Small businesses should invest in affordable and powerful SaaS tools for accounting, collaboration, CRM, marketing automation, email marketing, productivity tools, website builder, etc. These tools can significantly increase operational efficiency and sales productivity, two critical factors for growth.
There used to be a time when you can only use a software application once you buy a license. And this limited the growth potentials of millions of small businesses, given the immense high cost involved. But thanks to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), the playing field was leveled as deployment of the needed technology platforms is now made easy and affordable.
We’ve asked industry SaaS experts and small business owners for help in identifying 30 of the most important SaaS tools. Here they are, along with the best software per category.
Since their debut as Application Service Providers in the late 1990s, SaaS vendors continue to dominate the worldwide computing marketplace. Aside from the vast benefits that SaaS platforms bring to the table, the industry’s growth significantly relies on the growth of cloud computing.
IDC predicts that 60% of public cloud spending will be SaaS by 2020. SaaS enables businesses to gain considerable cost savings by eliminating the need to install and run applications on-premise.
Another study found that 85% of SMBs plan to invest more in SaaS over the next five years, with more and more running their core CRMs in the cloud each year. IT experts consider cost, security, and ease of use as the most important criteria they consider when buying SaaS solutions.
Ease of Use%
Source: Bettercloud's 2017 State of the SaaS-Powered WorkplaceDesigned by
Today, SaaS has become an important part of modern business operations. Around 64% of SMBs now depend on cloud-based SaaS to boost productivity and drive growth. Regardless of size, the majority of businesses (88%) are seriously intending to invest in new SaaS applications within two to three years.
So with this list of 30 SaaS tools for small business, you should be able to decide which SaaS tools to buy. Likewise, you’ll get to know which SaaS solutions are making waves in the various key software categories for small businesses around the world.
The first category in our list of 30 SaaS tools for small business is about money. Planning, budgeting, forecasting with all the attendant core accounting, billing, and invoicing, and time tracking should all matter to your small business. And then some if you’re looking to level up.
An accounting software platform is one of the leading SaaS solutions for your finance and accounting needs. It offers considerable benefits to businesses, including being able to easily track due dates and instantly follow up late payments without distressing you and the erring party. What’s more, it automates financial management and helps managers handle their accounting activities. Further, it helps reduce expenses and report accurately on your financial activities. Ultimately, it helps improve the quality of your financial decisions.
Freshbooks is an award-winning finance and accounting software and one of the best cloud solutions for small business owners. It is a reliable and agile accounting suite that simplifies even the most complex financial management tasks. This solution has the highest customer satisfaction rates in this software category.
If you run a small business with hardly any accounting background, Freshbooks’ intuitive design will especially appeal to you. It simply automates calculations and processes, letting you run in-depth reports and look into financial patterns—almost turning you into an instant pro.
Aside from monitoring your credit card and bank accounts, Freshbooks wields control of little unaccounted expenses that could siphon a sizable chunk of your funds over time. After capturing photos of the receipts of these minuscule expenses, for example, Freshbooks will log and consolidate them for each employee. At the end of the day, you know which little holes are bleeding your company and do something to plug them.
Meanwhile, its mobile apps are available on both Android and iOS. This robust mobile accounting tool allows you to continue running your financial processes even on the go. Further, every financial transaction you make is automatically synced, which guarantees that all your numbers are always up-to-date. The vendor also offers a comprehensive free trial to get you up to speed with the features.
Detailed FreshBooks Review
Collaboration software programs enable team members to work together on different activities and projects. Collaboration software packages generally consist of tools for effective communication, document exchange, conferencing, and real-time assistance, which diminish collaboration obstacles in remote and decentralized teams.
Thanks to these applications, companies can keep all of their employees on the same page. Also, collaboration solutions are proven to help save time and money as well as identify problems at an early stage.
Wrike is a business collaboration management solution that improves the speed and efficiency of work in both co-located and distributed groups. With just one yet robust hub, all team members can easily collaborate, communicate, and exchange documents in real-time, and have a single source of truth.
This multi-awarded platform gives your business crucial real-time project insights. As your business project hub, Wrike enables users to discuss tasks and ideas quickly, track schedules, and securely store files. This solution is also user-friendly, enabling all team members to focus more on project completion.
The flexibility provided by collaboration management tool Wrike enables multifunctional groups to put their heads together and get things done effectively from a single location. The service allows you to schedule, prioritize, discuss, and keep track of both work and progress in real-time—all with just a few clicks of the mouse.
The vendor has an appealing free trial where you can tinker with the features at no cost.
Detailed Wrike Review
HR software tools streamline human resource management in operations like recruitment, screening, hiring, and evaluation. These tools are used by HR agencies and departments looking for talented and reliable performers.
These solutions offer an array of specific modules such as payroll management, time and expense tracking, attendance, and benefits management. There are also specialized programs that offer features such as fingerprint ID, self-service learning portals, and smart reporting.
More than other types of business, small businesses need the best people at the quickest time possible to screen and onboard them. For your essential HR software needs, BambooHR provides personnel data modules, tracking, and advanced reporting capabilities. The system utilizes a stripped-down mechanism to follow the performance, which makes it an excellent choice for growing your small business. It covers remote and decentralized teams with flawlessly performing apps for all operational systems.
