Top Free & Paid SaaS Tools for Startups to Power Business Growth
Believe it or not, running a Startup is a full-time hustle. Initially, when you don’t have a significant number of employees, you can find workarounds with online tools to carry out your daily tasks like developing a product, marketing, and selling.
But as you grow, you have to put up with a lot!
- You have to scavenge for the best resources who are in-line with your goals and who have the same vigor as you hold for your company.
- You have to test and try various software and tools for team communication or to maintain customer relations and provide customer support.
As a startup, you might not always have the fundings that can cope up with all the resources that you have at your disposal.
This is where Saas Products come to your resort!
What is SaaS?
SaaS refers to Software as a Service. This model of using Software and Tools is quite popular due to its flexibility and robustness apart from other reasons. With SaaS, you don’t have to deploy costly software into your desktop-based systems. You can easily use these tools online through web browsers.
SaaS as a Solution for Startups
There are many reasons for endorsing the use of SaaS tools for startups. The following points will sum-up this assertion:
- Cost-effective use: SaaS is based on a pay-as-you-use pricing model. You can get a subscription for the tools as and when you require it. You don’t have to invest hefty amounts into installing the software at your end. And when you feel that there’s a better alternative to the services offered or that you don’t need this service anymore, you can cancel your subscription.
- Ease of scaling business: Business is about keeping the horizons of growth open. With SaaS, you can easily scale your business without the hassle of getting a whole team hired to process multiple desktop-based systems for the installation of software. As your clients will grow, so will your resources. In that case, you can buy a SaaS package that supports more number of users and increased functionalities.
- Quick Updates: SaaS platforms provide updates in the products quite frequently to improve the features. So when you are using SaaS tools, you get the updates on-the-go and don’t have to wait for installation. Also, these features can be used without paying an extra penny.
- Timely Maintenance & Service: When you are using SaaS tools, you don’t have to worry about their maintenance and service. The service providers look after all your requirements once you purchase a package.
- Access on-the-go: You can access these tools through a browser. Hence, you can use it on-the-go whenever and wherever you want from any device.
Now that you know the perks of SaaS products, let me tell you about the ones that you will need to manage your startup. I have segmented the tools as per their usage. Initially, you will not need all of these at a time. But as you expand and grow, you will be able to make sense of these tools yourself.
Types of SaaS Tools for Startups
- Project Management
- Team Communication
- Financial Management
- Customer Support
- Customer Relationship Management
- Email Marketing Tools
- Social Media Management
- Marketing Analysis
- Webinar software
- Team Collaboration
Project Management SaaS Tools
Trello is one of the most widely used project management SaaS tools. Even folks at the tech-giants like Google and Adobe use Trello. It is because this online SaaS tool is quite simple to use.
Project Managers can create boards on Trello and add team members to collaborate on the tasks assigned. Managers can also keep a deadline and a task checkbox to track work progress.
Trello can be used for free, and you can add as many members as you want apart from creating multiple project boards too.
They pride themselves as the best remote project management tool during COVID-19! And if you take a look at the user interface of Basecamp, you will learn that it’s actually quite simple.
In Basecamp, you can create projects and store all the details related to the project within the project board. It is ideal for teams and individuals alike. You get a track of every interaction on the project that includes communication, files, team schedules, etc.
You can use the 30-day trial before upgrading to its paid version. For personal use, you can get the features for free.
Owing to work from home during this pandemic outbreak, it is quite natural to worry that your team won’t be productive. Entrepreneurial slumber has its fair-share too while working at home. But Slack is here to help you out.
It’s challenging to get things done with long email chains. And the chances of missing out on emails are always on the table. With Slack, you can ensure that your entire team is in the loop and on the same page.
Slack has a channelized structure for communication. You can create teams project-wise and task-wise. You can also bring together different channels to enable communication among multiple teams.
Apart from organized collaborations, Slack can be easily integrated with the other tools that you use in your startup. You can use its basic features for free.
With Confluence, you have congruence. Have your teams collaborate seamlessly through an easy flow of information using Confluence. This tool enables your resources to streamline their work through organized templates that can store project information and communication.
When you have Confluence at your disposal, you can track the work of your employees and provide constructive work feedback within the contextual thread. The system is highly secure and easy to scale.
You can use this tool for free up to ten users, and you get a storage space of 2 GB along with community support for workarounds. As you grow, you can purchase the Standard or Premium packages as per your requirements.
With fewer resources, you can manage the accounts of employees manually. But even then, keeping track of your net income and profits is a cumbersome task. QuickBooks is an ideal accounting tool for startups and small scale businesses.
