Business on Zoho CRM Tutorial 2019
Zoho CRM is fairly similar to other powerful CRM systems out there in terms of features and capabilities of managing your sales processes. If you come from another CRM system, you will notice some differences in lingo and other areas; however, the essence of CRM practice is more or less the same in all of these systems.
Zoho CRM is the best sales force automation modules and tools. In this tutorial, I explain how to use Zoho CRM for lead generation and sales automation in 2019.
At the core of Zoho CRM allowing you to fully manage your pipeline (or, funnel), that is, all the stages from when leads are collected until a deal is closed and beyond.
You should design the stages of your pipeline according to your sales processes; however, it is safe to say that there are four common stages to consider for a typical sales pipeline: Lead Generation, Lead Qualification, and Opportunities. This tutorial explains the complete Zoho CRM working and its functions.
One key importance of the funnel (or pipeline) is that as a business owner, or decision maker, you can have a bird’s eye view of your business at any given moment and see who is where in the funnel and how close a deal is to closing.
Maintaining and managing an accurate funnel helps you monitor the performance of your business and strategize accordingly, with clarity and agility.
Leads are people or companies who fall in your target market and might turn into prospects interested in your products or services. Every business card you collect, every email address that gets registered on your website, or anyone result of executive searches on LinkedIn is considered leads.
All leads should be captured in the CRM from the early stage, one by one, or in bulk and then be taken through the sales funnel until they turn into sales (or not).
The second stage in the funnel is Qualification. In this stage, you (or the person to whom specific leads are assigned) validates leads by contacting them, following up, and evaluating their interest level, decision-making power, and buying appetite.
You should be capturing every action done on the lead in the CRM. This information will help you qualify leads and push them to the next stage, or simply disqualify them and move on to the next lead.
After a lead is qualified, it needs to get “converted.” Conversion turns a qualified lead into contact, an account, and an opportunity (or, potential) for a deal. In the “conversion” process, Zoho CRM generates the corresponding Contact, Account, and Opportunity in the click of a button.
A lot needs to happen between a lead becoming an opportunity and the actual sales happening. Further follow-ups are often needed, followed by sending quotes, sales orders, invoices, and hopefully a closed deal at the end.
These steps are documented in a logical and connected way in the CRM, centralizing important data and connecting the dots more effectively while keeping valuable information safe for future use.
Getting Started with Sales Force Automation
When you first open Zoho CRM (by logging onto http://creator.zoho.com), you are welcomed by the Getting Started page inviting you to perform a number of common tasks. For now, you can ignore this page.
To start, click on the Classic View link on the top right of the Getting Started page to switch the view.
The Classic View shows the bird’s eye view of your business. Of course, there is not much to see here when you first start: however, after populating CRM you will start seeing valuable information in real time. By default, the Classic View shows tasks, events, and the sales pipeline (or, funnel, whichever lingo works for you).
There is also a Customized View, which shows a list of open (i.e., incomplete) tasks, today’s leads, deals closing this month, and the pipeline. You can add or remove components to this page to turn it into a powerful dashboard showing the live state of your sales efforts and helping you monitor and manage the sales force more efficiently.
As mentioned in a previous section, lead management is an inseparable part of the CRM process in general and obviously Zoho CRM itself.
Interacting with Leads
In addition to the basic information, such as name and company, each lead comes with the ability to connect important and relevant pieces of information to it, such as notes, attachments, and tasks. You can (and you should) manage virtually every bit of information relevant to a lead from a central place, the lead detail page.
This centralization of information helps the person in charge of the lead and other concerned team members to stay productive and keep the information that may prove crucial in the future in a single place.
Now, open the lead you just created and follow these steps to add a few more pieces of information to our lead:
\1.\ In the lead page, under Notes section, click Add Note and type in some notes for the lead.
\2.\ Under the Attachment section, click Attach. A drop-down menu opens, providing you with different ways of attaching a document to this lead, including uploading from your computer, or from cloud storage services, such as Zoho Docs and Google Drive. Choose one of the scenarios and attach one or more files to the lead.
\3.\ Under Open Activities, there are three types of activities to choose from Task, Event, and Call. You can add a list of to-dos, log of phone calls, and events (e.g., future meetings) with the specific lead in here. Click New Task to continue.
