How To Get Started on Zoho, Features, Pricing Plan and Use Cases

Table of Contents

Founded in 1996 by Sridhar Vembu and Tony Thomas, Zoho is a project management and CRM software and an Indian multinational technology company. They make web-based business tools and computer software.

Zoho is globally headquartered in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India and has seven locations. Its corporate headquarters is outside of Austin in Del Valle, Texas.

The company was initially known as Advent Net Inc and initially provided network management software. Zoho is privately owned and as of July 2022, they announced they had more than 80 million users.

In 2005, Zoho CRM was released along with Zoho Writer, the company’s first Office Suite product. Zoho Show, Projects, Sheets and Creator was released in 2006. Other products include Zoho One (which has 50 applications), Zoho Books – an accounting software, Zoho People – an HR management platform and Zoho Workplace – an enterprise collaboration platform.

Ease of use4.0

Getting Started With Zoho

This section gives you a detailed and guided walkthrough on how to get acquainted with Zoho.

1. Select Free Sign Up at the top of your Zoho homepage.

2. Input your email and password. Agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Select Sign Up for Free.

3. Your onboarding dashboard is presented before you and you choose what prompts to follow. either take a tour of Zoho CRM or select show me how to migrate my data or select Skip.

4. I selected Skip and you have your dashboard with sections.


Zoho Pricing Plan

1. Free Plan

 $0 per month/organization and billed monthly. It’s for one user and also has 20 subscriptions. This plan comes with 24/5 email support, offline payments, Stripe integration, multi-currency support, client self-service portal.

2. Basic Plan

Goes for $59/organization/month when billed monthly and $49 when billed annually. This plan is limited to 500 customers, 3 automated modules/workflows and 3 users.

The plan comes with everything in the Free Plan including hosted payment pages, subscription metrics, REST API & Webhooks, and dunning for automatic payments.

3. Standard Plan

This is the most popular plan. When billed monthly, it’s $119/organization and $99 when billed annually. This plan is limited to 5 users, 2000 customers and 10 automated modules/workflow.

It comes with everything in the basic plan including custom buttons, domain branding, web tabs, and customer portal singles sign-on.

4. Professional Plan

When billed monthly, it’s $299 per organization/month and when billed annually it’s $249. The Professional plan is limited to 5000 customers, 10 users and 10 automated Workflows/modules.

The plan comes with everything in the Standard plan including 24/5 live chat support, Twilio integration, custom schedulers, and 24/5 email and phone support.

5. Enterprise Plan

You’ll need to contact Zoho’s Sales team for a custom price plan. This plan is for large businesses and enterprises with over 5000 customers having sophisticated billing needs.

How Zoho’s Dashboard Works

1. The Home option serves as a summary of all your activities, closed and open deals, active leads and meetings.

2. The Lead option is for creating leads to identify prospective customers for a service or product. You create a lead or import leads.

3. The Contact option helps you engage with your customers through several channels – social, email or call.

4. The Accounts option is to provide services to other businesses.

5. The Deals option helps you monitor your sales.

6. The Meetings option helps to track customer meetings. You can also set reminders and add invitees to the meeting.

7. The Services option helps you build a catalogue of your services inside Zoho CRM. This enables you to streamline every aspect of your service businesses.

8. The Projects option helps you bridge the gap between sales and project tracking. You are able to Connect, Track and Deliver projects.

Features of Zoho

1. Lead Management

This feature helps you capture leads, nurture them, qualify them and eventually pass the best ones to the sales team.

How It Works

Ensure you’ve clicked the Leads option. You can either select Create a Lead or Import Leads. Click on Create a Lead. Edit the leads page layout, input the lead owner, basic information, lead source, address information and a description.

When done inputting, click on Save. You can add a lead image by selecting the avatar/image icon and browsing your local files to upload your photo. If you have more than one lead, you make use of the filter on the left side of the screen (you filter by fields or system-defined filters).

Your leads can be viewed on the list view, Kanban view or Canvas view. To have more leads, select the arrow after Create Lead and select Import Leads. Choose where you want to import leads from – file or other CRMs.

I selected From File and clicked on Download Sample file. An Excel file will be downloaded. Select Browse and click on the just downloaded Excel file and select Next. Choose what you want to do with the records in the selected file – either as new leads or update leads only or both. I selected to add new leads and selected Next.

New uploaded files can be edited. Leads can be added to Campaigns. Select Actions at the top of the screen and click Add to Campaigns. Select +New Campaign. Fill out the Campaign form and select Save.

Add the leads to the newly created campaign by highlighting one or all leads and selecting Add to campaign under Actions. Click on the newly created campaign.

This is your leads being viewed with the Canvas view


2. Deal Management

This feature helps you track, prioritize and monitor deals in your pipeline.

