Inbound Marketers, Sales managers, customer care, account managers, business development managers - all need a good system for managing diaries, customer details and leads. Managing your sCRM using something like Zoho CRM means you have access to all your customer relationship data anywhere you are. And you don’t have to install anything on your Mac, PC or Linux operating system, just open your favourite web browser.

If you’re looking at this - I’m refreshing this to keep it up to date as it’s one of my most popular posts Damien - Oct 2011

What is CRM?

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is an art and a science. CRM is really about 3 things:

  1. Building up knowledge on the people you do with business with or relate to - your clients, customers and the companies they work for
  2. Communicating with your customers and managing those ‘relationships’
  3. Selling your stuff, or supporting your clients and staff to sell

In the past business process managers would have focused on Managing Customers as a key process for the Customer Lifecycle. CRM provides a holistic overview of these activities.

**What is Saas?

It’s easier to understand that Software as a Service (SaaS) as just cloud computing.  So this means if you have a SaaS CRM solution then

  • it is always online,
  • it travels with you - you can access it from the office, from home, on your iPhone, etc
  • features and roadmap are managed by someone else
  • technology and operational costs are external to your business
  • your data is backed up in the ‘cloud’
  • you normally have to pay to unlock premium features

Why choose Zoho CRM?

Zoho CRM is possibly one of the most feature rich CRM solutions around. It’s difficult to find a features comparison matrix but here’s a quick summary of a few systems

1. Highrise from 37 Signals

  • Offers a ‘free’ account with 2 users and 200+ contacts.
  • No product or price book
  • Supports Contact History
  • Supports To Do list
  • Minimal document storage

2. Salesforce.com

  • No ‘free’ account
  • Regarded as the fully-featured SaaS service
  • Supports Price Books
  • Supports Customer Contact History
  • Supports To Do Lists
  • To unlock features like Forecasting, Autoresponders, Document Management, you must be on the £45 per user Premium plan
  • Up to 1gb per user storage

ZOHO CRM

  • Good features in the ‘free’ account - up to 3 free users
  • User Pays Freemium pricing model
  • Supports Price Books
  • Supports Customer Contact History
  • Supports To Do Lists
  • To unlock features like Forecasting, Campaigns, Email Autoresponders, Document Management, you must _buy_ 1 user at on the £12 per user per month (then all 3 free users are upgraded as well.
  • Login using Google Apps Domain
  • Supports Google Docs
  • Supports Outlook or Gmail plugin (from £3 per month)
  • 1GB per domain.

Getting Started with ZOHO CRM

Every business needs a good customer records system - even if you only use the free ZOHO CRM tool you’ll find that you can manage your accounts, contacts and meetings all in one place.

Tags: CRM, Customer Relationship Management, SaaS, Zoho

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Meet the author

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Damien Saunders
An experienced management consultant and business leader interested in digital transformation, product centred design and scaled agile. If I'm not writing about living with UCTD (an autoimmune disease), I'm probably listening to music, reading a book or learning more about wine.