Top companies today use an average of 37 different tools or software platforms to run their day-to-day operations.
That is an amazing fact to consider, especially when compared to how few tools businesses used just a handful of years ago.
The reality is, it takes a lot of products and services to run a growing startup, let alone a large organization.
Honestly, it’s kind of hard to imagine what it was like to run a business before the convenience of SaaS products, or even before just software for that matter.
With the need for so many services, it’s often times that many of these products are fighting against each other for the same budgets.
In order to stay within the stack, you need to provide unquestionable value at a bare minimum.
But even then, you’re still up against all of the other tools in the arsenal when budgets don’t grow as fast as the teams around them (or worse, get cut) because value isn’t the only deciding factor.
Customers need to see the value in your product AND maintain a high sentiment towards your brand to justify a coveted and protected position within their toolset.
This doesn’t just begin and end with the decision maker either. This permeates down to everyone who uses your product, including the general users (who have more influence than you think).
If you can deliver on your value proposition, as well as ensure your customers continue to have a high sentiment and loyalty towards your brand (by … ahem, measuring and acting on your NPS data), you will assuredly surpass your indirect competition and avoid unnecessary churn.
As a software company ourselves, we make every operational, product, marketing, and sales decision around this belief. And, we support our growth with tools that do the same.
Baremetrics makes sense of all our Stripe and manual invoice data into easily consumable metrics for our SaaS business (MRR, ARR, LTV, Churn, etc). We also use their “Recover” feature for dunning management so it’s a breeze for customers to keep their payment methods up-to-date. Don’t run a business without this kind of dashboard.
Baremetrics is a subscription analytics tool for SaaS companies and subscription businesses. It offers an all-in-one dashboard that helps businesses track multiple metrics from a single place. Baremetrics also provides businesses with detailed insights into their customers' behaviour, location, and payment history. With these insights, businesses can make more informed and profitable decisions about their growth. Additionally, there are various plans available to choose from and Baremetrics can send automated emails to customers who have cancelled their subscription or failed to pay.
Accounting & FinanceExpensify removes almost all the most painful parts of submitting expense requests. Gone are the days of expense report hell. Yeehaw!
Expensify is a cloud-based expense management app that focuses on expense tracking and reporting. Its key features include:
- Individual tracking
- ERP integrations
- Comprehensive tracking of reimbursements
These are perfect for companies with high-volume expenses, and QuickBook users also love Expensify for its expense and reimbursement approval tool.
Meanwhile, it doesn’t have powerful bookkeeping features since it’s only a pre-accounting app. Businesses with limited budgets might also find it expensive — its paid plans start at $10 per user.
While Baremetrics (more on this tool below) gives us the proper metrics from Stripe, Flightpath makes sense of it all into a long-term model that we can use to inform strategic decisions from hiring to product investment.
Flightpath Finance by Baremetrics is a financial modeling software and monthly service targeted toward SaaS companies. It helps you forecast revenue, expenses, and balances. You can map out scenarios for the next year and gain visibility on how your company is trending based on your three-month average performance.
With Flightpath Finance, you can also forecast your hiring plan, employee raises, payroll taxes, benefits, and bonuses. You can do all of these through a custom dashboard tailored to your business needs.
I hate QuickBooks invoices so we use Freshbooks for this exclusively. Sure you can make simple invoices in a number of ways but tracking them can become a pain, and Freshbooks makes them beautiful in the process. Your larger enterprise (or international) customers will appreciate it.
Freshbooks is a small business accounting software tool that’s also great for freelancers and independent contractors. It offers customizable invoices, billable time tracking, and online payment collection features. The software is also easy to use and straightforward.
Freshbooks works across various operating systems and mobile devices. You can also enjoy solid customer service. However, it only allows a certain number of users and clients, making it unsuitable for fast-growing businesses.
While I’m not a fan of their invoices, you have to keep the books somewhere. QuickBooks works well enough and is deeply integrated with many other tools, so we’ve stuck with them.
Easy Online Accounting to Organize Your Finances in One Place. Run your entire business with the #1 small business cloud accounting solution!
You have to have that 800 number, right? While we don’t receive a ton of calls, we love having our phone number out there to engage with customers and prospects who prefer this method of contact. Business tends to happen a lot faster through the phone as well, which is never a bad thing. Grasshopper makes it a breeze to handle these calls and route them appropriately, or take a message when necessary.
