While I have always maintained that Salesforce stands alone as the best CRM for Fortune 500 global enterprise, I also maintain the Zoho is probably the strongest CRM system for the SMB marketplace with products like Dynamics a good fit for the market between the two. I say this about Zoho for a few reason first and foremost is breadth of offering, economy, market-share and the long term viability of the company itself compared to many competitors. There are a lot of tightly integrated pieces to Zoho that are very solid offerings and when bought in bundles (Zoho CRM Plus, Zoho One) are great deals when you consider the breadth of functionality.
Is their Zoho Campaign product as good as the best email marketing systems? No, but it covers the 80% of the functionality that you will really use well and it is tightly integrated and a bargain. Is their Social package as good as Houtsuite? No, but again it has the 80% well covered and it is cheap! They also have Business Intelligence module (again, an 80% solution, well integrated and cheap), Accounting, Helpdesk, etc. For the SMB, the benefits of out of the box integration and the fact that it is very unlikely that the company will need or use the additional 20% functionality it is a compelling offering.
Where is is lacking is that it is less slick that some more modern CRM systems but at the same time, there are literally dozens of CRM systems all fighting for the bottom 10% market share each with well less than 1%–do you want to bet your business on them? By being a “big enough” player, Zoho has the benefit of a wide range of 3rd party software add-ons, industry specific packages, etc. that smaller players will not have. Additionally, Zoho has never taken venture funding and is fully funded by internal profits–it make a profit. Here is an interesting article about it. Can these other smaller players say that? Do they have a funding burn rate and are they dependent on finding funding for the next round or are they cash flow positive? If they go under or are consolidated away, where does that leave your company. Zoho is also only $35 per user per month for the core system and it has a lot of functionality. There aren’t a lot of package that cost less. There aren’t a lot of players worthy of a “bet your company” kind of bet.
The final point in selecting a CRM is ecosystem. Salesforce, Dynamics and Zoho have large ecosystems of programmers and consultants focused on the packages that can help you get the most from your installation. Very few of the other offerings can make that claim including Oracle, SAP, etc. In my view, the only companies that would “buy” Oracle or SAP is because of the company already using the primary ERP or DB product and the CRM product was bundled in so inexpensively that it was irresistible. Very few Fortune 500 company would buy either of those products against Salesforce in a normal “bake-off” at normal pricing levels.