August 30, 2016

4 Zoho Alternatives That Might Make You Upgrade

Zoho Corporation, founded in 1996, provides an affordable set of software tools for business, including CRM, email, accounting, an office suite, and more — all tightly integrated.

According to Zoho, 20 million users worldwide trust their platform to handle contact records, deals, transactions, and other essential business information or processes. With reliable, cloud-based delivery and free versions of many of its products, Zoho is a solid choice for many businesses — especially those looking to limit spend.

That doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone.

According to our Technology Advisors, users often switch from Zoho — particularly Zoho CRM — as their business grows. Their needs are no longer met by the free versions of the platform’s various tools, and they begin looking for Zoho alternatives.

ALSO READ: What Buyers Want from CRM Software (Infographic)

Maybe you need marketing automation and realized Zoho’s options are pretty limited in that arena. Perhaps you need a CRM that integrates with LinkedIn. Zoho doesn’t. Maybe you want a self-hosted, or open-source platform. Zoho is neither.  

Or maybe you’re just outgrowing Zoho’s capabilities and, upon exploring the paid options, realize you might save money by switching platforms (each additional Zoho app usually requires another per user/month fee). 

Choosing the best Zoho alternative can be tricky, due to the breadth of the platform’s functionality. With 33+ tools for nearly every area of your business, there are few platforms that can easily compare. The following list of four Zoho alternatives cannot possibly satisfy every use case, every time, but it should be more than enough to get you started. 

Every business software search must begin with the why — especially in a case where the replacement may be involve several tools from several vendors. If you’re dissatisfied with Zoho CRM, naturally you’d look to a CRM-focused platform as a substitute. If you’re concerned with order processing or logistics, a supply chain management tool or ERP system might be an appropriate Zoho replacement.

For the purpose of this article, we’ll consider Zoho alternatives based upon the platform’s primary offerings: CRM, email, and accounting. With the ubiquity, availability, and wide variety of integrations available for Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365, we won’t consider the office suite an essential factor for most users.

Salesforce

For the budget-conscious, Salesforce might not be the first choice. The limited, introductory version of the popular CRM begins at $25 per user/month — and it’s only CRM. You’ll still need to sign up for a separate email service and accounting solution. However, for the buyer who’s serious about finding the best tools for the job, Salesforce warrants strong consideration.

FinancialForce offers an excellent accounting tool that’s built on the Salesforce.com platform, making integration a breeze, but you’ll have to pay separately for the additional subscription. Quickbooks, Xero, and Intacct all have integrations available as well, so you’ll have a variety of reliable choices at various price points.  

Another point in Salesforce’s favor is the huge number of add-ons available in the Salesforce AppExchange. Sure, Zoho has 33+ pre-integrated tools you can add to your system, but the AppExchange offers thousands — most even affordably priced.  

If CRM is your primary reason for replacing Zoho, Salesforce is the market-leading option, but there are hundreds of excellent tools that may also work. Be sure to visit our CRM Product Selection Tool to get a full picture of the product landscape and begin filtering your options.

READ MORE: Zoho vs Salesforce

Insightly

Another popular CRM alternative to Zoho, Insightly was founded in 2012, and has grown to serve hundreds of thousands of users across the globe. It’s often compared with Zoho, in no small part because they both offer a free, limited version of their application to small businesses.

Insightly is tightly integrated with Google Apps/Office 365 and offers two versions tailored for either sales or for projects.

Insightly offers deeper functionality than Zoho in many respects, particularly for sales and marketing processes. It includes many important features for free, such as mass email, custom fields, and advanced reporting, for which most vendors require an upgrade or additional fee. At present, Insightly only integrates with two accounting platforms — Xero and Quickbooks — but that’s hardly a deal-breaker.

READ MORE: Insightly vs Zoho

Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Like Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics is one of the most popular CRMs on the market. The stability and reliability of the Microsoft name, the suite of pre-integrated tools including accounting, ERP, email, and productivity, and the wide array of products that bolt on to the platform make it a solid choice for any business. Recent and continued acquisitions by Microsoft have grown the platform and should continue to do so — Microsoft for Field Service, anyone?

Also like Salesforce, Dynamics CRM is relatively expensive. Forgoing the limited introductory-level account, MS Dynamics starts at $50 per user/month. 

For those interested in an all-Dynamics environment, consider Dynamics AX or GP for your accounting, as they integrate “out-of-the-box.” Those may be a bit heavy-duty for smaller businesses, but lower-cost options such as QuickBooks and Xero require a third-party connector in order to integrate properly.

Email is, of course, available through Microsoft, or Dynamics CRM can integrate with nearly any mail client. 

READ MORE: Microsoft Dynamics CRM vs Salesforce

SugarCRM

SugarCRM was founded in 2004 and has grown to serve over a million users on six continents. Localized for 26 languages, it’s an easy choice for international firms that want to replace Zoho with a more advanced CRM.

Available via the cloud, SugarCRM starts at $40 per user/month. It’s also available in a traditional, on-premise deployment, but those prices are only available after a consultation on your unique requirements (no implementation is ever the same).

As with Microsoft Dynamics, the accounting options are somewhat limited. There are third-party connectors available for QuickBooks, Intacct, Sage, and other systems, but an additional fee applies. SugarCRM does integrate with Zapier and offers a flexible, web-based API, so if you have some technical skills, integrating it with your legacy systems shouldn’t be too much of a challenge.

Sugar offers plug-and-play email integration with most email clients. 

READ MORE SugarCRM vs Salesforce

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Choosing the right Zoho alternative isn’t easy. Whether you’re looking for a CRM, accounting, or project-focused solution, there are a multitude of factors to consider, and the risk of making the wrong choice is high. But you’ve come to the right place for help. Use our Product Selection Tool to compare products and get a custom recommendation, or call us for a free consultation.  

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