A shocking number of SaaS companies will fail this year… 92% of them, to be exact.
“Good grief, Charlie Brown!”
I know, I know…
Business is a harsh mistress, to paraphrase Robert Heinlein.
So why are only 8% of SaaS companies scaling past the startup phase, anyways? Well, it comes down to a few key factors:
- Confusing early adopters with the actual market
- Trying to scale too fast (spending too much cash, making hiring missteps)
- Not really having product market fit
The good news is that with the right (proven / research-backed) tools and strategies, SaaS companies can avoid these common blunders, sail past the early adopters phase, and rocket straight into real, sustainable growth.
So in today’s resource, we’re going to break down the best tools for SaaS startups that can help your company hit each of these vital variables.
(Who knows, maybe you can even use these tools to build a multi-million dollar SaaS empire…?)
We’ll be discussing SaaS tools for….
- Marketing: Get your product in front of the right people at the right time.
- Measuring and Optimizing: Measure, analyze, and optimize your product and conversions.
- Managing Sales: Upsell to existing customers and nurture and convert prospective customers.
- Finances & Bookkeeping: Manage resources and track spending to make better financial decisions.
- Managing Your Team: Create an able-bodied, educated, and happy team that’s ready to take on the world.
- Customer Success: Help your customers get the absolute most out of your product.
Let’s get started…
SaaS Tools: Marketing
One common misconception for SaaS companies is that the product will sell itself.
However, marketing is an essential component of a SaaS company reaching critical mass. Sure, word of mouth is great—but how do you really get that ball rolling with your customer base?
In order to slay marketing efforts, Saas companies should focus on:
- Boosting brand awareness
- Addressing the customer’s pain points
- Building nurturing funnels
- Giving current customers extra TLC
And with the tools below, you can successfully address each of the above strategies.
- Saas Tool #1: Hubspot — Hubspot’s marketing software offers simple yet sophisticated tools to help your business attract customers, convert those visitors into engaged leads, and nurture those leads until they’re ready to buy. You’ll find SEO tools, email automation, content management, and more.
- Saas Tool #2: Vidyard — Perfect for sales and marketing, Vidyard helps you communicate with your buyers. Record, manage, share, and track your videos to drive more sales. Deliver demo videos and record personalized videos for when you can’t meet prospects and clients face-to-face.
- Saas Tool #3: SEMRush — SaaS businesses need SEO. With SEMRush, you can improve how you leverage SEO, content marketing, competitor research, PPC, and social media marketing from just one platform.
- Saas Tool #4: Hootsuite — Save time and automate your social media marketing by scheduling with Hootsuite. Automatically schedule your content, review posts in a simple calendar view, and schedule those posts across all your social networks in just a few clicks.
- Saas Tool #5: Zapier — Integrate the tools you use all in one place with Zapier. Compatible with 3,000+ of the web’s top tools, use this platform to get more leads, increase customer retention, and close more sales. Oh, and it’s free to start (and what beats free?).
- Saas Tool #6: RightMessage — Who’s visiting your website? What do they do once they arrive, and what do they want? With RightMessage, zero in on those answers to deliver fully personal experiences across every page of your existing website and landing pages (with no coding required).
SaaS Tools: Measuring & Optimizing
As Peter Drucker famously said, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.”
For SaaS startups, this couldn’t be more true.
And when you use metrics, understand user behavior, and iterate as needed, you’ll find that attracting new customers, retaining existing users, and scaling your company becomes easier than ever.
But what tools should you use to measure, split test, and constantly optimize—so you can deliver the best possible product and experience for your customers?
Let’s dive into the best tools for measuring and optimizing:
- Saas Tool #7: Google Analytics — Ah, old trusty. Free but very effective, Google Analytics provides a powerful platform to uncover insights about your users, analyze performance, measure lead metrics, examine advertising ROI, and more.
- Saas Tool #8: SparkToro — Gain insights into your ideal customer market—find out what they read, watch, listen to, and follow—so you can effectively target and connect with them. Think of SparkToro like lightning fast market research.
