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?

TeamSupport.com Integrates with Zoho CRM

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This is a guest post by Robert C. Johnson, CEO of TeamSupport.com.



TeamSupport.com, a cloud based customer support management solution, is excited to announce the completion of a powerful new integration with Zoho CRM.

Once the simple setup is completed, the integration provides for the seamless transfer of select customer and contact information from Zoho CRM directly into TeamSupport.  When new support tickets are created in TeamSupport they are automatically added as notes into Zoho so that the sales team can be kept in the loop on support issues.

The transfer and update of contact names, addresses and phone numbers happens seamlessly in the background with no intervention required by either TeamSupport or Zoho users.  When a Zoho user marks an account as a “Customer” then that data is automatically sent to TeamSupport.

TeamSupport is a powerfully simple customer support software, and our integration with Zoho CRM brings two best of breed solutions together for our mutual customers.  We’re very excited about our integration with Zoho and look forward to a great partnership!

Read more about the TeamSupport – Zoho CRM integration here.

What SMBs should be integrating into their CRM, for today and tomorrow

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At the CRM Evolution Conference in New York City I sat down
with Brent Leary, co-founder and partner of CRM
Essentials
, to talk about what SMBs are successfully integrating into their
CRM package today and what should they be doing in the future.

We talked about backend operational efficiencies, project
management, collaboration, more efficient sales teams (from a mobile
perspective), and more effective internal communications.

Automate your Sales Quotes with Socket App for Zoho CRM

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This is a guest post by Michael Walsh of Deversus Software Inc.

Socket, an

Online Quoting Software as a Service
 that recently launched to the public, now integrates seamlessly with Zoho CRM. Socket allows your employees and customers to share the same simple, automated quoting system to save time and receive more leads with automatically calculated, generated, and e-mailed PDF quotes.

Socket lets you easily create your own Items (products/services), specify their pricing, and bundle them together in Quote Forms, which represent what your quotes will contain. You can easily plug the Quote Forms you create directly into your own website to allow customers to build their own instant quotes. Once set up, Socket handles all of the heavy lifting in creating, e-mailing, and tracking your quotes.


Key features of Socket to Zoho CRM integration:

  • Accounts, Contacts, Potentials, and Cases are automatically pushed from Socket to Zoho CRM
  • Note is automatically created in Zoho CRM with a link to the PDF quote in Socket
  • Tracking of Stage History with standard value mapping (defaults to Proposal/Price Quote)
  • Potentials are automatically assigned to Zoho CRM users matching the e-mail address of the sales person in Socket

With the Zoho CRM integration, Accounts, Contacts, Potentials, and Cases are automatically created each time a quote is created in Socket. This means that every time one of your salespeople creates a quote in Socket, or a customer creates a quote via your website, the customer and quote information is automatically funnelled into Zoho CRM for you to keep track of.

Socket’s quoting software also integrates with payment gateways such as PayPal to give your customers the option to pay for their quote online.


Key benefits:

  • Reduce your time spent on the quoting process by 90%.
  • Use your existing Zoho CRM account to keep track of your sales leads. No channel interruptions.
  • Quotes are automatically calculated and generated, which eliminates human error and maintains consistency.
  • Receive more leads through your website with instant online quotes that customers create themselves.
  • Sell online using your own payment gateway.

You can try Socket for free for 30 days via the

Socket website
.

- Michael

Getting Organized – Google Tasks integration with Zoho CRM and Zoho Projects

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We’ve continuously been working on adding more enhancements to Zoho applications in

Google Apps marketplace
. Just last week we announced “Zoho CRM Contacts/Calendar sync with Google Apps” and got great feedback. Today, we’re very excited to announce Google Tasks integration with two of our top products in Google Apps marketplace,

Zoho CRM
and

Zoho Projects
.

This integration provides a unified platform for tracking all your tasks in one place. Usually, users tend to maintain sales related tasks in CRM application, projects related tasks in project management app and personal tasks in another application. The confusion arising out of such multiple platforms can now be avoided with this integration.

Here’s a quick run through on the technical details of the integration:


For most of us, emails are an integral part of our day-to-day activities. With this integration, users can now check their tasks in Zoho CRM or Zoho Projects, right from within their GMail Tasks tab.

In Zoho Projects, you can export task lists to your Google Tasks. Once it is exported you can manage your tasks in the Tasks tab in GMail. We’ve also provided an option to sync the tasks between Zoho Projects with Google tasks. With sync, the newly added/completed tasks will be updated from Zoho Projects to Google and vice-versa.





