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HubSpot CRM review
7:49 pm | January 17, 2022

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

From ourHubSpot CRM review, we can confidently say Hubspot CRM provides a powerful platform that's both intuitive and easy to use, cementing itself firmly in our list of the best CRM software for small and midsize businesses looking to consolidate their sales, marketing, and customer service tools. In this HubSpot CRM review, we’ll discuss some of its key features and capabilities.

HubSpot CRM review: Snapshot

HubSpot is the perfect solution for businesses seeking powerful, easy-to-use CRM software, with the lightweight but highly capable free-forever plan making the platform accessible for smaller or newer businesses. 

This free plan provides a capable platform to manage and maintain new leads through a variety of HubSpot's complimentary CRM, marketing, sales, and customer service tools. These include dashboard reporting, deal tracking, and pipeline management, all accessed through a simple and easy-to-use interface. 

However, it’s worth noting that the free plan comes with limited customer support, so you won’t have access to in-app chat or phone support. Additionally, while HubSpot users can benefit from integration with hundreds of third-party apps, some of these do require an upgrade to one of the paid plans. 

If you’re looking to upgrade, you have a couple of options. HubSpot tools are split across five hubs - Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, CMS, and Operations - and each comes with a Starter, Professional, or Enterprise paid plan. Alternatively, combine elements of each Hub with the CRM Suite bundle upgrade, starting from $45 a month.

While Starter plans feel affordable and offer ample capabilities for smaller businesses, prices can rise steeply if an upgrade to the Professional plan is needed. When it comes to pricing, competitors like Zoho CRM's Standard plan certainly work out cheaper, especially if your business is still in its infancy. 

So, is HubSpot the best CRM software for you? In our HubSpot CRM review, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to make an informed decision.

Score: 4.5/5

Read on for the full review.

HubSpot CRM’s competitors

HubSpot CRM: Key features

A feature that makes HubSpot CRM initially stand out is how easy it is to get started, making it ideal for newcomers to the CRM world. 

During setup, HubSpot asks a series of questions to determine how you plan to use the platform and offers guided tours of each individual area like Marketing, Sales, and Customer Service. Extras like the HubSpot Academy - the complimentary online training hub full of courses - are also a nice touch.

Another aspect that makes HubSpot stand out from its competitors is the sheer volume of features included in the free-forever plan. For instance, the shared inbox feature keeps all incoming email and live chat correspondence in one place, making client communication more accessible for the whole team. 

Creating and sending basic email templates doesn’t take long, either; you have the option to effortlessly import contacts from external mail providers, and then design your email around one of five templates, saving you valuable time to focus on other tasks.

The free plan also offers the ability to add a support form and tracking code to your website so that you can see what visitors are doing, capture their details in your database, and track interactions with them over time.

HubSpot CRM: Highlights

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Hubspot's new user quiz

HubSpot CRM asks questions to help new users get started (Image credit: HubSpot)
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The HubSpot Academy

The HubSpot Academy offers a variety of resources to help you grow your business (Image credit: HubSpot)
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HubSpot's analytics dashboard

Install a tracking code on your website to capture visitors data directly in HubSpot (Image credit: HubSpot)
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HubSpot's email settings

Connect your personal email to HubSpot to log and track client communications (Image credit: HubSpot)
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HubSpot's sales dashboard

Sharing your deal forecast is easy with HubSpot (Image credit: HubSpot)

It’s easy to create deals within the Sales dashboard in less than five minutes or make activity reports that can be filtered according to each team member or customer engagement level. These can be accessed and downloaded in various formats, such as xlsx or pdf, to use outside of the HubSpot environment. 

HubSpot’s free plan doesn't just help you organize and automate sales and marketing tasks either: it also streamlines your day-to-day processes. For instance, managers can send notes to salespeople to get them to follow up with new leads, easily share the deal forecast and dashboard with the touch of a button, and customize deal stages to match existing sales processes. 

Connecting external ad accounts is also very straightforward, with prompts throughout showing you how to pull your campaign data into HubSpot via Facebook, Google Ads, or LinkedIn, so that it’s all in one place. You can connect up to two ad accounts on the free plan. 

For teams looking for more specific platform capabilities, an upgrade to the Starter plan for individual hubs or the CRM Suite bundle provides stronger tools. For instance, on the Marketing hub’s Starter plan, you can quickly create branded, optimized email campaigns that can be sent in bulk to targeted leads through segmented lists. 

You can also see how and when your clients are interacting with your emails to further optimize future campaigns. Likewise, with the CRM Suite Starter plan, you’ll find feature upgrades like additional ad account options, meeting scheduling, two deal pipelines, and 5,000 email templates. 

Features like these make onboarding and working with HubSpot feel simple for both beginners and larger players looking for a new CRM solution, making the software a solid choice for a variety of businesses.

HubSpot CRM: What’s new?

