Countdown to Zoholics

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We are just a few days away from Zoholics and we are looking forward to inviting you to the event. We have around 50 sessions lined up for you along with keynotes from Sridhar Vembu, Ray Wang and Chris Silva.

If you haven’t installed the Zoholics mobile app, I recommend doing so. It is available on iPhoneiPad and Android. Presentations for the sessions will be available through our iPhone and iPad apps.

For those of you attending the CRM Training Track, we will be providing CRM training material to complement the sessions. I recommend bringing in your laptops to follow along the speakers.

We will have good number of Zoho employees at the event eager to talk to you and help you. Please take advantage of this opportunity to meet the people behind the products. Also, please do join us at the reception at the end of Day 2.

We also have great set of announcements at the event. We can’t wait to show you. See you in San Francisco next week.

gUnify and Zoho CRM – Automatically Log VOIP Phone Calls from Google Apps to CRM

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This is a guest post by Harprit Bhui, coFounder of gUnifya cloud-based Unified Communication System connecting Zoho, Google Apps, and Broadsoft Hosted VOIP.

gUnify is specifically designed and built from the ground up for businesses running Google Apps. It is compatible with hosted PBX systems running on Broadsoft and Zoho CRM. gUnify seamlessly integrates Google Apps, phone systems, and Zoho CRM to enable automatic call tracking and logging directly from Gmail.

As an organization, communication is the key to your success. And not being able to capture the details of your sales and support team’s phone calls in real-time can result in loss of sales, lack in customer service and lost billable time.

gUnify improves your sales and support team’s productivity by tracking individual telephone performance. This is achieved by automatically integrating all phone calls made from the gUnify application. All phone calls made using the gUnify application and associated device (traditional phone, soft phone and mobile) will be automatically pushed to activities module in Zoho CRM; where you can view the details of the call record including: the phone number, who made the call, date/time of call, call duration, notes and tags associated with the call; all in real time.

You can also analyse the key sales and support indicators, such as number of incoming calls, number of outgoing calls, duration of calls and the destination of calls.

Getting started is simple and quick, once gUnify has been installed on your company’s Google Apps domain. Each user of gUnify should perform a few easy installation tasks to enable the gUnify Plug-in for Zoho CRM , which can be found in Settings within the gUnify gadget.

5 Ways to Recruit the Best and Brightest Graduates from the Class of 2013

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iStock_000024577981XSmallOver the past month, tens of thousands of college students across the United States earned their associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degrees. And after the graduation celebrations die down, these students will each begin pursuing a profession in a number of different career fields.

So what does this mean for you as a small business owner? How can you capitalize on these young, energized and passionate young adults?

A number of graduates will begin working for large companies because these businesses can offer enticing salary, benefits and security packages, as well as opportunities for advancement. As a small business owner, it may seem impossible to compete with larger companies in order to recruit top talent from the class of 2013.

One challenge facing small businesses is a simple lack of information for these graduates about the benefits of working for a small company. And while you may not be able to offer incentives big companies can offer, recruiting graduates can be simpler than you think with the right strategies.

1. Have Good Relationships with Local Schools

The importance of a college education is much more than just making good grades in order to graduate. It is also about having opportunities to network with businesses in the area. Students value the opportunity to network with potential employers. By establishing good relationships with local college and universities, these school can keep you connected with students who are close to graduating or have just recently graduated. This can also keep you informed on when the schools are hosting job fairs so your business can attend.

2. Use Your Size as a Benefit

Big companies have the brand name and look glamorous, but they aren’t always ideal for a graduate’s first job. At a small company, an employee can have the opportunity to get exposed to a number of different areas of the business as opposed to one department or task. They can also attend important meetings, communicate and connect with team leaders, directors and even the CEO on a daily basis — an opportunity that wouldn’t be possible at a larger company. (For example, here at Zoho, we all have the opportunity to reach out and speak with CEO and co-founder Sridhar Vembu whenever we want).

