There has never been a better time to start and grow a business like now. Technology has afforded us the privilege of utilizing all the tools necessary to launch and scale a business, and often without spending a dime.
Business owners are constantly looking for ways to improve sales, productivity, time management, marketing and have been turning to many of the hundreds of SaaS products currently available, and for good reason.
Software as a Service, or SaaS, is a software distribution model and has become the fastest-growing segment in the IT industry. Companies of all sizes are using SaaS tools to scale their business and the pandemic has only increased the demand. People can now work from home using these applications on the internet, saving business owners money by not having to pay per use royalties.
The concept behind SaaS is that all you require is an internet connection and you can hop on to a cloud-based platform anywhere, anytime. These applications serve a variety of purposes, and many have phone apps, allowing for use, literally anywhere with an internet connection.
Your SaaS Toolbox
Choosing the right SaaS tools means that you need to do your research and determine your requirements. If you are like most businesses and require word processing, spreadsheets, file sharing, and communications, then you may want to look at Google's Workspace. Perhaps you wish for something that connects clients with employees or even employees with other company's employees.
Some of the more popular SaaS applications are those that offer:
Customer relationship management
Time management, tracking and scheduling
Marketing and sales automation
Audio and video
The applications are endless. Though the real power of SaaS platforms is the always-on cloud nature, backed by browser-based access. Likely the best part of using SaaS service providers is that many will offer a freemium account, where you can start small at no cost and upgrade to different service levels as your company and needs grow.
ServerMania has grown considerably over the past 10 years and we have used, and continue to use many of these SaaS tools ourselves. I will outline for you many of the key features in what we feel are the best SaaS tools currently available.
Google Workspace (formerly G Suite)
According to tech news site Axios, Google has more than 2 billion active daily users for their suite of apps. They offer multiple tools such as Google Docs, Drive, Sheets, and are smart and easy to use. Of all of the SaaS companies, Google offers the most robust software solutions, hands down.
Google Workspace with its easy-to-use interface is perfect for remote teams who are accustomed to regular video conferencing and screen sharing (competing directly with Microsoft teams). These are all free tools that you can access with just a few clicks, and they also work on android and ios devices.
This suite of apps makes an excellent way to introduce what SaaS tools do. That is, allow cloud access to some service that solves a problem. While the Google Workspace is free, the storage upgrades give the program more of a sense of pay-to-play, akin to other SaaS platforms.
Using the Google suite is almost mandatory for any business wanting to stay relevant. Employees can access documents from anywhere, and share documents with clients or vice versa. There's no better creation suite for collaboration.
This program is a sales tool that lives in the cloud and comes with a companion mobile app that makes collecting customer information possible no matter where you are. What this program and sales tools like this do, is deliver an all-in-one solution for your sales team to track customers from lead to sale.
The software integrates contacts, leads, competitors, and marketing campaigns into one dashboard that organizes the information. It also manages different departments over different deals.
Sales and marketing can collaborate with one client, all while auto-updating information to keep everyone on the same page. What's more, the Salesforce analytics helps boost sales productivity by an average of 44 percent.
While Salesforce has 150,000 companies using its software, HubSpot is not too far off with 121,000. This sales and marketing automation app is one of the better known and loved digital marketing tools, it helps manage all aspects of your marketing.
The platform boasts key features from email to SEO creation, down to landing page analytics and social media tracking. There's no better SaaS tool for sales tracking and inbound marketing. And yes, you need inbound marketing. Inbound leads cost 60 percent less than outbound leads.
DropBox constantly competes with Google Drive for the title of best SaaS storage solution. The cloud-based platform allows easy file sharing from anywhere, including your mobile phone. It works across every platform you could imagine, and an open API means it'll only continue to broaden its device support.
However, the real winning feature is Dropbox business. The business-level plan gives access to unlimited storage for any file type.
If you need to share files with clients or other company departments, there's no better solution to long-term storage.
Running a business means regularly having to sign documents that appear in your email. To the point where you're probably ready to never sign another paper again. With DocuSign you're in luck, it puts your electronic signature on any document uploaded into the platform, allowing you to create professional-looking documents without the usual creases and blackmarks that come with scanning.
The platform offers APIs that integrate with systems you already use, including Salesforce and the Google Workspace. Streamlining your document signing into a one-click process saves time; making DocuSign a SaaS tool every business needs. By adding DocuSign integration, you can connect it with DynaFile for a complete document management system, providing you with a comprehensive paperless solution.