HubSpot claims that this year's product updates add even more power to their already intuitive software, with the most notable being the introduction of the Operations Hub. This new software aims to assist with general operations, simplifying processes with tools like historical data syncing between HubSpot and dozens of popular third-party apps, plus company insights on your clients.

The Operations Hub aims to connect apps, clean your client data, and automate your business processes in one central CRM platform, which can be accessed via the free plan, or with additional features as part of the CRM Suite Starter plan. 

HubSpot users can also now enjoy campaign data in the custom report builder, allowing specific metrics like video plays, page views, and conversions to be added to custom reports to show how campaigns are performing. 

Finally, HubSpot has introduced the ability to create deals from within Gmail and Outlook via the HubSpot sales extension. Salespeople can now enter the deal name, stage, amount, and other required details in just a few simple clicks without interrupting their workflow.

HubSpot CRM: Pricing

While HubSpot generously provides a strong free-forever plan, there are also a variety of paid plans to suit various business needs. The cheapest is the Starter plan, which costs $50 a month, or $45 a month if paid annually, for two paid users. 

Upgrading to the Starter plan provides all the free tools with increased limits and removes HubSpot branding from things like forms, landing pages, and live chat features. Starter plan customers can also access email and in-app chat support to receive help much faster than free plan users.

Testing HubSpot CRM

Before you decide on whether to choose HubSpot CRM, it’s important to determine the simplicity and capability of the platform plus the available support. Below, we analyze HubSpot based on these aspects to help you determine whether it’s right for you.

How easy is it to get started with HubSpot CRM?

Getting started with HubSpot

HubSpot asks a few questions to quickly personalize your account (Image credit: HubSpot)

A HubSpot account can be created in under five minutes and without any payment details. You can create an account from scratch, though it’s quicker to use an existing Google account. 

Once basic details have been entered, HubSpot asks a series of questions regarding your job title, industry, company name, size, and previous experience using CRM platforms, to help tailor your experience and offer invaluable demos.

HubSpot CRM: Customer support

HubSpot’s support feature, HubBot

HubSpot’s on-page help feature, HubBot, is quick and intuitive (Image credit: HubSpot)

HubSpot cements itself as a strong choice for CRM novices, with tools like HubSpot Academy - an online hub full of courses and workshops to help you grow your business, sharpen your skills, and master the CRM tools needed to attract and engage clients. 

While HubSpot’s free plan doesn’t include phone or email support, you are able to chat with other users in the HubSpot Community or find answers in HubSpot’s knowledge base

Alternatively, there’s also the option to speak with the on-page chatbot, HubBot. During our test, in a few quick clicks, we were given the option to speak with a member of the team - this took just over five minutes. Overall, this feature feels incredibly useful for professionals looking for quick answers without interrupting their workflow.

Alternatives to HubSpot CRM

While HubSpot provides plenty of features to cement itself as a frontrunner in the CRM software sphere, competitors like Insightly and Zoho CRM might be more suitable for certain businesses. 

Insightly is a powerful and versatile CRM platform that secures itself as a leader in the space by providing advanced automation tools, strong lead management features, and customizable dashboards to help manage deal pipelines. With a strong selection of features for managing contacts and projects, the platform is a worthy rival to HubSpot. However, the lack of a free plan can make it feel inaccessible to smaller businesses. 

Likewise, while Zoho CRM provides strong lead capture and management tools, integrated email marketing, and automated workflows, the lack of customization on certain features and limited customer support options make it feeler unsuitable for larger teams. For more information, read our Insightly and Zoho CRM reviews.

HubSpot CRM: Final verdict

Ultimately, HubSpot is a strong contender in the list of best CRM platforms, with the most valuable quality being the sheer generosity of features included in the free plan. This plan is quick and simple to get started with, and details like the questions asked during setup make users feel valued and supported during onboarding. 

The quality of the CRM features included for free is also unrivaled in terms of simplicity and usability, with tools like email optimization, the shared inbox, and simple deal and report creation streamlining team workflows. 

This makes the platform ideal for small and medium businesses, as it adds a level of transparency to client communications and keeps everything in one place, freeing up time for teams to focus their energy elsewhere.

While customer support in the free plan can feel somewhat limited, the HubBot chat feature included within the dashboard is intuitive and quick. The HubSpot Community and Knowledge Base are thoughtful finishing touches, providing users with plenty of resources to develop their CRM skills. 

While the free plan would be ideal for smaller businesses, HubSpot’s premium plans are great for midsize businesses needing more powerful or larger capabilities. The feature upgrades in the CRM Suite bundle Starter plan feel affordable for slightly larger businesses, offering upgrades like one-on-one tech support, additional email marketing send limits and list segmentation, and up to 10 reporting dashboards. 

However, prices do rise dramatically if upgrading to the Professional plan ($1,600 a month for five users), which means larger teams may want to consider an alternative.

