Zoho CRM Review 2024: Features, Pros & Cons (Updated)

Zoho CRM is an excellent entry-level CRM platform that scales with your small business’s growth. Its free CRM plan is popular among new businesses looking for a free way to track leads and manage contacts easily.

For more robust features, users can always upgrade to a paid plan, which will unlock several features, such as automating marketing tasks and tracking customer and contact data.

Zoho CRM also offers seamless integrations with other Zoho tools and third-party apps you may already use, such as Mailchimp, Google Analytics and QuickBooks. Keep reading our 2024 Zoho CRM review to learn more.

What is Zoho CRM?

Zoho CRM makes it easy for newcomers to get started with a CRM, especially if they’re not familiar with the software. The free plan includes just enough of the basic features to be helpful for an individual or an ultrasmall company. And the interface is intuitive and clean, which makes it even easier to learn to use. This is just one reason why Zoho CRM tops our list of the best CRM software for small businesses.

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What helps this product or service stand out in a good way?

In our Zoho review, we found one of the biggest benefits of Zoho CRM is that it offers a free plan that while limiting, is still quite valuable. All plans let you create contact lists, generate leads with drag-and-drop forms, include customization and workflow automation and offer email marketing.

Its interface is immediately intuitive, so it’s easy to learn and use. You can connect other Zoho apps, even on the free plan, but paid plans get access to hundreds of apps.

Zoho CRM’s mobile app gives you quick access to your contacts, leads, notes and deals. Plus, it makes it easy to call leads and clients directly from the app on your phone. The mobile app is available for iOS and Android.

Zoho named its artificial intelligence (AI) tool Zia, which does more than offer predictive analysis. She can take dictation, find data you need and spot anomalies based on sales trends, for example. Zoho CRM’s AI-powered tools are only for the top-tier plans. The predictions are helpful with figuring out the best time to contact clients and prospects and automatically capture information on them through emails they send you.

You’ll have 30 days to request a full refund for Zoho CRM’s monthly service (annual subscribers get 45 days). Zoho even goes further to make sure you’re happy by offering a five-day buffer period after your renewal date in case you forget to cancel immediately.


What could be interpreted as a negative, at least for some types of users?

Low-tier users of Zoho CRM are limited by the number of users allowed and some features. For example, the free plan only allows up to three users and AI tools are only available on the higher-priced plans. You also may not find apps you want to integrate on lower plans.

Free plan users also miss out on sales forecasting, calendar booking and customization. You can create custom list views of your data but, on the free plan, you’re limited to five list views per module. So, you can customize your view of whichever fields are most important to you. But on the free plan, you can only see five at a time and 50 per module on the Standard plan. Higher plans are unlimited.

It’s worth noting that while most reviews of Zoho CRM are positive, some customers aren’t satisfied with Zoho’s customer support. Although the software gets overwhelmingly positive reviews for being easy to use, not everyone agrees. Some Zoho reviews say it’s difficult to set up CRM integrations with third-party apps and even Zoho’s many services.

Sales Automation

You could use Zoho CRM as a simple CRM and just track contacts and leads, but it’s a more powerful tool than that — even on its free plan. The sales automation tools help you generate leads through forms on your website, social media and email, which automatically get put into contacts in your CRM.

Lead scoring helps ensure contacts go to the right teams, so there’s no wasted time or effort. Each of your leads get tags that let you know whether someone has contacted them if follow-up is needed or if it’s a lost lead.

The workflow rules you can set up in Zoho CRM work similarly to any other CRM that uses “if this, then that” (IFTTT) logic, so if you’re familiar, it should be easy to use. For example, you can set up a rule that when a contact is created and labeled as a lead, then an action to send a welcome email to trigger and create a task for a follow-up phone call.

Similarly, Zoho CRM allows high-tier plans to create macros, which are groups of tasks you can trigger to happen all at once. So, you can set up a macro for lead nurturing which may include sending a series of emails, creating a task for follow up and a task to call the lead.

Analytics & Reporting

One of the most important features of Zoho CRM―and any CRM for that matter―is CRM analytics. Zoho CRM allows you to run reports to view data at many levels and for all modules. All plans get access to pre-built reports, which may be enough for small businesses to analyze deals, stages and contacts. Most plans allow you to build custom reports, so you can see the data that matters to you and your department.

Where Zoho may shine is with its filtering options. You can drill down within a module to find exactly what you need. For example, search through leads in one zip code and then filter by lead status to find only those that have requested in-person demos.

In addition to reports, Zoho CRM offers charts for visualizing the data you collect. Create pie charts, heat maps and bar graphs. And for those on the higher-tier plans, you can use AI-powered tools to predict sales trends and spot areas that need work, whether it’s with bounced emails or lower sales for the month.

Omnichannel Communications

A CRM is only as good as its ability to be a unified platform for all of your communications with customers, leads, colleagues and prospects, and Zoho CRM is as good as they come. The platform lets you connect your email, phone, social media, website forms and live chat so you can more easily communicate with contacts, parse data and solve customer issues from one place.

For example, you can easily integrate your inbox with Zoho CRM and then look at the history of emails to and from each contact (something you likely can’t do with an email client alone). If you use voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) to make and receive calls, odds are you can integrate it with Zoho CRM, so you don’t have to alt-tab (or command-tab) between apps.

Collaboration Tools

Just as Zoho CRM allows for omnichannel communications, the platform enables colleagues to collaborate in various ways. Feeds is a feature that lets you conduct an ongoing conversation about whatever’s relevant to your team or company, such as deals, pitches or ideas. It’s kind of like a mini internal Slack.

