Zoho One Review: The Ultimate Unified Business Solution Suite

zoho one

So you’ve been asked to make a final recommendation for a business operating system.

You need to get it right. You’re sweating, you feel like all eyes in the office are on you.

You… really need to chill out.


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Honestly, mate, it’s all going to be fine. You know why? Because we have the answer: Zoho One, the all-in-one business operating software that can help you streamline your business and drive massive growth.

Don’t believe us? Good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software alone can improve sales by up to 29% – and that’s without half the features we’ll go into in our review.

Skip ahead if you’re already up to speed with what Zoho One is, but if not, buckle up: here’s our Zoho One review, and why we think your business should implement it.

What Is Zoho One?

The short answer to this question is that Zoho One is a cloud-based, out-of-the-box CRM system in the same league as HubSpot and Salesforce.

Here’s the trouble with short answers: they miss a lot of stuff out.

The truth is that Zoho One covers much more than just your sales functions. We prefer to think of it as a unified business solution suite or business operating system.

Here are some of our favourite Zoho One features:

Team or functionZoho One applications
SalesCRM, including a CRM option specifically for small businesses
Email for sales teams
Appointment scheduling
MarketingMarketing automation
Email marketing
Social media marketing
Surveys
Forms
Website builder
Website optimisation
Live chat
Event management
CollaborationAgile project management
Internal social network
Web conferencing and webinars
File management
Learning and training platform
Shared inbox
FinanceAccounting
Invoice management
Expense management
Payment forms
OperationsSubscription management
Inventory management
Business ProcessCustom applications
Business Intelligence
Integration builder

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Why Should You Consider Upgrading to an All-in-One Solution?

Patience, grasshopper, we’re going to get to the specific advantages of Zoho One below.

But, generally speaking, there are 3 key advantages of committing to an all-in-one software solution over a single app.

1. Quicker employee onboarding

Did you know that the average employee onboarding process consists of 54 activities?

That’s pretty overwhelming, especially considering the cost of a bad first impression to your business – studies have shown that a bad onboarding experience doubles the chances of employees leaving. An all-in-one system can help to avoid this.

2. Fewer errors

When you’re using manual methods, or even just a lot of different, interconnected apps, it’s like you’re setting traps for your team.

Wait, is that too harsh? Okay, you’re creating opportunities for your team… to mess up.

An incomplete copy-paste here… A forgotten task there… Next thing you know your projections don’t match up with your earnings and no one knows why.

With an all-in-one system, there’s less chance of information falling between the cracks. This is important, because reducing human error can save you heaps of money in the long run.

3. It’s accessible from anywhere

Lastly, when you choose a cloud-based system, that means you don’t have the burden of hosting the software on your own servers.

This also means that your teams can access it from anywhere, which comes in handy on business trips, in out-of-office meetings, or, I don’t know, a global pandemic.


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Zoho One Review: Human Pixel’s Perspective

Our Verdict

Is it ten to five on a Friday and you need to make a decision before COB? We’ve got your back – here’s the short version of our Zoho One review.

To cut a long story short: we love it.

Back in the day when we were looking for a CRM, we stumbled across Zoho One and became a customer. We loved it so much we then became a Zoho Partner.

We know. It’s a love story for the ages

What do we love about Zoho One? We love that it’s

  • Customisable
  • Cloud-based
  • Able to fit to any business with the right tech guidance 

But there are some things you should know upfront.

Remember how we just said we’re a Zoho Partner? That means we use Zoho software to develop solutions for businesses – and it’s pretty much essential if you want to get the most from Zoho.

It’s not like a pair of thongs you can snap the tags off and start wearing straight away because one size fits all.

It’s more like a wedding dress – there’s a bigger upfront cost, but what you’ll get is a perfect fit you’ll spend the rest of your life being grateful you invested in.


