(Go here if you're looking for my Zoho vs Infusionsoft post from July 2013.)
THIS email above is why I have a hard time recommending Zoho CRM to anyone that can afford at least $49/mo for sales and marketing automation software.
Back in 2006 when I was starting The Sales Whisperer® and was bootstrapping it while supporting a wife and our 6 kids at the time (we have 7 now), I thought I needed a free CRM so I created a Zoho CRM account.
While it was and remains a functional CRM, I've learned that time really is money and when I have to leave a message for support only to get a call back hours later—9:39 PM last night, to be exact—and I'm given incorrect advice only to be greeted this morning with the email above forcing me to play "20 Questions," I am reminded that great support is worth money.
Great Support Is Worth Paying For
Call me crazy but I like being able to call and/or chat with a capable support person in the United States 24/7.
I'm an impatient entrepreneur. I have many irons in the fire. I have a family I'd like to hang out with. I like to sip my whisky by my fire pit outside rather than at my desk, answering 20 questions at 10 P.M.
So while I still remember and can appreciate the need to pinch pennies, do yourself a favor and check out this CRM with email automation starting at just $9/mo. (It's just $9/mo if you only need automation.)
Zoho CRM is only free for their baby plan and gives you NO Mass Email, NO Marketing Campaigns, NO Auto Responders, almost zero Reports and Analytics, etc., etc.
Zoho CRM is learning from Salesforce by giving you a little taste—like the sampler lady at Costco or your corner drug dealer—and once you are hooked on the sample and you want MORE, MORE, MORE you are informed that "THAT'S EXTRA!"
These SaaS platforms know how "sticky" their applications are. They know what a pain in the ass it is to move your stuff once you have contacts imported, custom fields created, additional users with their permissions created, email templates customized, web forms embedded on your website, etc.
So choose wisely.
I always say it's better to pay more than you wanted than less than you should.
It's okay to be in startup mode and to live below your means and watch the bottom line, but some things are worth spending a little money on. Your CRM that includes live support AND marketing automation AND sales automation (if you have a team of salespeople) is worth bringing your own lunch and carpooling for a few months to afford.
I've been there, done that, and have the bruised forehead from slamming my head into the desk to prove it.
Market like you mean it.
Now go sell something.