SaaS has come a long way. Only two decades ago, the software-as-a-service (SaaS) industry was a different space completely. Companies asked the question “what is SaaS? Why do I need it?”
The answers were almost too good to be true.
- Minimal Risk. Most even let you pay monthly and allow you to stop your contract at any time. This all sounds great, right? Well, that’s the problem. We can’t get them all.
- Saves Time. A lot of what these tools do is decrease the time spent doing repetitive tasks, through automation and templates.
- Saves on Hiring. I say this with caution. There is no AI powerful enough that exists today that can totally replace a human person. However, there are tools available that can do a pretty good job at helping. These include chatbots (customer service assistants) and content tools that automatically grab headlines from your blog, and reposts them on all your channels.
- Speed. SaaS has a faster processing power and scalable data analysis. This significantly reduces the time necessary to complete a project. Take The Harvard Business Review, for example. The publication reported that the head of marketing at a certain credit card company felt like a kid in a candy store when he was told that a project will only take five weeks to complete instead of 18 months that IT originally predicted.”
There are tools that have stood out since the term SaaS became widely used. Many have evolved to do much more.
- This is the company that launched the idea based around customer resource management (CRM). It has since expanded into a platform for development, marketing, analytics and social networking.
- Slack is a popular collaboration platform for enterprises and SMBs. It offers messaging, archiving, and search for modern teams.
- Offers customer service, with features like support tracking, purchase tracking, billing, shipping, and other customer data.
- This is a popular online meeting tool that supports secure connections across any device.
- HubSpot develops cloud-based, inbound marketing software that provides businesses with tools for social media marketing, content management, Web analytics and search engine optimization.
- FreshBooks is an accounting tool for small business owners to bill clients and track time spent with the client.
- Shopify is a multi-channel commerce platform. It’s designed for small and medium-sized businesses that sell online and in retail stores. It helps run both the Website and store front and manage inventory from both.
Fast-forward to Today
Welcome to a world dominated by software accessed through the internet. As marketing becomes increasingly technical and KPI-focused, it’s not surprising that new tools are being created to support these processes.
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There are tons of apps that offer a wide range of opportunities and solutions designed to meet the customers’ soaring expectations. According to Transparency Market Research (TMC), the overall SaaS market will reach $164.29 billion by 2022.
Too Many Tools
Using marketing tools is addicting, and there is a tool for just about everything, so that means, as marketers, we are always looking to add more.
|According to Siftery.com, a marketing tool that tracks the software used by thousands of brands, top B2B companies today use an average of 37 different tools for marketing.|
We are now overloaded with options, and many of us are still trying to figure out all the features in the ones we do have. But, with all the promises that these tools offer, the decision to choose one is overwhelming. You forget what you wanted in the first place.
How to Overcome Overload and Find the Right Tools
The answer is not to abandon these tools. They are absolutely necessary and can significantly improve the area you needed.
1. Evaluate your day-to-day tasks.
First, understand what daily tasks you want to improve. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What tasks are repetitive?
- Which tasks can be automated?
- What do you spend most of your time doing?
- project management,
- human resource management,
- business intelligence,
- team collaboration,
- employee monitoring,
- content management,
- knowledge management,
- customer support,
- document management,
- website builder,
- appointment scheduling,
- social media management
2. Evaluate your current marketing stack.
When evaluating your marketing stack, it’s important you recognize the full potential of each tool. Are you taking advantage of each of them? If not, ask why. Remember, some tools are better than others. Maybe you like the idea of the feature but don’t like how it works on your current tool. The good thing is that there are many different ways for developers to interpret and then employ these features. You might like the UX of a competitor’s tool.
3. Look for tools with many features.
When searching for new tools, it’s important to look for tools that do lots of things. This way you get the most bang for your back.
4. Take advantage of free trials
Most SaaS tools have pretty good free trials. There is no better way to know which tool works best for you then trying it out yourself. Most last 14 days and include most of the features in a premium plan to try for 2 weeks.
5. Become a beta tester
Beta testing is a great, cheap option. Sure sometimes there might be a few bugs here and there, but they usually get fixed really quickly at this stage of a product.
Beta programs to try:
6. Try out the customer service
These tools play an important role in our day-to-day lives. The whole point is that they should make your life easier, not harder. So, when something goes wrong (whether on your side or on the tech side), it’s important that you are able to get it fixed or get the info you need quickly and easily.
Send an email to customer service, and see how long it takes for the company to get back to you. Can you message the company on social media and have a quick response?
There are ways to break through the noise and find the SaaS tools you really need. It just takes a little more research on your part, but it pays off in the long run.
Author bio: Dana Roth leads the marketing activities at FORTVISION.com, a SaaS platform that helps marketers reach their KPIs through personalized user journeys and interactive experiences. She holds a bachelor of journalism from the University of Missouri – Columbia and has been working in the SaaS world for 10 years.