CRM tools to manage business remotely | Zoho CRM - Help

Best CRM tools for your business to thrive remotely

The new era of work has redefined the way we operate, and do business. As new styles become prevalent, organizations are eagerly embracing co-working spaces, work from home, work on the go, and remote working as alternatives to traditional working environments.

Today, it is no longer mandatory to be in the office to collaborate with your colleagues, follow-up with prospects, or conduct video chats with clients. Thanks to the internet and storing information on the cloud, you can work effectively from anywhere without a drop in productivity.

This shift in the working environment draws our focus to the business leaders and managers who must now prep themselves to build better ways to coordinate with their teams from different locations, time zones, and work hours. In the meantime, the focus must also remain on deepening your organization's connection with its customers, and building stronger relationships within the new customer base.

If digital communication is the only means to stay connected, then it is worth your time to invest in technologies that promise to improve your remote management skills.
We have compiled a list of Zoho CRM features that will help the companies of today:
  1. Team collaboration and data sharing
  2. Hosting virtual meetings
  3. Zoho CRM integrations with other services
  4. Automated processes that guide your team
  5. Quick access to customer and sales data
  6. Conduct insightful, data-driven board meetings
  7. Empower customers with self-service solutions

Team collaboration and data sharing

Share CRM data via Zoho Cliq: CRM can be integrated with instant messaging app Zoho Cliq. CRM users can use this to share records, reports, and dashboards. Managers can set up workflow rules, activity reminders, and anomaly notifications for their team members via Cliq. Email notifications can remain unnoticed for a while, but instant notifications will ensure quick action. Team members can also chat, share screens, and make audio or video calls to their colleagues from the Zoho Cliq interface for one-on-one discussions. 

Send instant messages via CRM Feeds: Feeds is a built-in collaboration tool that lets CRM users communicate with fellow users or individuals in different roles, groups, and territories. If groups are created for different teams, like marketing, sales, or support, then the user can directly post messages to the group for quick attention from the concerned members.

Share records and dashboards using MS Teams: CRM allows integration with Microsoft Teams that will help managers to share dashboards with other users who are not part of their CRM account, that use MS teams as a collaboration platform.
For example, if a manager is discussing their sales pitch with a group of stakeholders, they can share their sales dashboard using the MS team extension. Managers can even share CRM records using the Message extension tool.

Share records using Slack: This is another instant collaboration tool that can be used to share records, convey messages, start a discussion, and share reports or dashboards. Your team members can get workflow and anomaly notifications and activity reminders via Slack. Your team can remain at their workplaces and keep track of important discussions through a common channel.

Share data via Google Drive: Sales teams can sync their CRM accounts with their Google Drive accounts, and easily share attachments, folders, and files with stakeholders, partners, or clients. This extension creates a folder for any newly created lead, account, or deal in the Google Drive account, where a CRM user can upload attachments, folders, or files, and give others access.
Check out some more extensions that can help in data sharing.

Hosting virtual meetings

Staying connected with remote teams is a great way to stay up to date on everyone's work and to keep up team spirit. The same holds true on the sales front. Hosting virtual meetings, training sessions, or product demos can be helpful to keep customers engaged.

Web conferencing tools: Zoho CRM integrates with popular online meeting providers like BlueJeans, GoToMeeting,, TeamViewer, and Zoho Meeting. Meetings can be created from your CRM account. Reps can invite prospects, save a recording of the meeting, track the number of attendees, and even start the meeting from a CRM record.
The Zoho Meeting app can be used to host team meetings and hold face-to-face discussions with your team members to get project status updates and work schedules.

Connect via webinars: Preparing a marketing campaign involves juggling between activities, and with people working from different locations it can be quite a challenge. By integrating Zoho Webinar with CRM, sales teams can create webinars from the Campaigns module, invite interested leads or contacts, create polls, and view participant discussions within campaign records.
Webinars are a good platform that provide two-way sync, allowing sales reps to add interested customers to CRM as leads. Your webinar service status and member status can be maintained without switching platforms.

