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Salesforce vs Zoho: The Reality

Zoho CRM | April 21, 2011 | 3 min read

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.

  1. Molan

    I’m new in CRM but after reading about zoho its good for me to start from it, Because its ease for new users, and much friendly environment. Zoho CRM has often been seen as an inexpensive On-Demand CRM
    One thing I like about salesforce is they give the same thing to all of its users because they dont have different version for specific users.

  2. Ruben

    JohnI´m surprised by your comment. I use and implemented many CRM Solutions like MS Dynamics, Oracle On demand and others. Last friday I had imported accounts and contacts into ZOHO CRM with absolutely NO problem. First time in my life importing historical data without any errors…

  3. Arttgon

    At first, Zoho´s customer service it’s better than salesforce and salesforce it’s like an outdated software sales company, not like a modern cloud computing company.

  4. tinonline

    Over engineering and too many clicks spoil the solution, then us management get hold of it and want every box ticked and every bit of information – mandatory too mind and the sales tool becomes a process nightmare.Try using a sales CRM for hard cold calling – that defines its real value: can you easily see and identify your data.Sorry Zoho, maybe good for b2c but for my b2b you are going in the bin.Salesforce is way from perfect too.All suffer from the quest for value add.

  5. Odszkodowania

    Zoho is the best!

  6. Brian Knight

    We presently use Salesforce, it interesting that Sesiri didn’t answer the question on the tracking of emails. We use this to give us a leg up on interest and the type of email that is effective.Is there any talk of adding this feature, it is a great sales and marketing tool in this very competive market place.

  7. rubifenrx

    Zoho DESPERATELY needs Email To Case and Email to Lead functionality. Who cares if you have to imitate Salesforce in this aspect, Zoho NEEDS it.I have just tried Zoho and I am impressed by its UI and ease of use, BUT, Zoho is not doing itself a favor by failing to implement an Email solution to both Cases and Leads.Zoho can very well be THE CRM alternative to Salesforce, only until this issue is solved.Kind regards,
    Jose Fernandez (Spain)

  8. John

    Sorry but Zoho is terrible I used it for less than a month and finally gave up and switched to Salesforce. Nothing in Zoho worked properly, whether I was trying to import accounts or link them to contacts, everything had too many steps. I’d import a list and half would fail and it would say email their support for assistance who had no idea how to help me as I think they were in India. Salesforce has been much better, but more expensive however it has more features and actually feels like a final release where Zoho feels very beta.

  9. Akshay

    Hey Raju,Just came across this comparison of yours between Salesforce vs Zoho. Great article. Wanted to know if you’d like to feature it on getcomparisons.com? A project we’ve started to house all the best product comparisons on the web under one roof. You can back-link to this original article of course. Check it out, and if you’re interested, I will send you an invite.Cheers,
    Akshay Arabolu, Founder

  10. dkpicard

    I have been a SFDC customer for the last year. I started with the group edition; then found that I had to upgrade to professional; and then, finally, to the Enterprise edition – for both myself and my one employee.Everything, and I mean, everything, involved and upgrade with SFDC. If you are a small business, they will suck you dry. Yes, the website looks nice and they have good ads, but they position their options so that you have to buy upgrades.Stay away. I pen, some paper and calendar is ore effective for small business. At then end of the day, I found myself spending more time tinkering with settings to get it to do what they said it could do.Try and use at your own peril.

  11. Catherine COOLEN

    I have been told by one of my prospect that Salesforce recommends to use an Outlook client to integrate with GMail :)) Very lost cost scenario !

  12. Hunter

    One thing Salesforce does beat Zoho at is its custom modules. Custom modules in Zoho would help give us the ability to create a tailored crm solution instead of the “jerry-rigged” solution we use with Zoho now. Zoho only offers a cookie cutter crm solution in this respect.