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- What is a SaaS tool?
- Team communications
- Project management and workflows
- Accounting and financial tools
- Investor relationship management
- Search engine optimization
- Data and analytics
- Human resources and payroll
Building a startup is difficult. Being a founder can feel impossible. On top of finding top talent, closing customers, building a product, and securing funding for their startup, founders need to make sure their team is equipped with the tools and resources they need.
Over the last 20 years, the startup world has transformed. As the internet has become widely available the tools available to startup teams have been greatly improved (and become more accessible). Since 2020, the SaaS tools and resources available to startup teams have taken on another round of innovation as more startups look to remote or hybrid work.
Related Resource: Top SaaS Products for Startups
Learn more about the most popular SaaS tools that productive startup teams are using below:
What is a SaaS tool?
According to Salesforce, one of the first SaaS tools, “Software as a service (SaaS) is a way of delivering applications remotely over the internet instead of locally on machines (known as “on-premise” software). SaaS applications are also known as:
As the name suggests, SaaS transforms software from a product that’s purchased — a commodity that you buy once and download to your device — into a service that’s rendered: a set of capabilities that you subscribe to.”
Related Resource: The SaaS Business Model: How and Why it Works
As a SaaS tool doesn’t require physical space, it has enabled startups to leverage best-in-class software from anywhere in the world. Learn more about the most popular SaaS tools for startups below:
At the core of every strong startup team is strong communication. As more teams move to a remote or hybrid environment, the importance of communication has been heightened. Teams that are intentional about communication while working remotely will set themselves up for success. Learn more about the most popular SaaS team communication tools below:
Slack has become synonymous with startups. Remote or not, startups are leveraging Slack to communicate with their team members. With enhanced permissions and a solid suite of integrations, Slack (or a similar messaging tool) has almost become table stakes for modern communication. Learn more about Slack here.
Going hand in hand with the explosion of remote work has been Zoom. Now a verb in everyday life — Zoom has transformed the way startups work. Zoom is an easy-to-use video conferencing tool that is generally the standard. Most attendants will be familiar with Zoom and are comfortable getting on a Zoom call. Learn more about Zoom here.
Project management and workflows
One of the main differentiators of a startup is the ability to move quickly. In order to best build products, launch campaigns, and move quickly, startups need a tool in place to stay organized. Project management and workflow tools can be key to staying on top of ongoing projects and development.
Learn more about the most popular project management and workflow tools below:
Asana has been a popular project management and workflow tool amongst startups for years. As they put it, “Teams use Asana to easily connect people, processes, and cross-functional teamwork in one place. Yep—more efficiency, without the meetings.” Learn more about Asana here.
Trello is another popular project management tool amongst startups. As the team at Trello puts it, “Collaborate, manage projects, and reach new productivity peaks. From high rises to the home office, the way your team works is unique—accomplish it all with Trello.” Learn more about Trello here.
5. Google Workspace
Google Workspace is an all-in-one tool that startups commonly leverage. Workspace is a suite of popular tools that can help teams with everything from email to organization to meetings. As the team at Google puts it, “Google Workspace business solutions seamlessly integrate everything you and your team need to get anything done, all in one place.” Learn more about Google Workspace here.
Marketing and Social Media Management
As the internet has changed the way startup teams work, it has also changed the way customers interact with businesses and brands. Most startups have an online presence and can leverage tools to help with all aspects of their online marketing efforts. Marketing tools can help with everything from email to website building to social media.
Learn more about the most popular marketing and social media management tools below:
SEMrush has become synonymous with content marketing for startups. The all-in-one tool helps with all things content — everything from SEO to social media marketing. As the team at SEMrush puts it, “Do SEO, content marketing, competitor research, PPC, and social media marketing from just one platform.” Learn more about SEMrush here.
HubSpot is one of the largest sales and marketing tools for startups. HubSpot covers everything from a sales CRM to email marketing to landing page creation. As the team at HubSpot puts it, “HubSpot’s CRM platform has all the tools and integrations you need for marketing, sales, content management, and customer service. Each product in the platform is powerful alone, but the real magic happens when you use them together.” Learn more about HubSpot here.
Mailchimp is a popular tool to help startups distribute marketing emails. The robust email marketing tool scales well with startups as well. As the team at Mailchimp puts it, “Win new customers with the #1 email marketing and automation brand* that recommends ways to get more opens, clicks, and sales.” Learn more about Mailchimp here.