For applicant tracking, BambooHR displays job openings in a separate tab, where you get to see all applications, applicant leads, and select or eliminate applications as they arrive. Likewise, you can add new job openings with such relevant details as salary, title, duration, contract type, etc. And you can do this via a filtered drop-down menu or the system’s special text editor to add a longer description.
Once you have the list ready and completed, you can share it on all social networks or popular job boards to properly launch your applicant search. For freshly hired employees, BambooHR sends a special email containing training information, along with access to all system files and corporate documents that may be relevant to them.
Detailed BambooHR Review
We have included Business Intelligence (BI) software on our list of 30 SaaS tools for small businesses because these tools have become affordable even for companies with limited budgets. BI software is a class of computer applications that process and analyze corporate data to produce quality insights and help you understand the health of your business.
BI software systems use a variety of formulas and metrics to measure, compare, and relate business indicators. And these tools make it possible to distinguish the strengths and weaknesses of every company. Meanwhile, the main functions of these systems are data discovery, data management, and reporting, but some of them also evaluate functionality and employee performance.
Sisense offers affordable price plans that fit small business budgets. More importantly, the platform offers a scalable option for fast-growing startups. It has integrations and built-in connectors, which allow you to easily integrate source files from applications, such as Excel and Google Adwords, CRM reports from Salesforce and Zendesk, and data from a range of popular apps.
Its drag-and-drop interface makes it simple to combine big sets of data. It also lets you use a variety of visualization options, such as location charts, plot charts, etc. to interpret data. Meanwhile, its Single-Stack system allows you to do multiple tasks from data integration to visualization in a single BI platform. This means you do not have to use star schemas, OLAP cubes, and data warehouses to manage complex calculations and data modeling.
And underneath its simple user interface is the powerful In-Chip engine that makes data preparation simple and fast. It allows you to make various queries and get fast answers without having to apply data rules for each query. To optimize CPU performance, the data is prepared only when a query is made. This means Sisense is adaptable to commodity server infrastructure, and you do not have to invest in high-end servers. Finally, you can check the solution closely when you avail of its free trial offer.
Detailed Sisense Review
Time tracking software helps you manage complicated projects effortlessly and on time. You can use it to create helpful targets and deadlines according to the info you enter in the system. Or you can link interdependent assignments and tasks to view the complete picture to ensure your company’s business units balance and not contradict their deliverables.
What’s more, this type of tool lets you anticipate issues and situations beforehand and modify your procedures and resources. Doing so allows you to meet positive as well as negative scenarios as they arise.
Clarizen combines essential project management and social collaboration features to help you execute projects within deadlines. This cloud-powered tool is easy to use and fast to deploy. This especially flexible solution helps businesses convert their sound concepts into robust plans and workable strategies, enabling them to better adjust to shifting market environments.
This solution provides a well-defined work structure connecting tasks, projects, and conversations. It prioritizes budgets, projects, resources, portfolios, and tasks, and makes sure that critical information and resources are always handled appropriately.
Likewise, this time tracking platform is designed to sustain the fast pace of agile teams. It also provides PMOs with the needed visibility to efficiently support their teams. And with this, every team member can remain engaged and concentrated to reach the target and produce positive outcomes.
Its enterprise collaboration features connect social context with tasks and projects to result in increased productivity and profitability. An appealing test drive of all software features is available to you when you avail of its free trial offer.
Detailed Clarizen Review
Website builder software enables you to construct websites without manual code editing. Some SaaS vendors let the site owner install alternative commercial or open-source tools. Complex solutions of this type are also called Content Management Systems.
Fully powered and stunning websites to sell items might seem like a proposition for multinational enterprises. Yet, Wix readily provides those with ample to spare at prices your small business will love.
Unless you’re a techie selling techie things, chances are you are running your small business from the standpoint of a non-coding, non-technical person. It will not really matter with Wix, as its powerful editor and wealth of gorgeous templates will let you present a finished website as if it were commissioned by a pro.
When you are finished with the aesthetic side of your online store, your next concerns are to adequately feature the qualities of your products, provide technical details about size and color, barcodes, or shipping information are also fully covered by Wix. You will have access to online booking integration, multiple payment processing options, and invoices to close your transactions efficiently.
You will want to compete in social media spaces like most do these days, and Wix lets you do just that, along with ways to conduct social advertising and chat functionality. There’s a handy automatic notification feature, so you don’t miss an important message or online store transaction that needs your attention.
Detailed Wix Review
Marketing Software helps businesses expand their outreach with profitable and engaging campaigns. There are many types of marketing programs. Most of them are designed for campaign management and resource optimization.
Moreover, many vendors offer features such as data collection, branding, event scheduling, content distribution, and lead nurturing and conversion. The most advanced marketing products will also come with a handy analytical suite for you to generate accurate reports
For your local small business, marketing platform HubSpot Marketing offers automation that gives you powerful capabilities beyond traditional email marketing: it allows you to design your own workflows, prepare, format, and publish content, and seamlessly integrate contact profiles and information, so you’ll have the most effective campaigns. It takes but a short time to familiarize yourself with its working environment to make you effortlessly segment, nurture, and evaluate leads in a more personalized way.
As a valuable investment for the growth of your business, you’ll appreciate HubSpot Marketing’s landing page builder—a no-brainer, drag-and-drop tool that requires no coding skills to create beautiful websites. You can use the system’s keyword, and SEO optimization tools to distribute nothing but the best content, and manage the way leads interact with it from a single, dynamic dashboard.
