I was just about 10 feet behind them as we headed toward the meet and…
Zoho Communities and Zoho Meetups are a great way to get some experience with Zoho software before making a purchase. Attending a Zoho Meetup will also bring you into the Zoho Community of users and experts who are just as excited about the software as you are.
If you’ve been considering using Zoho One or any Zoho Software, you need to know that there is a wonderful support community available right in your back yard. Attend a Zoho Meetup in your local city and become a part of the Zoho Community!
I first heard about Zoho Communities and Zoho Meetups on a webinar. Then, I heard more about it when I attended ZohoDay 2020. Since I’m a new user of Zoho, I decided to experience it for myself and now I’m going to tell you all about it.
What is the Zoho Community?
Zoho Communities are a powerful force inside of the Zoho organization. There are online user groups where you can ask and answer questions, engage, help and be helped by more than 100,000 Zoho users and experts. More importantly, the executive and development teams at Zoho takes these conversations extremely seriously.
In other words, if you want a feature or have an issue, the way to get it solved is to be an active participant in the Zoho Community.
As part of the Zoho Community, there are local Zoho Meetups all across the country and the world. There are also webinars and trainings and dozens of other helpful ways to familiarize yourself with the Zoho platform.
You can find your local Zoho Meetup and Zoho Community two ways:
- Click over to Zoho.com and then at the very bottom of the website footer, you’ll see Zoho Communities
2. You can also find Zoho Communities at its own domain Community.Zoho.com
Next, you click on that last block that says “Join a ZUG” near you. ZUG stands for Zoho User Group.
You’ll be directed to a page where you can see Zoho User Groups from all over the world. All you have to do is search for your time zone or city and you’re bound to find something within at least a two hour drive.
This is exactly how I found the local Zoho Meetup in Cleveland. I clicked on the “Cleveland Zoho User Group” block and registered for the upcoming event.
What to expect at a Zoho Meetup
I honesty wasn’t sure what to expect at this Zoho meetup. Would it be a bunch of people at round tables talking? They said the topic was Zoho CRM and Zoho Campaigns, and I was ALL about those two. But who knew.
There will be a presentation
As soon as I found the room, I could see that there would, indeed be a presentation. A screen was set up and there was a local guy (who I later learned was a Zoho Partner — that means expert in Zoho) who would do at least an hour presentation on Zoho CRM.
At our session the two main topics were Zoho CRM, which is the cornerstone application for any first time Zoho user. Believe me when I tell you, this is where you want to start your Zoho journey.
The second part of the session was all about Zoho Campaigns, which is the typically, your next step in moving your business into the Zoho environment.
You’ll meet Zoho people from Corporate Headquarters in India
I didn’t get very far before I was greeted by three super friendly guys who are actually part of the @ZohoCommunity team at Zoho Corporate.
These folks facilitate all of the hundreds of Zoho Meetups all over the world. They literally hit the road, like a rock band and manage these meetup sessions.
As they introduced themselves at the beginning of the meeting they asked if any of us knew how many people worked at Zoho. One person said 3,000. In fact, that number is 9,000!nI’m telling you this because I’ve met dozens, maybe more than a hundred Zoho employees over the last year and I was wondering if it was possible for there to be 9,000 friendly, nice, and super helpful people all working for one company.
If you think your business or industry is lacking nice people, that’s because Zoho has them all.
There will be food
Just wanted you to know, that Zoho was, indeed true to their word — and they WOULD rather feed people than bots.
You’ll meet a bunch of folks who are just like you at a Zoho Meetup
Our Zoho Meetup in Cleveland was packed with Zoho users and Zoho partners from the Great Lakes region. Most of our community is made up of manufacturers and medium to large organizations who had enterprise licenses. I’d say these folks were fairly technical or sales and marketing folks who wanted to learn more about Zoho CRM and Zoho Campaigns.
Should you bring a computer?
YES! My recommendation is that you absolutely bring your computer and have your Zoho or Zoho One at the ready.
The presentations will involve plenty of demonstrations and you absolutely want to follow along.
How to prepare for a Zoho Meetup
Here are my recommendations for preparing for a local Zoho Meetup.
Check the Agenda
When you sign up for your local meetup, you’ll see what topics and Zoho applications will be covered. Here is a snapshot of our agenda.
Take a close look at the agenda and start brainstorming as many questions as you can that relate to the topic they are going to discuss. This is something I wish I had done.
Bring Business Cards
Our meetup had a Zoho Partner who was a “host” or sponsor and did the first part of the presentation. They had a raffle and asked that folks drop their business cards.
Zoho Meetups are also a terrific networking opportunity! So, you’ll want to bring your business cards to give to folks with whom you’ll want to connect.
Unless you’re already a Zoho expert or Zoho partner, don’t expect to make any sales. Instead, work to connect with other users to share best practices.
Zoho Meetups will give you insights about how the system is structured and how to think about the system
Sure, you can absolutely watch videos and webinars. I’ve done that. And I think it’s really important to do a lot of that before you go to a meetup. I found that a lot of the attendees had been with Zoho for at least a year and had a decent grasp of how it worked.
But then there are these subtle concepts that you really won’t get on your own, that you’ll pick up from the Zoho Community team or from the partners who are presenting. Here are just a few.
- CRM is the center of the Zoho One platform. It can do a little bit of everything. The apps are there to enhance any of the core functions.
- Instead of using all the apps and trying to use all of the features and functions of CRM, focus on just the data you need. You can always expand and grow.
- Don’t overwhelm your team with too much stuff, they won’t implement. Be sure to know and explain where and how the data is used and how the collection of certain data will help your team be successful.
Why I’m a Zoho Fan — And it’s not just about the tech or the price
I’ve known about Zoho for at least 15 years. But I’ve really gotten to know them so much better since I started with the Zoho One platform and began attending ZohoDay and Zoholics over the last year.
You know how some people will only invest in companies whose values resonate with their own? This is now a philosophy that I’ve noticed has taken hold with me.
I want to purchase from and work with companies whose values resonate with my own, whose founders care about and respect small business owners and don’t just look at small business as an income stream.
Zoho does this consistently. The technology is affordable, it will do the job for 95% of small business owners. The technology offers a level of security and privacy you won’t get anywhere else. And the people are wonderful.
Yes, there can be challenges with figuring out how to do something.
Yes, the tech support isn’t always as convenient or as perfect as you might be used to.
But, in my opinion, these are little things when it compares to putting my money and my effort behind a vision I believe in.
If you haven’t checked out a Zoho Meetup or participated in any Zoho Communities, give it a shot and decide for yourself.