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You can find out more about all of this by reading on, but for now, here’s a quick breakdown:

Pros of Zoho OneCons of Zoho One
– All-in-one software
Cloud-based, not requiring complex on-site installation 
– Huge range of features and app integrations available
– Highly customisable 
– Sophisticated automations offered
– Strong reporting and analytics features
– High upfront cost compared to other out-of-the-box solutions
– Without guidance from Zoho CRM experts, the solution you end up with might not be tailored for you
– Poor built-in customer support from Zoho – you’re really relying on your Zoho Partner to provide this

Our final scores for Zoho One: 

  • Apps and features: 9/10
  • Customer service: 8/10
  • User-friendliness: 8/10
  • Speed of setup: 7/10
  • Value for money: 9/10

That’s the gist of our Zoho One review – but if you don’t mind being late to the pub, we’d recommend you settle in for the director’s cut.

Pros

1. No lead left behind

61% of marketers rank lead generation as their number one challenge, but we’re not so sure.


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Listen, we’ve been in the game a long time. We’ve worked with a LOT of businesses.

What we’ve seen over and over again is that the leads you think you’re missing are often there – they’re just falling between the cracks of the different systems you’re using.

This is why you need an all-in-one solution: 74% of marketers agreed that their CRM gives them better access to customer data.

Take social media leads as an example. If someone contacts your team via Facebook and you’re not using a centralised system to field communications, you’re relying on a team member:

  • Being available to help
  • Checking the right channel at the right time
  • Having the relevant information for that lead 
  • Remembering to log this interaction (probably on another system)

That is WAY too much to leave to chance.

Zoho One’s solution to this problem is omnichannel communication, which funnels messages from across your platforms into a central contact management system.


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This means: 

  • All your messages, from all your channels, all feeding into one dashboard.
  • All of this data is automatically sorted so that you can see a customer’s full history with the click of a button – no matter how many different methods they’ve used to contact you.
  • You’ll never let a lead go cold at the bottom of a spreadsheet or email inbox again.

You can even set up automated workflows to ensure that your team receives notifications when new leads are added or when an action is required for them.


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But what about if you really do need to attract more leads? 

2. Your marketing efforts are supercharged

The average marketer spends 16 hours a week on routine tasks – otherwise known as the tasks that a business operating system should be doing. 

Here are some examples:

Routine marketing task Average time spent per weekZoho One features available
Collecting, organising, and analysing customer data3.55 hoursCentralised data
Reporting templates
Behavioural targeting
Emails3.48 hoursEmail marketing tools 
Automated workflows
Automated drip marketing
Social mediaMore than 3 hoursSocial media management tools
Social ad management

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With Zoho One to take care of these, your marketers can spend less time on low value – and, frankly, boring as hell – tasks like manually copying together email lists.

Instead, thanks to the Zoho One operating system being plugged into all areas of business activity, they can just go straight into their dashboard, select the criteria they need, and let the software do the rest.


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This in turn frees up more of their time for honing brilliant marketing content and tailoring it to your audiences. Otherwise known as the good stuff.

It’s better for morale, and it’s better for business: companies that use marketing automation source more pipeline from marketing, have more productive sales reps, and experience better revenue attainment.


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3. It frees up your sales team to actually sell

Once the leads are in the system, it’s up to your sales team to convert them into customers. But do you know who their number one obstacle is?

It’s you.


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Sorry for the tough love, but you’ve set your sales reps up to fail by making them work with a dodgy system and do everything manually, especially when you consider that a third of all sales tasks are ripe for automation.

But just like for your marketers, Zoho One can change this.

We’ve already talked about Zoho One’s automated workflows for lead nurturing and omnichannel communication. Here’s another view of what this looks like:

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These are all pretty high-level, right? They’re shortcuts to get your team closer to the essential manual tasks.

But Zoho One also offers sales automation for smaller tasks using Macros.

Macros allow you to trigger a set of actions for routine activities you’d usually have to do manually. 

With a single click, you could use a Macro to simultaneously

  • Send an email
  • Create a task
  • Update a record

You could even apply this to a bunch of records at the same time. Think how much repetitive work that cuts out!

