In June 2011, Zoho Corp contacted DeLisa and interviewed her for a case study on Zoho CRM. What follows is the outcome of that case study.
About DJL Training & Consulting
DJL Training and Consulting is a Durham, North Carolina-based company helping businesses, non-profit organizations and individuals increase their efficiency and productivity at their computers. Since 2000, we have trained hundreds of people in the Triangle area on office productivity applications, including Microsoft Office, Google Docs and Zoho. Our training consultants have over 20 years experience designing and presenting computer training in a classroom setting.
DJL Training and Consulting is a few years old, but from day one, I knew I wanted everything related to my customers in one place. I’m all about efficiency, so using one system to manage my customer relationships made sense. But at the time, I didn’t know I was looking for a CRM system. I didn’t know the acronym. So I wound up investigating contact management systems (CMS) and a few different types of applications as well as several different CRM apps.
As far as CMSes go, they offered some CRM functionality, but they just weren’t powerful enough. I also tried Salesforce, Free CRM, SugarCRM, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM. I probably investigated a dozen CRM applications in all. None of them made sense for a small business of my size – less than five people. Especially starting out, I’m not going to use all the bells and whistles. But none of the systems gave me the flexibility of putting together a package at a price that was low enough to justify using it.
I wound up selecting Zoho CRM precisely because it offers that flexibility. It has a lot of great features, but I didn’t have to commit to all of them all at once. Coming into Zoho CRM as a small business, I didn’t have to spend for more than I needed. In fact, Zoho has free packages for most of the applications in their suite, including CRM, and I really appreciate that. And sure enough, I’ve grown into Zoho CRM and pulled out my credit card and paid for additional features. But I didn’t have to in the beginning, and that’s wonderful.
Zoho CRM is my primary application. That’s where I go to conduct business. I use mass email, leads, contacts, accounts, opportunities, activities and price books. I also use Google Apps and take advantage of the integration between Zoho CRM and Google Apps. I have my domain mail at djltraining.com come to my Gmail and Zoho Mail accounts. When I go into Google Apps, I can see my Zoho CRM there, my invoices, and my email history. I can add contacts to Zoho CRM.
Zoho CRM isn’t the only Zoho application I use. As I mentioned, I use Zoho Mail as well as Zoho Invoice, Zoho Docs, Zoho Writer, Zoho Show, Zoho Sheet, Zoho Notebook and Zoho Creator. I’ve embedded Zoho Assist in my website to provide remote support for my customers. And I’m starting to dabble in Zoho Wiki and Zoho Books.
I don’t have specifics or numbers on how much time or money Zoho CRM is saving or making me, but I do have a strong sense of efficiency. And absolutely, I’m saving time creating tasks, creating follow ups, logging my calls, being able to go back and look at what was done, allowing other people -- my office assistants and my admin assistant -- to see what’s been done. I don’t have to have a lot of cell phone or in-person conversations to catch them up on things. It’s just a major timesaver.