As a startup founder, you have little time to meddle with the day-to-day mundane tasks that should happen on cue
There is no single tool that will help you do everything. If someone sells you a product like that, pick your stuff and run in the other direction
We did an extensive survey of almost 75 founders across the globe, before we zeroed in on these tools
A formula 1 racing car is the epitome of engineering and design. It looks like a complete package of brute power and aesthetic design. Almost like a single piece of powerful equipment.
But, did you know that there are at least 80,000 components in a Formula racing car. You may not see them at work. But, every single component is critical to thrusting the car forward at lightning speed.
Similarly, a successful startup also runs smoothly with the tools that its founders and employees use. Without the right tools, the startup cannot function the way it is desired too. It will just stall.
Why Does Your Startup Need The Right Tools?
As a startup founder, you have little time to meddle with the day-to-day mundane tasks that should happen on cue. It is impractical to spend time doing manual chores. Also, the right tools can simplify the process, automate a large chunk of manual work, and also make your work more productive.
The challenge is in identifying and investing in the right tools. You don’t need all the tools of an enterprise to run the show. However, you do need the right-sized toolkit that will let you do everything without straining your budget. Productive tools do not come for free!
Well, don’t scratch your head in confusion. We are bringing this article to you to help you determine what kind of tools you need and which are the best ones that are available in the market right now.
The Many Categories Of Startup Tools
There is no single tool that will help you do everything. If someone sells you a product like that, pick your stuff and run in the other direction.
Your startup, or for the matter of any business that wants to run efficiently needs a toolkit, not a single tool. All these stools belong to several categories. If you visit peer-to-peer review websites, you will get a fair idea of how tools are usually categorized and on what basis they are evaluated. If you are short on time, here is a quick gist of the tool categories. Also, we have compiled a list of tools you should consider in the same category.
How did we zero in on these tools? We did an extensive survey of almost 75 founders across the globe. These are founders who have been using most of these tools for a while and hence are qualified to comment on their utility. Their recommendations will help you make the right decision as well.
So, here you go. The tools you need to crush your startup goals in 2021. Navigate this article with the help of these interlinks.
Sales & CRM
Equip your sales team with the right tools and they will start filling your coffers soon enough. Sales are not just cold calling and email outreach. There is a lot more to it. Also, it is a complicated function.
Without the right tools, your sales teams will be going around in circles without closing deals and losing precious time. If your startup is funded by a VC, you will soon start getting questions on the sales velocity.
That said, there is no single perfect sales and CRM tool. There are several offerings in the market that can solve most of your problems.
NetHunt CRM is a sales automation tool that lives inside Gmail. It covers the full set of features to capture leads, organize customer data, track sales progress with a visualized sales funnel, automate workflows, and much more. NetHunt provides extended email functionality so that you could send bulk email campaigns, set up email sequences, and analyze their performance. Also, NetHunt lets you customize their CRM to meet your needs.
BIGContacts is the perfect customer relationship management tool you can add to your list of startup tools. This CRM platform can help you manage your sales pipeline while enabling you to keep a track of all the customer request tasks in one place. As a simple CRM software, BIGContacts also helps you to run your email marketing and drip campaigns smoothly, therefore helping your startup nurture your qualified leads into customers.
Sales Enablement Tools
SalesHandy is a sales outreach and engagement platform for SDRs, AEs, and anyone who uses emails for day-to-day outbound sales operations. It helps you personalize outreach emails using mail merge, along with tracking opens, clicks, responses to trigger user behavioral automated follow up emails. Other features include an email verification add-on, custom tracking links, and integration with 3000+ apps using Zapier.
Mailshake is a sales engagement platform that helps professionals create highly personalized outreach cadences using email (via your personal email account), social, and phone. With Mailshake, you can upload a list of prospects with personalization fields like name, links to social profiles, phone numbers, and even fully personalized sentences and paragraphs.
Vainu is building a Sales Intelligence platform that helps salespeople and marketers move forward. Powered by technology to collect, read, and understand all company information ever written, Vainu makes these real-time company insights easily consumable directly in its customers’ existing business systems.
