Zoho CRM Automation Features
Zoho CRM’s web forms allows you to construct forms using the same fields within your selected related module. This means that any information input by your visitors will automatically be stored against their record on the CRM.
In order to create a form, navigate to the settings of the CRM and select ‘web forms’ under ‘developer space’. Build your form by adding the relevant fields (some of these can pre-populated, for example you might wish to have the page upon which they are embedded as your lead source each time).
With forms there are a number of additional useful automated features. You can create rules that define the allocation of a new lead to the appropriate member of staff, send a notification to the lead owner upon allocation, track the IP address of the visitor (with Visitor Tracking and SalesIQ) to see how they interact with your website, and get a member of management to approve the lead.
Once you have completed your form, you can generate your code to embed it on yours or a partner’s website.
For completions of your form you can create auto-response rules, this means you can follow-up a submission with an automatic greeting email or send a brochure for a service you know your visitors were looking at.
Interaction with your customers on social platforms can go a long way to aiding the growth of your business. Not only does it give you a platform to interact in real-time with your client-base, but it also allows you to learn more about those really shouting your name (your brand champions). Zoho CRM offers a feature that will allow you to take your followers and brand champions directly into your CRM and to use the type interaction as a level of qualification (i.e. you might wish for those that ‘like’ your posts to enter the CRM as leads and those who message to be added as contacts.
Whenever you add a new lead into your system you will need a member of the team to take responsibility for them and their experience of your company. Not automating the process results in someone having to manually allocate the leads, taking time (immediately putting your company at risk of acting too slowly and missing out on a sale) and resources, or a free-for-all with sales reps trying to cherry-pick.
The most basic method of automated assignment is round-robin assignment. This method alternately hands out leads to the members of the sales team. As a consequence, this is a great means of ensuring that each rep handles the same number of leads at once.
Criteria Based Assignment
Criteria based assignment of leads means that you can be very specific about which leads come to which reps. A common example of how you might split your leads would be by their location (i.e. you might have a rep who represents the south-west of England so any lead with a county marked as Devon would fall under their remit)
These assignment rules can work in tandem with one another, you can specify a rule but also pick a few reps for which to have these specific new leads are assigned in a round-robin method.
If it is crucial to respond to your leads quickly you might also wish to create an availability check, meaning that you can ensure no one not online or scheduled to be working right now will get assigned the lead. You can create a task (using the task follow-up section) upon lead assignment for the chosen rep so that they are immediately aware that they have to follow-up.
The majority of Zoho CRM’s automation allows for the assignment of an immediate task once that are triggered and what this really means is that there is a rule that is triggered when criteria are met (within the confines of the specific automation). Using Workflows, you have the flexibility to setup a trigger that reacts to the exact situation you wish and causes the actions you want. Your sales reps might wish to setup their own workflows and you might also wish to set them up for the business. For example, a sales rep might have created a load of new leads from a networking event so they could setup a workflow that triggers when a new lead is made with the lead source ‘Networking’ that a pre-made email template (pulling in names and relevant details via use of merge tags) sends to the new lead, they may also wish for a task to be created for one week later so that they can follow-up with the lead and a field updated automatically to say they have received communication.
When setting up your workflows you’ll have three options for when it should be executed, these are; In the event of an action on the record (i.e. a field updated), a date field’s value (i.e. picking a date field from a record and the period before or after that date that the trigger occurs) and score changing (a lead scoring system can be setup in Zoho CRM to give points to leads i.e. if you know a lead source results in a higher closing rate then you might want to give it a point advantage so that it gets increased attention).
After setting ‘When’, you can also specify the conditions for the workflow (using the field data against records). The below image then means you would make your workflow trigger ‘When’ a new sale is created or edited and its city is marked as London. You can create multiple conditions, giving you the ability to specify multiple criteria that result in the same actions.
After specifying the criteria you will need to set the resultant actions(s), these can either be instant or scheduled. The types of actions are as follows;
- Field Updates – Instantly update other fields. You might wish to know which contacts have had a closed sale, using a workflow you could make it so when a sale is ‘closed won’ a contact has a filed updated to show them as a buyer.
- Tags – Instantly tag a record. Using the tags can be an affective and easy way of sorting your leads.
