Zoho CRM Review: Pros & Cons, Features, Pricing for 2023

Zoho is a powerful customer relationship management platform. Read our review to learn about its features, pricing, and pros and cons.

Selling Signals content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

Zoho CRM is a leading CRM with robust multichannel marketing management, intelligent sales tools, and a multitude of customizable assets. For as many features as it offers, Zoho CRM is still affordably priced, which will appeal to startups and small businesses. However, if you specifically want a turnkey CRM that’s simple to use, there are better options available. Keep scrolling for our complete Zoho CRM review and find out if it’s right for your business.

Zoho CRM at a Glance

Zoho CRM is a flexible platform with advanced sales and marketing tools at an affordable cost. Despite an unintuitive UI and middling user support, mastery of this versatile CRM can yield big rewards for your business.

Price Range: Free to $52 per user, per month (15- to 30-day free trial)

Overall Rating star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Cost star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Core Features star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Customization star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Integration star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full Ease of Use star-fullstar-fullstar-full star-full Customer Support star-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-fullstar-full

Pros:

  • Affordable advanced sales features
  • Strong social media management tools
  • High level of customization capabilities
  • Facilitates collaboration across teams

Cons:

  • Customer support is inconsistent
  • User interface isn’t user-friendly
  • Free platform is too barebones
  • Zoho add-ons can get expensive

When evaluating Zoho CRM for your business, consider not only its ratings but also specific scenarios where it excels and where it may not be the best fit. Continue reading to learn about the CRM software’s use cases, pricing, key features, customer support, and what people think of the platform and its CRM alternatives. Otherwise, skip down to see how we scored Zoho CRM across the six main categories.

When to Use Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM is a great option for businesses that use social media to generate and nurture leads. Teams that collaborate often, especially those with remote workers, will also find it useful. Zoho CRM offers AI-powered tools and customization at a reasonable cost, but to fully leverage its robust suite of features, prior experience with CRM software is recommended.

Click below for a list of reasons to consider Zoho CRM:

  • You Use Social Media to Generate and Nurture Leads: Native Facebook and Twitter integration means you can publish posts and respond to customer comments from within the CRM. It’s the best social CRM for businesses with a strong social media presence.
  • Your Sales and Marketing Teams Collaborate Often: Zoho CRM has a broad suite of sales and marketing tools, but it also sports collaborative CRM features like company feeds and one-on-one chats to help keep everyone on the same page.
  • A Lot of Your Team Members Work Remotely: With an excellent mobile app, 360-degree customer views, and integrations with top conferencing software, Zoho is one of the best CRMs for remote-forward companies.
  • You Want an AI-Powered CRM for Less: Artificial intelligence often comes at a substantial cost. Zoho’s Zia AI assistant may only be limited to its two highest plans, but at up to $52 per user, per month, it’s a relative bargain.
  • You Want to Customize Your CRM to Fit Your Needs: Opting for an industry-specific CRM can be costly for some. Zoho CRM is an affordable alternative with a high level of customization so you can mold it to suit your company’s processes and goals.
  • You’re Already Familiar With CRM Software: At best, Zoho CRM has a moderate learning curve. Its user interface isn’t terribly complex, but it could be daunting for anyone who's brand new to CRM software.
Show More >>

Agree with the above points? Head over to Zoho CRM and compare individual plans. You can try a full version of the platform risk-free for 15 to 30 days before making a decision to buy.

When Not to Use Zoho CRM

On the other hand, Zoho CRM may not be the best choice if it’ll be used exclusively by a sales team since it also includes marketing tools. Meanwhile, companies requiring ready-to-use software and outstanding customer support should consider other options. Small businesses seeking a more functional free CRM will also want to look elsewhere.

