Pipedrive and Zoho CRM are two powerhouse CRMs in their own right—so how do you decide?
Choosing the right CRM for your business can be overwhelming, especially with so many options on the market.
I’m AJ, and I can help. I’ve used almost every tool on the market while scaling my business (to a multiple seven-figure exit).
Now, my goal is to help you achieve financial freedom and success (using what I learned along the way).
So, let’s put two of our favorite CRMs to the test and see which one comes out on top!
Stick around to the end, where I provide helpful tips for making your decision.
My team and I did a deep dive into Zoho CRM and Pipedrive.
We’ll break it down into the following categories:
Pricing & Free VersionTop FeaturesCustomer ServiceIntegrationsEase of UseBest Mobile AppKnowledge and Learning CenterLimitationsWhich One We Think is Best for Small Businesses
How We Objectively Test Each Platform:
AJ’s got a knack for kick-starting businesses, putting them on autopilot, and setting them up for acquisition. Over the past decade, he’s been right in the thick of things with hundreds of small businesses, helping them with just about everything under the business sun. If you need advice on software suites and choices? AJ’s your guy.
We roll up our sleeves and dive into the top CRM features we think are pretty crucial for small businesses. Stuff like reports and analytics, options to customize your pipelines, and the ability to link up with other apps and services. We know what makes small businesses tick, so we know what features they need to get the job done.
Money matters, folks! When it comes to picking a CRM system, price is usually the deal-breaker. We give a big thumbs up if a provider charges $30 or less per user each month for their starter plan. Extra brownie points for throwing in a freebie plan or trial, options to scale up or down as needed, and the freedom to pay monthly or yearly. We’re looking for flexability for small businesses.
We all know support is mega important when you’re choosing a CRM platform. This is especially true for those smaller businesses or sales teams who can’t afford to have tech wizards on their payroll. We put our detective hats on to see if these companies offer round-the-clock support, and we looked at the different ways you can get help. We’re talking live chat (like, real-time convo), email tickets, a good old-fashioned phone call, and self-service tools (for the DIY-ers out there).
When you’re in the business of picking a CRM, integrations are like the secret sauce that takes your burger from ‘meh’ to ‘mind-blowing’. Imagine, all your favorite apps and tools, working together in perfect harmony, making your workflow smoother than a fresh tub of Nutella. When we review a CRM, we look at the integrations most SMB owners are looking for.
When you’re reviewing a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, it’s essential to pay close attention to its ease of use. After all, a CRM is as beneficial as its usability. A simple, intuitive interface saves you and your team a great deal of time and headache. When we’re reviewing each CRM, this is a crucial aspect that we look for.
The importance of Mobile CRM cannot be overstated in today’s digital age. It’s essential for fostering strong customer relationships and managing business activities. Mobile access to CRM makes it possible for sales teams to update and access customer information in real time, improving efficiency and ensuring up-to-date data. Mobile CRM can have a massive impact on SMBs, so thoroughly testing it is essential for each one of our reviews.
Here’s our overview of our Pipedrive/Zoho CRM comparison.
Pipedrive offers a free plan in addition to three paid plans:
Essential: $21.90/MonthAdvanced: $37.90/MonthProfessional: $59.90/MonthPower: $74.90/MonthEnterprise: $119.00/Month
Check out our complete Pipedrive pricing guide.
Zoho offers a free plan in addition to four affordable paid plans.
They are the following:
Free Version – Free for up to three usersZoho Standard – $20/MonthZoho Professional – $35/MonthZoho Enterprise – $50/MonthZoho Ultimate – $65/Month
AJ’s Take: Zoho CRM easily wins this round with more affordable pricing options (and a great free version). Plus, Pipedrive charges extra for many features that are included with Zoho CRM (free of charge).
Both CRMs have a lot of features to offer.
Let’s break it down.
Pipedrive offers some of the best pipeline management in the game, in addition to a bunch of other fantastic features.
Let’s get into it.
Great deal management can help you effectively manage sales (while you scale).
Luckily, Pipedrive knocks it out of the park in this department.
The CRM software offers a fantastic user interface (UI) that makes it super easy to track deals and manage pipelines.
