Portals in CRM are designed for the administrators to extend CRM access to their contacts, vendors or partners. A portal user can access the modules and some of the associated data that they have been given access to, such as products, invoices, and notes present in CRM. They can also view, edit records, create records, add notes, and add attachments.
Let us consider a few scenarios to understand how portals can be helpful in your business.
- In a franchise - Imagine you run a fast food business and have granted others the right to operate the franchise in a few locations. You use Zoho CRM to manage all the business details and to track outlets' performance. The franchise owners can request to view their outlets' performance and their customers' details. You can create exclusive portals for the franchise owners. They will be able to view and edit the relevant records right from the CRM.
- In the automobile industry - For example, you have an automobile shop and want to track your customers' details, your sold vehicles and servicing schedules. To do this, you can create a portal and share it with your clients. The customers can view and edit their details in the portal, and they will be updated in your CRM records. Similarly, if they want to get their vehicle serviced, they can fill in their details using the portal.
- In an educational institute - If you run a school, instead of manually entering every student's details, you can provide parents with access to the portal's. They can add, update, or view their child's details in the portal and share the students' grades and performance scores with the parents through the portal.
- For business partners - You run a software company and use CRM to follow up with your contacts and leads or to track multiple deals that are at different stages. There is a meeting with the partners and you want to discuss all the contacts and the deals that have the highest revenue. Imagine how tedious it would be to share this complex information with individual partners. You can easily manage this situation by creating a portal for the partners, where you give them access to the Contacts module and add a contact lookup in the Deals module in CRM. This will enable them to view the contacts and their associated deals and add or remove details in the modules based on their permissions.
Users with the Manage Portal Profile permission can create a portal and invite customers.
Pricing of Portals
Here are a few details about the pricing of portals and the number of portal that can be created.
- You can configure up to five portals. The first portal is free and can be created only for the Contacts module.
- The additional four portals need to be purchased. These portals can be created for the Leads, Contacts, Vendors, and Custom modules.
- First portal - The first portal user type is added by default. You can invite up to 10,000 users to this portal for free. Please contact email@example.com if you need to add more users.
- Four additional portals - For adding more portal user types, you need to purchase portal user licenses. The pricing model for additional purchases:
- 1 user (minimum user count) - $10/user/month
- 1 to 1,000 users - $10/user/month
- 1001 to 10,000 users - $8/user/month
- 10,001 and above users - $5/user/month
Actions that a portal user can perform
Create, edit or delete records - They can create, edit or delete records in the CRM module to which they have access.
Edit associated records - A portal user can edit records that are associated with him, that are added by other CRM users, if they have the required permission. For example, if a deal or account is associated with the portal user then he can edit the details of those records.
Edit information in a record - They can edit the fields (even the ones present in subforms) on a record that is shared with them, for example address, phone number, email address etc. The changes will reflect in the CRM.
Clone records associated with the leads/contacts (deals, invoices, quotes, etc.) - They can clone other records that are associated with them and add more details as required. For example, if a portal user wants to replicate a deal, quote or invoice, then instead of creating a new record from scratch they can clone an existing record and make edits wherever necessary.
Portal for trial edition
The Enterprise and Ultimate trial edition users can configure and use portal for the 30-day trial period. Once configured, the system-defined default portal for the Contacts module will be created to which they can add a maximum of 10 users.
New portals cannot be created in the trial edition.
In case, the trial account is not upgraded to Enterprise or Ultimate paid edition the following actions will be taken:
- If you subscribe to Standard or Professional paid editions then the portal created in the trial edition will be retained.
- If you subscribe to Free edition then the portal details will be deleted after 30 days.
Setting up portal
Setting up a portal involves the following four steps:
By default, your company's name will be taken as the portal name and it will be used to generate a URL, that your customers will use to access the portal. You can change the portal name while creating the portal. You can edit the portal URL if needed.
Also, if the portal name is already in use, Zoho CRM will prompt you to change it.
To create a portal
Go to Setup > Channels > Portals .