Manage events and logistics inside CRM: Coordinating an event requires collaboration with multiple teams to gather details about participants, venues, tickets, and more. Make it easy for your sales team to store all their information in one place, and sync your event management tool with CRM.
Zoho Backstage's integration with CRM allows organizers to capture details like the number of tickets sold, number of checked-in attendees, the contact info of sponsors, speakers, and organizers, and even the finance flow of the event in CRM campaigns.
Invitations for a backstage event can be sent from CRM, and the performance statistics can be viewed inside CRM campaigns. Also, your sales team will receive a notification in CRM whenever a ticket is purchased or canceled, or an event is checked in, allowing them to take timely action.

Empower your team by integrating Zoho CRM with other services

Your team's productivity must be in tune with the company's sales objectives, which can range from achieving long-term goals to accomplishing team-wide actions. As business leaders, it is important that you break down these objectives into smaller, measurable and actionable items that easily translate into the daily activities of your workforce.

Sync telephony services with CRM: From explaining an extra cost incurred in an invoice, to scheduling onboarding meetings with a customer, it's essential to keep track of any information exchanged via phone in a common repository for other users to reference and make decisions.
Using Zoho CRM's integration with popular telephony services such as Twilio, RingCentral, Jive, and more, sales reps can make and receive calls from CRM. All incoming and outgoing calls are automatically logged into the Calls module. Once a call is completed, reps can even take down notes, create follow-up activities, or transfer a customer to another department. They can also set reminders for upcoming calls or add a follow-up call.

Get signals at every customer touchpoint: An effective way to increase your customer count is to monitor every touchpoint and engage quickly with interested prospects. The sooner qualified leads are pushed to your marketing team, the faster they can move into the sales process.
However, when sales teams work from different locations and time zones, there are increased chances of overlooking customer correspondence. You can prevent this gap by integrating SalesSignals with your CRM account so that your reps get notified whenever a customer visits your website, opens an email, or mentions your company's brand on social media.

Group emails based on sales context: Make it easy for salespeople to find emails by categorizing them based on sales context. Use SalesInbox to group emails into open deals, colleagues, leads, and contacts to prioritize your response and determine your next actions.

Common hub for emails from different services: Using your customer data stored in CRM, it's easy to compile a common database that contains both your email and sales data. Zoho CRM offers integrations with several email applications, such as Gmail, Zoho Mail, MS Outlook, and MailMagnet. This integration allows reps to send and receive emails within CRM and access them easily from the related list.

Integrate with social platforms: Your team is at a distance and so are your customers, but that shouldn't change the way they communicate. Other than email, social media like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are popular platforms where customers can express their interest. Zoho CRM offers integrations with social media, allowing reps to directly add interested prospects as leads or contacts in CRM. A lead or contact can be added from mentions, likes, tweets, or retweets.

Capture leads from website visits: Another medium to engage with your customers is live chat on company webpages. Integrate SalesIQ with CRM to capture visitor details directly into CRM. Support representatives can add interested visitors as leads or contacts directly from the chat window.

Set up processes that guide your team

Here are some tools that can be used to set guidelines for the different processes that will help the remote workforce maintain consistency and accuracy. 

Create guidelines for your business processes: From lead generation, to conversion, to deal follow-up⁠—in any process, there are consistent steps to be followed from the beginning to the end. By creating guidelines within CRM using Blueprints, you can ensure that your workforce remains on task, and that new team members adhere to your processes.

Send automatic notifications to approvers: Set up an approval process so that your team members don't have to send approval requests to their managers manually. The system will automatically notify the concerned approver through email notifications. 

Set up repetitive activities to occur automatically: Activities that are performed for all new customers, like sending acknowledgement emails, updating record statuses, and creating tasks, can be automated by setting up a macro. All that a rep needs to do is select the CRM records and hit the button, and your workflow will take place automatically. 

Set up activity reminders: If you schedule an event that has to be attended by members working in different time zones, then you need to be sure that each one has set the reminder at the right time. An event set up at PST will take place at a different time that IST. To avoid confusion, it's best to set up reminders while creating the event in CRM. A reminder can be set up for a call, task, or event via email, and a pop-up notification will be shown inside CRM.

Let workflow rules automate activities: Configure workflow rules to ensure that no matter where your teams are working from they follow the protocol. If the first follow-up email is supposed to be sent within two days to a new prospect, then the best way to make sure that the right email is sent at the right time is to set up a workflow that automatically triggers when the conditions are met.

