SaaS tools can be incredibly helpful in launching, running and marketing your startups and businesses. But there are so many out there it can be hard to figure out which ones are right for you and why you should use them.
We’re here to go over all the SaaS tools you should incorporate in your teams--including some of the ones we use ourselves every day--and the benefits of SaaS itself. Best of all? All of the tools on this list are completely free or have great free trials.
What Does SaaS Mean? And How Can It Help Me?
SaaS stands for Software as a Service. This model of using software tools to boost your product has become increasingly popular due to its flexibility and ease of use. Instead of downloading costly software for your team, you can use many of these tools online.
SaaS tools are particularly helpful for startups and have many different benefits for this style of company. Let’s go over a few of them.
SaaS Tools Are Cost-Effective
SaaS is on a pay-as-you-use model, meaning you can focus on getting what you really need instead of investing money into software all at once. This also means you can cancel your subscriptions when you want to instead of losing money to a tool you might realize you don’t need.
SaaS can grow with your company, meaning as your product grows, you can easily upgrade your software package to support more users instead of moving over to different tools or re-installing.
Get Quick Patches and Updates
Many SaaS platforms update their products frequently and improve them. This means your tools are constantly improving without you having to install the updates themselves, taking much of the hassle out for you without having to pay any extra costs.
With SaaS tools, you don’t have to worry about software maintenance or service--the providers will look after these things for you once you purchase your package. Likewise, some of these tools might be smaller companies themselves, meaning you can get more on-on-one support.
Access Whenever, Wherever
All you need to access SaaS platforms is an internet browser. You can use them on the go and from any device, making them more flexible and easier to use than traditional software.
Now, let’s discuss some of our favourite SaaS platforms by category.
Customer Feedback Tools
This category includes anything that can help you get information to and from your customers, such as survey tools, polls and changelogs or release notes.
First up on our list is our own SaaS product. We help startups and teams gather and organize customer feedback to help guide their product and best respond to user concerns. Our customer portal, integrations with platforms like Gmail and Intercom and Google Chrome extension all help pull in feedback from across the internet so you can view it all together in the same place.
From there, you can collect these individual pieces of feedback (known as Insights) into Stories that can help guide your future updates and product releases via a roadmap. We also help you create and update your changelog easily so you can keep everyone updated on changes as you make them.
Coscreen is a collaborative screen-sharing platform that can help with onboarding, customer demos and overall team collaboration. It allows you to share your screen with others or let them share your screen with you, so you know everyone’s looking at the same thing, with clear visuals and audio. Coscreen allows multiple people to edit a document or shared app at the same time at faster speeds than platforms like Zoom, so it’s great for team collaboration and communication as well.
Intercom is a messaging platform that helps real users get in contact with your team, usually through a chat widget on your site, and get quick feedback on any issues or concerns they might have. Intercom also offers bots, product tours and its very own app store, leaving you with endless possibilities.
Customer Support Tools
While getting feedback from your clients is important, it’s also important to have a good setup to address and discuss any problems they might encounter. Let’s discuss our favourites.
HelpScout is a great and accessible way to help set up your product’s help center. You can edit the copy in-app, choose how to organize articles and set up a basic flow of information. Here at UserVitals, we use HelpScout for all our help documentation.
HelpScout’s plans are paid, but they do have a free trial.
Pipedrive is a well-known and user-friendly CRM tool. It gives your team a visual sales pipeline so they can track and engage with potential customers. It can help tell you when to boost marketing after seeing spikes in user interaction and sales pipelines, and let you see which campaigns are performing better. Pipedrive even has apps for Android and iOS and integrations with plugins and APIs, so you can access your information wherever you go.
Freshdesk is a support ticketing platform for smaller businesses and startups. It’s a great way to track and monitor your users’ questions, issues and problems as you deal with them. It’s also a great way to track multiple products under the same company, and can grow with you as well if you have plans to branch out.
Freshdesk’s free version lets you log tickets for unlimited users, though they do also have a paid version.
Next, let’s discuss some of our favourite SaaS design platforms.
