For twenty years, Randy Parker, Group Benefits Specialist for LegalShield was stuck on a DOS-based database for all his contact management and CRM duties. Six months ago he stopped using it and moved over to Zoho.
At the Zoho user conference, Zoholics, in Burlingame, California, Parker admitted it took a while for him to come out of the dark ages, but he’s happy now because he was able to translate all his database knowledge to Zoho CRM and is still capable of doing all the same things he did with his DOS based system. But more importantly he’s not locked to any other applications with their poor, costly, and often non-existent integration.
Outlook was his lifeblood, said Parker. He used to live and die by it and also Google Docs. And he used to pay a lot of money to Citrix to use their service GoToMeeting. He’s replaced all of those services with Zoho Mail, Docs, and Meetings.
Jubilant about Zoho, Parker said, “I just love this stinkin’ program.”
Joe Apfelbaum, CEO of the online marketing company Ajax Union tried many other CRM applications before he discovered Zoho. He admits that with most of the other CRM applications he was overwhelmed with all the features. And even with all those features, he still couldn’t customize the application for his needs.
That was not the case with Zoho. To get the application to work for him, Apfelbaum worked with Zoho support to get all the features he needed, such as web forms, auto-replies, and custom proposals. These features and more were all specific to his business.
I spoke with Apfelbaum at the Small Business Expo in New York about how he got started with CRM. While he’s happy with Zoho today, he wasn’t always a Zoho customer. He used to manage all his contacts on Excel spreadsheets.
“Now we’re organized in a way that will make us much more successful as opposed to having data scattered all over the place,” said Apfelbaum.
Apfelbaum’s advice on why to get started using CRM
“You have to start using CRM. You’re going to be able to close more deals. Be on top of what’s going on. Be able to make it scalable and really take your business to the next level,” said Apfelbaum. “There’s no other way to do it other than having a proper CRM and having everything documented properly. There’s no other way.”
On a daily basis, various people get in touch with your business. They could be leads, prospects or customers. It’s only fair that your software understands each of them in the right context. Zoho CRM helps you manage your leads and prospects while Zoho Support allows you to support your customers. They’re both really brothers in arms, in a sense. They both go hand-in-hand.
But then, how can they work together for your business if they don’t manage your contacts well enough. Earlier, Zoho Support let you import contacts from your Zoho CRM account manually. Since then, we’ve only wanted to make it much easier for you. How, you ask? Automatic, that’s how.
We’re happy to announce automatic import of your Zoho CRM contacts to your Zoho Support portal. For all practical purposes, your Zoho CRM contacts database would be your master database. And, when we say ‘contacts’ we necessarily mean ‘accounts’ as well.
All you have to do is setup the interval at which the import has to be performed regularly. And, Zoho Support will then faithfully perform the import for you. It’s really that simple.
In fact, if you’re a Zoho CRM customer who’s just signed up for Zoho Support, you can setup auto-import of your contacts once and strike it off your to-do list forever.
We hope this would reduce a lot of your effort towards managing contacts between the two apps. Try it today and tell us what you think. In the meantime, we’ll try to make your life simpler in some other way!
Since 2008, Johnny Shami, Sales Director at AdLift has been a customer of Zoho. Prior to that time, he lived in an offline world of contact management and CRM. Plus, all his information was split among different applications: Excel, Word, and even paper. He was constantly asking the typical sales questions such as “What’s my pipeline for this month and next month?” and “What do I need to follow up on?”
It was a world of limited access of information for him, and more so for his team. Once he moved online with Zoho that all changed.
Now that applications are integrated and everyone has access via an online CRM system, Shami says he can complete all the sales 101 tasks he couldn’t complete before such as assigning tasks, finding pipeline information for any month, and seeing how each sales person is performing.
Today, everyone has access to Zoho and Shami’s wasted hours hunting down information has been reduced dramatically.
