You asked, We listened. More control over your CRM

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@headhunter: @zoho ROCKS … new CRM GUI is just simply STUNNING….Would  have to be one of the best web apps I have EVER seen – EVER – Usability PLUS!

This was one of the responses to the public launch of our new UI.

It has been just a month since we launched the new look of Zoho CRM and the response we received was encouraging. The whole idea of the change was to make all our customers more productive at work.

Most of you liked the change. But, not everyone’s tastes are the same. We understand. A few of you who were still accustomed to the old UI felt that you were missing some functionality.

You asked, we listened and here are the updates that we have made…

Reflect your priorities. Customize Business Card View

For Sales Reps who just want to focus on selling and not on data entry, the business card view gives instant access to customer information. As a user, you could also change the fields – so, if you prefer to see the contact’s mobile number instead of the email id, you could set it from a list.

While this is very helpful, some of our users also asked for an option to change the priorities of the fields. For example, here’s a comment we received in our forums:
The problem with the business card view is that it does not reflect my priorities, but someone else’s. When I click through on a contact, I do not want to see my own name. Nor would I have chosen the items you have chosen…”

We now have that option. You can not only select the fields but also change their order. There’s more. In case you feel that you do not want to see the instant information, you can hide it too.

How do you benefit from this? More customer information on the screen and minimal scrolling. Less scrolling means you can get to your information faster.

Do not want the Quick Actions? Hide It.

Quick Actions – these are the basic actions you can take from a record’s detail page. For example, if you want to add a task related to a contact, it’s easy to do so right from the contact’s detail page itself.

This is a time-saver! But it is not necessary that you’d want to use these links always. Like this comment we received: “These ‘Quick Actions’ to the right of the new business card also have no useful function for me. Sorry to be so negative, but this is the truth. I just don’t use them...”.

You can now choose to hide the Quick Actions from a record’s detail page and work the way you want to.

Wide Screen? No problems now!

Previously, we had set a fixed width of the page. Customers who are using wide screens or high resolution monitors told us that this wasn’t pleasing to the eye. “We rely heavily on the wide screen view for all of our data to be visible and this new UI does not scale automatically…“, was a comment we received.

With the latest update, you can choose the layout that you prefer. Fixed or Wide Screen, Zoho CRM fits your screen just the way you want it!

Sticky Recent Items

In our new interface, we changed the Recent Items list to a drop-down at the top menu bar. It could be clicked and used whenever needed. But then, you could not keep those items in view always.

This is another option we have provided now. You can pin the Recent Items list to your screen while you navigate within your account. You can always close it once you are done.

Let your CRM match your company’s image

A cleaner, clutter-free look. This is what we achieved with the colors that we had selected for the new UI. Color preferences can vary, of course. For example, we received a comment like this: “But if I could “skin” my UI to match my company colors, I’d feel a little more in control of what changes were coming my way…

Zoho CRM already had the ability to add your company’s logo to your account. And now, with custom themes, you can set the colors for your tabs and also choose a different background. Your account will look unique and match your company’s brand image.

We understand that every user has different work patterns. Thank you very much for your feedback and we hope that you like these updates.

Any other ideas? Let us know in the comments below.

- Sharanya R

Zoho Corp: Celebrating 15 Years of Success

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Zoho Corp is celebrating its 15th anniversary.

We
began our journey in 1996 as ‘Advent Network Management Inc’ and
reinvented ourselves to become ‘AdventNet Inc’ and most recently ‘Zoho
Corp
‘. We started offering products in a niche market (Web NMS), built a profitable business, re-invested in engineering to enter a larger market (ManageEngine), built a successful division and then entered the Business, Productivity & Collaboration market (Zoho). All along, we built this company with no external funding. We bootstrapped ourselves into a profitable business with over 1500 employees across 3 divisions.

During these 15 years, we have seen several economic bubbles and busts, several companies come and go, many companies acquired, but we stayed true to our goal of building a long-term business. In other words, unlike many companies you see here in silicon valley with a ’built-to-flip’ model, we have built a business with long term culture.

As Sridhar says


“We built this business to run it, not run away from it”

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank our customers, employees, partners, well wishers and the entire Zoho ecosystem for continued support. We will continue to innovate and we are going to be around. 

Thank You!



Salesforce vs Zoho: The Reality

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I just noticed this
tweet from @Sesiri
who recently migrated from Salesforce to Zoho CRM.

In his blog post (I recommend reading the entire post), Sesiri talks about the email Salesforce sent explaining why Salesforce thinks they are better than Zoho. They had 5 points in the email. I believe some of these points are misguided or simply not true. I want to clarify these points in this post.