The focus on personalization makes it possible to remove HubSpot’s branding and use your own instead so that customers will know who they’re dealing with from the very first moment. It’s the same customization and configuration options you’ll find in the company’s equally famous Sales and CRM modules—which, incidentally, you could seamlessly integrate with HubSpot Marketing as others who see all the advantages of a common, unified platform ecosystem from the same vendor, usually do.
Detailed HubSpot Marketing Review
Sales software is a suite of ecommerce applications used to standardize companies’ selling processes and sales-specific activities, in particular, lead-to-close and lead-to-conversion processes. Most sales applications can also be used to process sales data, evaluate performance, manage inventory, or run an online store.
This type of solution makes it easy to measure key metrics, including conversion and bounce rates, win-loss ratios, and sales cycle. You have plenty of options in this category, keep in mind though to get a sales software demo before subscribing to a plan.
No matter the industry type of your small business, sales solution HubSpot Sales helps you sell more in less time and build and automate sales processes that are specific to your business. It is very flexible and easy to customize and, following the route of other HubSpot products, this sales bundle is code-free and straightforward enough to be used even by inexperienced agents.
HubSpot Sales comes to the fore when you need to standardize your retail processes and retail-specific activities, in particular, lead-to-quote and lead-to-conversion processes. It enables you to process sales data, evaluate performance, manage inventory, or run an online store. For advanced functions, you can use it to measure key metrics, including conversion and bounce rates, win-loss ratios, and lead times.
HubSpot Sales is all about affordable pricing scheme, among which is a free plan for small businesses and startup companies. It leaves you with a lot of elbow room as you grow and see a need to upgrade to a paid plan of $50/user/month, which covers the full suite of advanced sales and marketing features.
And of course, HubSpot Sales is a member of a large and well-known productivity software family, allowing you to purchase it either independently or within a CRM + Marketing Growth Stack. Note that the company’s CRM solution, also covered here, is available for free.
Detailed HubSpot Sales Review
Project management software programs facilitate project delivery and make it more efficient. They let you set more realistic milestones and deadlines, tie up and automate interdependent assignments, and keep all of your team’s members focused on your deliverables. Project management software usually offers visual tools such as Gantt Charts and time and resource tracking tools.
Another multi-awarded solution, monday.com, is a transparent collaboration program sporting critical features in a compact yet easy to use package. It is a highly flexible and capable tool that provides in-depth insights on your projects or tasks, or even the complete company’s performance if it comes to that. In particular, the main dashboard lists all projects and tasks together, connecting them to the team members in charge.
A third party can be made external partner or project beneficiary: even without a monday.com account, they could be invited to follow with special alerts and notifications. They can be handed any number of select competences depending on their role, including the capability to approve or dismiss a project without being permanent users of the system.
What’s more, monday.com makes it possible to monitor the performance of teams and individuals and saves managers enough time to devote to more important operations.
Detailed monday.com Review
Detailed monday.com Review
Customer Relationship Management software (CRM) refers to applications that help businesses build strong relationships with their customers, boost conversations, and improve revenue rates based on customer data coming from multiple interaction channels (phone calls, website visits, social interactions, and so on). Companies use them to process and analyze customer information, make use of disconnected data to depict opportunities, create sales funnels, and carry out loyalty campaigns. The biggest benefit of CRM software tools is that they allow you to categorize customers according to their expectations, and devote attention to prospective buyers.
Speaking of free forever, the highly-rated CRM platform HubSpot CRM is one robust free CRM app, an advantage it flaunts over the competition. If your small business has straightforward inbound marketing needs–you send out a campaign, get leads, sort prospects, and drive them down the funnel–HubSpot’s offer is simply hard to resist.
Customer relationship management is a key tool for getting leads for your company and increasing your bottom line. But there’s more to CRM than just closing deals. CRM has become a management strategy that very often will ensure the steady growth of your small business. It allows you to consolidate sales data and get insights that can be used to make your business processes more cost-efficient.
For no cost at all, you get a CRM solution built to enable sales teams to quickly get started without system-shattering shifts in their existing workflows. If you are only starting a CRM system or looking to optimize your current CRM, your best option probably lies in HubSpot. Since there is no cost involved to start using the software, you can easily get HubSpot CRM running without the need to talk to their sales team.
The application is smart and easy to use and brings with it all essential features suitable for beginners and mid-market companies in whatever niche or industry. It does away with the hassles of CRM implementation. It can facilitate various tasks such as creating contact and company profiles, assigning of deals, tracking of company activities, managing agent performance, monitoring key metrics, as well as maximizing inbound sales techniques, among others.
Detailed HubSpot CRM Review
Customer experience management software (CEM) assists a company in tracking and organizing all interactions with its clients throughout the customer lifecycle. The solution helps to optimize client interactions and build their loyalty. To manage customer experience, companies need to devise strategies that encompass all customer interactions.
CEM software offers businesses an all-round view of customers with integrated, up-to-date data on their accounts and profiles. Customer experiences include interactions through conventional channels such as live chat, phone calls, and website purchases, as well as text and social media.
If your small business is mired in cut-throat competition, your best option to get ahead of the pack is to provide a satisfactory customer experience. To do that, you can invest in a quality customer experience management software solution like Qualtrics CX.