Further reading on CRM software

For more information on CRM software, read our feature asking what is a CRM? You might also want to consider our buying guides on the best CRM for small businesses or the best CRM for real estate. Alternatively, if you’re just getting started, our list of the best free CRM software might be a good introduction.

Pipedrive CRM review
4:24 pm | January 13, 2022

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

Pipedrive is an easy-to-use CRM that powers more than 95,000 small and medium-sized businesses. Find out if it’s the best CRM software solution for your company in our Pipedrive CRM review.

Pipedrive CRM review: Snapshot

Pipedrive is an extremely user-friendly CRM that’s ideal for small businesses turning to CRM software for the first time. It allows you to build an unlimited number of custom deal pipelines and move deals through them just by dragging and dropping. The platform also offers highly customizable reports, straightforward calendar and email integrations, and automated workflows to streamline your sales process.

While Pipedrive does a great job with the tools it has, it’s missing a lot of tools that growing businesses need. It doesn’t offer project management tools and there are relatively few email marketing tools. You also have to pay extra for web forms and chatbots that can help you generate new leads.

Overall, we enjoy the experience of using Pipedrive, but we don’t think the platform stands out in the crowded field of CRM software. For roughly half the price, Apptivo is just as easy to use, offers just as many customization options, and includes email marketing and project management tools.

Score: 3.5/5

Read on for our full and detailed review. 

5 reasons why a small business needs a CRM

Today's best Pipedrive CRM deal

Get Pipedrive CRM from $14.50 / £12.50 per user/month Ranging from Essential to Enterprise, Pipedrive's CRM pricing plans cover a great mix of features, allowing you to do everything from managing leads and forecasting revenue to e-signing documents on the go and customer data analysis. Pipedrive's CRM plans are billed annually to help you budget for the business year ahead. View Deal

Pipedrive’s competitors

Pipedrive CRM key features

One of the best things about Pipedrive is how easy it is to manage deals. The platform starts you off with a default deal pipeline that should work for most businesses. Alternatively, you can create an unlimited number of custom deal pipelines, each with as many steps as you need. The deal pipelines are essentially kanban boards, allowing you to drag and drop deals from one stage to the next as your sales team makes progress.

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Pipedrive review

Pipeline lets you create an unlimited number of deal pipelines, and you can drag and drop deals to move them through the sales process. (Image credit: Pipedrive)
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Pipedrive review

Pipedrive’s integrated activity calendar enables you to quickly set up meetings, and it syncs with Outlook and Google Calendar. (Image credit: Pipedrive)
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Pipedrive review

The Leadbooster add-on includes web forms, a live chat module, and a web scraper to help your business find new leads. (Image credit: Pipedrive)
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Pipedrive review

Pipedrive enables you to create and customize an unlimited number of reporting dashboards. (Image credit: Pipedrive)
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Pipedrive review

Pipedrive includes more than 30 workflow automation templates that you can customize. (Image credit: Pipedrive)

Pipedrive includes a built-in calendar for easily scheduling meetings and tasks. If you use Outlook or Google Calendar, you can set up automatic two-way sync with your Pipedrive calendar.

The calendar module in Pipeline enables you to propose meeting times to a client by designating specific times that you’re available. Helpfully, upcoming meetings are shown in your deal pipelines by a series of icons.

Pipedrive offers a new suite of tools called Leadbooster to help you find new leads. This is a paid add-on to any of Pipedrive’s plans that costs $39 per month. It includes simple web forms that you can embed in your website as well as a live chat module with an optional chatbot. Leadbooster also comes with a web scraping tool that can help you find potential clients from a database of more than 400 million online profiles.

The reporting interface in Pipedrive is another highlight of this platform. You can create an unlimited number of custom reporting dashboards and dozens of custom reports. All data can be exported to Excel with a click if you want even more analytical power.

Pipedrive supports automated workflows to help your sales team stay on top deals. The software comes with more than 30 workflow templates that can automatically move deals through your pipeline, schedule meetings, or trigger emails. You can also create your own workflows using a straightforward visual editing interface.

Pipedrive CRM: What’s new?


Pipedrive CRM now integrates with Xero and Quickbooks for accounting help.  (Image credit: Xero)

Pipedrive has been busy making updates to its platform since we last reviewed this CRM. It recently added integrations for video conferencing with Zoom and Google Meet, project management with Monday and Trello, and accounting with Xero and Quickbooks. 

Pipedrive also added two-factor authentication and gave users the ability to group custom reports within the reporting dashboard.

Pipedrive CRM: Pricing

Pipedrive offers four pricing plans: Essential, Advanced, Professional, and Enterprise. All plans include unlimited deal pipelines, contacts and customizable reports. 

Pipedrive CRM Essential Plan

The Essential plan has only limited activity management features and doesn’t include workflow automation. 

