Less CRMing and More Selling with Zoho CRM: New UI plus Exciting Features

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A few months ago we started rolling out a preview of our new, totally-rebuilt Zoho CRM UI. We took a close, hard look at how users were interacting with our app, and how we could make it easier for them to achieve their daily goals. Our goal was to make users spend less time  inside the Zoho CRM app, so they can spend more time selling.
So we re-designed many workflows and screens inside our app. A small example: we realized that everybody wants to add notes to their contacts/prospects. So, we made it very simple for them to add more notes. We streamlined how we show contact information. We made it easier for a sales rep to check availability for scheduling a follow-up call with a prospect right from the contact screen. We made several other changes - big and smallThe feedback we got from users has been overwhelmingly positive, and we’re pretty thrilled about that.

But that’s not all we have been working on. We have also been busy building a lot of new things we know you will love. We kept this as a surprise for all of our users – and here it is.

Stay on top of what’s happening on your sales pipeline with Pulse
Just like you can follow people on Twitter, now you can follow a particular lead, deal, contact or account in Zoho CRM. Sure, you can always run a report, but Pulse takes sales tracking to the next level by allowing you to follow what’s really important for you. But that’s pretty much where the Twitter analogy ends, because we’ve taken it a couple steps further. How? First, you can create rules that will automatically “Follow” a deal for you when some conditions are met. But my favorite part is this: you can also follow what’s NOT happening in your business.



Let me explain. When you follow a deal, it’s because you’re interested in seeing what happens with it. But what happens if a week goes by and you haven’t heard anything? How will you remember? Pulse takes care of that for you. In the Pulse tab inside Zoho CRM, you can view what is happening and what is NOT happening, and you can also set different time intervals for keeping track of your deals.

Build Custom Apps based on your CRM Data

With this latest Zoho CRM update, you can now build custom apps that access data inside your CRM system easier than ever before. For example, if you want to build a Travel Expense app, you can have one field ask what account or deal this travel was related to – and display a list of deals right from Zoho CRM. Of course, you have always been able to build this with an our API, but this update makes it easier for you to build apps with Zoho Creator – so there’s no coding required, just drag-and-drop. In addition, you are able to add these custom apps as tabs inside Zoho CRM.

Connect with your Customers on Social Media

Zoho CRM now allows you to link a CRM contact with their LinkedIn profile. So you can not only very easily get their position, company, city and more – but now you will also be able to keep up to date with their business and professional activity. You can even see their picture directly in your Zoho CRM contact. You can even send a note to your contact through LinkedIn right from Zoho CRM.
Webhooks make Zoho CRM even easier to integrate


We’ve had a pretty good and liberal API program for a while. But say for example, you want to update your inventory system every time you close a deal. How can you alert the external system that something just changed inside Zoho CRM? That’s what webhooks are for. Without getting too technical, every time some condition is met, Zoho CRM will send a quick message to your external system (your inventory system in this example) to give it a “heads up”. After that, more complex processing might take place through the API.

This is a major release and a major milestone for us, and hopefully you will find it exciting and useful!

Rodrigo

Services Are Up, Root Cause to Follow

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We have restored all Zoho services. They should be working normally. Our teams are monitoring the situation closely, and if you encounter any trouble, please let us know.

We know this is not what our customers and users expect from Zoho. We let you down today. Please accept our humble apologies. We have launched a full investigation of the root cause, how we responded to it, what we could have done better to both avoid the problem and how we could have resolved it sooner. We will post this report as soon as it is ready.

Update: Our preliminary information is that reverse DNS look up failed in one of our subnets, which caused the outage on some of the services. We still are trying to determine why it failed, why it didn’t trigger other type of alerts and why this failure resulted in such a service outage. Once the incident is fully understood, I will post a detailed report. 

Sridhar

Some Zoho Services Down, Please Check our Twitter Feed @Zoho for Updates

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As of 9:05 AM Pacific time, we started encountering difficulties in many Zoho services. The services affected are Zoho Mail, Books and Support, as well as some sporadic issues in other services. We have narrowed it down to network issues in our data center, and we are analyzing it. We will restore services as expeditiously as possible. 

Please check our twitter feed: http://twitter.com/#!/zoho  for updates.

We apologize for the inconvenience.
Update: as of 12 noon PST, we have restored Zoho Mail, Support and Books. We still are not completely out of the woods, and we are monitoring all services closely. Meanwhile, we are also looking at the root cause of today’s outage. We will make a detailed post as soon as we determine the root cause, and we will outline the actions we are taking to make sure this does  not recur. Please accept our humble apologies.

Case Study: Measuring Marketing Effectiveness with Zoho Reports

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An important part of every marketer’s job is to know how each of his/her campaigns are performing. “What’s the ROI (return on investment) from this campaign?” is a question in every marketer’s mind. Based on that, the marketer proceeds with making decisions on which campaigns to continue and which ones to stop.


Chris Swanson is the owner of BMA Marketing, a firm that manages paper coupon programs for bowling centers. As a marketer, Chris was interested in knowing the returns each of his campaigns generate. He not only studies the returns, but also shares the info transparently with all his clients. This is crucial for his clients as they get to know how the coupon campaign that Chris is running for them is performing.