Click below for a list of reasons not to consider Zoho CRM:

  • Your CRM Will Only Be Used By Your Sales Team: Zoho marketing tools will be extraneous if the CRM will be exclusively used by salespeople. In that case, find a sales-centric CRM with superb pipeline management instead.
  • You Want a CRM You Can Use Out of the Box: Businesses looking for a turnkey solution won’t find it with Zoho CRM. This platform takes some time to set up and become acquainted with if you want to use it to its full potential.
  • Excellent Customer Support Is a Must: Whether you’re new to CRMs or lack a dedicated IT team, you shouldn’t overlook the importance of accessible, quality customer support. Unfortunately, Zoho CRM falls short in this area.
  • You’re a Small Business Seeking a Free CRM: While Zoho CRM’s free version provides robust contact management, it has limited functionality, especially social media marketing and advanced sales features, and only supports up to three seats.
Show More >>

If Zoho CRM isn’t the right fit for your needs, explore our guide to the best CRM software for a comprehensive look at other top platforms based on budget, accessibility, and use cases. You can also jump down to our list of Zoho CRM alternatives.

Zoho CRM Pricing

Zoho CRM’s free-for-life version is capped at three users and misses some key features, but it has cost-effective paid tiers. Its entry-level Standard plan offers sales forecasting and social media integration, and its Professional plan offers unlimited custom reports and mass email scheduling. Meanwhile, larger teams can purchase the Enterprise and Unlimited tiers for AI-powered tools and more customization. Here’s a full breakdown of Zoho CRM’s pricing:

FreeStandardProfessionalEnterpriseUltimate
Annual Plan Monthly Rate$0 for up to 3 users$14 per user, per month$23 per user, per month $40 per user, per month$52 per user, per month
Monthly Plan Monthly RateN/A$20 per user, per month$35 per user, per month$50 per user, per month$65 per user, per month
Free TrialN/A15 days15 days15 days30 days
Key FeaturesBasic contact management, standard reporting, limited UI customizationSocial media integration, sales forecasting, 100 custom reportsUnlimited custom reports and dashboards, inventory management tools Zia AI assistant, data encryption, developer sandboxZoho Analytics plug-in (BI and data analytics)
Workflow Rules10 rules per module30 rules per module80 rules per module125 rules per module150 rules per module
Custom ReportsN/A100UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Multiple Sales PipelinesN/A (single pipeline only)102050
Mass Email LimitsN/A250 per day, per org500 per day, per org1,000 per day, per org2,000 per day, per org
Custom FieldsN/A10 per module155 per module300 per module500 per module

Two more versions of Zoho CRM are available. Bigin by Zoho CRM is geared toward small businesses with an emphasis on pipeline management. A free version exists, along with a couple of paid tiers ranging between $7 and $12 per user, per month. Zoho CRM Plus is billed as a customer experience platform designed for enterprises wanting to unify their sales, marketing, and support teams. It starts at $57 per user, per month with a 30-day trial.

Popular Zoho CRM Integrations

Zoho has a large library of apps, many of which can be incorporated into Zoho CRM. Some are free to integrate, but with limited capabilities — you can pay an additional fee for wider functionality. Prices span between $3 and $455 per month, with select products priced via quote only. Below are some of Zoho’s most popular CRM add-ons, or browse the entire Zoho product library.

Zoho Analytics

Zoho Webinar

Zoho Backstage

Zoho Projects

Zoho Desk

Zoho Analytics imbues Zoho CRM with advanced business intelligence and data visualization tools, along with access to 250+ data sources. Subscribers across all tiers, including its free plan, can access this product and use its limited free version. Unlock more features with tiers starting at $24 per month for two users to $455 per month (or $575 month-to-month) for 50 users, or request a custom plan. Test run its paid tiers by signing up for its 15-day trial.

Zoho CRM review Zoho Analytics

Zoho Webinar enables you to host and record online meetings, moderate participants, and share reports from within Zoho CRM. Enterprise and Ultimate users can take advantage of this platform’s free version, which can host up to 100 webinar attendees. Upgrade to its paid tiers ranging between $8 and $16 per user, per month (or $19 month-to-month) for tools such as webinar recording, source tracking, live streaming, and more.

