thomas.wieberneit@aheadcrm.co.nz
Value, not greed! How a business software vendor translates SMB success into the enterprise

Value, not greed! How a business software vendor translates SMB success into the enterprise

Zoho is well known as a vendor for business applications geared towards SMBs. As many other companies do, Zoho wants to support the upper mid-market and enterprises, too. After all, successful SMBs may grow into become enterprises and that might attract other enterprises. So, there are a good number of good reasons to also support upper mid-market and large businesses. The company has actually followed this path for about five years and has set up an enterprise business solutions team to deliver solutions for enterprises. Still, it is a better kept secret that Zoho already has considerable momentum in the upper mid-market and enterprise segments. Zoho achieved a 65 percent year-over-year growth. The enterprise segment now represents about one third of the business.  During its signature event Zoholics in Austin, the company on May 4, 2023, changed this and revealed its enterprise strategy. This strategy ultimately rotates around four pillars: Go-to-market, platform, new applications and enhancements, plus security and privacy. Zoho also backed up its continuing success story by inviting some customers to present their journey with Zoho as a panel and talking individually to analysts and media.  Marshall Lager and I had the opportunity to speak with Zoho’s head of CX marketing strategy, Prashanth V K. We had a lot of questions and opened up with a barrage about what the customer profile for the Zoho enterprise business is. The interview can be watched here. Zoho’s head of CX marketing strategy explains how Zoho is successful in the enterprise market Starting with the definition of mid-market: Zoho defines mid-market companies as companies ranging from one hundred to one thousand employees; and Zoho...
Browsing in privacy with Ulaa? Here’s why!

Browsing in privacy with Ulaa? Here’s why!

During Zoho’s signature event Zoholics in Austin, the company announced the availability of Ulaa, the new Zoho web browser. Of course, Ulaa does have a meaning. It is a Tamil word that means journey or path. Tamil is the language spoken in Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, where Zoho’s HQ is situated. Similar to Safari or Internet Explorer it signifies that the web is about discovery. Ulaa is a privacy orientated webbrowser that is based on Google’s Chromium engine. It has been built specifically to help users protect their online privacy by offering capabilities to block tracking and website surveillance. According to a study by YouGov, this  is something that two thirds of consumers want, as they feel that tech companies have too much control over their personal data. The 2022 Norton Cyber Safety Insights Report Special Release – Online Creeping even found that globally, 85 percent of internet users want to do more to protect their privacy, while 80 percent say that they are concerned about data privacy. Almost 70 percent say that they are more alarmed than ever. So, there is clearly a case for privacy-oriented browsers, also one more browser, as there are already some existing ones, like Brave or DuckDuckGo, even Safari. We had the chance to talk to Tejas Gadhia, Zoho evangelist in charge of Ulaa about the rationale behind Zoho developing a web browser and what the future will bring. You can watch the full interview here. Why did Zoho build a browser? According to Tejas, there hasn’t been much innovation in the browser market lately. Some browsers came, like Brave or DuckDuckGo, and went (TOR, anybody?),...
The State of Customer Experience: A Small Business Perspective

The State of Customer Experience: A Small Business Perspective

The following article is an excerpt of a White Paper by Customerization’s Kira Tchernikovsky. Kira is the co-founder and CMO of this Canadian consulting company that focuses on helping SMBs stand out through superior business automation. You can download the full white paper here. Customer experience (CX) is how a customer feels about a company over time. Creating great CX is about positive emotions, building trust, and leaving a lasting impression with customers. Orchestrating excellent customer experience is essential for building brand loyalty and increasing customer retention. It’s also becoming increasingly important as more and more clients. B2C and B2B, choose to do business with companies who personalize interactions and prioritize customer satisfaction. While larger businesses have the resources to invest in Customer Experience (CX), small businesses (and by small we mean <200 employees) face unique challenges in providing an outstanding CX.   Here are a few common challenges for small businesses: Limited resources: Small businesses have limited financial resources and less employees to dedicate to a comprehensive customer experience solution. This makes it difficult to compete with larger businesses that have more resources to invest in customer experience initiatives. Lack of expertise: Small businesses may not have in-house expertise in areas such as customer experience design, research, and analytics. Therefore, it is not easy for SMEs to develop and implement an effective customer experience strategy. Limited data and insights: Small businesses may have limited access to customer data and insights, which in its turn, prevents them from objectively understanding customer needs, preferences, and pain points. How can they then build effective customer interactions and experiences? Limited technology resources: Small...
UX and CRM – How to make them a match