- Saas Tool #9: Lucky Orange — Optimize conversions with Lucky Orange: the best way to get deep analytics about who’s visiting your site, how they’re interacting with it, and what you can do to offer the best experience possible (and make more sales). Lucky Orange’s notable features include dynamic heatmaps, live chat, conversion funnels, and historical statistics.
SaaS Tools: Managing Sales
Managing sales in a SaaS company is an essential part of ensuring long-term success.
An effective SaaS sales strategy should include:
- Upselling value to existing clients
- Using technology for inside sales
- Working closely alongside the marketing team
Let’s dive into some of the best tools for SaaS startup sales out there to help achieve these goals.
- Saas Tool #10: Salesmate — Offering flexibility and customization, Salesmate helps build customer relationships, integrates with multiple tools (QuickBooks, Zapier, Slack, and more), and even offers customer support. It’s also an affordable option for growing SaaS companies.
- Saas Tool #11: RocketReach — Prospect, connect, and converse with your leads at scale with RocketReach. The platform allows you to connect with decision makers using real-time verified data for 450 million professionals across 17 million companies worldwide.
- Saas Tool #12: Pipedrive — Pipedrive helps deliver qualified leads through automated systems. Their tagline is to “sell more with less manual work.” They accomplish this through their simple CRM software to schedule relevant calls and emails and see measurable results. According to Pipedrive, users close 28% more deals on average after one year.
SaaS Tools: Finances & Bookkeeping
Tracking finances may not be glamorous, but it’s an essential part of running a successful SaaS company.
Managing your revenue, sales goals, financial resources and accurately tracking spending are vital in order to survive. However, many SaaS companies drop the ball in this area, making it one of the most common mistakes of the industry.
Luckily, there are several simple but effective tools for SaaS startups to more effectively manage finances and make bookkeeping a breeze—so you can easily manage cash flow, make better financial decisions, and put your company on the steady track for success.
- Saas Tool #13: FreshBooks — This cloud-based accounting software helps you scale smarter and faster. Send custom invoices, track expenses, and accept online payments in one place. Seamless integrations allow you to manage payroll, track inventory, or run your ecommerce store right from your account.
- Saas Tool #14: Xero — Manage invoices, reconcile bank transactions, create professional looking invoices, and convert quotes (aka get more clients) easily with Xero. This platform also allows you to manage contacts using insights, stay on top of bills, and monitor spending.
- Saas Tool #15: Stripe — This suite of products helps you collect recurring payments from global users and supports any pricing model. Easily send invoices to recurring customers, offer discounts, set up free trials, and more. You can also sync billing and payments data with your ERP and accounting systems.
- Saas Tool #16: PayPal — PayPal’s Subscription Payments feature offers a hassle-free way to bill your subscribed customers. Manage scheduled payments, create different plans and fee structures, automatically retry failed transactions, and gain insights with reports on subscription activity.
- Saas Tool #17: Dext — Capture, upload and track your cash flow in one place. This digital accounting tool fetches all paperwork in one place so you never miss an invoice or receipt. Dext connects with thousands of suppliers, PayPal, and email to pull all the data you need into a single digital dashboard.
- Saas Tool #18: Gusto — Onboard, pay, insure, and support your team with Gusto. This tool offers features to manage payroll, benefits, HR, and more. Gusto also offers employee finance tools and time tracking.
- Saas Tool #19: Bill.com — Built to integrate and share financial data with your accounting system, Bill.com uses automatic sync (with Microsoft, Xero, QuickBooks and more) and data integration to bring smart accounts payable and receivable automation into one single platform.
SaaS Tools: Managing Your Team
No matter what stage your SaaS company is at, you have to build a team.
And the fastest growing SaaS companies scale very quickly—growing their teams by an average of 56% each year. Yep, more than doubling every year.
