US-based manufacturer replaces Salesforce with Zoho CRM Plus and says they will never go back

  • Industry TypeManufacturing
  • employees70+
  • Type of businessPrivately held

Features that helped us

Workflow rulesCustom modulesCustomizationZoho app integrations

Key Results

  • Efficiency increase:20%
  • Time saved:10-15%

About the Company

Electric Mirror is the brainchild of a small family distinguished by their backgrounds in law and dentistry and united by a dream of starting their own business. From its humble beginnings in a garage, Electric Mirror has successfully evolved into a trendsetting manufacturing company headquartered in Everett, Washington with approximately 70 employees. They have been in the market for nearly 20 years and are now a key player within the hospitality industry, working with huge clients such as MGM Grand and the Bellagio. Electric Mirror is known for being extremely innovative when it comes to integrating mirrors with technology. Their innovative back-lit mirror changed the game in the industry and became an extremely popular product at luxury hotels.

As a manufacturing company, most of their competition is in China. Electric Mirror does have a working warehouse in China, but they pride themselves on the fact that two-thirds of their products are built domestically, which their customers highly appreciate, too.

The challenges

Reasons for switching CRM

Electric Mirror already had a CRM in place: Salesforce. Robert Hernandez, Vice President of Sales Operations, had experience working with Salesforce at his previous companies and was the driving force behind deploying it at Electric Mirror. The company initially saw great value in the product, but after a decade of using Salesforce, the sales and marketing teams gradually began to see signs of deterioration. As a long-term customer, Hernandez's disappointment with Salesforce was directed at their inefficient customer support and user limitations. Eventually, Hernandez felt it was next to impossible to perform the actions and tasks they needed to in Salesforce without having to pay more money and buy another company's app on the platform, which created barriers for internal teams and individuals accessing the CRM.

"In terms of value [Salesforce] isn't even close to Zoho CRM." Robert Hernandez,Vice President of Sales Operations, Electric Mirror.

Unable to achieve their desired results with Salesforce, the marketing team switched to Pardot, which was later acquired by Salesforce, too. Nevertheless, Electric Mirror tried to make the best of the situation by focusing on the positives offered by Salesforce. Eventually, the final blow came when Salesforce replaced quarterly billing with an upfront annual payment. As a mid-sized manufacturing company, their budget could not accommodate paying upfront for a CRM system, and Salesforce gave no room for negotiation. That was when Electric Mirror began the process of evaluating alternative CRM solutions.

Strict migration timeline

Electric Mirror faced a strict timeline of 90 days to find a suitable CRM. After 30 days of rigorous research, the list was narrowed down to Zoho CRM Plus and Sugar CRM.

The Solution: Choosing Zoho

After careful consideration, Zoho CRM Plus was an easy choice for many reasons. Zoho CRM Plus had a better price and had been recommended to the company by several individuals. Electric Mirror also found that Zoho CRM's features and the look and feel of the product were extremely similar to Salesforce, in ways that SugarCRM isn't. This made it easier for their team to switch. With Zoho CRM only requiring minimal training and offering quick implementation, which only took two weeks, the manufacturing company knew this was the product that they were looking for.

The decision to switch to Zoho CRM Plus was informed by its feature set, but also based on the time constraint they faced and Zoho's similarity to Salesforce, which made the transition seamless. Electric Mirror felt that Zoho CRM Plus was the best option, given their situation, but it well exceeded their expectations.

"Zoho is the best replacement for Salesforce."

Robert Hernandez,Vice President of Sales Operations, Electric Mirror.

Primary sources for lead generation

Leads are generated and imported via trade shows and a commercial construction project management system called ConstructConnect, which the sales development team uses to review lists of various projects to identify potential deals. Potential customers that request price quotes on the company's website are also automatically pushed into CRM as leads.

Administering multiple departments

Currently, 55 users across the company, including the sales, marketing, global procurement, finance, IT, estimating, and project teams access Zoho CRM to carry out their daily tasks. It serves various different purposes in organization, from managing customer information and tracking the lead-to-deal pipeline, to marketing campaigns and documenting sales quotes.

Customization to suit unique business requirements

As the Vice President of Sales Operations for the company, Robert Hernandez is the sole admin of the product, and overlooks and manages the entire CRM system, with numerous departments reporting directly to him. The automation offered by workflow rules allows him to manage cross-functional communication and run multiple departments effortlessly. Hernandez created custom objects to minimize communication between different departments, such as sales and product management teams. For instance, when the sales team gets a price request for a highly customized product design to quote on a project, all the necessary information is already available in a customized template to eliminate the back-and-forth to get all the information required to accomplish the task. Project coordinators use customized checklists to manage orders and prevent delays in shipments to customers. The team has similar checklists for every step of their process, including invoicing, engineering designs, and approvals of designs.

As a power user of custom objects and modules, Hernandez also has his own checklist that allows him to track the progress of certain projects—another custom object that he created based on his experience using Salesforce. Although the checklist could be used to track the stages of a project, the company's project management officer and project coordinators prefer to use Zoho Projects to administer in-house projects for big clients, as it's more suited to managing production from the first step, order entry, all the way through to the final step, which is the finished product going out the door.

Hernandez has also automated the company's workflow so that price requests for custom orders are added to a queue for the product management team to take a look at and provide a price estimate.

Utilizing the CRM Plus bundle

Electric Mirror has effectively integrated other products available in the CRM Plus bundle with their CRM system. Zoho Campaigns is used to communicate their new products and exciting announcements to customers. Zoho Analytics is also a valuable integration for developing performance metrics.

Hernandez initially called the product "Salesforce Lite" due to the similarities and the remarkable difference in price between the products. But after using Zoho CRM Plus, Hernandez now thinks that Zoho CRM plus is equal, if not superior, to Salesforce in many ways.

Return on investment: Benefits

Since they started using Zoho CRM Plus, Electric Mirror's annual expenses have been reduced from $120,000 to $40,000, saving them a gross annual amount of $80,000 which cuts two-thirds of their annual expenses. But the company has not lost any functionality as a trade off for this lower price; in fact, they have gained it.

Moreover, by making the transition from Salesforce to Zoho CRM Plus, Electric Mirror's efficiency has increased by 20%. Zoho CRM Plus has also helped the company cut the time spent exchanging information between departments by 10–15%, allowing the company to direct their focus to other tasks, which has increased overall productivity.

  • Industry TypeManufacturing
  • employees70+
  • Type of businessPrivately held

Features that helped us

Workflow rulesCustom modulesCustomizationZoho app integrations

Future with Zoho

Electric Mirror prioritizes creating a small yet solid foundation first and then building on it. Currently, the company is focused on optimizing their use of the features and apps available as part of Zoho CRM Plus, including Projects, Campaigns, and Analytics. The company has yet to fully explore the wide range of products that Zoho CRM Plus offers. The company's marketing team has been considering implementing Zoho PageSense, and the same goes for the finance team with Zoho Books. Slowly but surely, Electric Mirror plans on deploying the entire Zoho One ecosystem, as they see the real value Zoho has brought to their business.

Electric Mirror highly recommends Zoho CRM Plus to companies that are currently using Salesforce, as Zoho CRM Plus offers everything Salesforce does and more at a better price. Transitioning to Zoho made a night and day difference to Electric Mirror in the best way possible.

"We switched to Zoho, and we are not looking back."Robert Hernandez,Vice President of Sales Operations, Electric Mirror.