3. Talk About Your Company’s Culture

One of the most important aspects of a job for recent graduates is not necessarily the salary and benefits. It’s the work environment and culture of the company. Millennials want a job they enjoy going to on a daily basis at a company with a culture and personality that fits their own . Make sure graduates understand they are free to be themselves at your company and emphasize how the company values hard work and dedication. This can go a long way in recruiting talented and excited graduates.

4. Look at Students Before They Graduate/Offer Internships

There are a number of resources available for companies to begin looking at prospective employees before they walk across the stage. Use alumni networks, the local college career centers and offer both part-time and full-time internships for students. One of the best ways to avoid competing with other companies for a graduate is to establish a relationship with the student before he or she gets their diploma. Many students go on to work for the company they interned for during school, so don’t underestimate the power of an internship.

5. Place Importance on Your Online Presence

Finally, focus on creating a strong online presence for your company. From a visually impressive website to social media networks like LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter, millennials want to know they are working for a tech-savvy company. Make sure your website has engaging content and visually impressive videos that attract young candidates. You can also utilize social media to post ads and highlight job opportunities at your company.

Believe in Your Business

You don’t have to be a large company to recruit the top talent from the graduating class of 2013. By implementing the above strategies and remaining confident in your company and company culture, there is no reason you cannot find talented, passionate and hard-working millennials who can help build your company on a daily basis.

Simplify Getting Paid With Braintree

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BraintreeWe have been on an integration spree since the beginning of this year. After the first two successful integration with Stripe and 2Checkout, Braintree is the latest payment gateway to be integrated to Zoho Invoice and Zoho Books.

If you haven’t begun accepting online payments from your customers, now is a good time to get started. Not only is creating a merchant account in Braintree is quick and painless, but also configuring it to Zoho Invoice and Zoho Books is easy.

Braintree supports multiple currencies and if your customers are across the globe, then it is a great payment gateway option to invest your money. Also, Braintree charges no monthly fee or minimums and charges you only for the transactions that have occurred (2.9% + $0.30 per transaction).

Awesome right? If you want to find out more,  head straight to our documentation for detailed information on how to set it up. We’ve got plenty more in store for you this year. Meanwhile,  share your feedback right here in the comments.

Customer Spotlight: Migrating from Salesforce to Z-CRM Saves Young Company Huge Money

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ICT_landing

“It all started with Jim Cramer.”

For those of you unfamiliar with Jim Cramer, he is a popular American television personality, former hedge fund manager, and host of CNBC’s Mad Money.

As Indigenous Corporate Training Inc. (ICT) founder and CEO Bob Joseph tells the story, “Years ago, I was watching Mad Money and he was pushing Sales Force’s CRM solution.  I knew we were at the point in our company growth where we needed a good CRM solution and one that could accommodate our growth.  So, from Cramer’s recommendation we began our customer relationship management with Sales Force.”

Soon however, Joseph realized that Cramer’s recommendation was not suitable for ICT…

The Business

Bob Joseph - Founder and CEO

Bob Joseph – Founder and CEO

ICT is a global training company committed to working collaboratively with regional, national, and international clients to provide a broad range of performance improvement training services geared specifically at helping individuals and organizations to work effectively with Indigenous Peoples.

Based out of Vancouver, BC, and started in 2002, ICT goes to great lengths to help the Canadian government work with indigenous peoples to improve all aspects of operation.

The Challenge: Switching from Salesforce to a More Affordable, Simpler CRM Solution

Per Cramer’s recommendation, Joseph decided to incorporate Salesforce into ICT as their CRM solution.  However, five months into implementation, he found that Salesforce was creating a huge cost and time burden for the amount of use and functionality they were receiving.

“At that point, we were like a ‘Mom and Pop’ shop, and the cost of Salesforce was exorbitant for us and the complexity was causing us to waste too much time.”

Joseph knew he had two options:  either stick with Salesforce, go through the pains of learning how to use it, and simply eat the cost hoping that in the end the monetary and time investment would be worth it, or try a lower cost, easier to learn CRM solution without sacrificing any of the functionality.

Joseph decided it was time for ICT to make a change.

Competitive Analysis of CRM Solutions

ICT looked at several CRM solutions before finally selecting Zoho CRM.

“We looked at several CRM solutions including Sales Force and Trigger. When we found Zoho, we noticed the reviews were stellar, it had all of the functionality we needed and more, and it was free to sign up!”

Joseph had some definite “must haves” when searching for a CRM replacement.

“I knew that Salesforce was costing me way too much money, but I also knew I needed a full-featured CRM that could easily and quickly track customers through the entire sales process including ongoing customer support.”

Soon after signing up for Zoho CRM, Joseph realized that he had found a solution for ICT.

“Zoho had all of the functionality of Sales Force at a fraction of the cost. We signed on for free, started working with it, and realized that this is the solution for us.”

Implementing Zoho CRM

Prior to implementing CRM, ICT had several databases, calendars, and other data that was not shared.

“Data sharing was a huge problem for us!  My business partner and I would make phone calls, then later in the day would get together for coffee and realize we’d called some of the same people. When we started with Salesforce, this problem disappeared but now we were spending several extra hours having to navigate through complicated windows.  We eliminated one problem, but started another!”

However, when Joseph switched ICT over to Zoho CRM, both problems were alleviated.

Joseph found learning Zoho CRM very simple and intuitive and was able to have his entire database migrated over within a day.  After just a few days, Joseph felt incredibly comfortable navigating through Zoho CRM and using the majority of its features.

“It was just so intuitive and easy.  Now we were saving a ton of time while working together collaboratively, and the results showed immediately!  We were able to connect with noticeably more customers while delivering an improved service experience.”

“We actually use Zoho Projects to manage projects and connect that to CRM to have one cohesive dashboard.  It’s very easy for us now to navigate between customers and projects.

Life After Implementing Zoho CRM

As ICT became comfortable with Zoho CRM, they discovered some features that they hadn’t previously been familiar with but ended up being “real timesavers.”

“Zoho CRM really helped us with its data deduplication feature which in Salesforce costs several hundred dollars but Zoho provides for free.  Google app integration has also been huge.  We integrate Zoho Campaigns, CRM, and incorporate it with some of our Google apps to make one cohesive solution.”

Joseph has also found a lot of value in the Zoho CRM social media integration.

“We definitely use the Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter integration a lot and it has proven to be a valuable tool for us.”

What You Like to Say to Other Customers about CRM Solutions?

“I would say get Zoho right away!  It integrates so easily with everything, makes life so much easier, and is easy to learn.  It has all the tools that every other CRM solution has, but at a fraction of the price and is so much easier to learn.”

To learn more about Indigenous Corporate Training Inc, click here.

Now, get up to 20 free users, when you host email with Zoho Mail

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referral-smallLast month, we announced the increase in Zoho Mail Lite, our free hosted email plan, making it free up to 5 users. We were overwhelmed and humbled by the compliments showered by you, our users. We did hope that it would bring some cheer to our small business friends but it felt more like euphoria.

So we have decided to spend even more money with you, instead of hiring consulting firms or on ‘ads with words’. Starting today, you can gain 15 more bonus users in your business email account, free forever. This is in addition to what comes with your plan. That means you can sign up for the Lite plan with 5 free users included + get 15 bonus users, making it 20 free users in total.  All you have to do is invite other businesses to host email with Zoho Mail.

For every referred business that signs up and hosts email with us, we’ll add 5 bonus users to your account. Wait…. not just your account; we’ll add 5 bonus users to the referred business’ account also. A two-way bonus! Gain up to 15 bonus users through your first three successful referrals.

This is a win-win situation for your business, the businesses you invite and us, the Zoho Mail team:

  1. You do not have to pay for more users as your business expands and new employees come in.
  2. You can help an entrepreneur friend, paying for say 10 hosted email users elsewhere, pay nothing for the same 10 users with Zoho Mail. As in, if their business signs up for the Lite plan, they’ll get 5 free users included in the plan + 5 bonus users for being referred by you. And then they can refer other businesses and gain 10 more users.
  3. And for us, word of mouth is the best way to spread awareness about a business and gain brand recognition. With your active participation, we hope Zoho Mail is considered the ‘go to email for business’.

Since this is about a business inviting other businesses, only the administrator of your Zoho Mail business account will be able to send out invitations. If you are a Zoho Mail fan but not the email administrator, please share the email info of your friends and business acquaintances with your IT / email admin to send out invitations.

bonus-users-cpZoho Mail administrators can send invitations from the new Bonus Users section in the control panel. The invitation will contain a referral code, unique to every Zoho Mail business account. More details on how this referral program works can be found in our referrals page.

We hope this will be of good benefit to you and your (our) small business friends.

As always, we are all ears for your comments and feedback.

Zoho Docs 3.0 Released With New Features And Enhancements

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Zoho Docs upgraded to the new 3.0 version. Our focus for this version, is enhancing the file sharing and collaboration experience. We have made file sharing more tightly integrated and seamless, across all the office apps. On the collaboration front, we have diversified the workspace admin role, which will make managing a workspace much easier.

Here is a summary of what’s new in Zoho Docs 3.0:

Share Files As A Link

Now you can share files quicker, as a link. You just have to copy and paste a link in an email, IM, blogs etc, to share the file.This new feature also adds flexibility to how you choose to share your files. You can keep the file private by sharing the link within the organization through a common website or blog. You can also make it public and make the link accessible to anyone by adding it in a public website, blog or forum.

Transfer Ownership Of A Document In A Workspace

What if a user leaves the organization and all the documents created by him, which hold important information, are inaccessible? This is the reason why we have brought in the functionality for administrators to transfer ownership of a document, from the one who created it to another user in the organization. With this feature administrators can ensure that all documents are accessible.

Multiple Admins For A Workspace

Previously the one who created the workspace i.e the owner, by default was the only admin for it. Now the owner can assign the admin role to other workspace users. This will make it possible for other users to manage a workspace, in the absence of the owner. As an admin they can add or delete documents, change workspace access roles and also delete users from the workspace.

Grey Theme, Auto-Save And Auto-Suggestion For Spreadsheets

Zoho Sheet now sports a new look with a grey theme. The move was made to keep it in tune with Zoho Docs and Zoho Writer, so your experience with the office suite is more standardized.

The auto-save functionality has been added to spreadsheets, so changes made to a document, will be automatically saved. You don’t have to hit that “Save” button, every now and then and can carry on with your work uninterrupted. We’ve also added the auto-suggestion feature that will allow you to enter data faster. This is quite useful when you have to repeatedly enter the same values in a column.

Collaboration Notifications And Object Smart Guides For Presentations

A very useful functionality has been added to enhance collaboration, while working with presentations, using Zoho Show. You will now be able to see who is editing the presentation and know exactly which slide they are working on, through real-time notifications.

For objects and images, smart guides have been added. Smart guides are the dotted lines that appear by default, when you try to position an object on a slide. The smart guides will come in handy when you are aligning multiple objects and will help you position them in the right place.

Add Task Reminders

The main purpose of task management in Zoho Docs is to keep track of what work needs to be completed by other users. Now, wouldn’t you also like to keep a track of work that needs to be completed by you? That’s why we’ve added Task Reminders. You can add a task reminder for your documents, so you know which tasks you have to complete and when. This will help you prioritize and organize your work better.

We would like you to try Zoho Docs 3.0 new features and enhancements and give us your feedback.