What is Zoho CRM and its core capabilities?

Zoho CRM is an on-demand Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application that improves the way sales people oversee the life-cycle of their prospects and customers so that the end goal of better sales and customer satisfaction is achieved. Within a single system, Zoho CRM comprehensively streamlines the sales, marketing, customer support and inventory management of any organization, from small businesses to larger enterprises in addition to non-profits. Customers can start with the basics, selecting the edition of Zoho CRM required for their organization. As their requirements change and evolve, Zoho CRM will scale to a suitable footprint.

Not only does it come with all the features that any business requires to run its Sales and Marketing smoothly; it offers a lot more:

  • Zoho CRM is much more than a conventional CRM. When combined with Zoho's many integrated applications, it provides a 360-degree view of all processes relating to Sales, Marketing, Support, Project Management and Email (to name a few).
  • While Zoho CRM is positioned as an intuitive, easy-to-use application for the general needs of a basic organization, it can also be configured with advanced workflow automation to help customers automate their day-to-day business activities. Properly configured, workflow automation empowers users to be more focused on selling and people skills rather than spending time maintaining data and on repetitive tasks.
  • All Zoho CRM paid editions include integrated e-mail, telephony, mobile and social monitoring capabilities*. This set of standard integrated capabilities differentiates Zoho as an advanced CRM provider, while maintaining its position as an inexpensive feature-rich software vendor in the CRM marketplace.
    (*Please check pricing details for each version)

CRM Mobile

Built for the mobile workforce, the new Zoho CRM Mobile app for Android, iPhone and iPad has been lauded as an incredibly well-designed and powerful tool that lets users take full advantage of Zoho CRM capabilities from the form factor of their choice. Providing offline support and syncing when online, Zoho CRM mobile editions ensure data integrity is maintained and provides a rich set of features for people on the go in any industry. For example, our mobile app has a "location-aware" feature that lets users see contacts who are close to their location for immediate appointment setting or for meeting requests.

  • Zoho CRM and CRM Plus*: Zoho CRM is the central platform from which customers can leverage Zoho's multiple apps in a scalable and fully integrated fashion. Because Zoho is the only vendor in the software industry that has created more than 25 different cloud-based business applications, we are the only vendor that can deliver such a tightly integrated solution that spans Sales, Marketing, Customer Support and much more. Customers may start with the basic Zoho CRM but eventually add advanced CRM capabilities as well as e-mail marketing (Zoho Campaigns), customer support (Zoho Support), advanced analytics (Zoho Reports), real-time website intelligence gathering (Zoho Sales IQ), social tracking (Zoho Social), project management (Zoho Projects) and customer surveys (Zoho Survey).
    *Zoho CRM Plus covered in a separate FAQ
  • Zoho CRM, Email, and Google: Zoho has a strategic partnership with Google, giving us the edge when it comes to seamlessly integrating with Gmail and Google Apps inside Zoho CRM. The Gmail integration is a best in class solution that provides users with seamless views of Gmail conversations in the context of their CRM records (Contacts, Leads, Accounts). Because Zoho is also the creator of Zoho Mail, we also provide the best and most tightly integrated CRM to email and email to CRM solution on the market - a key differentiator.

Who can benefit from Zoho CRM?

Although Zoho CRM primarily targets small and medium-size organizations, it provides businesses of any size a very flexible and affordable solution that is unique in the industry. Zoho's "sweet spot" has historically been in the 5-25 user range. However, because our feature set has evolved and our brand is growing in popularity, that range is changing. With a growing list of mid-sized accounts and case studies, customers with hundreds and even thousands of users are discovering the value Zoho and its partners provide. Yet another key differentiator for Zoho CRM, is its flexible customizability. In layman's terms, this means that all businesses can continue to use Zoho CRM as they scale into larger organizations.

Zoho CRM has proven to be successful in almost any industry: IT, Real Estate, Consumer Services and Non-Profits, to name a few. Except for industries where there are specific regulatory compliance requirements, such as HIPAA for the Healthcare industry, or Sarbanes Oxley (SOX) for the US Financial Services sectors, Zoho CRM works well in hundreds of industry segments.

These are a few of the typical, target audiences that Zoho CRM addresses:

  • Entrepreneurs/SME Owners
  • Sales Executives
  • Sales Managers
  • Marketers
  • CEOs

How is Zoho CRM priced and what is Zoho's licensing strategy?

Zoho has very successfully perfected the "Freemium" model over time. We offer a fully functional, Free edition of Zoho CRM that includes up to ten (10) users with no strings attached. No contracts, no invasive advertisements and no obligation to purchase anything from us. Over time, we gain life-long customers who upgrade to one of our paid editions and to other apps in the Zoho suite.