Here at UserVitals, we use Figma for the majority of our graphics and images. It’s a great and easily adaptable vector image tool for anyone from beginner to expert designers, though there is a slight learning curve.
Canva is another great tool for teams to use to create illustrations or graphics, especially if they’re not strictly designers themselves. With all of their pre-made templates and other resources, it’s easy to whip up a high-quality, professional looking image. We’ve used the platform ourselves multiple times to create easy infographics and illustrations.
While Canva is free, you can also purchase a premium subscription that will give you access to even more resources, including setting brand assets, images and colors as well as many more stock images and clip art.
Team Communication Tools
Team communication tools are essential for any business. Let’s go over some of our favourite SaaS products.
If you’ve been around the last year, you’ve probably heard about Zoom, so we won’t spend too much time explaining what it is. But while Zoom became popular during the pandemic, it’s incredibly helpful for every kind of work or meeting you can imagine. We’ve been using it for our products for the last two or so years to coordinate meetings, hold client interviews and discuss next steps.
While you don’t need a paid account to use Zoom, its premium version made for companies allows you more options on meeting lengths and size as well.
Slack may be one of the most common SaaS platforms out there. And for a good reason--it’s an incredible workplace communication tool to help you and your team work together better. Instead of having to face-to-face or discuss things over email chains that can run long, Slack allows you to easily discuss any problems or questions you may have and get them resolved sooner. This means everyone is in the loop and even more connected than before. We’ve personally used many different workplace communication platforms for our products, but keep going back to Slack.
With Slack’s free plan, you can send unlimited messages in your group workspace, but only the last 10,000 are saved and viewable. If you have a larger team and frequently send important information, it may be better to get the paid version.
Confluence helps your teams collaborate and share information and resources seamlessly. You can track work and provide feedback within threads, and streamline and store information within customized templates.
You can use Confluence for free for up to ten users with a 2 GB limit, but you can upgrade your plan as you grow to fit your team’s changing needs.
Project Management Tools
Every project team will have to have a good roster of SaaS project management tools. Here are some of our favourites.
Notion is one of our most-used tools here at UserVitals. It’s a great information and document management tool for companies of any size and teams of any type. We use it as a shared resource for all of our content management, product testing notes, and much more.
Much like Google Suite products, you can see who’s accessing different documents and what their additions are. You can also edit in-line and set up specific access for different members on your team--e.g. design team members may only be able to access design resources, and developers may only be able to access upcoming features and to-do lists.
Linear helps you keep track of your tasks and issues. Though it’s especially helpful for software and development teams, it can be used by anyone easily. It’s minimalist and easy to get used to, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have some great features; for instance, separate boards and task customization and detailing.
Trello is another popular SaaS tool, and it’s used by everyone from freelancers to giant tech companies like Google and Apple. This task management tool has something for every team size and type, and it’s very simple to use as well. Project or product members can create boards on Trello and add their teams to specific tasks, and even add deadlines and sub-tasks as well. It’s a great way for everyone to stay on track with their work.
Trello is free, and you can add as many team members and boards as you like.
ClickUp is an all-in-one product management SaaS tool meant to boost productivity and help your team stay on top of their work. Within the app, you can communicate with team members, track tasks, and keep important information and documents easily accessible. It’s a great tool for teams of every size, and can grow with you.
Last but not least, let’s discuss some of our favourite SaaS analytics tools.
Mixpanel is a SaaS analytics tool that helps you build reports so you can better convert and retain customers. It will help you discover how users are using your product, where users tend to drop off, and which ones retain customers. It’s a great tool for anyone looking to grow or expand their product, and it can help you through your whole product journey.
While Mixpanel helps you figure out what in your product strategy is working and what isn’t, Amplitude helps you figure out what steps to take next. But giving you answers to why and where things happened, you can get great insight on what actions to take next in your journey.
Hotjar helps you collect and analyze user feedback to discover what your customers need. It analyzes user behavior on your site like heatmaps of clicks and screen recordings alongside this feedback to discover what your users are more attracted to and what features aren’t working, allowing you to streamline your product and get your best results possible.