Zoho CRM Review: Is It Right for Your Business?
This article is part of a larger series on CRM.
Zoho CRM is one of our top-recommended customer relationship management (CRM) systems for small businesses. Based on our evaluation of the best CRMs, Zoho CRM scored high in the areas of pricing, general features, specialized features, ease of use, and expert score. It got a lower score in customer service, as it requires users to subscribe to paid plans or premium support packages to get access to phone and live chat support.
What We Like
- Offers a free plan (good for very small teams) and a range of affordable pricing options
- Easy to set up and use—making it a great option for novice users
- Has artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities
- Easily integrates with Zoho’s ecosystem of business tools, including Zoho Desk and Zoho Campaigns
- Has limited file storage allocation in most plans; only the Enterprise plan offers a 5GB storage allocation
- Limited customer support; premium support requires a separate purchase
When to Use Zoho CRM
- Accounting and finance: Zoho CRM is our top recommended CRM for accountants and bookkeepers.
- Social media management: Zoho CRM ranked #2 in our guide to the best social CRM platforms, next to HubSpot CRM.
- All-inclusive small business CRM: This platform is our third-best choice for the top CRMs for small businesses
- Free CRM: Zoho CRM ranks third in our list of the best free CRMs for small businesses
When to Use an Alternative
- White labeling: Read this guide to find a provider that allows you to rebrand and resell customized CRM software.
- Real estate marketing: Check out this guide if you are a real estate agent looking for a CRM with marketing tools.
- More than 3 users in the free plan: Consider using HubSpot CRM, Really Simple Systems, or Bitrix24 if you need a CRM with unlimited user allocation.
Zoho CRM is a CRM system that enables businesses of all sizes to manage their sales, marketing, customer service, and inventory needs in a centralized platform. It provides users with essential features such as lead and deal management, lead scoring, sales forecasting, email marketing, social media marketing, and analytics. It is best for growing organizations looking for a scalable, all-in-one CRM solution.
Zoho CRM Deciding Factors
Supported Business Types
Freelancers and home-based businesses, as well as small teams to enterprise-level companies, depending on the plan chosen
Monthly and annual plans are available
Looking for something else? There are other CRM platforms that offer free plans with higher user limits and low-cost system customization. If you think your business could benefit from these attributes, check out our guide to the best Zoho CRM alternatives.
Zoho CRM offers a free version with an allocation for three users, and four paid plans that range from $14 to $52 per user on a monthly basis, billed annually. It offers essential CRM features, such as deal and opportunity management, multiple sales pipelines, workflows, sales forecasting, social media tools, and email marketing.
Apart from its standard pricing plans, Zoho CRM also offers two special editions: Zoho Bigin and CRM Plus. Zoho Bigin has a free version and a paid plan that starts at $7 per user, per month billed annually. It is a pipeline-centric CRM with basic features made especially for small businesses. Meanwhile, CRM Plus costs $57 per user, each month when billed annually, and offers tools for a help desk, campaign management, analytics, and social media marketing.
Freelancers and home-based businesses
Small teams and organizations that need an affordable, all-in-one solution
Mid-sized teams and businesses that need extensive email marketing tools
Large companies and sales teams that need AI and predictive sales tools
Large companies that need more user licenses as well as robust analytics and business intelligence tools
Up to three users
Lead & Contact Management
Social Media Management
Zoho CRM pricing add-ons:
- Additional file storage: $4.60 for 5GB per month
- Additional data storage (Professional and up): $4 per 100MB for less than 200 users and $2 per 100MB for more than 200 users
- Additional data backup: $12 per request
For more information on Zoho CRM’s subscription options, select a plan from the drop-down menu below:
The Free plan has an allocation for a maximum of three users. It offers essential CRM features, including lead, contact, account, and deal management. The Free plan also offers workflow automation, standard reports, and basic email marketing features, such as email templates, email opt-out, and email authentication. However, it lacks some helpful tools like analytics, social media management, inventory management, and third-party integrations.
