Your CRM Will Work for You if You Work for It

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“A CRM system is just a database,” said Gene Marks, author of “In God We Trust: Everyone Else Pays Cash” in his opening keynote presentation at Zoholics, the first ever U.S.-based Zoho user conference in Burlingame, California.

Marks kept harping that with all the technology advances there are in CRM, it all comes down to just being a database. How effective that CRM system works for you depends on how well you manage that database, said Marks. To breed a successful CRM system, you need to adhere to these five principles:

  1. Nothing should fall through the cracks: While you can have a million customized fields in any CRM database, what you really want it for is everything that requires follow up. If you keep good track on everything that’s pending and what desires your customers and potential customers have expressed, then you’ll always be on top of your audience and nothing will fall through the cracks.
  2. No one should look like a dope: CRM is a shared database. It’s your company’s collective intelligence about your customers for which everyone in your company can access. If managed correctly, whoever responds to a customer should be able to continue the dialogue from the last engagement without requiring the customer to repeat themselves.

“As long as that information is in the system, no one looks like a dope,” said Marks.

  1. Have an administrator on top of it: There’s a hidden cost to CRM and that’s the one person who needs to take ownership of the system.
  2. Make sure management buys into your CRM system: If they don’t, your system will fail. Guaranteed. Good CRM systems take work to do. They don’t just happen on their own.
  3. It’s all about reports: You need to know what comes out of your system. You judge your success with CRM on your ability to generate reports. When developing your CRM system set a goal of creating three reports within just a couple of months.

Checking in – Zoho Invoice Android App V 1.6

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zoho-invoice-android-dashboardZoho Invoice android app keeps getting better and better with every new update. Our android team here believes in developing the app on the latest platforms and delivering the best to our users. In this release, you are bound to notice the cleaner, crispier and sleek UI changes to the Zoho Invoice android app.

Apart from the UI changes, which is like a breath of fresh air, the most useful addition is the ‘clone feature‘ (you can say yayiii). If you want to duplicate an invoice or an estimate, all you need to do is tap the clone option. It’s painful to enter the same data over and over again when you are on the move. That’s why, now, you create the invoice for one and ‘clone’ the rest. You have been doing this on the web app. Now it’s available on your android app.

This update is bound to make your mobile invoicing easier in a beautiful way. Update your android app to the latest 1.6 version available in Google Play and let us know what you think of it.

Until then adios.

Zoho Sites; The Newest Website Builder At Google Apps Marketplace

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At Zoho, we strive for ideas to run a business with ease, and then transform those ideas into easy-to-use business applications. Realization of yet another such idea was a business website builder for everyone; Zoho Sites. It is also the newest website builder at Google Apps Marketplace. In addition to all its goodness, here’s what Zoho Sites has exclusively for GApps.

Zoho Sites lets you build your business website all by yourself. But if you still want assistance from your colleagues, you can share your webpages with them, let them modify and even publish the changes for you. When sharing your webpages for collaborative editing, Zoho Sites fetches your contacts and organization-members on GApps.

Installing Zoho Sites to your GApps account will list it on the universal navigation bar. As Zoho Sites supports single sign-in, you can create your business website without having to log-in separately.

A website is the face of your business. That is why Zoho Sites never displays annoying advertisements on your business websites. Not even if you are using the free plan. Zoho Sites also lets you make the most of the mobile revolution. A mobile version of your website is automatically generated, and your visitors using mobile devices are smartly directed to the mobile-optimized version; without any extra effort from you.

Any business using GApps is run online, and a website is the starting point of an online presence. So create a website for your business, today. Try Zoho Sites for GApps.

The Most Critical Aspect of Your CRM is the Administrator

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When I interview Zoho customers I often hear two common stories of what life was like before Zoho:

  1. Data was spread out over multiple applications such as spreadsheets, documents, and industry-specific applications. Nothing was integrated and customer data was a constant hunt.
  2. Support from application vendors was very poor.

Once Tara Lynn Gray, President and CEO of Yadari Enterprises, switched to Zoho she said she’s “feeling the love.” Yadari Enterprises is an information technology shop that specializes in mobile device management. The two of us spoke at the Zoho user conference, Zoholics in Burlingame, California.

Since Yadari Enterprises moved to Zoho, Gray’s company now has complete flexibility to modify their views and forms, plus they can get a full view of the customer, track interactions, and get an overall pulse on the business. “That flexibility is key for small businesses,” said Gray.

Information is accessible instantly. No more looking for sticky notes. No more looking up spreadsheets. No more looking through Outlook folders, Gray said.

