June 6-9th 2016 saw this years annual Zoholics Sales and Marketing conference in California. It was evident from day 1 that Zoho have been listening to attendee feedback and designed an event to deliver what people were looking for. Whether a prospective user, a new user or ‘veteran’ user, there was something for everyone. We wanted to share our thoughts rather than a ‘recap’.
In previous years Zoholics had been a conference mixed with training and ‘key-note’ type presentations. Based on feedback from previous attendees it was evident that people wanted to have sessions devoted to more of a training and workshop environment than the alternative. Less theory, more action. It makes sense as we commonly see people being confused by the technology at their disposal and in trying to do more, actually do less while seeing less positive results.
Zoho offer over 30 business applications so there was a lot of products to offer training on through the conference as Zoho aimed to give attendees what they desired.
Here are some Take Aways from Zoholics 2016:
Regardless of anything that follows in this post the current position Zoho takes in the market and their focus drives everything else. Zoho are driven to develop and maintain affordable solutions that solve the every day problems of business users. Their focus on interoperability is second to none. Their innovation and desire to work with other solutions (like Google Apps) is commendable. (Especially when they could be inward thinking to only working on their proprietary solutions.) Their drive to help users succeed is evident and reiterated by the very format of this conference.
Reinforcement Is Needed For Success With Technology
Talking to a number of attendees made it clear that this wasn’t the first time they’d gone and that these were the very people that suggested a focus on training and workshops would be the most valuable. It’s important to know that these people were, at large, there to understand better the theory and possible application of the technology to enable them to meet their objectives. Sure, there’s a cross over into how the solutions can be used in a day-to-day capacity, but by and large the content was very much “This is what this tool is. This is how it is built to work. This is how you can use it to achieve ‘abc'” etc.
If the people identifying how to leverage these tools to meet objectives, those that are setting up these tools and implementing them in their businesses are needing reinforcement so are users.
It’s great to revisit the how and why and determine what is needed so the tools can be implemented as desired. However, it’s equally important to support users so that they adopt with confidence and see them as something that can help them on a daily basis. If you, the person at the ownership level of the technology needs support so do the users. And, unfortunately, you only get out of a tool like Zoho CRM what you put in.
Prioritization Will Help Deliver Return on Investment
Wowee! There were some excited people there. People that either didn’t know Zoho offered all the applications they did or hadn’t started to implement them yet. Some may have got caught up in the excitement.
One of the recurring themes of Zoholics 2016 was that around gaining a 360 degree view of the client. That is to be able to have visibility into all interactions, history and other information from all business operations in one place, the CRM. Don’t get us wrong, gaining visibility into information of this nature is a key component to a CRM driven echo-system. However, caution in implementing tools and solutions of this nature can drive better results.
As an adopter of technology the key questions is what do I need to achieve my objectives? Implementing one solution, or even part of it, to make the processes standardized before taking the next ‘project’ on can be a much more effective policy rather than a) taking on the the features of one or more tools or b) adopting all the solutions. Just because something can deliver ‘x’ result it doesn’t mean it will.
Zoholics 2016 – Achieving a 360 Degree View of the Customer with Zoho Applications
We’ll talk more on this in the next post but we did want to touch on which applications were showcased at the conference and why.
Zoho CRM – the hub for data and managing activity as it pertains to Sales, Marketing and other client related information.
Zoho Campaigns – the center for email initiatives and social campaign management.
Zoho Social – a Social Media management solution for posting information, listening to your audience and communicating with them.
Zoho SalesIQ – A solution for tracking website visitors and engaging with them through live or automated follow up.
Zoho Survey – A survey tool that enables a simple way to gain information from prospects, clients and other groups associated to your business.
Zoho Support – Manage support inquiries in a collaborative solution
Zoho Reports – Cloud based reporting that can deliver Business Intelligence to help you make informed decisions on how to grow your business.
Enhancements to Zoho Applications
One of the benefits of cloud based technology is the research and development that goes into it’s enhancements and how it gets automatically rolled out to users. Zoho has a history of making periodic updates throughout the year. This year has been a little quiet as they are working on releasing major updates to several solutions. Over the next few weeks you can expect to learn more about changes to Zoho CRM, Zoho Campaigns and Zoho Support, to name a few.
Keep watching as the cloud keeps moving.