Zoho and sister business ManageEngine are making moves to help MSPs accelerate sales and revenue generation. At first glance, much of the effort involves Zia -- an artificial intelligence sales assistant for Zoho CRM that surfaced today. But take a closer look and you'll start to see the bigger strategy and partner implications.

Zoho is best-known as a SaaS application provider for end-customers. The company's offerings include popular alternatives to Salesforce.com, Office 365 and Google G Suite, among other cloud application providers. Sister company ManageEngine, meanwhile, is best own for IT management, monitoring and logging applications that corporate IT departments and MSPs consume.

So what's next? The answer involves Zia, a new Zoho CRM intelligent sales assistant that detects anomalies, suggests workflows and macros, and also advises salespeople the best time to contact a prospect. Zoho also launched Blueprint, a Zoho CRM tool for building and implementing business processes. Put the two offerings together, and salespeople -- including MSP sales teams -- can improve their customer engagement efforts, according to Raju Vegesna, chief evangelist of Zoho.

Zoho's SalesSignals capabilities, meanwhile, let salespeople know about real-time customer actions at various touchpoints like social media, satisfaction surveys, and support tickets. It integrates with such platforms as SurveyMonkey, Eventbrite, SMS Magic, DocuSign, and others.

Zoho CRM is free up to 10 users, and costs anywhere from $12 to $35 per user per month for larger teams and more capabilities.

Zoho: Transitioning From SaaS to Total Business, MSP Management?

Overall, Zoho is talking less about SaaS and more about being a single cloud platform for running an entire business -- from marketing and sales to customer support, finance, HR, productivity tools and more.

In some ways, Zoho and sister company ManageEngine are starting to blur the line with traditional PSA (professional services automation) and RMM (remote monitoring and management) platforms that many MSPs adopt. While Zoho focuses on business management tasks, ManageEngine zeros in on service desk, application management, log management, IT security and more.

Some MSPs are starting to consume both Zoho and ManageEngine to run their businesses and support end-customers, according to Vegesna. We'll be watching to see if or how that trend accelerates.