- Email Notification – Build your templates with merge tags that pull in your client’s details and include attachments. Email notifications mean you can automate much of your marketing and communications. For example, you might wish to send a new lead your prospectus when they’re added to your system.
- Tasks – Automatic tasks are very handy in ensuring that your team interact with your clients and potential clients. You can make it so a sales rep has a task to ring and introduce themselves to a new lead or customer service has a task to check the happiness of a client whose project closed a month before.
- Create Record – Make a new record either in the same module or in another. A lead might be marked as expressing an interest in a service and consequently you wish to create an account for their company, under which you may add further contacts.
- Webhook – Webhooks enable communication with third-party applications, sending instant notifications each time your criteria is met. An example for use might be when closing a sale, a webhook can push the customer information to a third-party accounting software, automatically generating an Invoice for your client.
- Functions – Functions require a knowledge of coding to create but can be used to create a automation where the other methods fail. If you had a lead with several tasks associated with it and that lead gets marked as not being interested, then a custom function could for example close all the associated tasks so that your team do not waste their time or irritate the person.
The approval process in Zoho CRM automates the request for necessary approval from relevant management. Its implementation means that time is not wasted by reps seeking out a manager with the required privileges to sign work off. To utilise the approval process to the best affect, you’ll need to think of all situations that require sign-off and enter each one as a rule criteria for each process.
An example of a need for an approval would be when the stage of a sale is being changed. In the below example we are asking for approval from ‘Alicia’ when the Sale stage reaches ‘Value Proposition’ (on the basis that we want our manager to approve the amount we have cited your customer). All managers specified here will get a notification asking for approval and once given the stage will automatically move forward to the next stage ‘Id. Decision Makers’ (if you’ve utilised your workflows this progression will also give your rep tasks relevant to that stage).
Upon rejection or acceptance of the approval, you may choose a number additional reactions (please see Workflow section for explanations), including; Task assignment, email notifications, webhooks and functions.
All records awaiting approval will be marked as seen but be aware until they are approved they will be locked for editing.
If you are using Zoho or any other CRM to run your business, then it is best to make certain your processes are clearly detailed and are integrated into your system. This means on every step of the way from a new lead to closed sale you can guarantee that your team follows the proper process, be it recording information, arranging a meeting or making a call at the optimum time or following up a closed sale to ask for a review. Zoho’s CRM has a tool that not only allows you to map your processes but does so in a way that is visually clear.
Each Blueprint you create enables you to build a process, defining its stages, who handles them, what must be done each step of the way and which automated actions must also occur. With a Blueprint no record being passed through it should ever be forgotten or mishandled, and should it not be managed in a timely fashion (you may select how long a record stays at a stage before a warning email is triggered) you will be able to quickly have a view of it. In order to build a Blueprint, select the module for which you wish to create a process and ensure you have a field with selectable options to represent your staging. You now place each of these options in a flow like diagram, linking them up with ‘transitions’, these basically depict the rules which need to be fulfilled for one stage to be moved to the other.
For the Blueprint as a whole, you may choose the criteria for which records must follow it (i.e. if your criteria was that the a lead source was Facebook, then all of your new leads from this source would have to go through the transitions). At each transition you may also specify a ‘before’ criteria, this means that a record must have met these conditions before your users can select the transition to the next stage.
The ‘during’ phase are the actions enforced on a user when they move the stage using the transition. Here you may make it mandatory to add notes, tags, and attachments.
The ‘after’ phase relates to the automation that happens after an automation, at this phase you can have emails being sent out, tasks setup for the owner or individual handling a record at a particular phase, field and tag updates or web hooks and functions triggered (explained in workflows).
Zoho CRM automation features execute in this order: 1. Assignment rules 2. Workflow rules 3. Approval process 4. Blueprint.
Zoho CRM can be used to send a sequence of emails to prospects or customers at the correct points on their customer journey. Each email can be triggered by workflows when certain goals (or conditions) are met. These workflows also feedback to tell you how often your emails are interacted with so you can easily start to buildup an idea of what automations are most successful. Zoho CRM also makes use of Blueprints (further explained here - ) so that you place your automations (including email send-outs) in a visual representation agaianst each of your Lead, or Sales staging.