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Zoho serves up eight separate products as a new, single CRM Plus

Zoho serves up eight separate products as a new, single CRM Plus

Zoho serves up eight separate products as a new, single CRM Plus

Zoho serves up eight separate products as a new, single CRM Plus

Above: From the Zoho website

Until today, Zoho’s two dozen-plus products have been offered a la carte. Now, the company is launching a full meal of eight products — its new CRM Plus.

“This is the biggest release [yet] for Zoho,” the company’s chief evangelist Raju Vegesna told VentureBeat, “because CRM is our most important product.” It’s also the first time, he said, that Zoho has created an integrated offering.

Zoho’s previous Customer Relationship Management product was sales-focused, which Vegesna said is the orientation of most CRMs.

“The ‘relationship’ part is often forgotten,” he said.

The intention of the new product is to foster customer relationships through a single version of separate marketing, sales, and support tools.

Zoho intends for users to be able to do more than they could by simply exchanging information between the separate products. For example, Vegesna noted that a survey inside a marketing email could have responses automatically transferred to CRM profiles, and the creation of a followup email survey could then become a task in project management.

Six previously separate products — CRM, Support, Campaigns, Survey, Projects, and Reports — plus new products Sales IQ and Social now constitute Plus.

Projects inside the new Zoho CRM Plus

Above: Projects inside the new Zoho CRM Plus

Social is a Hootsuite-like social media management console. Sales IQ enables website owners to gather data about individual visitors, who are then automatically added to CRM and, the marketer would hope, induced into the sales funnel.

Zoho points to special features such as Social’s Smart Schedule for scheduling social communications when the highest number of followers are likely to be around. There’s also an update that the company says makes its existing VOIP phone system integration easier from within the new product.

And there’s data integration with Google AdWords so that performance of those online ads can be tracked as a driver of sales.

A key competitor to the new CRM Plus, Vegesna said, is Salesforce, but he characterized it as less of a single, integrated product than Plus, even with all of its Clouds. Other CRMs — focused like Salesforce on larger organizations — include Microsoft Dynamics CRM and SugarCRM.

Single-purpose competitors, he said, include Zendesk for support, Constant Contact for email marketing, SurveyMonkey, and others.

In addition to citing the advantage of a single tool in CRM Plus, Zoho is touting its pricing — $50/user/month.

If this works so well, why didn’t Zoho put its products together before?

“We deliberately didn’t do it because the products were in various maturation stages,” Vegesna said. “We waited until the products [could] mature.” The company also noticed that some of its users were “paying for five-plus apps in a year.”

Now that Zoho has put a bunch of its separate offerings together, should we expect more such integrated products from the company?

Yes, Vegesna told us. “Expect packages on the accounting, collaboration, and productivity sides,” he said, “and maybe one price for all [our] products.”

Zoho Corp is the company behind 3 great brands: Zoho, ManageEngine and WebNMS Zoho offers apps that help businesses get more sales, get paid, support their customers and become more productive. Zoho has more than 6 million users wo… read more »

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