As the co-founder of a SaaS startup I am incredibly busy just about every minute of every day. It’s easy to get in “do mode” where you are highly tactical, focused on getting things done that need to be done. While this is a great mode to be in, as founders we have to keep a careful balance between tactical and strategic.
One of the best ways to be more strategic is to study and understand as much data as possible about your business. All those KPI’s and metrics that tell you how your business is doing, where you’re kicking ass, and where you’re falling behind are critical to making sure that when you do get tactical, you’re focusing on doing things that move things in the right direction. Gone are the days of tracking these manually, now tools exist to help make your life easier by aggregating all of this data together, saving you the time of gathering the data yourself and instead aggregating it together, and showing the metrics you care about.
Below are three tools that can help you get more organized and data-driven so you can look at your business from 30,000 feet above to better understand where you can make the most impact.
SalesLoft – where has this been all my life? Salesloft is a tool that plugs directly into Salesforce that makes it much easier for sales development teams to streamline their email and phone activity. SalesLoft plugs directly into Salesforce and allows for the creation of something they call a “cadence”. These Cadences are regular contact flows, i.e. first send an email to a prospect, then call them, then email them two days later, etc. Normally companies would keep this kind of information in a document or a spreadsheet, now this can be managed and tracked directly through a platform. As a founder or sales manager, it’s then easy to get a snapshot of how many phone calls and emails your team is sending, and more importantly, how well your team is performing over time.
InsightSquared – first I’ll be completely honest in saying this is a new tool for me, but one that came highly recommended to me by a successful SaaS CEO here in Austin. Think of InsightSquared as one of the most powerful tools for unlocking the data you are already keeping track of in Salesforce. Rather than building complex reports correlating different key data points, InsightSquared has an entire platform that pulls out the data and helps make meaning of it. This isn’t just valuable for SaaS founders to use in order to make better decisions, it’s also a great way for SaaS investors to stay plugged-into the number and more carefully understand what how their investments are performing outside of the regular monthly or quarterly updates they get.
FreshBooks – when it comes to billing I’ve found that Freshbooks is the easiest way to send invoices, keep them organized, and provide flexible payment options for your clients (i.e. credit card, monthly payments, etc.) I know there are other tools out there so do your homework before jumping right into FreshBooks but this has been my go-to for years now, it’s simple, works well, and seems to be the easiest for clients to login to and make payments.