You can also send direct messages through Zoho CRM’s chat feature for one-on-one conversations. You can also leave text or audio notes on records for conversation on specific projects or deals. Zoho CRM’s tagging feature lets you create custom tags to organize everything from people to deals to records. And you can organize teams or departments by group, which helps keep specific records organized by type, too.

On top of all the team collaboration by communication, you can integrate your project management (PM) software with Zoho CRM to make it easy to work on projects together. You’ll have the benefit of all your CRM data right there in your projects, too.

Mobile App

A mobile CRM is especially helpful for sales reps who work outside of the office, but Zoho CRM makes it even better than simply giving you access to your contacts. RouteIQ is a route planning feature that makes it easy for you to see all the prospects you want to meet up with and the best route to take to hit all your meetings on time.

There’s an offline mode, so you can access your data via the mobile app even if your connection is spotty — any changes you make will update to the cloud once you’re connected to the internet again. Plus, you can record voice notes in the app and it will translate your speech into text. The Zoho CRM mobile app wouldn’t be complete without a business card scanning feature. Scan cards you get from prospects and the data is instantly imported to your CRM platform with all the details filled out.

Free Plan

The free plan allows up to three users to track contacts, leads, accounts and deals. You can also log events, calls and notes on your contacts and leads. You’ll be able to set workflow rules to automate specific tasks, such as notifying sales to email leads based on a date. Automation is limited on the free plan, and you’ll miss out on lots of customizable tools. Zoho CRM allows free users access to standard reports, but nothing beyond that.

For many individuals or small businesses just getting started, the free plan from Zoho CRM could be a good starting point. There are glowing Zoho CRM reviews for those who love the free plan because of its generous features, but it’s also noted that small businesses are likely to grow out of the plan quickly.

Using the free plan, you can set up basic lead, account and deal management. You can also create and store documents, communicate via feeds and set up task reminders. However, you won’t get access to the social tab for Facebook and Twitter, nor can you accept calendar bookings from your website to your CRM. For these and more features, you may want to upgrade to at least the Standard plan.

Standard Plan

In Zoho CRM’s Standard plan ($14 per user, per month), you’ll get access to tools that can aid your sales and marketing teams in many ways. You’ll get sales forecasting, lead scoring rules and multiple pipelines. You’ll also be able to create custom reports (but you’re limited to 100), data analysis of key performance indicators (KPIs) and automation of marketing campaigns. It’s an ideal plan for small businesses with teams that need to track sales and marketing efforts because of the upgraded features and affordability.

Although you won’t get many more new features on the Professional plan ($23 per user, per month) in regard to automation, limits are lifted in some cases. It is at this level you’ll be able to integrate Google Ads with Zoho CRM and you’ll get inventory management. The Professional plan from Zoho CRM is a good pick for retailers (online or brick-and-mortar) that don’t want to manage inventory in a separate app.

Another big feature you get on the Professional plan is mass email scheduling. All but the free plan can send mass emails, but it’s at the higher levels that you can schedule them. Professional plan users also unlock customer support features. You can create cases and solutions, take customer issues via a web form and create assignment rules (20 per module).

Enterprise and Ultimate Plans

Zoho CRM’s top-tier plans, Enterprise and Ultimate, ($40 and $52 per user, per month, respectively) are where you’ll find artificial intelligence (AI)-powered features to help you predict conversion of leads and sales trends, for example. There are also more process management features, such as approval and review processes.

On these upper tiers of Zoho CRM, you’ll find automated segmentation, another time saver for large corporations. There’s also split testing for web forms and specific analytics of web forms. Of course, this might be a little too much CRM for a small business but, for enterprise-level businesses with large sales teams, it’s an affordable option compared to higher-priced competitors.

Top Zoho CRM Alternatives

While Zoho CRM is an excellent entry-level CRM, it may not be the best choice for every business. You can find plenty of Zoho CRM alternatives that could fit your CRM strategy better. HubSpot is a great CRM that can help every department in your company, but it leans more toward marketing. Salesforce is the CRM that started it all, which maintains its emphasis on sales force automation, although it’s also a good fit for marketing and support teams.

Zoho CRM vs. HubSpot

We compared Zoho CRM vs. HubSpot and found that both CRMs are helpful for various departments in small businesses, and there are a lot of similarities. Both offer feature-packed free versions, so it’s easy to get started with a CRM regardless of the size of your company. However, Zoho CRM is much more affordable, so it scales better for smaller businesses with smaller budgets. If you’re looking for more robust marketing features, HubSpot could be worth the extra cost.

Zoho CRM vs. Salesforce

In almost any Zoho CRM review, you’ll read about how affordable the platform is, but it has a few other advantages even compared to the original CRM: Salesforce. We looked at Zoho CRM vs. Salesforce and discovered that Zoho CRM allows workflow automation on all plans. Zoho CRM offers a free plan while Salesforce only offers a free trial. Salesforce is a powerful solution for sales teams looking to level up their CRM game.

Is Zoho CRM Right for You?

Given that Zoho CRM is such an easy-to-use CRM, it’s an ideal pick for startups and small businesses that need client and contact management, along with sales forecasting and marketing automation features. You may not have a need for advanced features, such as AI-powered tools, but Zoho CRM scales easily with five different plans. So, if your business grows and your teams require more sophisticated features, those features are present.

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