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How To Successfully Integrate WordPress With ZohoCRM in 2022
Lior has been in business since he was 10 years old. He began by purchasing bagels on the street and selling them to bankers a few doors down for double the price.
In doing so, Lior learned from his mistakes and paved his way to a winning record in the business world. Much of this occurred on the internet; over many years, he developed web design, development, marketing, and security companies, all of which were successful despite being part of a growing and highly competitive market. Some of his ventures were sold to larger companies, while others, I am proud to say, are still making me money today.
Main Questions For Interview
#1 -Lior, can you tell us about your background and how you got into Zoho and became the head of a specialized Zoho consultation agency?
#2 – Can you give us some insights on some of the most significant early challenges you initially faced with business and how you have semi-overcome these particular challenges?
#3 – Based on your experience, can you give us some insights on what you see as the real opportunities, if any, are there connected to ZohoCRM working with the WordPress platform?
#4 – Can you draw us a picture of where Zoho’s range of apps is, and what are some of the leading ones that get you most excited in 2022?
#5 – If you go back to a time machine at the beginning of your career, what advice would you give yourself?
#6 – Are there any books, websites, or online recourses that have helped you in your own business development that you like to share with the audience?
Intro: Welcome to the WP-Tonic this week in WordPress and SaaS podcast, where Jonathan Denwood interviews the leading experts in WordPress, e-learning, and online marketing to help WordPress professionals launch their own SaaS.
Jonathan Denwood: Welcome back, folks, to the WP-Tonic this week in WordPress and SaaS, this is episode 735. I have a fantastic guest, I’ve been looking forward to this interview, we’re going to be talking about how to utilize Zoho with WordPress. We have a true expert. We have somebody, I’m going to, totally, butcher their name, I’ve warned them, tribe, they’re prepared, you are prepared. We have Lior, how do you pronounce your surname again?
Lior Izik: Lior Izik.
Jonathan Denwood: Lior Izik. And he is very amused by my bad attempts, so he’s a great guy. As I said, we’re going to be discussing how to integrate WordPress with Zoho. We’re going to be talking about Zoho, how it’s progressed this year, what it offers, I think it’s going to be a, really, interesting discussion. Before we go into the main meat and potatoes of this, I have a quick message from two of our major sponsors. We’ll be back in a few moments.
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Jonathan Denwood: We’re coming back. As I said, it’s going to be a great discussion about WordPress and Zoho. So, Izik, would you like to quickly give us an introduction about yourself and how you got into the world of Zoho?
Lior Izik: So, first of all, I’m a business owner. I’m running multiple businesses right now, also in the past, I used to run multiple businesses, creating them and selling them. The last decade, I’m more more about growing the businesses than just selling them. The first time I met Zoho, was I owned an appliance repair company and we used to have lots of stuff, lots of personnel and lots of chaos, every meeting was a disaster. And, at some point, we tried to introduce a quality CRM such as Salesforce, it was extremely expensive, every small fart in the system is tens of thousands of dollars.
It’s not something that a small business with 60 employees can attend. It wasn’t the goal, we tried HubSpot, we tried different solutions, everything seems to be very expensive to the point that it’s always stay with crappy CRMs, or we need to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for implementation. And then I checked a few Zoho partners back then, and that’s many years ago. They didn’t, really, have so many tools to help us; they had the cookie cutter solution, which didn’t work for us. And, eventually, I saw Zoho as a good opportunity and I tried to customize it myself. Surprisingly, it was that easy.
Jonathan Denwood: Oh.
Lior Izak: And then I said, You know what? Let’s create a YouTube channel, we’ll just show business owners that it’s not that difficult, and I started to run some videos and over hundreds of videos on the channel. I saw that there are tens of thousands of business owners that were able to do it by themselves, sometimes my company will help just a bit, maybe, with the setup, maybe with some questions, but bottom line, most companies are able to create a full Zoho system in-house, no problem at all. Beautiful system.
Jonathan Denwood: Right. So, how long have you been running your consultation company in the, specific, Zoho area then?
