"We've incorporated every part of our business now into Zoho One"

Andrew Childers

Discover why Beyond Procurement became committed Zoho converts after seeking a stress-free Salesforce CRM alternative.

The Company

Beyond Procurement is a UK-based carbon consultancy firm, dedicated to helping businesses of any size achieve their Net Zero goals. Its skilled team of coaches and consultants are cost and carbon reduction specialists who enable businesses to "save today, for tomorrow". Beyond Procurement also works closely with many councils, growth hubs, BIDs and membership organisations in the UK to further the cause of carbon reduction.

One such organisation is ActionCOACH UK. As its official sustainability partner, Beyond Procurement was exhibiting at ActionCOACH's annual business expo, Biz X, in April 2024. Team Zoho were also in attendance and sat down with Beyond Procurement's CEO Andrew Childers, who was keen to tell us about his company's switch to Zoho's transformative tech.

The Challenge

When Beyond Procurement started life in 2007, the team used a collection of spreadsheets to store data and manage processes. "Initially you don't start off with a CRM system, so you kind of clunkily do it with Excel sheets," Andrew explains. But this cumbersome collection of spreadsheets fell short of Andrew's ambitions for the business, and it wasn't long before its success demanded a more substantial platform for record-keeping and more.

Andrew invested heavily in what he believed to be the best-of-breed CRM software on the market, Salesforce CRM. He hoped that the platform would provide the future-proof, scalable solution he was looking for and embarked on what would become a ten-year-long relationship with the well-known vendor. "Initially, we paid the very expensive price... and we customised {it}. Luckily, my business partner at the time was able to do that in-house because otherwise, it's incredibly expensive," says Andrew.

However, the customisability of Salesforce CRM was to become an ongoing area of friction for the business, not only because of the high cost of implementing change but the complexity too. "We found it quite difficult and frustrating. Anything that we needed to change was very time-consuming and quite hard to do," Andrew adds. And when technical changes surpassed the limits of his partner's capabilities, Andrew faced hefty fees from third-party developers. "The external support that we needed just to adapt Salesforce, to get it to do what we wanted, was tens of thousands every year."

As Beyond Procurement grew and its range of products and services expanded, Andrew knew that his CRM platform would need to undergo more changes than ever before. "Doing it with Salesforce was really painful. So we decided... we're going to need to find something that's more manageable internally," he explains.

The Solution

"We've come to the conclusion... that no matter what the question, Zoho has to be the answer."

Andrew Childers

Andrew Childers, CEO, Beyond Procurement

In 2020, after a period of research and careful evaluation by Andrew and his team - "We're a procurement organisation so we do our due diligence in the marketplace"- it was decided that Zoho CRM would be the most suitable replacement for Salesforce. Endlessly customisable and highly flexible, Zoho CRM allowed Beyond Procurement to capture deeper levels of customer data capture than ever before and to deliver an enhanced customer journey.

After seeing what Zoho CRM could do for its Sales process, Beyond Procurement soon onboarded the full Zoho One suite of business apps to enhance every aspect of its operations and its touchpoints with customers. "We've incorporated every part of our business now into Zoho... we use it to manage everything on a daily basis," says Andrew.

In another huge move that followed the CRM migration, the business switched its internal accounting software from FreeAgent to Zoho Books after a 15-year stint with the former. "We were a bit fearful to move over into Zoho Books because, you know, 15 years of accounts...but Zoho Support provided us with all the support, guidance, and training. Now we've added it, and it's included in our subscription," says Andrew, lauding the functionality and usability of Books alongside the cost savings it's enabled. Pushing ahead, Beyond Procurement also made a switch from Gravity Forms to Zoho Forms, adopting this easy-to-use form-building application to collect enquiries from its website. Andrew notes; "There's a lot more functionality with Forms."

Elsewhere, Zoho One's integrated marketing apps have now improved Beyond Procurement's customer engagement levels across multiple channels, from emails to social media. Whilst Zoho Campaigns is used to send promotional emails to its leads and contacts, Zoho Social lets the firm craft, plan, and schedule up to six months' worth of social content from one simple dashboard.

Last but not least, the Beyond Procurement team are now leveraging Zoho Projects to structure its workload of client deliverables. "Every client becomes a 'project'. It means that everything is controlled," enthuses Andrew.


Since switching from Salesforce to Zoho CRM and triggering a subsequent overhaul of its tech stack, Beyond Procurement has seen a raft of benefits across the business. Most importantly, Zoho's simplicity and across-the-board customisation potential led to a significant reduction in internal tension."The team fell in love with Zoho really quickly, that frustration left them!" beams Andrew.

The tight integration of products across the Zoho One bundle of apps has brought further advantages, including the flow of data across functions and the possibility of cross-app automation. "All of the different applications that One's got inside it, you can clip everything together and bolt them all on, and then you get that flow," Andrew adds. Without having to manually move data between platforms, Andrew says that the administrative time saved across each department of the business is "unquantifiable".

What's more, the Beyond Procurement team now finds that onboarding new starters to the company is easy with Zoho One on side, crediting its intuitive UX with making it really easy to pick up. Andrew recounts the story of how his son recently joined the business and became "very quickly, a Zoho expert."

When asked to consider the overall significance of his move to Zoho, Andrew concludes that; "all of those little disjoints within our organisation are now being aligned and all of those costs have been removed."

It seems that Beyond Procurement has certainly followed its "save today, for tomorrow" mindset when it comes to business software!