You can create multiple sales funnels with ease, which is crucial for a lot of businesses.
To fully test this feature (over six months), my team and I added some of our affiliate marketing deals.
Here’s how it looked from our perspective.
Each deal card has a convenient progress bar to track where each deal is in the sales pipeline.
We were also able to customize the following information on each card:
Contact OrganizationTitleValuePipeline & stageProbabilityClose date
Once we had all of our deals input, we could easily drag and drop deals from one stage to another (which made managing multiple pipelines super easy).
Here’s how our pipeline looked.
As you can see, Pipedrive provides a sleek user interface and some killer pipeline management tools.
Overall, Pipedrive offers some of our favorite pipeline management of all the CRM solutions we’ve tested over the years (and we’ve tested a lot).
Priced at an additional $8/month, one of the standout features of Pipedrive is its project management capabilities.
Here are a few standout features (from our six months of testing):
Creating and assigning tasks with just a few clicksVisualizing project timelines with Gantt chartsCollaborative workspace for team feedback (and suggestions)Setting task deadlines and remindersTime-tracking
We especially liked the ability to create project templates (so we didn’t have to keep inputting the same information each time).
Here’s how the creation process looked (to give you some context).
Throughout our testing, we used Pipedrive CRM to create and manage many projects.
These included the following:
Our newsletter rolloutNew website designAffiliate marketing strategy revamp
Pipedrive kept our team on the same page while providing us with all the tools we needed to get our projects done efficiently.
Here’s a snapshot of how it looked whenever we created a new project.
Our verdict: Pipedrive’s project management feature is an excellent fit for small businesses aiming to manage their projects efficiently and keep their team aligned and on track.
The fact that it’s incredibly easy to use makes it all the more valuable in our book.
Pipedrive shines regarding workflow automation, helping businesses streamline their processes and improve efficiency.
Here are some of the standout automation features we tested:
Notifications: This feature makes sure that no task slips through the cracks. The system sends timely notifications to remind you of important tasks and deadlines. We found this to be a really effective way to stay on top of things and avoid missing any crucial assignments or follow-ups.Progress Bar: Pipedrive’s progress bar gives you a visual representation of your deal’s status to quickly see where each deal stands in the pipeline. During our testing, we found that this real-time visibility helps with decision-making and makes our sales process more efficient.Custom Workflows: With custom workflows in Pipedrive CRM, you can automate repetitive tasks, which saves time and allows you to focus on more strategic activities. We set up a few custom workflows to automate tasks like sending follow-up emails and updating deal stages. This feature was a game-changer for our team, boosting our productivity considerably by saving us a lot of time on routine tasks.
In conclusion, we were impressed by Pipedrive’s workflow automation features during our testing period.
The combination of notifications, progress bars, and custom workflows not only streamlined our processes but also made our team more productive and efficient.
Pipedrive allows you to create, schedule, and send powerful email campaigns for an extra $16/month.
This feature is perfect for marketing and sales teams looking to reach out to leads and existing customers with targeted campaigns.
For example, we created a campaign for our Small Business Bonfire newsletter.
Let’s go through our experience.
To start with, we selected from one of Pipedrive’s gorgeous email templates.
These templates are perfect for beginners, allowing you to create professional-looking emails in minutes.
After choosing the template, we customized it with the following:
Brand colorsTextLogoButtonsSocial media links
Here’s a look into our creation process (about halfway through).
We liked the drag-and-drop interface, which made it a breeze to fully customize the email.
From there, we could schedule and send out emails automatically, using Pipedrive’s marketing automation capabilities.
The whole process was quick and easy, and we saw an increase in open rates (compared to other email marketing tools).
If you can’t manage your customer relationships, you can kiss your dream of scaling your business goodbye.
That’s where Pipedrive swoops in to save the day!
Pipedrive provides a straightforward (yet powerful) approach to managing customer data.