First, regarding commitment to CRM success

Zoho CRM is one of many applications offered by Zoho. Zoho’s parent company AdventNet, a provider of software development services, has also has invested in another CRM offering. How much innovation and focus on CRM success can be expected from such a diverse company with limited resources?

Thank you Salesforce for acknowledging our broad portfolio. Companies don’t run on CRM alone. They need various pieces of software to run their business efficiently. At Zoho, we want our small business customers (remember them, Salesforce?) to focus on running their business, not their IT and certainly not their CRM. If it means offering several applications, pre-integrated for a good value, we do it.

We are not in the business of extracting every penny from the customer to sell a CRM app. What are the advantages of offering a broad portfolio? Integrations. Look at some of the
integrations
we did just in the year 2010. This list doesn’t even include our integration with Invoicing, web conferencing, accounting and many other apps. Try this with Salesforce.

Also, Zoho.com’s parent company is ‘Zoho Corp’, a software company and not a ‘software development servicescompany’. Yes, there is a big difference. We are not an outsourced services company. We have been a product company for 16 years.

Regarding Best of Breed email integration, Salesforce says…

Zoho CRM offers limited Outlook integration at an additional charge, but lacks the ability to create contacts from emails, link emails to opportunities, or schedule automatic calendar synchronization. Zoho CRM forces customers to use its Zoho Mail product at an additional cost in order to integrate to more popular email applications like Gmail.  Finally, Zoho CRM does not offer the ability to track when email messages are read, leaving users wondering if their emails are received at all.

Our Outlook add-on syncs Contacts, Calendar events and Tasks with Zoho CRM with a single click. Regarding email integration, we think the current plugin based approach that is used in the industry is history. If you ever looked at our integration with Zoho Mail, you’ll know what I mean. You’ll now be able to see your email entirely in Zoho Mail as a tab. Also, you can view all your email exchanges (like email threads) with a contact, lead etc. It just doesn’t end there. You can even share your email exchanges with other sales people in your team to get better idea on what is going on. Can this be done in outdated approach of Salesforce? I don’t think so. Why? Zoho does Email which Salesforce doesn’t. This is another advantage of a broad product portfolio.

Regarding the price, our email module is $3/month add-on. That still keeps Zoho CRM’s pricing at $15/month. If you are migrating from Salesforce, I am sure your response will be similar to Sesiri’s.

Considering the price, I think Zoho still beats in several hundreds, or may be more than a grand.

Regarding Document Management Integration, Salesforce says…

Zoho CRM does not offer a central repository for vital documents directly in the application. Further, Zoho CRM cannot generate a mail merge document into its own Zoho Writer product.

Zoho offers a central document repository in Zoho Docs. CRM is not the kind of application that is used by every employee in a business. But apps like Email or Document Management are used by every one in a business. Because we don’t come from a CRM centric world, we let you place document where they actually belong. If you want to attach documents to a lead/contact, you can do so within Zoho CRM, not just from Zoho Docs, but other document management apps like
Google Docs as well. Of course, our Web Tabs let you add our entire document management app within Zoho CRM.

One of the benefits you get with our document management module is the integrated office suite. You can optionally view the documents online using our office apps without having to rely on ‘installed software’.

Regarding the claim that we cannot do mail merge with our own word processor….not true. Zoho CRM does mail merge with Zoho Writer along with Microsoft Word. Being the ‘No Software’ company, do you do mail merge with any online word processor?

What’s interesting here is that Salesforce is claiming that we don’t integrate well enough with traditional software (Outlook, Email Apps etc). So much for their ‘No Software’ mantra.

While we have several advantages on the product side over Salesforce, there is one key advantage you get with Zoho on the sales side. We don’t do forced sales. Existing Salesforce customers will know what I mean.

New Desktop Plugin for Zoho Assist!

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zoho-assist-desktop-client

Zoho Assist was initially dependent on Zoho Meeting to start a remote session from the desktop. Now, with it’s own new and sleek desktop plugin, Zoho Assist has empowered itself to start sessions from the desktop with a single click.

Browser independence is one of the core features of this new plugin. It runs in the task menu and requires very less memory footprint, i.e., it will not eat your system resources while still being handy in establishing a robust remote session. Another major feature is the Auto-Updation. This will help users to enjoy the new features without any manual updation troubles. One can also resume the previous session with a single click. (you don’t need to create a fresh session every time, thereby saving time)

This Zoho Assist plugin is presently available for Microsoft Windows only. We’ll be releasing the other OS versions soon. You can download the plugin here. Hope the new desktop plugin will help you experience the remote sessions on the fly. Happy remoting!