Pipedrive CRM Advanced Plan

The Advanced plan adds automation, but lacks integration with cloud storage platforms like Google Drive.

Pipedrive CRM Professional Plan

The Professional plan enables you to organize your sales employees into teams, provides more detailed reporting options, and offers custom report fields. 

Pipedrive CRM Enterprise Plan

The Enterprise plan comes with phone support (in addition to live chat, available on all plans) and security alerts.

Plans can be paid monthly, or annually for a discount. You can try out Pipedrive for free for 14 days before purchasing a plan.

Testing Pipedrive CRM

We took Pipedrive for a spin to see how easy this software is to use and how much leeway the custom pipelines and dashboards afford.

Pipedrive CRM: Adding deals

We began working in Pipedrive by creating a set of deals. The process was incredibly simple, since you can add deals right from inside your deal pipeline instead of needing to first navigate to the relevant contact. 

A pop-up lets us add details about the contact behind the deal, the deal’s expected value, which pipeline to add it to, and what stage to put it in. Even better, Pipedrive offered the option of adding custom fields to the deal details, which would be great for scoring leads and assigning priority to deals.

Adding a new deal in Pipedrive

Pipedrive makes it easy to add new deals to any sales pipeline. (Image credit: Pipedrive)

Setting up an entirely new deal pipeline was just as easy. You can add as many stages as you want, and Pipedrive enables you to assign a probability to each stage to indicate the likelihood of a deal in the stage closing. (Pipedrive doesn’t use past data to automatically calculate these probabilities.)

Pipedrive CRM: Generating custom reports

Navigating the reporting module within Pipedrive was just as straightforward. The platform includes a default dashboard and 11 premade reports, which on their own will offer plenty of information for many small businesses. Reports in the dashboard can be rearranged just by dragging and dropping and filtered by date range or a set of employees.

Creating a new report only took a few clicks. Pipedrive offers a set of filters that you can combine with logical operators to create a highly specific dataset, which you can then plot onto several different chart types. Below the charts, you’ll find a summary table with all of the relevant data and an option to export a CSV for further analysis.

Creating a custom report in Pipedrive

Pipedrive enables you to create custom reports using a series of filters to specify the dataset you’re interested in. (Image credit: Pipedrive)

All custom reports can be saved and grouped into folders for quick access later.

Alternatives to Pipedrive CRM

zoho logo

(Image credit: Zoho)

Pipedrive stands out for being extremely easy to use. However, for the price, it lacks some advanced features that we’ve seen in comparable CRM software.

One of the most notable competitors to Pipedrive is Zoho CRM, which costs just slightly more than Pipedrive. Zoho CRM offers unlimited pipelines and dashboards just like Pipedrive, but it also offers unlimited workflow automations with its entry-level plan. It also offers email marketing - a critical function of a comprehensive CRM - as a standard feature.

The drawback to Zoho CRM is that its feature-rich interface isn’t easy to use, especially if you’re diving into CRM software for the first time. Our Zoho CRM review found that the platform has a steep learning curve. However, navigating that curve may be worth it if your business needs to know how to prioritize deals or wants to use email marketing to bring in new leads.

Read next 👀

apptivo logo

(Image credit: Apptivo)

Looking for a Pipdrive CRM alternative? Read our Apptivo review.

Another Pipedrive alternative that’s worth a look is Apptivo. This platform is unusual in that it provides only a basic set of CRM functions, then lets you customize the software with dozens of apps. That’s a major advantage if your business is scaling quickly, since you can easily add features to the software as you need them.

Our Apptivo review also found that this platform is impressively easy to use and offers plenty of customization options when it comes to reporting. The only thing missing in Apptivo is the ability to drag and drop deals through your pipeline. But that’s hardly essential, and for the price - paid Apptivo plans start at $10/user/month compared to $18/user/month for Pipedrive - we think it’s a better choice for most growing businesses.

Pipedrive: Final verdict

Pipedrive is one of the most user-friendly CRM platforms we’ve tested. It’s easy to navigate from the moment you first open the platform and allows you to simply drag and drop deals as they move through your sales pipeline. It’s also highly customizable, offering unlimited deal pipelines and excellent reporting capabilities.

While Pipedrive does a great job at helping your team manage deals and set up meetings with potential clients, we found that it’s much more limited in scope and functionality than competing CRM software. Pipedrive has only the most basic email marketing tools available and doesn’t offer any features for project management. In addition, lead generation features like web forms and chatbots require a paid add-on. 

Ultimately, that means that Pipedrive can work well for businesses that are upgrading to a CRM for the first time. However, it may not be the best option for businesses that are looking for a comprehensive, scalable CRM solution.

For that, we think Zoho CRM or Apptivo are better options. Apptivo in particular stands out because it costs significantly less than Pipedrive and offers much of the same functionality. Apptivo’s platform, which uses apps like building blocks, can also better grow with the needs of your business.

