Pipelines - Image by Peter H from PixabayZoho has strengthened its CRM solution that targets the SME market. Bigin is a powerful CRM solution designed and priced for small businesses. It provides the CRM tools that small and microbusinesses need to maintain and grow customer relationships. Launched in 2020, the application Zoho has now invested in developing the solution further. Its latest release includes Team Pipelines, which allow organisations to connect multiple functional process flows to a single customer record.

Since its launch, Bigin has attracted a follower of 20,000 customers. 65% of those have never used a CRM before, indicating that this is a true entry-level solution. That it takes only thirty minutes to set up and start getting value from the product is a factor. Pricing is attractive, with three levels of pricing:

  • FREE: A single user,
  • EXPRESS: £5 ($7) pupm billed annually
  • PREMIER: £10 ($12) pupm billed annually

Each level enables more functionality and an increasing number of records.

For those customers that successfully grow, there is also an easy migration path through to Zoho’s leading CRM platforms, Zoho CRM and Zoho CRM+. It means that companies investing in Bigin know they don’t have a painful restart down the road as they outgrow the entry-level solution.

Laurie McCabe, Co-Founder and Partner, SMB Group
Laurie McCabe, Co-Founder and Partner, SMB Group

Laurie McCabe, co-founder of SMB Group, notes, “In my years working closely with SMBs it is evident that they simply can’t manage multiple tools for customer operations or afford the solutions that are more robust due to limited resources and budget. It’s frustrating to see that many CRM solutions available to SMBs offer limited functionality — where interoperability with third-party apps, data sharing, and pipeline management aren’t included. As a result, they are unable to deliver the level of value SMBs want and need. This problem is so prevalent that 58% of small businesses (with 1-100 employees) say that figuring out what tech solution will work best for them is a top tech challenge, and half note that they struggle to integrate new applications with existing ones, according to our latest research.”


Team Pipelines take Bigin beyond sales. They enable organisations to create pipelines and sub-pipelines for business processes within departments. Another feature for Bigin is Connected Pipelines which enables pipelines to connect and pass data between them. For example, this means that customer data accuracy is maintained between a sale and the onboarding process. Ultimately it brings different people together as a team, working within the same technology and sharing information easily.

Bigin Pipelines
Bigin Pipelines

Mani Vembu, Chief Operating Officer, Zoho, commented, “Small businesses face challenges in choosing the right technology for managing their customer-facing operations because of constraints related to time, cost, and software implementation. Bigin is the only solution that brings together all customer operations like sales, onboarding, delivery, training, advocacy, and more into an intuitive interface that takes only 30 minutes to deploy.

“By bringing together all the facets of customer operations into a single view, Bigin allows small businesses to have a more accurate understanding of the customer’s journey. These insights help them attract and retain customers, ultimately growing the business. The fast-growing adoption of Bigin shows the expanding appetite of small businesses who want and need CRM technology suited to their particular needs, helping them move beyond old-school spreadsheets.”

The new release features

Team Pipelines are not the only improvement within this release. The new features include the following:


Just like a pizza, organisations can bring additional features to their Bigin platform. Toppings are additional features or add-on applications using integrations. Several toppings were highlighted at launch, and more are available on the Zoho Marketplace. Not all toppings are included in the pricing:

Email-In: Inbound emails automatically create records mapped against the relevant customer records. Saving time and ensuring that nothing is missed despite a high volume of inbound emails.

File cabinet: Enables the storage and, importantly, retrieval of documents against records. The link can be used either internally or externally if shared with a customer.

Bigin for Microsoft Teams: Brings Bigin into your Microsoft Teams environment.

Mobile Capabilities

From the start, Bigin has supported a mobile app for users on the move. It has now released updates to support the recent Apple iOS16 and Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 launches. A new dynamic display also enables users to personalise the look, style and visibility of records with their pipelines.

Developer Center

Zoho has opened up the Bigin developer platform, enabling app developers and partners to build their toppings for Bigin and share or sell through the marketplace. Developers have access to create custom fields, buttons, links, widgets, related lists, and REST APIs.

More is coming

Zoho will continue to develop Bigin adding more toppings to the platform. These include

  • WhatsApp integration
  • Booking Pages topping
  • Calendar view for Activities

Enterprise Times: What does this mean?

The risk of enhancing an entry-level platform is maintaining the simplicity level of the solution. Enhance it too far, and it becomes too complex for the starter users with too many features. Zoho seems to have managed the balance. The new pipelines feature takes the platform beyond CRM, helping organisations to manage processes beyond sales if they want to.

The new toppings are a neat way to enhance the complexity without the initial implementation of the solution being affected. As an organisation grows and sees the need for additional functionality, it can quickly add it. Critically, Zoho has kept its low pricing. Also, Bigin sits on the Zoho platform, allowing organisations to add several other Zoho applications to their software architecture, expanding its capabilities. In time they may choose to move to Zoho CRM.

What would be interesting to know is how many of the 20,000 have moved from Bigin to Zoho CRM. Or are there users beyond the 20,000 that have moved there?


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