How It Works

Ensure you’ve clicked on Deals and selected Create a Deal. Edit the Create Deal page layout by inputting the deal owner, real name, stage of the deal, closing deal date and a description. Since it’s a new deal, you’ll have to create a new account and contact. When you’re done inputting the details, click on Save.

This is your Deals page overview. There will be records if you have a competitor, products, sales orders, quotes, cases and invoices. Your deal activity is viewed when you click on Timeline.

Your deals can be viewed in List view, Kanban view or Canvas view.

List View
Kanban View
Canvas View

To create more deals, select Create Deal and input the necessary details. Tasks can be added by highlighting one or all deals and selecting Create Tasks at the top of the screen. Fill in the Create Task form and select Save.

3. Contact Management   

This feature helps you manage your customer information. You also have the flexibility to communicate through the platforms’ multi-channel customer engagement tools.

How It Works

Ensure you’ve clicked on Contact and you are presented with your saved contacts – in this case, I was presented with the two contacts I created for deals.

You create a new contact by selecting Create contact at the top of the screen. When creating a new contact include the vendor’s name and an email address. When done inputting, select Save.

You can filter contacts via mailing labels, unread contacts or a new contact view. Highlight one contact and select Send Email. Input your email content/body and click on Schedule or Send. You can insert images in your email body, embed links and choose a font size.

4. Account Management  

This feature helps you manage and monitor your accounts.

How It Works

Ensure you’ve clicked on Account and your deals/contacts/leads are displayed before you. Select any of the contacts/leads/deal options (I chose Deals). Scroll down to the Deals section and click on the deal (in this case, Pablo Hernandez’s Beach House). It’s currently in the Negotiation/Preview Stage and the next proposed call is on January 27.

You can send clients/leads/contacts an email to keep them informed or to reschedule a meeting/call. You can also view all your information from where you are, you can also update leads, and create new deals under each contact. You can also add new meetings – call, tasks or meetings.

5. Analytics

How It Works

Select the three dots after Projects and click on Analytics. Select Analytics as it has been added to the options above. Select Next on the Analytics onboarding form, go through what the Analytical Dashboard has to offer and select Done.

This is your Analytics Dashboard.

To create a new dashboard, click on the + sign in front of Dashboards. Enter your dashboard name and build it (your dashboard) by adding components.

With the dashboard presented, you can add desired components. Select Add Components and pick from the options available to you. You can organise your analytic dashboard with the filters on the left side.

This is the Lead Analytics.

This is the Deal Insights.

This is Activity Stats.

These are Marketing Metrics.

I selected Charts and choose Quick chart. Add a component name, and module (emails, tasks, leads, contacts); I chose contacts and select Done. You choose how you want your chart to be displayed – this is currently in the column chart. You can choose from a bar chart, funnel chart, pie chart, table chart, and line. I chose Pie Chart and selected Done.

I selected Quadrant and chose the standard style. Input the component name and the objects to be analysed, how to measure the x- and y- axis and the benchmark; then select Done. Your x- and y- axis shouldn’t measure the same thing.   

I also chose Target Meter and selected the Bar Target Meter Style. Input a component name, a target, target metric(s), duration and target and select Done.

6. Mobile App

You can keep in touch, access your sales team and keep track of all activities while being on the move with your mobile phone.

7. Meetings

This feature helps in conducting video meetings and it also aids in remote work.

How It Works

Select the three dots after Projects and click on Messages. Select Meetings and click on Create a meeting. Fill out the meeting information and select Save.

You’ll be reminded a few hours before your scheduled meeting holds.

8. Social   

This is a social media management tool that helps you manage your platform. it helps you schedule posts, observe analytics and custom reports to analyse your social medial performance.

How It Works

Select the three dots at the end of Projects and click on Social. Read through the introductory note and click on Let’s Get Started. You’re directed to a new page that has 3 layouts – Brand Settings, Admin Setting, and Automate Lead Generation. Select the image you see there.

Add an account (I chose Twitter) and authorize Zoho Social to have access to your account by selecting Authorize app. Once your app has been authorized, here’s what it looks like. Select the Manage option to view and edit actions and permissions.

You can add more permissions/profiles and the brand name can be edited. Go to the third layout – Automate Lead Generation – to initiate triggers to positively affect social activities.

If you linked your Facebook, the same thing can be applied. The full social feature can be accessed on Zoho Social.

9. Integration

Integrate your loved apps on Zoho. Some of the most popular categories are Social Media, Marketing, Quote Management, Finance, and Automation.

10. Customization

This feature helps you add personal touches to your workflow or an option.

How It Works

Select the Home option and select your homepage. You are directed to a Customise Homepage section under Customization. There are some options also under customization that can be worked on.

For this section, we’ll be working on subforms. Select Modules and Fields. The options and names displayed in front of you have supported fields. Hover over any option and select Layout and you can design how you want your own layout to turn out and fit your business processes.