FindThatLead is an email finder tool that can provide you with all the emails you need in just a couple of clicks.
You can use FindThatLead to search for personal and professional email addresses, one by one or in bulk mode, in a free and effective way, or with a great subscription offer for marketers and entrepreneurs.
Better Proposals is a simple and effective online proposal software. It helps create professional, well-designed modern proposals faster and gives you all the tools you need to win the job as quickly as possible. Knowing when your proposals are opened, forwarded and downloaded helps you follow up at exactly the right time in the most appropriate way.
Prospero lets you generate signature-grabbing proposals that win clients. It has a collection of proposal templates that you can use according to your industry. You can also generate high-quality content for an error-free proposal. Plus, you have the ability to integrate with third-party apps for seamless approval, payment, invoices, and more.
CloudTalk is an extremely flexible cloud call software for remote sales and modern customer support teams. It integrates with major CRMs, Helpdesks, and eCommerce platforms making calling a seamless experience. It is used by startups, scale-ups, SMEs, or eCommerce to improve customer experiences and team performance.
Novocall Conversations is a holistic call management software that turns your conversations into conversions. It comes with a suite of call management features such as callback automation, outbound calling, call tracking and call schedule that aims to improve customer engagement and reduce lead response times. Cast a wider net and reach out to more leads with its Facebook Lead Ads integration and capture potential customers from more touchpoints.
MyOperator is Asia’s leading cloud-based call management solution. Its suite of cloud telephony solutions includes toll-free numbers, IVR, inbound and outbound remote call centers, and virtual phone numbers. You can integrate MyOperator with any popular CRM and make sales and support calls using its dialer app. Its advanced features include call recording, call tracking, call analytics, and live call transfer.
Dialogue is an eCommerce personalization and optimization platform that works to improve the customer journey and conversion rate to make a personalized shopping experience. With its AI-powered algorithm, the software understands the user’s behavior and is able to generate the most relevant message to each customer in real-time to match his intent, which increases the likelihood of a purchase.
FreshBooks is helping small business owners run their businesses with accounting and project management software. With eight different features, it allows you to focus on what’s essential: your business, team, and clients. FreshBooks integrates with over 100 great apps to streamline your activity, help you connect with your team and clients, and better understand your business.
Spendesk is the first spend management platform built for both finance teams and employees. It gives finance leaders visibility across all company spending.
Employees can spend what they need, and finance has full control of all spending in real-time.
Secure, custom payment methods ensure that spending stays on-policy, and approval workflows give managers the right to refuse. Spendesk enables them to benefit from streamlined expense and invoice management through the website and app, whether on the road or in the office.
From pushing web pages live to manage marketing campaigns, your marketing team cannot do it all with spreadsheets. They need dedicated tools for each task. For example, the CMS used for building blogs and managing the blog cannot be used for ad spending monitoring and campaign management. Each task needs a dedicated tool with feature sets built specifically for the purpose.
Also, marketing is a diverse field of multiple practices. Although not immediately, in the long-term you will have to make use of social media marketing, email marketing, referral campaigns, and much more to build a lead pipeline. Here are some tools that can help you with that.
SE Ranking is an all-in-one SEO platform for business owners and digital agencies to track, manage, and improve their marketing tasks. The software provides a complete set of tools for keyword position tracking, keyword research, website audit, competitor analysis, keyword suggestion and grouping, backlink monitoring, automated professional reporting, and much more.
Mailmunch is an easy to use lead growth and email marketing service tool. It provides you popup forms, landing pages, and email tools to acquire and nurture leads. From B2B to B2C you can choose from hundreds of pre-built templates to design forms and emails in very little time. Mailmunch is a powerful suite of tools to cater to all your email marketing needs.
ZeroBounce is an email validation and deliverability platform that helps startup businesses clean their email databases and boost their email ROI. ZeroBounce helps you remove invalid email addresses, eliminates bounces, validates IP addresses, and verifies key recipient demographics to get the highest email deliverability on every campaign.
