SaaS Tools to Jumpstart Your Business Growth: Five Essential Apps
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) tools automate your business functions, fueling your growth by increasing efficiency. For customer success teams, SaaS tools serve to optimize the customer life cycle, improving your marketing, sales, and customer service to deliver better results to clients. This promotes higher customer satisfaction and retention, elevating sales and increasing revenue.
Here we’ll guide you through the essential SaaS tools you need for business growth. First, we’ll define SaaS tools and explain how they connect with your customer lifecycle. Then we’ll look at five critical categories of SaaS applications and review some specific providers. Finally, we’ll suggest three SaaS products suited explicitly for startups.
What Are SaaS Tools?
Software-as-a-Service tools are apps that are hosted remotely and accessed through the cloud rather than installed on-premise. They usually are licensed through a subscription sales model. This allows providers to assume responsibility for hosting, technical support, and upgrades, increasing efficiency and cutting costs.
Businesses use SaaS tools for purposes such as:
- Process automation
- Customer success
- Data analysis
- Financial planning
- Document management
- Managing internal and external communications
- Marketing and sales
- Onboarding automation
- Delivering user-friendly app access
- Customizing customer service
- Software integrations
- Payment processing
Virtually any on-premise software application businesses use can be delivered through a SaaS model. For example, SaaS management tools, SaaS testing tools for IT teams, and SaaS security tools. Here we’ll focus on SaaS tools for customer-facing business processes relevant to customer success teams.
Tying SaaS Tools into the Customer Lifecycle
To best understand where the different categories of tools fit, it’s best to look at the various stages of the customer lifecycle as clients progress from early prospects to mature customers.
Here are some commonly used customer lifecycle terms:
- Visitor: Anonymous user on the website.
- Lead: Person who has expressed some interest in the service. This can be anything from downloading a white paper to signing up for a trial.
- Evaluating: A user or company actively assesses the service, usually during a trial or freemium period
- Onboarding: A paying customer in the initial usage period
- Mature: A paying customer who has been loyal to the service beyond the initial usage period
With these definitions in mind, it’s easier to associate solutions and tools to help carry customers through every phase of their lifecycle.
Five Essential SaaS Tools for Business Growth
Keeping the customer lifecycle in mind, let’s look at five major categories of SaaS tools that promote business growth.
1. SaaS Customer Success Tool
A customer success SaaS tool helps you deliver desired outcomes to clients to promote higher satisfaction with your product so that they are more likely to make repeat purchases and refer your brand to others. Customer success platforms achieve this by using features such as optimized workflows, key performance indicators (KPIs), and monitoring tools to trigger workflows based on KPI data. This drives growth by ensuring customers’ expectations of your product are consistent with their experience.
Customer success tools primarily serve customer success teams, helping automate CS processes, reduce labor, and free team members to focus on cases that require manual attention. They also help CS teams scale up successful standard operating procedures, allowing them to serve more customers, which promotes revenue growth.
Select List of SaaS Customer Success Solutions
Totango empowers customer service teams to design and run any customer journey at scale and accelerate customer success using an all-in-one interface.
Key Features: Totango takes a modular approach to customer success by packaging solutions into SuccessBLOCs: customer journey toolkits tailored for specific customer journey stages. Each SuccessBLOC comes with built-in optimized workflows, KPIs, monitoring tools, and customer segmentation tools, allowing workflows to be personalized for each customer based on their KPI data. You can track customer health and take steps to increase customer satisfaction.
Pros: Totango’s customizable templates let CS teams get customer journey strategies up and running in minutes. Support for integration with dozens of major SaaS apps makes set-up simple.
2. SaaS CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Solution
CRM is a common way to keep a reference of all customers’ lifecycle stages. CRM organizes all contacts’ information and account details in a single database, so you must select a tool that fits your needs and can grow with you.
Your CRM software will be the main working software of your inside sales teams as they organize account work mainly during the sales lifecycle phases.
Select List of CRM solutions
Salesforce uses artificial intelligence to provide an all-in-one cloud-based platform for managing customer relationships and sales teams. Its platform is designed to increase sales representative productivity, accelerate the sales process, and increase revenue across all channels.
Key Features: Salesforce includes features to help sales teams track opportunities and automate everyday sales tasks. Analytics features let teams forecast pipeline growth. Add-on tools manage billing, sales engagement, and territory planning.
Pros: Salesforce combines functionality with a user-friendly interface and customization capability.
HubSpot offers CRM tools for different teams, including sales managers, sales representatives, marketers, customer service teams, operations managers, and business owners. Tools include freemium and premium options, with some packages suitable for small businesses and others for enterprise users.
Key Features: HubSpot’s sales CRM tool includes features for contact management, call tracking, company insights, and pipeline management. The CRM tool for sales managers includes reporting features designed to help teams meet quotas.
Pros: HubSpot’s sales CRM tools help teams increase productivity by replacing manual spreadsheet CRM management with AI-powered automation.
3. SaaS Marketing Automation Tool
Marketing automation takes you beyond basic web properties. It aims to help you interact, build and cultivate a relationship with leads so they ultimately can be passed on to your sales team and convert to happy customers.
This is your marketing team’s main toy!