The platform makes it easy to collect customer feedback and get insights from them, including whether your customers are satisfied or dissatisfied and the reasons behind it. You can analyze customer data and understand their behaviors. Yotpo lets you collect feedback from multiple channels, including website, in-store, email, mobile app, and others.
Moreover, Qualtrics CX offers a wide array of functionalities, including tools for social media ads, customer retention, marketing, and SEO. Businesses can use these to considerably enhance the efficiency of their promotional drives as well as closely monitor social media marketing trends. Finally, its smart dashboard is so intuitive that even novice users can optimize the solution’s possibilities.
Detailed Qualtrics CX Review
Survey software is used to collect feedback from a select group of respondents. Companies use survey software to collect comments from their clients, buyers, and employees. They employ this data to analyze things such as customer satisfaction, employee morale, etc. This software can be used to evaluate employee and client satisfaction, enhance customer loyalty, and gather feedback on products and services.
Companies can apply survey software through email, embedded widgets, mobile and social networks, and more. Survey software is similar to enterprise feedback software, which is used by businesses to gather information for high-level evaluation. However, survey software is less expensive and easier to use compared to enterprise feedback software, which offers greater customization and reporting features.
Fielding business surveys remains one of the most direct and most effective means of gathering critical information about a business market. Surveys—that is, survey software—provide a wealth of data, intelligence, and insight that define how business enterprises should act and drive the next activities of their organizations to increase revenues and market share in their specific industries.
Powered by a brilliant algorithm and state-of-the-art predictive intelligence engine called iQ, Qualtrics Research Core provides intuitive, beautiful, and complex surveys to serve any business needs: from tracking consumer behavior across diverse segments, benchmarking your company against the competition, conducting complex academic research, to advertising and product testing.
You can’t go wrong with the most trusted research platform in the world, with over 9,000 brands and 99 of the top 100 business schools using Qualtrics to make the most critical decisions. You can check the solution closely when you avail of its free trial.
Detailed Qualtrics Research Core Review
Customer support software features cover all applications and bulletin board systems companies use to answer questions and deal with queries and complaints quickly and effectively. Common features include help desk functionality, ticketing & points of contact, CRM, and contact management, while advanced systems also offer lead extraction, registration mechanisms, and tutorial builders.
At its heart, your online customer support tool should help you deal with queries and complaints promptly and effectively. Among other essential functions, it should give you help desk functionality, ticketing, and points of contact, CRM, and contact management. Better yet, it could also include some advanced capabilities like lead extraction, registration mechanisms, and tutorial builders. While your specific requirements may not include all these, you will find they’re great options to have once your small business grows.
Aside from being very easy to use, customer support solution Freshdesk offers an excellent support tool for your small business. It gives you multichannel capability, including live chat, integrated game mechanics to increase agent productivity, multiple service level agreement (SLA) policies, smart automation, and self-service portals—on top of the standard help desk ticketing, knowledge base, and community platform.
Freshdesk will turn your support emails into tickets that you can track for a rapid and accurate response while giving you the flexibility to link forum questions to a ticket and vice-versa so you can create better sets of answers and replies.
Freshdesk empowers your social media engagements: with it, you can quickly track down customer posts about your product in social media and address issues that can escalate, or build on opportunities to promote your product. Put simply; it gives your support team maximum visibility across social channels that matter to your business.
Detailed Freshdesk Review
With over 102 trillion emails sent annually, the emerging claim that email marketing is becoming ineffective should ultimately be laid to rest. Email marketing remains the top marketing method of marketers, while customers prefer businesses communicating with them via email.
So, this is why email marketing software is among the key solutions that small businesses–and companies of any size, for that matter– use in their operations.
vCita is a comprehensive cloud-based email marketing and business management suite for service firms and professionals. This solution integrates all the essential features that service providers require to streamline, automate, and enhance their day-to-day operations.
Its email marketing tools are among the most sought after by marketers. These include tools for email and SMS marketing, lead generation, billing, and invoicing, client management, etc. With vCita, service providers are ensured that they have all the needed functionalities for handling their everyday tasks.
What’s more, this solution provides growing businesses scalability. The vendor offers expert assistance to streamline expansion programs that facilitate the handling of the influx of numerous appointments. Likewise, vCita’s CRM helps businesses expand their email marketing efforts through targetted CRM programs.
Detailed vCita Review
Content Management Software (or CMS) helps you create, modify, and publish digital content online. Most CMS solutions use web browsers to distribute content, while others offer their own web-based GUIs and invite users to create their own templates rather than using premade pages.
What you should expect from a good CMS is a variety of publishing options, in-built text editors, filtering and indexing features, and SEO and metadata functionality. Advanced CMS may also please users with advanced extensions and plugins that make content more competitive
HubSpot CMS helps you build a powerful website that’s optimized for every device, personalized for every visitor using data from HubSpot CRM, and integrated with all your marketing tools—right out of the box.
This CMS platform provides hosting of your content with one integrated platform. You can create and edit blog posts, landing pages, site pages, and emails with ease, whether you choose from one of its pre-built templates or start from scratch. The whole setup is backed by a world-class content delivery network to serve your content all across the globe in the fastest way possible.
You can manage, optimize, and track the performance of your content with the same platform you used to create it. You can learn more about this program in this HubSpot CMS review.
