Despite being a very well-priced tool (in addition to offering licenses ranging from $12-$25 per user per month, it also offers a free version), Zoho CRM is a sophisticated CRM that offers all the functionality you would expect from a CRM - and even more. It is able to integrate with Google Apps and Gmail, which would be beneficial for organisations that currently rely on Google Apps. Below are some important things to know about Zoho CRM.

CRM functionality

  • Offers an intuitive way for you to record and manage your contacts
  • Allows for field customisation
  • Synchronize contacts, tasks and calendar between Zoho CRM and Outlook using the Zoho CRM Plug-in for Microsoft Outlook
  • Hosted software, so no servers required
  • Additional apps can be plugged in if required
  • Security levels allow you to control data access
  • Quickbooks integration
  • Allows for building web-to-lead forms (sending lead info from the website directly into the CRM)
  • Ability to send basic bulk emails and manage mailing lists. Doesn’t include tracking (who opened, clicked etc)

Lead generation

  • Enables you to build web-to-lead forms that integrate to Zoho CRM
  • Web-to-lead can trigger auto-responder email
  • Web-to-lead can trigger automatic workflow field update, to update data in CRM (see here for more information)
  • Ability to set lead assignment rules to automatically assign sales-ready leads to the relevant salesperson

Sending basic emails from within Zoho CRM

  • Manage mailing lists
  • Create email templates with rich-text HTML editor directly from CRM
  • Send mass email campaigns to selected contacts, including those who have come in via web-to-lead (only available in Professional / Enterprise editions)
  • Campaign ROI reports to track performance of marketing activities
  • Drip campaigns - When you have a series of emails to be sent to leads (e.g. those captured via web-to-lead form) scheduled a couple of days apart, you can use the Autoresponder feature. More information available here and here (only available in Professional / Enterprise editions)
  • N.B. Email tracking is not available - you won't be able to see opens or click-throughs

For information on Zoho Campaigns, Zoho's separate email marketing tool, see below.

Opportunity reporting

  • Allows you to customise funnel stage names (see here for a great training video)
  • Offers pre-built + customisable sales reports

Zoho Creator

  • One of Zoho's many apps, Zoho Creator enables you to build surveys and forms that can be embedded on your website, and can integrate directly to Zoho CRM. More information is available here


  • Enterprise edition - $25 / user / month
  • Professional edition - $12 / user / month
  • Free edition – free for 3 users
  • More information is available here

Zoho and LinkedIn integration

Zoho enables you to access contacts’ LinkedIn profiles from within Zoho, allowing you to view their statuses, comment, and even send them InMail messages. To do this, you need to manually associate the contact’s LinkedIn profile to their Zoho record. Instructions on how to set this up are available here.

Zoho Campaigns

Zoho Campaigns was released in August 2012 as a standalone email marketing tool that integrates with Zoho CRM. From an email marketing perspective, Zoho Campaigns offers a range of features, including:

  • Building or selecting an email template
  • A/B testing
  • Social media integration
  • Auto responders
  • Drip campaigns
  • Subscription forms
  • Integration with Google Apps
  • Multiple users

Of course, a key benefit of Zoho Campaigns is its ability to closely integrate with Zoho CRMs. This means you can sync Zoho CRM contacts with Zoho Campaigns (without needing to manually export and import contacts), as well as view campaign information from within Zoho CRM.

As a new service, many of Zoho Campaigns' features are still under development. Current limitations of the service include:

  • The inability to edit the copy within double opt-in emails (i.e. the email that automatically gets sent to contacts, after they subscribe to a mailing list)
  • The inability to turn off double opt-in emails

How to Use Zoho

In Zoho CRM, you can create campaigns by entering data in the campaign details form. This allows users to then manually fill in the campaign details gathered from various external sources.The following steps demonstrate how to use Zoho successfully;

1. Associating/adding new contacts

  • In the Campaign Details page, the existing contact details, if any, are displayed.
  • Click the column headings to sort the display order of the records.
  • Click the relevant Edit link to modify the campaign member status of the contact.
  • Click the new link.
  • In the New Contact page, specify the contact details. (Refer to the Standard Fields link above)
  • Click Save.

2. Importing data

In order to Import data, use the Import My (Records) feature to import the records owned by you. By default, the records’ ownership is automatically assigned to the user who imports the records. Use Import My Organization [Module] feature to import all the records that are owned by (assigned to) the users in your organisation, including the records owned by you.

To import data

  • Click the [Module] tab. Module refers to the tabs like Leads, Contacts, Accounts, etc.
  • In the [Module] Home page, click Import [Module].
  • In the Import [Module] page do the following:
  • Choose Import My [Records] or Import My Organization [Records].
  • Browse to locate and select the required file that is to be imported.
  • Select the check box to Enable Manual Lead approval.
  • The records will be manually approved by the admin before being assigned to specific users. This option is only available while importing leads. See also Approve Records.
  • For duplicate records, select skip, overwrite or Clone (This is only available in the Paid Editions).

Under Advanced Options, complete the following steps

  • Select the Character Encoding from the list.
  • Select a Workflow Task, if required (you must first create a work flow task)
  • Select an option from the list to Assign all imported Leads to this Lead Source, which is only available while importing leads.
  • Click Next to continue.

In the Map Fieldssection, complete the following steps

  • Associate the fields in CSV/XLS file column header with the corresponding [Module] fields in Zoho CRM.
  • Click Next to continue.
  • In the Confirm Mapping section, verify whether all fields are mapped correctly.
  • Click import.
  • When the Overwrite option is selected, the duplicate records will be identified based on some fields for each type of record.
  • In case of duplicate records, only the fields that are mapped will be overwritten.
  • When you have finished importing the data into Zoho CRM, confirm the operation if you are satisfied to permanently add the data to your CRM account.

3. Exporting data

The Export Data feature allows you to export data (in CSV format) from individual CRM modules. After exporting the data, you can further validate or store the data in your own server(s).

To export data from the modules (through Data Administration Tools):

  • Click Setup > Data Administration > Export.
  • In the Export Data page, select the module from which you want to export data from the Select Module list.
  • Click Export.
  • The records will be exported and saved in .CSV format in your local disk.
  • You can export a maximum of 3000 records at a time (in paid editions).
  • To export more records, you need to request a backup. See also Request CRM Data Backup

To export data from individual module(s).

  • Click the [Module] tab (Module refers to the Leads, Contacts, Accounts, etc. tabs).
  • In the [Module] Home page, under the [Module] Tools section, click Export [Module].
  • The records will be exported and saved in .CSV format in your local disk.

4. Adding existing leads or contacts to the campaign

  • In the Campaign Details page, the associated lead or contact details, if any, are displayed.
  • Click Associate Existing Leads/Contact.
  • In the Add Existing Leads/Contacts page, specify the criteria to search the required records.
  • Click Search.
  • Under Matching Leads/Contacts, select the check box(es) of the records that you want to associate to the campaign.
  • Select the Campaign Member Status from the Status drop-down list.
  • Click Add to Campaign.
  • The selected records will be associated to the campaign.

For more information, see Understanding Zoho CRM and for help, see Configuring ZOHO.