When I asked Tom Lacalamita, Computer Consultant for This Is What I Do, what Zoho applications he uses, he responded, “Ask me what I don’t use. It’s a shorter list.” After 3 ½ years of use, Lacalamita believes he’s turned on every application in the Zoho suite. He first started with CRM but then started applying all the collaboration tools and Zoho Creator to develop some database applications.
It wasn’t always that way, said Lacalamita in my interview with him at the Small Business Expo in New York. He admitted he used to barely managed contacts. All his salespeople kept their lists on PDAs or in PST files. He realized if somebody lost their computer he’d lose months of business. He needed a better solution that would maximize the efforts of his marketing department, and keep track of everything, especially opportunities. He looked at Salesforce but the pricing was prohibitive.
Lacalamita saw Zoho in a magazine, tried it out and said, “This is one of the best things I’ve ever seen. We haven’t looked back since.”
Now he uses all the collaboration tools and everyone can access the same information at the same time, no matter where they are, and on whatever device. Projects that used to take forever get done in just minutes. “The turnaround time for clients is tremendous. They love it,” said Lacalamita.
Lacalamita is a big proponent of collaboration, which he believes is a word that a lot of people don’t understand.
“When you have creative people in different departments, getting together at a drop of a hat or click of a mouse is one of the most important things that any business should be able to look at and understand,” he said.
We are experiencing performance problem across all Zoho services right now (as of 6:30 AM Pacific Time). Our team is looking at it.
Please use read-only versions, which are hosted from our separate data center.
These are the URLs:
Zoho CRM: https://crm-ro.zoho.com
Zoho Creator: https://creator-ro.zoho.com
Zoho Invoice: https://invoice-ro.zoho.com
Zoho Mail: https://mail-ro.zoho.com
We are working on this right now, and we will post updates as soon as we have additional information.
Update: We are experiencing packet loss on our network access paths, and we are working on it right now.
Update 2 9:13 AM PST: We have brought down the degree of packet loss, but still due to intermittent packet loss services are slow. We are working on it.
Update 3: As of 9:30 AM PST packet loss has been reduced to negligible levels. Services should be accessible now, but we are still monitoring closely. We will post a root cause analysis in a day or two, and what actions we are taking.
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.