There is a belief, and for most rightfully so, that Social CRM is an extension of traditional CRM. With Social CRM you’re adding new technologies and strategies to traditional CRM. As a business, this requires you to move from traditional or social channels to multi-channels, said Paul Greenberg, Principal of The 56 Group, at Zoholics, the Zoho user conference in Burlingame, California.
That makes sense if you’ve been in CRM for many years. But if you describe Social CRM to young practitioners they’ll just refer to it as CRM, said Greenberg. These supposedly “new” methods of social are traditional to them.
Customers are in control
A successful Social CRM or CRM implementation is the process of giving your customers the ability to sculpt the relationship with you where they own and control the relationship, said Greenberg.
You can do that by providing things to the customer that make them remember you well and to respond to the customer when it’s appropriate to respond. Not every engagement or call out requires a response.
Watch the video as Greenberg talks about how the line of American Girl dolls creates an experience for fathers and daughters within the American Girl stores.
Google Analytics is a free tool for analyzing traffic of websites. It provides valuable insights on visitor trends and behavior. By knowing how your visitors react and respond to your webpages, you can identify what works best, and what needs change. This is available to every website built on Zoho Sites, and here is how to set it up.
Firstly, you need to authorize GA to track visits to your website, by verifying the ownership of the website. On this post, I will stick to websites created on Zoho Sites. When creating your account on GA, you’ll be asked to enter the URL of your website that you’d like to track. Once you’ve created your GA account, on your homepage, you’ll see a tracker ID as in the image below.
This Tracker ID is a unique code that, when included in your website, will link it to this GA account.
Login to Zoho Sites, and edit the website you wish to track. In the SEO section on your website settings, you have two separate fields to update your GA codes. The Meta Tag is optional, and it is sufficient that you update the GA Tracker ID alone.
Analytics reports are updated every 24 hours, and it might take that long for the report to appear after you first add the code. Google Webmaster Tools include Analytics, AdWords and AdSense. All of them are accessible using the same login, and it surely pays to sign up for an account if you don’t have one already.
Zoho CRM was awarded by The 2012 Market Awards as the winner in the Small Business Suite category. Conducted by the CRM Magazine, this award rates the top 5 vendors in every category based on a number of factors including customer satisfaction, product functionality and market share.
Zoho stepped up its game and stole top spot as our winner with a 4.5 for cost and a 4.0 for functionality. Analysts had plenty of positive things to say about this vendor. “Zoho CRM is cost-effective, easy to use, and continues to add on attractive functionality priced like an a la carte menu, which enables smaller businesses to scale as necessary,” says Leslie Ament, senior analyst and vice president of Hypatia Research Group. John Ragsdale, vice president of technology research for the Technology Services Industry Association, counted Zoho among the “rising stars” for small-business CRM. This year, Zoho gave its user interface a full facelift, added a plethora of features like Pulse for internal collaboration, came out with myriad mobile integrations, and integrated Zoho Support with Facebook and Twitter.
For the small business that requires functionality at a price it can afford, “Zoho is emerging as a very strong candidate,” Schneider says. Zoho has that disruptive star quality, he points out, adding that “Salesforce.com disrupted the Siebels of the world and [now you see] Zoho disrupting Salesforce” in on-demand, small-business CRM.
It’s not just the Small Business Suite category; we were also rated as the “One to Watch” in the Sales Force Automation category.
A newcomer to the SFA ranks this year, >Zoho nudged its way onto our radar screen to take the title of One to Watch. Ament says this is a company with small-business know-how, offering solutions that serve as “an attractive option for businesses requiring basic marketing, customer support, Web conferencing, and sales force automation functionality.” There’s something to be said for getting back to basics. “Zoho is emerging as a very strong candidate for the space…where people just want ‘enough’” to seamlessly close the deal, Schneider explains.
We thank you all for the amazing, and continuous support.
Before you leave, do take a look at the plaques that we received at the CRM Evolution Conference: