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Zoho Offers CRM Users an Easy Way In

By Erika Morphy CRM Buyer ECT News Network
Dec 16, 2011 5:00 AM PT

Zoho has rolled out a major update to its CRM app, completely redesigning the user interface and adding new social and productivity features.

Zoho Offers CRM Users an Easy Way In

It is a massive overhaul, Zoho evangelist Raju Vegesna told CRM Buyer -- one the company plans to extend to other applications throughout its business suite of products.

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Productive and Easy to Use

Key to every change is an emphasis on ease of use and productivity, he said.

"We went into this process with the question, 'how can we most stand out from other business applications?' We realized that most business apps in the market are not easy to use -- they are not like consumer apps or webpages such as Amazon or Apple.com," Vegesna pointed out. "We wanted a similar experience for our users."

As an example, he pointed to a tweak the company made to the workflow around meeting setting.

"Let's say you are scheduling a meeting with customers and you want your sales team to be there too, so you check their schedules for their availability. Previously with the app, you had to navigate through multiple screens. Now we have added an option to the appointment scheduler through which you can view someone's availability and set an appointment with one click," explained Vegesna.

Another example is a new feature that lets someone add a contact immediately while scrolling through a list of names, via a new menu that is continuously displayed on the right hand side of the screen.

New Features

Besides the redesigned user interface, changes in the app include such new features as the Pulse module, LinkedIn integration, and tools to improve the social aspects and extensibility of Zoho CRM.

The Pulse module allows users to follow a particular deal, contact or account in Zoho CRM. Users can pick and choose what they want to follow, such as a sales rep following a particular client or contact, or the CEO following negotiations on a particular deal.

The LinkedIn integration lets users link a contacts' Zoho profiles with their LinkedIn profiles. Users can also send direct LinkedIn messages without leaving the CRM application.

Another tool, Zoho Creator Integration, builds custom apps that appear inside the CRM application and access data from the CRM system. No coding is necessary, Vegesna said -- it is all drag-and-drop.

The WebHooks feature helps to integrate systems. A WebHook can be configured to update inventory every time a sale is made, for example. The WebHook notifies the external system about the change through a GET/POST request.

Erika Morphy has been writing about technology, finance and business issues for more than 20 years. She lives in Silver Spring, Md.

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