Detailed HubSpot Review
Ecommerce software helps you manage all aspects of an online store, including adding or removing products, managing inventory, calculating taxes, and other details needed to fulfill orders for a website. It typically sports a user-friendly interface that can be handled easily even by lay users to manage the intricate process of their ecommerce operation. Despite its ease of use, the solution is, in fact, complex and multifaceted.
You can integrate the system with other services such as 3PL, ERP, and accounting software as well as with social media networks to automate the sharing of data.
NetSuite ERP‘s SuiteCommerce allows businesses to transform their siloed ecommerce networks to become a unified commerce solution. With this, your phone shopping, in-store, and online channels smoothly integrate with in-store and ecommerce POS to multiple business functions. These include customer service, finance, marketing, merchandising, inventory, and order management.
Likewise, this all-in-one cloud-based ecommerce solution allows B2C and B2B sellers to quickly build special, customized, and engaging branded shopping experiences in various channels. It also helps businesses surpass customer expectations and set their brands apart from the competition.
This robust, completely integrated solution allows ecommerce businesses to gain quick visibility and total control of every online selling activity. Ultimately, NetSuite ERP is designed to help businesses to better connect to more clients online.
Detailed NetSuite ERP Review
Knowledge management software captures and stores all your organization’s information and makes it easily accessible to your staff members anytime, anywhere. The solution offers an information hub where you can create, organize, and distribute content via search tools and other functionality that enable users to find answers easily and quickly.
What’s more, knowledge management software stores data such as stakeholder feedback, comments, database records, videos, images, and documents. It also streamlines the centralization, reporting, and sharing of business info. In short, KM systems provide a company with a unified pool of data that is easily accessible, discoverable, and updated.
When people require information, most likely, they want fast access to accurate information to give them time to address other pressing matters. Hence a rich, broad knowledge base is an absolute necessity, just like Bloomfire. As a self-serving, centralized repository of information about a product, service, department, or topic, a knowledge base is one of the most accessible and most affordable ways to keep customers happy.
It contains data that could come in from multiple sources, but more often, through contributors well versed in a particular subject (HR, Legal, etc.). It could include FAQs, troubleshooting guides, and other basic and in-depth details that one might need to know and is available 24/7. It is an ideal way to handle interactions that are voluminous but, at the same time, simple.
Powered by a smart drag-and-drop editor, Bloomfire is built for customization. Users can create their own classifications for categorizing content, build custom categories, and even white-label the group. What’s more, it can integrate with a wide range of third-party apps, including Chrome, Salesforce, and Slack.
Detailed Bloomfire Review
Learning Management System tools are designed to enable and facilitate education via the Internet, i.e., deliberately designed and network-enabled transfer applications for web-based learning. LMSs are intended for educational institutions and corporations that train large and decentralized teams, as well as offer training and workshop courses, evaluation metrics, and skill gap analytics.
Think of TalentLMS as a corporate training LMS that automates and streamlines your learning program by unifying virtual, classroom, social, and mobile and ecommerce in a secure platform. To support these capabilities, it established quick cloud deployment, an intuitive UI, and an array of integrations for extensible functionalities. All of these suit small business and enterprise requirements for employee training, customer orientation or industry, and professional regulatory compliance.
As a completely cloud-hosted system, TalentLMS allows you to maximize your time and overall training efforts using a slew of innovative LMS tools. You can become proficient with TalentLMS in minutes, and it allows you to create a complete course in less than an hour.
Detailed TalentLMS Review
Live chat software can be used by companies to offer instant assistance to their website visitors and customers. Top live chat solutions offer text chat, video, help desk, voice, and CRM features. Chats can be categorized into two main types: pro-active chat in which the website visitor is greeted with a pop-up box they can use to chat with an agent, and broadcast where the visitor can initiate the chat. Companies should look for live chat software that integrates seamlessly with their existing ecommerce, help desk, and CRM systems. The platform should also offer useful features, such as the capability to share discussions, preference settings for chat windows and reminders, and archive and reporting tools.
Live chat provides a timely alternative to mail and telephone when you are dealing with customer queries and complaints. It gives you customer information, history of conversations, geolocations, language information, brand specifics that you could easily tailor and personalize for each client at the other terminal, and other essential and critical content that you could have in real-time—features that you cannot have with mail and telephone. It’s really an interesting time to do business. Beyond a means for communication, live chat can help you generate leads. You can learn more about this creative strategy through resources like this one on live chat for marketing, all compiled by some of the best experts in the industry.
Zendesk is a powerful live chat platform that allows small businesses to quickly provide chat support to their customers in real-time. It is among the easiest customer support solutions to deploy, which is why it helps ensures better engagement of high-value prospects.
And while this live chat tool is totally free, it can be effortlessly scaled to address the growing needs of small businesses. What’s more, it comes with a host of advanced IM tools, including widget unbranding and conversation tracking.
This live chat platform is configured to allow small businesses to provide anytime, anywhere on-demand support to customers. It also helps growing companies offer a better customer experience by enabling clients to multi-task. Finally, Zendesk allows business users to gather important customer information, remove unnecessary expenses, and drive sales.