Lior Izik: So, that will be from 2013. So, since 2013, we have the company, amazing business results. We are a premium Zoho partner, which means we sell a lot. And we also have an academy with over 10,000 students. On a weekly basis, we’re running Q&A sessions, where people, any business owner can join, ask questions and I’m trying to help him live. Man, that’s running for the past three years. It’s amazing. So, we’re, really, trying not only to be a custom development firm to try to help people build a fresh, clean system; it’s also trying to help business owners in their journey of how to create it themselves, not only using a company.
Jonathan Denwood: Yeah. As I said, I’ve been, really, looking forward to the discussion because there’s so much to discuss. So, let’s go on to the next question. You’ve just given a great outline about how you started the company, but our audience is WordPress developers, entrepreneurs, bootstrap startup people; so they love to learn from our guest’s experience. So, what were some of the biggest initial, one or two, challenges you faced in getting this Zoho consultation training company set up? What was one or two of the most significant challenges and can you give some quick insight about how you overcame them?
Lior Izik: Of course. The biggest challenge in CRM, it’s not only Zoho, it’s in the CRM in general. It’s that when we started this journey, we didn’t understand that the CRM is not like a website or WordPress or Calendly. CRM is the heart of the business and the language that you need to talk to business owners is business. So, the business owner will come to you with a problem in his sales process, but the business owner will not understand that the leads module with two workflows will be the solution, is just coming with a problem. So, in the beginning of this company, we used to have developers talking to the client.
Jonathan Denwood: Oh God.
Lior Izik: That’s right. And this is where we ate buckets of shit. It’s because the developers were awesome, but they don’t know business, they never hired or fired, they never ran trial balance, they don’t know much about business. And I ran the company in the beginning, the same way that I ran multiple IT companies that I had in the past, the developers talked to clients and that was perfectly fine.
And when we understood that, we changed the way that the company works, and this is also something that I’m trying to help Zoho partners, in general, understand. Is that the person that’s supposed to talk with the client will be a business person, someone that already created businesses, sold businesses, someone that is more on the business side and he can talk to the business owner, extracting from him his needs, and then there will be a discussion between this person and the development team of what needs to be done.
In my case, for example, we have three different individuals in the company, including myself, that we are in the business world, we’re also pretty good on the Zoho side, and then we’re able to talk to the client, we’re creating a Lucidchart, which is a flow chart of how the business goes. Our leads coming in, when leads come in, how it’s being translated in the CRM, what type of automations are going to take place. And that works pretty well. And that’s, I think, the biggest challenge that we have is just the concept of who can talk to the client and when, and that was a game changer for us.
From a very mediocre company, we became, I can say one of the best in the world, because right now in terms of reviews and customer satisfaction, we’re, by far, leading the chart from all of the other partners in the world.
Jonathan Denwood: Yeah. That’s a fascinating insight, that you realized quickly and you were able to adapt your own business processes. Because it’s not the only time I’ve heard that, you have to have the right people talking to the right people at the right time and, obviously, your previous experience having developers talk to other IT developer-type professional works perfectly.
Lior Izak: That’s right.
Jonathan Denwood: But not in this, particular, niche area, that’s the last thing you need.
Lior Izak: Right.
Jonathan Denwood: So, that’s great. So, let’s go on. So, I attended WordCamp Europe in Porto, in Lisbon, in the summer. And also, I attended WordCamp USA in California about a month ago. And I noticed HubSpot had sent some people to both conferences to mingle, to chat. And I love HubSpot, but it’s not as expensive as Salesforce, but that’s not saying too much, is it? But, obviously, they are trying to build relationships in the WordPress community, Hubspot is. Because they had a stand, a booth at WordCamp Europe and they were doing a lot of, but I also see Zoho as being a great partner platform for WordPress.
First of all, would you agree with that? And if you do agree with that, what do you see as some of the opportunities of WordPress developers, agencies, working with Zoho and, maybe, with you?