Grasshopper is a VoIP service provider targeted toward entrepreneurs and small businesses. It packs plenty of features that include:
- Business texting
- VoIP and WiFi calling
- Virtual fax
It also offers detailed call reports and multiple extensions. New users can choose among Grasshopper's local, vanity, and toll-free numbers. You can also port an existing number over to your new account.
Grasshopper doesn’t offer video communications and CRM services, which may deter larger companies from using it.
While there is some overlap with tools like Intercom, we have found that it doesn’t fully replace a true purpose built customer support solution, which is where Groove really shines. When we need to handle cases that aren’t quickly resolved, we move them to Groove.
Groove is a web-based customer service tool that businesses use to automate manual administrative tasks. It allows you to access Salesforce easier from everywhere. You get access to an inbox interface and analytics reporting for agents.
Groove focuses on email-based customer support and is perfect for small businesses and startups. Its upper-tier plans, however, are more suitable for larger enterprises. While it doesn’t have any built-in live chat feature, you can leverage third-party integrations to have such functionality.
This tool can selectively record the sessions of our users and has come in handy on many an occasion for resolving user support issues and for improving user experience.
Session recording tool. Inspectlet helps companies understand their website visitors' intentions with smarter web analytics.
A much more fluid “live chat” service compared to others who have recently built solutions in this space. We use this for certain customers and touch points where true real-time interaction makes all the difference.
LiveChat - premium live chat and help desk software for business. Designed and built specifically for amazing customer service. Used in 150 countries by over 31,000 companies, including small, medium and enterprise size businesses.
AWS is a cloud computing platform that provides companies with on-demand access to a variety of resources, including storage, computing power, and databases. AWS is used by companies of all sizes for a variety of purposes, such as website hosting, data processing, and applications development.
The only major disadvantage of AWS is that it has a steep learning curve.
I think this goes without saying. But yes, our own product is an absolutely essential tool to the success of our business that we use on a daily basis. 🙂
Promoter is the most comprehensive customer intelligence & engagement platform built to drive growth and customer retention. We combine constant actionable feedback using a best-practice NPS approach alongside internal customer data from hundreds of sources to provide unparalleled customer insights.
We use Bugsnag for our application exception logging, error tracking and performance metrics.
Bugsnag, a SmartBear company, provides an error monitoring and application stability management solution. With Bugsnag, you can quickly and easily find the bugs that are causing the most trouble, and fix them before they become big problems. The error reports are grouped by root-cause, sortable by business impact, and displayed alongside rich diagnostics.
Apart from all this, Bugsnag helps businesses stay up-to-date with changes to their codebase - making sure that everything is working as it should.
Security is paramount in all we do, down to our individual connections. Encrypt.me (formerly Cloak) has been a great provider with very reliable speeds.
Encrypt.me is a VPN built to shield users from browser leaking, Wi-Fi eavesdropping, and broadband spying.
Active protection, access and policy management for all of our infrastructure.
Dome9 is now part of Check Point CloudGuard CloudGuard for Cloud Security Posture Management
When you send millions of emails per month to countless email clients, this is a must. Test and render your emails across the most popular clients, apps, and devices.
Email on Acid is a standalone email marketing solution that you can integrate into marketing automation tools like Marketo or Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Its standout features include:
- Unlimited email previews on 90 email clients
- Email editor
- Spam testing
- Advanced analytics
- Campaign precheck
Email on Acid also rolls out new updates and features frequently, which is great for keeping the product functional and up to date. However, some users have experienced difficulty finding information about new releases.
We use Github for our source code management and to perform code reviews.
GitHub is a popular tool among developers needing public and private code hosting. Teams can leverage the product’s software and collaboration tools. Its features include:
- Version control and issue tracking
- Code review
- Team management
GitHub is great if your team needs great documentation, collaboration, and backup features. Its help section is also robust. On the flip side, GitHub’s repositories aren’t the most secure place for high-value IPs. Additionally, some features are locked behind a paywall.
Cloud log management service delivering application intelligence. No Software. No Downloads. No Sweat
A great domain management platform with “cheap” rates, for when you need to register every possible variation of your brand or product name 🙂
Domain names, SSL and hosting.
Rackspace is a highly reliable managed hosting/cloud provider who we use to host failover services outside of AWS along with some other non-performance impacting pieces of infrastructure. Best not to keep all of your eggs in one basket, dare I say.
