Software solutions are quickly becoming some of the most valuable tools for any business. In the age of SaaS (Software as a Service), companies can purchase the tools they need on a pay-as-you-go basis. This means you only pay for the technology your team uses, and nothing more.
Software as a service makes it much easier for companies of all sizes to access transformative technology. Whether you’re looking for collaboration tools, workforce management, or analytics, a SaaS service will help you to cut costs and boost efficiency. Much more than just an industry trend, SaaS gives SMBs a way to evolve and grow by leveraging the cloud.
There is one downside to the growing popularity of SaaS, however. There are now so many different tools on the market that it’s challenging to decide what you need.
That’s why we put together this guide for the top 30 SaaS tools for SMBs.
What is SaaS, and why is it so beneficial?
SaaS, or Software as a Service, allows companies to access essential software on a monthly, or yearly basis. You pay for a subscription license with pricing usually based on the number of users you have, and the kind of functionality you want. The flexibility, scalability, and simplicity of the SaaS model mean it’s quickly becoming the industry standard for software deployment.
One report from 2019 suggests that the average company with between 200 and 500 employees uses around 123 SaaS applications. Small businesses are one of the most valuable markets for SaaS too, with around 85% saying they’re planning to invest in more software as a service in the years to come.
The benefits of SaaS include everything from better scalability to faster accessibility for companies that want to use disruptive tools. The most common advantages linked to SaaS include:
- Cost savings: Purchasing SaaS solutions through cloud services is often a more affordable way to use business applications. You don’t need to buy anything outright, and there isn’t any hardware to install or maintain.
- Simple back-end management: Most SaaS solutions come with simple back-end management and provisioning systems so you can roll them out quickly. You can easily get an end-user set up with a new application in minutes.
- Scalability: As your business grows, your SaaS application service provider will give you the option to scale your services up. You could also reduce your usage of certain features during slower business times to reduce costs.
- Constant innovation: Because SaaS solutions are in the cloud, it’s easy for developers to introduce new features regularly. You won’t have to worry about buying a new license every time the software upgrades.
- Flexibility: Many SaaS solutions now come with access to APIs and other technology that make integrations easier. The right enterprise software will usually work seamlessly with the systems you already use.
The top SaaS tools for SMBs
SaaS solutions come in a range of shapes and sizes, from ERP (enterprise resource planning) software to tools that help you with provisioning new communication systems. Here are 20 of the SaaS systems we recommend, and what you can do with each of them.
1. Accounting software (Freshbooks)
Keeping track of your finances every month is essential for any company; this makes accounting platforms a crucial investment. These handy tools make it easy to keep track of invoices, cash flow, and taxes. You can even share your accounting software and reports with your book-keeping professionals to make sending tax returns easier.
Freshbooks is one of the most popular choices for accounting these days. The invoicing and cash flow management service targets small businesses, giving them an easy way to balance their books. Freshbooks will support your team with everything from time tracking systems, payment reports, expenses reviews, and even professional invoicing.
2. Collaboration software (Wrike)
Collaboration software is all about keeping your employees connected through the wonders of cloud computing. The right programs will help your team members to share files and ideas, communicate, and even work on projects in real-time. There are various kinds of collaboration software out there, from tools that work on your web browser, to mobile apps.
Wrike is a popular tool for collaboration that helps to keep team members efficient and productive wherever you are. There’s a single hub where your employees can track assignments and projects. Sharing and storing files is secure and simple, and there’s a flexible place to discuss work too. Team leaders can even assign projects to specific people based on their skills.
3. Communication software (RingCentral)
Communication is a must-have for any successful business. SMBs and startups need a convenient way for their employees to connect with shareholders, employees, and even colleagues. RingCentral Office provides an all-in-one environment for communication through UCaaS (Unified Communication as a Service). The solution brings everything you need for modern connections into one space.
With RingCentral, people can talk through video, messaging, audio, and more. There are a desktop and mobile app to support all kinds of employees, and you can still tap into crucial communication features. Solutions like auto-receptionists and IVR tools are available with the push of a button. Because everything is on the cloud, you’re also free to customise your functionality. However, you choose.
4. Workflow Software (Nifty)
Nifty is a popular workflow solution that has milestone automation, task management, collaboration functionality and lastly doc and file management. Nifty prides itself in being the easiest to use feature-rich workflow solution and caters to Small and medium-sized businesses with its flexible pricing and guest work for free mantra.
Nifty is also a popular solution that teams use for communication due to the fact that there is a built-in chat tool that enables users to reference internal tasks, docs and files. The direct messaging features are a great way for teams to monitor agile communication across clients and each department.
5. Document Management (Google Workspace)
In today’s age of distributed teams, employees need instant access to all of their essential documents and information. Google Workspace (G-Suite) provides your employees with everything they need to stay productive. There’s an online calendar, Drive for storing files, Docs for creating documents, and so much more. People can even work on projects together in real-time on something like Google Sheets.