\4.\ In the Create Task form, type in the mandatory Subject of the task and other optional fields. You can set up a due date and a reminder for the task. Zoho CRM will send you notifications to remind you about an approaching task. Click Save when you are done.
\5.\ When you complete an open activity and change its status to Complete, it automatically moves under Closed Activities. Open the task you created in the previous step and set it to Complete. It will automatically move from Open Activities to Closed Activities.
\6.\ Last, but not least, you can send emails to a lead from within the lead page. This is great because it helps you keep a complete log of your communications with a specific lead in one place along with everything else about the lead.
Under Emails click Send Email. In the Send Email dialog box, type in your message. Click Send after you are happy with the content of your message and it will be sent to your lead immediately.
Feel free to add more items for the lead and see how each section works.
Importing Multiple Leads
Adding leads one by one is a straightforward task in Zoho CRM. There is also the Zoho CRM mobile app for the people on the go, so you can add new leads on your way back from a successful meeting instead of spending time on Instagram.
But how about when you need to add multiple leads quickly and efficiently? For instance, if a large list of leads is generated from an email campaign, or you have a helpful admin person to digitize a million business cards you accumulated in a recent exhibition you attended?
Thankfully, Zoho CRM has a feature that allows you to import leads in bulk sans the joy of keying them in one by one. This is particularly easy if you have the list of leads in an Excel or CSV (Comma Separated Values) file.
The data in such a list must be properly organized and all mandatory fields (Lead Name and Company are mandatory by default) are populated for each row.
Let’s learn how this is done in Zoho CRM. If you have your leads already stored nicely and cleanly in an Excel or CSV file, you can ignore the first three steps of the following instruction set and go directly to step 4.
Otherwise, for the purpose of this exercise, we need to first create a dummy list and then import it into CRM.
There is a lifesaving website called generatedata.com, which helps you create dummy data tables populated with random information. We use this site to create our list of dummy leads:
\1.\ In your web browser, log onto http://generatedata.com.
\2.\ Under Generate tab, enter “Leads” as filename, then create data columns starting with the First Name. You can add new rows to add more data columns by clicking the Row(s) button below the list.
\3.\ When you are finished with adding all the data columns, make sure the CSV tab is selected under Export Types, then enter a single comma (,) for Delimiter char(s).
\4.\ Leave other fields as they are and click the Generate button on the bottom of the page. The list will be generated within seconds and automatically downloads to your computer.
Depending on your operating system and browser settings, you may get a message box asking you to confirm the download.
\5.\ Open the downloaded CSV file. Quite good for random information!
\6.\ Now switch back to Zoho CRM, open the Leads page, and click on the Import button on the top right of the leads list. The Import Leads wizard will open.
\7.\ In the Import Leads page, select Import My Leads, which will set the lead owner to your name.
\8.\ Click Choose File button to select the leads CSV file you downloaded (or you had from before).
\9.\ Select Overwrite for Duplicate Record and set Find duplicates using to Email.
\10.\ Click Next to continue. The import wizard will upload the CSV file and load the columns it found in the file for you to map to the matching fields in the CRM Leads module.
\11.\ Review the fields and make sure each column is mapped to the corresponding column in CRM. Other than the mandatory fields that are indicated with a red label, you can skip mapping for the information you don’t have.
\12.\ Click Next to continue. In the next step, CRM may show you the columns in the CSV file that are not mapped to Leads in the CRM. Ignore the message and click Import to continue.
From the previous section, you can see that in our newly imported list, Lead Source is missing, because it was not in the CSV file and the import wizard left the value empty for all imported records. Since the lead source is an important piece of information, we want to populate this value for the leads.
One way is to open each lead and set the Lead Source, but that is too much work, especially if the lead source for all of these leads is the same (a trade show, or online campaign). Such scenarios happen often and you need bulk operations to perform repeated data manipulation faster and stay productive.
Mass Updating Leads
Fortunately, Zoho CRM offers mass updating features for leads and other modules, so we can go about changing the lead source of all newly important leads in one go following these steps:
\1.\ In the Leads page, click on them … the button on the top right of the page and select Mass Update in the drop-down menu.
\2.\ In the next page, under Criteria Component select Lead Owner for the first criterion, then select it and then type in your name. This means that the mass update will be performed only on the leads whose owner is the current user, preserving other people’s leads from being mass updated.
