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Zoho CRM Review

Nadia Reckmann
Nadia Reckmann
business.com Staff
Updated Jul 19, 2022

Affordable, intuitive and beautifully designed, Zoho CRM is our pick for best mobile CRM software. While its comprehensive desktop version offers a variety of essential CRM features, it’s the powerful mobile app that truly sets this CRM apart. From checking tasks to updating records to accelerating sales with an AI assistant, Zoho’s CRM software makes it easy to nurture customer relationships from anywhere. The mobile app feeds data to all team members effortlessly, facilitating collaboration on the go.

Zoho CRM Review

Zoho CRM

The Verdict

Zoho CRM's desktop and mobile versions offer extensive contact management, team collaboration, automation and analytics for sales reps and managers no matter where they are, earning our pick for the best mobile CRM.

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Zoho CRM Editor’s score: 9.4/10

Pricing/value9.7/10
Features9.5/10
Customizations, add-ons and integrations9.1/10
Ease of use9.6/10
Customer service9.3/10

Why We Chose Zoho CRM as the Best Mobile CRM Software

Zoho CRM is an easy-to-use and uncluttered CRM for small businesses whose sales representatives are used to working remotely or are always on the go. It offers comprehensive contact and deal management, with some unique features like the opportunity to run macros – a set of actions or sequences that can be applied to a group of contacts – and convert leads in a click with automatically created associated accounts and deals. 

Zoho CRM’s desktop features are expertly mirrored in its mobile CRM app. With your mobile device, you can easily collaborate with your team, communicate with leads, stay on top of tasks and navigate to your next meeting. Unlike many of the other best CRM software, Zoho CRM also offers remote access to analytics, visual dashboards and AI-powered sales insights and voice assistance, making it our top choice for a mobile CRM. 

FYIFYI: Those looking for a complete customer experience solution could benefit from Zoho CRM Plus, which combines marketing, CRM, help desk and customer service tools in one application. When billed annually, the pricing ranges from $14 to $52 per user per month.

Zoho CRM mobile app
The Zoho CRM mobile app is available on Android and iOS.

What We Like About Zoho CRM

  • Zoho CRM’s mobile app has extensive contact and deal management and collaboration features, as well as enhanced reports and conversational AI.
  • A new account is generously populated with sample data, including metrics and activity.
  • The vendor offers a variety of native apps and business integrations through Zoho Marketplace, making it easy to bring all the tools you use together in one system.

What We Don’t Like About Zoho CRM

  • All plans except Ultimate come with only 1GB of file storage (with the option to buy more).
  • Helpful customization options such as custom buttons and modules, page layouts, and a developer sandbox are available on the upper-tier plans only.

Ease of Use

Zoho CRM’s initial setup is quick and easy, thanks to detailed instructions on the company’s website and the provided sample data. A large knowledge base and an active user community can help if you run into any snags. You can also contact Zoho’s customer support via email, phone or live chat. Upper-tier plans also come with onboarding and remote screen-sharing assistance, help configuring personalized settings, and a dedicated account manager. For administrators comfortable working “under the hood,” Zoho CRM offers a sandbox for testing system configurations and modifications in a secure setting before deploying them into the live CRM environment.

Despite having many advanced tools, Zoho’s desktop application is remarkably easy to learn, removing a familiar challenge of CRM adoption. It uses common business and sales terminology throughout the system, making it easy for users to get up to speed quickly without having to learn unfamiliar or technical jargon. Features are intuitive and thoughtfully laid out, offering enough tools to manage complex customer relationship data without overwhelming users with too many features.

Zoho’s mobile app is similarly streamlined. The features are tightly integrated with Android and iOS operating systems and strike a nice balance between consistency with the desktop version and a smartphone’s native features. Data syncs instantly when users make changes to customer information while online, or automatically when they reconnect to a network. The navigation function works seamlessly, so it’s simple to reach the leads in your area and even check in at meetings right from your phone. Zoho’s optional business card scanner app is equally foolproof, automatically importing contacts directly into the CRM’s database in a couple of clicks.

FYIFYI: Zoho’s customer support team promises a response time as short as one hour, depending on the service plan.

Zoho CRM Features

How do you choose the right CRM, and what should you look for in such a system? The Zoho CRM has appealing features for businesses prioritizing mobile usage in addition to typical customer relationship management tools.

Mobile App

Some CRM mobile apps offer only basic features, like record and note access. In contrast, Zoho CRM’s smartphone apps include important functions such as analytics dashboards, team collaboration tools, map integration, voice notes and call logging to extend the CRM’s usability to remote and mobile workers. Zoho’s AI-powered assistant, Zia, helps sales professionals complete routine or recurring tasks such as updating records, adding notes and managing the sales pipeline. Zia responds to simple text-based or natural-language commands. The phrases you use can be configured as well. 

