Want an effective and intuitive CRM? Zoho CRM can 100% be that… but it takes a bit of customization and know-how.
This course is focused on helping Zoho CRM users become familiar with the platform. We don’t go into EVERYTHING (we save the more advanced stuff for another course) — however, by the end of the course, you’ll be a Zoho CRM whiz!
Follow these steps to set up your free trial account. Go to https://www.zoho.com/one/
Remember, if you are already logged into another Zoho account, it is really important to log out of that account before you do these steps!
Throughout the course, you will use this trial account to learn everything you need to set up and design a Zoho CRM on your own!
Consider bookmarking the “My Apps” page as you will come back to it frequently.
Zoho CRM is the filing cabinet in which you can store thousands of records, organized in different files. Within that cabinet, Modules can be thought of as the organizational files.
The main 4 modules any business uses are the Leads, Contacts, Accounts, and Deals modules.
A record is an individual entry within a module. A record in the Leads module is a potential client, while a record in the Accounts module could be a business you work with, a deal record is a…… you get the picture.
Also, if you first click into a record and the layout looks different from mine, look up at the top. Next to the green “Send Email” button is an inconspicuous little guy named “Switch to Old/New Version”.
This is simply to toggle between the old and new UI that Zoho has for CRM. They released the new one a few months ago but you may still choose either. I use the new one!
A field is the smallest unit of organizational data. Many fields are in each record, which are organized into modules.
To draw on another analogy, think of an Excel file. The file is the CRM, each sheet can be thought of as a module, a record is a row, and a field is a column!
Possible record sources may be:
a CSV/Excel import
your website contact form
social media campaigns, etc.
This is where you store the contact information of someone with whom you do business. Usually, you have a more established connection with a contact than you do with a lead.
Again, emphasizing what we just learned, the contact’s information is stored in multiple fields, which are organized into an individual record, all of which are grouped together in the Contacts module.
In the Accounts module we store information about companies that we work with. Instead of the information of an individual, we save the contact info of a company.
This becomes really useful because we can also create connections between the Contacts and Accounts using related records (more on that later). For example, within the Contacts module (the individuals), we can associate them with an Account (a company) via the “Account Name” field.
Then, back in the Accounts module and in that specific record, we can see a list of every Contact that is associated with that Account.
This is one of the strengths of CRM, its organizational capacity to create connections between records.
When you first click into the Deals module, it will be empty! So, click on “Create a Deal” to see the page where I begin this video.
Alright, let’s say I have an existing or past client (stored as a record in the Contacts module) but I want to do some more work with them. So, I create a Deal record.
As in the previous video, we can relate this Deal record back to an Account record to keep track of all the business I do with a particular company.
The Deals module is useful, among other things, for:
revenue and pipeline tracking
probability and stage tracking
By clicking ‘Convert’ while in the Lead record page, you have the option to convert it to a Contact, and at the same time create an Account and Deal.
Once converted, it no longer appears in the Leads module, but has moved on to better things (aka the Contacts module).
The hardest part about this step is coming up with fake data for 3 people. I know you’re capable though.
Go ahead, click that ‘+’ button (within the Leads module, of course) to add a new Lead!
More practice converting a Lead into a Contact, Account, and Deal.
Practice creating records within these modules!
As noted before, you can relate records to each other across modules via Lookup Fields (to be explained in detail later).
In this video, one of the Lookup Fields is “Account Name”.
In the top right of the module, there are three options of views to use. I recommend the ‘Tabular View’!
The same concept applies to almost all modules.
Marketplace is a module that you can’t hide in the module organizer. You need to click into it and the “Don’t Show This Tab” appears at the top for if you want to hide it.
To manage the fields in a record layout, go to Settings > Modules and Fields > select the module you want to edit.
We will always be working out of the ‘Standard’ layouts. In the next few videos about module customization, we will be working with this feature.
Also, when you first click into a record to view it, you may have to toggle the “Show Details”/”Hide Details” button to be able to see all the record’s fields.
Zoho CRM is customizable and adaptable for the needs of any business. There may be features you want to add or remove and you can start learning in this video. Things to remember:
When customizing modules, everything is drag and drop
Deleting fields does not delete the information forever, it just hides it on the front end. Deleting fields forever is done under the ‘Unused Fields’ section
When in doubt, simplify and clean it up!