\3.\ Click the green (+) button next to criterion #1 to add another criterion. Then select Lead Status, and is empty. This ensures a mass update happens only on your leads whose Lead Status is not set yet, sparing the ones with existing lead status.
\4.\ Click Search to see a list of leads that match the above criteria.
\5.\ Click Mass Update button on the top-left side of the list. A dialog box will open asking which field you want to mass update. Select Lead Source in the drop-down list.
\6.\ In the next screen, a drop-down list will be shown with a list of different values for the Lead Source. Select “Trade Show” and click Save.
After clicking save, all leads matching the criteria set above will have their Lead Status set to “Trade Show.”
Soon you will have tens and hundreds of leads in the CRM waiting for your champion salespeople to turn into lucrative sales and loyal customers. More leads mean you can no longer rely on the list of leads to find who you are looking for. A good CRM system must offer advanced and fast search tools and Zoho CRM is no exception.
Searching for Leads
In Zoho CRM, the quickest way of finding leads (and other information) is to use the global search. The global search is accessible throughout CRM by clicking on the magnifier button on the top menu bar.
Simply type in the name of a lead, company, source, or basically anything you can remember about the information you are looking for.
By default, any piece of information that contains the search term (“acme,” in this example) in any of its data fields will be pulled from across the CRM and listed in the search results. that the search results show account, contacts, deals, and tasks.
The result will vary for you as you have different information stored in your CRM account. On the results page, you can click on any of the results found and access the corresponding information. For instance, clicking on a task will open the detail’s respective task.
Notice at the bottom of the results page, there is a gray info-bar listing the modules (e.g. Leads, Events, etc.) in which the search didn’t find any results. This means there were no leads in my account (i.e., current user) that contains “acme” in any shape or form.
As you have seen a number of times in this blog before, when you open the Leads module, by default a list of leads is shown in the leads page.
These lists are called Views and are one of the powerful features of Zoho CRM. As the name suggests, View gives different ways of viewing your information.
One of the fundamental characteristics of good software is that users enter information once (e.g., add new leads) and output this information in different ways. The difference in the output of information is often about formatting, order, data set, and output medium.
For instance, one view will show all the leads in the system, while another will only show the current user’s leads entered today. Also, a view can output its data on the screen, to a CSV file, or a PDF document to be sent by email to a third party.
Let’s start our tour of the Views by having a look at two of the most common existing views in Zoho CRM. The first one is All Views, which is accessible by simply opening the Leads module. To open other views, you need to click on the view selector button on the top left of the screen just below the top menu bar and select any other view.
You can see that in the view, the Lead Owner column is not shown simply because we already know who the lead owner is. Another characteristic of good software is to show only the relevant and necessary information and avoid information clutter as much as possible.
You will see in the upcoming sections that you can customize and create views. Keeping this small but important point in mind helps you create useful views for your users.
Suppose we need a view that shows all the leads without a Lead Status in the system (i.e., for all users), so we can identify and assign a status to them. To create this view follow these steps:
\1.\ Open Leads from the top menu bar.
\2.\ Click the … button on the top right of the view and select Add View. The view editor will open.
\3.\ Enter “No-status Leads” in view name textbox where it currently reads Untitled View.
\4.\ Under Specify Criteria, select Lead Source and is empty.
\5.\ Under Choose Columns, select and add First Name, Last Name, Company, Email, and Leads Source from the Available list to the Selected list.
\6.\ Under Share, this with, select Only me to make this view available only to you (the current user).
\7.\ Click Save to create the new view. The view will be added to the list of existing views and open for use.
As a supervisor, you need a view to show you if there are leads entered in the CRM with no action taken on them for more than 7 days, and then act accordingly.
Create a new view that shows open leads created 7 days ago, with no action taken on them, that is, no status change, visible only to you, the admin user. Show lead name, email address, owner, source, and status.
If you remember from the beginning of this blog, we talked about various stages of the sales funnel. Lead generation and qualification comes opportunity creation, which is the result of successfully converting qualified leads.
In Zoho CRM, once you deem a lead qualified, you can “convert” it manually. This will create up to three new objects in the CRM: a new contact, an account, and a deal (opportunity).
To convert a lead, follow these steps:
\1.\ Open a lead you want to convert and in the lead detail page, click on the green Convert button.