You can easily keep a log of the due payments, payments to employees, and manage company accounts without much hassle. With a user-friendly interface, you can efficiently work with QuickBooks without any prior knowledge in financial management.
QuickBooks can also be integrated with third-party tools like tax calculators. This helps your employees too in figuring out their tax returns and managing their accounts. To check its resourcefulness, you can use the 30 days trial version, and if it fits well for you, upgrade it as per your usage.
Organize your business payments with Xero. You can easily generate invoices and use this online accounting tool and send it across to your clients.
Xero allows its users to fetch bank statements to manage accounting. You can also schedule monthly payments for your staff using Xero.
One of the exciting features of Xero is real-time data reports of your company accounting details. This helps you in identifying loopholes, if any.
You can also track the expenses that are not giving desirable returns. This can be used to make better future investment decisions.
With Xero, you get a lot of additional plug-ins too like Spendesk’s expense management integration for Xero, which instantly sends employee purchases to Xero. These can be used as per your business requirements.
As you grow in your capacity to provide service to a broader range of audience, you must have a customer support team to look after the queries of your customer. Freshdesk is one of the best help desk ticketing software for small scale businesses and startups.
The free version of Freshdesk can help you to log tickets for unlimited users. It supports over 30 different languages and serves across global time zones.
This online customer support tool for startups is ideal for those businesses that have multiple products for customers.
Your customer support team can easily log tickets, add notes, take follow-ups and escalate tickets with the help of Freshdesk. When you scale your business, you can go for its paid version too that has additional features.
Outseta has been recognized as the perfect fit for startups who are paving the way for providing customer support. It has a simple user interface, and this makes it easier for startups as any additional training is not required to get employees to use it.
This online SaaS tool for customer support has built-in platforms to take care of your business requirements like CRM, Email Marketing, Reporting, Knowledge Base, etc.
Outseta can be used for free, and it can serve companies with a customer support staff of up to 10 members.
Document360 lets you build self-service knowledge bases for your customers which helps to reduce the support ticket to some notable level. Its most powerful features include ticket deflector, knowledge base assistant, version control, robust categorization. With multilingual support, it is easy to provide relevant information to your global clients.
The real-time AI search capabilities provide your customers with relevant material that will reduce the demand for support employees. Document360 also includes an easy-to-use interface and a pleasant user experience. It increases your support agent’s productivity by offering a wide variety of integrations like Zendesk, Freshdesk, Intercom, Drift, and many more.
Customer Relationship Management
Known for its highly customizable solutions, Pipedrive is quite a user-friendly CRM tool. It empowers your team with a visual pipeline for sales that can be tracked to engage with the potential audience.
You can boost your email marketing after seeing user interaction in sales pipelines using Pipedrive. Startups can also get the app version of Pipedrive on Android and iOS.
Pipedrive can seamlessly integrate with other tools that you use through plug-ins and open source APIs. You can buy the Pipedrive plan that best fits your requirements, but one thing is assured, it won’t burn a hole in your pocket!
You can track and nurture your leads as per their interaction in the sales funnel available through Freshsales. Startups can make the most of this tool as it is available at a comparatively lower cost than other CRMs in the market.
You get a 21-day trial for Freshsales, and if you think you’ve got your thing, upgrade the package that fulfills your requirements.
Top10VoIPList is a listing of VoIP software. It having tested 300 VoIP Service Providers. This tool will help you identify the best VoIP phone system for your needs, and connect you with prescreened VoIP providers.
CallHippo is a cloud-based virtual phone system provider. A virtual number is one tool that can be proved as a hidden blessing. Though it seems a mere means of communication, the way it simplifies day-to-day struggles and operations is very commendable. There is hardly any sales aspect that can’t be handled with the virtual phone system. Be it generating more leads or exploring new markets. Everything can be done perfectly with its help.
Social Media Management
Hootsuite is a one-stop solution when it comes to managing social media platforms. And when you are a startup, you can’t neglect these platforms where your potential audience is hanging out.
You can get all your social media handles on Hootsuite and manage them from this single interface.
The key features include scheduling social media posts, filtering conversations, analyzing post performances, and managing your content across social media.
You can also find trending content that is highly engaged by audiences through Hootsuite. This can be tailored as per your services and products to generate social media posts for your brand.
Utilize the 30-day trial version to see if Hootsuite suits you!
This is more than just a social media scheduling tool. You get a lot of interesting features with Buffer like planning your social media campaigns and tracking its results, along with building an online community with your audience.