Detailed Zendesk Review
Office software simplifies business document processes and tasks and enhances their productivity. Office software is also known as office productivity software and office application suite. A typical office software suite consists of applications like a word processor, spreadsheet, email, presentation, database, collaboration, note-taking, and other related software. You can install each application in the suite separately, and all applications in the suite are normally interoperable with each other.
Perhaps office application hardly needs introductions. Next to a computer operating system, office software is virtually given to anyone wishing to interact with the rest of the world, whether personally or professionally.
In the case of Google, what started as Gmail beta in 2004, Google Apps in 2008. And finally, G Suite Basic or G Suite Business in 2016 is today the leading productivity suite in the world, incorporating cloud computing and extensive collaboration tools. It provides applications in basic or enterprise configuration, including Gmail, Hangouts, Calendar, and Google+ for communication, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms and Sites for collaboration, Drive for storage, a digital whiteboard called Jamboard and Vault and Admin panel for specific plans.
Massively powerful datacenters behind all these applications allow instantaneous saving and synchronization of data and information anywhere in the world. G Suite Business users enjoy ad-free applications, and their account data and information are exempted from advertising purposes. In January 2017 alone, G Suite entered a milestone, reaching 3 million paying customers, along with 70 million G Suite for Education users.
Detailed G Suite Review
A payment gateway is a software application that functions as a channel between an ecommerce vendor’s website and the bank that processes a buyer’s credit card payment. A payment gateway can also process payments using methods such as debit cards and eCheck (ACH) payments. The main work of the payment gateway is to securely transmit the buyer’s sensitive credit/debit card and bank account data to the issuing bank and other entities involved in the transaction.
Payment gateways send transaction data to acquiring banks and get replies from issuing banks about whether a transaction is accepted or declined. In short, payment gateways provide effective communication among banks.
With a staggering $2 trillion of ecommerce going around, it’s beyond essential for businesses small, or large, to get in on the act. The ease of creating online shopping platforms and web stores, the onset of cloud technology, the integration of systems and apps that tie processes together, the proliferation of fulfillment services that enable speedy delivery, and a host of many other things make it all possible.
One of the important drivers of the growth of ecommerce is the convenience and reliability of paying online through credit cards or non-cash transactions. Leading the pack is 2Checkout, is a top-tier worldwide payment solution that enables businesses to accept mobile and online payments from customers across the world. It also offers a wide array of financial tools, including localized payment options.
With over 50,000 business users globally, 2Checkout offers reliable and reputable services that cover numerous payment types. It also supports over 200 markets worldwide and over 100 online invoicing solutions and shopping carts.
2Checkout’s whole checkout experience was configured to optimize conversions by adjusting to the local conditions of any market or type of business. These include payment methods, currencies, and language aspects.
Detailed 2Checkout Review
Restaurant management software helps business owners manage their foodservice joints. Some solutions like point-of-sale (POS) systems have features related to customer interactions. Still, more often, this type of software focuses on behind-the-scenes processes, such as accounting, inventory management, and employee scheduling.
Restaurant management software enables restaurant owners and managers to organize back-office operations. These apps keep track of orders, payroll, inventory, and analytics. You use these products to compare business practices at multiple locations, simplify the onboarding process for new employees, and monitor employee effectiveness.
Toast POS is arguably the best-known brand in the restaurant industry. It simplifies your restaurant operations by combining POS, front of house, back of house, and guest-facing technology on a single platform.
Aside from the core POS function, the platform offers myriad extra functionalities like reporting, credit card processing, CRM, gift and loyalty, online ordering and labor, and inventory. For menu management functionalities, it provides time-specific menu pricing such as a happy hour menu, customizes menus separately for offline and online audiences, and sets up the entire menu, including all groups and sub-groups.
A restaurant ordering feature enables users to split menu items and bills among customers sends automatic alerts to the server when the order is ready, and provides the capability to take orders on the fly. Payments are simplified both for restaurant owners and their clients, with a feature called pay at the table, printing receipts or emailing them, and tipping servers directly from tablets.
Plus, customers can convert payments into loyalty points that they can redeem on subsequent visits. It monitors restaurant sales, labor costs, food costs, and more in real-time, at home, and on the go with powerful reporting capabilities.
Detailed Toast POS Review
A POS software or POS system combines hardware and software to centralize your retail or restaurant operations. The hardware involved typically include a computer, cash register, or even a tablet device to input the products, determine the cost, and finally, to close the sale.
Most POS solutions can track inventory levels to ensure there are enough products in stock. Smaller shops go for cloud-based POS applications for their low investment resources footprint.
TouchBistro is a full-suite POS platform with a built-in payment system. This iPad POS is designed by restaurant industry experts for use by restaurants. So this ensures each feature suits the particular requirements and context of foodservice businesses.
This solution makes restaurant management easier and more agile as it provides powerful tools like payment processing, order management, and menu planning. It is currently used by more than 23,000 restaurants in over 100 countries across the world.
This all-in-one solution helps elevate the quality of a restaurant’s customer service, marketing, and sales. It can also efficiently handle inventory and resource management using its inventory monitoring and scheduling features. Finally, small restaurants will appreciate its reasonable subscription rates.
Detailed TouchBistro Review
Communications software makes it possible for team members to exchange data and discuss business operations in real-time. You can use it to transmit information from one system to another, exchange files in various formats, or simply discuss sensitive corporate data in a protected, internal environment.
