Zoho One: What is it and should I use it?

A lot of small businesses make use of all sorts of different types of software. They might use MailChimp for email marketing, Calendly for appointment booking, Wave for bookkeeping, etc. A key piece of software many businesses use is called a CRM system, or Customer Relationship Management system. The CRM system is very often the beating heart of a company.

So what is a CRM system? A CRM system allows you to easily manage all the relationships you have with your various contacts whether it’s a customer, a prospective customer, a vendor, or anyone else with whom you may have business dealings. Most are set up in such a way that you can manage the majority of your business from it. Some common names you might hear in the small business world are HoneyBook, 17hats, and Dubsado. These include a CRM system along with many other features such as appointment scheduling, workflow automation, digital signing, and more.

But What is Zoho One?

In short, Zoho One is very similar to these other software companies in that they offer a CRM with other features needed to run your business. The biggest difference is in the sheer number of features included with Zoho One. It is a compilation of over 40 cloud-based business apps all rolled into a single, easy-to-use system. If you need software to do something in your business, there is a very good chance Zoho One provides that capability.

Here are just a few of the most commonly used apps:

  • Zoho CRM – A customer relationship management app to help keep track of your leads, contacts, deals, and more
  • Zoho Forms – Create forms to easily capture information from potential leads and customers
  • Zoho Bookings – An appointment scheduler able to sync with your personal calendar to help you manage appointments better
  • Zoho Books – A bookkeeping app, similar to QuickBooks, that can help you automate the payment process
  • Zoho Sign – Securely send and sign documents such as contracts and invoices
  • Zoho Campaigns – Email marketing software to easily send and automate marketing emails
  • Zoho Social – Social media management software which allows you to schedule and interact with social media posts in one spot

What’s so great about Zoho One?

Everything in One Spot

While most other CRM systems come with a bunch of other features baked into them, they often lack a few important features that small business owners frequently use, such as email marketing and social media management. If they don’t have the features you need, you will need to use yet another program. It’s not too bad when it’s just a couple, but it starts to become a headache when you need to use lots of different programs for different aspects of your business. Zoho One has features that other systems lack, plus a lot more, all packaged into an easy-to-use system.

Here is a nice little comparison we made of Zoho One with several of its competitors in the small business realm:

CRM Comparison5
*Zoho One is 30 USD / Month if you are a solopreneur. See their pricing information for more details

Look at all of those features! And that’s not even half of them!

Even though it sounds like it might be hard to navigate Zoho given there are over 40 apps, it’s actually quite simple. You start out at your home page where you can install and organize apps you need to use (most small businesses probably won’t use more than 10 or so). Each feature of Zoho One is in its own app, so it’s very easy to find what you need. If you need to create a form, go to the Forms app. If you need to set up an email marketing campaign, go to the Campaigns app. If you need to set up automated workflows between apps, go the the Flow app. No searching around in menus to find what you need. Isn’t it great?

Look how clean and neat it is! Much easy! Very awe! Wow!
Automate All the Things

If you don’t want to drive yourself insane, then automating your business processes is the key. With automation, you can send forms, contracts, invoices, etc. all without needing to do a thing (once you have it set up, that is). All you need to do is plan out your business processes, set up a workflow, and you’re done. No more (or at least very little) of that tedious work that is so boring to do.

Most systems such as Dubsado have a lot of built in workflow automation options. However, issues might arise if you need to integrate it with another piece of software. For example, let’s say you have a CRM system and an email marketing system, and you want to add a contact to a mailing list upon completion of a form. To do this, you would need a third piece of software to connect the two together, such as Zapier. For the most part, Zapier is amazing and integrates with the majority of software you will be using, but if it doesn’t it can be difficult to find a work-around. The other potential issue with needing to use another program to integrate your systems with each other is that it will add cost if you need to use it quite a bit.

Zoho makes it very simple and easy to connect all the different apps together. It has its own app, called Zoho Flow, which functions very similarly to Zapier. You connect the various apps to Zoho Flow, then start making your workflow with triggers and actions. Because all of the apps are created by Zoho, they integrate with each other very well. Zoho Flow can also connect other software to its apps, just like Zapier.

Zoho Flow is very straightforward to use and makes it easy to quickly understand what a workflow does at a glance. This workflow is triggered by a form submission. It will then create a contact in the CRM, add a tag to that contact, send that contact an email, and then add that contact to a mailing list if they opted in.
Best Bang For Your Buck

While there are other systems that can do a lot of what Zoho One can, you will be hard-pressed to find a single system with this much functionality for such a small price. If you are a solopreneur it only costs 30 USD / Month for a license with access to all of the Zoho apps. Isn’t that insane? Just the email marketing feature alone would cost $79 elsewhere for the same functionality. Here’s another handy list we made to better show what you might expect to pay using third-party programs to get a similar level of functionality:

Online Storage - 12 USD / Month
Email Marketing - 79 USD / Month
Social Media Management - 25 USD / Month
Event Management - Starts at ~1 USD / Ticket
Online Video Conferencing - 13 USD / Month
3rd Party App Integration & Automation Software - 50 USD / Month
*Average cost is calculated by taking the average price of 3-4 different Zoho competitors’ plans that have a similar level of functionality.

Zoho One gives you a lot for your money. You are getting 1863 USD / Month worth of features for only 30 USD / Month if you’re a solopreneur. Even if you have more employees and need more licenses it’s an amazing deal. It’s even a good deal if you only use it for just a couple of its features! You can save a lot of money over using other CRMs + Third-party software.

Is Zoho One Right For Me?

What you need will depend on your business, so there might be something else that’s a better fit for you. In our opinion Zoho One is an excellent choice for most small businesses. If you want to replicate everything that Zoho One can do, we don’t know if you could even find another small business-friendly system that can do it all for such a low price. If you want to try it out, Zoho offers a 30-day trial so you can mess around with it and see if you like it or not. You probably won’t be able to get down deep into it without going through and configuring everything, but you can at least see how you would navigate it. You might as well give it a try, what do you have to lose?

Feel free to book a call to talk with us to see if Zoho will fit the needs of your project.

Welcome to the Stargazed Studio Blog! A space where we expand on topics relevant to our business and our clients, dive deep into our resources and work systems, share tutorials, prompts, and parts of our business journey, and recommend you things we love to use ourselves.

Cameron Lacey

March 6, 2021


Cameron Lacey

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