Lior Izik: So, first of all, let’s talk about HubSpot and Salesforce. Extremely good systems. So, nothing bad I can say about those systems; in the past, I used to have, also, a development company and we used to develop on HubSpot and Salesforce. The audience that I’m attracting is not HubSpot and Salesforce companies, because HubSpot, for example, there will be, and again, it’s a fantastic system, I don’t want to sound like I’m discounting the system.
When you go in and work with the system, you will jump through the pricing up to the hundreds of dollars for a license, and I think that when you have hundreds of dollars per license per month, and you have 60, 70 employees or even 30 employees, you’re talking about huge amounts, it’s very expensive. Also, the development is very expensive. Salesforce is the same. So, for me, HubSpot and Salesforce is not, really, a competitor to Zoho.
HubSpot and Salesforce will be for the big boys, for the hundreds of employees, huge companies, not, really, for small businesses, and my audiences will be small businesses. I am passionate about helping small businesses, I never had the passion, even when I worked with, I did projects for Johnson and Johnson, JVC, Siemens, that was just for getting some money, right? It was a job. There is no passion in helping a corporation that’s doing billions. The passion is to help small companies that need help.
Jonathan Denwood: So, you say small companies would, I’m just taking this out of the air, would you say that Zoho, from one entrepreneur up to, maybe, 250, 500 employees, that Zoho could be a good option?
Lior Izik: Hundreds. I think in the hundreds of users, the company can be, let’s say Tata, it’s hundreds of thousands of employees, but not all of the company is using Zoho. So, you will have, let’s say, a subset of people that will use the system. As long as it’s in the hundreds, it’s perfectly fine, it’s great, and it’s not about the database side, it’s about the functionality. Enterprise companies will work in a different way, and again, it’s my personal feedback. It’s not Zoho’s point of view as a company.
Zoho, of course, want to grow into the enterprise, but, personally, I don’t think that they have yet the right tools to go enterprise and, for me anyway, as a company, there is no interest to go enterprise. So, it is fantastic.
Jonathan Denwood: So, I’m going to go for our middle break, and then I have a follow-up question related to what I’ve just put to you, but we’re going to go for our mid-break. It’s been a fantastic discussion. I have a couple of more adverts from our major sponsors. I’ll be back in a few moments.
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Jonathan Denwood: We’re coming back. I’d like to point out, I have a great resource page, all of the best plugins, special offers from the sponsors, plus SaaS-based apps, whcih if you bootstrap startup, all of these resources are on the WP-Tonic website; you get them by going to wp-tonic/resources. Plus, you can sign up for the weekly WP-Tonic newsletter, where we have the latest WordPress and SaaS stories, I do an editorial. Links to special offers, just a ton of value. As I said, you can get all of this by going over to wp-tonic/resources.
So, quick follow-through question. So, what do you see as, if you do think, do you get quite a few people that have WordPress as their front-end website, but then they are looking to utilize Zoho as their lead CRM and everything else at Zoho, do you have a few of those type of people?
Lior Izik: Yeah, that’s very common, actually. The most common will be to have some, kind of, funnel and it’s a basic funnel using contact seven and other plugins. You can.
Jonathan Denwood: Don’t mention them.
Lior Izik: Okay. So, using plugins or, maybe, a snippet of HTML that’s coming from Zoho, which you install it on the website and you can customize the CSS to look beautiful on the website. And that will be the majority of the cases, just to push information and data, it leads into the CRM. That will be the bare minimum, and we see it all of the time. We created some more revisions, because I used to, as part of my companies, I used to have, also, a marketing company in the past.
Marketing companies will work from budget and how many leads I am pushing your way or what is the traffic, but it’s all bullshit. Money going out of my bank account cannot translate to numbers that are not converted to money. As a business owner, I deposit money in the bank account and I withdraw money from the bank account. Leads are not a monetary value that I can appreciate. And in Zoho, we’re able to understand, let’s say that you have a $10,000 AdWords campaign. The AdWords campaign will push into our phone calls or landing page.