Rackspace Technology is the multicloud solutions expert. We combine our expertise with the world’s leading technologies — across applications, data and security — to deliver end-to-end solutions. We have a proven record of advising customers based on their business challenges, designing solutions that scale, building and managing those solutions, and optimizing returns into the future. As a global, multicloud technology services pioneer, we deliver innovative capabilities of the cloud to help customers build new revenue streams, increase efficiency and create incredible experiences. Named a best place to work, year after year according to Fortune, Forbes and Glassdoor, we attract and develop world-class talent to deliver the best expertise to our customers. Everything we do is wrapped in our obsession with our customers’ success — our Fanatical Experience™ — so they can work faster, smarter and stay ahead of what’s next.
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.
Let’s be honest. When you get that creative spark, MS paint (R.I.P.) is just not going to cut it. That’s why we rely on the best-of-breed suite of tools that Adobe has to offer, most notably Illustrator and Photoshop.
Adobe Creative Cloud is an all-in-one software suited for graphic designers, animators, and anyone whose work involves creativity. With over 14,000 employees and $4.4 billion in revenue, Adobe Creative Cloud is used in digital media, digital marketing, printing and publishing industry.
It includes photography, video, design and UX tools. The standout features that are unanimous for each of tool within the Adobe Creative Cloud are:
- User-friendly interface
- Low learning curve
- Sync and share
- Admin console
- Handle customers, etc.
The cons of Adobe Creative Cloud are that the process to get device licensing and user provisioning working may be time consuming, and the customer service is not consistent. There's also no free plan, only a free trial.
Excellent cap table and digital certificate management, plus a reliable 409A valuation service. We love it and our investors/advisors do too.
Carta is a software platform that helps companies and investors manage their cap tables and valuations. Carta aims to be a one-stop shop for equity management, from founding to IPO. Cap table management is important for startups and young companies as it provides visibility into who owns what percentage of the company. This information is helpful in making decisions about financing, dilution, and ownership structures. Valuation is also an important consideration for companies, especially as they raise money from investors.
Carta provides tools to help companies track their valuations over time, which can be helpful in negotiating deals and raising capital. Currently, it supports 8,000+ companies, 500,000+ unique stakeholders, and has valued over $200B in private assets.
The major cons of Carta are that it doesn't work well internationally, the setup is a bit complicated and the software is not easily customizable.
Simple yet extremely powerful task and project management. Great team support as well.
Flow is an all-in-one project management platform that enables productive collaboration through Kanban boards, checklists, timelines, and other project tracking tools. You can create private and public projects, get real-time notifications, and set up recurring tasks.
Comments, chats, and communication channels are also available on Flow’s simple UI, making it necessary to use emails outside of the program. It doesn’t have some important integrations, though, such as with Google Calendar.
For when you don’t need the full power of Microsoft Office, or easier collaboration 🙂
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.
Gusto is hands down one of our favorite services. They make payroll, benefits, taxes and reporting an absolute breeze and the team is always super helpful. If you are still doing payroll in house or through a larger firm, give them a look. You won’t regret it.
Gusto is a powerful online payroll and HR administration for small businesses. It facilitates employee and contractor payrolls and handles employee benefits such as retirement and health.
You also get automatic tax filing and guidance. There’s also an integrated free checking and savings account with paycheck advances for employees. On the flip side, Gusto lacks invoicing or accounts receivable features. It can also get costly due to its per-person pricing.
They’ve made faxing fun again, sort of. 🙂
HelloFax is an online faxing service that helps businesses deal with attachments easier. It supports digital signatures, converts existing fax numbers, and offers cloud-based storage integrations.
HelloFax paid plans start at $9.99 per month, allowing you to send up to 300 pages among five team members. All plans offer a 30-day free trial. Meanwhile, users say its fax storage organization could be better. It also doesn’t offer customizable cover sheets as other services do.
The world grinds to a halt sometimes without true Microsoft Excel. Google Sheets works okay for a lot of use cases, but when it doesn’t, it’s painful.
Microsoft 365, formerly Office 365, is a cloud collaboration tool that provides a private and secure space to store, share and edit files and documents, to connect dispersed teams using shared calendars, messaging and conferencing tools, and to improve your brand experience using branded emails and online websites.