\2.\ In the Convert Lead page, review the first two rows of information indicating that a new account and a new contact are going to be created in the process of conversion.
\3.\ Check (select) Create a new Deal for this Account and enter the deal information. Notice the important fields that indicate the projected amount of this deal (opportunity), projected closing date, and the current stage of the deal.
\4.\ Select Contact or Deal to move the existing attachments in the lead (if any) to the new contract or the deal.
\5.\ Set the Owner of the records, that is, the user who will be owning the account, contact, and the deal in the CRM.
\6.\ Click Convert to convert the lead and create corresponding records.
You can click on any of the newly created accounts, contact, and the deal (see next section) to view their details and immediately continue working on them. Notice how both the account and the contact have a section for deals giving you a quick overview of the ongoing deals for each record.
Similar to leads, you can fully manage (edit, export, print, send email, etc.) accounts and contacts from within the detail page. Spend a few minutes reviewing the sort of information stored for each of these records and see how you can use them in your day-to-day business.
Keeping the Stage Up to Date
As you go forward with the deal in real life, the stage in which the deal is in the CRM should change too.
This is particularly important to keep the sales pipeline in the reports and the people concerned with sales performance in your organization up to date. You can easily do this by selecting a relevant stage from the Stage graph in the deal details page.
In the graph, the current stage is shown as a green circle while previous stages are indicated as green check marks and future stages are grayed out. By default, the last three stages of a deal indicate if it is a win or a loss. Visually, these stages are indicated with thumbs-up or thumbs-down icons.
To select an applicable stage, simply click on the next stage (gray circle) in line or jump and select another future stage. You can hover on a stage to see its name. In an upcoming section, you will learn how to customize the deal stages to match your sales process.
To quickly see all active deals in the system in one place, click on Deals on the top menu bar. The All Deals view will show all deals grouped by stage. Click on each deal listed in the view to see its details. All Deals view has two ways of displaying deals: one is the default-by-stage view, and the other is the simple list view.
You can switch between these two by clicking on the list and bar icons on the top right of the screen. Also, there are filters for you to select (from the left sidebar) to narrow down the list, in case there are many deals listed here. You can choose to see deals only for a specific account, stage, lead source, etc.
Similar to other modules, you can select other available views from the view selector drop-down on the top left of the screen and see, for example, only your own deals, deals closing this month, etc.
It is also worth reminding you that you can customize these views by clicking Edit next to the view selector drop-down and also create new views from scratch by clicking Create New item in the drop-down.
As you learned in a previous section, deals move forward in the pipeline from one stage to another until they are won or lost. Making sure deals are in the right stage will give you an accurate view of your business, so it is important to ensure these stages reflect your sales process correctly.
By default, Zoho provisions nine different stages in which a deal can be in Qualification, Needs Analysis, Value Propositions, etc. You can modify the name of existing stages, add new ones, and remove the ones you don’t need. Note that these customizations are global (i.e., organization-wide) and will apply to affect all deals in the CRM.
To customize the deal stages, follow these steps:
\1.\ On the top bar, on the right, click on the tools icon and then click on Setup.
\2.\ In the Setup page, under Customization group, click on Modules. A new page will open with all the CRM modules listed
\3.\ In the modules list, hover the mouse cursor on Deals, click on the (…) button appearing next to Deals, and select Stage-Probability Mapping in the context menu.
\4.\ In the Stage-Probability Mapping dialog box, modify stage name, probability, forecast type, and forecast category for each stage you need to customize. Use the + and – buttons next to each stage to add a new stage or remove the respective stage.
\5.\ Click Save to apply the changes.
As mentioned in the previous section, a deal goes through various stages in the sales pipeline. By default, one of these stages is Proposal/Price Quote, which as the name suggests, is for when you reach a point in your deal that you need to send the potential (or returning) client a quotation for the products or services you intend to sell to them.
Sending quotations is a common stage in any deal. In fact, you may send multiple quotes with adjusted prices and terms, until the client is happy to proceed with the deal.
You can create quotes for an ongoing deal or directly in the Quotes module. I recommend the former because it makes creating the quote easier and attaches it to the deal automatically.
Follow these steps to create a quote for a deal:
\1.\ Open the deals module and open a deal.
