12 Must-Have Tools for Small Business Owners
For a modern, high-growth company, the focus is simple: providing customers with a superior experience. A growing customer base will have increasingly diverse, complex needs where success requires continual adaptation to meet those needs. Businesses attract new customers when they make it easy and rewarding to do business with them.
The good news is that there’s a software tool to satisfy most new customer needs. The challenge is picking the right ones and combining them into a single stack with applications that cooperate together as a single unit. That unified platform is easy for customers to enjoy but difficult for companies to build. Doing it right takes a special focus to anticipate customer needs and establish a long-term vision for how every new addition will fit with the rest of the technology.
For high-growth companies looking to take the next step and replace manual processes with powerful SaaS tools, let’s examine workflows that can be upgraded with cloud-based solutions and specific tools that will quickly create new value.
Payment Processing & Finance
Having too many incoming payments to process is a great problem for a high-growth company to have. It is, however, still a problem. Solving it early also eliminates potential customer pain points down the road. Making it easy for customers to make payments is a huge step for high-growth organizations because it improves satisfaction, shortens time to revenue, and frees up employees to focus on new revenue-creating projects.
Beyond simple payment processing, SaaS tools can be used to view and manage all of a company’s revenue and expenses. These solutions streamline tedious manual tasks and make historical financial information accessible later.
- Intuit eSignature makes tax season incredibly easy for customers. Rather than fax, scan, and hand-deliver paperwork for an 8879 form, Intuit simplifies the process and keeps an electronic record of the activity, delivering secure, hassle-free documents to customers in no time.
- NetSuite is a commonly used Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) tool that manages accounting, inventory, e-commerce, and more. Part of the Oracle family, NetSuite is ideal for companies with a global footprint that do business across multiple countries, languages, and currencies.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Small businesses have the time and resources to focus a lot of attention on each of their customers. When those businesses succeed and begin winning new customers, it gets harder and harder to give each one the right amount of attention to properly nurture that relationship. If a company plans to expand its customer base dramatically, it needs to have a plan in place to keep those customers happy from their first interaction.
A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system gives high-growth companies the tools to automate the collection of customer information (starting at the prospect stage) and streamline communication with those customers. CRM software can also provide an overview of any account from a single screen, including payment information, contract status, in-product activity, and other details.
- Salesforce empowers companies to deliver personalized experiences to every customer. Businesses of all sizes use Salesforce to create a comprehensive view of each of their customers and build actionable dashboards to immediately tailor actions for those customers. Salesforce integrates with hundreds of other business tools to track customer activities and provide a customized touch.
- Zoho CRM specializes in the automation of repetitive customer-facing activities across a range of channels including phone, email, chat, and social media. It also visualizes customer data via real-time reporting dashboards, allowing teams to monitor high-level performance across the entire customer base or drill down into any desired segment.
- ConvergeHub is an all-in-one CRM system built especially for small businesses. It combines sales, marketing, and customer service functionality into a single platform. With ConvergeHub, businesses can access existing templates to send any document to any customer on any device, meeting that customer in exactly the right channel at the right time.
As any team grows, managing the internal workforce requires more and more resources. One of the requirements of an expanding employee base is processes to keep those individuals satisfied. Since employees are the front line of contact for customers, keeping them satisfied is an easy way to keep customers happy. High-growth companies can use SaaS tools to fill open positions, onboard new employees, and provide resources to current employees.
Having a robust technology system allows a company’s HR team to templatize and streamline employee interactions. A big part of this process is about removing paperwork, but there’s a wide range of other benefits a high-growth company can gain from a powerful cloud-based product that integrates with existing technology to build relationships with employees.
- JobScore is a leading Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to simplify recruiting and hiring. The tool includes functionality to make an attractive careers site, then manage the candidate pipeline, schedule interviews, and extend offers. JobScore also includes analytics tools to report on metrics like cost per hire, time to hire, and more.
- Zoho is a complete CRM platform that manages sales, marketing and support in one platform. The DocuSign Extension provides users with the e-signature functionality required to quickly complete their approvals and agreements, and also lets them securely access and sign their documents directly from Zoho CRM.
- Copper is a CRM built for Google and G Suite. The Copper + DocuSign integration makes it easy for Copper users to upload contact details, apply a document template and send to recipients for e-signatures through DocuSign in just a few clicks.
Content & Document Management
As companies grow, they create massive amounts of content that is often stored in separate silos: the sales team keeps its documents in one place, the marketing team in another, and more. It’s easy to see how that strategy is ineffective at scale. Locating the right document at the right time is an important strategy to engage customers. They will remain satisfied if they know they won’t need to wait long to receive assets they request, plus they benefit from an organized rollout of content prepared for them.
Modern companies are seeing huge benefits from storing all of their documents in a single cloud-based location. It reduces time spent looking for documents and increases collaboration across members of the same team or even separate teams. A well-designed content management solution is mandatory for a high-growth team.
- Box is a cloud content management platform, enabling secure collaboration with anyone, anywhere, on any device. Through DocuSign's integration with Box, you can now send your files to be signed directly from your Box account. DocuSign is automatically included as a default application for you to use with your Box account.
- Google Drive stores documents of all types in a secure environment that can be accessed from any device. Content stored in Google Drive can easily be shared with internal or external collaborators. Google Workspace offers high-growth companies productive tools, including email, content collaboration, and document storage.
- Smartsheet is a cloud-based platform to track work, giving teams the ability to collaborate on projects in a single real-time view. Customers use Smartsheet to plan, capture, manage, automate, and report on work projects, giving every team member consolidated updates on each step of a collective effort.
The DocuSign Toolkit
Each of these SaaS tools have two important benefits which include the ability to improve processes as small businesses scale and store transactional data about those processes for later use. Modern high-growth companies use these applications to give their lean teams efficient ways to manage everyday responsibilities at scale.
This guide detailed four important functions of a high-growth business that can benefit from powerful cloud-based tools, but there are other areas that a company can streamline with SaaS technology. The smartest companies perform a high-level audit to identify opportunities in their workflow for a SaaS product to improve efficiency. Then they plan an infrastructure that includes the best product for each of those opportunities, compiling a series of tools that integrate seamlessly with the others.
DocuSign is an ideal addition to a stack that includes any of these SaaS products. Today, DocuSign offers integrations with every product mentioned, in addition to hundreds more. With e-signatures and agreements emerging as a critical piece of any high-growth company’s activities, a tool to streamline that process and store transactional data about contracts is extremely valuable. When it connects to all of the other SaaS products a company uses, that tool can be the most valuable part of its stack.
To learn more about the technologies discussed in this guide and other powerful tools that integrate with DocuSign, explore the DocuSign solutions showcase.