Popular communication software types are messaging apps, live chat systems, FTPs (file transfer protocols), VoIP, and email providers, which make it possible to communicate at low to no cost.
RingCentral is an award-winning cloud-based phone system that lets you conduct voice communications, online meetings, and business conferences. It’s a tool that helps you save on costs that come with a physical communication setup involving hardware, software, maintenance, training, space, and operators, among others. It works just as good offsite as it does onsite with its strong mobile support for both Android and iOS, keeping your remote team connected and organized and allowing them to send and receive HD calls, faxes, SMSs, attend conferences, and receive notifications, regardless of your current whereabouts. The solution also allows you to administer your business processes.
Setting up RingCentral takes just minutes; simply register for an account, configure the settings, and you instantly have a phone system running through the Internet. You get standard PBX features, plus extra functionalities, such as call management, online meetings, app integration, data security, and mobile extensions.
Once you receive a phone number in your email, you can log into the RingCentral website to create extensions, enable an auto call attendant, set call queues, organize call groups, and configure rules for voice mail, call routing/blocking, and call forwarding. In short, you can do in a day on RingCentral what takes a week on traditional PBX systems.
Detailed RingCentral Review
Payroll software is offered by HR technology vendors, but it can also be part of an ERP system. It is used to perform a lot of tasks, such as calculating employees’ salaries, cutting deductions, depositing the salary directly into staff members’ bank accounts, producing tax forms and payslips, and more.
The app helps reduce manual errors as well as cycle times. Setting up this software and getting started with it is also very easy. Moreover, payroll management software offers benefits, such as secure financial transactions, efficient handling of employee data, and obtaining detailed reports on staff payroll. You can learn more about this software by reading about popular systems in this category.
Gusto is an online payroll and HR services solution made to streamline the complicated and cumbersome HR-related tasks of today’s small businesses. It provides powerful payroll features that include compliance, salary, and benefits management in one user-friendly platform.
This award-winning platform offers smart automation and innovative features, including a professionally-designed user dashboard. It also provides comprehensive insurance and 201(k) for employees in health benefits throughout the US.
What’s more, Gusto can automate the federal, state, and local tax computation and payment of small businesses. It helps guarantee that business and employee taxes are paid on time, using the correct payment methods, and remain accurate and error-free.
Detailed Gusto Review
As the entire world continues to reach unprecedented technological innovations, new forms of online threats also emerge. This is why businesses are doubling up on their strategies to combat various cyberattacks to protect their digital assets. These strategies mostly come in the form of IT security software, which we’ll discuss in this section. This type of software protection is among the most used technological tools, mainly because of the highly critical function it provides to businesses, big and small.
Leading this category of software is ManageEngine Firewall Analyzer, a robust platform that offers an array of tools and functionalities that guarantee security and firewall optimization. It works to help system administrators better comprehend how bandwidth is used by their networks. So, with this greater understanding, administrators can easily assess firewall logs, instantly transmit bandwidth and security reports, etc.
It also provides security event reports, which outline suitable and efficient counter procedures to particular cyber attacks. Moreover, ManageEngine Firewall Analyzer is highly flexible that it can work with any firewall infrastructure businesses use.
It supports more than 50 types of firewalls, such as Palo Alto, Fortinet, Cisco, and Juniper, as well as processes like Layer 3 Network devices and proxies. In addition, it helps system administrators to comply with relevant IT audit standards like SOX, FINRA, and SEC.
Detailed ManageEngine Firewall Analyzer Review
Social media management software lets you engage prospects and customers on social media networks. The software can be used to track inbound and outbound brand mentions, social marketing campaigns, and the effectiveness of social media presence.
Leading these social media management solutions is Zoho Social, a smart tool to help your small business grow its presence on social channels by reaching the right audience at the right time. It tracks revenue from social media marketing efforts and managing multiple social networks, monitor keywords, schedule unlimited posts, and facilitates team collaboration from a single dashboard.
Zoho Social works great with popular social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Instagram. It can also be integrated with Zoho CRM.
Zoho Social lets you publish relevant content when the audience is most likely to see it through its prediction engine. You can use it to listen and engage your audience in real-time and be updated about what customers are saying about your business.
It has ready-made or custom reporting tools to give you insightful information that you can use to measure and improve performance. You can check the solution closely without any commitment using its free trial.
Detailed Zoho Social Review
Employee monitoring software helps businesses to keep track of their staff members’ computer activities such as software usage, internet browsing, networking interactions, active and idle computer time, and more. Managers can use the reports generated by the software to evaluate the output and performance of employees and to plan strategies to improve their productivity.
Businesses can utilize this platform to monitor all devices used by their employees from a central location. The software can be deployed over a business network for centralized log viewing. Companies can also utilize remote desktop software to monitor their employees.
Deputy is a leading employee monitoring software that helps businesses better manage daily tasks and managerial assignments. This time management, schedule, and task management solution ensures that work assignments are properly given and completed in a timely manner.
It practically removes the time-intensive manual work monitoring approach, enabling businesses to focus on other more important business activities. Deputy can support a wide range of businesses and organizations, including restaurants, nonprofits, state agencies, etc. If you want to simplify your task scheduling requirements, this solution can help you.
By harnessing the power of automation, this solution can allow businesses to streamline multi-department scheduling and team management to make it efficient. Deputy provides that added security to ensure that job schedules and task assignments reach their corresponding assigned employee, using email or SMS notifications. It even helps in payroll administration by recording and compiling employees’ logged hours.