\2.\ In the deal detail page, click on Create + New under Quotes section.
\3.\ In the Create Quote page, enter Subject, and Valid Until. Note that Quote Owner, Quote Stage, Deal Name, Contact Name, Account Name, and Address Information are prepopulated based on the deal information.
\4.\ Under the Product Details section, click Add Line Items. A Choose Products form will open.
\5.\ In Products Details, type in the product name you want to add to the list. You can enter the product name partially. CRM will look for any similar products and will show a list for you to pick from.
\6.\ If the product is not found, click on the + Add New Product link to open the Quick Create: Product form.
\7.\ In the quick create a form, type in the product information and click Save when you are done.
\8.\ Repeat from step 4 and create another product. Click Save to continue.
\9.\ Back in the Choose Product form you have two products in the list. Click the Add Products button to continue.
\10.\ The two products are added to the quote with the total amount of the quote calculated and placed nicely below the list items. As the last step, populate Terms and Conditions and click Save to create the quote.
The newly created quote will be listed under the Quotes section in the deal details page. You can access the quote details or modify it from here. You can also add new quotes for the same deal. Quotes are also accessible in the Quotes module.
Click on Quotes on the top menu bar and a list of all quotes will be shown. You can click on each quote and see the details, modify, print, or export them to into PDF documents to send to concerned parties.
To send quotes to clients, you can export them to PDF and email them to clients and other people. You can also kill more trees and print them on paper to send them by snail mail (killing even more trees) or fax them if the other party lives in the previous century.
The better way, however, is to email quotes directly to the client (i.e., the contact mentioned in the quote) from within the CRM. To do this, follow these steps:
\1.\ In the quote detail page, open the … menu on the top right of the screen and click Send Mail on the drop-down menu. The Send Mail form will open.
\2.\ Choose Quote Template from Choose an Inventory Template drop-down list. The quote will be formatted based on the template chosen and a preview will be displayed on the right side. Click Next to continue.
\3.\ The Send Mail window will load ready for you to populate the message body. To field is already populated from the quote contact and the quote itself is attached to the message.
\4.\ Click Send once you are happy with the message body. Your client will receive an email from you with the quote attached.
[Note: You can free download the complete Office 365 and Office 2019 com setup Guide for here]
Converting Sales Orders to Invoices
Follow these steps to convert a SO to an invoice:
Not enough product in the inventory; go and change to 10 each; come back to sales order; convert. Now if you go back to the Products page and check the Quantity in Stock, you will see that the number is changed to the balance of previous stock minus the number of products in the sales order.
You can add to the inventory either manually as you just saw, or through issuing POs.
Exercise: Order new products for the inventory by creating a new PO.
Hint: You will need to add a new Vendor to be able to issue a PO. If you get stuck, refer to Zoho CRM documentation. This basic inventory management is handy, but for complex operations, it will never replace proper inventory management.
You can email or print invoices similar to sales orders and quotes. By default, there is one minimal invoice template available in the CRM. You can create nicely designed invoice templates similar to the ones you created for the quotes in a previous section.
\1.\ Open the SO you created in the previous section.
\2.\ In the SO page, click on the (green) Convert button on top of the SO details and select Invoice in the drop-down menu.
\3.\ Depending on how much stock you have of the products that are in the quote list items, you may get a warning about low inventory level. Click Cancel to proceed.
\4.\ Open Products page and find the products with a low quantity in the stock.
Note By default the All Products view doesn’t show the value of Quantity in Stock. You need to either check the products one by one, to see the quantity for each one, which is a pain; or you can quickly edit the view and add the extra column Quantity in Stock to it.
\5.\ In the product details page change the Quantity in Stock value to an arbitrary number (because we are testing; otherwise this should match the real number in your inventory). Then click Save to apply the changes.
\6.\ Now go back to the SO and convert it to an invoice. The invoice gets created immediately and you will be redirected to the invoice detail page.
Take a moment and review the fields in the invoice. Many values are brought from the underlying SO (or quote, depending on which one you converted). Quite similar to quotes and SOs, you can print invoices, export them to PDFs, and send them via email to your clients directly from CRM.
You remember from the beginning of this blog when we argued that one of the fundamental traits of good software is that you (the user) enters information once and then you can extract it by different means, each serving a specific purpose. We have learned how to create leads, deals, quotes, etc., in Zoho CRM.
