There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to which SaaS applications should be used or bundled together. What could work for one company might not work for another, so companies looking to adopt tools and technologies into their workflow must acknowledge their employees’ and customers’ specific needs.
Examine your goals
When considering which tools to implement into your business, examine the goals and objectives of using those tools. The SaaS applications companies should adopt will vary greatly depending on the users and their desired outcomes. The goals companies should consider are:
- Short-term versus long-term goals
Recognizing short-term and long-term goals should be a priority; you need to understand where your company wants to be in a month versus a year. For example, if the short-term goal is to have one department using an internal communications tool by the end of a month, but the long-term goal is for the entire company to use it, you’ll need scalable technology solutions.
- One-stop-shop or ’best in breed’ approach
Companies should consider where their technology is coming from. Some organizations require the same parent company to provide all tools. For example, a company might use Salesforce and only implement its offerings, such as Slack, CRM, Marketing Cloud, Datorama, Mulesoft, and Tableau. On the other hand, other organizations are open to an approach that relies heavily on integration tools and external identity management to find the best-fit technology, no matter the parent company.
- Users of the technology
Organizations must consider who will be using the tech, how they will be using it, and how those tools will relieve their specific pain points. For example, if the sales team needs an event software tool to help manage leads from hosted events, a tool that integrates with the current CRM directly will be more effective, efficient, and easier to adopt than a tool that requires multiple steps to accomplish the same task.
Understanding and establishing these goals will help companies determine what SaaS tools will work best for their current and future needs.
Essential tools to consider
Every organization has different goals and needs for implementing technology, but the most common tools fall into basic categories for bundling SaaS applications. Not all of these principal categories may fit the needs of every organization, but they serve as a starting point for organizations taking stock of what they have and still need to integrate. These tools range from streamlining operations to managing data and more.
- Productivity suite
Most organizations are familiar with productivity suites, such as Google Workspaces or Microsoft Office. Companies use these tools to create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations and share data, documents, or information.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
CRM tools like Salesforce, Zoho, or Dynamics help companies keep track of customer relationships. These tools help sales teams identify prospects’ status in the pipeline, recent customer interactions, and other essential sales tasks. CRM integration is also crucial to consolidating data across platforms into one centralized location.
- Marketing automation and communication
Tools like Marketing Cloud, Pardot, MailChimp, and Marketo help marketing and sales teams streamline and automate their marketing efforts across email, social, and web channels. With these marketing tools, employees can help fill and keep track of the pipeline of leads and share information with sales teams to close deals. In addition, integrating marketing tech with a CRM can help streamline information into one specified location, eliminating the need for cross-referencing data across tools and ultimately simplifying communication throughout an organization.
- Customer Data Platform (CDP)
CDPs are designed to collect customer information and simplify the information into one single viewpoint to understand customers’ expectations. These platforms allow marketing teams to consolidate better and unify customer insights – delivering actionable information to help tailor marketing efforts to the individual customer. In addition, by integrating CDPs into CRMs, teams can provide a single source of collected data. Typically, midmarket and enterprise-level companies benefit more from implementing CDPs into their tech stack.
- Integration or middleware tools
For companies using various tools, especially with more than one parent technology source, an integration or middleware tool is crucial to ensuring one solution provider can talk with another. For example, suppose a company is trying to integrate a CDP with its CRM. In that case, a middleware solution may be required to ensure the two can communicate and information can flow between each other. Example integration and middleware tools include Mulesoft, Jitterbit, and Boomi.
- Data warehousing and analytics
With companies collecting much data, analytics tools ensure organizations understand the information. As a result, companies can identify trends and make the necessary changes to meet their customers’ needs. Tools such as Tableau or Snowflake can help companies track and understand their data. Like CDPs, midmarket and enterprise-level companies benefit more from implementing data analytics tools into their tech stack.
With technology comes the need for cybersecurity tools. In a broad sense, security solutions ensure the integrity of an organization and keep its data and information safe. However, the need for security technology will vary widely for each organization as the physical infrastructure of the business differs for each. As a result, companies may need various technologies to keep their data secure – from encryption tools to vulnerability scanners and antivirus software.
- Internal communications
Another must-have for any technology stack is an internal communications tool like Slack. Slack is a technology point solution I have found crucial to streamline work efforts as it integrates with almost every aspect of my role and all the primary tools I use for productivity. Utilizing an internal communications tool like Slack across tech stacks helps streamline workflows and keep communication open, whether in person or remotely.
Researching your individual and organizational goals and needs and understanding the available tools can help determine the best bundle of tools to meet your company’s needs.