Convas is a SaaS company and we use a bunch of tools to run our business. In this blog post, I've listed the main SaaS tools that we use and described what we use each tool for, why we chose it, and whether we would recommend it to other SaaS companies. I have categorized the tools into team-wide, product & marketing (I haven't included the tools we use for development as that's a separate post in itself).
It's worth mentioning that we are less than one year old, we're a small team and we're bootstrapped. This list would look different for an older SaaS business with a larger team. In this tweet, Spencer Fry, Founder of Podia, lists the 64 tools they use to run their 5-year-old SaaS business with a team of ~22 people and spending between $500k-$1m per year on these tools. Josh Pigford, founder of Baremetrics.com, wrote this post on the 67 tools they use to run the business (back in 2015, it was "only" 20 tools). The founder & CEO of Segment.com, Peter Reinhardt, identified 8 categories of tools that should be a good start for most startups. Read more about his categories and recommendations here.
Below are the SaaS tools we use to run Convas. Let me know if you have any recommendations for tools that we should check out. And would you be interested in a separate post on the tools we use for development?
Notion is the all-in-one workspace that combines notes, docs, project management, and wikis — and makes them all customizable. Tens of thousands of teams and companies around the world use it to collaborate, stay informed, and get more done together.
Not that much to say about Google Workspace, great value for great products. We use Gmail, Calendar, Meet, Drive, Docs, Sheets. Since we started using Notion we use a lot less of Docs & Sheets. We use Sheets for our business planning (too complex and would be too clunky for Notion) and are looking into testing out Baremetrics, Profitwell or Chartmogul for this going forward.
Formerly known as G-Suite, Google Workspace is an enterprise productivity tool that offers collaboration tools for a wide variety of customers. It’s widely used by businesses, educational organizations, and other institutions.
Its Google Drive feature offers file storage and sync services. It features Google Docs, Google Spreadsheets, Google Slides, and other online apps for productivity and collaboration. However, even with a focus on remote collaboration, Google Workspace has online-only apps that require Chrome and advanced planning to work offline.
Slack works well for us (although I do have some issues getting the notifications just like I want them).
Slack is your single workspace that connects you with the people and tools you work with everyday, no matter where you are or what you do.
With Slack you get real-time messaging through calls and chat, a searchable record of all your files and conversations, and integrations with a growing number of handy bots and apps.
Now everyone can finally be on the same page and get their work done. Slack: It’s where work happens.
1Password works well for us. We looked at LastPass, Dashlane and Bitwarden (open source) before signing up and thought 1Password was the best option. A great feature for teams is that you can share passwords and other sensitive data with your team members. I've had some issues with the Chrome extension, other than that it works well. We don't have any plans to change.
1Password is a secure, scalable, and easy-to-use password manager that's trusted by the world's leading companies. With 1Password companies can
- Set account password policies
- Enforce 2FA team-wide
- Restrict access with firewall rules
- Review sign-in attempts and more.
1Password app is available for Mac, iOS, Linux, Windows, and Android and it syncs seamlessly across devices, so your employees always have access to their passwords. When everyone uses 1Password, your risk goes down and your productivity goes up.
We use Zapier for different types of integrations, such as notifying us in Slack when we have a new signup or adding people that sign up on our blog to the right group in Mailchimp. There are a lot of opportunities to build nice integrations with Zapier. We're happy with Zapier and have no plans to change tools or stop using it.
Zapier helps businesses easily automate work in 4,000+ web apps without writing any code. With Zapier, you can automate anything, fast, and eliminate all the repetitive tasks that slow your team down at work. With more integrations than any other solution, Zapier makes the systems you rely on more efficient.
Unlock the power of automation by easily connecting the tools you rely on in minutes, and building custom workflows that fit the way you work.
Convas is our own tool. We use it to manage & prioritize product feedback and to share the status and updates of product development with our customers. (We have a free plan to get you started if you want to try out Convas).
Convas is a customer feedback platform specifically dedicated to SaaS and startup products. It helps SaaS businesses and startups serve their product to their target audience and get relevant feedback. By asking their target customers what they want or expect from a tool, businesses can focus on delivering it.
The features that come with Convas are:
- Feedback page
- Feedback post
- Feature voting
- Custom domain
- Post moderation
- Tags and more.
We use Google Analytics for our website & web app analytics.
Google Analytics is a widely used web analytics service. It collects data and gives you valuable insights into how your website is performing. It’s an excellent free tool that provides reports on your audience’s behavior and conversion rates.
Using only one account, Google Analytics users can manage multiple websites. It also allows you to dive deeper into website data through its Universal Analytics feature. It collects and saves data from users, which may not be compliant with GDPR rules.
We use LogRocket to replay user sessions on our website and web app to better understand the user behavior and see if there are any issues. LogRocket is also a good tool for logging and debugging client side errors. We have previously used FullStory and wanted to test out LogRocket this time around. We like FullStory too, but it's always fun to try out new tools. We're happy with LogRocket and have no plans of changing the tool.
LogRocket combines session replay, performance monitoring, and product analytics – empowering software teams to create the ideal product experience.
Stripe is our payment solution. We use the billing customer portal. Stripe is great and we have no plans of changing tools. Their new new Customer Portal is great and easy to setup unless you need to handle EU VAT. Our main headache with payments is the EU VAT, which is a separate post in itself. We have talked with the Stripe team and they are working to make this better. Dynamic tax rates (currently in beta) based on customer address and customer VAT ID (not included the beta) is what we need.
Online payment processing for internet businesses. Stripe is a suite of payment APIs that powers commerce for online businesses of all sizes, including fraud prevention, and subscription management. Use Stripe’s payment platform to accept and process payments online for easy-to-use commerce solutions.