Buffer helps you to plan out your social media stories, paid promotions, hashtag utilization, manage your mentions and tags, etc. You can also generate reports to check the performance of your posts to get insights for future content strategies.
Use the 14-day free trial of Buffer, and then if it works for you, get the package that fits your business.
As a startup, you must have marketing analysis tools and plugins to get your hands on the information about the people who are visiting your site. Not only this, but you must also know who they are, where they are based out of, their preferences, and behavior patterns.
This real-time data of the audience that visits your website or signs-up for free trials will help you in figuring out your marketing campaign strategies. Marketo provides you the functionalities to carry out all the tasks mentioned above.
It is more suitable when you are a B2B company, and upgrading to the paid version can get you a lot of leads that can be nurtured for conversions.
Coupler.io is a reliable and secure importer of data from various applications into Google Sheets. Set up your data flow and forget about manual copy-pasting. An optional app will do the job for you.
Set up custom timings to automatically update your data on an hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis. Import data from various apps into Google Sheets to take advantage of multiple reporting options. Stop installing new add-ons every time you add a new app.
Optimizely is, in the real sense, an optimizer that enables startups to plan and market their digital campaigns with thorough testing tools. You can plan and design campaigns targeting new customers and retaining the ones that already exist.
With detailed real-time customer insights, you can learn about the channels that are bringing in more customers. Using Optimizely, you can also know about the customers that have higher Lifetime Value so that they can be further nurtured for retention.
Check out the various plans that it has in store for small businesses so that you can generate more conversions through optimized campaigns.
If you want to stop spending money on expensive ads, go ahead and make the best of what you already have. Omniconvert helps you to improve your online sales through A/B testing, Overlays, Personalization, and Surveys, all in one place.
Whether you want to find the winning variation of your website, personalize user experience, or get insights from your visitors & customers, Omniconvert is the conversion optimization tool that can help your eCommerce. It eliminates guessing when experimenting on your website and helps you improve the customer experience.
- Google Analytics:
When running marketing campaigns, you always need to measure the results you get from them. And there is no better tool than Google Analytics for this to build really functional websites.
It is free, powerful and allows you to get precious information about your marketing campaigns.
The basic pageview tracking is easy to install and offers lots of useful information by default, but for more advanced tracking like contact form submissions or ecommerce tracking, you might need the help of a Google Analytics specialist.
But no matter who installs your tracking, one thing is sure: having Google Analytics added on your site is a must for any startup. After all, you don’t want to miss the big spike in traffic you might get after a famous publication mentions your startup on their blog.
Customer Experience Management
- Zonka Feedback
Zonka Feedback is a leading Feedback Survey Software and Customer Experience Management platform. It is very easy to set up and use and works across various channels like email, SMS, website, Android tablets, and smartphones.
With Zonka Feedback, you can create customized surveys of various types to collect feedback from your customers and send them through multiple channels. You get real-time notifications for survey responses and can convert feedback into tasks for your teams to take action and close the feedback loop to prevent customer churn. You can also measure CX metrics like Net Promoter Score, Customer Satisfaction, and Customer Effort Score; and get analytical reports also in real-time.
The tool can work offline too by saving response data for weeks without the internet and automatically syncs all the data when your device is connected to the internet. You can try it 15 for 15 days. If you like the tool, you can opt among its paid plans like Professional, Growth, Enterprise, and Custom Plan.
ProofHub is an all-in-one SaaS project management and team collaboration tool that allows managers to handle multiple projects at the same time. It is a web-based tool that helps project teams prioritize and sequence their tasks by offering a wide range of powerful tools under one virtual roof.
ProofHub ensures timely completion and successful delivery of your tasks through efficient task management, smart time management, and structured file management solutions. You can organize and visualize your tasks using Kanban boards and table view, making it easy for managers to analyze and evaluate task progress.
The Gantt chart features help you keep track of all the project timelines and dependencies allowing managers to simplify any complex set of tasks.
ProofHub’s Group Discussions, @Mentions, Chat function, and Real-Time Updates help project teams to communicate and collaborate better.
You can always opt for a 14-day free trial of ProofHub; if it works well, you can switch to the Ultimate control plan.
The SaaS tools for startups mentioned above are just a drop in the ocean that forms all the tools available for a wide range of purposes to help grow your business. These are the ones that are highly useful for small-scale businesses as they are easy to use and don’t require much training.
Also, they are pocket-friendly solutions that can be afforded by startups when they are just venturing out as beginners.
But make sure that you explore enough and experiment to see which ones work for you!