9. Sprout Social
Sprout Social is a dedicated tool to help companies level up their social media marketing. As the team at Sprout Social puts it, “Our all-in-one social media management platform unlocks the full potential of social to transform not just your marketing strategy—but every area of your organization.” Learn more about Sprout Social here.
Canva offers design tools that anyone can use — regardless of their design skills. Canva can help marketing teams create assets for their marketing site, email campaigns, social media, and more. As the team at Canva puts it, “Canva makes it easy to create professional designs and to share or print them.” Learn more about Canva here.
Accounting and financial tools
Startup leaders need to have a pulse on where their business is at financially. In order to do this, most startups need to implement a bookkeeping or accounting tool (you can use a professional firm to help with this). These tools generally plug into your other tools and help give you an overview of your different financial statements.
Learn more about popular accounting and financial tools below:
Quickbooks is the defacto name in accounting and financial software. Quickbooks offers an array of products and tools to help with all aspects of accounting and finance. As put by the team at Quickbooks, “Easily track income, expenses, and more with accounting software designed for all kinds of businesses.” Learn more about Quickbooks here.
Xero is the new kid on the block when it comes to accounting tools. As the team at Xero puts it, “Run your business on Xero’s fast, simple, powerful online accounting software.” Learn more about Xero here.
Investor relationship management
Leveraging the resources around you is a surefire way to help grow your business. For many founders, their investors can be a great source to help with fundraising, hiring, and developing your business strategy. Many times, investors have networks and resources that founders can tap into. To best do this, founders need to have a way to regularly communicate with their investors to build their relationships and trust. Learn more below:
If you’re a startup that has taken on outside funding it is important to have a game plan in place to report and communicate with your investors. This will not only improve your odds of raising follow-on funding but will allow you to lean on investors for help with hiring, strategy, and more.
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Search engine optimization
Marketing teams that run a more robust content program, they might need dedicated tools to stay on top of their approach. For example, teams that leverage organic search as a channel will want to leverage tools that can help them stay on top of their content efforts.
Learn more about the most popular search engine optimization tools below:
Ahrefs is an all-in-one analytics tool to help marketers track their organic search efforts. As the team at Ahrefs puts it, “Ahrefs is everything you need to rank higher & get more traffic.” Learn more about Ahrefs here.
Moz is another tool that helps marketers with all aspects of their content marketing efforts. As the team at Moz puts it, “SEO software and data to help you increase traffic, rankings, and visibility in search results.” Learn more about Moz here.
Data & Analytics
As the old adage goes, “you can’t improve what you don’t measure.” Having a way to track and monitor key metrics and data is a must for modern startups. This might look different for companies at different stages. For example, a more mature product or startup might require more advanced analytics and tracking than a startup with no customers yet.
Related Resource: Our Ultimate Guide to SaaS Metrics
Learn more about the most popular data analytics tools below:
16. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a must-have for any startup that leverages its website for attracting new customers. With Google Analytics you’ll be able to slice and dice different website data to see how visitors are interacting with your content. Learn more about Google Analytics here.
Segment is a leader in customer data. With their suite of tools and APIs, startups can leverage Segment to collect and analyze data about their customers. As the team at Segment puts it, “Segment collects events from your web & mobile apps and provides a complete data toolkit to every team in your company.” Learn more about Segment here.
Human resources and payroll
On top of recruiting and hiring top talent, startup leaders need a way to manage their human resources and payroll. Luckily, there are countless SaaS tools that can help leaders with everything from benefits to payroll.
Learn more about the most popular human resource and payroll tools below:
BambooHR is an all-in-one tool that helps startups with all aspects of human resources. BambooHR comes with tools to help with everything from hiring to onboarding to compensation. As the team at BambooHR puts it, “Create a great place to work at every stage of growth with all-in-one software from BambooHR.” Learn more about BambooHR here.
Gusto is a leader in payroll solutions. Gusto’s bread and butter is payroll and benefits for startups. As the team at Gusto puts it, “A well-supported team is the key to a successful business. With Gusto’s easy-to-use platform, you can empower your people and push your business forward.” Learn more about Gusto here.
ADP has been in the payroll and HR business for a while. As the team at ADP puts it, “Fast, easy, accurate payroll and tax, so you can save time and money.” Learn more about ADP here.
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Related Resource: The Understandable Guide to Startup Funding Stages
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