Zoho CRM review Zoho Webinar

Zoho Backstage is a fully customizable event management platform that syncs information collected from your online and onsite seminars with your CRM data. Enterprise and Unlimited users can connect to this product and try its limited free version for unlimited events, activity logs, and team management. Unlock more features with tiers ranging between $99 and $416 per month (or $499 month-to-month) for paid ticketing, registration forms, and customization.

Zoho CRM review Zoho Backstage

Zoho Projects is a project management platform that helps teams manage post-sales activities with tools for time tracking, Gantt charts, team-wide discussion forums, and more. Zoho subscribers across tiers can sync their CRM with this software and try its free version for up to three users. Its paid plan ranges from $4 to $9 per user, per month ($10 month-to-month). Each paid tier offers a 10-day free trial, and users can decide to upgrade or downgrade anytime.

Zoho CRM review Zoho Projects

Zoho Desk is an online customer help desk allowing teams to improve customer satisfaction and retention rates by adding ticket management and instant messaging integration to Zoho CRM. All Zoho CRM plans (including its free-for-life version) allow you to integrate with this software. Pricing starts at $14 to $40 per user, per month (or $50 month-to-month). You can also try Zoho Desk Express for $7 per user, per month, limited to up to five users.

Zoho CRM review Zoho Desk

Beyond plug-ins, you can pay monthly for extra file storage. Zoho CRM’s paid plans come with 1GB to 5GB of storage, but you can add another 5GB for $4 per month. Meanwhile, increase your data storage by 100MB for $4 per month with Zoho CRM Professional and up.

Zoho CRM Features

Zoho CRM is a marketing CRM with a focus on social media, but it doesn’t skimp on essential sales tools. All plans include the core CRM features businesses need to parse and organize key data, while the highest tiers have advanced tools for automation, analytics, and customization. Take a closer look at Zoho CRM’s most notable features below:

Contact Management

Zoho CRM review contact management

Zoho CRM allows you to communicate with customers through email, built-in telephony, live chat, and various social media channels from a central location. All activities are automatically logged for easy reference by your team. Organize contacts using color-coded tags based on select criteria. With a paid account, you can schedule 2–4 complimentary data backups per month to avoid losing important contact information.

Zoho CRM made our list of the best contact management software, beating out HubSpot CRM, Freshsales, Salesforce, and others.

Zia AI

Zoho CRM review Zia AI

Zia AI is available with Zoho CRM Enterprise and Ultimate plans. This AI assistant is interwoven into many of Zoho’s core features, with functions such as understanding text and voice commands and retrieving or updating sales records in an instant. Companies with complex processes that rely heavily on data can leverage Zia AI to optimize workflow sequences, predict revenue, or recommend personalized pitches and the best times to follow up with a customer.

Lead Management

Zoho CRM review lead management

Zoho CRM suits businesses with high lead volumes and diverse communication channels. Generate and nurture leads directly in-platform via email, phone, chat, web forms, or social media. You can also score leads and automatically route them to the most qualified person on your team. In Zoho’s most advanced plans, Zia AI will analyze CRM data to predict which leads are most likely to close and detect patterns to determine where leads should go.

Learn more about Zoho CRM’s lead management tools, and see where it lands in our ranking of the best lead management software.

Social Media Management

Zoho CRM review social media management

Zoho CRM is known for its social media integration — particularly Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), and LinkedIn. Use the Social tab included in all paid tiers to publish posts from within the CRM, engage with followers, and track any social media buzz about your company. If you interact with a lead on social media, Zoho CRM can automatically create a new contact based on any data you collect and segment them based on how they interact with your brand online.

Check out our editorial review of the best social media CRM for sales and marketing to find out why we rate Zoho CRM number one among its rivals.