Here’s what we loved about it:
Easy import: Pipedrive allows you to import existing contacts, deals, and activities from another CRM or spreadsheet file with just a few clicks. This feature saved us a ton of time, as we could get started right away without having to manually input all our customer data.Custom fields: You can create and customize your own fields in Pipedrive, which is incredibly useful for organizing and managing customer data. We created custom fields to track lead source, industry, and job title. This helped us segment our leads more effectively and tailor our communication based on their needs.Sleek and user-friendly interface: Pipedrive’s well-designed interface makes it easy to navigate and find the information you need quickly. This is crucial for efficient customer data management, as it saves time and reduces frustration.
Here’s a quick look at a B2B contact we added with Pipedrive (in seconds).
We loved how easy it was to read our important contact info with just a glance.
The bottom line: We found Pipedrive’s customer data management capabilities to be top-notch, allowing us to keep our customer information organized, easily accessible, and up-to-date.
If you’ve ever lost track of important emails, phone calls, or client meetings, you know how crucial it is to have a reliable activity tracker.
Pipedrive’s activity tracker feature allows you to keep track of all your interactions with customers and leads in one place.
Here’s what we loved about it:
Centralized view: The Activity Tracker provides a centralized view of all activities related to a specific customer or deal, making it easy to see the full history of interactions. This is particularly useful when managing multiple deals and customers at once.Customizable activity types: With Pipedrive, you can create custom activity types for different actions, such as calls, emails, meetings, etc. We found this feature helpful in accurately tracking our sales activities and understanding which actions were most effective.Mobile app: Pipedrive’s mobile app allows you to access the Activity Tracker on the go, making it easy to stay updated and keep track of your interactions while out of the office. We found this feature especially useful for remote sales teams.
We used this feature to do everything from follow-up with affiliate clients to scheduling internal meetings at Small Business Bonfire.
Check out a meeting with a client we could schedule (in a few minutes).
Within each activity card, we had access to the following info:
LocationDescriptionGuestsAssociated deals & contactsOur calendarDate & timeType of activity
Pipedrive made it easy for us to stay organized by providing a sleek and streamlined approach to activity management.
The breakdown: If you’re struggling to juggle multiple deals and customers, Pipedrive’s activity tracking capabilities can help you stay on top of all your interactions (and never miss an important follow-up again).
LeadBooster is an awesome add-on feature offered by Pipedrive (for an additional $39/month).
It’s super useful for optimizing your lead generation and management process.
With LeadBooster, you can capture, distribute, and nurture leads more efficiently.
As soon as you upgrade your plan, you gain access to the following:
Prospector: Automatically find lead data to add to your CRM. This feature saves you a ton of time and effort.Chatbots: Create powerful chatbots to engage with website visitors and capture leads.Web forms: Build custom web forms to collect lead informationLive chat: Create and embed a live chat feature on your website for quick communication with prospects and customers.
Our take: LeadBooster is a kick-ass add-on for small businesses looking to enhance their lead-generation efforts.
We found it to be user-friendly and cost-effective, making it a great value for the price.
Let’s look at a few core CRM features of Zoho.
As your business grows, so does your number of clients.
Having effective client management can be the difference between your business growing or ultimately going under.
Luckily, Zoho CRM can effortlessly import, add, and manage your contacts without breaking a sweat!
To get started testing this feature (over six months), we imported our customer data from a CSV file (shown below).
The whole process took less than five minutes and allowed us to easily move our data from another CRM.
This is great news for any SMBs looking to make the switch to Zoho (with none of the opportunity cost).
Once our contacts were imported, we wanted to see how Zoho CRM handled manual contact entry.
We manually added some of our B2B contacts at Small Business Bonfire to put it to the test.
Here’s how it looked from our perspective.
Within each contact card, we were able to add and edit the following information:
Name Contact ownerContact infoAccount nameLead sourceVendor nameDate of Birth Custom fields
With all this data at our fingertips, you’d think it might be confusing to navigate.
Luckily, Zoho CRM is incredibly user-friendly (even for beginners).
We could quickly and easily find the contacts we needed with the powerful search function and filter options.
The bottom line: Zoho CRM offers some of the best client management capabilities on the market.
Being able to communicate with your prospects and customers through various channels is critical for keeping them engaged and happy.
Thankfully, Zoho CRM makes this easy with its omnichannel support.