With Google Workspace, sharing information is as simple as dragging and dropping a file into a drive folder. Plus, your employees can continue to use the service from anywhere with an internet connection. There’s even the option to log into systems from a smartphone.
6. Customer Support (RingCentral Engage)
Customer experience is one of the most valuable tools that any business leader can invest in. The happier your clients are, the more likely your business will be to thrive. As customer service continues to move online, more companies are provisioning digital solutions for customer support. With RingCentral Engage Digital, you can engage with your customers through the channels they choose.
The communication and engagement platform unifies all the touchpoints your team uses into one space. That means you can track everything from website live chat to social media and email in the same environment. RingCentral Engage also merges information about customers from different environments into one profile so that you can offer more personal support.
7. HR software (BambooHR)
SaaS solutions for human resources streamline complicated activities like recruiting, hiring, screening, evaluation, and even onboarding. These tools make it much easier to keep track of the people who want to join your team. You can access unique features like self-service learning portals that make it easier for your candidates to ease into work. There are also solutions for tracking things like employee engagement and turnover with some SaaS products.
Bamboo HR is a leading HR solution for software lovers, providing access to personnel data modules, advanced reporting, and tracking services. There’s a dedicated interface for tracking employee performance, and another for keeping your eye on applicant leads and open job opportunities.
8. Business intelligence (Sisense)
One of the better-known innovators for Business Intelligence technology is Sisense. In a world where companies need to adapt to changes in their industry instantly, BI tools provide more confidence and guidance. The right SaaS applications, like Sisense, make it easier to measure crucial metrics and KPIs that dictate the needs of your company.
With Sisense, you can use a drag-and-drop interface to analyse large sets of data and transform complicated information into visual charts and graphs. You can even integrate your Sisense BI with the other apps you use each day like Google AdWords, and Excel. Or you can access extra information from tools like Zendesk and Salesforce for CRM.
9. Time tracking software (Clarizen)
Time tracking software has become more attractive lately, as the demand for remote and flexible work increases. With the right SaaS solutions, business leaders can ensure that employees are spending the right amount of time on certain tasks. It’s also much easier to pay freelancers and remote workers on an hourly basis when time-tracking tech is available.
Clarizen offers a range of SaaS solutions in project management, social collaboration, and time tracking applications. This cloud-based tool is flexible and easy to deploy, plus it gives you better visibility for everything you need to know about how your team works. There’s even the option to set deadlines to keep your team members from falling behind schedule.
ProofHub is a popular project management software with advanced team collaboration features. You get the flexibility to choose from multiple views i.e. table view, board view, timeline view, and calendar view. The software also provides an online proofing tool to simplify your review and approval process, a dedicated space to carry out real-time discussions and a group chat functionality. The advanced reporting and time tracking features mean that you can always stay on top of everything that your team is working on.
11. Website builder (Wix)
Website builders stand among some of the best-known types of SaaS technology. With website builder software, you can construct websites and mini-sites for your company without having to learn too much-complicated code. If you want to offer web services and sell products online, then you’ll need a reliable website builder.
12. Marketing software (Hubspot)
Marketing software is the SaaS solution companies use to expand brand reach and attract customers. The right tools will give you an easy way to connect with your customers through things like email marketing, social media posts, and more. You can even find tools to help with things like content distribution for your website and guest posting strategies.
Hubspot marketing is one of the more popular software-based tools for marketing right now. The solution gives you powerful automation features for connecting with your audience. You can prepare and publish thought leadership content, set up email campaigns and more. With access to in-depth reports where you can view things like conversion and engagement metrics, you’ll also see which marketing efforts deliver the most success.
13. Sales tracking (Pipedrive)
Keeping an eye on your sales performance is essential for any business. You need to make sure that you’re constantly taking advantage of new lead opportunities, maintaining your existing audience, and finding new places to source revenue. Pipedrive is one of the more attractive sales solutions on the market today, which helps you to organise and evaluate leads for sales.
There’s a unique reporting dashboard that shows you your leads and helps you to understand the opportunities available for each possible customer. There’s even a “deal rotting” feature that lets you know if you’re on the way to missing out on a conversion. Pipedrive also offers a sales mentor system powered by artificial intelligence to help with sales decision making.
14. Project management software (Monday.com)
Project management software is a kind of SaaS service that facilitates faster and more effective project delivery. If you need a way to keep all of your employees on track – no matter where they are, then you’ll need one of these tools. Project management software can help you to set up more realistic deadlines and milestones while helping you to keep track of your productivity levels.
Monday.com is an award-winning solution for project management that combines collaboration features like chat with deadlines, and project tracking. The easy-to-use software is highly flexible, with various customisation options available to suit your teams. This service also offers in-depth reporting and analytics features so you can see how well your team is operating from one month to the next. You could even set up gamification strategies based on your reports to help employees compete against each other for the best outcomes.