SendX is an intuitive, affordable & feature-rich email marketing software for businesses of all sizes. SendX enables marketers with one of the simplest UIs for sleek operations. SendX provides unlimited email sends with every plan, powerful automation capabilities, 24×7 live support, email deliverability.
The Sender is an email marketing platform tailored for e-commerce and small startup business marketing. It is highly focused on user-friendly experience and interface, with features for automating processes and boosting email marketing response, which aim to save users 2x time to send beautiful newsletters. Additionally, it provides desktop Push-Notifications, transactional and automated email sequences, API integrations, and an easy to use drag & drop subscription form builder
The User app is an all-in-one marketing, sales, and support automation platform that enables agents to offer faster customer support, giving teams the possibility to deliver personalized experiences — all with a single data source for your customers. With the User app, you can reach clients through a wide range of communication channels — email, live chat, chatbot, push notifications, dynamic page content, and many more
Content Studio is a content marketing and social media management tool to automate your content and social posts. It’s RSS Feed lets you discover trendy content and influencers. You can curate content in one click and schedule it for your blog or social media channels.
SocialBee is an intuitive Social Media Management tool that allows you to add, organize, and share content across several social channels, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and even Google My Business.
You will not only be able to diversify your content mix thanks to the Content Categories but also recycle evergreen content easier than ever due to the Scheduling Features.
NapoleonCat is an advanced social media management platform. Its flagship product, the Social Inbox helps businesses manage social media engagement, and automate repetitive tasks across all major social platforms — Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. The other features include social media scheduling, analytics, and reporting.
Sixads is a Shopify app that helps your brand to accelerate sales by putting your products in front of millions of shoppers who want to buy what you sell. Sixads automates Facebook, Google, and Instagram ads
Clever Ads is free software that provides tools to create, manage, and optimize Google Ads campaigns easily. Startups can use the Google Ads creator for creating search and display campaigns and the Google Ads promo code to begin advertising their products for free.
Google Ads audit analyzes the performance of your campaigns, giving insights on how to optimize them in order to reduce your investment and increase your visibility with ready-to-use tips. The inbuilt keyword planner helps you find keywords that actually convert and the banner creator automatically generates your banner ads.
ReferralCandy is a platform helping small and medium-sized businesses run referral marketing programs. It drives sales by leveraging the power of word-of-mouth, incentivising customers to refer their friends. ReferralCandy seamlessly connects with popular ecommerce platforms such as Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Magento. It also integrates with other marketing tools such as AdRoll, Klaviyo, Mailchimp, Google Analytics, ReCharge, Fomo or Chargebee and many others.
Respona is an all-in-one digital PR and link building software for a startup marketing team that combines personalization with productivity. It allows you to manage and automate every step of the email outreach process, be it for sales, link building, or public relations.
Conversion Rate Optimization
Poptin is a user-friendly and powerful lead generation software that lets users create high-converting pop-ups and inline forms in minutes. It provides users with a no-coding, drag and drops editor that’s already packed with amazing templates. Aside from that, you can also utilize Poptin’s advanced features such as exit-intent technology, a long list of targeting and triggering rules, A/B testing, analytics, and more.
There are very few tools available in the market that can turn your website traffic into sales. OptiMonk is a CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) tool that helps customize your web pages with popups, notification bars, sidebars, etc. to convert more leads.
Paperform is an online form builder tool that enables you to easily create beautiful forms, payment, or product landing pages that feel truly yours. You can also customize them to reflect your own unique branding. Paperform is also equipped with features that support various automation tools to help streamline your workflows, such as, generating and segmenting leads, data collection, and invoicing.
LeadQuizzes is a web-based online quiz maker built for marketers — the best way to increase your leads and learn about your audience.
LeadQuizzes’ quiz maker can help you capture up to 500% more leads from your website and advertisement. Additionally, the answers you collect can help you segment and understand your audience better.