While Yadari Enterprise relies on Zoho, they rely more heavily on their office manager to police the implementation of Zoho CRM. Gray and I talked about the keynote presenter who discussed the importance of having one person to be the administrator of the CRM. They have to be in charge, making sure that everyone inputs the data the same way. And if a problem needs to be solved and an issue needs to be researched, then the administrator handles that, said Gray.

Gray said she’s looking to migrate all her company’s activities to Zoho as she realizes there really isn’t a need for too many other outside tools.

Zoho Assist: Remote IT Support Made Simpler

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Steven Arant works in IT desktop support at Mecklenburg County officeNorth Carolina. His everyday job involves providing IT support to his fellow staff. Before discovering Zoho, he wasted a lot of time physically running around the office to address various support issues.

According to Steven, not using any kind of remote support application made his daily job very difficult. Not only were his time and energy wasted, but his fellow employees also had to wait for him to come and assist them. Steven was determined to change this into a more pleasant and less wasteful IT support experience.

​Well, this was history, as one day, one simple Google search for remote support services landed him on Zoho Assist. He found out that just by entering his fellow employee’s email address and inviting them for a remote support session was more than enough to get on to their computer screen. He was thrilled with the instant connect to the remote screen and this helped him to resolve the issues much more faster.

Let’s hear his success story in his own words.

Within 20 seconds I can be on their PC working on their problem. Since I have a email listing saved on my desktop all I have to do is copy and paste their email into Zoho Assist and hit invite to session. My fellow employees can get instant help. I can also help contract employees at remote areas now without them having to come into our office for help.

To cite one recent case, an outside contract attorney needed help from his office opening and viewing discovery on a case. The DVD had a video player that was VERY difficult to install and operate. He would have had to come into our office to watch his video but I was able to fix it remotely. He was so happy since his trial was going to start the next day!

My coworkers call it computer magic. That’s how I feel about it too. Its taken our old outdated office into a new era of productivity. I paid a $115 a year for Zoho and its worth every penny to me. I paid out of my own pocket because I wanted to provide better service to the people I support and Zoho allows me to do it.

If you have your own share of experience with Zoho Assist helping your business scenario, easing your job of supporting your customers remotely, do let us know. If you are one of those who haven’t tried Zoho Assist yet, well, it’s high time you try your hand! You can get an idea on why Steven is so excited about Zoho Assist.

Happy Supporting!

Zoho Sites – Afterparty!

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Last week was definitely a milestone for us. It was when we expanded our portfolio with Zoho Sites, a do-it-yourself website builder. After a week of website building, many early adopters have graciously shared their opinions, and they are very warming indeed. Thanks to TechCrunch, CMSWire, The Hindu and many others who covered the launch.

We’ve put in quite some time and effort in simplifying website building for everyone, regardless of their technical expertise. We have already begun acting on the overwhelming feedback we are receiving, so we are sure it’s eventually getting better by the day.

Most of you who had published a website, had experimented with every feature. Thank you for trying Zoho Sites, and even more for sharing your site-building experience. You drive us.

Here are some websites we stumbled upon.

Following a successful launch, we are back to adding missing pieces to Zoho Sites. A shopping cart is the most requested feature till date, and it sounds interesting to us too. Some time soon, you will experience major make-overs, and a few cool new additions to Zoho Sites.

For others who missed out on our announcement, Zoho Sites is a website builder, without the complexity of HTML.
Try Zoho Sites today!

The Technical and Human Hurdles of a New CRM Implementation

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It took Jamie Wilson, Coordinator of Global Operations for Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium (CDISC) six months to evaluate all the CRM systems the nonprofit was considering. He looked at Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Siebel from Oracle, and Zoho. His top requirement was a CRM system that could offer tight integration between financials and billing.

Initially Wilson began advocating Microsoft Dynamics because it integrated with Sharepoint and Microsoft offered a decent nonprofit pricing scheme. But when Wilson made his final decision he advocated for Zoho because of its interoperability with other applications through its open API. CDISC uses so many different systems and Wilson discovered that a lot of them integrate with the Zoho API right out of the box.

Choosing a system that fit CDISC’s needs was Wilson’s first technical hurdle. Now he needed to get people to actually use the CRM system which was a major culture shift for the nonprofit. Just because you create the workflow processes it’s not easy to get people to stop inefficient behavior such as sending all communications via email and attaching documents to emails. Ultimately his job required a lot of follow up with members and leads on how to use a workflow to make their life a lot easier.

For any other nonprofit struggling with a similar situation of porting over legacy financial data, Wilson highly recommends you get your financial data in the most standard format possible and get ready for a long cutover period. You’ll have to rely on old Excel spreadsheets for a while until you can start relying on the live CRM data coming in.

For both technology and people, Wilson advised, “Don’t rush the money and be sensitive to people’s attitudes to how they do work.”