The business class email provided by Microsoft 365 allows for 50 GB of storage per user and the ability to send messages of up to 25 MB. This enables you to send images within emails and to apply custom formatting. You can customize your inbox rules and notifications, and update your calendar and to-do list, to help prioritize tasks. Communicate with colleagues more effectively with online availability statuses to instigate online chat, instant messaging tools and one-to-one, or one-to-many voice and video calling.
Twilio Segment is the world’s leading Customer Data Platform (CDP). Our platform provides companies with the data foundation that they need to put their customers at the heart of every decision.
Using Segment, companies can collect, unify and route their customer data into any system where it’s needed to better understand their customers and create seamless, compelling experiences in real-time.
Thousands of companies, including Intuit, FOX, Instacart, and Levi’s use Segment to make real-time decisions, accelerate growth and deliver world-class customer experiences.
As a semi-remote team, Slack helps provide powerful team communication/collaboration that keeps everyone on the same page and productive all day long (as long as you don’t have any gif/giphy integrations that is).
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.
Visible makes updating our investors far easier (and more beautiful). Easily capture key performance data and share your story with your stakeholders all in one platform.
Engage your investors with automatic, data-driven investor updates they can access anywhere.
Simply put, Zapier is the most powerful platform for connecting our different systems and data together. This single tool powers the the bulk of our back-end workflows and business logic.
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.
Retargeting is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to capture new revenue. And, Adroll is the best tool for doing it (and also our favorite). It’s easy to use, works across multiple channels and has robust options as you advance your campaigns. It’s a staple in our marketing arsenal.
The AdRoll e-Commerce marketing platform empowers e-Commerce brands to streamline display, social media, email and other advertising efforts. It also helps structure, measure, optimize and evaluate results from marketing decisions. With AdRoll, businesses can deliver the consistent, personalized, cross-channel experiences vital to lasting customer relationships.
The standout features of AdRoll are:
- Set up audiences
- Upload assets
- Generate personalized dynamic ads
- Use demographic and affinity targeting and more
Some users however, have experienced issues with conversion tracking and reporting system.
Maintaining an active social presence can be an absolute grind, but well worth the effort. Any tool that makes this job easier, we’ll happily pay for. That’s especially true for Buffer. Not only does it free up our time by scheduling our sharing just once per week, but it gives us better results when doing so.
Buffer is a social media management platform that helps businesses publish content, engage clients, and analyze their social media performance. Buffer integrates with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest allowing you to post in real time and schedule post across different social media accounts without having to login to each one separately.
Its features are:
- Simple and intuitive interface
- Post scheduling and
Some users report that some hashtags are not supported and adding an RSS feed would be a nice addition.
Every year, the average business person spends the equivalent of 2 days going back and forth attempting to find a day and time that works for meetings. Actually, I just made that up, but it’s probably not far off. Calendly solves that pain. It’s a shareable calendar that allows our customers and prospects to pick the time that works best for them (without the hassle).
Calendly is an easy-to-use, time-saving team scheduling software that eliminates the need for people to use phone and email to schedule appointments. This makes it perfect for SaaS companies, which rely on efficient communication between team members to run their businesses. Calendly is also popular among individuals who want to manage their schedules easily. The availability preferences of users are automatically saved, so no more wasted time negotiating dates and times.
The only downside of Calendly is that some less tech-savvy admins may initially find the app a bit complicated.
Clearbit provides “integrated intelligence for every stage of your sales & marketing workflow”, and let me tell you, it’s quite magical. The data we’re able to surface helps us understand our customers and prospects better so we can deliver a superior level of service along with driving up conversion rates.
Clearbit is a SaaS software that helps businesses create, capture, and convert demand. It is a very useful tool that analyzes and reports on market trends and features, suggesting prospects and strategies for lead conversion.
By using Clearbit, businesses have a clear idea of their business and how to properly advertise it to attract the right audience.
Some notable features include:
- Data enrichment
- Lead scoring and routing
- Form optimization
- Intent-based outreach
- Advanced personalization
- Ad targeting and
- Conversion tracking
This SaaS tools is best for Sales, Marketing and Operations teams. It flawlessly integrates with Salesforce, Hubspot, Marketo, Pardot, Segment and other popular third-party integrations.
On the negative side, some users complained that it is not suitable for B2C and that some data it collected was outdated.
In spite of what anyone tries to tell you, email is still, hands-down, the most effective way to communicate with your customers in mass (also the best method for NPS, but this isn’t the time or place for that discussion). ConvertKit has got us covered in this department. From weekly newsletters to intelligent on-boarding sequences, this tool has quickly become a must-have.