Further reading

For more information about CRM platforms, check out our guide to the best CRM software for small businesses. If none of the software we mentioned in this review fits your business’s needs, we’ve also reviewed industry-leading CRM software from Salesforce and Freshdesk.

Zoho CRM review
4:21 pm |

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

In our Zoho CRM (customer relationship management) review, we look at one of the best CRM software packages available today, including contact management, email marketing, and sales automation features that can help you win new business.

5 reasons why a small business needs a CRM

Zoho CRM review: Snapshot

Zoho CRM has been ranking high on sales management software lists and, recently, it’s doubled down on developing customization and automation options while making its design more user-friendly. That’s very good news, as its extensive set of features can get overwhelming if you’re new to the product.

The product offers contact and deal management, email marketing, call logging, meeting management, and task reminders, with additional AI-backed pipeline recommendations and predictions for higher-tier plans. For a productivity boost, you can use customization tools to design your analytics dashboard, for example, and create automation rules such as sending emails after customer calls.

Zoho CRM is more feature-rich and cost-effective than solutions such as Insightly and Freshworks CRM, but it’s in tight competition with advanced sales and marketing suites like HubSpot CRM and Salesforce (US-only link). It could be the best choice for you if you require advanced automation, customization, and email marketing functionality.

Score: 4.5/5

Read on for our full and detailed review.

Today's best Zoho CRM deal

Get Zoho CRM from $14 / £12 per user/month
Zoho's CRM plans cover a great mix of features, from the basic to more sophisticated, making it a great choice for small, medium, and even larger businesses that want to accelerate productivity in their sales pipeline.View Deal

Zoho CRM's competitors

Zoho CRM: Key features

Zoho’s core CRM, comprising contact and deal management, captures data about prospective leads, from contact details to deal status and communications. Though the default list view, including multiple filters, feels a bit clunky, Zoho CRM also includes a Kanban view segmented by pipeline stages and a customizable Canvas view.

Through automation, you can remove manual work by creating rules, such as assigning sales reps based on account characteristics and setting tasks triggered by pipeline changes. Automation setup comes with a learning curve, but the streamlined process can help generate more business.

Zoho CRM’s paid plans include email templates, mass email campaigns, and tracking performance metrics such as open rates. For more advanced marketing functionality, you can integrate with Zoho Campaigns, a separate product in the Zoho suite. Generating new leads is also a key strength - Zoho CRM enables you to gather data from web forms and scrape social media sites.

Zoho CRM makes dashboards and reports highly customizable, which can support pipeline decision-making. For example, you can select chart types and metrics to visualize a customer segment, or export a list of deals based on chosen filters. 

For Enterprise plans and above, Zoho’s advanced analytics such as anomaly detection can help identify high-value customers, and the Zia Artificial Intelligence assistant can forecast revenues and suggest tasks to automate.

Zoho CRM: Highlights

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Zoho CRM's content creation screen

Adding new contact records is easy, especially when creating your own custom fields (Image credit: Zoho CRM)
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Zoho CRM's rule-setting menu

Automating rules and tasks can save your team a lot of time (Image credit: Zoho CRM)
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Zoho CRM's webpage discussing third-party integrations

Expand your sales and marketing functionality with third-party integrations (Image credit: Zoho CRM)
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Zoho CRM's Canvas feature

Zoho CRM’s Canvas feature helps you design your very own interface (Image credit: Zoho CRM)
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Zoho CRM's ZIA AI feature demonstrated

Zia AI predictions and recommendations are available for Enterprise plans and above (Image credit: Zoho CRM)

Zoho CRM: What’s new?

Over the past year, Zoho CRM has seen improvements primarily across its workflow automation, email, and social media integrations, as well as the Zia Intelligent Assistant functionalities. Based on prospect interactions with calls and emails, you can now automate tasks or follow-ups. Social media account updates can also trigger actions, including sending email campaigns.

Workflows have been more closely integrated with Zia. For example, you can decide to automatically follow Zia recommendations without any manual oversight. Zia’s data enrichment function has also been upgraded: it can, for example, pull contact data from email signatures and save it to the CRM.

There’s been an update to the look and feel of the software, too. User interface elements, such as buttons, have a more modern feel, and Kanban board elements have been rearranged for more clarity and ease of use. 

Overall, Zoho CRM is good at releasing marginal improvements across usability and functionality; however, its overwhelming list of features needs clearer categorization.

Zoho CRM: Pricing

Zoho CRM has five main pricing plans, with one additional CRM Plus plan for larger enterprises. The free plan, for up to three users, has the core CRM with contact and deal management, but with limited automation, customization, and support options. 

Paid plans are $14 to $52 per user a month, billed annually. Zoho CRM Plus, featuring a more comprehensive set of sales, marketing, and helpdesk tools, starts at $57 per user a month (billed annually). Subscriptions can also be billed monthly at a slightly higher cost (starting from $20 a month on the Standard plan, and increasing up to $65 a month on Ultimate).

