Leveraging SMS with Zoho

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Leveraging SMS with Zoho 

Business to consumer SMS communication is growing rapidly and more businesses are exploring communication with their prospects and customers via integrated SMS functionality using Zoho CRM.

90% of SMS messages are read within 90 seconds of being received, with a stat like that it’s not surprising that SMS is becoming the preferred method of communication for businesses to effectively communicate with their customers and contacts.

In this article we are going to explore the best ways to leverage SMS within Zoho CRM and we’ll provide you with some details that cover:

  • Why and When to use SMS
  • Important considerations when using SMS
  • Using SMS within Zoho CRM

Why and When to Use SMS

SMS has become a key channel for reaching and engaging with customers. This requires businesses to transform their customer experience to leverage the power of SMS in the right areas. So what can you do with SMS in your CRM?

Contacting new online leads

The longer you wait to connect with a new enquiry, the higher the chances that they will have second thoughts or get distracted and not want to move forward. Using SMS to engage with a new enquiry shortly after their enquiry submission. This allows for immediate contact letting them know that you will be in touch shortly or if they would like to schedule further discussion with you.

 

Meeting confirmations and reminders

SMS can be a great way to confirm a meeting with a client, especially with mobile operating systems now able to detect events and allow the user to add that meeting to their calendar directly from the Messages Application. It also is a great way to decrease the number of last minute meeting cancellations by sending an SMS reminders to your contacts that they have an upcoming meeting with you 1 or 2 days in advance and asking them to Confirm or Reschedule.

 

Deal / Application progression and follow up

Some businesses might track applications within the CRM. By using SMS automations you can keep the customer up to date with their applications progress or remind them that you are waiting for input from them for their application to progress.

Collecting payments

Using SMS to prompt and remind customers that they have an invoice due is a great way to increase cash flow, reduce overdue invoices and the tedious task of chasing up customers for payment.

 

SMS Considerations

If you you have found a use case for SMS within your business there are a few considerations to review before you get started.

SMS Provider

There are hundreds of SMS providers out there and it can often be overwhelming trying to choose the right provider. The best strategy is to break down your specific requirements and match them to that of the provider.

Here are some things to consider:

  • CRM & Campaign Software Integration
  • API Gateway
  • Dedicated Mobile Number
  • Online portal for account management, tracking and reporting
  • Bulk SMS requirement
  • 2-Way SMS Communication
  • Reliability and Support

Ardento has recently partnered with MessageMedia. Which is the number 1 provider of SMS in Australia, they also have a new, tightly integrated SMS Extension for Zoho CRM which we will cover in a later section.

Mobile number formatting within the CRM

When using SMS within your CRM you need to consider the way you format mobile numbers, although some SMS providers can handle a variety of different formats it’s important to format them all the same to ensure the best results. For example, if you have mobile numbers with spaces in between, when attempting to send a message to that contact the SMS provider may not strip out spaces and this may cause a SMS delivery failure.

How are you going to use SMS

When looking at SMS it’s important to know the extent of how you want to incorporate it into your business as it can vary depending on the type of business you are operating:

  • Are your SMS messages going to be automated? This means they are based on an CRM event trigger such as 24 Hours before a scheduled meeting or on creation of a Lead.
  • Do you need to send Bulk SMS? For bulk customer notifications or for SMS Marketing.
  • Do you require the ability to send ad-hoc SMS? These are messages where there is no automation.

Legalities

When sending SMS it is important to understand the laws around spam in your relevant country. In Australia there are rules around messaging people where the message is commercial in nature, which means it contains an offer, advertisement or promotion.

If your message is commercial in nature you must have the contacts permission to send the message, include your contact details in the message and have a way for them to unsubscribe or STOP receiving messages.

Messages that are not commercial in nature such as an appointment reminder or a service/application update are not classified as spam.

Full details of these rules can be found on the Australian Communications and Media Authority website.

CRM Extensions

Some SMS providers create their own SMS Extensions within Zoho CRM to allow for a better SMS experience that’s native to their application. Some SMS providers require a 3rd Party Connector built by an external company, this can become an issue when something goes wrong with the extension, it’s not updated frequently or it becomes unsupported.

MessageMedia has a tightly integrated Zoho CRM Extension called Smooth Messenger.

Using SMS within Zoho CRM

So how do you use SMS within Zoho CRM? It’s surprisingly easy once you have set up your account with MessageMedia.

If you don’t already have a MessageMedia account get in touch with us and we our team can help get you setup.

The next step is to install the Smooth Messenger Zoho CRM Extension and follow the tutorial to setup and connect to your MessageMedia account.

Send a once off ad-hoc SMS to a lead or contact?

Simply navigate to the lead or contact record inside your CRM and click Send Smooth Message and complete the popup. You can choose to send now or schedule it to be sent later.

How do I automate an SMS?

Create a new workflow rule and choose the trigger and conditions. In this example we are triggering on lead creation when the mobile number is not empty.

Using the Create Record action and choose the Smooth Messages Module.

Just make sure you link either the Lead Name or Contact Name fields back to the record that is triggering the workflow with the ${Current Record}. In this case it’s Lead Name as we are creating the workflow off the leads module.

Complete your message, use # key to pull in merge fields from the record in question. Our Example is using First Name. But if you were triggering off the meetings module you might want to use From Date/Time to let someone know their appointment start date and time.

Once all this has been completed you can save the action and the workflow.

2-Way SMS Feature

All messages sent and received to the lead or contact will be visible here in the Smooth Messenger Related List. You can also communicate in real time with them through this related list app.

Bulk SMS with Zoho CRM

Inside the leads or contacts module select all contacts you would like to send a message to and click Send Bulk Smooth SMS Button and complete the popup. You can choose to send now or schedule it to be sent later, just remember to follow the spam rules.

Bulk SMS with Zoho Campaigns

Another way to send bulk SMS is to leverage the marketing automation tool Zoho Campaigns.

First Step is to connect your MessageMedia Account to your Zoho Campaigns system.

Create a new SMS campaign

Select the Recipient List and their Mobile Number Field. Complete your SMS Message and send. Remember that you need to include an Opt-Out if it’s commercial in nature so the recipient can unsubscribe.

We hope you found this article useful. As always please get in touch if you have any questions or would like to start working with SMS in your Zoho platform.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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