can rely on our Advanced CRM Analytics, which provide deep understanding into the performance of sales teams through custom visualizations that relate multiple pieces of data from CRM and external systems. Similarly, measure and improve customer retention with feedback from customer satisfaction surveys. Ensure your customer support team is able to ward off unnecessary problems.

The Power of Context

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Zoho CRM Plus not only covers every single step along the customer lifecycle, but brings context to every interaction. You can see tweets and Facebook posts in the context of the relationship your company has with them. You can see customer deals in the context of what kind of experience they’ve had with your customer support team. You can see leads in the context of how well they’ve engaged with your site. Context matters. Nobody in the industry offers such a complete offering built entirely from scratch.

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Zoho CRM Plus is available starting today, for $50 per user per month. We are intentionally limiting the number of customers we sign-up for the product while we bring it out of beta and into full availability.

We know that not every customer is ready (yet!) to buy into our entire vision of a single piece of software for marketing, sales and support – so we’ll of course continue to offer parts of it separately, including the main component, Zoho CRM, as well as other pieces of this big vision that we’re unveiling today, including:

  • Zoho CRM for Google AdWords
    Connect your Google AdWords account to your Zoho CRM account so all your data-driven insights are in one place. You’ll be able to close the loop between your online spending and your offline conversions. If this wasn’t enough, we’ve also added and enhanced other features in our core Zoho CRM product, including integration with VOIP and hosted PBX Systems, sales collaboration through feeds, holistic customer activity views with CRM Views, and more.
  • Zoho SalesIQ
    Real-time website visitor intelligence for sales and marketing teams, enabling them to engage visitors, qualify and get them into the sales funnel. Unlike traditional website analytics that focus on aggregate visitor data, Zoho SalesIQ provides intelligence at the individual visitor level. Companies can identify the most important opportunities or the active prospects coming back to the company’s website. Intelligent triggers enable reps to engage with the most valuable prospects. And of course, reps can convert a visitor to a lead in Zoho CRM and all engagement history is available to CRM users for future reference.
  • Zoho Social
    Zoho Social provides actionable insights for marketers and companies who want to increase their social media engagement with better content, real-time monitoring and advanced analytics. Zoho Social allows companies to reach the right audience at the right time – delivering content when their target audience is most likely to see it. And that’s not all, Zoho Social also helps teams collaborate on content and create customized reports.

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We’ll provide more details about each one of these apps in their own posts in the coming days. We have much more to say. We know it is a big vision, and we want you to be a part of it.

3 Sales & Marketing Tactics SaaS Vendors Need To Kill

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forced contracts

SaaS used to stand up for something much bigger than just software delivered over the internet.

At its inception, SaaS was the anti-thesis of big, stodgy software companies: IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP. Where big software companies had hefty prices, SaaS was affordable. Where big companies had convoluted pricing licenses (Microsoft’s Licensing, anyone?), SaaS promised straightforward per-user pricing. Where big software companies required upfront long-term contracts leading to “shelfware,” SaaS promised paying for only what you truly needed.

As both a SaaS customer and a SaaS vendor, I want to talk about three tactics where I see the industry veering off course.

Read more

Kicked out of your high-rise? Move to Zoho.

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Earlier today, 37Signals, the company behind Basecamp and Highrise made two announcements. The first one is that they’re renaming the company, 37Signals, to Basecamp. So far so good.

It’s the second part of the news that is most troubling for customers: they are shedding all of their products – except for well, Basecamp. Along the products that they are no longer “focusing on” (read: they’ll most likely get killed soon) is Highrise, a contact management and lead tracking app.

Following 37Signals’ announcement that they are no longer investing in Highrise, you might be wondering about the future of the app and what it means for you as a customer. Zoho is here to help

Zoho is offering all Highrise customers a free and easy migration to Zoho ContactManager so you can keep all of your data safe and your business doesn’t skip a beat. On top of that, we’re offering a three-month free subscription to those customers who migrate. Our migration tool will be ready within the next few days. Meanwhile, sign-up and give it a try. We’re here to help with with any questions and make the transition for you as smooth as possible.

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If you’re not familiar with Zoho ContactManager yet, well just like with Highrise, you have all your contacts in one place, and you have a single place for everything that happens around a contact – so your team is always on the same page. You can track business deals and create tasks. That’s what a basic contact management app does. But, Zoho ContactManager goes well beyond that: Read more

Introducing the New Zoho Books: Smart Accounting for Growing Businesses

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If you think accounting for your business is complicated, then you haven’t been using Zoho Books. Today we’re pleased to release the latest version of our online accounting software. Of course it makes accounting for your business so much easier, even enjoyable, but that’s not all there is to it. With Zoho Books you can invoice customers and get paid online quickly, track time and expenses you incur for your business while on the go, and it even helps you prepare and submit your year end forms.

Automating and Simplifying Accounting

Revamped Banking in Zoho Books

One of the biggest changes you’ll notice when trying out the new Zoho Books is the beautiful new UI. But it is much more than just a cosmetic change. We’ve re-worked the most common workflows to make sure they are not only easy to understand, but also easy to do. For example, we completely revamped the banking module. Bank reconciliation is typically one of the most tedious things to do, and Zoho Books not only makes it now simple, but it also does most of the work for you. It automatically categorizes marks the transactions it finds in your bank’s feed so you don’t have to.

