A decade ago SaaS solutions took the software marketplace by storm and the industry has been growing ever since. This rapid development made the technology not only popular but easily accessible to corporations and small-and-medium businesses alike. However, an SMB or a startup has different needs than a large corporation or enterprise, and that should be taken into account when choosing software solutions for a business.
In this article, we will be discussing the best SMB SaaS solutions to help your company thrive, and provide useful tips on what to keep an eye out for while doing your research.
How to Choose the Best SaaS for Small Business
Small and medium businesses (SMBs) are companies that have fewer than 100 employees and annual revenue of not more than $50 million. This means that, by definition, SMBs have limited resources and finances. Investments are riskier for these companies because the stakes are higher and potential failure may cost them substantial losses.
- Functionality. Before you start researching tools, consider your goals. There are different solutions designed to serve a variety of needs. Consider making a list of the objectives you want the SaaS to help you achieve, and grade the features you require by their importance – primary, secondary, and tertiary.This will improve the efficiency of your research and will minimize the chance of needlessly exceeding your budget.
However, keep in mind that the list may change when you start looking into solutions, because some objectives may be unachievable, or may need to be replaced with new priorities.
- Ease of Use. The tools you invest in should be easy to learn and use. As an SMB, there is a good chance that you don’t have people to spare. This means that either you will have to hire an expert to manage the new software or employees will have to learn new skills and be delegated further duties.Consider whether you can afford new additions to your team, or if you have the time and resources to train your people to manage the new solutions.
This choice will affect the type of solution you buy – a basic or an advanced one.
- Price. Some SaaS tools may be very expensive and are simply unaffordable to SMBs and startups. The price may seem worth it if the tool is a very advanced one and offers useful features. However, more often than not, there are alternative solutions designed with SMBs in mind that offer similar features at a competitive price.So before you rush to decide and break the bank in the process l, do some research and consider the other available options.
Furthermore, there’s no use in investing in pro software, if you’re only going to use the basic features that a less expensive self-service program may provide.
10 Best SaaS Solutions for SMBs and Startups
Now that you know how to research an SMB SaaS tool, let’s have a look at different types of solutions that may benefit your business.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Customer relationship management (CRM) software is essential for any business that wants to know its client better and improve its services.
The tool enables you to build detailed customer profiles that organize, in one place, all the information you have about a person.
Most solutions can be integrated with marketing and communication channels so that the data automatically updates in real-time. In addition, you can manually provide details and leave notes to collaborators.
CRM can greatly benefit marketing and customer service personalization and improve brand experience.
Furthermore, some tools offer lead scoring and lead generation features that make it easier to approach clients, at the right time, with the right message.
Business Process Management (BPM)
Business process management (BPM) solutions enable companies to streamline activities and improve productivity.
Project managers, HR, and business owners all benefit from a unified tool where they can overview the workflow, track time and efficiency, and identify problematic processes. Management can leverage this information to understand employees better and find new ways to distribute tasks in order to optimize performance.
Teams, on the other hand, can find information about projects, collaborate on tasks, follow the progress of assignments, and communicate.
All in all, cloud-based BPM software is a great way to run any SMB team, be it remotely or otherwise.
An accounting SaaS tool can automate repetitive financial management tasks such as following transactions, generating invoices, sales tax calculation, quarterly tax estimates, and even payrolls.
Aside from simplifying basic bookkeeping, accounting software enables businesses to track and analyze their finances and build reports. Managers can monitor who owes them money, who’s behind on their payments, and what their current profits and losses are.
Most tools allow integrations with bank accounts and payment platforms to reduce and minimize the risk of human mistakes.
Email Marketing Automation
Modern tools allow you to create different campaigns, build contact lists, A/B test, schedule, and personalize your emails. Furthermore, you can set up actions that trigger pre-composed messages that encourage particular actions.
For example, you can send welcome emails to customers who register on your website, abandoned shopping cart emails to people who leave mid-purchase, order confirmation and invoice emails to those who buy something from your website, and so on.
When combined with predictive analytics and lead scoring tools, email marketing enables you to successfully upsell and cross-sell to your customers. You can make accurate product suggestions, based on a client’s previous behavior and their position in the funnel, and choose the perfect time to reach out.
Internal Communication Solution
Teams that communicate actively are more productive and better at solving issues. In fact, research shows that collaborating and communicating internally improves an organization’s productivity by 20-25%.
With internal communication SaaS tools, employees can stay in touch and discuss tasks in a quick and efficient way.
Communication tools enable you to set up dedicated team channels where the information is visible only to the participants with access, as well as public ones where you can ping all members of an organization at once. You can also add guests with restricted access only to channels that they are invited to.
Customer Support Tool
Customer service satisfaction is vital for business success. However, many clients feel that companies lack consistency amongst channels.
Customer support SaaS solutions provide multi-channel integration and enable companies to communicate to their clients via chat, email, phone, and even social media. These tools automatically generate tickets and store all relevant information in one place.
Furthermore, some solutions analyze the customer’s message to provide the support rep with viable knowledgebase articles based on keywords. This improves the speed and accuracy of the service. In addition, reps may focus on walking the customer through the solution, instead of wasting time on the problem itself, and this positively affects the overall quality of their performance.
Businesses that want to build an online presence and improve their digital marketing efforts should invest in search engine optimization.
By using SEO tools, you can research keywords, analyze SERP results, keep track of competitors, and monitor how your pages perform online.
Furthermore, by doing SEO analysis you can identify what issues your customers encounter, create relevant content, and optimize it to rank for the right keywords.
All in all, this allows you to improve how your website ranks among search engines and reach out to more people with your content marketing strategy.
Social Media Management
Social media management tools allow businesses to control all their corporate profiles from one dashboard. You can easily launch posts on different platforms, monitor their performance, and stimulate engagement.
Depending on the solution, you may have access to templates that will help you further optimize your content on social networks. Furthermore, there might be suggestions on when to publish your post in order to maximize its visibility and engagement.
An intelligent tool may also help you optimize the budgets of PPC campaigns which saves you time and money by automating other ad management processes.
With the development of technology, chatbots are becoming more advanced and more accessible to smaller businesses.
The key benefits they provide are convenience and 24/7 availability. Customers nowadays don’t want to wait for answers and delaying communication may cost you business.
Chatbots can assist clients with ordering issues, FAQs, appointment scheduling, and other simple to moderately complex tasks.
There are basic tools that provide answers to questions based on keyword analysis, and there are AI-driven solutions that are able to simulate human-like conversations. What you opt for depends entirely on your budget and requirements.
However, keep in mind that not everyone is comfortable talking to robots. When using a chatbot, make sure that you always provide an option to switch to a human associate or book an appointment if it’s after hours.
Time tracking tools allow both project managers and employees to monitor productivity and improve time management.
You can track how long it takes team members to accomplish tasks, monitor repetitive tasks, compare results, and improve project planning. In addition, managers can identify which processes create bottlenecks and how to find solutions to optimize them
Some tools can even be integrated with third-party solutions to clock the time people spend on different apps and websites. These tools can even track GPS locations.
With the democratization of technology, advanced SaaS solutions are now accessible to small-and-medium companies and even startups.
Organizations can improve productivity by providing their teams with the convenience, flexibility, and agility to work on the go. They can address any situation at any moment and be ready to respond to the customer’s needs in real-time.
Furthermore, SaaS solutions allow companies to optimize processes, reduce the time it takes to accomplish tasks, and improve the overall performance of their business.