Zoho CRM review: Is it right for your small business?

Those wanting a small business CRM will know the Zoho name. But what are the pros and cons? Is it a good fit for you? Our guide will help you to decide.

Our experts

We are a team of writers, experimenters and researchers providing you with the best advice with zero bias or partiality. This article was authored by:

Our independent reviews and recommendations are funded in part by affiliate commissions, at no extra cost to our readers.

We think Zoho CRM is a strong choice for budget-conscious small businesses. For just £12 per user, per month, you’ll get advanced customisation tools and access to sophisticated customer support features. 

We gave Zoho an overall score of 4.5 out of 5.

0 out of 0
Price per month (billed annually)
Price per month (billed monthly)
Users

Zoho CRM Free

Zoho CRM Standard

Zoho CRM Professional

Zoho CRM Enterprise

Free

£12 per user

£18 per user

£35 per user

Free

£16 per user

£28 per user

£40 per user

3 Max

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

The Startups experts have spent the past half a decade researching the best small business CRM systems. We liked Zoho’s impressive customisation tools that make for an outstanding visual sales pipeline — ideal for those with short purchase cycles, such as retailers.

But Zoho does have limitations. Poor security features mean it might not be the best choice for firms handling sensitive data, such as pharmacists.

Read on for our full Zoho review. We’ll uncover all the hidden fees and secret perks, so you can make a confident decision about whether to use Zoho for your own CRM business strategy.

Or, if you’re considering Zoho alongside other CRM brands on the market, our simple cost comparison form can help. Fill in some general details about your needs, and we’ll match you with the most suitable CRM providers in just one minute.

What is Zoho CRM?

Zoho CRM is a popular CRM software option for SMEs. It boasts a strong combination of data management tools and a large integration library.

This makes it superb for managing sales tasks and contact lists, and engaging leads across multiple channels.

Zoho CRM contact lists

Zoho CRM contact list view

Designed with the smaller company in mind, our researchers like it as a user-friendly, feature-packed system that’s also wallet friendly.

Like many competitors, Zoho is a web-based CRM that also comes with a mobile app, making it simple to send personalised emails and monitor sales volumes on-the-go.

Zoho CRM Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Over 500 extensions available
  • Clean smartphone interface for mobile CRM
  • Consistent updates by the Zoho development team
  • Multiple Zoho pricing plans/levels let you scale to your needs
  • Custom fields mean you can tailor complex customer databases
  • Takes just seven minutes to import large datasets
Cons
  • Thin on marketing and security features
  • 100,000 contact limit will hinder those with large client lists, like dropshippers
  • Chatbot feature currently unavailable
  • Onboarding assistance only available with premium plans

Overview of Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM
4.5
Zoho CRM holds a huge range of data that means it's best for small businesses wanting strong analytics and reporting tools.
  • Free trial? Yes
  • Excellent onboarding and support functions
  • Huge range of report types
  • Clever social media workflow function
Summary Intelligent design is the best descriptor for Zoho CRM - every one of its features focuses on user experience first, which also means you have excellent customisation options to tailor the software to your business' unique processes. It also permits customer service queries at its free tier, which is a generous oddity compared to its rivals.
Show moreless

According to its website, Zoho CRM is used by a global network of over 250,000 businesses across 180 countries.

What sets it apart from the competition?

Zoho CRM has a larger arsenal of customisable elements than almost every other brand we surveyed (bested only by our top choice, monday.com).

Users can present virtually any data point in attractive, preset dashboards. These are also useful for displaying key metrics. Users can easily pull out statistics to build clear and informative monthly sales reports.

Our Zoho review also finds it is a frontrunner for customer service. Its cleverly designed online knowledge base hosts just under 2,000 articles on every potential issue. These are categorised chronologically from ‘getting started’ to ‘inventory management’.

Users can also contact the Zoho support team via live chat, phone, and email. For those that are less experienced with CRM software, being able to rely on a team of experts saves on both time and money.

Scores and rating breakdown: how did we evaluate Zoho CRM for small businesses?

At Startups, our team of experts has been providing guidance on the best CRM systems for small businesses for six years.