In the module editor, everything is “Drag and drop” and fields can be organized within sections.
Mandatory fields can be really useful because there are certain fields that we don’t want to ever be empty when creating records.
A Lead without a name or mode of communication? Useless.
Mandatory fields are marked in red in the module editor.
One of the options available for field customization is “Mark as Required” and that change is reflected when you go to create a new lead.
A few videos back we cleaned up the modules, now we do the same for fields.
Some may be superfluous or irrelevant. Do you really need a Fax field?
Delete them, drag them around to adjust the layout, or even (as we’ll see in another video) create new ones! Again, the end goal for the client is an efficient, simple, intuitive CRM design.
The principle for creating and organizing sections is the same as for fields, drag and drop!
When you remove a field from the layout, it does not delete it completely from the CRM. Essentially, it just hides it. Zoho Standard fields cannot be deleted completely, but custom fields can.
The “3-dot” menu on the right side of the field has the options to edit or remove fields.
If a field is involved in a blueprint (more on those later) or some other automation, Zoho will stop you from removing it.
When you try though, it will give you a list of all the places it is in use and links to those use cases.
Then, you can decide to edit those cases in order to be able to remove the field, or not go forward with it after all.
After you have removed a field from the view, you can find it in the “Unused Fields” tab at the left.
You can choose to then delete (only custom fields) them but both they and their data really will be gone forever.
The “New Fields” tab on the left provides a variety of options for creating custom fields. Again, just drag and drop.
When you first drag a new field in, give it a name and edit the settings if needed.
Cool feature! Because we are working here out of the Leads module, we can also check the box to create the same field in the Deals (or Contacts or Accounts) module. During Lead conversion, that field will be mapped over to the Deals module, saving us the time and effort of having to create it in two places.
In the next video, I talk about different data types, which is also relevant to custom fields.
Picklists are really useful because we have control over the variety of responses or submissions we might receive in any given field. Drag and drop!
Add the options and choose if you want to select a default value or not. The tooltip is a little help icon a user can hover over and you can provide a little pop-up message, explaining the field or its use.
One of the most useful features of Zoho CRM is its ability to create links between all kinds of records, via Related Lists. Running down the left side, it tells us which records from other modules are related to the current record you are viewing.
If I am in an Accounts record, on the left side I can see any associated Deals, Activities, Notes, or even emails sent out!
From that left-side Related List column, you can easily add (the “+” button) records that are associated back to the record you are working from.
Starting from an Account record, go ahead and practice by created a related note, attachment, deal, contact and task!
Tasks are the most useful of the Activities. When they are created they appear under “Open Activities” and once closed, under “Closed Activities”. To create one:
Add a related activity (choose task)
Give it a name
A due date
Assign it to a specific user (it may or may not be you)
Set a reminder and notification method if necessary
Tasks appear under the Related Lists tab and the module Record View, but they also have their own module (Activities), so there are a few different ways to see and manage tasks.
You can create a task from the Related List column on the left side
Click “Open Activities” to see all the open tasks associated with that record
You can close the activity by clicking the green check next to the task name or by clicking into the task and clicking ‘Close Task’
Open tasks appear as a flag next to the name of a record in the record view
Once closed, all tasks are moved to “Closed Activities” and do not trigger any more notifications or reminders
In every module, Attachments appears under the Related Lists
It is really useful to store contracts, quotes, and any other relevant file
Workdrive is the Zoho version of Google drive, except you get 5 terrabytes of free storage!
If you haven’t, follow the video to set up Workdrive
Add a file or Folder to practice with
In CRM, add an attachment via “Zoho Workdrive”
If you attach an entire folder, then files you add to that folder will automatically be attached to CRM as well
The default record view is Overview (top left), but use the Timeline feature to see when:
the record was created
certain fields were updated
emails were sent out
Nobody wants to spend their whole life sending and replying to emails. So, take advantage of CRM’s email features by:
creating templates that you can repeatedly use
seeing every email that a client has received and not have to dig through your inbox
scheduling automated emails
Start creating templates in Settings > Templates > New Template. A few things to think about:
templates are module-specific
Zoho has some templates already available to use, but you can create from scratch
give it a name and a subject line
use the # sign to merge in contact information from the chosen module
think about how to organize your email templates into folders when you save them
If you don’t see the option to “Share With” anyone, it’s probably because you are the only user in your demo account.