Testing Zoho CRM

We’ve analyzed Zoho CRM’s key differentiating features from the perspective of a sales team, testing the efficiency of key activities such as adding new contacts. Below, we look at customization, automation, and general usability, as these features affect sales teams’ productivity in closing deals.

How customizable is Zoho CRM?

Zoho CRM's custom fields setting demonstrated

You can create custom fields for your contact records in Zoho CRM (Image credit: Zoho CRM)

You can customize almost every aspect of Zoho CRM, though there can be limits depending on your plan. For example, Canvas, which is a customization tool that re-styles page interfaces, deal boards, and more, includes only one design for Standard plans, three for Professional, and five for Enterprise. 

Zoho CRM’s features, also called modules, contain a variety of filters and visualizations that can help you control what you see. In the contact and deal modules, data can be filtered by deal stage, country, and other variables, and you can even go so far as formatting the text in which results are displayed. The default list view for data-heavy modules can feel excessive, so it’s worth designing a simplified user interface.

A variety of external integrations, including with other Zoho products, also contribute to a personalized experience. Adding tools such as Zoom and Mailchimp is only three clicks away via the Marketplace module, and can enrich your customer data and communication. Integrations are limited on the free plan, however.

On the downside, the various Zoho CRM branded customization tools, such as Wizards and Canvas, can get confusing, and the differences between them aren’t always clear.

Is Zoho CRM automation effective?

Zoho CRM's workflow rules setting demonstrated

You can set advanced workflow rules in Zoho CRM (Image credit: Zoho CRM)

Automation tools in Zoho CRM can be very powerful, but the learning curve can be jarring at first. When you set up an automated task, for example, you’re taken to a process flow view where you must select the time of the trigger, the person responsible, and other conditions. 

This can be tedious and time-consuming to start with, but the level of detail may be valuable to bigger organizations with complex pipelines. Other automations are simpler. Say, for example, you want to set up a lead scoring rule such as, “add 10 points if the account’s yearly revenue is over $100,000”. This takes around three clicks and can help you prioritize high-value opportunities.

Though the automation section is one of the platform’s most competitive features, it can also be tricky to find it among Zoho CRM’s many modules and settings.

Is Zoho CRM easy to use?

Zoho CRM's Kanban view

The Kanban view makes it easy to drag and drop deals (Image credit: Zoho CRM)

The product is easy to use once you find the function you’re looking for; however, those new to the software have to learn where tools sit through trial and error.

For instance, creating a new record for a lead or a deal is one click away on the home screen and module pages. Though there are many data fields you can fill in the record, only a handful are mandatory, so you can save it in a matter of seconds. If you customize the page layout to only contain your most relevant customer fields, you can further streamline the process.

Mass emailing, though a key differentiator for Zoho CRM, is not straightforward to use. It doesn’t sit under the expected "Campaigns" module, but as an action under "Contacts", "Leads", and "Deals". However, once you find it, the mass email function is easy to set up and send to specified segments.

Finally, the web-based Zoho CRM loaded pages relatively quickly, considering the amount of data it works with. A TTFB (Time to First Byte) of around 400 ms was recorded (our test was performed with Google Page Speed, on a Windows 10 PC with an Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, and 68Mbps internet speed).

Alternatives to Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM has strong competition, particularly at its lower price levels. For instance, its free plan, while covering customizable contact and deal management, doesn’t include email marketing and has limited third-party integrations. 

Competitors such as Insightly and Agile CRM include mass email campaigns on their free plans; the free Hubspot CRM additionally analyzes email campaign performance, which Zoho CRM can’t do without integrating with Zoho Campaigns. Read our review of Insightly to find out more.

On paid plans, Zoho CRM’s feature set is quite competitive but has some gaps. For instance, if you want to keep track of projects after closing deals, Zoho CRM features are limited to invoicing and purchase orders - whereas software like Insightly has broader project management functionality, including project task management, timelines, and a meeting tracker.

Salesforce (US-only link) is Zoho CRM’s competitor for enterprise-grade businesses, offering similar features with more advanced customization and reporting. Salesforce is particularly useful for large organizations that develop custom sales applications - for example, using sandbox environments—but this comes at a significant price compared to Zoho CRM. Read our Salesforce review to learn more.

Zoho CRM: Final verdict

Zoho CRM is well worth your attention if you’re looking for a comprehensive set of sales and marketing features, with enhanced productivity via automation and customization options.

Leads and deals are easy to organize and edit using the drag-and-drop Kanban or self-designed Canvas view. Advanced automation and workflow rules can be set to categorize leads, assign tasks, and more, but it may take some time to do this with ease. 