This traffic will go back as a phone call or as a form from the landing page to CRM, and I can track the amount of the campaign, how many leads came in, how many deals in the pipelines, and how many deals I closed. So, bottom line, whenever the campaign is running or ending, I can tell you exactly on the cent, how much money was the income from a specific campaign.
So, there is no more, all the fluff of leads and traffic and SEO and ranking, it’s all crap. And this is how marketing companies make money, right? Because they can’t sell results. No, they will say that they cannot control if the business is closing the business or not, which is crap. It’s not true. The business is a business because it’s closing deals.
Jonathan Denwood: Yeah. I see where you’re coming from, that was a, kind of, very powerful statement, but it was an interesting one. So, I think one of the things that attract some of my medium-sized clients, I’m talking to one now, is the using ZohoCRM with some of the other products that Zoho provides, like IQ, is it IQ analytics,
Lior Izik: SalesIQ, you mean?
Jonathan Denwood: SalesIQ. Some of the other.
Lior Izak: Depends, there are many.
Jonathan Denwood: Yeah. And also Books. You have Books that is the financial side. They are looking to get reporting data and also managing their subscriptions, I know Zoho has a subscription product as well.
Lior Izak: That’s right.
Jonathan Denwood: One of the things, I call it, they have modulated, I call it modularization, I’m not sure there’s, actually, a word modularization. But you have these modules, you have a subscription, you have ZohoCRM, they have a lot of them, which is great, in a way, but it does cause a bit of confusion. Would you agree with that and how do you get over having all of these, I call them Lego bits, these modules? How do you explain it coherently to clients?
Lior Izik: Yes. So, this is one of the common issues that clients will face. Because, usually, clients will start with Zoho with a single product, they will see now that Zoho have many products, they can talk to each other and they say, Okay, let’s do that. But there are over 55 applications with Zoho One. And this is where a Zoho partner will be very handy, and it’s not even something that’s supposed to cost you money. So, if you meet, for example, with any Zoho partner for a sales call, and you will give them your business needs, the Zoho partner can tell you which applications you’re supposed to use. So, if you look, for example, at tasks.
So, tasks will be a basic thing for a business. But in Zoho, you’re connecting Zoho CRM, you can have tasks, you’re connecting Zoho Connect. You’re connecting Zoho Projects or, maybe, Zoho Desk or, maybe, in Zoho One. So, you have multiple ways that you can have tasks, but each one of those solutions will be a good fit for a different type of business.
Jonathan Denwood: Right.
Lior Izik: And a Zoho partner will be very handy in those situations. In general, I recommend anyone with a Zoho account, and again, I’m not trying to sell myself, there are lots of great partners out there. Connect with a partner, be connected to a partner and.
Jonathan Denwood: I don’t blame you for selling yourself, that’s the whole point coming on the podcast, isn’t it?
Lior Izik: We have enough business, we’re not craving for business, we’re good. I’m just saying, being with a Zoho partner, it needs to be a must.
Jonathan Denwood: Right. So, I think you made a, I didn’t realize they had over 50, I knew it was extensive. Now, I looked at Zoho a bit, about almost three, four years ago. I did a bit of a dive. I was, really, interested in it and I played around with it and utilized it on some of my own web properties. And I found some of the, let’s call them applications; I think that’d be the right term, all of the different applications that Zoho offers. I found a few of them were interesting, but they didn’t, actually, work as advertised.
Lior Izak: Yeah.
Jonathan Denwood: I get the impression, because I’ve been playing around with it a bit, again, recently on some of my own web properties. And I think the situation is a lot better, they seem to have improved the standard of their library of applications. Am I correct about that or would you agree with that statement, that a couple of years ago some of their apps were a bit buggy, would that be the right term?
Lior Izik: Yeah. I a hundred percent agree with you. Also now, there are some applications that would not be perfect. What I think Zoho did in the last few years, instead of running and create more and more applications all of the time, they just paused a little bit and started to work on the existing applications. Most of the applications in Zoho One will be decent, so they’re okay. Some of them will be phenomenal like ZohoCRM or Zoho Books and Zoho Campaigns and Zoho Desk and Zoho Sheet, like you, you have about 15 applications. Amazing applications, very, very good.
