All marketing automation platforms have their eccentricities that you only discover once you’ve gotten started. I’ve discovered a few Zoho Marketing’ pitfalls the hard way, so you don’t have to. Here’s everything you need to know to work around them, from day one.
Zoho Forms integration challenges
If you’re integrating two apps built by the same company, it must be seamless, right? Well, not exactly.
The most important thing to know here is that contacts captured by Zoho Forms will not include web tracking. You’d probably assume that you could integrate Zoho Forms with your website and have full functionality — and that’s just not true.
This creates a lot of unexpected downstream challenges. For example, you can’t score leads captured by Zoho Forms based on their web activity. Unfortunately, the integration just will not link each contact to their browsing history.
While it might not seem like a big deal at first, just imagine the effects a few years down the road when you have hundreds of forms and an inaccurate lead scoring model. At that point, you have to choose between rebuilding all your forms or sticking with broken lead scoring.
You can connect the contact and their web browser cookie in two other ways. First, you could send that contact an email with a link to a tracked web page. The user must click the link to create the association. Or, you could have them fill out a subscription form. Both options require the contact to complete additional actions. And if you’ve been marketing for more than a couple hours, then you know it’s pretty unlikely you’ll get 100% participation here.
If you’re using Zoho Marketing Plus, you can leverage one of the three non-Zoho integrated form tools. Or, you could stick with your current non-Zoho form builder and connect your website to your Zoho Marketing Automation App, which will automatically pull contacts from form submissions.
Zoho CRM integration challenges
Just as with Zoho Forms, the Zoho Marketing Plus integration with the Zoho CRM has its hidden issues. I assumed the relationship between the CRM and marketing automation platform would be seamless and transparent. That’s the case with competitors like HubSpot, but not with Zoho.
The apps use totally separate databases with an integration that is a one-way sync from the CRM to the marketing automation app. During set up, you can specify to sync the entire database from CRM to marketing or only sync a specific list. You can also choose between immediate syncs or periodic updates.
However, new updates in the marketing automation database are not synced back to the CRM by default. You’ll need to create CRM actions in your journeys that push data back over to the Zoho CRM. Yeah, who saw that coming?
On one hand, this is actually useful because you control when, how, and what data comes back to the CRM. Control of data flow is crucial for fields where the CRM is the source of truth, like Lead Stage or Account Name. On the other hand, if you forget to create a push back to the CRM, you could quickly end up with two systems that are out of sync, or worse, even lose data.
To address this, I recommend documenting the system integrations and field mappings. One challenge: Data pushed back to the CRM from the marketing platform is simplistic. The integration doesn’t offer advanced logic. For example, the mapping fields will always update the other system, even with a blank value. It’s a big problem for maintaining a system of record.
Zoho needs time to review your work
Zoho reviews all new email campaigns from all new accounts to check that they comply with anti-spam regulations such as GDPR. This can hold up or change the time that your campaigns go live. If you didn’t know that and are up against a deadline, it can be a shock to your workflow.
The good news: reviews take less than an hour. And after you’ve run a few successful campaigns, you can request that Zoho support removes the requirement from your account.
Contacts cannot enter a workflow more than once
Currently, Zoho workflows enroll contacts the first time they meet the entry criteria and prevent them from ever re-enrolling. Most of the time, this is a great feature so you don’t send the same email to the same person multiple times, or send rapid-fire emails to a contact that just completed the same trigger action numerous times, like clicking a link or loading a page.
But there are circumstances where triggering a workflow multiple times is necessary. For example, if a customer makes a purchase and you have a workflow that sends a thank-you email, you want to trigger the workflow every time they buy something, not just the first time.
Many users have requested a workflow re-enrollment feature, and Zoho has been developing it for some time. According to a recent support update, it should be available by the end of August 2021. But again, if you’ve been doing this more than a week or two, you already know that companies often push back these kinds of rollouts.
To learn about other possible Zoho marketing pitfalls, search the Zoho app community boards. Zoho has a huge user base and very active community members. You can learn a lot from the threads and save yourself some time and effort.
I am a marketing operations expert with a decade of experience working for startups, agencies and enterprise-level companies around the globe. After stints in Boston and Madrid, I’ve settled in an idyllic Vermont farmhouse with my wife and two rescue dogs. When I’m not at my computer, you’re most likely to find me tackling a home improvement project way beyond my skill level or trying to find a new fly fishing spot in a nearby river. Say hello or hola on LinkedIn .