ConvertKit is a lead generation and email automation platform best suited for content-driven entrepreneurs and businesses. Its features strive to make the email marketing easier but more effective through
- Custom opt-in forms
- Automated emails
- Landing page templates
- Workflow automation rules
- Subscribers settings
- RSS feed
- Email templates and others.
On the negative side, some customers reported that troubleshooting issues can be difficult and the system can get "quirky".
Actionable analytics from our marketing site and our app which helps us increase conversion from prospects or even for certain features/usage within our app.
GoSquared is an award-winning software perfect for subscription businesses to manage their customer lifecycle. Its real-time analytics pairs perfectly with features like:
- Customer data hub
- Intelligent live chat
- Marketing automation
You can track traffic sources, campaigns, and new visits. It also offers lead capture, lead enrichment, user segmentation, and automation features.
Meanwhile, many users have reported non-responsive customer support services. Others also think the service is a bit pricey.
Join.me lets our team reliably hold meetings with audio conference lines globally and reliable screen sharing. On a weekly basis, we have dozens of meetings from any given country. There are a lot of fancy features in web conferencing applications, but Join.me has a simple scheduling link to Gmail so our team doesn’t run into any conflicts. Oh, and they’ve got one of the best product jingles ever!
Collaborate instantly with free screen sharing, unlimited audio, and ridiculously simple video conferencing. For free.
A great sales focused CRM which helps us keep our sales and onboarding pipelines organized. The direct sync with Gmail also makes it easy for the team to see all the conversations with prospects in one place.
Pipedrive is a sales-focused customer relationship management tool that teams of all sizes love using. With 95,000+ paying customers spanning across 179 countries, sales teams are drawn in by our CRMs simple yet powerful design that prioritizes usability above all else. When using Pipedrive, nothing falls through the cracks, allowing your team to spend less time filing and more time selling with a CRM software that is both agile and powerful.
When content is a such a huge part of your marketing strategy (which it is for us), it’s critical that you have the right tool to properly promote it. That tool is Sumo. It’s like the swiss army knife of content promotion — lead-gen, sharing, tracking, etc. It’s a must have x10.
Sumo takes the guesswork out of growing your eCommerce business. We help you get more customers and convert website visitors into lifetime buyers — automatically. Today, the Sumo tools are used by 800,000 of the world's most successful websites and businesses including Bulletproof Coffee, Rhone, and Tony Robbins. Try out the tools for free, and see how they can help your site grow.
With paid acquisition, it’s important to remember that your primary landing page copy won’t necessarily work to convert every audience equally. That’s where Unbounce comes in for us. Creating unique landing pages that match both the audience and the messaging we’re using within our ads has been essential to increasing our conversations and reducing our cost per acquisition (CPA).
The Unbounce Conversion Intelligence™ Platform helps convert more of your visitors into leads, sales, and customers. From pre-optimized landing pages created in minutes to dazzling copy that’s written for you, Unbounce pairs your know-how with machine learning to help you transform your ideas into marketing campaigns that get results.
Webinars can be a highly effective tool for educating both prospects and current customers when done right, but the tools in this arena have left a lot to be desired in recent years. Trust us, we’ve tried many. WebinarNinja is a fine-tuned and streamlined service built to do this one thing really well, and it’s reinvigorated our efforts around providing great content through this channel.
WebinarNinja is a browser-based, all-in-one webinar solution for coaches and creators to grow and retain their customers with webinars.
Run Live, Automated, Series, Paid, and Hybrid webinars.
Easily teach, market, and sell via webinars with a beautiful-looking tool.
WebinarNinja lets the host focus on the presentation, not the tech. Includes built-in landing pages, email sequences, and slide templates and great engagement tools.
Powerful video hosting platform with valuable analytics that helps us improve our video content.
Wistia is more than a leading video hosting platform. Founded in 2006, Wistia helps B2B marketers get bigger results from their videos (and now podcasts, too). From their brandable player and lead generation tools to customizable galleries and industry-leading analytics, Wistia gives marketers more control over their brand experiences and the data to prove ROI. Plus, with free educational resources and world-class support, Wistia has your back—before you even press play. Learn more at wistia.com and follow along on LinkedIn and Instagram.
Stripe is a great tool and platform, very easy to use easy to setup and secure that clients can trust with their accounts.
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.