Zoho is a company that has been around the block for a while. In 25 years, many software companies came and went. But Zoho continues to evolve, grow its application portfolio (which includes over 40 apps), and grow its team.
It is normal to wonder what Zoho’s secret recipe for success is. So, without further ado, let’s go behind the scenes. I promise – you’ll find invaluable insight on how to grow your own business as well!
So, What Makes Zoho - Zoho?
First off, Zoho doesn’t hide its recipe. It explains that the core of its business logic lies on four pillars – its customers, its employees, its products, and its company culture.
Zoho and Its Customers
Zoho knows the secret to grow your customer base: Appreciated and valued customers are returning customers. Everyone knows that the total effort of selling more to an existing happy customer is cheaper and less time-consuming than the effort to attract a new customer.
But how does Zoho’s user base grow then? The answer lies in Zoho’s free tools. These are high-quality, ad-free, and more than helpful when it comes to solving users’ problems. And yes, they are really free forever. If users trust your company – they will likely purchase a paid solution from you to solve another troublesome task. On the other hand, if they aren’t happy with your free product – you can expect them to search elsewhere instead.
In short – it is a long-term strategy for building a relationship. It means saying no to:
- Selling customer information to advertisers
- Bombing users with sales pitches, promotions, or offers
- Locking customers into unreasonable contracts with ridiculous fees
By doing this, there is probably a lot of money left on the table. Still, if Zoho is teaching us something, it’s that you can’t put a price tag on customers’ trust.
The same method of playing a long-term game with customers applies to its employees. Typically, companies go through a pile of exceptional resumes to select the perfect candidate for the ideal position.
Zoho, well, doesn’t. Not only does it not require its employees to be the top candidate for the role. It doesn’t require a college degree – 15% of current Zoho employees don’t have one! The employees are also not forcefully molded into a role. Zoho is proud to have product specialists turn into brand evangelists and developers turning into writers.
Education is also a big part of working at Zoho. In 2005, Zoho opened its school, which has grown from six students to 800 at the moment. The pupils of this school get alternative education, focused on turning them into employees with valuable skills, such as software developers, business professionals, or designers. The best of the best, of course, after a year of classroom training, are hired as interns at Zoho itself.
It is this dedication to its employees that brings positive change. At the moment, many original and founding crew members from 1996 are still working there!
Zoho's Product Development
Now, the logic behind Zoho’s product is indisputable and rare in the global market. They always invest more in R&D and support than they do in sales and marketing. You will get a few emails from Zoho when you start trialing any of their apps and someone from the sales team will call you once. It will end there unless you reach out to them. They will never aggressively call you many times or push you to sign a multi-year contract.
Zoho is growing organically, with no investors breathing down the team’s neck for profits. The developers working at Zoho have 25 years of products to further work on and improve. Some of them have been with particular products from the start.
Let’s take Zoho Writer as an example. After all, it was its first cloud product. Interestingly, the same team that stood behind the first iteration is still working on it. The team has already reinvented the product a couple of times – they know it’s every line of code by heart. It is this dedication and time bought by reinvesting into a product that allows continuous improvement and growth.
The Strongest Pillar - Zoho Culture
We can effortlessly sum up Zoho’s culture in a single sentence: People before profits. It stands true for both customers and employees, which ultimately leads to an even better product, service, and team happiness.
In the end, this core value drives Zoho, and it is instead an admirable one. It wouldn’t be unfair to say that other big companies (and those looking to become big) should undoubtedly jot down a thing or two. After all, how many companies can brag about accomplishing a similar track record without compromising their users or burning out their employees?