listIntroduction here. As I have stated at least twice now we have a LOT of leads in our system and we needed a solid process to manage all of these leads.  In the previous post on Sales Roles I explained how each person on the D-Tools sales team has a specific role and and how we use our Zoho CRM system to manage the job function for each specific role.

One of the things that Zoho CRM does really well is the creation and management of custom lists for each entity in the system.  An entity in Zoho is a list of related information like leads, or cases, or accounts and so on.  Actually calling a Zoho entity a list is somewhat of an oversimplification but I digress.

So we have these “lists” (entities) of data, and each list contains x number of records and each record can have x number of fields.  That is a LOT of information that needs to be listed and sorted to whatever the job function is of the person who needs to work with the specific entity. Different people in D-Tools need to work with the same entity but only need a subset of the actual data, not the entire list

Zoho CRM comes with a number of editable, predefined views that can change depending on the Zoho login and role of the login.  For example one of the predefined views is ” My Leads”.  Zoho assumes that “my” refers to the person logged in and will show a list of “their” leads.

This works great but where Zoho CRM really shines is in the ease of which any user can create their own custom view of the entity without any programming or advanced knowledge of the system.  For example, say I am a salesperson we just got back from a  trade show.  I could easily create a custom list that had all of “my” leads from that show with just the company name, email, phone number and Pre-Qual score. This is how it is done:

  1. Go to whatever entity you want to work in and click the Create View link
  2. Give the custom view a name like “My CEDIA Leads”.  CEDIA being a trade show
  3. Specify the criteria as Lead Owner = me, or whoever you want that has a login to the system
  4. Click Add Criteria and add CEDIA 08 (trade show name) as the Sub-Lead Source
  5. Choose what columns you want to see in the view
  6. Check the Show this Custom View only to Me option.  This is a great feature because it gets rid of the “custom list pollution” I have seen in other systems.  You also have the option of showing this list to everyone, specific users or specific roles in the system.  Very well thought out feature set.
  7. Hit Save and you have the custom list.  You can always go back later and edit this list.

You now have a list that can be easily sorted by any of the columns so the person using the list can easily find the relevant information.  When the user clicks on the actual Lead Name it opens the record.  A neat trick is to right click on the link and open the record in another window or tab so you can easily get both  the micro and macro view of the list.

Easy to create and manage entity views are a critical part of any CRM system and Zoho CRM does it better than any other system I have ever come across.  The only issue I have found is that there is no way to create a list that queries more than a single entity.  This makes it impossible to send mass emails to contacts of a specific account type.

Also these is no ability to “clone” a custom list.  This would come in handy when the SAM is creating custom lists for number of people where the only change is the owner of the record.  For the most part you can clone just about anything in Zoho but not these custom lists. Both issues seem like oversights to me.  I have let the Zoho CRM technical team know about these issues and I am confident that they will be updated in a future release.