Connecting your Zoho CRM with a telephone provider can sound like a scary task. It can be a lot of work integrating some providers and even then it might not work all the time. If you’ve a telephone provider that isn’t an out-of-the-box integration available to Zoho, then it’s even harder.
In my opinion, if it isn’t supported out-of-the-box, don’t bother trying to get something custom developed. You’ll just end up wasting time. People often forget that time is their most valuable resource and we don’t have a time machine (yet). So pick something that is available and easy to use.
One service I’ve been playing with recently and like the look of is CloudTalk, and in this review, I’ll show you what it does and how to set it up.
Out of the box, CloudTalk has LOTS of features, but I’m only interested in connectivity with Zoho and so I’ve listed the ones that are relevant to CRM users in the table below:
|Feature Name||What it does|
|Make calls from your computer||By downloading the softphone onto your computer, you can make calls without the need of a dedicated phone line.|
|Local numbers||If you operate in multiple locations, or provide support to multiple locations, then CloudTalk offers phone numbers in those locations.|
|Managing a team of users||You can manage a team of users for CloudTalk, also known as agents. They can be for both inbound and outbound calls.|
|Call campaigns and Power Dialer features available||If you plan to make outbound calls, you can plan them as a campaign. I personally would create list views in the CRM and then call those, but the feature is there if you want it. To support it, CloudTalk offers automatic dialing using the Power Dialler. This can improve the efficiency of your outbound calling campaigns.|
|Synchronizing the call logs to Zoho CRM||If you’ve synchronised your CRM with CloudTalk (I’ll show you how a little later), a log of the call will get recorded in the CRM against the same Lead or Contact.|
|Not just limited to your CRM||Because it uses a standalone softphone with a Chrome plugin, you can make calls from other apps as well.|
|Integrations with other apps||Although I’ll show you how to link your Zoho CRM with CloudTalk, you can also integrate it with Zoho Desk and other non-Zoho apps.|
CloudTalk doesn’t yet have native API integration using Zoho Telephony. A native service with Zoho CRM Telephony will have features like Click-To-Call which doesn’t use a separate plugin to your browser. It also has screen pops, so when a call comes in, it pops up on the CRM.
It would be great to get the CloudTalk service to work with the Zoho CRM call record feature for future calls or notify you who the inbound call is coming from. This isn’t currently available, but these features will be easier to add now that Zoho’s Telephony functionality has improved and is a lot more friendly for third party apps to integrate with Zoho CRM using the Zoho Phone Bridge.
Another feature that’s missing in the current integration is the fact that a call recording link isn’t provided back to the CRM record so you can listen to the call again. Once again that can be added easily with the improvements to Zoho Telephony once CloudTalk use that integration feature in the future.
Should you get it?
CloudTalk’s ease of use is it’s biggest advantage over some other telephony providers. If you already have a VOIP telephone system which is hard to use, then you may find CloudTalk’s features and simple interface fits your needs.
CloudTalk also has some other features that I have mentioned above. But they’re not what I would consider the main benefit that CloudTalk provides.
One of the major things to consider is the pricing model. I think the pricing is very competitive against its competitors. You need to check your budget against CloudTalk’s pricing page.
If you’re looking for a VOIP Telephone provider that already has Zoho’s PhoneBridge screen pops and direct click to call without needing a plugin, you can either wait for CloudTalk to add that feature or you can pick another provider. For most people this isn’t an essential requirement unless you’ve a call centre style need.
Setting up a CloudTalk account
I assume you’ve already got a Zoho CRM account, if not, set one up here as the first step.
CloudTalk provides a free 15 day trial so you can easily check it out to decide if it’s right for you. And just like Zoho, you don’t even need to enter a credit card to start your trial.
- First step is to sign up on the CloudTalk site. Fill in the form on the right with your details. Read the Terms and Conditions and then press Accept. Once you’ve done that, you can press Start a Free Trial.
- CloudTalk will send you an email to verify your account before creating it. If it didn’t get to your inbox check out the spam folder and verify.
- Enter the details you used on the signup page to log in.
- You’ll then get a page that gives you a ready-made phone number for you to use. Depending on where you’re, you’ll get the appropriate phone number for your country.
How does it know which country? When you entered your own phone number to create an account on the sign up page, you were given the option to select the country.
Don’t worry if you want more numbers or for different countries, you can set that up later. I won’t be going through adding more numbers in this review. I’ve blanked out my number in the screenshot but, you’ll be able to see yours here.