The majority will be okay, so they’re not amazing, but they’re okay. And there will be some that are corrupt. I wouldn’t use them. For example, let’s say Zoho Meeting. Zoho Meeting will be a product that I will use for internal meetings, but I will not have client interview there because it’s clunky, there are some little bit of crickets in the background sometime. It’s not great; I don’t sell myself as a mediocre company that will have mediocre meetings. So, I’m using Zoho. My website is WordPress, not Zoho Sites.
Jonathan Denwood: Yeah.
Lior Izak: So, there will be some applications that are not great.
Jonathan Denwood: Well, I just see it, because, obviously, with any web-based SaaS application, you get more stability and you get a platform. But if you link it to WordPress, you can also, WordPress has moved on with its own marketing optimization offerings. There’s a balance, but there are, definitely, some things that I wouldn’t do on WordPress, which is one of the things I, definitely, wouldn’t do on WordPress is have a CRM. But CRM has become such a generalistic term, hasn’t it?
Because I know a few people that utilize Active Campaign. And they utilize it as their hub of their business, they utilize it as a, kind of, quasi CRM and I don’t see Active Campaign as that; I see it as a very effective marketing automatization email, stroke sending platform, but it’s not, really, a true sales oriented CRM.
Lior Izak: Right, right. Absolutely.
Jonathan Denwood: I just don’t see it as that. But if you’re looking at HubSpot or Salesforce, they’re great, but I, totally, agree with you, they’re at such a price point and you need either a very effective IT department or you’re going to have to pay for a lot of outside consultation, this is why, I think Zoho, has such a strong place. So, that’s enough of me. One of the areas that I was going to ask you that I, personally, find confusing around Zoho is Zoho One, is the pricing structure.
One of the strengths of Zoho is they’re quite generous, normally, on their free plans, and they’re not, normally totally, crippled, they, normally, offer good functionality in my experience. But then you can buy paid versions of each separate product or you can buy Zoho One. How do you advise clients when they should look at just buying paid versions of each Zoho app or when they should look at Zoho One? Or do you advise that they should always look at Zoho One, really?
Lior Izik: So, it’s depending on the usage. So, for example, let’s say that the company will have Slack. 200 employees companies, they will have Slack for all of the users. If you will have Zoho One, as part of Zoho One, you have Zoho Click, which Zoho Click is like Slack. So, you replace it if the company will have.
Jonathan Denwood: Well, is Zoho Click on your 15 great?
Lior Izak: Oh, it’s fantastic.
Jonathan Denwood: All right.
Lior Izik: Fantastic. I will give you an example from the marketing side. Let’s say that you have a lead come in. The conventional way will be that you will send an email to the lead owner to notify him that a lead came in and call the client. But if you Zoho Click, it can be an application on your mobile device, and when a lead comes in, it can click, basically, and tell you there is a new lead, you click on it and it goes to the record and you can talk to the person.
So, the wait-time of the lead will be seconds versus minutes or hours, depending on how often you check your email. It also comes to your desktop. We have, for example, a SMS extension. And when SMS is coming in, it also integrates into Click. So, Click is going, basically, from just a notification tool between teams, it’s, now, also a notification tool for the system. When you have a due date for a task and so.
Jonathan Denwood: I’m just interrupting because, I think this is one of the things that’s causing a bit of confusion about, because when you want a chatbot on your website, I’m using Drift at the present moment. I use the free version and I’ve been using it for a while and it works. The paid versions are, extremely, expensive, so I’ll just use the free version. But I was looking at Zoho, but the chatbot is in SalesIQ, isn’t it?
Lior Izik: That’s right. It’s SalesIQ.
Jonathan Denwood: It’s a bit confusing where you’re going to find the actual functionality that you’re, really, looking for, isn’t it? Would you agree with that?
