Bigin by Zoho CRM, also known as Bigin, is an application that is designed to meet the requirements of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that are looking for an alternative to the spreadsheet-based customer relationship management (CRM) solutions that are used by larger organizations. The end result is a platform that has been thoughtfully designed and provides all the small business CRM functionality you will most likely require.
The method of construction utilized by Zoho for Bigin is diametrically opposed to that of our other Editors’ Choice award winner in this sphere, which is designated as Salesforce Essentials. Here, Salesforce has essentially condensed its enterprise offering into something that customers can buy once and then expand by simply paying more to enable new features. Customers have this option. Bigin was developed by Zoho as its own platform from the ground up as a result of the company’s reluctance to part with the features that helped it win the Editors’ Choice award for its mainstream CRM product, Zoho CRM. Instead, it earns an Editors’ Choice rating for small business CRM by making some of the more lauded functionality available within a framework that is easily accessible to even the smallest businesses. This is one of the reasons why it was chosen.
Bigin is a customer relationship management (CRM) application that is especially made for mobile devices, making it ideal for mobile small enterprises. Cutting-edge CRM capabilities, such integrated telephony functionality and extensive chances for integration, are offered with a flexible pricing structure. The software also gives customers the option to personalize their dashboards and provides quick access to pertinent contextual data. But certain mobile integrations are only supported by iOS devices, and traditional CRM users might initially find the user interface to be impenetrable.
The company wanted to put more of its attention on serving its smaller customers because it was aware that the comprehensive feature set offered by Zoho CRM might not cater to the requirements of small businesses, particularly those that are just getting started with their sales journey. Instead of offering a scaled-down version of its core CRM platform, as many of Zoho’s competitors do, the company made the decision to build from the ground up a brand-new solution that is geared specifically toward small and midsize businesses (SMBs). The end goal is to develop a product that caters specifically to small businesses and is mobile-native, which means that it is designed from the ground up to function smoothly on mobile devices like tablets and smartphones.
In addition to this, Zoho focused on integrations with Bigin, the most important of which were with Microsoft Office 365 and Google G-Suite. Because of these features, Bigin has tightly integrated email and scheduling, which means that you no longer need to leave Bigin in order to track down an email trail or schedule your subsequent calls. Even though neither of these features is required for customers who don’t want to use them, Bigin does provide access to some Zoho CRM-level tools, such as automation by way of a configurable workflow system and even a convenient telephony integration option.
On the mobile side, Bigin offers some of the tightest integration with Apple’s iOS that we’ve seen on any CRM solution so far. Bigin is the market leader in mobile CRM solutions. Bigin makes a concerted effort to integrate smoothly with the very latest features of Apple’s mobile platform because it is aware that a significant number of the company’s small business clients use iPads and iPhones. This includes specialized widgets and notifications for mobile devices like tablets and phones, notifications on the Apple Watch, and even the capability of scribbling responses on an iPad using an Apple Pencil.
Bigin is the most cost-effective customer relationship management software that we’ve evaluated, and its annual plan begins at just $7 per user per month, making it one of the most competitive options available. Consider the fact that the base price for Apptivo is $8 per user per month, whereas the base price for Freshsales’ Blossom plan is $12 per user per month, and the base price for Pipedrive CRM, which is geared toward small businesses, is $12.50 per user per month. Bigin also provides a free tier; however, this tier is only for single users and is restricted to a maximum of 500 records, a single pipeline, three workflows, and one web form; however, it does include access to telephony as well as the Android and iOS mobile apps.
The $7 tier includes integrated telephony, 50,000 records, and 25 workflows as standard features. 5 web forms, email that is based on the IMAP protocol, multiple pipelines, mass email and insights reporting, fully customizable dashboards, and free phone support are just some of the features offered by this platform. Many of these features are not offered by even the most expensive competitors. Zoho did extensive research on what its competitors offered for prices that were comparable to its own, and the company’s goal was to provide a greater number of features at a lower cost. That means the only question prospective customers need to answer is whether or not the feature set is sufficient to run their company.
It is inevitable that comparisons will be made to the Zoho CRM plan with the lowest price point, so here are the key differences. When purchased on an annual basis, Zoho CRM begins at $12 USD per user per month. It offers email synchronization through IMAP and POP. Zoho CRM provides access to SalesSignals in addition to a wider variety of custom field limits than Bigin does. Bigin does not offer these features.