15. Customer relationship management (Salesforce)
Customer relationship management or CRM software is another must-have for any CIO to consider in the search for must-have software. CRM tools help companies to build stronger relationships with their customers by giving them in-depth profiles and insights into various brand/customer touchpoints. You can process and analyse customer information, create powerful sales funnels, and even set up loyalty programs too.
Salesforce is the best-known tool for CRM solutions on the market today, with tons of amazing features to help you improve your connection with your customers. You can track your client’s journey through every touchpoint, assign leads to specific agents, and create in-depth reports. Salesforce also integrates with a lot of other SaaS service options too.
16. Customer experience management (Qualtrics)
Similar to CRM technology, customer experience management tools help businesses to get a better all-around view of the customer lifecycle. If you need a way to improve brand loyalty for your organisation and manage complicated purchasing cycles, you need a CEM.
Customer experience management tools will help you to keep track of all the conversations you have with customers on phone calls, live chat, websites, and more. Some SaaS vendors can even offer AI tools to help with tracking customer sentiment and suggesting best-practices for agents. Qualtrics CX is one of the top products in this area, making it easier for teams to collect customer feedback and insights on every channel. You can even use artificial intelligence to predict what might happen next in a sales journey.
17. Live chat (Freshchat)
Chat is becoming one of the most popular ways for companies to communicate. The chances are you’re already using services like RingCentral or Microsoft Teams to let your team members chat wherever they are. However, it’s also a good idea to have a way for your customers to chat with you too. Freshchat is a cloud-hosted messaging application that allows you to transform chat moments online into more personal experiences.
Freshchat helps you to connect with your existing and would-be customers to enhance your customer experience. You can even connect with social media chat applications like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp to reach your clients wherever they are.
18. Business Analytics (IBM Cognos)
Making the right decisions about the future of your company means running the right analytical experiments. With an end-to-end analytics service like IBM Cognos, companies can collect helpful information, and transform it into actionable insights that employees can share with anyone. There’s support for multi-cloud environments, automation features to help with managing your data preparation and more.
Cognos Analytics will uncover the hidden patterns in your information and interpret trends for you so that you can make more effective decisions. There’s also the option to pull data from different points in your business, from your CSV files to spreadsheets, on-premises tools, and the private cloud.
19. Employee monitoring (Hubstaff)
Eliminating inefficiencies within your team means keeping a close eye on how your employees work. That all starts with the right employee monitoring software. Tools like Hubstaff help you to ensure that your team members are as productive as possible. With this solution, you can track the time your team members dedicate to specific tasks, manage to invoice, identify potential productivity roadblocks, and create reports.
You can also seamlessly integrate your employee monitoring software from Hubstaff with over 30 other popular apps for the workforce, such as PayPal, Trello, and Asana. Team members can access their monitoring tools from mobile or desktop devices.
20. Scheduling software (Calendly)
In the age of digital transformation, more companies are working with employees from all over the world. This means that it’s more important to have a scheduling system in place. The right calendar service will help you to keep track of when your team members are available for meetings and conversations. It also means that you can schedule important events for the right times.
Many software vendors include calendar tools as part of a subscription fee for a collaboration service, or you can opt for a dedicated solution like Calendly. This team scheduling software helps teams to save time and communicate more effectively. You can also use the service to schedule appointments with clients too.
21. Employee training software (Userlane)
Training your employees boosts their engagement and productivity levels. With employee training and user onboarding software, you can ensure that all of your team members have the right skills to excel in their roles. Userlane is a popular onboarding and customer retention platform, offering a fully interactive way to bring your team members up to speed.
Whether you’re teaching your team how to use a specific operating system or PaaS, you can access a simple and straightforward training environment. Userlane can go over the top of any software solution that you want to teach your employees about. There’s no coding necessary, and you can access a virtual assistant on demand for contextual support.
22. Security software (Okta)
There are few things more valuable than having the right cloud security in place for your team. Whether you’re tracking the performance of your data centres or protecting your hybrid cloud, you need a full solution for protecting you from cyber-attacks and other common problems. The software delivery model means that you can upgrade your traditional software with extra security whenever you like.
Options like Okta and Better cloud secure your SaaS interactions and make sure you’re fully defended against any issues that might come your way. You can determine which cloud activity is legitimate, and which is suspicious, whether you’re using a private or public cloud, and run various tests to secure your services. You could also look into adding further security measures into your business operations with other dedicated tools for firewalls and malware protection too.
Don’t underestimate the power of SaaS.
In the new age of digital transformation, the SaaS model is becoming increasingly appealing. It’s the easiest way to get access to the latest technology you need, without spending a fortune on the up-front cost and maintenance. With SaaS, you can access everything from infrastructure as a service (IaaS), to the latest communication features and contact centre tools.
Most of the top SaaS vendors also give you extra peace of mind about uptime, with a service level agreement (SLA) to ensure that you don’t lose access to the tools you need.
If your company hasn’t made the switch to SaaS yet, now could be the perfect time to get started. Get out there and start exploring the benefits of Software as a Service.
Originally published Nov 25, 2020, updated Jan 16, 2023