We also learned that we can see this information through various avenues, by navigating through views and detail pages or searching through each module, or globally.
Zoho CRM provides yet another way of outputting information that it reports. Reports are read-only (you can’t edit the data in a report), formatted, and often a complex representation of the information in the CRM.
Similar to other entities, such as quotes and invoices, you can print, export, or email them. You can also define user-level and role-based access to the reports to specify who sees which report.
Using Existing Reports
Zoho CRM comes with a host of pre-made reports for most common scenarios. In many cases, they are quite usable out-of-the-box, or good to go with a little bit of tweaking.
To access the reports, you need to open the Reports module by clicking on Reports on the top menu bar. A list of all existing reports in the CRM will be shown by default.
These reports are divided into smaller categories based on the contents of the reports, for example, Lead Reports; or based on other criteria to make them easier to find, such as Recent Reports.
These categories are accessible from the left sidebar. One nifty categorization is the Favorite Reports, which as the name suggests, allows you to group your favorite reports in one place.
To add a report to favorites, simply click on the gray star next to any report in the list, and the star will turn gold and the report will be added to the Favorite Reports.
Let’s have a look at two of the available reports. The first one is Leads by Status, which shows all the leads grouped by their status. This report has two parts, a pie chart on the top providing a quick and visual representation of the state of the leads in the organization, followed by a list of leads with more details and also grouped by the status.
The second one is Pipeline by Stage, which again is a two-part report with a funnel showing the volume of the deals in each stage of the pipeline on the top of the report. There is also a detailed list of pipeline stages and the deals in each stage, including the sum of the amount per stage.
What is Zoho Mail and How Zoho Mail works
That was actually your first integration of an external service, that is, email with CRM. By doing so, CRM and your email account are connected to each other and exchange information to give you a better idea about your day-to-day business.
For instance, the moment you connect your (work) email address to CRM, the email history of your contacts will appear in their corresponding contact detail page. You can send emails directly from the contact page and they will appear in your sent items as if they were sent from your email client (e.g., Zoho Mail, Outlook, Apple Mail).
Note Regardless of the email service you are using, be it Zoho, Gmail, Outlook, or others, Zoho Mail is the email client (or, email app) that manages your email account from Zoho or other services.
So, if you have an @zoho.com, @gmail.com, or @yourcompany.com email address, you configure Zoho Mail to be your email app and that is what actually integrates with Zoho CRM. In this blog, we have to explain What is Zoho Mail and how it works.
Sharing Emails with Other CRM Users
There is one more feature that you can use to enable emails in the CRM, which is the ability to share all or some of your emails with other CRM users.
Depending on your business process and internal policies, you have the option of letting other users see your email correspondence with your leads and contacts.
For example, sometimes your superior officer may need to see past communications without asking you to be bothered with forwarding messages to them. They can simply take a peek at your emails directly.
Now, this may sound creepy, or even unnecessary, but there are scenarios where this feature comes in handy. Obviously, other email messages in your inbox that have nothing to do with leads or contact in the CRM will not be shared with others even if email sharing is on for your account.
Phew! By default, email sharing is off, which means all your email correspondence is only visible to you. An administrator or the users themselves can change this setting.
There are three types of email sharing available:
Complete: all the emails of the sharing user will be accessible to the users specified,
Custom: sharing user will decide which email to share with whom, and
Private: no emails will be shared: default state.
Follow these steps to adjust the email sharing settings:
\1.\ In Zoho CRM Open the Setup page, then click Email Settings under Generic section.
\2.\ On the Email Settings page, open the Email Sharing tab. Under Email Sharing Permissions, there is a list of all users with their email sharing status in front of them, Private for the CEO and User’s Choice for the rest.
\3.\ Click on the status of the CEO (you) and select Custom from the drop-down list. Notice the value Emails Shared With the column in the list column changes to All. This essentially means that this user’s emails are now shared with everybody, which is not optimal and needs to be limited.
\4.\ Click on the value All in the list. The Email Sharing Setting dialog box for the user opens. A series of selected checkboxes will be listed showing the hierarchy of roles in your organization down to the users.
\5.\ Uncheck All, so all checkboxes are unchecked. Then select which roles or users you want to permissions to. Click Done to proceed.
