Zoho One: The unSalesforce grows up

June 10th, 2020

Zoho One allows users to pick from over 40 business applications included in a single license.

Executive Summary:

Zoho One is a suite of enterprise-level business applications under a single-subscription model that can help you run your entire organization.

American Marketing Association Hall-of-Famer Al Ries says a market always has a place for two brands–the market leader and its opposite. If Salesforce–big, flashy, and pricey–is the market leader for cloud-based CRM software, then Zoho Corporation–a scrappy company whose CRM product offers a less-polished look and a free tier–has certainly been the “unSalesforce.”

This strategy has worked-out pretty well. Founded in 1996 in Pleasanton, California–where it still maintains its corporate headquarters–Zoho now has offices in seven countries, including its global headquarters in India. Over the years, Zoho has grown its world-wide customer-base to 50 million through its flagship product, Zoho CRM, and an associated ecosystem of related cloud-based business applications.

For much of this time, many of these applications were available as independent subscriptions, with somewhat limited integration between them.

In 2017, Zoho made its enterprise play with Zoho One–an omnibus package of its more than 40 business apps under a single subscription. The result is impressive.

Salesforce focuses primarily on sales, marketing, and customer service, at a price premium. Zoho, by contrast, bills itself as “the operating system for business,” and provides nearly everything you need to run an organization. Here’s a sample:

  • Zoho CRM: Customer Relationship Management
  • Campaigns: Email Marketing
  • MarketingHub: Automated lead management
  • Sign: E-signatures
  • Desk: Ticketing and customer support
  • Recruit: Recruiting and hiring
  • People: HR management
  • Books: Accounting
  • Analytics: Business Intelligence

That’t just a small selection of what comes with Zoho One. Even so, Zoho doesn’t abandon their low-cost-of-entry approach. You can start out with Zoho One for $35/user/month, or $30/user/month if you pay up-front. This requires you to license all your employees–but if you’re a start-up with one or two people, it’s a no-brainer. If you don’t want to get the platform for all employees, you can opt for “flexible user pricing” at $90/user/month, or $75/user/month paid up-front. With everything Zoho One offers, however–such as expense tracking, surveys, and the Slack-like “Cliq” for team collaboration–if you like it for yourself, sooner or later you’re going to want it for all your people.

Compare these pricing options to Salesforce, which starts at $25/user/month for Essentials. This entry-level product is for sales and support only, and caps-out at 10 users. Prices go up from there. For an additional $10/user/month (for all employees), Zoho One will run your whole business.

Zoho has come a long way with their suite of products over the past 24 years. In Zoho One, they have produced a powerful and affordable offering for the enterprise. Of course, that doesn’t mean Zoho One will necessarily be for you. Opinions and preferences vary widely when it comes to software–but Zoho One’s value proposition is compelling enough, you may want to give it a try. Zoho offers a 30-day free trial of of the entire Zoho One suite for up to 10 users. They may be grown-up, but they’re still the unSalesforce. 😉

Next Steps:
Share With — 
COO, CHRO, Sales Director, Marketing Director

Action Items — 
• Start a 30-day trial of Zoho One
• Test CRM, Books, Desk, Recruit, People, Campaigns, MarketingHub and Analytics
• Assess ROI of implementing Zoho One

Brian S. Pauls is the unfounder and the unCTO of Cloudessy, your guide on the journey to the cloud…