Generally, Zoho CRM’s customization options come with both productivity value and a difficult setup. However, the vast tutorial library and email support will help guide you through.

Zoho CRM’s inbuilt email marketing and client management tools, including invoicing, are competitive additions to the core CRM, distinguishing Zoho CRM from competitors who focus on niche aspects of sales management. Moreover, integrations with other Zoho products and third-party solutions expand what you can do with this software.

Overall, Zoho CRM’s plans cover a great mix of features, from basic to more sophisticated, making it relevant for small, medium, and even larger businesses that want to accelerate productivity in their sales pipeline.

Further reading on CRM software

To learn more about CRM solutions, have a look at our feature What is a CRM? 

If you’re in the market for CRM software, check out our best CRM software buying guide, or, if you’re on a budget, our best free CRM software top picks. 

We’ve also rated the best CRM for real estate, and you may want to read the accompanying feature what is a CRM in real estate?

Workbooks review
2:36 pm | January 5, 2022

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

Workbooks is an innovative CRM software solution with a strong focus on business outcomes. Focused on the mid-market, it enables clients to automate processes, grow revenue, and achieve key performance metrics across all departments. Read our Workbooks review to learn why Workbooks might be the best CRM software solution for your business.

Workbooks review: Snapshot

Workbooks is an excellent CRM product for midsize enterprises, offering software solutions for customer service, sales, marketing, and operations teams. Its primary differentiating factor lies in the Shared Success program, which provides customers with free consulting hours and annual workshops to ensure that Workbooks continues to align with every client’s business goals for years after the initial implementation.

Workbooks lacks a diverse third-party app marketplace and developer community, which is a weakness relative to competitors like Salesforce and HubSpot. Users that require a large amount of third-party customization might not be satisfied with its offering. In addition, its free version is limited to only two users and has fewer features, which could make it less appealing to very small businesses.

Overall, we consider Workbooks to be a fantastic platform when used for its intended purpose - providing CRM software solutions to midsize organizations.

Score: 5/5

Read on for our full and detailed review. 

Workbooks’ competitors

Workbooks’ key features

Workbooks’ features are broken down into four categories: Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, and Order Management. 

While some of these features are notable in their own right, most are not unique to Workbooks. What truly differentiates Workbooks from other CRMs is its collaborative approach to customer support: Shared Success.

Customer Service

Workbooks provides a versatile ticket management platform for customer service teams. Customer inquiries from multiple channels, such as email and online chat, are aggregated into a centralized ticket database for agents to handle.

The system’s versatility also means that it can be used by Human Resources and IT to handle internal employee tickets.


Sales teams can benefit from an effective database system for their leads. The Workbooks database is based on flexible entries, with two types of record: organizations and individuals connected to these organizations. So for example, one record can be listed as an employee at one company, a contractor for another, and a supplier for yet another. The database will also automatically trawl the web, suggesting updates to employment information and relationships between records based on the information it found online. This ensures that salespeople have current information at their fingertips at all times.

Workbooks: Key features and highlights

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Workbooks review

A versatile ticket management platform that can be used for customer service, IT, or HR. (Image credit: Workbooks)
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Workbooks review

Intelligent database auto-updates with the latest information about sales leads. (Image credit: Workbooks)
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Workbooks review

Advanced scoring system enables automated lead prospecting. (Image credit: Workbooks)
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Workbooks review

Premium features including invoice creation and quote management. (Image credit: Workbooks)
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Workbooks review

Enjoy regular workshops and meetings with Workbooks to ensure you meet your business goals. (Image credit: Workbooks)


Marketing features include campaign management and lead qualification. Marketing teams can run campaigns from within Workbooks and receive feedback from the system on their success. The system also uses a proprietary scoring system to rank the quality of leads. When a potential lead clicks on the company website, it adds a little to their score. If that individual then lingers there, clicks on a few links, and reads some information, their score will increase, and eventually, the system will escalate this potentially interested customer lead to a marketing representative. In this way, Workbooks automatically qualifies leads for the benefit of the marketing team.

Order Management

Order management is a premium feature, available to only Business level license holders. It facilitates back-end interactions with suppliers and assists when invoicing or quoting customers. Customized invoices and quote management are notable features as few CRM programs provide them.

Shared Success

The Workbooks team conducts an introductory workshop with every client. They then come up with a CRM solution that is tailored to that particular client’s business goals. Afterward, the client receives a set of free consulting days in their first year, equal to one day per £1000 of annual license value - or $1328. So a customer with a £10,000 annual license value will receive 10 free consulting days with the Workbooks team in the first year. This way, the Workbooks team can ensure that everything runs smoothly and that their CRM continues to help the customer hit their key performance indicators.

Workbooks - What’s new?

Workbooks made two major changes in recent releases. The first has to do with Workbooks’ Office 365 integration - Office 365 users can open Workbooks in a sidebar within any Office application. This feature was recently expanded to include Microsoft Teams and Sharepoint.