\6.\ Emails Shard With value is now changed to a more limited and certain number of roles and users.
Integrating with Zoho Projects
Projects are commonplace in most businesses and managing projects often need a dedicated tool.
Simpler projects, such as renovating the office flooring, can be easily managed with a to-do list app, or an Excel sheet, but as projects grow, the number of tasks, interdependencies, priorities, project team and stakeholders will grow too. In such a case, starting off with a reliable project management app is a prudent move.
For those of us who use Zoho CRM, the good news is that you can use Zoho Projects alongside CRM and integrate them to make things easier for your team and your client. In an ideal scenario, you start with a lead in the CRM, convert it into a deal, and take it through the pipeline until you close a deal.
Suppose you are a service provider, say a web design agency that uses Zoho CRM for sales force automation. When you win a deal, it means a new project kicks off with all the bells and whistles.
You can easily create a project from within CRM, assign team members, track billable hours, monitor project performance, and stay in touch with the client, all from the same place. By default, CRM adds a link to the projects portal in the top menu bar. To set up the integration, follow these steps:
\1.\ In Zoho CRM, open the Projects page and then click on the Get Started button. Alternatively, you can open Setup ? Extensions & APIs ? Zoho ? Zoho Projects.
\2.\ If this is your first time using Zoho Projects, you may get a warning message: “Client Mapping: No client account found to match.” Ignore this and proceed.
\3.\ In the Zoho Projects Integration page, select Create New Portal to continue.
\4.\ In the Portal Configuration step, type in a Portal Name. This name needs to be a single word with no space and special characters in it. Click Create to continue.
\5.\ Next, under Choose Portal, select the portal you created in the previous step from the drop-down list.
\6.\ We will have to give permission to CRM users to access Projects. There are five different permissions to grant to users: to see the Projects tab (page) in the CRM, view projects, create projects, edit projects, and delete projects.
Grant Administrators access permission to all these by ticking the corresponding check marks. Then grant only Tab Visibility and View to Standard users.
\7.\ Click Next to finish the integration. Then review the settings and permissions and edit them if necessary by clicking on the Edit Configuration link.
\8.\ To test the integration open the Projects page in the CRM. You will be welcomed by a warning page saying that you are yet to create a project. Click on the New Project button, if you wish to continue with Zoho Projects at this point.
Integrating with Zoho Finance Suite
Arguably, CRM (any flavor) and financial software (accounting, bookkeeping, etc.) are two of the most important information systems (or software) any organization can have in their arsenal.
So, it is safe to say that in most cases, if not all, having them work together under one roof would sound like a very good idea. Fortunately, if you are a Zoho user, you can integrate Zoho CRM and Zoho Finance Suite (Books, Invoice, Expense, Subscriptions) and have them work together.
Follow these steps to integrate Zoho CRM and Zoho Finance Suite:
\1.\ In Zoho CRM open Setup ? Extensions & APIs ? Zoho ? Zoho Finance Suite. Then click on the Get Started button in the integration page.
\2.\ In the next page, select the Finance Suite apps that you want to integrate with CRM and then click Next to continue.
\3.\ The page expands. Enter the organizational details of your company. This information will be used by the Finance Suite apps selected in the previous step to create an organization. Click Next when you are done.
\4.\ The page expands again asking you whom (in CRM) you would like to have financial transactions with. Select Accounts & their Contacts, so Finance Suite apps features get enabled for both Accounts and Contacts.
\5.\ Click Save to finish the integration. Details of the integration will be shown. As long as the integration is active Accounts and their Contacts, Vendors, and Products information will be synced between CRM and enable Finance Suite apps.
\6.\ Hover the mouse cursor over Accounts & its contacts Sync box. Then click on the settings icon (gear) to configure the sync.
\7.\ In the sync settings page, review syncing modules, overwrite rules, and field-mappings between CRM and Finance Suite. For now, leave the values untouched and go back to the integration summary page.
\8.\ In the integration page, scroll down to CRM Trigger Points. Here you can tell Zoho Books (the accounting app in the Finance Suite) what to do depending on the stage a CRM deal is in.
\9.\ Click on Estimate to review the available options. For instance, you can set up Zoho Books to create an estimate automatically when a deal is in the “Quote/Proposal” stage.