Please select any of the modules (I chose Leads) and click on New Layout. Name your layout. There are 3 sections or tags. Under Create, you enable/disable the lead image. Under Lead Information, you can mark some fields as required, set up permissions and edit field properties.

Fields not seen in the create tag can be dragged and dropped from the New Fields tag. Drag and drop the subform to your create tag. Click on Add Field and decide if it will be a single line, a multiline, a decimal, formula, a URL, a user or a checkbox. I chose Date – select it and click on the 3 dots and choose to make it a required or set permissions or edit properties. You can add another field by selecting Add Field and redoing these steps.

Go to the Quick Create tag. There’s a short form available. Available fields can be dragged and dropped on the quick create tag.

Go to the Detail View tag. When done, select Save and assign or give layout permission and select Save. Your new layout is under the module (Leads) you selected earlier.

Zoho Ranking And Why We Recommend This Product

Given that Zoho is a CRM, does it stack against specific user-centric parameters? These are what we found out:

1. Lead Management  

Zoho’s lead management CRM has consistently been rated as the best lead management solution by both experts and customers. You are able to identify leads, nurture and qualify them.

On a scale of 1-5, Product Curve ranked it 4 out of 5.

2. Contact Management

With this feature, you’re able to manage customer and contact information. You are also able to communicate or reach out to them.

On a scale of 1-5, Product Curve ranked it 4.

3. Reporting and Analysis

This feature helps in analysing your data in visual formats. You are also able to add a personal touch to how you want your reports to look. You can choose to view your deals, leads or contacts in report form.

On a scale of 1-5, Product Curve ranked it 5.

4. Pipeline Management

One of the features of Zoho (that’s not highlighted) is pipeline management. You are able to oversee all activities in your sales pipeline – Qualification, Scheduled Meetings, Case Lost/Case Won. The feature also lets you customise or add a personal touch to your sales pipeline.

On a scale of 1-5, Product Curve ranked it a 4.

5. User Friendly

Zoho’s platform is quite interactive. You can easily access the features and it’s easy for users to use and find their way around.

On a scale of 1-5, Product Curve ranked it 4.

6. Third-Party Integrations

You can integrate up to 200+ apps on Zoho’s platform. Some of the apps fall under the following categories under Social Media, Quote Management, Finance and Marketing among others.

Comparative Analysis: Zoho vs SugarCRM

SugarCRM is a private company and they are based in Silicon Valley the software company produces the cloud-based web application SUGAR.

SugarCRM Homepage

Founded by John Roberts, Clint Oram and Jacob Taylor; the platform’s main forte includes customer support, mobile CRM, Social CRM, Marketing campaigns and salesforce automation.

Features of SugarCRM

1. Quote Management

This feature has an interactive user interface and helps you create quotes and streamline your sales cycle.

2. Reporting and Dashboard

This helps in monitoring your marketing, and sales and turns your insights into data. You’re informed with better decisions and you can customise your reports and dashboards.

3. Customisation and Configuration

As no business is the same, you can customise templates, pipelines and forms to meet specific business needs.

4. Mobile App

5. Social CRM

You can have social media integrations that will enable and empower sales, customer and marketing teams to optimise their social interactions.

6. Lead Management

This helps in identifying and tracking leads from multiple companies and customers.

7. Campaign Management

This feature helps you create, execute and track campaigns across multiple channels.

8. Email and Calendar Integration

You can track and manage customer emails and appointments and also keep them in sync.

9. Multilingual and Multicurrency Support

SugarCRM supports more than 30 languages and provides a framework to add more.

SugarCRM Pricing

1. Market Pricing Plan

This plan starts at $1000 per month for 10,000 contacts and is billed at $150/per month when you add additional contacts.

It’s suitable for feeding the funnel and helps you align sales to build the right pipeline.

2. Sales Pricing Plan

It starts at $49 and can host a minimum of 3 users and it’s billed per user per month. This plan helps in accelerating your sales cycle and increases your win rate.

3. Customer Pricing Plan

It starts at $80 and can host a minimum of 3 users; it’s billed per user per month. The plan helps create a better customer experience in moments that matter.

4. Enterprise Pricing Plan

This plan starts at $85 and hosts a minimum of 3 users; it’s billed per user per month. It helps you enjoy no-compromise CRM with maximum control.

Benefits That Make Zoho Stand Out

1. Zoho has more ease when it comes to integration.

2. Zoho has constant support and customer care.

3. Zoho has a friendlier UI and its easy to use and navigate


We’ve come to the end of this article and have covered Zoho and some features that make it a product worth trying out. Do try it out and we’ll be in the comment section to hear your feedback(s).

Charis Raji
Charis Raji
Share this article:
  • No comments yet.
  • Add a comment

    Subscribe to our newsletter

    Be first to hear of the big tech and software updates … Join hundreds more and subscribe to our newsletter today.

    Got a Product?

    get it listed on Product Curve. we have got the reach so why don’t you take advantage of it?