CRM Reporting

Zoho CRM review CRM reporting

Zoho CRM is a top analytical CRM that comes with over 40 pre-built reports for various CRM metrics. Unlimited custom reporting is standard with most paid plans, but if you require deep data dives, you’ll benefit from the Zoho Analytics plugin, which adds AI insights, predictive analytics, and many visualization options. Subscribers across all tiers can integrate with Zoho Analytics to try its limited free version or upgrade to plans costing from $24 to $455 per month.

Our in-depth guide to CRM reporting explains the five essential reports your sales team should be running, with step-by-step instructions on how to set them up in your CRM of choice.

CRM Dashboards

Zoho CRM review CRM dashboards

Zoho CRM includes unlimited custom dashboards, starting with its Professional plan. Each dashboard can host up to 20 components, including charts and key performance indicators (KPIs). The Enterprise and Ultimate tiers support advanced components such as cohort analysis (observes customer behavior), anomaly detector (detects discrepancies), and comparator features (compares sales data over time).

Read our comprehensive article on CRM dashboards to discover how they can enhance your business and learn how to build your own.

Workflow Automation

Zoho CRM review workflow automation

All Zoho CRM plans come with sales and marketing automation, including its free tier, which makes it one of the top operational CRMs for businesses of any size. Reps can set up triggers to create a deal every time a contact is added from new client interactions or schedule email marketing campaigns. More advanced functions include automated invoicing and billing upon closing deals, in-depth insights so you can see what’s working, and AI-optimized workflows.

Take advantage of your CRM’s automation abilities so you can focus on revenue-generating activities; our complete guide to CRM automation explains how.

Customization

Zoho CRM review customization

Tailor Zoho CRM to meet your industry’s standards. This can be as simple as adding custom fields, reorganizing layouts for each stage of the sales process, or implementing support for various currencies and languages. However, you can overhaul the design of your sales pages with Zoho Canvas, a drag-and-drop editor with a library of over 80 templates.

App Integrations

Zoho CRM review app integrations

The Zoho Marketplace has over 1,000 integrations for Zoho CRM. Notable third-party extensions include Zoom, Mailchimp, Quickbooks, and Slack. There’s also Zoho’s family of apps, consisting of over 40 plugins that’ll either add new features or enhance the CRM’s existing tools. (Note that Zoho’s plugins tend to cost extra.) Alternatively, you can develop custom extensions using Zoho API.

Our comprehensive article on CRM integration details which apps you should add to your CRM along with step-by-step instructions on how to install them.

Mobile CRM

Zoho CRM review mobile CRM

The Zoho CRM mobile app is free to download for iOS and Android. Access and alter your CRM data when you’re away from the computer — even if you’re offline. Any changes made within the mobile app will sync with the main CRM. Zia AI is built-in and can be used to create new records or retrieve information on the fly. Other notable features include a map for locating nearby prospects, an overview of daily tasks, call logging, and voice notes.

Away from your desk often? Check out our ranking of the best mobile CRM apps, which includes Zoho CRM among other platforms.

The free version of Zoho CRM has limited capabilities. For a wider selection of tools, including social media management, lead scoring, and AI, subscribe to any of its affordable paid plans.

Zoho CRM Ease of Use

Zoho CRM is easy to maneuver once you acquaint yourself with the software, but its steep learning curve and unintuitive UI might be challenging for newbies or those needing a more user-friendly platform. Its vast customization can be daunting, and users report that the platform is often sluggish to use given how feature-heavy it is. Thus, we recommend Zoho CRM for professionals with intermediate to advanced levels of competency in CRM implementation.