Setting up Bigin is extremely easy and resembles the process of installing many of Zoho’s web-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions. You just need to enter your username and password, and you will be taken to Bigin’s user interface, which is well-organized and appealing. In addition to a sizable knowledgebase, which will get you started, there are also how-to videos that can be used as a setup walkthrough. The task given to Zoho was to design a customer relationship management system (CRM) that could be installed and activated in fewer than thirty minutes. We were up and running in less than fifteen minutes, but the contact list we used for testing consisted of fewer than fifty people. It will take more time for lists that are larger or those whose fields may need to be adjusted or reformatted.
The primary components of Bigin’s navigation can be found along the left-hand side of the screen. These components include Deals, Contacts, Companies, Products, Activities, and Dashboards. Bigin does an excellent job of compartmentalizing all the various aspects of interacting with the CRM through these six sections, which are really all that the vast majority of small businesses require from a CRM system. We had no trouble understanding Bigin’s user interface, and we were pleasantly surprised to find that its controls are very intuitive.
Bigin stands up well against the more recent competitors in the SMB CRM space, such as Zendesk Sell, which offers a user interface that is equally pleasing to the eye. It prioritizes the Dashboard, Leads, Contacts, Deals, Calendar, Tasks, and Communication while also putting Reports in the spotlight. Bigin also manages to organize a lot of information on screen, but only Insightly CRM has managed to add a wider range of dashboards and visualizations; however, the higher price of Insightly CRM makes it less appealing to smaller businesses. Bigin also manages to organize a lot of information on screen, but only Insightly CRM has managed to add a wider range of dashboards and visualizations.
The very first column contains a search bar that can be used for any kind of query, and then there is a countdown that indicates how many days are left in the 14-day update cycle. In the event that you become disoriented, there are always easily accessible miniature icons for Notifications, Signals, Creating a New Record, Settings, and the User Menu. When you’ve finished setting up your contacts and deals, Zoho will begin sending you emails with information about opportunities currently in your sales pipeline, as well as potential next steps you can take to make a sale.
The Deals section is given prominence and is the first section that fits well with Bigin’s pipeline-focused approach to CRM. This is because the Deals section focuses on closing business. The Deals view provides an up-to-date summary of all of the deals that are currently in the pipeline, along with information regarding their current status and the relevant financial data.
Following that, we have a section called Contacts, in which you can add, manage, and edit your contacts. We were able to import a contact file formatted in Excel.CSV with just a few straightforward steps. After the import was complete, we were given the chance to edit any fields that needed it and to reorganize the data according to our specifications. Because Zoho incorporates a significant amount of contextual information, it is not difficult to comprehend the reasons behind the existence of its various tools and fields. You can see the total number of contacts, contacts with open deals, contacts without deals, and contacts that are untouched at the bottom of the page. This is information that is very helpful to have on hand, and it is something that we have not found in any of the competing CRMs.
Immediately below the Contacts section is the Companies section, which merely provides a list of all the companies currently in the pipeline, along with the company owner, their contact information, and their website. Following that is Products, which is a list of things that are being sold by your group. This section makes it possible to import product lists from spreadsheets or to create a product listing that includes important information, such as the name of the product, its product code, category, unit price, description, and an indication of whether or not the product is active.
Tasks, events, and calls are typically the three most actionable components of a customer relationship management system, and the Activities section of a CRM acts in some ways as a calendar and provides an overview of these three areas. It is very simple to get into the specifics of individual deals that are in the pipeline by using the Activities section. Having access to the contact information, timeline, emails, and any files that correspond with the contact information is very convenient. The Activities section can serve as a basic collaboration and communication space for managers, allowing them to leave notes or tasks for team members to complete.
Businesses that take advantage of telephony integrations have the ability to make sales calls while having all of the relevant information about the contact and the transaction readily available to them. Again, this is an extremely convenient feature, and it is something that many of our larger competitors can only achieve through the integration of third-party services. Built-in telephony has many advantages, one of which is that it eliminates the need to manually update call records because they are automatically added.
Bigin also provides the option of adding a business email, the ability to send bulk emails, and even provides basic email insights to evaluate the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.
The fact that Bigin was conceived of as a mobile-first solution is yet another facet that sets it apart from the majority of the companies that are in its industry. Zoho is currently in the lead with their Bigin product, but we anticipate other vendors will catch up to them in the near future. This indicates that iOS and Android devices will have the same set of features as personal computers. In order to be one of the first vendors to offer compatibility with Apple’s iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur operating systems, Zoho has put in the extra effort necessary to achieve this goal. Bigin has baked in a lot of native functionality for the most recent release versions of Apple’s operating systems in recognition of the fact that small and medium-sized businesses may prefer to use iPads or iPhones as conduits for their business applications.