Quick access to your customer and sales data

CRM is a hub of information containing sales details, rep notes, project requirements, documents, proposal statements, emails, and more. But is your sales team equipped to pull the right information quickly from your database? Or, is it more like looking for a needle in a haystack?
Here are some tools to help your workforce locate the right information in no time.

Use native views or create custom views: Use module views to sort, categorize, and view only the records that you want. Zoho CRM offers some standard views: List, Kanban, and Canvas views.
Use standard list views to categorize records under favorites, "created by me", "shared with me", public views, and other user's views.
Create custom views using criteria like deal amounts above $20,000, deals with SMEs, or deals where the lead status is "contacted". Any records that satisfy the criteria will be filtered and listed together under Created By Me.
Use card-based Kanban views to organize data into user-defined categories, like leads filtered by status or sales data filtered by stage.

Search records using advanced filters: Search filters can be used to pull all records that match a set criteria, like sorting for applications from California or exclusively searching rental properties. Use advanced filters to specify more details, like searching records for rental properties that have open deals and overdue activities. This will fetch only records that match all three specific criteria. Your reps can save up to five advanced filters to find your important records quickly.

CRM Mobile: As the workforce moves away from the office, it is important to delegate access to customer data, business analytics, project details, and other related information at all times.
Both the Zoho CRM and Analytics mobile apps help your teams keep themselves on top of their daily activities, stay tuned with sales insights, and collaborate with peers while working remotely.
Let reps check in remotely whenever they meet with clients. Their managers will be notified when a check in is done to help track their appointments.
The mobile app shows any leads or contacts that are close to a rep's current location, so they can make an appointment with them quickly.

Ask Zia: Your reps can chat with Zia and quickly get help finding what they are looking for. Any relevant records will be displayed in no time. They can ask if there are any deals pending this month, registrations that are nearing the due date, leads that weren't contacted, and more.

Conduct insightful, data-driven board meetings

Sales meetings are an important part of managing your sales teams. Ensure your meetings are productive and result-oriented by preparing reports and dashboards that highlight the agenda.
With Zoho CRM, you can prepare reports and dashboards with a variety of important analytical components.

Reports: Utilize Zoho CRM's standard reports with predefined metrics, such as deals closed this month, sales by lead source, call status reports, and many more. Alternatively, you can generate custom reports by defining your own metrics. For example, a scheduled sales activity report can give an overview of each sales rep’s territory and their scheduled activities. Set clear goals for your team members to streamline their work, and free up time for some quality selling.

Dashboard: A chart or bar graph of sales activity for the month is often easier to understand that a long list of overwhelming numbers. Create dashboards using a variety of analytical components such as KPIs, comparators, target meters, and more. Use anomaly detectors to isolate any aberrations in your business trends, and set notifications so that relevant reps get notified of anomalies. A performance dashboard that remote workers can check anytime can promote healthy competition, and keep them motivated to close more deals.

Empower your customers with self-service solutions

This may be the right time to open up part of your CRM and give customers a chance to submit their data directly.
Zoho CRM supports portal and calendar booking that lets you extend CRM access to customers.
Give CRM access to non CRM users: Allow customers, vendors, partners, and other stakeholders to enter information into CRM.
  1. Let stock-keepers check your inventory and update stock information directly in CRM, or allow business partners to view high-value deals by accessing the deals module whenever they want.
  2. School administrators can allow registrants to fill and submit applications via portals. Parents can check their student's performance reports, semester fees, or curriculum information in a student portal, rather than waiting for an email from school administration.
  3. Customers can log complaints or report faulty products by filling out a form. Your reps can check and update the complaint status in a portal that the customer can view and use to stay updated.
Portals can help you reduce dependencies and keep a check on inadvertent errors caused by bulk entries.

Allow customers to book meetings at their suitable time: Instead of making a phone call or sending an email to ask about the best time for a meeting, give your customers control to book meetings at the time of their choice. Share your calendar booking link with customers via social media, SMS or email, embedded in your website or included in your email signature.
They can select the date and time of the meeting, and receive an email once the booking is complete. If needed, they can reschedule or even cancel the meeting from the email. You can create a group of product experts or technical assistants, and conduct a meeting where your clients can share issues directly, and discuss the best ways to troubleshoot problems. 

Zoho CRM wishes you the best in improving your organization's remote management skills with the help of these features.

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