And depending on what development stage you’re in, your team members might be approaching double or even triple digits. New teams emerge and need to be led by your best and brightest people, like:
- Customer Success Manager
- Marketing Manager
- UX Web-designer
- Sales Manager
- Product Owner
- And more!
But how do you manage such a fast growing team? Hiring is one of the biggest challenges that businesses face, after all.
With the following tools for SaaS startups, you can properly communicate, coordinate, plan, and execute with your team to make day-to-day operations as smooth and seamless as possible. And while all this smooth progress is happening inside the business, you can be working on scaling the business at the same time!
- Saas Tool #20: Bit.ai — Collaborate with team members all in one place. Create dynamic notes, documents, client deliverables, training guides, client portals, and more. Bit.ai makes it easy to collaborate, share, track, and manage all company documents under one roof.
- Saas Tool #21: Trello — This project management tool allows you to organize your work and tasks into visual boards. Assign due dates, attach assets, create checklists, labels and more. Then, you can assign tasks to fellow team members. Trello’s drag and drop feature makes it easy to organize and prioritize workflow.
- Saas Tool #22: Slack — Create a space for all things work-related. Boost productivity, easily chat with other team members, and integrate with other third party apps and tools. Hold video conferences, make audio calls, and create relevant channels to divide conversations into the right threads with the right team members.
SaaS Tools: Customer Success
Making a sale is only part of what makes a SaaS company successful.
Once you’ve hooked a paying customer, what next? Retention, of course.
As Jason Lemkin put it, “Customer success is where 90% of the revenue is.”
Customer success is a key component of building a lucrative SaaS business because it boosts customer loyalty and increases conversions.
What’s the opposite of customer success? Churn.
And customer churn costs businesses more than US $1.6 trillion per year.
Ensuring customer success boils down to a few must-haves:
- A clear customer success strategy
- Straightforward education up front
- A fast and smooth onboarding process for new users
- Communication between your departments
- Strategies that encourage customer loyalty
Here are the top tools for SaaS startups so you can truly nail your customer success strategy:
- Saas Tool #23: Customer Success Box — This AI powered customer success software can onboard, retain, upsell, and drive MRR growth.
- Saas Tool #24: Userpilot — Helps your product team deliver personalized in-app experiences to increase growth metrics at every stage of your user’s journey. Track and analyze product growth, help users discover more value, and get qualitative user feedback at scale.
- Saas Tool #25: Intercom — Build relationships with your customers through live chat, apps, product tours, and more. Intercom can be broken down into 3 main value offers: conversational support, conversation engagement, and conversational marketing.
- Saas Tool #26: Gainsight — Drive net retention and growth with Gainsight. This customer experience tool combines surveys and customer journey orchestration, with data science and analytics to help deliver a best-in-class experience to your customers.
- Saas Tool #27: Churnzero — Built specifically for SaaS companies, Churnzero helps fight customer churn. Drive strategic customer conversations and engagements, perfect the art of onboarding, enhance product adoption, and increase subscription renewal.
- Saas Tool #28: Zendesk — Zendesk makes customer service better. We build software to meet customer needs, set your team up for success, and keep your business in sync. deliver rich conversational experiences that are connected across your web, mobile and social apps.
- Saas Tool #29: UserGuiding — Build interactive product guides in minutes (and with zero code) with UserGuiding. This tool helps teams increase user adoption through easy onboarding, in-product messaging, customer feedback, onboarding checklists, and more.
When it comes to building and scaling a successful SaaS company, creating a great product is just the beginning. After that comes marketing, measuring, managing, and more… but it doesn’t need to feel overwhelming.
Remember, it’s ok to get help! In fact, it’s the smart play!
Because when you have the right tools in place, you can streamline your systems, optimize your approach to sales and marketing, and manage an efficient (and happy) team that will help you meet your goals with fervor.
Which of these tools are you already using for your SaaS startup? Which new tools will you give a try?
Remember, many have free trials so you can give them a run to see if they’re the right fit before you dive in.
Let me know in the comments below.
Keep AutoGrowin’, stay focused.