Select List of SaaS Marketing Automation tools
Hubspot also offers an all-in-one SaaS growth marketing platform to automate the tasks of attracting and converting leads and strategically analyzing data.
Key Features: Hubspot’s platform includes tools for managing all major marketing channels, including blogging, SEO, ads, social media, videos, and live chat. Lead conversion tools include landing pages, email templates, automated marketing workflows, and account-based marketing (ABM) tools. Reporting tools help track return on investment.
Pros: Hubspot combines many marketing tools in one convenient, user-friendly interface.
The Marketo Engage marketing automation platform, owned by Adobe, is designed to deliver measurable marketing results which keep customers engaged and coming back.
Key Features: Marketo includes features to attract and convert prospects, grow customer relationships, manage marketing campaigns, and cultivate sales opportunities.
Pros: Marketo takes a data-driven approach to marketing automation which supports hyper-targeted segmentation and personalization. Other advantages include a modular design that lets you use what you need and native integration with Salesforce.
Eloqua is Oracle’s marketing automation platform. It is designed to integrate marketing and sales data for cross-channel B2B marketing and lead nurturing throughout the buying process.
Key Features: Eloqua’s AI-powered platform includes campaign orchestration tools to adapt experiences to buyer activity. This is achieved through segmentation and targeting features. Lead management tools allow teams to score and prioritize leads. Asset management tools help teams design engaging landing pages, email templates, and forms. KPIs track performance. Eloqua integrates sales and marketing data. It functions within Oracle’s more extensive suite of cloud products, allowing for modular add-on functionality.
Pros: Eloqua provides enterprise users with a robust tool that is easy to set up and intuitive to use.
4. SaaS Analytics Tools
Web analytics tools keep track of visitor activity on your website and various other marketing properties; this is where you keep track of your top-tier leads funnel, measure the initial success of marketing and advertising programs, and work to improve visitors’ experience with your products’ properties.
Mainly the marketing team, though other users in the organization (product team, IT) will also need to use it.
Select List of SaaS Analytics Tools
Google Analytics lets businesses track and analyze web traffic and is designed to support users of Google’s advertising and publishing products.
Key Features: Google Analytics provides dashboards and SaaS reporting tools that let users track traffic and analyze KPIs, including traffic volume, sources of traffic, and duration of visits. It integrates with Google Ads for advertising campaign management, allowing it to be used to set campaign goals and track progress.
Pros: One of today’s most important SaaS SEO tools, Google Analytics is strong at tracking traffic and measuring performance.
5. SaaS Customer Support Tools
Customer support tools help customer service teams deliver online support, automate everyday support tasks, and track performance. They drive growth by improving support efficiency, reducing customer wait times, and increasing customer satisfaction.
Customer support teams are the primary consumers of this software category.
Select List of SaaS Customer Support Solutions
Intercom allows teams to deliver real-time cloud-based support through in-app, online, or mobile messaging.
Key Features: Support features include personalized support, live messaging, and follow-ups for dropped messages. Intercom also supports self-service tools, including FAQs, knowledge base articles, and interactive product walkthroughs.
Pros: Intercom speeds up support through automated workflows and personalized delivery. Its product tours help reduce support issues.
Jira Service Management, an Atlassian product, is a project management tool initially designed for use by software teams for bug tracking. It works well for delivering both internal and external support.
Key Features: Jira provides a central interface that can be used to manage work across teams so both employees and customers can quickly get help. It includes tools to manage knowledge databases, track tickets, and analyze incidents to make adjustments and improvements. It supports the creation of smart forms for customer support portals and requests, which can be designed without coding knowledge.
Pros: Jira makes it easy to manage tickets and automatically route requests. It supports integration with popular software apps and is easy to scale.
Three Top SaaS Tools For Startup Businesses
Many startups begin with homegrown solutions using spreadsheets and databases (with some integration glue). This is sufficient for small scale but quickly becomes unwieldy as the organization grows. Luckily, there are excellent tools available for SaaS companies to streamline their manual processes.
Many vendors have a “starter” package, so there is no excuse not to start building your tool chest sooner rather than later. Here are a few tools that are ideal for startups:
- Totango: Totango supports customer success for growing businesses by providing modular toolkits which combine optimized workflows with KPIs and monitoring tools to trigger the proper workflows at the right moment in your customer journey. Totango is free forever for startups and offers a startup webinar. Totango can be your one-stop shop for CRM, marketing automation, and analytics, providing everything you need for growth except for customer support software.
- Zapier: Zapier lets you create customized automated workflows by linking apps together. Over 5,000 apps are supported. Zapier offers a starter discount with a free 14-day trial.
- Slack: Slack provides a communication and collaboration tool modeled on social media platforms and designed as an improvement on email collaboration. Slack offers a free plan as well as a nonprofit discount.
Drive Business Growth with the Right SaaS Tools
Choosing the right SaaS tools equips your business for sustained growth. The right customer success software can serve to optimize your use of the other tools described here. Totango is designed to integrate with other popular SaaS tools and provide a fast path toward high customer satisfaction and vigorous growth. See a live demo or try it free to see what the right customer success SaaS tool can do for your business growth.