Widgets are now supported in Apple’s iOS 14, and users can use Bigin to create reminders that appear as post-it notes on their device home screens. The widgets provided by Bigin are able to generate new activities in addition to displaying tasks, events, and calls. In iOS 14, there is a feature called Siri Shortcuts that allows business owners who prefer to use voice assistants to use it to make phone calls, create schedules, tasks, or events, and even take dictation for taking notes.
A feature called Wind Down Shortcut provides a preview of the activities that will take place the following day, and the Pipeline view can be easily viewed and customized on the screen of an iPhone or iPad. Users of the iPad now have the capability of using the Apple Pencil to scribble on any text field and have their handwriting converted into text. This functionality was previously only available to users of the iPhone. Your results may vary, as is the case with the vast majority of handwriting recognition software, depending on how legible your handwriting is and how well the software can decipher what you’ve written.
Even further, Bigin offers an Apple Watch hook, which is a widget that enables shortcuts to be invoked directly from the wearable device itself. This includes making calls, setting a task or event reminder, and scheduling a task all from the Apple Watch. A good number of these are conveniences rather than ground-breaking features; however, they do demonstrate Zoho’s initiative in making Bigin more personal to users, at least for those users who have already invested in Apple’s ecosystem.
Bigin seeks to drive CRM processes from the sales perspective, in contrast to the majority of its competitors who do so from the customer record. After the contacts have been imported, it is simple to link specific deals to individual contacts. You’ll find the option to Create Deals tucked away in the Deals section of the contact information page. Here is where you will input the necessary information, such as the Deal Name, the Name of the Company, and the Stage of the Deal (Qualification, Needs Analysis, and Proposal/Price Quote). Review of the Negotiations, with Results of a Closed Win or Loss You are also able to view or add the description, as well as the closing date and the amount. The ability to quickly access the sales pipeline is convenient for managers who need to quickly reference their CRM tools while they are on calls. This ability can be accessed quickly from the desktop app or from mobile devices.
A business will do well to implement a CRM in order to optimize their sales pipelines. This is a smart approach that will serve the company well provided that they are content to work with a limited number of pipelines. Because most startups and small businesses only have one pipeline, this isn’t a particularly significant problem for them, and that’s exactly where Bigin shines the brightest. Users who are more accustomed to traditional CRM may find it difficult to adjust to this methodology at first, but these users are not really Bigin’s target demographic anyway. Bigin was developed so that it can be used by anyone, regardless of their prior experience with CRM, to immediately begin managing contacts and sales pipelines. The data that is presented in the pipeline view of CRM always has a dynamic feel to it, as opposed to a static one. This is one benefit of using this view. The psychological effect is one of constantly wanting to push towards negotiations and closings.
Workflows are potent automations that can be used to track deal updates, set up email alerts, or notify team members when new tasks are created. These are just some of the many possible applications of workflows. Even for more compact companies, the ability to automate mundane responsibilities can confer a surprising sense of liberation. When a company has outgrown the solutions that Bigin can provide, what happens to the bespoke automations that the company has invested in? The good news is that it is possible to import all of that data into Zoho CRM, which is better suited for businesses that are either in the growth stage or in the mature stage. It’s possible that importing Bigin’s data into other CRM solutions won’t be as simple as it is with Bigin, but it should still be manageable through REST APIs.
Bigin provides users interested in early-stage analytics with a number of different segmentation options that can be used to rearrange data. We were able to create a view that displayed all of our contacts originating from a specific city, or based on potential earnings, or even on the engagement time that was the longest.
Users are only allowed to create a certain number of custom fields, which is a significant drawback. In addition, although Bigin is capable of sending emails, it does not include any email templates, and the process of creating your own templates is surprisingly laborious. In addition to this, we wished there was an option for straightforward lead scoring.
Overall, it appears that Zoho’s intention with Bigin was to provide small businesses that may still be utilizing spreadsheets for their contact list with a full-featured customer relationship management system that is designed to assist them in quickly closing deals. This means that Zoho had to walk a fine line between simplicity and functionality, and overall, we believe that Bigin does a very good job of balancing these two competing needs.
Bigin is an innovative CRM solution that is geared toward small and medium-sized businesses. It should be able to meet the requirements of even the smallest businesses while providing a pipeline-based layout and workflow that is cohesive. Bigin is an Editors’ Choice option for customer relationship management software for small businesses because of its modern and easy-to-use user interface as well as its competitive pricing and straightforward path to integration with the rest of the Zoho ecosystem.