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Zoho CRM Sweet Spot and Alternative Products

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Zoho CRM Best Fit and Alternative Solutions

Zoho CRM Sweet Spot
Short list Zoho CRM when:

  • You're looking for a simple, low cost, quick to deploy CRM software solution.
  • You're using QuickBooks and looking for an integrated online CRM system. Zoho offers a packaged integration with QuickBooks that synchronizes select contact and vendor details and transfers data (contacts, quotes, products, vendors, sales orders, and invoices) between Zoho CRM and QuickBooks.
  • Your company engages in projects or services delivery following the sale, and you are looking for a project management module integrated with CRM software.
  • You leverage Google Apps and Google Docs and want a CRM system that integrates with this online platform. Zoho CRM to Google integration includes unified login support, which means that you may login to Zoho using your Google credentials and then directly view your Google Docs without any need to re-authenticate to attach your documents to Zoho. After the Google Docs are attached to Zoho CRM, you can view and edit them using the Zoho Writer. Zoho can even be accessed from your iGoogle or Google apps council and Zoho forms may be published to Google sites.

Alternative Solutions
Buyers may be best advised to consider alternative CRM software products when:

  • Seeking feature rich, best of breed CRM software solutions.
  • Seeking CRM with tightly integrated social CRM capabilities.
  • Seeking strong marketing software and customer service functionality.
  • Seeking vertically focused industry solutions.

Concluding Remarks

Zoho supports more than 3 million users across small, medium and large companies using Zoho services. Zoho product design, freemium distribution model and support channels are particularly well suited for small business customers with less than 50 users.

Zoho Corporation is a very different type of CRM software company. Not surprisingly, the emerging growth company inherits much of its culture from founder and CEO Sridhar Vembu. Vembu is a classic entrepreneur known for his drive and bootstrapping of the company, but probably best known for two other things. First, he rejected of an alleged acquisition offer by Marc Benioff of Unfortunately, that event and a potentially competitive CRM software product seems to the impetus of where things turned sour between the companies, and thereafter prohibited Zoho from joining the AppExchange or community. Second, Vembu introduced a staffing model whereby disadvantaged high school graduates were put through a two year education program with a strong focus on software engineering. Sometimes called "Zoho University", these graduates now make up about 10% of the Zoho workforce.

Vembu has repeatedly stated he wants the company to stay independent. He considers himself an old-time capitalist who prefers to decline outside financing and instead reinvest profits to achieve growth—and he's proving this novel concept can actually work in Silicon Valley.

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Comments (6) — Comments for this page are closed —

Guest Rxforbiz
  Superb review--very thorough, even-handed, and from someone who has obviously used the ZOHO CRM at a professional level. I am just now moving over to ZOHO CRM Enterprise ($25/month/user), having rejected it six months ago as too clunky. It does look a bit 2003, the office apps don't always integrate well together, and worst of all, the response time for very basic features is VERY slow. However, it is SO customizable to your business's specific needs that you can almost do away with a large office and have everybody telecommute (if you can make that work). I fall into what you call the sweet spot--the small business owner who wants to integrate with Quickbooks and be able to manage every aspect of his business online. I have tried about 25 CRMs over the past six months. Almost every time, I would find that a CRM would be great, except I'd then find one massive, glaring weakness, thereby rendering it unusable. With Zoho, I feel that I am settling for something less than I'd like, but I know it will get the job done--and a whole lot more.

Guest Lenny Chapman
  We have a division of our company that has been using the free CRM version for almost a year and has been very happy with it. It does what we need it to do, we’re able to customize the data capture forms exactly as we want and it is really easy for our sales people to use. You also can’t be the cost effectiveness of Zoho.

Guest Chris Nichols
  I have a client that signed up for the Zoho CRM free software. The product essentially worked as advertised but the online performance was at times slow and the support was mixed. After some conversation with Zoho, they upgraded to the Professional edition. I suspect they host that product differently as online performance seemed to get a lot better. Support also got better. The tools available with the product are easy to use and impressive. We were able to customize Zoho without technical assistance and now have a very effective online CRM system.

Guest Kevin Spore
  I’ve heard that Zoho and vtiger started out as the same CRM software system. The UI and page structures are quite similar. I’ve noticed that Zoho actually markets to vtiger CRM customers which would suggest something other than a third party relationship.
  Chuck Chuck Schaeffer
    Zoho CRM and vtiger both received personal funding by a common shareholder who was previously with AdventNet. At that time, there was a very light alliance and some joint business development activities among the two companies. Zoho and vtiger did not originate from the same code set, however, some early vtiger developers came from Zoho and the early software products seemed to demonstrate some user interface similarities and software overlap. Zoho CRM was built from scratch using Java with a multi-tenant architecture while vtiger CRM was created when the Bangalore group forked the SugarCRM version 1 product on December 31, 2004 and renamed it vtiger. Hence, why vtiger is single-tenant, open source and PHP based (all characteristics of SugarCRM). Today the two CRM products are competitors.

Guest Winston Gray
  Our IT department implemented Zoho CRM for simple help desk management, mainly issuing, tracking, closing and reporting on support tickets. While the purpose is simple we needed to capture and process some unique data. Zoho allowed us to modify the forms and flow to do what we needed. It's a basic CRM system, but for us it gets the job done.

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