- In the Portals page, click Get Started Now.
Your company's name will appear as the default portal name.
- Edit the Portal name, if required.
- Click Configure Now.
The customer portal URL will be generated and the portal name will be available.
- Click Next to continue.
Next, define the portal user type, portal tab configuration, and field permissions.
- Once a portal is configured you will not be able to delete it.
When you create a portal, a default portal called Client Portal will be created that cannot be deleted. You can add up to 10,000 users without payment. To add more users you need to purchase. You can only add clients or customers to this portal, you will not be able to add users from the same domain, i.e., your employees or partners.
Editing a portal URL
You can edit the portal name once it is created. The admin must notify the portal users about the URL change so they continue unhindered portal access.
Note that, the new URL must be shared with the portal users manually to avoid portal access issues. There will be NO automatic notification sent to the portal users regarding change of access URL.
Defining Portal user type
User type is a label for the users who will be accessing the CRM modules via portal. Permissions can be defined for the user types that will enable or restrict access to the data in the CRM account. Some examples of portal user types are: vendors, clients, consultants, customers, partners, or resellers.
Please note that the first portal user type must be a customer only. Therefore, you cannot add a user from the same domain like your employees in the first portal user type.
To define a portal user type
- Under Portal User Type enter a name e.g., parents, partners or service agents etc.
- Click Next.
Configuring the portal tab
In this step, you will choose the modules and the specific layouts that the portal user will be able to access and define permissions to either create, edit, view, or delete records. For example, you run a car company and want your clients to enter some information. You can configure a portal exclusively for these clients and give them access to the Leads module. The clients can enter their details in the portal to be added to their CRM record. Configuring the portal tab includes the following steps:
- Choose the module: You can choose to give the customers access to the Leads, Contacts, Vendors or custom modules. The customers will be able to view their own details in the module and based on their permissions, they may be able to add and edit records.
- Select the related modules: The modules which are linked through lookup or multi-select lookup fields will be listed under the related modules. You can choose any related module that you want the customers to access.
- Select the layouts of the related modules: You can choose more than one layout for each related module for the portal users to access.
- Define the module record permission: You can set the permission level for each record in a module. For example, you can allow the clients to view or edit their license number or mailing address, or give a vendor read-only permission to purchase orders.
- Select list view: If you have created a canvas view for any CRM module, you can choose either List view or Canvas view to display a record. List view will be selected by default for all modules.
Note that the custom buttons or custom links will not be displayed for the portal users if they are added to the Canvas or List view.
- Filter By: Select the records that the portal user will view by using the lookup filter and multi-select lookup field. For example, if you have added two lookup fields in the Deals module, you can choose a lookup based on the records that you want the portal user to view. However, the lookup filter will only be available to the existing portal users if they edit the portal configurations.
- Select Public Modules: Any module that you have marked as Public read only or Public read/write/delete (through data sharing settings) will be accessible to the portal users. These modules will be listed under the Public Modules category in Portal and the users (portal) will only have View permission for all the records that are present in the module. When a module is selected from the public modules category it will be removed from the related modules list.
Note: The Products module must be shared with the portal users to allow them to associate products with the records present in the Inventory modules.
- Select Web Tabs: As an organization, you may have a few customers who access your crm with the help of portals. In addition to viewing the modules and its related records, they can get access to the web tabs as well. Consider an apparel store that has a webpage www.zylkerapparels.com/announcements, to post important business updates such as sponsorships, tie-ups, new acquisitions, etc. for internal users and stakeholders. They can share this web tab with the stakeholders via portal to provide quick access and easy navigation from within CRM. All the web tabs that you create in Zoho CRM will appear under portal configuration.
Specifying field permission
The related modules that you selected in the previous step (Portal Tab Configuration) will be listed under the Field Permission section. You can select the fields that you want the portal users to access. You can also mark the fields that you do not want the customer to edit as Read Only. The mandatory fields inside CRM will also be marked as mandatory in the portal. You can also share subforms with the portal users.
Note: The portal users can view the price of a product only if they have view permission for the "Unit price" field in the Products module.
