According to data gathered by Siftery, a tool that tracks and suggests software used by businesses, 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.
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.
The reality is, it takes a lot of products and services to run a growing startup, let alone a large organization (which use an average of nearly 90 different tools according to Siftery).
While software may, in fact, be "eating our world", nobody can argue the impact it has had on the efficiency of starting and growing a business today.
With that in mind, here are 24 must-have tools for any growing business:
Accounting & Finance
Expensify removes almost all the most painful parts of submitting expense requests. Gone are the days of expense report hell. Yeehaw!
Sure you can make simple invoices in a number of ways but tracking them can become a pain, and Freshbooks makes that easy (and beautiful in the process). Your larger enterprise (or international) customers will appreciate it.
While invoicing isn't their greatest feature, you have to keep your books somewhere. QuickBooks works well enough and is deeply integrated with many other tools to make them a must-have.
You have to have that 800 number, right? Well, maybe not, but having phone number out there to engage with customers and prospects who prefer this method of contact is important. 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.
If you do business on the web, this tool records the sessions of your users and will come in very handy when needing to resolve user support issues and for improving the user experience.
This tool has been quickly dominating the world. We live in a time of instant answers and that's what customers have come to expect. Intercom has built a product that allows you to help customers while they're in the app, address immediate concerns and push out effective notifications.
Net Promoter isn't just a trend, it's an essential process to understand the sentiment of your customers on a continual basis. Up to 50% of company revenue comes from customer referrals, so identifying and engaging with your biggest advocates (and detractors) is paramount.
If you send out lots of emails per month to countless email clients, this is a must. Testing and rendering your emails across the most popular clients, apps, and devices will be critical
A great domain management platform with "cheap" rates, for when you need to register every possible variation of your brand or product name :)
Excellent cap table and digital certificate management, plus a reliable 409A valuation service. Great for investors, advisors and employees as well.
For when you don't need the full power of Microsoft Office, or easier collaboration :)
Gusto is hands down one of the most valuable tools available for small to medium size businesses. 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.
They've made faxing fun again, sort of. :)
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.
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).
Simply put, Zapier is the most powerful platform for connecting different software and data together. This single tool can help you connect nearly all of your tools together so they can work as one.
Sales & Marketing
Retargeting is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to capture new revenue. And, Adroll is the best tool for doing it. It's easy to use, works across multiple channels and has robust options as you advance your campaigns. It's a staple in a marketing arsenal.
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).
Clearbit provides "integrated intelligence for every stage of your sales & marketing workflow", and let me tell you, it's quite magical. The data you're able to surface will help you understand your customers and prospects better so you can deliver a superior level of service along with driving up conversion rates.
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. ConvertKit has got just about everything covered when it comes to email. From weekly newsletters to intelligent on-boarding sequences, this fast-growing tool/company has quickly become a must-have.
Join.me allows you to reliably hold meetings with audio conference lines globally and reliable screen sharing. 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!
A great (and simple) sales-focused CRM which helps keep your 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.
If content is a huge part of your marketing strategy, 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.
With paid acquisition, it's important to remember that your primary website copy won't necessarily work to convert every audience equally. That's where Unbounce comes in. Creating unique landing pages that match both the audience and the messaging you're using within your ads is essential to increasing your conversations and reducing your cost per acquisition (CPA).
Do you use any great tools or services that weren't mentioned here? Let me know in the comments below!