\10.\ Select Invoice. This option is simpler and has no staged settings. If you click the third option, None, then CRM won’t trigger any action in Books. Leave this at Invoice and click Save to apply the changes.
You can always come back and fine-tune the sync settings between CRM and the Finance Suite.
Reference If you get stuck somewhere, feel free to refer to the official documentation at https://www.zoho.com/crm/help/zoho-finance-suite/.
Integrating with Zoho Creator
Zoho Creator is a powerful and easy-to-use business application creation platform. You can create simple or complex applications on the cloud: something as simple as a contact manager, a mini CRM, a complete real estate management system, or virtually any app that deals with business process and data. Zoho CRM is quite customizable.
Armed with features such as automation workflows, custom modules, and web forms, it can meet the requirements of most businesses. But as your business grows, your business requirements grow more complex as well.
In such a case, you can create customized apps with Zoho Creator and integrate them to be accessed from within the CRM. Creator apps also exchange data with CRM, meaning each can use information from the other one. Also, you might be already using Zoho Creator and now you want to connect one or more Creator apps to CRM to extend its capabilities.
In a real-life example, a few years ago I had a client who had a team of telemarketers working for his company. These telemarketers, would open CRM, call leads and read through a sales script to pursue the person on the phone to buy their products.
The sales script needed to be “smart” meaning it should have adapted itself to a person’s feedback, showing only questions that were in line with the answers to the previous question.
There should also be a way for the telemarketers to take note while on the phone. After evaluating the requirements and considering available resources, constraints, and user experience factors, I decided to make Creator app and embed it into CRM. It worked perfectly and the client was very happy.
Implementing a similar solution purely in CRM would have proved impossible. Creator, with minimal development work, improved the process dramatically. All said you should make sure you are not reinventing the wheel and what you are trying to accomplish in Zoho Creator is not possible or is much harder to accomplish with CRM alone.
Take Control of Marketing
Zoho CRM offers a number of essential tools and features that help you stay on top of your marketing game without breaking the bank or going crazy managing a toolset of apps from different vendors. There are also a number of complementing Zoho apps that can greatly boost your CRM-centric marketing efforts.
The marketing department of today needs, more than ever, to stay in constant touch with other parts of the business, especially sales and client servicing. It also needs to have access to an arsenal of tools to perform effective and efficient marketing.
Landing pages, email and social media campaigns, feedback collection, social listening, paid (digital) advertising, and other tools and platforms will help you better understand your market and tell your story better and to more people.
Customizing Campaigns Module
Like any other standard module in Zoho CRM, you can customize the Campaigns module. You can add, edit, or remove fields to make the module match your business requirements.
In the next section, we will be adding leads already existing in the CRM to the campaign we just created. For that, we need a specific value to be set to a field called Campaign Member Status, which is not available in the preset values by default.
To fix this issue, we need to make a tiny change in the Campaigns module itself:
\1.\ In Zoho CRM, open the Setup page by clicking on the Tool icon on the top menu bar and selecting Setup in the drop-down menu.
\2.\ In the Setup page, under Customization, click Modules. A list of existing modules will be displayed.
\3.\ Find Campaigns in the list and hover the mouse cursor on it. Then click the circular (…) icon appearing next to it and click on Campaigns Member Status item in the drop-down list.
\4.\ In the customization form, add “Visited” to the end of the list. This indicates that a person has visited our premises (or outlet) in person.
\5.\ Click Save to apply the changes and close the form.
Collecting Customer Feedback with Zoho Survey
CRM triangle consists of marketing, sales, and customer service. All three of these require staying engaged with clients and prospects alike. No matter how happy or unhappy a client is, their feedback is always golden for the success of the business.
Zoho Survey is a powerful tool that helps you interact with clients and prospects by asking them key questions about their preferences, experience, feedback, etc. The output of such surveys could be invaluable for your sales force and other team members.
With Survey integrated with CRM, your team can see the results of surveys in real time, sync survey responses back to CRM, and view responses in customer contexts.
Reference Zoho Survey is a full-fledged survey management app worth learning about and using in your business, especially if you are a Zoho CRM user.
Refer to official documentation to learn more about Zoho Survey: https://www.zoho.com/survey/help/; https://www.zoho.com/survey/help/integrations.html#integrate-with-zoho-crm; and https://www.zoho.com/survey/crm-integration.html.