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Can you sync Zoho Marketing Automation and Zoho Campaigns with Zoho CRM simultaneously?

November 22, 2020
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Can you sync Zoho Marketing Automation and Zoho Campaigns with Zoho CRM simultaneously?

QuakeCinch provisioned our new Zoho One accounts in December 2019. We were so excited to start using Zoho Campaigns to replace our pricey previous email service provider. You really cannot beat the Zoho Campaigns price point if you’re a small business!

Our idea was to start with Zoho Campaigns for our CRM contacts and use Zoho Marketing Automation for our leads. The Zoho Marketing Automation is an awesome product with plenty of capabilities and features. We will not go into those in this article, but it is worth your research, especially if your only using Zoho Campaigns.

Like I said, our plan was to synchronize Zoho CRM contacts with Zoho Campaigns. We clicked on ‘sync services’ and there it was, the ‘immediate sync‘ easy integration setup button. We setup a basic sync, basically red-rover red-rover, send all the contacts over! Things worked perfectly!

After establishing email SPFDKIM and a DMARC policy to ensure email deliverability and setting up some custom text fields and custom merge tags (we wanted to use custom tags to leverage the dynamic content email capabilities). No matter how basic or advanced your configuration was, you probably spent a few hours clicking and configuring all the Zoho Campaign settings and using time to read the Zoho community threads and technical documentation. OK, Zoho CRM contacts syncing to Zoho Campaigns, check!

Now it was time to implement Zoho Marketing Automation for our Zoho CRM leads. We have worked with the Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC) platform for years so we are familiar with automated marketing platforms and all the advanced capabilities and integrations. The SFMC is way too expensive for small businesses and makes it not a viable marketing automation option. Nonprofit organizations get it super cheap which has afforded us the opportunity to work with the product (Love me some Einstein Marketing Artificial Intelligence). Read the fine print and you’ll see SFMC basic does not include Journey Builder. What is a marketing platform without automated journeys pushing and pulling data to and from external systems, taking actions based on user activities and behaviors. Its still actually impressive… Now take Zoho Marketing Automation. Not only is it included in Zoho One, its has email journey builders, it has lead nurturing, it can identify hot leads based on lead scoring and lead grading (Like the Salesforce Pardot product), it can put lead/contact website behaviors on the CRM record for you to see how they are using your services before reaching out to them. Or setup a bunch of automation with if/else/else if commands. The point I am trying to illustrate is Zoho Marketing Automation has tons of capabilities that make it a viable option to small businesses who cannot afford Salesforce Marketing Cloud. MailChimpConstant Contact, all those lower end email platforms can’t hold a candle when it comes to Zoho Marketing Automation’s capabilities. Now onto setting up the sync between Zoho CRM and Zoho Marketing Automation.

We were pleasantly surprise how easy it was to configure Zoho Marketing Automation. The basic settings were very similar to setting up Zoho Campaigns. It was time to setup the connector. Yay! We took the time to build out our customer personas, customer buyer stages, lead qualification criteria, lead stage transitions, lead scoring matrix and were anxious to experiment with the advanced workflows and email journey builder! We setup the sync, ‘sync services‘, ‘immediate sync’ and BOOM! An error! “Organization is already integrated”. Wait, what?!

Zoho Marketing Automation Organization is already integrated error message (1)

We have done this so many times successfully. Lets search the message boards and, if necessary, contact support. It was brought to our attention by support that “You cannot synchronize both Zoho Campaigns and Zoho Marketing Automation with Zoho CRM“. Um what? Why not? That is the way the cookie crumbles, in so many words. They never told me why not. The Zoho Support has been awesome, really, but after getting answers that were not satisfactory, we were escalated to the next support tier. We got our answer but it is not what we wanted to hear, and I am sad to say it will not be what you want to hear…

It seems there are two types of Zoho One account types for Zoho Marketing Automation. A ‘shared account’ option and a ‘standalone account’. I do not know the transition date, but in short, any new Zoho One accounts created at least today or after will not have the option to sync both Zoho Campaigns and Zoho Marketing Automation with Zoho CRM. Got that? I have a customer that transitioned in June 2019, they can hum along syncing Zoho contacts and leads to their marketing platform of choice. With our account provisioned in December 2019, we have the standalone account type and are not eligible to sync both services with the same. Why did Zoho adopt this model? My guess, its all about the Benjamins, baby!

Needless to say, we were really bummed to learn of this. We looked at options such as creating Zoho Flows to sync new/updated contacts/leads from CRM to Zoho Marketing Automation but discovered given the number of marketing lists we had, the contact/lead count we had, it would push the limitations of the Zoho workflow monthly allowance to its overage point. Another thing to note is if you add a subscriber to a list via the API, Zoho Marketing Automation will send that new subscriber a opt in email they will receive and need to ‘accept’ the subscription. If the API was used from a form submission, its not customer friendly for the form submitter to submit a form and then get multiple emails asking if they ‘accept’ to be subscribed.

I thought only being able to have a web site visitor put contact info into one single form and subscribe to one email marketing list per web form via signup forms was a deal breaker. While that is the native limitation, we have discovered a work around and will be doing a blog post on that shortly.

Hopefully this blog will save someone many hours of research and testing

Till next time, my friends!