Zoho One CRM – Everything You Need to Know

Zoho One is customer relationship management software (otherwise known as a CRM) that gives you access to 40+ apps to manage nearly every sales and business operations need. With an appealing price point, and the ability to make a one-and-done purchase decision, Zoho One can be an attractive option. That said, there are a few things you should know before choosing Zoho CRM.

An important note: Zoho actually offers two CRM-related products: Zoho One, and Zoho CRM Plus. While Zoho CRM Plus sounds like a solid and affordable option, in reality you would need to upgrade (and pay significantly more) for multiple other Zoho “apps” just to get features that are standard in the minimum tier of almost every other CRM. Zoho One, on the other hand, includes all 40+ Zoho apps (including Zoho CRM), bundling nearly every feature you could ever need into a slightly higher subscription price.

This article is primarily focused on Zoho One.

Zoho One Strengths & Weaknesses

Even the best CRM platforms have strengths and weaknesses, and Zoho One is no exception. Knowing the potential pros and cons of the CRM tool you’re looking to purchase is an essential part of the research process. Read on to learn what we’ve discovered as experienced Zoho CRM users.

Strengths of Zoho One:

For the price, Zoho One is the more well-rounded of the two CRM-related Zoho products, especially for small businesses and startups with limited sales and marketing teams. It integrates with Salesforce, HubSpot, MailChimp, and other solutions. The Zoho CRM mobile app allows you to receive notifications anywhere and access and modify customer data even while offline.

Zoho One is affordable

Individual subscription costs can add up fast, and Zoho One’s bundle of 40+ sales, marketing, and other business operations apps is a compelling reason to consider Zoho One. Unfortunately, in our experience, this strength is also one of Zoho’s greatest weaknesses, but more on that later.

Zoho One is an all-in-one solution for business processes

Along with including a complete CRM, Zoho One markets itself as a business operating system. With sales, marketing, support, HR, accounting, and operations software bundled into one semi-integrated platform, Zoho One is a one-stop shop for business software needs.

For example, Zoho Analytics allows you to create custom reports and configure dashboards with varying layouts, and Zoho Campaigns allows you to manage your email marketing campaigns across customizable email templates.

While that’s all well and good, there are a few things you should know before settling on Zoho One for your CRM.

Weaknesses of Zoho One:

When choosing a CRM software, one of the most important things to look for is the combination of scalability and user experience. In other words, your sales CRM should be easy enough to use that your sales reps will like it and commit to using it, and it should be scalable enough to still be a good choice as your business grows.

Zoho One’s user interface is terrible

With a visually confusing user interface and perplexing navigation, Zoho One scores negative points in the user experience category. CRM software is supposed to be the lifeblood of your sales team, but when it’s difficult or impossible to learn and use, reps end up not using it properly or, even worse, not using it at all.

Customer support is available 24/7, but a dedicated help desk doesn’t make up for a negative customer experience.

Zoho One can do almost everything, but none of it well

While Zoho One provides a ton of functionality, none of the apps are truly good enough to stand on their own. Zoho Sites may give you a website, but it isn’t WordPress. Zoho’s combination of Zoho Books, Payroll, Invoice, and Expense apps doesn’t even come close to the functionality of QuickBooks. You may love the idea of a one-stop shop for your entire business needs but you’re in for a rude awakening if you try to replace your specialized platforms with Zoho apps.

Zoho One’s user experience is also terrible

A good portion of the “apps” included in Zoho One – forms, sales pipeline management, meeting scheduler, and document library – are standard features in almost any CRM solution, not add-ons. Splitting these features into apps (each with their own unique navigation) is not user-friendly and results in an experience that’s clunky, disjointed, and extremely frustrating.

While some CRM systems may charge extra for certain features, it’s insane to compartmentalize each one. Zoho One users need to constantly click to the main menu, find another app, open it, perform a task, click to the main menu, go back to the CRM, etc. And, since apps are separate modules, it’s often not possible to link tasks between two modules.

Zoho One features you might find helpful

  • CRM – basic, non-intuitive customer relationship and pipeline management.
  • Appointment scheduling – allows customers to book a meeting with you at a time that works for them.
  • Email marketing – create, send, and track email campaigns in real time.
  • Forms – build lead generation and customer engagement forms.
  • Chat – team instant messaging tool.
  • Shared inboxes – allow teams to manage shared email inboxes and turn emails into tasks.
  • Workflow automation – automate routine tasks and sales processes for your team members.

As we mentioned before, these features are usually included in most CRMs, rather than standalone apps, and the lack of true integration among everything makes the user experience subpar.

Bottom line:

Not recommended, unless you don’t care about the user experience, have a small team, and need a cheap all-in-one solution.