Through a mix of user testing, customer review gathering, and market research, they gave Zoho CRM an overall score of 4.5 out of 5 in our latest round of testing.

These results are based on five key metrics that small business owners told us they looked for in a CRM system:

  • Usability: how easy is it to get set up with, and master, the CRM software?
  • Customisation: can users tailor the system to reflect their existing sales process?
  • Functionality: can it conduct all core CRM tasks? What about advanced features?
  • Pricing: how much does it cost? Is the pricing competitive?
  • Help and Support: what help options are there in case of any software issues?

How much does Zoho CRM cost?

0 out of 0
Price per month (billed annually)
Price per month (billed monthly)
Users

Zoho CRM Free

Zoho CRM Standard

Zoho CRM Professional

Zoho CRM Enterprise

Free

£12 per user

£18 per user

£35 per user

Free

£16 per user

£28 per user

£40 per user

3 Max

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

Zoho pricing ranges from £12 per user, per month to £40 per user, per month (billed annually). We recommend being billed yearly, as users save between 12.5% and 25% for an annual subscription instead of monthly.

There is a free Zoho CRM. Zoho Free is a good way to organise your sales and contacts. It has a calendar view, visual sales pipeline, and a wide variety of dashboards.

Be aware that Zoho Free is limited in terms of scaling. You’re only permitted three users, and will be hit with a 10,000 email contact limit. This is disadvantageous if you engage in a lot of sell-ins over email.

You can, however, test out the software with Zoho Free. Or, start a 15-day free trial of Zoho CRM Standard.

How much does it cost compared to rivals?

As the below table shows, Zoho is lower on the pricing spectrum than other CRM brands like Salesforce. However, there are cheaper options available.

Our top-rated CRM software monday.com, for example, costs £7 per seat, per month. That’s a £5 saving for every user you have.

0 out of 0
Price per month (billed annually):
Price per month (billed monthly):
Free trial?

Zoho CRM

£12 per user

Free plan, or £12 per user

£15 per user

If you have a specific budget in mind for CRM, and want to find the most affordable CRM brand on the market, our simple cost comparison form can help.

Fill in some general details about your needs, and we’ll match you with the most suitable CRM providers in just one minute.

Usability

We reviewed Zoho CRM for ease of use, by applying it to common CRM tasks, such as creating a custom pipeline and importing data. Each process was speedy and intuitive to set up.

Upon opening the application, users are given the choice between a tour of the platform or a tutorial on how to migrate your data.

Should you choose the latter, it took our researchers just 7 minutes and 20 seconds to import all of our mock customer information to the platform. This makes it our fourth-fastest CRM platform for data migration.

Contact segmentation is also easy. If you’re a real estate agency working with large datasets and need to build a list of clients based in a certain area, Zoho can create a new filter in just under 1.5 minutes. These notes are then easily accessible in just a couple of clicks.

Import contacts Zoho CRM

Zoho data import page

Other sophisticated tasks can also be done quickly and simply. These include building an entire email marketing campaign, which we completed in just over 2.5 minutes.

We do think the onboarding process could be improved. It works more like a presentation than an interactive guided tour, which means you miss out on opportunities to test out the functions before starting.

Still, we think Zoho CRM is ultimately an excellent CRM platform for usability. Overall, we gave it 4 out of 5 in this category.

Customisation

Most new users like to start by customising the layout — and Zoho has made this step as intuitive as possible.

There are a number of preset dashboards available to design a complete overview of your sales and customer tracking.

Zoho CRM dashboard

Zoho CRM dashboard creation view

Say you’re a small mortgage firm and want to view the deals you’ve secured this month. You can make use of charts and metrics that are already available to analyse the number of deals and how this compares to previous months.

Or, you can build your own dashboard and customise the data for a more niche perspective. For example, charts organised by each broker, deal-size, or even calculated risk.

Zoho’s simple drag-and-drop editor means you can simply redesign your data to show any of these outlooks in just one click.

You can also create design materials for your business using Zoho. These include product promotions, follow-up messages, and email invites.

Zoho templates

Zoho CRM template library

Functionality

Zoho CRM gives users lots of utility. The platform’s organisational tools are particularly impressive.