For analysis and easy sharing of the marketing campaign info, Chris tried various options but each had their own difficulties. He searched for a solution that will allow him to share the campaign results with his clients in the easiest way possible. And he finally zeroed in on Zoho Reports. Says Chris,

The thing I like most with Zoho Reports is the ability to have my reports hosted on the web instead of having to create reports using PDF files or other formats that must then be attached to emails and sent to clients who may or may not be able to even open the file. Now I simply email my clients a URL that they can click to instantly view their own custom Zoho report.

Read in detail about the problems Chris faced, the ideal solution he was searching for and how Zoho Reports became the answer for him and his clients to know how their coupon campaigns are performing.

Online Invoicing Saves Time: A SEO Company Success Story

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Cloud invoicing can make it happen. Well,
we all know that Zoho Invoice has helped thousands of freelancers,
small businesses and service providers to simplify their invoicing
processes, but the success story of Xaby.com, a web design and search engine
optimization company based in Singapore finds a special mention here. 

Xaby
specializes in educating its clients to enhance brand awareness and
guides them on how internet marketing techniques and search
optimization could be deployed to stay ahead of the competition.

Two years back Xaby decided to save time on their invoicing and was exploring the web for an invoicing solution. It found Zoho Invoice through a web search from TechCrunch.

For instance Xaby creates
and sends invoices from a mobile phone and e-mails estimates from a
laptop just after a client meeting. Sounds brilliant, right? That’s the
power of cloud computing and mobile invoicing today. Our invoice software has been
saving considerable amount of time for Xaby for the past two years.

I really love Zoho Invoice’s iPhone app. It helps me to create and send invoices even i’m mobile – Ken Tan, Xaby.com 

All
said and done, 
the need of
the hour for most of the SEO & SEM companies in the world today is
to help their clients reach its targeted audience in the most 
cost-efficient
way. Not only do they achieve their mission but also reduce the spend
on marketing dollars. Most of the Xaby’s clients are multi-nationals
and small businesses based in North America and the Far East.
Some of Xaby’s marquee clients include Lexmark, DBS Bank, Fuji Xerox, Canon, Singapore Technologies Logistics Pte Ltd., Canadian Pizza Soccer Academy etc.,

It
doesn’t make sense when you advocate on one hand to reduce marketing
expenses for your clients and on the other hand end up spending
considerable time, money and resources on billing your clients.
Xaby
finds Zoho Invoice to be user friendly and an easy way to bill its clients today.
Prior to using Zoho Invoice, the
Singapore SEO company was using MYOB accounting
software for its invoicing needs. 

Another
thing that Xaby found interesting in Zoho Invoice is the snail mail
feature. It buys snail mail credits and sends paper invoices to its US
customers via USPS. Read the full interview with Mr. Ken Tan of
Xaby.com and know why he strongly recommends our online invoice software for any small business owner.

Key to social CRM success is simple integration of products and channels

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Integrating CRM with business processes is both a challenge
and an opportunity. Not only are we faced with a proliferation of products, but
also channels. Every day we wake up there is a new social media forum that our
customers can touch us with, said Om Kundu who is on the Editorial Advisory
Board for CRM Journal, and Director of Thought Leadership for ATP Board.

Are you taking advantage of opportunities? How aggressive
are you integrating your CRM with products and channels?

Go Cloud this Shopping Season

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​It’s that time of the year when you run to the shop to kick start your shopping season.

​Economy is not exactly in the pink of health at the moment. It is believed and proven that one of the factors that drive the economy is the growth of small business in the community. Boosting the economy is not a priority on your agenda or mine but what if we contribute little in the way we shop?

This was the underlying idea behind the creation of the Small Business Saturday. ​It started out last year when the American Express OPEN (small business services wing of Amex) created the Small Business Saturday to bring alive the spirit of neighborhood shopping. Their motto is ‘Shop small, Shop local’. Today more than 2.4 million people are aware and have ‘liked the ‘Small Business Saturday’ and many have pledged a small portion from their wallet to the neighborhood store. 

Now while the community gets ready to support the cause, small business owners need to get their act together and be equipped to welcome the eager shoppers and the efficient management that follows soon after. During this season, the number and frequency of visits by shoppers increases tremendously. There’s money flowing in and out and inefficient management can often lead to unhappy results.

The ‘special personal touch’ is what differentiates a small business from the rest. Managing a small business is not an easy task. The fundamentals of running a business are the same, be it small or big. You need plenty of time and resources to brace this period. Unfortunately, there is no magic wand to increase the 24 hour limit but there is a magic trick to save time and make your work life more productive. 

Go Cloud.

Cloud computing comes to the aid of small business owners by providing simpler and smarter solutions for efficient management. Zoho was built exactly on that notion and we constantly strive to help our customers save time and increase their productivity. The online applications manage your customers, send invoices, provide intuitive reports and manage your accounting among many other things. You don’t have to do everything by yourself. Delegate it to cloud. So giddyup. 

Be armed with cloud computing this shopping season and spend the saved moments to add that ‘special personal touch’ to everything you do.