Zoho is a relatively inexpensive generic CRM that is a good choice for very small businesses who cannot absorb the monthly cost of a more robust tool.  It has a number of modules that all connect together, transferring client data back and forth.  Most modules have a free version but in some cases the free versions don’t talk to each other or don’t do what you need them to so you’ll need to upgrade.  Here is the basic profile that we recommend:

  • Zoho CRM Enterprise version ($40 month-to-month).  You’ll need this version for date-based-workflow like birthday reminders and waiting x days between actions like emails, or internal tasks.

  • Zoho Campaigns (price depends on number of contacts.  1000 contacts is $10/month).  This is the module you’ll use for mass emails like your newsletter.  Note that Zoho does not interface cleanly with tools like Mailchimp or Constant Contact, both of which have nicer templates and higher mailbox delivery rates.  If you do want to interface with one of these tools you’ll need a third party integration like Cazoomi.

  • You also have the option to add project management with Zoho Projects.  This  is a great tool that you can also implement standalone if your business requires you to assign tasks to others and even keep track of their hours.  If you do go down this path then we recommend adding Zoho Reports since the reporting capabilities with Zoho Projects are limited.

  • Zoho Books interfaces cleanly with Zoho CRM and Zoho Projects although it does have a tendency of duplicating client records which is a bit of a pain.  It’s a nice tool but be forewarned that the migration path from any other accounting system can be time consuming and frustrating.

  • Support:  Zoho CRM support is great.  They offer chat almost 24 x 7 (sometimes unavailable).  Use this channel as their phone and email support are not very responsive.  Support for the other modules is only available via phone or email.

  • Send very personalized emails to individual contacts with a specific interest.  For example you may want to send a “thought you might find this interesting” note including a link to an article on fishing to your clients who have that particular interest tagged on their profile.

  • Take a picture of a business card at an event and your prospect receives an email expressing how nice it was to meet them and potentially including an offer of a meeting, consultation or further information as they are walking out the door!

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools can help automate and improve many aspects of the customer lifecycle, from leads and prospects, to service delivery, retention and reactivation. But like any technology, they are only as good as the thought put into implementing them and as the saying goes, “garbage in, garbage out”. But if you start by defining your goals for the CRM tool, define the business processes it will manage, including which components should be handled manually or automated, and review performance on an ongoing business, then having a well implemented CRM tool can be as much, if not more of a relief to the business owner as hiring staff. At one time CRM tools were large, complex pieces of software that took an army of consultants and technologists to implement and manage. Now there are cloud based tools available which can be as low as hundreds, rather than thousands of dollars to implement, and cost around $20-$50/month per user in license fees.

At ZenChange we do not create technology, but we do know how to help you to select the right tool, and work with the vendor to implement it for you, translating between your business requirements and their tech talk so you will end up with technology that supports, rather than drives your business.

One of the tools we implement regularly for entry level CRM, Surveys, eMail Campaigns and Project Management is Zoho and the set of videos below will give you a feel for not only some of the things this particular CRM tool can do for your small business, but what a CRM tool in general can do for your small business. Take a look and give us a call to explore how a project like this could help your business.

Hear what small businesses like yours are saying about Zoho