Get the answers you need with JotForm. Whether you are conducting research or gathering feedback, you can create engaging online surveys with our free drag-and-drop survey maker. Just add your own questions, set up conditional logic, and share your custom survey online to start collecting responses instantly.
Beaconstac’s QR Code solution is the highest rated QR solution for enterprise and small businesses, alike. Beaconstac takes QR Codes and pumps them up to a powerful marketing channel – from creating custom QR Codes to building mobile-friendly landing pages for the QR Code, managing them, retargeting users, to tracking their performance.
Product Information Management
Bluestone PIM is a mature SaaS platform for Product Information Management (PIM) which enables teams to collaborate on product information, organize their digital assets, and create powerful product experiences in B2B and B2C markets.
Customer Retention And Loyalty
CandyBar is a cloud-based customer engagement solution for small to medium startup businesses. It allows you to give out loyalty stamps to your customers from your own device, no download or app install necessary.
Premio offers WordPress and Shopify plugins that help users generate more quality leads, calls, emails, reviews, and sales. All the plugins are equipped with clean code and fast loading capabilities that open opportunities for better customer experience.
The Hippo Video platform makes it easy to create personalized videos and distribute them through multiple channels. The platform emphasizes making videos accessible and easy to use. With Hippo Video, you can build trust, provide value, and nurture a relationship with a prospect and most importantly track video engagement.
A cloud-based video tech platform to record video messages, host pre-recorded videos, and analyze video performance with advanced heatmap powered tracking. Users can also add Call to Action to make their videos actionable, boost sales, and provide exceptional customer support. Plus you can automate your work by enabling integration with top tech stacks.
Biteable puts the power of video in your hands. Regardless of budget and skills, it helps you create professional videos in minutes. Videos so stunning they’ll make your message pop. Create a video from scratch using our broad library of animations and footage.
Team Collaboration And Communication
Whether you are running a remote team or an in-house team working from a central location, you need digital tools to collect, organize, distribute, and also retrieve information. Above all, you also need tools that will allow employees to communicate in real-time.
Instant messengers with power-packed features for file-sharing, voice calling, video calling, group chatting, etc. are the need of the hour.
Chanty is a team chat and task management app. It allows you to exchange chat and voice messages, have audio and video calls with your team. Manage tasks from a single place – you can turn messages into tasks and assign them to your team members, all within the Chanty app.
Boost productivity by integrating Chanty with third-party apps including Trello, Asana, Zapier, Google Drive, Dropbox, Onedrive, Github, Gitlab, Bitbucket, Mailchimp, Giphy, and others.
Brosix is a powerful and easy-to-use instant messaging platform designed with team communication in mind. Brosix gives its clients a fully administrable private team network, which provides an exclusive and secure collaboration space. Clients control who is added or removed from the network, and can easily manage users through a range of administrative features.
Scalefusion ‘Oneteam’ brings your non-desk employees together. Secure team communication and collaboration with instant messaging, calling, and group chats.
Mio powers seamless inter-company communication across Slack, Microsoft Teams, & Webex Teams. Stay in your preferred messaging app while chatting with external business contacts.
Let’s face it. Always-on internet connectivity, a smartphone with push notifications, and the blurring lines between work and life have only made us less productive. It is extremely difficult for anyone to spend time focused on a task and get it done with finesse.
Things get complicated when there are several projects running parallely and with multiple moving parts attached to them. Teams need a central repository where they can tag owners, assign responsibilities, and track work in progress. In addition, individual team members also need a tool to help them on track of the tasks that they are entrusted with.
Time Doctor is a time tracking tool that boosts the productivity of remote teams. Its dashboard generates timesheets, project, and activity reports. When employees seem to be getting distracted by unproductive apps and sites, this productivity tool will nudge them and help them to focus on the critical tasks on their priority list.
Its payroll module streamlines the process of generating clients’ billing information. Apart from its time management features, this tool also combines remote team management features that help with employee monitoring, chat monitoring, screen monitoring, and performance assessment.
