Zoho CRM Review

"Zoho CRM is for everyone, be it a small business or an enterprise. Sell smarter, better, faster and build solid customer relationships with Zoho CRM."

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  • Product Features
  • Calendar/Reminder System
  • Document Storage
  • Email Marketing
  • Internal Chat Integration
  • Lead ScoringMarketing Automation Integration
  • Quotes/Proposals
  • Segmentation
  • Social Media Integration
  • Task Management
  • Trend Analysis

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Zoho ContactManager Compared To Other Free CRMs

Zoho’s new ContactManager is launched with an interesting pricing model which you can consider a new take on freemium pricing. While not entirely original or unique (this pricing structure has been applied in other industries), after a 30-day free trial, you can choose whatever you want to pay, and it can be as little as $1 per month.

Zoho’s new ContactManager is launched with an interesting pricing model which you can consider a new take on freemium pricing. While not entirely original or unique (this pricing structure has been applied in other industries), after a 30-day free trial, you can choose whatever you want to pay, and it can be as little as $1 per month.

Though Zoho already offers a fully-fledged CRM, the ContactManager is a streamlined version for small businesses, acting as a bit of a carrot to entice you into their fold.

Whether you want to manage your business contacts, desire to have a unified view of activities associated to a particular contact, or just want to manage your transactions via your cell phone, Zoho ContactManager offers a viable solution. Another great feature of ContactManager is its ability to extract information from social websites like Facebook and Twitter.

Is Zoho’s ContactManager really the best free CRM?

Though the ContactManager’s pricing model might be an industry first, there are numerous other CRMs that have a free offering. Here’s a comparison of ContactManager with the free versions of some popular CRM’s, including Highrise, Nimble and CapsuleCRM.

User Interface and Experience

Zoho comes with a user-friendly interface which is pretty similar to the older version of Salesforce CRM. Unfortunately, the interface is rigid and – though there is a customizable sidebar – you don’t have many options for personalization. Also, it requires quite a bit of scrolling, especially if you have long, detailed records. You can choose between different skins to have a desired look and feel. However, Zoho’s Contact Manager has a simpler, uncluttered interface and improved user experience, but it also does not allow adequate personalization.

Highrise and Capsule CRM have a similar interface, which is simple and intuitive. The primary navigation in both CRMs allows easy getting around and manipulating basic modules. In Highrise, the Search is limited to the record name and creating a filtered call list is a real hassle.

Nimble, a social CRM, has probably the simplest interface and most amazing user experience of all, however, it is short of a few key features you would like to see in a modern CRM.

Though Insightly has a top-quality, intuitive interface and workflow, its user experience is subpar because of slow performance.

Podio’s free account is rather limited in terms of functionality but on the positive side, it’s extremely customizable and flexible, plus you can create custom applications… even if you have absolutely no knowledge of coding. That’s impressive.

Managing Contacts and Companies

Adding and managing contacts as well as companies in Zoho ContactManager is as easy as pie. It also allows you to add contacts and companies directly from different portals including your web/blog, Facebook, CrunchBase etc. Each contact/company’s basic information can be stored in one place but currently it doesn’t allow custom fields, so adding custom/advanced information related to your contacts is not possible. Zoho CRM, however, allows you to add more options e.g. custom fields, Skype ID’s of your contacts for quick video conferencing.

Highrise CRM supports both the B2B and the B2C business models. You can add your contacts as either people or organizations and you can also add custom fields to the end of the contact form.

Insightly also allows managing the B2B and B2C models, while Nimble allows you to save your contacts only as people, while Podio has a complex way of managing your contacts since it’s basically a project management software.

Managing Tasks and Activities

Though Zoho CRM offers basic capabilities for task & event management, it beats its rivals because of several useful options e.g. creating and editing task with minimum user input, creating recurring events, inviting internal as well as external people, and logging inbound or outbound calls. Plus it also provides a stopwatch for calculating the amount of time spent on individual calls. The ContactManager drives its task management module from the Zoho CRM but comes with fewer, basic options though you can access additional modules e.g. Zoho calendar, under the Zoho App tab. Other CRMs i.e. Highrise, Capsule allow integration with iCal and Google Calendar for advanced task management.

Podio is probably the only CRM in our comparison that offers more powerful options for task management such as creating tasks via email, assigning tasks to different users, synchronization tasks with Google apps via Gmail inbox and so on.

Managing Document Attachments and Mail-Merge

Zoho CRM offers useful document management options i.e. uploading documents from desktop or from Google docs and editing them online, plus you can make use of mail-merge with Zoho Writer. Both these options are available in the free ContactManager via Zoho Apps. The supported document formats include PDF, Word, Excel or PPT.

Highrise and Capsule also allow document management via extra add-ons, while Podio allows integration with Google Docs. If you need a review for a doc you’re working on, simply create a task, assign it to a co-worker and attach the Google Doc.

Integration Options

You can purchase Microsoft Outlook integration as an optional extra for Zoho CRM, which is a plus for companies already invested in Outlook. It’s delivered through a plugin that synchronizes all the contacts, tasks and activities and allows the emails to be associated with Zoho records. Inclusion of Outlook integration in ContactManager will be a big bonus.

Zoho CRM integrates with MS office and Google docs, and you can integrate it with Quickbooks also at additional cost. But if you are using the ContactManager, there are several useful Zoho apps to perform more complicated functions.

In Highrise, email integration is achieved through a DropBox account – just as you will see in Capsule CRM – all the inbound emails are forwarded to the DropBox account to attach to their contact record in Highrise. Outbound emails are CC’d to the DropBox account in order to link. Highrise allows task and calendar via iCalendar.

Capsule offers more powerful integration with Tout, Wufoo web-form, RightSignature, MailChimp, Zendesk, Active Campaign, Xero and so on, and along with Nimble and Podio are the leaders as far as integration with a variety of very useful third party applications.

Quick overview of Zoho ContactManager

Currently, the ContactManager is pretty rudimentary with basic features including company management, contact management, deal management, and task management along with basic reporting. You can configure Zoho Mail and integrate Facebook/Twitter accounts with your contact manager. It also allows you to share status updates with your co-workers and view theirs on your newsfeed. Adding and editing information is very simple plus you can extract data from external sources; however, you can only store very basic details about your contacts and companies.


The biggest lure for trying out ContactManager is probably the innovative pricing scheme i.e. pay what you want, which gives you the freedom to choose your monthly charges. Zoho Apps offer the user a range of handy features and options to integrate their CRM with their documents, social interactions, email campaigns etc. Though we would like to see more features added to the Contact Manager, it’s a useful app for people who have a limited budget and need only some basic CRM features to manage their business.

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