The Standard plan offers everything under the Free plan and has an unlimited user allocation. Its added features include sales forecasting, email insights, multiple sales pipelines, and report scheduling. It also offers robust social media integration tools that enrich customer data using the information found on Twitter and Facebook, as well as automated lead generation through social media.
Zoho CRM’s Professional plan has similar features to the Standard plan. Notable additions include task assignment rules, inventory management, and customer case management. Unlimited email templates, unlimited custom reports, and a Microsoft Outlook integration also begin with this tier.
The Enterprise plan has more advanced features, with prediction and artificial intelligence (AI) tools being the most standout addition. It offers users conversational AI through its assistant Zia (comparable to Apple’s Siri), which helps users retrieve the information they need and suggest the best times to contact leads and customers. Its analytics offerings also include webform analytics, webform A/B testing, and workflow reports.
Zoho CRM’s highest-priced plan, Ultimate, offers similar features to the Enterprise plan. However, it comes with the highest possible feature limits in terms of API (application programming interface), territories, rules, data enrichment, page layouts, portals, web forms, roles, profiles, and social brands. It also has advanced business intelligence bundled with Zoho Analytics premium edition.
Aside from the pricing plans listed above, Zoho CRM also offers two special CRM editions:
Zoho Bigin s a pipeline-centric CRM made especially for small businesses and offers fewer features than Zoho CRM. It has a free version with 500 records, three workflows, a single pipeline, and a built-in phone. Its Express version, priced at $7 per user, per month (when billed annually), offers 50,000 records, 25 workflows, 20 email templates, and multiple pipelines.
CRM Plus priced at $57 per user, monthly (when billed annually), is a unified customer experience platform that offers nine powerful services for customer-facing teams in a single interface. These include:
- CRM for sales automation and pipeline management
- SalesIQ for live chat and visitor tracking
- Help desk
- Project management tools
- Campaigns for marketing automation
- Analytics for unified insights across your teams
- SalesInbox for sales emails
- Social media marketing
- Customer surveys
Zoho CRM Features
In this Zoho CRM review, we gave this provider’s general features a score of 5 because it provides sales teams with a wide range of sales management features all in one platform. This allows them to manage sales force automation, workflows, CRM reports, inventory, and emails in a single place, even from a mobile app. It also has robust reporting and analytics capabilities, team collaboration tools, and third-party integrations.
Check out Zoho CRM’s general features below:
- Lead management
- Contact management
- Deal management
- Opportunity management
- Sales forecasting
- Email automation
- Email marketing
- Sales reporting
- Social media management
- Territory management
Zoho CRM’s lead generation and management feature helps users identify quality leads from a pool of incoming leads. It allows them to engage with leads closely across multiple touchpoints, such as live chat and social media. It also has robust lead scoring rules that let users prioritize their sales leads with positive and negative scoring to foster faster conversions.
Zoho CRM’s social media tools let users monitor mentions of their brand on various social channels like Facebook and Twitter, and post to their social media pages directly from their CRM page. It also lets them set up workflow triggers that automatically add leads and contacts from social media based on the type of customer interaction, and even assign them to the appropriate sales rep.
Zoho CRM’s artificial intelligence (AI) assistant, Zia, offers users a conversational AI tool that helps them perform and complete their tasks more efficiently. Zia helps users with everyday activities, from taking notes to computing sales numbers. Users can easily reach Zia from the bottom corner of their desktop screen or by calling her from their mobile app.
Zoho CRM’s territory management feature allows users to segment accounts, contacts, and deals into specific territories. It lets them build hierarchies by creating territories and subterritories. Users can also define conditions for each of these territories and assign records accordingly.
Zoho CRM has integration capabilities with many third-party applications, enabling users to synchronize customer data into the platform. They can also manage social media accounts and projects, generate email marketing and customer service performance insights, as well as enhance their team’s overall productivity levels.