By helping startups to keep tabs on the use of employee time, actiTIME boosts performance efficiency and reduces costs. The tool’s main features are the manual-entry timesheet, work scope planning, the Kanban board, and comprehensive reports – everything one needs to optimize resource management in their business.
Soapbox is a solution that empowers managers and their teams to be high-performing by combining quarterly priorities, weekly meetings, and engagement measures, all in one place. With Soapbox, you are able to build collaborative meeting agendas for the one-on-one, team, and cross-functional meetings, access hundreds of conversation starters and hold everyone accountable for sharing feedback every single meeting.
Digital Asset Management
Pics.io is an advanced digital asset management tool. Working on top of your storage (Google Drive or Amazon S3), this solution will help you store, organize, and distribute your files in the most presentable way.
Improve page speed and SEO by delivering the right digital asset every time to your users based on their device, browser & network with imagekit.io. Bring in better collaboration between your marketing and design teams with an enhanced media library for asset management. ImageKit.io is a complete image management and delivery solution for websites and apps to deliver high-quality visuals without compromising performance.
A digital writing assistant based on AI and natural language processing that helps writers perfect their content creation process. We all need editors and thanks to Grammarly, we can prevent those embarrassing grammatical errors from seeing the light of day.
Delesign is a flat rate unlimited graphic design service. Our graphic design service is like having a design agency at your fingertips – all for a low monthly subscription price.
Personal — Screen And Video Capture
Capture ideas, communicate clearly & save time with our lightning-fast screenshot & file annotation tool. Millions use cases and tons of integrations. All you need without the bloat. Made for Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome, and Mobile Web.
IdeaBuddy is an innovative business planning software that helps aspiring entrepreneurs, startups, and teams to build a business model, develop their ideas, create financial projections, and get a modern business plan. It comes with a step-by-step guide and relevant examples. The tool is simple, easy, and fun to use.
Automate.io is a no-code integration platform connecting more than 100 apps seamlessly. It is an ideal choice for a solopreneur, marketer, salesperson, entrepreneur, startup, small and medium business, and for anyone looking to connect two or more apps to create an automated workflow. Connect apps in less than a few minutes and set up your choice of automated workflow.
Content Management System
Wordable is a simple tool that instantly exports Google Doc content into your WordPress site. (And soon, many more popular website platforms.) It saves customers from the painstaking, manual labor it takes to export, upload, format, and optimize each piece of content. Multiply that work over a few (or dozens) of articles each month and we’re talking hundreds of dollars of your (or your team’s) time.
accessiBe is web accessibility software to make websites accessible for people with disabilities by using features like interface powered UI & design adjustments and keyboard navigation adjustments. Not only does accessiBe implement the ADA and WCAG 2.1 guidelines, but it also makes an instant complete compliance audit and remediation which leads to ADA compliance.
Customer Support And Success
As sales increase, as the number of customers who use your products increases, so will the need for customer support. Your customers might have basic questions on account set up, on using the product, or worst-case scenario, situations when the product is not working as planned. In those instances, you will need a customer support system that customers and customer support reps can use together to resolve issues.
Similarly, customer success teams need tools that will help them educate and make customers aware of how to use the product better. The right tools will empower them to make customers stick to the product for a long time and remain active customers.
Document360 is a knowledge base software which lets you create a well-organized self-service knowledge base (published publicly or privately) with a powerful AI-based real-time search. It also includes an easy-to-use markdown editor, built-in analytics, versioning functionalities, localization, backup, and restores, etc. It can integrate with Intercom, Microsoft, Zendesk, and many more.
As a startup, your priority is to provide top quality customer support while controlling costs at the same time. ProProfs Knowledge Base helps you do just that. It is a simple tool with stellar features that help you create self-service knowledge bases, manuals, and FAQs. Leverage this tool to reduce support tickets and bring down the overall support expenses.
Acquire promises to satiate all customer sales, support, and experience needs at one place. It helps businesses mitigate boundaries that digital interactions bring, and allows them to deliver a great digital customer experience. Acquire houses in it a host of tools like co-browsing, Screen sharing, knowledge-base software, HD live chat and voice call, Integrated Inbox, AI-driven Chatbot, and others, all of which are intended to bridge the gap between a business and their patrons.