To specify field permissions
- In the Field Permissions page, select the check boxes for the fields that need to be available for the portal users.
- Click the Read Only checkbox, if required.
- Click Save and Next to move to the next layout or module to define field permissions.
- Repeat the above steps for all the modules and layouts.
You can select a subform too.
- Click Finish to save all the details.
View portal preview
Once the portal configuration is complete, you can preview the portal to see how the customers will see the records.
To view the portal preview
- Go to Setup > Channels > Portals.
- In the Customer Portal Configuration page, click Preview.
- Select the Portal User Type from the drop-down list to view the preview.
You can view the portal summary after the portal configuration is completed. You can edit the Field Permission and Portal Tab Configuration in the portal configuration details. You can also add a new portal user type, if required.
Purchasing portal users
When you want to create an additional portal user aside from the default client portal, you need to purchase the portal users. You can purchase from the Portal configuration page as well as Manage Subscriptions page.
To purchase portal users from within the portal configuration page
- Go to Setup > Channels > Portals.
- Click Create User Type.
- Enter the number of Portal Users in the Add Portal Users popup.
- Click Make Payment.
To purchase portal users from manage subscription page
- Click your Profile icon and select Manage Subscription.
- Click Upgrade User / Add-Ons in the Subscription page.
- Select the number of portal users and click Proceed.
- Click Make Payment.
Working with portals
Invite users individually to a portal
Once you have created the portal, you can start inviting the customers. The email invitations will contain the portal URL details. Once the users accept the invitation, they will be prompted to set a password. In the portal, the customer must first set basic information like their preferred language, time format, time zone, and country (the CRM settings will be displayed by default). They will then be redirected to the module page that they have been given access to.
To send an invitation
- Go to a module (Leads, Contacts, Custom module) and select a record.
- In the Record Detail page, click the More icon, and click Send Portal Invitation.
- Select the portal user type.
- Choose the template language to be used for the invitation email.
- Click Invite.
- Use customized email subject, or merge fields.
- Use merge fields in the email body: You can insert merge fields into the body of an email to fetch the exact field values.
- Format email text: All the basic text customization options, like font, size, style, color, background, alignment, etc., are available in the template customization window. You can also add images or hyperlinks in the email body.
- Set a button or link for accepting invitations: You can either provide a button or a link to accept the invitation.
- Changing the language while sending invitaiton email will automatically translate only the default system provided content of the email. The customized contents need to be translated for the particular language.
- You can remove the portal link. However, doing so will result in an error while saving the template. You can retrieve the original link and the content by clicking the reset to default link.
- In case of confirm email address email, Confirm Email button will be available instead of the Accept Invite button.
To customize templates for invitation and confirm email address emails
- Go to Setup > Channels > Portals.
- Select the portal user type from the list of options.
- Click the Configuration tab.
- Click the Customize Email templates button.
Select whether you want to customize accept invitation email or confirm email address email.
Invite users in bulk to the portal
You can send bulk invitations to leads, contacts or others from the module for which a portal is created. For example, if you create a portal for the leads module you can invite your leads to access the portal.
Bulk invitations can be sent from the Users tab in the portal configuration page. Once clicked, a list of users who are not invited to any portal and have a valid email address will be displayed from where you can select multiple users.
To send bulk invitation to users
- Go to Setup > Channels > Portal.
- Click on a portal and go to the User tab.
- Click Invite users.
- Select users from the list of users displayed and click Send Invitation.
- In Are you sure you want to send portal invitation to the selected records, click Send invitation.
Once an invitation is a status is sent to convey the number of users that have received or not received the invitation. By clicking on the View failed invitees, one can see the users who failed to receive an invitation and the reason for the same.
- You can send an email invitation to the customers from the Record detail page. The send invite option will be available only if the email address is present.
- The invitation email will be valid for 7 days only.
- A portal user cannot be assigned as the record owner even if they create a record.