Some of Zoho CRM’s most popular integrations include:
- Google Workspace
Zoho CRM earned a score of 3.13 out of 5 for its customer service because of the limited support options available in the lower-tier plans. Free plan users only have access to self-help resources and 24/5 email assistance with a 24-hour turnaround time. For paid plan users, phone support for critical requests is available during business hours.
For paid plan users who want more immediate and hands-on assistance, Zoho CRM offers two paid support plans: Premium and Enterprise. Premium support is priced at $114 per month or $1,128 per year or 20% of the recurring license fee, whichever is higher. Enterprise support is priced at 25% of the recurring license fee.
$114 per month or $1,128 per year or 20% of the recurring license fee, whichever is higher
25% of the recurring license fee
Paid plans only
Paid plans only
Paid plans with 25 or more subscribers
Maximum Response for Email Support
Phone Support (Toll-free)
Critical requests only
Onboarding & Dedicated Technical Account Manager
We gave Zoho CRM a score of 4 out of 5 for ease of use because its intuitive interface and simplified admin controls make it easy to use and implement. However, it is best suited for mid-level users who have technical skills as its deep customization options can be overwhelming for novice users. It offers a comprehensive knowledge base, guided tours, online training, and webinars for those who want a deeper knowledge of the platform and want to learn how to get the best out of their subscription.
This Zoho CRM review yielded a score of 4 out of 5 for expert scores because the majority of its recent customer ratings online are positive. Most of them recommend this platform for its wide range of options for different types of businesses, scalability, powerful features, and robust integration options. While it is feature-packed, most users say it is easy to learn and use once you get past the initial learning curve.
Some users reported encountering lags and glitches in areas like lead uploads, account lists, and workflows. Others recounted being overwhelmed with its customization options and processes. Nevertheless, they found its online resources to be very helpful in troubleshooting common issues.
At the time of this publication, Zoho CRM had the following scores from popular user review sites:
- G2: 4 out of 5 based on 2,202 reviews
- Capterra: 4.3 out of 5 based on 5,846 reviews
- Gartner: 4.4 out of 5 based on 705 reviews
Methodology: How We Evaluated Zoho CRM
To evaluate Zoho CRM against other CRM software, we tested each system ourselves. We examined different and crucial areas, such as pricing, core CRM features, quality of customer support, and ease of use. We also looked at recent CRM ratings about Zoho CRM from credible review sites.
Click through the tabs below for our Zoho CRM review evaluation criteria:
10% of Overall Score
Cost is typically an important criterion for any business, so it was one of our considerations when evaluating the cost-effectiveness of Zoho CRM. We usually give a high score to providers that offer a starter plan that costs $30 or less. We also check the availability of a free plan, scalable pricing options, and options to pay monthly or annually.
10% of Overall Score
We looked at overall features we feel are necessary for any CRM system, such as integration options, reporting, and analytics tools. We also considered the availability of a mobile app—which is important for sales reps who are always on the go.
30% of Overall Score
We also looked at the niche and targeted features of the software to see the value a user can get by subscribing. For Zoho CRM, we checked if they offer specialized features such as lead scoring, email and SMS marketing, workflow automation, and appointment booking.
20% of Overall Score
We evaluated Zoho CRM’s platform usability and the level of technical experience needed to use the system. This was analyzed in terms of the expertise needed to set up an account, the learning curve for learning to use its features, and the ease of integrating with other third-party applications.
20% of Overall Score
Support is a critical part of running any CRM tool, especially for small businesses that don’t have in-house technical support. We analyzed the types and availability of support offered by these providers through live chat, email, and phone.
10% of Overall Score
We looked through existing and best CRM reviews on credible sites to measure the level of satisfaction current users have and any problems they typically encounter. We also added our thoughts and expert opinion on key features, value for money, and popularity.
Zoho CRM’s greatest strengths are its lead and contact management features, reporting, email marketing, social integration, and conversational AI capabilities. Aside from offering a full set of features for large organizations, it is also great for startups and growing companies. It lets users start with a lower plan and then upgrade to a higher tier when they scale their business.
You can sign up for a free trial or get started with its Free plan to see Zoho CRM in action.
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