Zoho is Quietly Building an AI-Powered Go-to-Market Tech Stack
Recently, I spent a few days in Austin, Texas with Zoho for the “Zoholics” customer conference. I had great conversations with Zoho executives, getting into some of their latest product announcements. The company has been hard at work building what I see as a set of go-to-market enablement tools aimed at the small and middle markets (think: a few hundred to a few thousand employees) that are simple to use, powered by AI, and priced right for smaller enterprises.
Zoho’s own artificial intelligence tool, Zia, has been integrated with several its applications for some time. However, Zia is more of an analytics and machine learning algorithm. When it comes to generative AI, Zoho is taking an “integrate, partner, build” type of approach. It’s still early in its development, but the company has already integrated ChatGPT and other generative AI capabilities into 13 of its core applications.
While there are a lot of deep analytics and AI inside the portfolio, we believe the additions to the following applications will have the most impact for go-to-market leaders: CRM, Cliq, LandingPage, Mail, Writer, Social, and Analytics. Let’s overview how each incorporates generative AI.
- Easily extract and summarize information from CRM records to better segment and target for ABM and other initiatives
- Leverage predictive analysis on deals in progress to better understand conversion triggers and improve marketing levers
- Create personalized content (like emails) for targeted marketing and optimize the grammar of content generated in the CRM system
- Access ChatGPT directly from within the Cliq chat tool
- Paraphrase incoming messages for faster responses and analyze them to better understand customer behavior and other trends
- Transform message threads into shareable outlines – delivering insights from customer interactions to the entire enterprise
- Shorten or summarize responses to clarify and optimize engagement interactions
- Generate alternative content to better test and optimize landing pages
- Generate suggestions for text type, tone, and character limit for landing pages
- Create multiple versions of a single landing page for easier A/B testing
- Create emails from scratch – which could essentially power drip campaigns, as well as other types
- Respond to incoming emails (we see this as a solid use case for fast responses to “common” inbound inquiries, staging responses as a low-risk way to improve CX)
- Generate multiple versions of an email and change tone to optimize communications
- Produce email summaries to enable managers and others to quickly stay on top of customer interactions, status, etc.
- Highlight action items from an email to drive a full journey engagement and ensure the right actions are taken along the journey
- Suggest headlines, titles, and better word replacements to align content with go-to-market use cases
- Automatically fix punctuation and shorten content when necessary to optimize messages
- Ask questions within Writer and integrate answers into document to develop content in an iterative fashion
- Use trending topics to help produce diverse and engaging content for posts for multi-channel engagement
- Iterate on the style of posts to identify the best way to present information
- Suggest relevant supporting content and images, sourced from media libraries or uniquely generated AI imagery
- Optimize existing posts by adding hashtags, removing superfluous words, and implementing SEO best practices to drive social marketing efficiency
- Receive suggestions and import public datasets into Zoho Analytics for segment analysis and other marketing analytics use cases
- Blend public data with business data to drive ABM initiatives and other more effective targeting
- Define formulas for KPI metrics to best track go-to-market effectiveness
- Create SQL queries from questions in natural language to speed the time and effort needed to glean insights from go-to-market and other data sets
When you combine all of these elements, you can start to see how businesses can take advantage of an AI-powered go-to-market stack that is designed for growing businesses. A full journey orchestration flow beings to emerge, where businesses can:
- Optimize targeting and segmentation of both new and existing prospects
- Create optimal content across various formats (email, collateral, landing pages, chat experiences, etc.) for the full journey
- Provide AI-assisted full journey nurture via intelligent chat
- Create a customer data value chain that brings more insights into the hands of more stakeholders with conversational interfaces powered by generative AI
Many of Zoho’s customers have opted for the “Zoho One” package – an “all you can eat” type of SaaS subscription — which means they can already take advantage of a lot of these AI capabilities today.
Ultimately, a lot of Zoho’s generative AI focus has been on user productivity and generating value by speeding up typical go-to-market processes. In our opinion, this makes sense. Given that products like ChatGPT are still quite new, the true repercussions of opening up company and customer data to large language models have yet to be fully seen. But Zoho users can leverage these tools to streamline and optimize much of their content creation and distribution processes today, in a seemingly safe manner.
The ANNUITAS|research take:
Zoho has always innovated at a significantly faster pace than both legacy enterprise players and the smaller, US-based vendors who might not have the deep development resources that Zoho benefits from. The company is making headway in its move upmarket, citing a 65% increase in what it calls its enterprise business segment.
We are especially interested in how Zoho is continuing to incorporate – and build – generative AI capabilities into core go-to-market tools. The company’s guiding principles when it comes to AI are “customer experience, privacy, and customer value.” We believe the company is doing its best to adhere to these while also developing quickly to stay on pace with, or ahead of, its peers.
The integration with ChatGPT, Zia, and its sales, marketing and full nurture applications enable smaller businesses to better orchestrate engagement and inbound/outbound initiatives without heavy investment. Zoho continually talks about generating customer value as a key pillar of the business. Its quick and elegant addition of generative AI to its go-to-market portfolio is proof of Zoho’s commitment to this mantra.
These days, it seems like every technology provider is having to consider how they can incorporate generative AI into their portfolio of offerings. For its part, Zoho is taking a smart, phased approach where users can already generate value from generative AI in a sensible, easy-to-use manner that requires little to no additional costs to operate.