If you’re in a pinch, you can reach out to the Zoho Community forums to ask a question or access its extensive library of free and paid learning resources via Zoho Spark.

zoho crm review ease of use
Zoho CRM community

Zoho CRM Customer Service

Zoho CRM has three customer support tiers. All plans include multichannel support (email, phone, live chat) plus onboarding services, albeit at varying levels. Below is a breakdown of each support plan (note that Zoho’s free-for-life CRM doesn’t come with live support):

Classic SupportPremium SupportEnterprise Support
CostFree with all paid plans20% of subscription fee25% of subscription fee; min. 25 users
Availability8 hours / 5 days24 hours / 5 days24 hours / 7 days
Minimum Response Time8 hours3 hours1 hour
Onboarding Period45 days from date of subscription75 days from date of subscription75 days from date of subscription
Onboarding Sessions45 minutes; 3 sessions per week60 minutes; 5 sessions per week60 minutes; 5 sessions per week

Zoho CRM’s customer service has a reputation for being inconsistent and slow to respond. Granted, many of these complaints likely come from users with access to Classic Support, but that’s what most small-to-medium businesses will be inclined to use.

zoho crm review customer service
Zoho CRM customer support

What People Think of Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM has a favorable reputation among its users, with 68% of them saying they would recommend the platform to others, per Capterra. Below is a brief look at how sales and marketing professionals rate Zoho CRM across the three top software review aggregate sites:

Capterra LogoTrustRadius logo inlineG2 logo inline
4.3 / 5 stars8.2 / 10 stars4 / 5 stars
6,400+ total reviews900+ total reviews2,400+ total reviews

Zoho CRM has glowing ratings across certified review sites — but let’s go beyond the numerical scores. Why do champions of Zoho CRM sing its praises, and what are the common themes among its detractors? We’ve combed through individual reviews to offer an analysis of the pros and cons of Zoho CRM according to those who use or have used it daily.

What People Like About Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM scores high marks for its flexibility, breadth of features, and overall value for money. Several reviewers say they switched from their previous software to Zoho CRM because it offers a high level of customization with a vast suite of sales and marketing tools at a relatively low cost. Fans of Zoho CRM also like how seamless it is to integrate third-party apps and other Zoho products to create a unified platform across multiple departments.

What People Wish Zoho CRM Did Better

Zoho’s inconsistent customer service is a pain point for the company. Some reviewers claim poor user support led them to seek out (and pay for) third-party help or switch to another platform altogether. Other grievances include a UI that’s clunky and slow as well as mounting costs through integrating other Zoho products into the CRM as many of those apps aren’t free.

Alternatives to Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM does a lot of things well, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be the right fit for your company. Whether you need a beginner-friendly CRM, a free platform that can grow with your business, or advanced reporting and analytics tools, there are several alternatives to consider. Below are the five best Zoho CRM alternatives:

Freshsales

HubSpot CRM

Pipedrive

Insightly CRM

Salesforce

Freshsales is leading CRM software that shares many of the same features as Zoho CRM, such as AI-powered insights and advanced customization. It’s also comparatively-priced, with plans ranging between free and $69 per user, per month. However, Freshsales is better than Zoho CRM for sales-focused teams that don’t need marketing tools. Plus, Freshsales sports a cleaner, more intuitive interface that’ll appeal to CRM newbies and veterans alike.

If you want to learn more about this Zoho CRM alternative, read our in-depth Freshsales review for details on features, pricing, and best use cases.

Zoho CRM review Freshsales interface

HubSpot CRM is a popular free platform ideal for small businesses seeking a free CRM with a robust suite of inbound tools. (Paid upgrades are available from $18 per month for two users.) It’s not as customizable as Zoho CRM, but it does boast over 1,200 app integrations along with a vast knowledge base (plus free training and certification), an active user community, and arguably some of the best customer support in the industry.

Our HubSpot vs Zoho CRM comparison features an in-depth look at the similarities and differences between these two popular platforms.

Zoho CRM review HubSpot CRM interface

Pipedrive is a sales-centric CRM with a focus on pipeline management. It’s more expensive than Zoho CRM — Pipedrive costs between $14.90 and $99 per user, per month with optional paid add-ons. However, all Pipedrive plans include AI sales tools, custom reports, and 24/7 customer support. Also, Pipedrive’s clean, visual interface makes it less intimidating for anyone new to CRMs.