For example: Russell Brown is a CRM user who invites Sage Weiser to access portal with the permission to create contacts and deals. When Sage creates a contact through the portal, it will be added to the CRM database and Russell Brown will be the owner of the new contact.
View reason for portal invitation failure
There are several reasons for a failure in sending portal invitation to the users. Once the invitation is sent, a message will pop in your CRM account showing the number of successful or failed invitations.
By clicking on the failure reasons you can see the list of users who did not receive the invitation and the reason.
There can be following reasons for a failed invitation:
- Domain matches with the super admin's domain - The portal user belongs to the company domain. You cannot send an invitation to your employees or anyone who uses your company domain.
- Record is waiting for approval - If the record is awaiting approval from any approval process, then the invitation will not be sent as the record will be locked during this period.
- Record is waiting for review - If the record is part of the review process then a portal invitation will not be sent to the record.
- Record has not got the consent - If a user has enabled consent as part of the GDPR process, then portal invitation will not be sent.
- Email address has unsupported characters - Uppercase and lowercase letters in English (A-Z, a-z) , Digits from 0 to 9 and special characters such as @ . - _ + are supported in the email address. If the email address is not in the above format portal invitation will fail.
- Email address is anonymous - If the particular email domain is spammed, then you cannot send an invitation.
- Reached the maximum limit of user licenses for the portal - If the org has reached the maximum number of users that can be invited for a portal.
- Portal user already exists - If the user is already part of a portal user type, then you cannot send another invitation.
- No record exist - If a record is already deleted from CRM and due to any reason if an invitation is sent to the record it will be declined.
- You don't have the permission for the module - If theCRM user doesn't have the permission for a module he is sending then the invitation will be declined.
- You don't have the permission for the record - If the CRM admin doesn't have the permission for a particular module, then they will be restricted from sending invitations from that module.
- Record is in recycle bin - If the record of the user to whom the invitation is sent is moved to the recycle bin due to any reason then the portal invitation will not be sent.
Update a portal user's Email address
You can update an existing portal user's email address from the record details page. Upon updating you will be prompted with the message that the portal access of the user will be changed.
To update email address:
- Go to the record detail page in the specific module (Contacts, Leads, Vendors, etc.)
- Update the email address associated with the record.
- On the pop-up asking for portal access change, click Yes, proceed.
- If we change the email address for confirmed user, new email will be updated and status will be changed as yet to confirm. A confirmation email will be sent.
- Upon clicking the Confirm Email button in the email, existing portal users can access their existing portals seamlessly without having to go through setting password again.
- If we change the email address for unconfirmed user, new email will be updated and the status remains the same as yet to confirm.
- In the case of deactivated users, if we change their email addresses, an email to confirm their email address will be sent when the user gets activated. Upon confirming they can continue having access to their existing portal account.
View list of Portal users in CRM
All users who are part of a portal will be listed under the Users tab in the portal configuration page. You can use the following filter options to filter portal users:
- All Users
- Active Users
- Confirmed Users
- Unconfirmed Users:
- Invitation not yet accepted: Users who have not accepted the invitation to the portal.
- Login Suspended: Portal users who did not confirm their updated email address after they were updated in CRM.
- Deactivated Users: Users whose portal access were terminated from the organization.
CRM users who have manage users permission in their profile can view the Users tab under Portals.
Remove portal users
You can remove users from a portal. Their portal access will be revoked. You can re-invite them, as and when needed.
To remove users from the portal
- Go to the User tab in the portals.
- Filter users using their status or search by their name.
- Select and click Remove users.
In the confirmation popup, click Remove users.
View information added by the portal users in CRM
Records, notes or values added by a portal user can be viewed in Feeds or right inside the CRM module.
For example, Russel is a CRM user who invited Sage to access the Contacts module. Sage has the permission to create contacts and deals. When, he creates a new contact in the portal and saves the record Russel can view it inside the Contacts module in his CRM account.
Note that the record owner will be Russel by default.
Notifications on every update will be received in Feeds. For example, if a note is added to a record you will get notified via Feeds. You can also reply to the note from the feeds.