Here’s an example of how to use Zoho One for sales.

Let’s say you finish a sales discovery call with a prospect and have scheduled a sales demo. With the Macro Zoho One feature, you could then trigger:

  • A follow-up email to confirm the timing of the demo
  • Create a task for yourself to create a meeting agenda
  • Update the contact record with notes you took during your meeting

Pretty useful, right? It’s easy to see how sales force automation supports business growth.


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4. Better understanding of your sales pipeline

There’s a waterfall effect with this kind of stuff: once you improve one thing, a whole load of other stuff improves with it.

With all of your leads being reached, captured, and processed through the Zoho One system, you have much more information to work with when it comes to understanding your sales processes.

Zoho One actually comes with a tonne of pre-made reporting templates to help you easily visualise key insights, and they’re not hard to use either. 

For example, the Ask Zia function uses AI to let you see the insights you want by typing in your queries in plain English, like you were chatting to a colleague.


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Obviously this is useful across the board, but we think one of the most impactful areas you can use this is in your sales pipeline.

Zoho One allows you to set up various sales funnels to drill down into your sales pipeline and find out important information, like:

  • The number of leads in each stage
  • The drop-off rate at each stage 
  • Your close-ratio
  • Conversion rates for leads from different sources such as events, social media, SERP ads, and more

These can look something like this:


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We know it looks cool, but don’t get distracted by the pretty colours, this is serious stuff! 


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Imagine you’re a B2B company selling corporate training packages.

You use Zoho One’s funnel tools and see that your LinkedIn ads are your best-performing lead generation tool, but that they have one of the lowest conversion rates.

Drill down further and see that this is because follow-ups from your sales reps for LinkedIn leads take the longest.

You now know where you’re leaking the most potential – and because of the tools we’ve already discussed, you have the resources to plug that gap, for example by creating an automated workflow.


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That’s just the standard business maintenance that Zoho One can help you with – we haven’t even scratched the surface of the business process transformation that’s possible if you work with an expert to maximise the potential of the Zoho business operating system.

In other words, if you work with Human Pixel.

We know, a bit cheeky. But hey, what we do works! 

Instead of just building you a Zoho system to mirror what’s already (not) working, we take a hard look at your processes and our experts make recommendations for how Zoho’s software can take them to the next level.

Trust us, it’s worth it: business process management projects frequently deliver 30-50% productivity gains.

5. Zoho One pricing is better value long-term than competitors

Zoho One often features in lists of the best CRM systems, and is usually pitted against other out-of-the-box solutions like HubSpot, Salesforce, and Pipedrive. 

When this happens, the competition is usually framed in terms of 3 factors:

  1. Convenience
  2. Speed of setup
  3. Upfront cost 

We get it – we live in an instant gratification economy these days, and we like an instant payoff as much as the next person. 

But when a good CRM pays back $8.71 for every dollar spent on it, we can’t help but think this is a short-sighted way to choose your business operating system.

Think of it as being like when all your mates start getting married, and you’re weighing up whether you should rent a tuxedo or buy one. 

Renting is convenient – it’s not as much money upfront, you can walk out of the store with one today, and you can take it back any time. 

But think about it: it’ll only take two weddings for it to become equally economical to buy a tux – and it has the added benefit of fitting you properly, and not having had a stranger in it.


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Yes, with Zoho One, there’s a higher upfront investment (more on this in a minute), but long-term you’ll be paying less, as Zoho One pricing scales much more reasonably than a solution like Hubspot:

HubSpotStarterProfessionalEnterprise
AU$75/month for 2 users

+ AU$38 per additional user
AU$2561/month for 5 users

+ AU$140 per additional Sales Hub user or AU$120 per additional Service Hub user
AU$7205/month for 10 users

+ AU$170 per additional user
Zoho OneAll EmployeeFlexible User
AU$55/month per employee* 
(If you purchase a licence for ALL your employees)
*excl GST
AU$125/month per user* 
(If you purchase a licence for any number of users)

*excl GST

So, those are the reasons we think you should consider Zoho One. But we don’t want to pull the wool over your eyes, so it’s time to talk drawbacks (and, more importantly, how you can mitigate them).

