During the week of April 8, 2019, three of us from First Direct Corporation attended Zoho’s annual partner and user conference, otherwise know at Zoholics 2019. The more one learns about Zoho the more impressed one ought to be. Here’s why:
In every way you measure a software company, Zoho has been realizing tremendous success: Growth, Product Road Map, Reviews, Users, Financially, Churn (customer loyalty), Georgraphic Expansion, etc.
Zoho started 23 years ago as a software development company in India primarily focused on office suite applications, competing with Microsoft and Google. Today Zoho has over 7K+ employees, working in 180 countries, offering 45+ applications, and serving 40+ million customers. They have remained private, profitable, and are determined to dedicate themselves to their customers and employees, rather than Wall Street. As Sridhar Vembu, the founder and CEO who prides himself on Zoho’s culture put it, “The Stock Market is NOT our destiny.”
Zoho Corporation is an amazingly dynamic company. In 2018 Zoho expanded its geographic footprint to Singapore, Mexico and Australia. They added new solutions such as BackStage for Event Management, PageSense for a CRO platform, Flow which is a unified CX platform that competes with Zapier, and MarketingHub which competes with HubSpot. Other new office solutions are right around the corner, including one that we at First Direct Corp are excited about for field service management. We also love the way they are enhancing their Finance Solutions. What Zoho is doing with artificial intelligence via their technology they’ve named Zia, is truly remarkable. Their tools for collaboration, such as Cliq and Connect and Workdrive are invaluable.
With 45+ applications, Zoho’s offerings can be overwhelming. But keep in mind that while you have access to them ALL for just $30 per employee per month on an annual basis, you can start with even just CRM for as little as $12 a month. I know what you’re thinking — that’s too cheap! The founder of the company heard that a long time ago from a customer who told him he would have paid ten times as much for what he got. At that moment, Zoho’s founder made a profound decision to “leave money on the table” and they have kept their prices low ever since. It’s that kind of flexibility and culture that is dedicated to helping customers rather than pleasing stockholders and Wall Street that has made Zoho one of the most successful software companies on the planet. It’s also one of the reasons why First Direct Corp. chose to become a Zoho Authorized Partner.
While Zoho began in India, the Americas is their largest market, EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Asia) are significant as well, with APAC (Asia Pacific) being strong for Zoho as well. First Direct serves the USA, but representing a company with as strong a business in other parts of the world gives Zoho greater credibility and for some customers is critical to their selection.
What most people do not appreciate is the rapid growth of Zoho. I can not divulge confidential financial data that they shared with Partners, but I can tell you that they are growing substantially faster tha others leaders in the CRM space that you can guess.
Zoho’s rapid growth has been occurring despite the company’s comparatively LOW advertising expenditure. Founder Sridhar Vembu explained to partners at the conference why they have not invested as much in advertising as they could. “If we grow too fast, something will break. Mostly people will break. I don’t want that. I spend a lot of my time thinking about that. You can make machines and computers run faster, but you can’t make people run faster.”
Possibly the most impressive fact about Zoho is their low “churn rate” (the rate customers drop the application subscription.) They have the lowest rate in the software industry at approximately 3.1%. You can’t get higher product loyalty than that! One of the factors that Zoho’s leadership attributes this to is Zoho Authorized Partner engagement. This is one reason Zoho is working to increase the share of revenues that is attributed to Zoho Authorized Partners, such as First Direct Corp.
Zoho Chief Strategy Officer, Vijay Sundaram said that Zoho is committed to “changing the way business owners look at software.” They consulted with 10K organizations to understand what businesses want and need. And, they found that organizations want fewer application vendors. They want an integrated seamless flow of data between finance, HR, CRM, marketing & sales, office needs, and more. Frankly, so do I for my company, First Direct Corp., but I never thought it was possible until I got to know Zoho and I’ve seen what they’ve accomplished, especially in the last 5 years.
First Direct Corporation has been in the CRM industry for 25+ years. Zoho was something our customers needed, which made it something we needed. We’re proud to be authorized to offer Zoho applications. We’re excited about how Zoho will allow us to achieve our original and present mission: Help businesses market, sell and service better with award-winning technology and the best practices to go with them.”
If you’d like to evaluate Zoho and become a Zoho customer, First Direct is a Zoho Authorized Partner and we are certified and ready to assist you.