An illustrated guide to Zoho's new AI features

CRM software firm Zoho has announced four new features for its CRM software suite.

These are:

  • Zia: an AI-powered sales assistant
  • SalesSignals: a tool to keep salespeople up to speed in real time on customer activity
  • Blueprint: a sales process customization tool
  • PhoneBridge: a platform allowing cloud PBX and call center management solutions to build telephony integrations for Zoho.

Raju Vegesna, chief evangelist of Zoho explains “Salespeople put work into their CRM. But does the CRM work in return to make it easy for salespeople?”, adding that these new features utilize artificial intelligence and machine learning to address that challenge.

Machine learning is improving businesses’ decision making and sales processes, says Sheryl Kingstone, research director of customer experience and commerce at The 451 Group, a technology and research consulting firm.

“Intelligent technologies will play a critical role as businesses explore new techniques and tools for acquiring and transforming raw data into meaningful and useful information for sales analysis purposes,” she said.

Below, we look at each new feature, what it does, and what it looks like. 

Zia

Zia is an AI-powered sales assistant that detects anomalies in the sales process and flags any problems. It analyzes a sales reps’ sales patterns and predicts problems and issues that may arise. 

Zia uses its AI components to predict when is the best time to contact a potential customer, optimizing time and improving deal prospects.

“Zia will contextually suggest ways to automate flows and detect anomalies, based on the sales rep’s CRM usage patterns. Soon Zia will expand her skills to other Zoho apps,” said Vegesna.

Users can also create macros and workflows to automate some of their more repetitive tasks. This is a single click feature, designed to save time and increase chances of closing a deal. 

SalesSignals

The SalesSignals platform keeps salespeople up to speed in real time on customer activity, whether it’s social media posts, support calls and tickets, or survey responses.

The platform can integrate with other established platforms like SurveyMonkey, Eventbrite, DocuSign, and SMS Magic and receive signals and alerts from these platforms. Further, the signals provide a “score” of potential leads and helps prioritise potential customers and increase conversions.

Salespeople can create their own rules for lead scoring using the scoring rules functionality. Based on these preferences, Zoho can then prioritize leads to increase speed and chances of conversion

Blueprint

Blueprint is a product for larger organizations that plans out and executes various sales processes for staff via the CRM. The feature has been designed for firms with a large number of employees where managing the sales process and keeping everyone compliant can be difficult.

Zoho PhoneBridge Platform

Finally, Zoho has partnered with 15 telephony vendors to provide integration with their products through Zoho. This will, the company said, improve call management.

“With Zoho CRM, the focus has been on a salesperson’s productivity. From Zia to Blueprint to SalesSignals to telephony platforms, each feature is designed to make salespeople more productive,” added Vegesna.

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Jonathan Keane

About the author…

Jonathan is a freelance tech writer based in Dublin, Ireland covering tech, software, cybersecurity, the internet of thing, and start-ups. He’s previously been published with sites and publications in North America and Europe such as Techopedia, Tech.eu, IDG Connect, and Cloud Tweaks.

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Jonathan Keane