Cons

1. You have to spend more up-front

We’ll be honest with you: custom software development doesn’t come free.

To be really, really honest, it often doesn’t even come cheap – or at least, not when it’s good.

Depending on how complex your needs are, you could be paying a pretty penny:


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But this is why we think it’s important to not only choose a development company, but a business process transformation partner.

With Human Pixel, for example, you’re not just getting software, you’re getting an expert Zoho CRM consultant who will guide you through:

  • A business process development workshop 
  • A deep-dive into your processes that takes in views from across the business
  • A software development proposal that balances your priorities with your budget
  • Agile business process development that delivers a product that actually works

This brings us to the next point.

2. If it’s not done right, you could create more work for yourself

Zoho, as an out-of-the-box software, is built to be used by as wide a range of businesses and industries as possible.

This means that, especially if you work in a highly-specialised area, you need to customise it heavily to get the most out of it.

Now, if you choose the wrong software developer, this could be a problem.

Some users have reported poor integration between Zoho One apps, while others have commented that individual apps in the Zoho suite don’t stand up to competitors that are dedicated to that function. For example, when you pit Zoho Meetings against Zoom, Zoom might come out on top.

However, the right software development experts can integrate everything smoothly enough that the usefulness of an all-in-one system overrides the swankiness of dedicated individual software.

In the right development hands, Zoho One is like a symphony, with all the separate parts working together to create something beautiful.

In the wrong hands, it can be more like your little brother’s garage band – an effort’s being made, but nobody is having fun listening to it.


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The problems you experience when this happens come in many forms: 

  • Good old software bugs 
  • A dashboard cluttered with features you don’t need or use
  • Your old processes (which are based on some system a long-departed manager made up back when people still sent each other faxes) simply being replicated instead of replaced

That last one is the real killer. 

You might be thinking “That couldn’t possibly be me,” to which we say – are you sure? After all, only 4% of companies actually track and manage their processes…

Anyway, the bottom line is that you want to spend your time building your company, not figuring out your software. Let us do that second part for you, and it’ll make the first part a whole lot easier.

3. Limited customer support available from Zoho

Capterra reviews testify to the lack of availability of customer support from Zoho, but we don’t think this is necessarily cause for panic.

Really, it’s just a reminder of why it’s so important to choose a good partner. 

They need to understand your business well enough to deliver a product that fixes problems rather than creating them as we’ve outlined above, as the cost of fixing bugs rises exponentially post-launch.

This is why at Human Pixel we use the Agile development method: to make sure the product you get at the end is as close to perfect as possible because you’ve already identified and fixed problems during the testing phases.


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This is also a reminder of why it’s not always the right call to go for a freelancer to set up your business operating system.

In the absence of hands-on support from Zoho, you need a software partner who can be there to support you long after your software goes live. 

More importantly, they need to have the infrastructure to guarantee this kind of attention. Freelance workloads often fluctuate, and all you need for a perfect storm is for an emergency to fall on a day when they are slammed with work..

At Human Pixel, we offer great customer support packages, including prepaid plans to ease your mind ahead of launch day, and we’ll always have someone on hand to support you.

Conclusion

See, that wasn’t so hard, was it? All that panicking was for nothing.


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But hey, we don’t blame you for being nervous. 

Not only have we worked with companies in your position, but we’ve been there ourselves. We chose to use Zoho because it let us flex our creative problem-solving skills and create a system that caters to exactly what we needed. 

Now, we can do the same for you, maximising the time and efforts of your marketing and sales teams with a smart investment in your business’s future.

Book a business development workshop with us today to kick off your business transformation with Zoho One. This is only the beginning.