Zoho CRM essentially provides the ability to manage the following channels in one convenient location:
Zoho CRM stores all of your communication history with each customer, making it easy to pick up where you left off.
Plus, you can track how and when your customers interact with your business across different channels.
We connected a ton of our communication channels to Zoho CRM to really test it out (over six months).
For instance, we could connect our Gmail account in just a few clicks.
Here’s a look into the email integration process (which took less than five minutes from start to finish).
Once connected to Zoho CRM, we could easily track and manage all of our email communication with clients.
Here are some things we loved about this feature:
All our communication was stored in one central location, so we could access it easily.We could see who we were talking to (and when), which made managing multiple clients a breeze!We could automate email follow-ups and reminders so we never miss an important conversation with a client.
Our two cents: Zoho CRM offers top-notch omnichannel support that makes it simple to manage and track all of your communication with clients.
Zoho’s project management features are a great addition to their already powerful CRM capabilities.
Here’s a breakdown of what we found:
Task tracking & assignment: Allocate tasks to team members and monitor their progress.Gantt charts: Visualize project timelines with the help of Gantt charts.Customizable views: Tailor the project interface to suit your needs.Progress reports: Stay updated with thorough reports on project progress.Budgeting & expense tracking: Keep track of your finances with budgeting and expense features.Inventory management: Manage your resources efficiently.
These project management capabilities make Zoho an ideal choice for teams aiming for organized collaboration and timely delivery of projects within budget.
We put these features to the test by creating an onboarding project with individual tasks for new hires.
Here’s a quick look at our project management board (during our six months of testing).
We could easily assign tasks, track progress, and monitor the budget for our project.
At the end of the day, Zoho CRM proves to be a very powerful tool for managing projects within your CRM system.
If you plan to scale your sales, you will need a clear and customizable sales pipeline.
Zoho CRM has you covered in this area with its intuitive pipeline management feature.
Here’s what we found:
Customizable deal stages: Tailor your sales process to fit your unique business needsDrag-and-drop interface: Easily move deals from one stage to anotherCreate multiple pipelines: Organize your deals by different sales processes or product linesSales forecasting: Get insights into your future sales based on your pipeline dataReal-time reports: Track and analyze your pipeline data to make informed decisions for improvement
We added in our affiliate marketing deals at Small Business Bonfire (to really put Zoho CRM through its paces).
Here’s how a “new deal” card looked (for reference).
We could easily create custom fields, allowing us to tailor each deal according to our specific needs.
Plus, with the drag-and-drop interface of our pipeline dashboard (shown below), we could easily move deals through each stage of our pipeline.
Our final thoughts: Zoho CRM’s pipeline management feature is a must-have for any business looking to scale its sales process and track its progress in real time.
It’s easily some of the best pipeline management in the biz.
Scaling your business can be tricky without the right reporting capabilities in place.
After all, how can you make informed decisions without knowing the numbers behind your sales and marketing efforts?
Zoho CRM gives you in-depth reporting and analytics to help you gain insight into your business operations.
Here are a few key business features we found helpful:
Customizable dashboards: Easily customize your dashboard to display the data that’s most important to you.Sales forecasting: Get a clear view of your upcoming pipeline and potential revenue.Lead & sales tracking: Track the progress of leads and deals to better understand your conversion rates.Customizable reports: Create custom reports to track metrics that matter most to you.
We created custom dashboards (like the one below) with important data (such as deal insights).
With Zoho CRM, we could easily see how our sales and marketing efforts were performing, allowing us to make informed decisions for improvement.
The nuts and bolts: Zoho CRM’s reporting and analytics capabilities could be the secret sauce your business needs to take it to the next level.
With customizable dashboards and in-depth reports, you’ll have all the data you need to make strategic decisions that drive growth.
Efficiently managing leads is absolutely crucial for any business, and Zoho CRM gets that.
It’s got some seriously advanced lead management features that can help you stay on top of things.
When it comes to customizability, Zoho CRM really shines.
To fully test this feature, we added some of our hot leads at Small Business Bonfire.
Here’s how one of our lead cards looked (for reference)
It’s all about having the right information to turn those leads into loyal customers.