Zoho CRM comes in three different paid editions: Standard, Professional and Enterprise with a fourth category: CRM Plus that bundles eight applications for one very compelling license fee.

The Free, Standard and Professional Editions primarily target smaller or less sophisticated customers with basic to semi-advanced sales force automation requirements. The full feature set and pricing table can be found here:

The Enterprise Edition includes features like Territory Management, Module & Field-level Customization, Integration with Google AdWords and integration with many of the other Zoho applications. It is also designed for more scalability and more users.

How should I position Zoho CRM versus the competition?

  • Value for Money – Zoho CRM is one-half to two-thirds the cost of our major competitors and yet has all or most of the features that they claim to have, in addition to superior integration with our own apps. For most small businesses, our competition is too expensive to implement and manage.
  • Ease of use – Zoho's advantage is based on its ease-of-use and flexible customization capabilities. Its simple and intuitive user interface is easy to understand without any technical support. With drag-and-drop customization, it is a fully flexible CRM solution that can be matched with any organization’s business process. It truly does scale to the evolving needs of most organizations.
  • Zoho Invests Where It Matters – By investing more on engineering and product development than in sales and marketing, we are able to pass the cost savings directly to our partners and customers. We use the analogy: "If 80 percent of our competitions' "spend" is on sales and marketing, that means for every dollar our customers spend for their licenses, 80 cents goes to pay the sales person who sold it to them in the first place." In fact, Zoho invests more than 80 percent in research & development rather than sales and marketing. This means that 80 percent of our customers' "spend" is in the value of the product and in future improvements.
  • No User Lock-in – Customers are not locked into the Zoho CRM subscription model. Unlike some of our competitors, who force users to pay for a minimum of one year, we do not have any minimal contract period. In addition to our "Free version forever", our philosophy is that customers should always have the choice of staying with Zoho or leaving. In the long term, we create very loyal customers.
  • Not just a CRM – In addition to all the usual CRM features, Zoho CRM goes far beyond sales force automation. Although we are not an ERP system, we do have many integrations with the Zoho suite of applications that deliver a turnkey solution for managing the key business processes of any organization. Zoho has applications that fit into Three broad categories*: 1. Front Office 2. Back-Office 3. Workplace Apps Many of our applications spanning all of these categories are tightly integrated into Zoho CRM.

    (*These in turn can be broken into: 1. Sales, Marketing & Support; 2. HR, Finance, IT & Assets; 3. Author, Store & Provision)

  • Zoho Creator - Unique to Zoho, Creator provides an outstanding ability to customize Zoho CRM because the two applications are integrated. With Creator, partners and customers have the opportunity to create custom functions within CRM, extend its automation capabilities and build custom applications perfectly suited for their business' or individual needs. For more information, please visit: https://www.zoho.com/crm/help/automation/custom-functions.html.
  • API and Third Party Integrations – Zoho CRM is open to any application ecosystem you choose to use for your business. Often times, customer data needs to be synchronized with other business applications like Accounting, ERP, e-mail marketing, etc. to gain full visibility and control of the business process. Zoho has a very extensive CRM API that is widely used in many industries and applications. In addition to our Developer API, Zoho also has a very robust Telephony API that extends Zoho CRM into the realm of call centers, providing a tightly integrated solution from basic to advanced telephony requirements. For more info:

    Developer API:https://www.zoho.com/crm/help/api/

    Telephony API:https://www.zoho.com/crm/call-center/

    List of add-ons and third party integrations: https://www.zoho.com/crm/integration/

  • The Zoho Culture and Vision - Last but not least, positioning Zoho versus our competition is not just a matter of features and pricing models. As a company, Zoho has a unique corporate culture and vision. Our model is for the very long term, staying the course as an engineering driven company that has chosen to stay private and "not for sale," despite many opportunities to cash out. This cannot be over-stated. Zoho remains committed to developing the most competitive and provocative business models in the industry, generating some of the most loyal partners and customers. Zoho CRM reflects a long-term vision that has evolved into a major success story. Zoho CRM is recognized as a leading player in a crowded market today. We continue to invest in the development of this very successful product, and our partners and customers will continue to benefit from our investments.

What else should I know?

Security and Data Protection

Many customers ask how secure Zoho CRM is from outside attacks and how their data is managed for privacy. Zoho takes these concerns very seriously because they touch the core of the cloud computing business model. If we did not apply the most rigid and secure standards, we would not be in business for very long - so we invest heavily in the area of security and compliance. In fact, we are SOC 2 compliant, which means our data centers are some of the most secure in the world. We not only apply rigid, best practices by our own security team, but we also have outside third party security auditing firms verify and confirm our people, process, and technologies.

For more information on our published policies and procedures, please check:

Partner Edition September 2015
Do not Re-distribute