HelpCrunch is a leading live chat software that also offers a knowledge base, ticketing, and email marketing functionality. It’s a perfect solution for businesses that want to cover all their marketing, sales, and support needs with one powerful solution. Get more leads, increase sales, improve satisfaction and retention rates by utilizing a unified tool for all communication channels.
The ChatBot is an all-in-one platform to create, deploy, and track chatbots across channels. With ChatBot, you can design smooth conversational experiences to build better relationships with your customers. You don’t need any technical knowledge to use ChatBot.
Botsify is an AI enabled live chat solution for startups. You can create your own automated chatbots and integrate without any coding knowledge. It will help you increase sales and reduce customer support cost by emperring you to save responses from users to a form.
Help your startup kickstart its customer support process with ProProfs Chat. This live chat software is perfect for your new business to connect and interact with website visitors proactively. You can monitor your website visitor’s activity and set rules that trigger a chat window on the basis of their behavior on your site. What’s more, you can even use its chatbot to capture leads and streamline your support process that avoids operator burnout too.
SmartKarrot is a customer success platform for enterprises and startup businesses. The SmartKarrot software is designed to track customer health, detect early warning signs, and customize customer success operations. The intuitive tool allows for integration with multiple CRM systems and makes managing stakeholders across touchpoints easier for customer success managers and teams.
UserGuiding provides a ‘no coding needed’ product adoption solution that turns customer success into customer loyalty. Through a simple tool, just about anyone can quickly create step-by-step product walkthroughs on-screen.
With customizable in-product experiences tailored to each of your customer’s needs, scaling operations has never been easier. Track the performance and measure the effectiveness of your guides to make sure that each of them feels like a one-on-one session.
HelpDesk is a simple yet powerful ticketing system software for customer support. Manage all your customer communication in one place. The HelpDesk has an intuitive design that minimizes the learning curve and the actual workload. It’s packed with collaboration features to solve any case within minutes. You can automate repetitive tasks, streamline agents’ work, and speed up response time to delight your customers.
Freshservice is a Cloud-based ITSM software for your service desk with a powerful automation tool to manage incidents, assets, and more. It helps IT organizations to focus on what’s most important – exceptional service delivery and customer satisfaction.
Every startup needs to channelize their customer service requests in a single platform. ProProfs Help Desk acts as a single point of contact- so no matter if customers approach you over email, live chat, or through your help center, relevant assistance is just a moment away. Features such as shared inbox, canned responses, and parent-child ticketing can help your team collaborate and share quick responses.
Qualaroo is a powerful customer feedback and survey tool that helps you collect unobtrusive customer feedback to deliver a better customer experience. Qualaroo makes it easy to survey specific users in context while they are looking at your product, service & brand.
Whether you are building a product or providing IT services, your startup needs a project management tool to orchestrate all activities in one place. There are several project management tools available in the market that follow the Kanban board, Gantt chart, Agile framework, and much more. When it comes to choosing a project management tool, the options are nearly endless. Here are some that you can consider.
Toggl Plan is a beautifully simple tool that helps teams manage their tasks, teams, and projects. Using timelines & boards, Toggl Plan gives you a birds-eye-view of your work: what everyone is working on, how busy the team is, how tasks are progressing, and more.
Nifty is an awarding winning workflow automation software, well known for being the easiest project management tool for teams to use. Nifty’s features include— milestones, tasks, collaboration, docs, files, proofing, time tracking, and resource management. A huge bonus is that guests and clients also work completely for free on Nifty so you would not need to think twice about including them in your projects.
The Final Words
Circling back to the beginning, there is no single tool that can do everything for your startup. You need specific tools for specific purposes. But, finding the right tool for any purpose is difficult.
From sales to marketing, down to project management, you need a long list of tools that will help you run, scale, and help your startup succeed. These tools can help with that. Their existing customers also vouch for their usefulness.