CRM Centralizes Data So Everyone Can Better Service Customers

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What most companies want out of their CRM is customization to generate reports, said Crisantos Hajibrahim of VIWO, a reseller of Google Apps and integrator of popular Zoho apps such as Zoho CRM and invoicing.

Generating reports is the most important aspect of CRM, said Hajibrahim who echoed Gene Marks’ top point in his keynote at the Zoho User Conference, Zoholics, in Burlingame, California.

To generate those reports, you need data. And it’s not just any data, it’s data that’s lined up for your needs. To get that data in such a format, you need a process and that often requires a fix to current processes and business methodologies. Hajibrahim said you need to ask yourself the question, “What is going wrong that needs to be fixed to generate the reports.”

Getting to that point requires a CRM Czar, said Hajibrahim. People have to buy into the idea of what the CRM does, the role it plays, and how the business uses it to support the customer.

If you don’t have a CRM, how is a guy you just hired two weeks ago going to know about your most important customers, asked Hajibrahim. “Everything has to be centralized so everyone can have access to better service your customers.”

What Can You Do Now That You’re Using Zoho CRM?

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Zoho hasn’t been around forever. It’s been available only for a few years. So if you talk to a Zoho user they vividly remember what life was like before Zoho. Now that they’ve become a Zoho CRM user their life and business has changed dramatically. At the Zoho user conference, Zoholics, I asked the attendees, “What can you do now that you’re using Zoho CRM?” Here are their answers.

CRM Step 1: Automate Sales. CRM Step 2: Automate Sales.

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Adam Stone, CEO of D-Tools, is a self-admitted automation super geek. “Anything you have to do more than twice has to be automated,” said Stone. “I would rather have [my employees] honestly going skiing than do any automated repetitive task.”

At D-Tools, Stone’s entire sales process is automated. I want my sales people to focus on customers. I don’t want them to worry about who to call next or what their pipeline is. That should all be automatic. And that’s the situation D-Tools has now.

“We always know what to sell to who and when,” said Stone.

“When people tell me they don’t use CRM or don’t understand CRM. I almost can’t go on with the conversation anymore because you’re not even at that same level where you think there’s value in that,” Stone said. “The amount of money we spend on Zoho CRM versus what we get out of it is 100 times investment return.”

As for Stone’s advice on what to automate first, he said, “The first thing you should automate is sales and the second thing you should automate is sales.”

“The most important thing is get your sales in order,” said Stone. “Make sure your sales people are happy. Because if your sales people are happy, and you’re the company owner, you’re going to be happy eventually. Guaranteed.”


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Having a dialogue with our users is always important for us at Zoho. We currently do this using forums, blogs, twitter etc. Our Japanese team have been taking this one step forward with Zoholics, an event that extends the dialogue with our customers further.

The aim was to start a dialogue with users about Zoho and to educate & update users on what’s going on with Zoho. Here are some of the pictures of the past events.

Mami ShimizuSo far, the response has been excellent for the event. We have had users, partners & press visit our offices for a presentation where we talk about history/future of Zoho and some generic topics. We follow it up with a very good discussion to hear feedback/suggestions/criticism about Zoho. Of course, no event goes without good food and in Japan, we of course had Sashimi, among other things.

By the way, the name Zoholics was coined by Mami Shimizu (Mona) who works in our marketing team in Japan. We are going to adopt this name globally soon – thank you Mona! Akiyoshi Matsumoto (Andy), Ayumi Ichimaru (Amy) and Natsuki Taira (Zara) and Mona organized the Zoholics event and explained our Zoho services, and our President Yoshi Yamashita along with Sridhar Vembu made presentations.

We’d like to thank our entire Zoho team in Japan for arranging these successful events. Do you think we need to extend this event to US? We’d love your feedback.