4 Zoho CRM Innovations from 2020 to help make 2021 better
February 9, 2021
Through adversity comes improvement
Through 2020 we saw all kinds of unprecedented changes made to technology, especially in regards to applications that were needed to allow users to do their work from home.
Many new companies implemented remote work applications, virtual meetings software, and document collaboration tools than ever before. The statistics are particularly impressive when it comes to CRMs. For example, Zoho, which is a leading CRM application provider, saw their CRM had a 66% increase in contacts added, a 59% rise in reports being sent and over 874k new users added into the system in 2020.
While many new companies and users were being added to the system, this also exposed some areas that can be improved upon in 2021 and beyond. We have identified four key areas related to technology, and CRM specifically where increased demand in 2020 created the necessity that often spurs innovation:
- The ability to work from anywhere with the right CRM app
- The focus on the SMB market most impacted by the shift towards the virtual workplace
- The rise of AI Smart Assistants
- The expansion of CRM beyond simply tracking and closing sales
Working from Anywhere (WFA)
Work from Home isn’t a new concept, but CRM was a big part of allowing workers to do their job remotely, during 2020. As progress is made toward combatting Covid-19, eventually we may see a time when people will be able to more easily and safely work from an office space again. In many cases employees were actually more productive when working from home, but others have felt the strain of trying to manage both their personal and work lives from within the same space.
This is where the work from home mantra can be improved to work from anywhere. As Andy Cheung from RingCentral points out “It’s not work from home that employees truly want—it’s work from anywhere (WFA) Employees want to work wherever they feel most fulfilled and productive…” and “from a business’s perspective, a WFA policy means it no longer needs to hire based on proximity.”
Working from anywhere allows your workforce to potentially be spread across the world in multiple time zones, allowing for more ability to stay connected to leads and contacts both due to geographical proximity and potentially shared interests. Applications like Zoho CRM are there to provide all the tools necessary to work from the place of their choosing, keeping your workforce happy and your business running smoothly.
Focus on the SMB market
As change and upheaval was a primary theme of 2020, so too we believe recovery and improvement will be a theme of 2021. Many businesses in 2020 were forced to adopt an online presence and cobble together applications just to keep themselves afloat in the shifting environment. Now technology companies have had almost a year to reflect on and improve their offerings to help those in most need.
Zoho has created two new offerings recently to help cater to the needs of SMBs who may not require a full-fledged all-in-one system but do require specific functionality to run their business. These applications allow those businesses likely most affected by the pandemic to get help in the areas they need most.
AI Smart Assistant (Zia)
Usage of Zoho’s AI Smart Assistant Zia is way up (254k+ questions asked in 2020, a 64% increase), showing that workers have questions and trust that the smart assistant can give them the answers they need.
Smart Assistants have become more popular as businesses try to find new ways to help their workforce accomplish simple and complex tasks quicker and easier. Zia, first introduced in 2018, has been greatly improved over the last few years to help ease the stress of the transition to a more virtual-focused business operation.
Zia offers a wide variety of abilities from predicting closures of leads and deals based on past data, reading the sentiment of emails, determining the best time to contact people in your CRM, monitoring workflow progress and so much more.
Zia has been released for many of the Zoho applications now, including Zoho Desk to help with support ticket management, Zoho People to assist with HR functions and Zoho Analytics to better parse and analyze data.
All of these functions are built into the Zoho platform and allow your business to utilize them through accessing the Zia function bar or using Zia voice to request commands not unlike using CIRI, Cortana or other AI assistants from other platforms. This can help you get the information you need and accomplish tasks more efficiently, which is a great boon to a virtual workplace.
CRM is about more than just sales
CRM applications used to be focused almost entirely on the sales funnel. As 2020 has shown, customer relationships have become more important than ever. CRM has gone beyond just sales - it’s about your entire customer experience strategy.
This has not gone unrecognized by industry leaders such as Zoho, who have not only updated their CRM to help better manage the full customer relationship, but gave back to their own SMB clients by waiving their subscription fees for affected SMBs when the pandemic was at its worst. This allowed those businesses to stay focused on getting themselves into a better position without having to worry about additional costs or losing access to the Zoho suite when so much was shifting to virtual-only work.
With CRM continuing to grow and expand based on the lessons of 2020, it’s important for your company to also focus on how it can grow and thrive in the ever-expanding virtual space.
As a partner of Zoho, Positive Results™ works with SMBs from a variety of industries to help implement, support and customize core Zoho applications such as CRM, Desk, Projects, People, Analytics, Campaigns, and more, by applying the lessons of 2020 to help businesses work better and smarter in 2021.
If you have additional questions or need support, contact us at:
Positive Results™ Custom Business Solutions