UX and CRM – How to make them a match

When talking about CRM systems, people – especially managers – mostly think about functions, features, and control. How can a process be supported and managed? How can I get good analytics out of the system? Does it fit into the existing IT landscape? These and many similar questions take precedence when it comes to selecting software systems. Usability and UX are often only an afterthought or, even worse, lip service. The result of this is often an abysmal user adoption of systems, as they do not do what the users want, don’t help them or, on the contrary, cause even more work than the users had before. The CRM Sales and Impact report 2021 study by Arlington Research shows that on average 52 per cent of sales leaders report that their CRM platform is costing them revenue opportunities. This average increases up to 65 percent in specific industries. On the other hand, a study by UsabilityGeek finds that it is beneficial to fuse UX and CX. Similarly, according to research by Jacob Nielsen, when good UX design enhances the customer experience, companies see an average increase of 83 percent of the measured KPIs across marketing, sales, and service. Apart from the revenue boost, benefits include increased and accelerated adoption, higher productivity, improved customer satisfaction, reduced training time and lower support cost. Therefore, the main question to ask is not whether, or rather in how far improving the UX does improve the acceptance, use, and helpfulness of a CRM system. Instead, one needs to ask what it takes to come to a better UX and what the inhibitors are. This blog post is based on...
How (and why) a marine consultancy made Zoho core of their business

How (and why) a marine consultancy made Zoho core of their business

During ZohoDay 2022, I had the chance to have a longer conversation with Graham Dallas, business development manager of the ABL Group. Graham was responsible for the implementation of ABL Group’s new CRM system. ABL Group is the result of a 2020 merger of AqualisBraemar ASA and the LOC Group. It is a 400+ person global energy and marine consultancy that helps companies around the world transition toward offshore renewable energy sources, clean shipping, and sustainable marine practices. Formerly Microsoft Dynamics users, ABL Group first began working with Zoho in 2021 via an implementation partner, and they collaborated on a design and build of a customized CRM solution for their business. Soon, the second phase of implementation will begin, which then includes integration with Oracle NetSuite. One of the main challenges facing ABL Group was the integration of two different businesses, one of them already using a “chunky” CRM solution and the other one not having a system. if you do not want to read too much but prefer watching the edited interview, you can do so here. The challenge to address was that ABL Group, also because of the recent merger has a lot of differing business structures that shall be supported via one single system. Luckily, the structures weren’t necessarily complex – the business just has a lot of different requirements due to the different regions and lines of business. ABL Group started with a small team of experienced persons who went into this implementation projects with open eyes and some ideas. They assembled a list of 6 candidates that they narrowed down into three with Zoho...
How to make Zoho a business’s operating system

How to make Zoho a business’s operating system

During ZohoDay 2022, I had the chance to have a longer conversation with Adi Mula, founder and CEO of Foodhub. If you do not want to read too much but prefer watching the edited interview, you can do so here. Similar to GrubHub and DoorDash, Foodhub allows residents of the UK, India, Egypt, Australia, New Zealand, and Malaysia, the US and some more countries to order food to be delivered from a variety of local restaurants; unlike those other sites, Foodhub does not charge service fees. Foodhub currently has about 1,100 employees. Most of them are using Zoho products in one way or another and many use multiple Zoho products. Foodhub started its Zoho journey with the goal of simplifying processes and to be able to provide every team with simple and easy to use tools that will help them do their jobs.  Originally, Foodhub worked with a set of interconnected, yet overly complicated applications. This journey started with implementing Zoho CRM because this was where the pain was biggest in this area.  The sales teams in the various countries have different needs, yet the business needs them use a common foundation. The old solution did not support this. One of the problems that were caused by this was that Foodhub used huge Excel sheets to support its sales process. Besides the obvious complexity, this also caused a GDPR risk, as these sheets contained lots of personal data that could have easily be shared online. Moving to Zoho CRM immediately solved this problem by enabling model processes that solved the needs of the different regions while implementing an adequate security and permission model. Migrating...