Zoho: Largest software provider in Google Apps Marketplace

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With 11 Zoho Apps integrated with Google Apps and thousands of companies with tens of thousands of users using our integrated suites, Zoho becomes the largest software provider in Google Apps Marketplace. 

Last month we said we will launch five new integrations with Google Apps. So we did – Zoho Creator, Meeting, Discussions, Wiki & Reports. These five apps join our long list of previously integrated apps – Zoho CRM, Projects, Invoice, Books, Recruit & Creator HelpDesk

These integrations are not just sign-on level integrations. They go deep. An app like CRM, for example, integrates with various Google modules like Contacts, Calendar, Docs, Mail, Sites, Spreadsheets and user provisioning apart from various open social and gmail contextual gadgets. Apart from the breadth of our portfolio, we also bring in the depth in integration as well.

For over a year, we have been stressing the importance of contextual integrations and have been focusing our efforts on both external and internal integrations. This will continue to be a key focus this year as well as next year for Zoho. We’d like to see application boundaries disappear as the data flows freely between the apps. 

Given the number of apps we offer, the possible number of integrations increase. We prioritize based on your requests. If you’d like to see any specific integrations, please drop us a line.

UAC Support in Zoho Assist

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We are delighted to announce User Account Control (UAC) support in Zoho Assist, our
easy and effective remote support app. UAC support will be of much help to support technicians assisting clients on Microsoft Windows Vista and Windows 7. UAC is a security component which displays a dialog box asking for administrator privileges whenever an administrative task is attempted.




UAC dialog box as displayed to standard users




UAC dialog box as displayed to administrators

Previously, the Support Technician was unable to see the UAC dialog box. The reason for this was because the UAC and the support session run in different modes (secure desktop mode vs normal mode). With this latest update,

Zoho Assist

is able detect the UAC dialog box and informs the Support Technician, so that he can ask the client to bring the UAC to the normal desktop. From that point, the UAC dialog box will get displayed to the support technician. A detailed step-by-step guide is available
here. Please contact us at
support@zohoassist.com with any questions.

Zoho Invoice vs Zoho Books

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Ever since we launched Zoho Books one question we hear over and over
again is “What is the difference between Zoho Invoice and Zoho Books?”.
Here’s a clarification for those of you who asked and for those who
have the same question.

Zoho Invoice is an online invoicing software
which helps you get your invoicing done. It has all the essential
functionalities related to invoicing like estimates, quotes,
multi-currency support, online payments, credit notes, customizable
invoice templates, an iPhone app for invoicing on the go, a web
app(beta version) for invoicing from android & other mobile devices
and multi-lingual support.

online invoicing software vs online accounting

Zoho Books on the other hand is a comprehensive online accounting software
that lets you get your accounting done online. With Zoho Books you can
keep up with the your income and expenses, manage your banking and
credit card transactions and work with your accountant online. Within
Zoho Books you will see a comprehensive invoicing module which includes
all the features of Zoho Invoice, except for the ones listed below:

  • API
    - The Zoho Books APIs are in the making. If you are planning to
    integrate with us you may need to hold on for a little while more.
  • Contextual
    Gadgets- We are integrated with Google Apps, the only missing piece is
    the contextual gadget, which will be included soon.
  • iPhone app- Again we are saving this for later. But this is certainly on our agenda.

Here are the answers to some popular questions on the same topic:

How do I choose between Zoho Invoice & Zoho Books?

If all you require to do is manage invoices and expenses online then go for Zoho Invoice. However, apart from plain invoicing if you want to track your purchases, reconcile your bank and credit accounts, view a complete snapshot of your business, generate performance reports like Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet then Zoho Books would be a better fit. 

The equation you’ll need to remember is Zoho Invoice = Accounts Receivable while Zoho Books = Accounts Receivable + Accounts Payable  + more…
Will Zoho be adding more features to Zoho Invoice?

Absolutely,
with hundreds of thousands of users on board, we need to keep Zoho
Invoice updated and young as ever.  The possibilities of interesting
inclusions are endless. We will be adding features to both Zoho Invoice and Zoho Books. 

I am on an elite plan in ZI, a little
birdie tells me that the $24 subscription to Zoho Books gets me
unlimited invoices. Can I switch…


Why not? We’ll help you switch if you wish to. You can dial the Zoho Invoice support toll free and our support folks will switch you over in no time.

Oh,
before signing off, we’d like to thank everyone for the overwhelming
response to Zoho Books. We couldn’t have asked for more. Thank you!

Follow Zoho Books on Twitter and Facebook. And Zoho Invoice on Twitter and Facebook.