In just one contact profile, you’ll be able to see: notes, attachments, open and closed activities, products meetings, sales quotes, orders, and purchase orders, emails, invoices, marketing campaigns, and social media feeds.

In our list of the top 50 features we think every CRM software should have, we found that Zoho has five more functions than industry-giant Salesforce.

These include the ability to make support tickets and manage customer cases.

Help and support

Customer support is an important area for small businesses as you’re unlikely to have access to your own tech team or CRM expert.

Zoho’s customers love how attentive the company is. Users can pose questions to AI assistant Zia, who handles basic requests, or a wide library of almost 2,000 guides in the platform’s knowledge base.

Zoho CRM help centre

Zoho CRM help centre

For more complex issues, Zoho CRM offers live chat, email, and phone support 24/7. Compare that to industry giant Salesforce, which provides none of these services, and Zoho leaves few unsatisfied customers.

The one support area we’re not so impressed by is the lack of onboarding assistance — a recurring pattern in the CRM software market.

Those that need help getting their account set up with Zoho won’t struggle too much  it is an intuitive system with helpful pop-ups. But if you’ve less experience working with CRM, you might appreciate a platform with more onboarding support.

Customer reviews and testimonials

One anonymous marketing company liked Zoho overall, but criticised some of its features when compared to rivals: “I'm dying to be able to see what my Overdue Tasks are without having to click into them. If I could see what they are on my calendar and just drag and drop them from one day onto the next, that'd save a lot of time.”

Edward W is the company director of a UK consultancy firm with fewer than 10 employees. Edward says: “As you use Zoho more, you really start to appreciate that it is the most stunning CRM on the market. For all our leads and customers we can now see all their emails, quotes, invoices, deals, [and even] pictures of their business cards.”

Zoho CRM: final verdict

Zoho is a top CRM provider thanks to its excellent dashboard customisation. Users can build the perfect lens through which to evaluate every aspect of their sales and customer process with 360-degree accuracy.

We’d recommend it for those with high sales volumes or lots of sales representatives to analyse, such as call centres.

That being said, Zoho doesn’t do so well in certain areas, like marketing or security. Those dealing with sensitive data or working in highly competitive industries should look elsewhere.

Our scoring and verdict are based on thorough market research. From there, we’ve pulled out the most important information about Zoho CRM.

Still, as the above guide is proof of, there is a lot to learn about the CRM market.

Before you decide on any CRM software, we advise using Startups’ exclusive online quote-comparison form. Fill in some quick details about your requirements and we’ll match you with the most suitable providers.

Zoho CRM FAQs
  • Is Zoho really free?
    Yes, Zoho Free comes with no monthly fees and is technically free forever. But we’d only recommend it as a way to trial the software. Zoho Free users get only 10MB of file storage per organisation, zero integrations, and are limited to only three users per account.
  • Is Zoho CRM trustworthy?
    Zoho CRM has some respectable security features, including being fully GDPR compliant for data management. Still, its security tools pale in comparison to other providers like Pipedrive, so if you’re handling sensitive data, you’re better off looking elsewhere.
  • Why is Zoho popular?
    Zoho is a giant software company. Its CRM offering is popular amongst users as it integrates seamlessly with other Zoho products. But it does have some drawbacks compared to other brands on the market, including lacklustre security and marketing features.
crm pricing
Want to find the best CRM deal for your business?

Get quotes in just one minute with our simple online comparison tool.

Get quotes It's 100% free.

Startups.co.uk is reader-supported. If you make a purchase through the links on our site, we may earn a commission from the retailers of the products we have reviewed. This helps Startups.co.uk to provide free advice and reviews for our readers. It has no additional cost to you, and never affects the editorial independence of our reviews.

Helena Young
Helena Young Senior Writer

Helena "Len" Young is from Yorkshire and joined Startups in 2021 from a background in B2B communications. She has also previously written for a popular fintech startup.

Included in her topics of interest and expertise are tax legislation, the levelling up agenda, and organisational software including CRM and project management systems. As well as this, she is a big fan of the films of Peter Jackson.

Back to Top