Here’s what stood out in Zoho CRM’s lead management:
Customizable lead cards: Tailor your lead cards to display the most relevant data to your business. This means having all the necessary details at your fingertips, making lead management incredibly efficient.Lead tracking: With Zoho CRM’s lead tracking, you can monitor the activity of your leads and know exactly when to engage them. Lead scoring: This feature assigns scores to your leads based on their interactions with your business, enabling you to prioritize your efforts effectively.Automated lead distribution: Leads can be automatically assigned to the right sales personnel, ensuring timely follow-up and conversion.Conversion tracking: Zoho CRM allows you to track the rate at which your leads are being converted into customers, giving you valuable insight into where adjustments may be needed.
The nitty gritty: Great lead management is essential for scaling businesses, and Zoho CRM’s customizable lead cards and robust tracking features could prove to be a game-changer for your sales process.
Zoho CRM’s task management feature is an essential tool to have in your arsenal.
It allows for efficient tracking and management of tasks, which, in turn, maximizes productivity and ensures tasks are completed on time.
We found the task management capabilities to be robust and easy to use. Here are some of the aspects we particularly enjoyed:
Simplicity: Zoho CRM’s task management is straightforward and user-friendly, which makes it easy for us to get the hang of it quickly.Task assigning: The system allows for easy assignment of tasks to team members. This made delegation a breeze and helped us ensure everyone was on the same page.Status tracking: We could track the status of tasks in real time, which made it easier to manage workflows and deadlines.Collaboration: The feature supports team collaboration, allowing several team members to work on a task simultaneously.Prioritization: We could rank tasks by priority, helping us to tackle the most critical tasks first.Deadline alerts: The system sends reminders about upcoming deadlines, ensuring no task falls through the cracks.
In summary, Zoho CRM’s task management is a powerful tool that can help any team elevate their productivity and efficiency.
Great automation can help you streamline your processes and save time across the board.
Zoho CRM offers a wide range of automation capabilities to make tedious tasks a thing of the past.
We tested this feature (over six months) by creating all sorts of automation.
Here’s a look into the creation process from our perspective.
The whole process took under ten minutes and saved countless hours of manual work.
Here are some tasks we were able to automate with ease:
Sending automated emails based on triggers or conditionsCreating tasks and reminders for follow-upsAssigning leads to specific team members based on criteriaUpdating deal stages and information based on triggersUpdating contact information when specific actions are taken
Our verdict: Zoho CRM’s automation capabilities are highly efficient and can help businesses save valuable time by eliminating manual tasks.
AJ’s Take: This round was incredibly close. Both Pipedrive and Zoho CRM offer powerful features worth talking about. At this point, we can safely say that both are excellent choices for businesses looking to take their operations to the next level.
Let’s see how both CRM systems stack up regarding customer service.
We’ll examine the following metrics:
Availability Knowledge baseTrainingResponsive support
Pipedrive offers excellent customer service.
Let’s look at how they do in terms of the following:
Availability: Pipedrive offers 24/7 customer support via email, live chat, and phone. Pipedrive was always available when we needed them.Knowledge base: Pipedrive’s knowledge base is chock-full of helpful articles, guides, and videos that cover a wide range of topics. Training: Pipedrive offers in-person training, webinars, online courses, and tutorials to help users get the most out of their CRM system.Responsive support: Pipedrive’s support team is highly responsive and quick to provide solutions to any issues we encounter.
They also offer a community forum where users can ask questions and share tips.
Zoho CRM provides stellar service.
Let’s break it down:
Availability: Zoho CRM offers 24/7 support via email, live chat, and phone. We never had to wait more than a few minutes to connect with a helpful support agent. Knowledge base: Zoho CRM’s knowledge base is extensive and well-organized, with detailed articles and videos covering all aspects of the platform.Training: Zoho CRM offers virtual classrooms, webinars, video tutorials, and a robust community forum to help users get up to speed on their system.Responsive support: Zoho CRM’s support team is quick to respond, offering a personal touch by assigning dedicated account managers to each customer.
AJ’s Take: Both Pipedrive and Zoho CRM offer top-notch customer service with a range of resources to support their users. With 24/7 availability, comprehensive knowledge bases, and responsive support teams, both systems excel in this category.