Detailed Deputy Review
Document management software handles documents creation, sharing, organization, and archiving. A leading brand, PandaDoc, includes mobile optimization, version control, e-signature support, document templates, offline access, permission control, and automated workflows. It comes with a search engine that efficiently finds documents based on document type, names, and keywords, among others.
PandaDoc is a cloud-based document management and file sharing solution that allows users to make, complete, and share business files and other documents online. It basically functions to enable businesses to become paperless workplaces. As such, it helps hasten digital business processes and transactions.
This platform can handle multiple document types such as those in doc and pdf formats. It is suitable for most business documents like contracts, billing, quotations, etc. PandaDoc is specially designed for companies that consider digital document management as critical to their business.
Business units like finance, marketing, and sales are among those with the most number of users of this robust solution. And with a centralized dashboard, it can also help HR managers and trainers gain better access control to key employee documents. PandaDoc also provides numerous pre-built business templates for free.
Detailed PandaDoc Review
Appointment scheduling software—also called appointment booking software and online booking software—handles all your scheduling appointments and bookings. You can use it to automate scheduling tasks and arrange meetings and appointments.
Top features include appointment reminders, employee and customer management, and calendar integration. Advanced features include payment processing, revenue processing, and mobile compatibility.
Zen Planner is a comprehensive appointment scheduling and business management software designed for use by fitness clubs, martial arts schools, and other related businesses. It is packed with user-friendly yet robust features for simplifying most operational processes like sending emails, payment processing, scheduling, and membership administration.
Its tools offer a host of benefits. For instance, it helps gyms and similar establishments to boost their memberships and help gain high retention rates. It also enables fitness clubs to enhance their product and service offerings. What’s more, Zen Planner allows personal trainers and business owners to have more time building deep relationships with club members and spend less time performing administrative work.
Meanwhile, Zen Planner also provides digital marketing services and a built-in business portal for businesses. This platform offers these great features at clear cut, affordable prices without any hidden charges for extra features. And you can test-drive its features with its free trial offer.
Detailed Zen Planner Review
An intuitive and easy to use virtual data room solution, the platform allows users to accessibly handle their due diligence processes with ease and speed. Drooms NXG Virtual Data Room provides users with smart artificial intelligence for faster due diligence, powerful document processing for ease of access to the latest information, advanced permission settings, and more. The platform is highly secure, giving businesses peace of mind when handling their confidential documents and business processes.
A booking management system built mainly for small property firms, hotels, inns, and other establishments. The platform comes loaded with all the essentials for managing one’s booking processes, from room reservation and guest communications to maintenance. Inn Style streamlines all organization and guest data, making it easy for users to accomplish all their responsibilities without breaking a sweat while ensuring customers have a pleasant stay in the property. The software also comes equipped with marketing and distribution functionalities to boost your property’s visibility.
A business communication services provider, VirtualGlobalPhone is suitable for businesses that are looking to easily deploy a fully-featured and scalable business phone system for their virtual office. It offers toll-free numbers, regular phones, business phones, and more. This provider offers its services in over 80 countries.
An ITIL-driven cloud management platform built for simple and efficient tracking of multiple cloud environments, OpSmartCM provides users with a full view of all their cloud assets for painless management. Users can see everything they need at a glance via its Single Pane Dashboard, and with its intuitive design, businesses can greatly benefit from lower service desk costs. It features powerful automation capabilities as well to eliminate mundane tasks and greatly boost operational efficiency and productivity.
A website performance testing and optimization solution, Dareboost enables users to improve the browsing experience for end-users and boost their visibility on the web. The software slices and dices metrics to deliver clear insights on their front-end, obstacles that impede performance, and ways to further improve the user experience.
This software is built to assist property managers in condominium management and communication with residents, condo owners, and board members. It features unparalleled tools for record-keeping to efficiently organize all documents, residents, communications, and other information within a unified platform. For clear communications, this software centralizes all messages on a single platform for faster resolution of requests and better relations. Users also benefit from faster information dissemination, ensuring that all-important announcements reach intended audiences.
If your business has not used SaaS software for small business yet, you are most likely selling your business short while most of your competitors are taking strides to leap ahead of you. It’s not too late, though, and knowing which SaaS tools your fellow SMBs—and thus, competition—prefer to use gives you a good idea where to start yourself.
To date, more and more small businesses around the world continue to embrace the still expanding SaaS revolution. This trend will likely continue in the years to come. Because with so many benefits like the convenient pay-per-use arrangement, flexibility, customization, and automated updates, there’s no compelling reason not to join the SaaS bandwagon.
Finally, we recommend that you also read other guides that expertly review other SaaS software categories and products for small businesses not covered in this post. This will further expand your knowledge of this empowering type of business software.
FinancesOnline is available for free for all business professionals interested in an efficient way to find top-notch SaaS solutions. We are able to keep our service free of charge thanks to cooperation with some of the vendors, who are willing to pay us for traffic and sales opportunities provided by our website. Please note, that FinancesOnline lists all vendors, we’re not limited only to the ones that pay us, and all software providers have an equal opportunity to get featured in our rankings and comparisons, win awards, gather user reviews, all in our effort to give you reliable advice that will enable you to make well-informed purchase decisions.