In today's age of instant communication and remote teams, keeping track of internal communication can be difficult.
Slack developed a SaaS tool to fix this issue, and your business should take notice. The platform keeps people organized, and does it well. Conversations happen company-wide, across organizable workspaces. Though the search features are the real power behind Slack. If someone misses a meeting, no problem. Slack's search can recall the smallest details in conversations that happened months ago (or however far back your archives go). Team members also have the ability for video conferences and audio calls, built into the platform.
Like most third-party apps, Slack also integrates well with other SaaS tools. Its API allows for consistent new integrations, but it already plays nice with Salesforce, Google, and more.
Harvest Time Tracking
Harvest Time is so much more than a tracking app and just because you can generate invoices, does not mean that this is accounting software. This is a great tool for project management that offers business intelligence reporting with real data.
When you and your team members are working in collaboration, this app allows you to keep projects profitable and on track, while also tracking your:
Project completion and payment date (all appear in one place)
Plan and estimate projects with real data, manage team capacity and workflow, invoice seamlessly, and get paid fast. Harvest Time allows you to keep all of your existing customers happy by ensuring their projects are on time.
And again, you guessed it, the app works seamlessly with other SaaS apps. Use Harvest Time Tracking and Salesforce together to follow client billing after a completed sale.
ActiveCampaign is quickly gaining market share in the SaaS marketing tool space and for good reason. As one of the best Customer Experience Automation platforms available, this marketing automation and email app provide customer communication.
Using its AI-driven algorithm aids businesses in connecting and engaging with customers, creating optimized customer experiences through automated triggers. It works behind the scenes, automating many sales, marketing and support processes.
Like most SaaS tools, ActiveCampaign comes with a free plan at the entry-level and user onboarding is incredibly easy. If you want to improve your customer retention rate while building your sales, check out this SaaS.
Agorapulse bills itself as an all-in-one social media management platform, "Everything you need to dominate social media—fortified with the industry’s #1 rated customer support."
It allows you to organize and easily manage all of your social media through an inbox, publishing, reporting, monitoring, and team collaboration tools. It is very user-friendly, allowing for multiple channels from different social media platforms, while also acting as a content management system for publishing. If you have a whole social media team, you can use Agorapulse as a collaboration tool when programming content for your social media accounts.
Social media marketing has never been so easy.
Jira and Confluence by Atlassian
These apps are developed by Australia's Atlassian, a software developer. While we don't know how many tools you need, we can say that these are two project management tools that we use here in our office at ServerMania.
Jira is an issue-management tool that can help a business plan, track, report, and manage work. It serves to assign tasks, task management, allows for internal communication and is used as collaboration software for teams. It can be used for agile software development, customer support, and project management.
Confluence is a shared workspace collaboration tool for mission-critical projects. Imagine it as your own company wiki that organizes and stores all of your content and company documents around any given project, not unlike a knowledge base.
No business with a website should be without this freemium web analytics solution. If you do not know who is going to your website, you may as well also ignore the customers in your store. Google Analytics is a SaaS tool that measures your website traffic and reports on those performance metrics.
As the industry's leading SEO tool it is very easy to learn to use and provides traffic metrics on:
If you are not measuring the traffic on your landing pages, you need Google Analytics, especially if you run an E-commerce platform.
What can it do for your business other than track and measure traffic?
Find your target audience
Understand user behavior and patterns
Create custom reports
Google Analytics conversion tracking
Improve online advertising with marketing analytics
Improve search engine optimization and content marketing
SaaS Tools Form Ecosystems
The SaaS tools your business needs all have something in common; they form ecosystems. Many of these platforms integrate to create a larger, custom business platform that helps your business run smoothly.
SaaS apps make managing everything from communication to marketing, to billing, all happen across a seamless workflow. Many of the platforms I have mentioned here will help your business thrive as they do for ours.
Here at ServerMania, we help SaaS companies keep their platforms online without any concerns. If your business is scaling and looking for secure, affordable server space, get in touch with us. We are trusted by companies the world over to keep the backend of their business running smoothly, and we're good at what we do.
Learn How to Choose the Right SaaS Hosting for your company. We offer a variety of options to fit any company's needs. We'll handle the tech, while you handle the customers.
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