Lior Izik: That’s the Zoho partner place. A Zoho partner is supposed to help you with that. Because there is just too much knowledge, it’s impossible for an individual that is not in the Zoho world to know which application, and also inside each application, which module is supposed to help you with a business request.
Jonathan Denwood: Yeah. So, I see where you’re coming from. So, I went off. It’s my fault, I apologize. So, back to the original question, because I, kind of, put that in as you were trying to explain my first question, I apologize. So, do you, normally, say to people, Well, if you’re, really, serious about that, you should, really, look at Zoho One? Or are there times where you say you’re only looking at one or two of these apps, you’re better off just buying individually?
Lior Izik: There are two main problems with clients and Zoho. Most of them or will go to Zoho Creator, which Zoho Creator is a custom system that can build you, basically, anything that you like. And they’re going this direction because they don’t know that their business request can be solved by an existing application, and that’s, probably, 50% of the time. Another one will be that people buy Zoho One always. And that’s always not supposed to be the case. Just as an example. Yesterday, the client, 55 employees, and all he needs is four people to work on the CRM for sales, he rest of the company just need an email address.
So, instead of buying Zoho One for 55 licenses of $37 a month each, I solve this problem with four licenses of $45 for CRM and one buck per user for email, right? So, it’s more about the business needs, not everybody’s supposed to go to Zoho One and not everybody’s supposed to go to individual applications. It’s about the business needs and always in the future, also in the future, you can make some changes and make it work in a different way, you can jump from Zoho One to individuals and so on.
Jonathan Denwood: Right. That was great. I think we’re going to wrap up the podcast part of the show. Lior’s agreed to stay on for some extra content, which we call bonus content; you can watch the whole interview, plus the bonus on the WP-Tonic YouTube channel. I have a load of content on there for the WordPress entrepreneurs,iIf you’re looking to start a membership site, there’s a load of material on there. Please go to the WP-Tonic YouTube channel to watch the rest of the interview and do subscribe to it because it, really, encourages me to produce more great interviews like this.
I’ve, really, enjoyed the interview so far, I could talk to Lior for hours. I know that’s made you white, hasn’t it, Lior? Having to talk to me for, bloody, hours. So, Lior, what’s the best way to find out more about you, more about your company and more about Zoho?
Lior Izik: So, as for a company, we have, of course, a website, amazingbusinessresults.com. We have a YouTube channel with hundreds and hundreds of videos.
Jonathan Denwood: It’s excellent
Lior Izik: To the point, no bullshit, we help business owners, we’re not showing a little bit and then we shy-off, we give everything. We have also an academy, liorisaac.com. And we have there about nine courses, well-priced, it’s a few hundred dollars, 100, $200 for a course. We try to make it as less expensive as possible. Of course, we have production costs, right? But we try to make it inexpensive. We have Q&A sessions, we’re helping business owners.
We’re going to have, in 2023, we’re starting to give a different type of support, usually, Zoho and companies will provide support over email, over phone call, but we don’t think that it works on the Zoho world. So, we’re going to have daily sessions, where we’re going to help business owners live every day. So, it’s a different type of operation, basically.
Jonathan Denwood: Yes. Sounds fantastic. In the bonus content, I’ll be asking more questions about Zoho One and their pricing structure, which I find confusing. Hopefully, Lior will be able to quantify this. I’m also going to be discussing with him how I see how he’s used what I call educational marketing to grow his company. I’m a great believer and I have the same philosophy as him, I fee. I want to see if he agrees with that and a load of other quick questions.
Please join us on the WP-Tonic YouTube channel to see the rest of the interview. And we’ll be back next week, I have some fabulous guests, I’m fully booked out until the new year. And I just have some, really, interesting people; I’m, really, looking forward to the interviews. We’ll see you next week, folks. Bye.
Outro: Hey, thanks for listening, we, really, do appreciate it. Why not visit the Mastermind Facebook group and also to keep up with the latest news, click wp-tonic.com/newsletter. We’ll see you next time.
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