TipTip: If you want to go beyond navigating to your next meeting and build sales routes with optimized navigation and visualized maps, connect Zoho CRM to Zoho RouteIQ for an extra fee.

Zoho also offers a well-tuned business card scanner that must be installed separately. It allows your team members to instantly capture lead information and add it to the Zoho CRM whenever and wherever they receive a business card.

Zoho CRM mobile app sales records
Zoho CRM’s mobile app keeps a detailed record of each contact’s sales activities.

Data Analytics

Zoho offers abundant CRM metrics and analytics that take the guesswork out of strategic decisions. Custom reports and cohort metrics enable business owners to examine data from multiple angles by curating information from marketing campaigns, quotes, leads, deals and sales activities. Zoho’s AI-powered Anomaly Detector highlights any potential issues in your sales process so that you don’t have to try to spot bottlenecks yourself. You can create CRM reports from scratch or use one of several templates and then export and share them as CSV, Excel or PDF files. Zoho’s mobile app frees you from being tied to an office and allows you to monitor, zoom in on, share and present key metrics from anywhere. 

FYIFYI: If you want to add a speck of gamification to the healthy competition between your sales reps, you can use Zoho’s Motivator to visualize key performance indicators (KPIs) and even offer trophies to top performers.

Zoho CRM dashboard
Zoho CRM’s customizable sales dashboard provides a look at your company’s most important sales data.

Comprehensive Basic Tier

Unlike many other tiered CRM solutions, Zoho offers many popular CRM features in its entry-level plan. Reports and dashboards, a document library, defined roles and profiles, scoring rules, multiple pipelines, social data profile enrichment, marketing campaigns, sales forecasting tools, call center connectors, and the ability to send mass emails are all available to Standard plan subscribers. Plus, you get the capacity to hold a whopping 100,000 records. Compare that to our Keap review, which notes that only 1,500 contacts are permitted on its cheapest plan.

Integrations

No other CRM makes it easier than Zoho to integrate all your favorite products. Users have access to more than 40 native apps, and through the Zoho Marketplace, they can select from integrations with hundreds of broadly used programs – like GoToMeeting, Twilio, DocuSign and Eventbrite – essential apps like Google Workspace, Microsoft 365, Slack, Shopify and Mailchimp; and more industry-specific solutions, like Zadarma for phone systems or CData Excel, which allows users to change information in Excel and see it reflected in Zoho CRM. Most integrations are accompanied by quick videos giving an overview of the app’s functionality. We love how these make the integration process much easier. 

Zoho CRM Shopify integration
Zoho CRM integrates with Shopify, a favorite of e-commerce businesses.

Customization

There are some customization options, like custom fields and custom list views, available on all of Zoho CRM’s plans. However, at the Enterprise level, you can create advanced custom views, change page layouts, add custom buttons and conditional fields, and build custom modules. At the Ultimate level, you also gain a generous amount of custom modules and fields as well as a higher level of customer support.  

Zoho CRM Pricing

Zoho CRM has four subscription tiers and two payment options. For each tier – except the highest one, Ultimate – users can pay monthly (rather than annually) for a slightly higher per-user cost. Some small businesses may want to consider paying monthly if they are wary of committing to an annual plan, but in general, it’s best to make an informed decision from the start and opt for the money-saving yearly payment. 

You can always take advantage of the vendor’s free edition, which is completely cost- and obligation-free, to get a sense of what this CRM can do for your company. It allows up to three users and offers basic contact and deal management, email marketing, standard reports, and one web form. [Related article: 11 Powerful Reasons to Invest in CRM Software]

All prices below apply when billed annually.

Standard

Price: $14 per user per month

Features: Everything in the Free plan, plus lead scoring, automation workflows, multiple pipelines, mass email, sales forecasting, custom fields and reports, KPIs, social data enrichment, classic level of support,  and 1GB of free file storage

Professional

Price: $23 per user per month

Features: Everything in the Standard plan, plus custom links, unlimited custom list views and custom reports, workflow blueprints, and Google Ads integration

Enterprise

Price: $40 per user per month

Features: Everything in the Professional plan, plus custom signals, custom modules and buttons, page layouts, conversational AI (Zia) and AI-powered sales insights, multi-user portals, data enrichment, and advanced analytics

Ultimate

Price: $52 per user per month

Features: Everything in the Enterprise plan, plus enhanced storage and feature limits, advanced customer support, dedicated database clusters, 5GB of free file storage, and an extended 30-day trial    

FYIFYI: Our review of Zoho Books and our Zoho Assist review explain what else this provider has to offer small businesses.