Integrating your favorite apps with your CRM system is essential for streamlining workflows and increasing productivity.
Let’s see how Pipedrive and Zoho CRM stack up in the integrations department.
Pipedrive provides a ton of native integrations to help your business scale.
Some of our favorites include the following:
Plus, Pipedrive’s Zoho CRM integration with Zapier provides endless possibilities for connecting with other apps and automating tasks.
Zoho CRM provides a fantastic app marketplace with many native integrations.
Some popular platforms include:
Zoho CRM allows you to connect just about any additional platform you need, thanks to their Zapier integration.
AJ’s Take: Both Pipedrive and Zoho CRM offer many integrations to help businesses streamline their workflows and increase productivity. With robust native integrations and the power of Zapier, you can connect your favorite apps seamlessly to either platform.
If your team can’t efficiently navigate and use your CRM system, it can cause major headaches and hinder productivity.
Let’s see how Pipedrive and Zoho CRM do in terms of ease of use.
Pipedrive is incredibly user-friendly and easy to navigate, even for beginners.
The intuitive interface allows users to quickly find what they’re looking for (without getting bogged down in a complex system).
Zoho CRM offers a clean and straightforward interface that makes it easy for new users to get up to speed quickly.
However, some users may find the customization options more complex than Pipedrive.
AJ’s Take: Both Pipedrive and Zoho CRM offer user-friendly interfaces, making it easy for businesses to adopt and use their systems quickly.
Having a mobile CRM app is crucial for businesses on the go.
Let’s see which platform offers the best mobile experience.
Pipedrive’s mobile app is available for both iOS and Android devices, providing convenient access to your CRM on the go.
Some noteworthy features include:
Easy navigationDeal, task, and project managementReal-time notificationsAbility to make calls and send emails directly from the app
Our only complaint with Pipedrive’s app is that it doesn’t quite provide the same power as the desktop version.
Zoho CRM’s mobile app is available for both iOS and Android devices, with a similar layout and functionality to their desktop version.
Some features worth mentioning include:
Easy navigationActivity trackingCustomizable dashboardsDeal managementQuotesLead management & nurturingProduct trackingTelephony & email (from within the app)Access to contact and account information
Zoho’s mobile app feels like a fully-fledged CRM in the palm of your hand.
AJ’s Take: Zoho wins this round due to the sheer amount of features it provides while on the move. Pipedrive has a great app, but it just can’t compete in this case.
Having a great knowledge center can make or break a CRM platform.
Let’s compare the two and see who comes out on top!
Pipedrive offers an extensive knowledge center with articles, videos, and tutorials covering all aspects of the platform.
They also have Pipedrive Academy, which provides training courses and certifications for users to become experts on the system.
Zoho CRM has a comprehensive knowledge base with articles, videos, and webinars available to help users get up to speed.
It’s a fantastic resource for learning how to use the system effectively.
AJ’s Take: Both Pipedrive and Zoho CRM offer excellent knowledge centers with a wealth of resources to help users learn and navigate the platforms.
Even the best CRM providers have a few downsides.
Here’s a quick look at some of the limitations you may encounter with Pipedrive and Zoho CRM.
No platform is perfect, and that includes Zoho CRM.
Let’s look at a few of the CRM’s limitations:
Limited free plan: Zoho CRM’s free plan lacks some key features (such as advanced reporting and webhooks). Limited advanced marketing capabilities: While Zoho CRM does offer basic email marketing capabilities, it may not be robust enough for businesses with more advanced marketing needs.
AJ’s Take: Both Pipedrive and Zoho CRM have their limitations, but they also offer solutions to overcome them. It ultimately depends on the specific needs of your business.
Our winner (by a very small margin) is Zoho CRM!
Zoho CRM offers more overall utility, a free forever plan, and more affordable pricing than Pipedrive.
However, if you’re a small business focusing on pipeline management, Pipedrive may still be your best bet.
Both platforms offer free trials, so what are you waiting for? Give them a try for yourself today!
The post Pipedrive Vs. Zoho CRM 2023: Best CRM for Business? appeared first on Small Business Bonfire.
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