Zoho Sets Its Sights on Large Businesses

Zoho recently deepened the functionality in its CRM suite and upgraded Zoho Support with high-end and high-capacity telephony and mobile-app features for large businesses. The moves are part of the company’s strategy of migrating upstream to service a larger customer base.

“Zoho started off marketing our CRM application to small businesses,” Raju Vegesna, Zoho evangelist, told CRM Buyer. “Then we started seeing interest in our platform from midsized companies, so we started adding more features that would be of interest to this group.”

Now that process is under way again, this time with large companies driving the interest, Vegesna said.

“We’ve built some interesting functionality for those users, and I expect we will see more of them join now,” he added.

Zoho CRM

Territory management is one of the newest features in Zoho CRM.
(click to enlarge)

Among the new features in this latest iteration of Zoho CRM are territory management, custom modules, custom functions and social integrations. For Zoho Support, the company has added cloud telephony and mobile apps — and there is a good chance some of this functionality will be added to the CRM suite as well in the coming months, Vegesna said.

The telephony integration, for example, will probably make its way into the CRM suite, he noted — “hopefully early next year we will be adding that to our CRM system.”

Territory Management

One attractive addition to the CRM suite for large businesses in particular is the new territory management functionality, Vegesna said.

“Companies with a lot of sales staff need this feature,” he said.

The module allows users to organize customers by geographic locations, industry type, expected revenue, product lines and divisions. It also gives users the ability to do forecasting based on territories, identify regions that are profitable and better strategize the allocation of resources.

Another welcome addition is the social integrations module, which facilitates customer engagement in social integrations without having to leave the Zoho CRM account.

The company’s Facebook and Twitter profiles are integrated inside Zoho CRM, and any conversations or comments are presented in CRM. There is also a new Social tab from which users can monitor social mentions and trends as well as search the social stream for leads.

Customizing by User

Another feature, Custom Modules, let users tailor the system according to best practices in the industry. Standard sales, marketing and customer support features can be redone with practices relevant to the customer’s industry.

“The larger a company becomes, the more likely it is to need customized functionality, especially in certain sectors like manufacturing or real estate,” Vegesna explained.

Ditto another feature, Custom Functions, which is aimed at workflow automation. It works by capturing the workflow in a function created using Deluge, Zoho’s scripting language. A function can be created to update data automatically in related CRM modules or third-party apps.

The workflow engine then triggers the Custom Function, which could update the CRM system or a third-party application. Users also have a prebuilt list of functions in the custom function gallery.

This feature is particularly useful for companies that have customer data stored throughout an ERP system, Vegesna said.

“The Custom Function allows companies to easily integrate any application — both inbound and outbound — of the CRM system,” he noted. “So, if I added something in the CRM application that affects the accounting system, the Custom Function will automatically update the accounting system and vice versa.”

Zoho Support

In the support module, meanwhile, Zoho has introduced cloud telephony and mobile apps for both the iPhone and iPad.

The former adds a traditional customer service telephony system, allowing users to integrate a customer service phone number to receive calls within Zoho Support. Agents can see a caller’s background information; the system also creates support requests for missed calls from customers, attaching any voicemails to the support tickets.

With the addition of mobile apps, agents have the ability to do such things as respond to support requests using response templates and tag each other asking for help via social network-style comments.

Erika Morphy has been writing about technology, finance and business issues for more than 20 years. She lives in Silver Spring, Md.

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