Read our Pipedrive review to learn more about this popular CRM, from pricing and features to preferred use cases.

Zoho CRM review Pipedrive interface

Insightly CRM specializes in project and task management. Users can convert won opportunities into projects with a single click; from there, you can track ongoing tasks, due dates, and current status. Insightly CRM also stands out for its BI-powered dashboards with built-in data visualizations, features not native to Zoho CRM. Insightly CRM plans range from $29 to $99 per user, per month.

Learn more about Insightly and determine if this popular project management CRM fits your business’ needs in our independent Insightly review.

zoho crm review insightly

Salesforce is fully customizable CRM software, so it’s the best Zoho CRM alternative for companies with complex sales needs. It has a deep feature set, rich analytics, and a level of customization Zoho CRM can’t match. Those advanced tools do come at a price — up to $330 per user, per month. However, the entry-level Salesforce Sales Cloud Starter is comparable to Zoho’s mid-tier Professional plan and costs $25 per user, per month (billed annually).

Our breakdown of Zoho vs Salesforce offers a side-by-side look at what each of these CRMs can do for your business.

Zoho CRM review Salesforce interface

Our list of the best Zoho CRM alternatives provides more details on some of the platforms mentioned above, along with other options that may be better for your business.

How We Evaluated Zoho CRM

To accurately score Zoho CRM, we identified the six main categories for businesses looking for robust sales and marketing software with cost-effective tiers, as well as a platform with vast customization capabilities. Within each category, we determined weighted subcriteria and assigned an overall score out of five to see how Zoho CRM fared across the six categories.

Evaluation Criteria

We started by looking into Zoho CRM’s pricing and core features, since these factors are essential for teams and companies needing robust yet affordable CRM software. We then assessed the platform’s customization options as it’s one of Zoho’s strongest suits. Lastly, we scored its third-party integration capabilities, ease of use, and customer support solutions.

Cost:
25%
Core Features:
25%
Customization:
20%
Integration:
10%
Ease of Use:
10%
Customer Support:
10%

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Is Zoho CRM & What Are Its Key Features?

Zoho CRM is a powerful CRM platform that offers teams and businesses a balance of sales and marketing features packed into affordable paid plans. Its key features include robust contact management, multichannel lead nurturing (with its built-in telephony and social media tools as its standout features), and vast customization capabilities. Its AI companion, Zia AI, is popular for enabling businesses to automate complex workflow sequences.

Is Zoho CRM Suitable for Small Businesses, or Is It Better Suited for Larger Enterprises?

Zoho CRM is one of the most versatile software on the market, providing both small-to-medium businesses and enterprises with a fully-featured platform and customization options. Solopreneurs and small business owners can leverage its free-for-life plan for basic sales and marketing automations, deal management, and standard reporting. Meanwhile, large-scale companies can tailor the CRM to their needs and integrate with a vast Zoho ecosystem.

Are There Any Limitations to Using Zoho CRM That Users Should Be Aware Of?

Although Zoho CRM provides teams and businesses with the right mix of sales and marketing features (paired with robust customizations), there are several limitations to this leading CRM. The platform has a steep learning curve and a complicated interface, which beginners might find intimidating. Its customer support is also not as responsive as other popular CRMs, but some features of its knowledge base and community forums can be accessed by free plan users.

Bottom Line: Zoho CRM Review

Zoho CRM is ideal for companies seeking affordable CRM software with AI-powered sales automation, tight social media integration, and lots of room for customization. Definitely consider Zoho CRM if your sales and marketing teams often work together — but do your due diligence before deciding to buy. Read comprehensive reviews (such as this one), comb through feedback from regular users, or read our list of the best CRM software to explore other options.

This article was written by Alison Barretta and updated by Kezia Jungco.

Selling Signals
Actionable advice for sales professionals
Address
355 Lexington Ave,
18th Floor,
New York, NY, 10017
COPYRIGHT SELLING SIGNALS, LLC – 2023