Mobile Accounting

Mobile Accounting

Modern business professionals are always on the go. And now you can take your accounting, and all the relevant financial information about your business with you too. Our brand new mobile apps for iOS and Android will help you track expenses, and send quotes and invoices. In addition, we are introducing our first Windows Mobile app, which helps you keep track of your expenses while on the go.

Easier Customer Interactions

Client Portal For Customers

The new edition of Zoho Books sports a new client portal. Using the portal makes it easy for your clients to approve or comment on the quotes and invoices you’ve sent them, view their recent transactions and most importantly, they can also pay you for any outstanding invoices, thus shortening the time it takes for you to get your money.

File 1099s with ease

We know that year end is always a busy time for you as you file the 1099s for your vendors. Our recent integrations with Track1099.com and Tax1099.com will help you prepare and e-file the 1099s quickly in a painless manner.

Beyond Time Tracking

Time-tracking made easy

If you’re a freelancer or a business that charges customers based on time, you’ll be delighted by the new features that help you go faster from time tracking all the way to getting paid. Our new calendar and weekly time sheet views help you ensure you don’t forget to invoice for any hours you’ve already worked. You can also quickly log the time and expenses you incur on behalf of your customers on our mobile apps.

APIs, and a lot more under the hood

If you’re reading this we know you can’t be bothered with the technicalities of accounting – all you want to do is run your business. So we’re not going to bore you with every single feature that is new and every technical detail that make this such a big release. In a separate post by our engineering team we‘ll explain, for example, how our app is built 100% on REST APIs, and how we have no hidden APIs for ourselves. Does that sound like technical gibberish to you? Well, all you need to know for now is that all that under-the-hood work means that there will be many interesting collaborations with third parties coming up soon.

Rodrigo

Don’t Call It Guerrilla Marketing: How Zoho Helped Salesforce.com Customers At Dreamforce

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Dreamforce, which took place last week in San Francisco, was one of the biggest cloud computing events of the year. With over 130,000 registered customers, Dreamforce naturally attracts a lot of the people that we want to talk to.

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There’s only a small, itsy bitsy problem… the event is produced by Salesforce.com, and as our competitor, they of course don’t want us to be anywhere close to their customers.

So how did we get around it? Well…  Read more

Announcing Big Features for Bigger Businesses in Zoho CRM and Zoho Support

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Today we are unveiling the biggest update of the year for our Zoho CRM and Zoho Support products. For the past several months, we have been focused on enhancing our product capabilities so we can address the needs of bigger organizations better. We are already known in the industry for serving our SMB customers well. But we’re not going to stop there.

First off, the Zoho CRM improvements we are announcing today include exciting updates like territory management, custom modules, deeper social integration, custom functions and enhanced integration with Zoho Campaigns.

Supporting bigger sales organizations with Territory Management

Bigger companies have complex organizational structures. The most common example is companies with sales teams aligned along both geographical limits and another variable, like company size or product line.

The new Territory Management functionality helps companies better mirror their complex organizational structure in Zoho CRM. More importantly, it is done securely – so only the right people have access to sensitive company information. The sales team for the Northeastern region can see all deals happening in their territory, regardless of product, but they can’t see what’s going on in the Central region. Likewise, the General Manager for the Widgets division can set sales targets and see deals for her products across all geographical territories, but she can’t see what’s going on with the Gadgets product line. Of course, the VP Sales and CEO can monitor the sales forecasts for both products and for all regions with just a few clicks.

Territories is a term we use loosely – while it is typically used in a geographical sense, you can configure territories in Zoho CRM to map to any particular segmentation your sales team might be based on, like Commercial vs Federal Government vs Local Government; Military vs Education; Named Accounts vs Mid Market vs SMB.  Read more

Salesforce’s Do.Com Customers Can No Longer Do Much – Unless They Migrate To Zoho Projects

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banner.pngSalesforce.com recently announced that their Do.com project management service is shutting down early next year. Salesforce acquired the Manymoon startup, for which they reportedly paid between $25 and $35 million dollars, just about two years ago and they later renamed it as Do.com. We’re sure this leaves current Do.com customers searching for a place to go. Well, worry no more: we’ve got good news for you.

We just released our Zoho Projects migration tool that lets you bring your current Do.com data and continue working without skipping a beat.

Start Doing More with Zoho Projects

Zoho Projects is a tool that allows you to manages any kind of project from thought to finish. Zoho Projects goes well beyond planning, and helps your team work better together, collaborate and stay on top of what they need to do, even while they’re on the go.

Do.com users can easily migrate in few easy steps without losing the tasks, tasks lists, notes and other items they had already created. And of course, migration is free.

Migration is just the start

Do.com users that come into Zoho projects will primarily be looking to save their important data and work. However, they will soon discover all the additional benefits that Zoho Projects brings over Do.com, like time tracking & billing, gantt charts and resource utilization, advanced analytics and much more.

In addition, Zoho Projects integrates with the Zoho Office suite, works with Google Apps and allows you to bring files from Dropbox, Box.net, Google Drive and even Microsoft SkyDrive into your project.

If you’re a current Do.com customer, we welcome you into the Zoho family. Learn how to migrate your data into Zoho Projects at:  https://projects.zoho.com/doit