- Press Continue and then Continue To Test Calls on the next page. You’ll then get a fake call telling you to press a button on the page to take the call. This is just a quick training guide, no need to worry. Just follow the on-screen prompts to tag a call and listen to the “Bot”. All the bot tells you is that you can tag calls. Press Continue to carry on.
- Then it’ll ask you to download the CloudTalk app for your computer. You might be thinking why download an app if it’s all in the Zoho CRM system. Well, it isn’t all in the CRM system, the phone call connects to CloudTalk and the CRM and your browser. This is known as a softphone. You can create a more complex integration with CloudTalk, but do yourself a favour and use the out-the-box setup. Press Download and Continue.
- Run the download and install it on your computer. After it has been installed, it’ll ask for your login details. Put them in and then press Log In. Pick your Language and press continue.
- Then connect a headset and press Next. If you don’t want to connect a headset right now, you can skip this step, see the little Skip in the top right-hand corner.
- Time to test out your speakers and your microphone. Press Start Test Call
- You might get a firewall notification. Select private networks (unless you know what you’re doing) and then press Allow Access. I use Microsoft Windows, so this message might be different on Apple OS.
- You now get instructions to speak into your microphone. This is to make sure it’s all working. I could hear myself well so I pressed Yes.
- You then get a page that tells you how to improve your call quality. They’re fairly straightforward tips so check them out if you want. Press Next when you’re done and then press Launch CloudTalk Phone.
- The softphone is now set up ready to use.
- Once that is done, let’s go back to the webpage we were on, fill in the fields on the next page and press Continue and then Finish And Go To Dashboard..
- You can use CloudTalk to make direct calls straight away but let’s actually get it connected to your Zoho CRM.
Integrating CloudTalk with Zoho CRM
So now you’ve an account with CloudTalk and an account with Zoho CRM. Time to get them linked.
- Go to the Dashboard in CloudTalk’s platform and select the Account on the left. Then choose the Integrations option.
- Then select the Zoho option. So far so simple.
- Then on the next page, select the datacentre location. Don’t know what to pick? Go to your Zoho CRM and you’ll see in the URL the data centre. Below is what I saw in my CRM and so I picked the same option in the CloudTalk setting page. Then press Continue.
- If you’ve a Sandbox in your Zoho CRM (which you should), then make sure you select the right account. If you don’t have a Sandbox, then you won’t see this option. I’ll pick production and then press Submit.
- Then press the Accept button on the next page to allow CloudTalk to Access your CRM. It needs to do this in order to write call records and link inbound and outbound activities together.
- Once you’ve done that, go back to your CloudTalk integration dashboard and you may notice that it says the integration is “Inactive”. Click Active so it’s ready to use.
- There are a bunch of settings on this page. I won’t go into them here but the most important thing on this page is the Save button at the bottom of the page. Make sure you press it otherwise you’ll have to go through the settings all over again.
- Once you’ve pressed Save, you’ll then see a synchronisation message at the top of the page.
- Click on the Contacts tab on the left to see if the data has synchronised. It says the word Contacts, but it also synchronises Leads too, so don’t worry. The reason why it needs the details here is simply so that it can record the activity and then link it
Using CloudTalk with Zoho CRM
This isn’t going to be a full in-depth guide, I’ll simply show you how to make calls and have the information recorded in the CRM. I’ll also show you how to receive calls and have that show up in the CRM too.
- The CloudTalk plugin can be found on the Chrome marketplace.
- Download it and add it to your Chrome browser. Then make sure you log into the Chrome plugin by selecting it and logging in with your CloudTalk credentials.
- The plugin allows you to make calls by identifying if there’s a number on your webpage. In our case, the webpage happens to be the Zoho CRM. It’ll put a blue phone icon next to any phone number.
- By clicking the phone icon, you can make a call and eventually the call will be logged against the record in the Closed Activity section. This is because the sync we did earlier to CloudTalk will connect to the CRM to log the call.
- I did a few trial calls and it all worked fine. Also, make sure the softphone is loaded up on your computer first.
Overall, it’s really easy to use the CloudTalk VOIP system and link it to your Zoho CRM. It has a lot of features that people are looking for in a phone system and using the Chrome plugin and the softphone makes it quite a flexible solution. It doesn’t have Zoho Telephony and Phone Bridge integration yet which would allow the CRM to popup and go to the record that’s calling. However, the sync between the CRM and the CloudTalk platform knows who called you and will be able to record a log of the call happening.
Use CloudTalk if you’re looking at a flexible online telephone system that can interact with your CRM and other apps. I’ll update this article once CloudTalk has added some extra functionality that embeds the calling functionality and screen pop-ups in Zoho CRM.