Workbooks also implemented a tool for its Order Management side, called Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ). CPQ proactively finds component parts relating to a specific customer quote. For instance, if a customer requests a quote for a roofing project, the sales rep would normally have to locate the pricing of all the relevant components and man-hours before being able to compile a quote. In practice, this means that the customer is unlikely to receive a quote the same day, which decreases the likelihood of closing the sale. 

With CPQ, reps can pre-configure quotes within the software before heading out, and the CPQ system will automatically fill in pricing details for components and man-hours so that representatives can provide an immediate quote to clients during the meeting.

Workbooks - Pricing

Workbooks’ pricing structure is simple. There are two plans: Standard and Business. With the standard plan, users get access to all of the customer-facing CRM features of Workbooks - sales, customer service, and marketing management solutions. The premium plan, Business, unlocks all of the order management features, like invoicing and supplier contract management. Billing on all Workbooks plans is annual.

Compared to other CRM providers, Workbooks' pricing is highly competitive. For instance, to unlock sales, marketing, and customer service features with Salesforce, a user would have to subscribe to Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, and Marketing Cloud, potentially a multi-thousand-dollar subscription. Workbooks offers similar features for $34/user/month.

*Limited to two users.

**Pricing is per user per month.

Testing Workbooks

Workbooks’ key differentiating factor lies in consulting support. They advocate that the process starts right from the beginning, with a consulting call to book a co-funded workshop. We wanted to test just how easy it was to get started with Workbooks.

How easy is it to book an initial consultation with Workbooks?

Screenshot of call booking screen, Workbooks.

Testing the Workbooks call booking function. (Image credit: Workbooks)

The only way to get started with Workbooks is to book a call for an initial consultation. You cannot otherwise access the software, even in its free form. We decided to test this booking process for ourselves, as this initial step could set the tone for the entire customer experience.

Workbooks’ website has the button "Let’s talk" in the top right corner, as well as on nearly every webpage. We clicked it, and it took us to a booking calendar for a 30-minute appointment. 

We found that the booking process was easy and there was plenty of availability—we booked on a Thursday and were able to get a call as early as the next Monday morning. At that point, it was a simple matter of picking a date and an available time slot, then hitting confirm.

One issue North American customers should be aware of is that booking times are only available during British business hours, which means that when we tried to book from the West Coast our available call times ranged from 2:30 am to 7:30 am—so maybe grab a coffee if you are calling from the US or Canada.

Alternatives to Workbooks

Workbooks is most comparable to HubSpot as they are both CRM providers geared towards midsize enterprises. Unlike Workbooks, HubSpot has a large established third-party app marketplace. If you are an advanced CRM user, comfortable setting everything up on your own, HubSpot could give you a little more customization than Workbooks.

However, Workbooks is significantly easier to use for users without enormous technical expertise. The Workbooks team will work with the client to set up the program, provide free consulting in the first year, and touch base annually after that to ensure that the client is still satisfied with their CRM. This type of ongoing, personalized support, with free consulting hours, is unique to Workbooks, and difficult to beat unless you need absolutely no assistance in setting up and maintaining your CRM.

Small businesses and solopreneurs might find Workbooks less beneficial, as the free version is limited in scope, and the free consulting is not available since it is based on your total annual subscription fee. On the other hand, HubSpot’s free version has unlimited users and similar features to Workbooks' free version. 

Salesforce is another competitor of Workbooks, being the largest and most established player in the CRM space. However, it’s primarily geared towards large Enterprise users. Features like VoIP calling, which allows for full-scale call center integration, as well as over 3000 third-party Apps, make Salesforce a more appealing choice for a large organization.

For this reason, compared to its alternatives, Workbooks is best suited for midsize enterprises where it is a superior choice in terms of pricing, features, and consulting support.

Workbooks: Final verdict

Workbooks is a full-featured CRM at a very affordable price point. It is unique on the market for its blend of annual workshops and free consulting hours. The company will work with you on an ongoing basis to make sure that your CRM platform continues to help you achieve your unique business goals. Workbooks can support customer service, sales, and marketing teams, and help users manage customer orders.

Workbooks falls a little short in its offering to very small and very large businesses. For the latter, it lacks the breadth of features and range of third-party apps that some may require. That being said, for a client that is okay with a fairly standard offering, Workbooks can provide a level of one-on-one support that few other providers offer. For small businesses, Workbooks is more expensive than some alternatives. Its free version is limited and only accepts two users, while some competitors offer unlimited users on their free plan.

For this reason, Workbooks outshines its competition primarily as a midsize business CRM, with its key differentiating features being consulting and low price.

Next steps

For more information on CRM software, take a look at our guide What is CRM software? You may also want to read our take on the best CRM for small business, the best CRM for real estate, and the best free CRM software to help you select the best CRM software for your needs.