Zoho AI flags potential anomalies in customer communication
Zoho’s AI flags potential anomalies in customer communication.

Implementation and Onboarding

Zoho CRM’s extensive documentation and user guides make it a breeze to set up your new system. There are only a few deployment steps required before the CRM is ready to use:

  1. Enter the time zone, language and basic company information.
  2. Configure the security settings.
  3. Set user roles and permissions.
  4. Customize the modules, record details and page layout.
  5. Automate workflows.
  6. Import existing data.

Most of these steps can be completed in just a few days, but customization options may require additional tweaking as needs become more clearly defined.

TipTip: If you want assistance with migrating your data, send an email to migration@zohocrm.com, and a vendor representative will contact you.

Zoho CRM supports dozens of add-ons and integrations, including options for highly rated business phone systems, productivity tools and external cloud storage. This functionality is included with all paid service plans, but some integrations require paid licenses. Fortunately, they can be set up anytime after the CRM is deployed, giving you time to assess your company’s overall needs.

Zoho CRM blueprints
You can facilitate Zoho CRM’s implementation with blueprints.

Customer Service

Zoho CRM offers four support levels: Basic, Classic, Premium and Enterprise. While Basic and Classic are available for free, the others come at an additional cost of 20% and 25% of the license fee, respectively, but also include perks like remote assistance, product onboarding and reduced response time.   

In our customer service testing with the company, we initially found it difficult to get a clear understanding of the features included in each plan. When we reached out a second time, we had a better experience. The representative was very patient and knowledgeable and even set up a time to discuss the platform further.       

One support area where Zoho shines is digital documentation. You can find a wealth of instructions and documentation online, as well as detailed tutorials, training videos, and live and on-demand webinars.

FYIFYI: Upper-level service plans support 28 languages and multiple global currencies for businesses with international workers and customers.

Limitations  One potential drawback of Zoho CRM is that its tiered plans mean you may have to opt for a more expensive plan to get one relevant feature. For example, while the Standard plan may seem enticing at first glance, integration with Google Ads is available only with the Professional plan. If that’s valuable to your company, it may be worth the expense, though the costs add up when you’re paying by number of users.

In addition, some of the vendor’s clients have complained about slow connections at times. While your experience may differ, this is worth keeping in mind. Zoho CRM is an alternative to high-cost, implementation-heavy products, so don’t expect it to perform like one. As long as Zoho’s features meet your needs, it’s a safe bet, especially if you prioritize mobile usability. But if you want a powerhouse system, opt for a heavier-duty product such as the Salesforce CRM. Read our full Salesforce review for all the details.

Methodology

This review is based on our in-depth comparative research of dozens of software solutions in the CRM category and a product review process that included communicating with the customer support team, evaluating the product’s functionality, attending live webinars, and assessing numerous tutorials and support materials. As part of our investigation, we took a close look at Zoho’s features and available functionality, including the mobile app, contact and deal management, sales automation, reporting and analytics, customization options, available integrations, and pricing.

FAQs

Is Zoho CRM free?

Zoho CRM has a free plan with basic contact and deal management features, email marketing, reporting, and lead collection. Zoho also offers a free version of the pipeline-based CRM solution Bigin for entrepreneurs and ultra-small businesses that are ready to graduate from Excel sheets but don’t necessarily require full CRM functionality.  

Who should use Zoho CRM?

While Zoho offers an Enterprise plan, it is best suited for small and midsize businesses that want to keep track of their contacts, deals and team performance, as well as manage sales activities on the go with Zoho CRM’s mobile app. 

Bottom Line

We recommend Zoho CRM for …

  • Companies with a lot of field sales reps and remote workers who want to manage their sales and contacts on the go.
  • Small and midsize businesses looking for relatively advanced CRM functionality at an affordable price.
  • Teams that want the option to seamlessly integrate customer support, marketing and IT management services with their CRM. 

We do not recommend Zoho CRM for …

  • Companies that need a feature-heavy CRM to manage complex customer relationships and interactions.
  • Large teams that need a free service plan.
  • Businesses that need extensive file storage at no extra cost.

Lisa McGreevy contributed to the writing and research in this review.

Zoho CRM Review

Zoho CRM

The Verdict

Zoho CRM's desktop and mobile versions offer extensive contact management, team collaboration, automation and analytics for sales reps and managers no matter where they are, earning our pick for the best mobile CRM.

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Nadia Reckmann
Nadia Reckmann
business.com Staff
During her years as a professional business writer, Nadia Reckmann has written hundreds of articles with a focus on SMB strategy, operations, technology, and tools that are essential for business success. In addition to that, she creates content that helps small businesses and entrepreneurs improve their marketing techniques, sales performance, and communication strategy. She also writes about CRM and other essential business software, team and project management, and productivity.