Sanity is our CMS that we use for our blog and other content pieces on our landing page. Sanity is a great headless CMS, meaning that it's only used to manage content, not display content to users. It's very flexible and they have a generous free tier. However, the flexibility comes at a price and that price is complexity. It definitely takes a bit of work to get set up, but you are free to use any tool you want to publish that content. In our case we run our marketing page and blog on NextJS that retrieves content from Sanity and renders it into fully customizable and blazingly fast static webpages.
Sanity is trusted by industry leaders such as Nike, Sonos, Cloudflare, National Geographic, Brex, Figma, and Netlify.
Sanity is the platform for structured content that lets teams build better digital experiences. By treating content as data, organizations use our APIs to build optimal editing workflows and share content between systems to increase digital velocity. Our mission is to be the most versatile system for creating and distributing digital content to any device, application or channel.
Figma is the tool we use for doing design work. Our design work ranges from mockups, clickable prototypes to logotypes. We are also fans of Sketch, which is a very similar tool. Try both and see which work best for you.
Figma is a cloud-based web design tool that allows multiple users to work simultaneously on the same file. With Figma, web development agencies can save time creating web mockups and responsive designs.
Figma supports desktops and mobile devices on platforms like Windows, mac OS, Android, and iOS. You can access customizable templates for projects that require quick work. However, you can’t copy objects directly from Adobe to Figma. The learning curve is also quite steep.
We are currently experimenting with Webflow as we are considering migrating our marketing page and blog. The main reason for a potential migration is to make copy and design changes easier for non-developers (and save precious time for dev).
We launched a side project on Webflow which had some initial SEO issues due to too many redirects, which was not a great experience. But the convenience of designing and changing copy without code is definitely attractive. The jury is still out on if we will migrate our landing page over or not.
Webflow is a visual web development platform that allows people to design, build, and launch completely custom websites without writing code. By combining design, animation, content management, marketing, and ecommerce tools into a single platform, Webflow empowers non-coders and coders alike to ship and promote websites of all kinds in a faster, more cost-efficient, and more collaborative way.
Webflow powers websites for innovative companies like Allianz, Zendesk, Lattice, Getaround, Upwork, and Dell. Founded in 2013 and based in San Francisco, Webflow is backed by Accel, CapitalG, Silversmith Capital Partners, Y-Combinator, and Draper Associates
We use Sendgrid to send an automated sequence of welcome emails when a new user registers and to remind users when their free trial is about to expire.
SendGrid makes it simple and stress-free to communicate with your customers. Our technology and expertise helps senders save time, scale their business, and succeed in an ever-changing email landscape. We are trusted by over 80,000 customers globally - big and small - to send over 45 billion emails every month.
Airtable is our CRM that we use to track leads.
Airtable is a software platform that allows businesses to create tailored workspaces with business-specific features. Its interface is as simple yet so powerful. Some features include:
- Building blocks that enable teams to model the things they work on
- Define relationships between things
- Create views explicitly tailored for their type of work
- Adapt the software when markets evolve, or goals change
- Provide transparency and visibility to collaborators and managers
- Solve use cases without the need of IT resources.
A potential disadvantage is that there is no free version and setting it up may require an extra effort. Some customers complained about bulk edit not being possible.
We use Typeform for surveys. The surveys look great and it's a nice tool to work with. We have previously used SurveyMonkey & Google Forms, but we find the design of these surveys much nicer.
The future of online forms & surveys is here. Power your brand’s interactions with beautifully designed, professional-looking online forms & surveys that people just love. Collect feedback, sign people up to events, receive job applications, take payments, create engaging quizzes or interactive stories.
We use Mailchimp for email marketing. We gather emails on our blog and send automated email campaigns to those subscribers. Mailchimp works well for what we use it for, but as a tool I find it pretty complicated to use and often can't find what I'm looking for. I also find their forms functionality not great and we ended up building our own forms. Alternatives that we are considering changing to are Postmark or Encharge.
Mailchimp’s all-in-one Marketing Platform helps small businesses market smarter so you can grow faster. As the backbone for your customer relationships, they provide AI-powered, user-friendly tools anyone can use to be successful.
Mailchimp puts your audience at the center so you can send marketing emails and automated messages, create targeted ad campaigns, build landing pages, send postcards, facilitate reporting and analytics, and sell online.
Millions of businesses and individuals - from community organizations to Fortune 100 companies - trust Mailchimp to connect with their audience with the right message, at the right time, in the right place.
We used to use Reply for email outreach. Overall it worked well. We didn't use it much though and cancelled our account a while back. Our only complaint is that it should be possible to cancel the account without contacting the company.
Reply is the leading AI-powered sales engagement platform that automates multichannel touchpoints with leads and customers throughout the sales process. From email search on LinkedIn to meetings booked right on the platform - Reply saves up to 40% of SDR and Sales teams time to focus on closing deals.
Similar to Reply, we used Hunter for a while to find email addresses for email outreach. It worked well, but we didn't use it much and cancelled it a while back.
Hunter is a cloud-based email search solution that helps businesses find and verify professional email addresses from domains, companies or a specific professional on the web, and much more.
Hunter makes it incredibly easy for sales, recruiters and marketers to reach out to other professionals with simple but powerful tools.
Hunter also crawls the web and indexes publicly available professional email addresses. The data is easily accessible via a simple user interface to find the right person in a company or find how to contact already identified professionals.
We use Notion for project management (read more about how we use Notion for project management). We also use it for knowledge management. It's where we keep and work with all the knowledge and information relevant for Convas.