Similarly we’ve given an option to export the tasks in Zoho CRM to Google Tasks.







If you’re a Google App administrator you need to “Update data access requirements” in Google Apps dashboard page to start using the integration.



We believe the integration of Google Tasks with Zoho CRM/Projects will go a long way in helping you organize your work more efficiently and be a lot more productive. As always we’d love to hear your feedback. Do drop us a line on what you like about this integration and what more would you like to see.


To know more about our other Zoho products integration with Google Apps check



http://zoho.com/google-apps


This integration wouldn’t have been possible without the help from Google team. Thanks to the Google team for inviting us to be a launch partner for 

Google Tasks APIs
and letting us 

showcase our pilot
during Google IO 2011.

Zoho Creator – Zoho CRM Integration : A success story of Credible Systems

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Guest post by Mark Thurman of Credible Systems:


Credible Systems joined the


Zoho Alliance Partner Program
 2 years ago, with Zoho Creator as their main focus, and later expanded their scope to include Zoho CRM, Zoho Reports, & Zoho Projects. Founded in early 2009 by Mark Thurman and Sarah Treanor,


Credible System
 is a consultancy focused on helping organizations of all sizes and types, leverage the growing power of cloud-computing. Their clients range from schools and SME’s to much larger enterprises. Here is how Mark

sees it all:



The Client:


We were approached by a European-wide consultancy to assist them with extending the functionality of Zoho CRM. The client provides a broad range of business consultancy services to blue chip organization across Europe.

The Problem:


Their need was to effectively track the utilization of resources across their various clients and projects. Of course, a spreadsheet solution could have sufficed as a short-term solution. But we had our doubts about it being a scalable, long-term solution, keeping in mind the client’s growing operations. An external third-party solution would cause an additional problem of duplicating all data, inevitably leading to differences between the two sets.


Zoho Creator
 would be a fine solution for such a problem in any case, but its recent integration with Zoho CRM made it the perfect solution.

Zoho Creator, it seems, has something for everybody
.


The Implementation:


We created a custom database application that allows the user to import opportunity details directly from Zoho CRM, based upon certain criteria. For instance, only those with a status of “Closed Won” are brought into Zoho Creator. Using Deluge script, we then provided methods for 
  • Creating sub-projects for each opportunity 
  • Assign a unique Project ID 
  • Relate the project to specific internal business units for project work and administration 
  • Expose relevant CRM data for the selected opportunity 


And with reports generated from within Zoho Creator, they were able to



  • compare planned and actually delivered values for an opportunity against the estimated Opportunity Value in


    CRM






  • chart the utilization level for a specific resource, business unit or entire company against a threshold for a


    specific


    time period




  • create calendar views of resource


    allocation


    providing consolidated information at a glance



The Next Step:
We intend to use Zoho Creator for Google Apps, combined with


Zoho CRM’s sync with Google Contacts and Calendar
. By this, we can provide resource utilization calendars within Google Apps, for the data residing in Zoho CRM.

When an Activity is created, we can provide a function to ‘write’ the Activity details to Zoho CRM as an ‘Event’.
  • Create custom calendar views in Zoho CRM for ‘All Events’ and ‘My Events’ 
  • Set up CRM calendar sync with Google Apps calendars 
  • Then ‘All Events’ and ‘My Events’ CRM calendars will be visible on Google Calendar too.
Resource planning using Zoho Creator has allowed them to see how much resource is currently planned against each project, and how much they can possibly expand, thus enabling them to manage available resources effectively.

If integration costs more than software, It is a bug, not a feature

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This quote from Microsoft from PC World article caught my attention.

For every $1 Microsoft makes on its software, partners make $8.70 in additional revenue servicing and customizing these products

I actually consider this a bug, not a feature of the traditional software model. It may be good for Microsoft and its partners for generating business. But look at it from a customer’s perspective. This means, for every $1 they spent on purchasing software, they end up spending $8.70 in customizing and servicing the software.

Among other things, SaaS makes integration easy. Our own integration, with both internal and external apps, is a great example of this. We launch a new integration almost every week. Try doing this with installed apps.

There is another advantage people don’t seem to notice with SaaS application integration. Once apps are integrated, all customers benefit from it. We integrated our CRM (among other apps) with Google Apps. This was done once and we have thousands of companies benefiting from this.

How does something like this work in the on-premise world? Well, software is integrated/duplicated in every, single, business. That probably explains the $8.70 for every $1 spent on software.