Go to Settings > Email > Get Started to set up the IMAP integration, which allows any email correspondence with specific clients to be visible in the CRM Contact record.
Working with a new Lead record, we practice sending emails.
Within the record, there is a ‘Send Email’ button in the top-right
Type out an entire email, or
Choose a pre-existing template
Remember, use an email that you can actually check!
Another thing to think about: as you create a new lead for this video, remember back to our “Mandatory Fields” topics in the previous lesson.
If your system requires more or fewer fields than mine, you can change that in the module builder!
Under the Email Related List, you can see:
when emails were sent and received
the status (sent, opened, clicked, etc.)
the content of the email itself
SalesSignals are notifications (seen in the top right menu) of opened or new emails.
Workflow rules are the automation engines of CRM, saving LOADS of time if you set them up right.
Again, go to Settings > Workflow Rules > Create Rule (or select existing)
Things to consider:
think carefully about how you want to trigger the rule (via record creation, field updates, etc.)
conditions are a way to filter out different scenarios for which you want to trigger the rule
Use the “+/-” buttons to add or delete conditions
you can automate emails, task creation, field updates, and more
automations can be triggered immediately or be scheduled to run later
The possibilities for customization and time-saving are endless! Just think through it carefully to ensure it’s carrying out exactly what you need it to do.
Thinking through practice cases for possible automations is really useful. In each case, consider:
what action in CRM triggers the workflow rule?
which specific conditions filter out the unwanted cases?
what actions do I want to automate?
Select which module you are working in
Give the rule a name (creating an intuitive naming system now is helpful) and a description
The trigger determines when a workflow rule might be called up
Then, the conditions trim that down even further
In this example, we only want to send this specific email to people whose net worth is greater than $100k
When selecting an email template, you can preview it
There are also different options to specify who the email comes from as well
If you need to use Google Sheets instead of Excel, watch this video if you need help doing so.
Make sure your data is clean before the import, you can’t edit it during the import process
Each column in a sheet corresponds to a field in Zoho CRM
Each row can be thought of as a record in CRM (it will be after the import)
Make sure your data has a place to be imported to. If needed, create custom fields
You will have to make sure your file is in CSV format
In the module view, click the ‘Import’ button in the top-right
Select the file you want to import
Choose whether to “add new leads” or “update existing”
Match the columns from the sheet to the fields in CRM
Make sure the data type in the sheet matches the data type in the CRM field, i.e. you can’t import a “date” data type into a pick list in CRM
Once they are matched, click ‘Finish’!
Go to Settings > Export > Select the module you want to export
If you need to export more than 3000 records, you need to export by running a report, see that video here
It exports to a CSV file
Until now, we had to enter every record in CRM manually
In this Lesson, we learn how to automate record creation in the CRM using Zoho Forms
If you do not have it already, follow this video to set up Zoho Forms
If you do have it, click on the Forms icon or go to forms.zoho.com
Start a new form (give it a name)
In the builder on the left side are all the options of fields we can add to our form
We build that actual form in the next video
In the top menu, select “Integration”, then “Integrate with Zoho CRM”
Select the module and integrate to the Standard layout
Then it is a mix and match for which Form fields you want piped into CRM fields in your selected module
Other features include:
ability to trigger workflow rules
attach the form response as a PDF to the CRM record
select a unique field (like email) that enables pre-existing records to be updated instead of creating a duplicate record (“upsert record” option)
Important note: If you have marked other fields as mandatory in the Leads (or other) module builder, you will have to map a Zoho Form field to these fields in CRM because the system does not allow you to create records without those mandatory fields. Watch out for that!
Under Share > Public Link you can find the URL to share
The Shortened URL is a nice option to have
Put this in emails, templates, a link on your website, etc.
Under Share > Public Link you can find the URL to your form
Fill out the form with some test data
In the main Forms page, under the Form title, click “All Entries” in order to see responses to your form
Then, check in CRM to ensure the integration worked and your new lead appeared