Remember to add the module that you have given access to the portal user in Feed preference, only then you will receive a notification.
(Type Feeds in the top panel where the module are listed > click Feeds > go to Feeds Preferences and check the Modules > click Save.)
Transfer portal users to another portal user type
There may be occasions when you have to move a user from one portal user type to another. For example, you have created two different portals for customers interested in Product A and Product B. If the customer is no longer interested in buying Product A and wants to buy Product B instead, you can easily move them to the Product B portal user type. You can transfer users from one portal user type to another from any of the following places:
- Record Detail Page - You can change the portal user type from the record's detail page.
- Portal Users List - If you want to change multiple portal users to another portal user type at once, you can do so from the Portal Users List popup in the Portal Configuration page.
In Zoho CRM, you can convert qualified leads to contacts either manually or automatically using the workflow rules. If you have created one portal user type for leads and two types for contacts and added your CRM leads and contacts to the appropriate portals, you will be prompted to choose one of the portal user types under Contacts when you convert the leads to contacts in your CRM.
For example, you have four leads A, B, C, and D in the Leads portal user type; and Contacts 1 and Contacts 2 as two portal user types in the Contacts modules. When you convert leads A, B, C, and D into contacts in CRM, you will be prompted to choose the Contacts portal user type (Contacts 1 or Contacts 2) to transfer the leads to.
Perform bulk actions from the Users tab
In the Users tab, you can filter the users as per their status and perform relevant bulk actions.
The list of filters and the actions that can be performed are:
- Active users: Deactivate or remove them from the portal.
- Confirmed users: Change portal user type (transfer to another portal) or remove.
- Unconfirmed users: Reinvite Users option will be available upon selecting multiple users in either of the categories of unconfirmed users — Login Suspended, Invitation not yet accepted
In case of Login suspended users confirm email address email, in case of Invitation not yet accepted, Accept invitation email will be sent upon performing the mass reinvite action.
- Deactivated users: Activate, change portal user type or remove.
Delete a portal user type
There may be instances when you want to remove a particular portal user type. In that case, you will first have to transfer the users to another portal user type and then delete the portal user type. You can only transfer the users to another portal user type if you want to delete their original portal user type.
If you have not associated any user to a portal user type, you can delete it as it is.
To delete and transfer a portal user type
- Go to Setup > Channels > Portals.
- Select a portal and hover over it and then click Delete.
- In the pop-up, click Transfer and Delete.
- Choose a Portal User Type to transfer the user to from the drop-down list.
- Click Yes Proceed.
- If you want to rename a portal user type, click the Edit option in the Portal Configuration page.
- You can deactivate user(s) who are added to a portal, if you don't want them to be a part of it anymore. You can add another user instead, as deactivated user won't count towards your user license.
Deactivate a portal user type
You can deactivate a portal user whenever you need to.
To deactivate a portal user
- Select a Portal User Type and click Portal Users.
- In the Portal User List popup, toggle off the status bar of the user.
Managing Data Privacy of Portal Users
Data processing basis
As a Data Controller, to be GDPR compliant you need to process data based on one of the lawful bases. Based on your business requirement and discretion you can choose a processing basis from the list of bases: legitimate interests, contract, legal obligation, vital interests, public interests, and consent. If consent is the lawful basis used to process data, Zoho CRM provides an option to allow portal users to access the details you store about them, and provide consent to process their personal data.
You must consider the below points when setting data privacy for the portal users:
- The data privacy tab will be displayed for a record only if the compliance settings are turned on.
- The portal user can view the data processing basis in their account only if the data processing basis is Consent.
- The portal user can also update the consent details of the leads or contacts that they have added.
- The portal user can update their consent details from within the portal.
Data subject rights
Under GDPR, the portal users have certain rights regarding their personal information. They can manually add a request from the data privacy section in the portal for the following rights:
- Right to delete
- Right to stop processing
- Right to export
- Right to rectify
They can also add requests in the portal on behalf of the contacts or leads that they add to the portal. See Also Data Subject Rights