Making a list, checking it twice: Your SaaS Christmas Wishlist

Sarah O'Donoghue of Software Advisory Service

By Sarah O’Donoghue

IF SANTA’S making a list, it’s unlikely he’s making it with a pen and piece of paper. He’s probably got a sophisticated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system running all year round; keeping his back-office functions automated and ensuring that no employee holiday days or missed stock-takes result in any empty stockings on Christmas Day.

Technology defines the world as we know it, from the way we use the Internet every day to the influence our smart phones have over our social patterns. That’s why at this time of year, people flock to their beloved search engines, scouring the web with keywords such as ‘best tech gifts for Christmas’. Everybody’s different, which means everybody’s life can be made easier in different ways – it’s all about finding the technology and the tools that work for you. Here’s a list to get you started if you’re thinking of giving your employees, or asking your boss, for some tech or software this year.

For the data lovers:

There are tools out there for everything from revenue analysis and qualitative data through to user engagement and dashboard reporting.

For web attribution, it’s tough to beat Google Analytics, which like most comes as both a freemium offering and in a more advanced enterprise version. The annual expense of the latter is justified for those heavily focused on driving web traffic – if you’re spending significant amounts of money on Google Ads and YouTube, it integrates nicely with these sources.

The equivalent for mobile app attribution in AppsFlyer, which generates granular data about what marketing campaigns are driving the most app installs or downloads.

For understanding your product and how users behave with it, Amplitude has a great funnel analysis and user retention report. Mixpanel does a similar job, as well as allowing you to easily engage users through email, SMS and other notifications.

To collect qualitative data on the user experience, Hotjar provides multiple tools such as heatmaps, surveys and polls on a single platform. ProfitWell is a solid choice for the number crunchers focused on revenue metrics, while Databox integrates information from 60 or more sources on a single dashboard to provide a comprehensive overview of what’s going on.

For the automaters:

Time is money, so every moment wasted on manual and routine tasks is costly. Workflow automation is a quick way to boost productivity by freeing up time for more creative duties.

Keeping the team updated on the status of a major project leads to a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, and if you’ve got several projects on the go, it’s easy to get bogged down in questions about deadline dates, who’s responsible for what, and whether specific tasks have been completed.

Online project management apps such as Trello or Monday can be easily customised around the structure of a particular project, with that information available to everyone involved.

Another useful tool is Slack, which aids rapid and easy communication through its ability to create channels for specific projects or teams, automate workflows and collect reports in real-time.

If videoconferencing has turned into a technical headache, you might want to consider Whereby. When a real-life get-together is required, Doodle lets larger teams agree on a suitable time without an endless exchange of emails.

For the planners:

Business planning software isn’t just for start-ups and SMEs – many of these tools are now multi-tasking workhorses used to lay down the road maps and financials for individual products.

LivePlan is one of the strongest contenders for a new product launch, with plenty of customisation options and useful features such as the Benchmarks section, which challenges users to dive into the crucial area of competitive analysis. Once you start executing your plan, the Scorecard section keeps track of whether you’re sticking to your targets.

The user interface on Enloop makes it easy to get started with this particular tool, which guides you intuitively through the business planning process. Bizplan, designed specifically for start-ups, helps new firms facilitate funding, find mentors and identify their customer base.

For the marketers:

There’s literally an “Uber for everything”, and many of these software options tend to overlap.

Not every tool is specifically marketing automation on its own, but HubSpot is without question a beast of a marketing engine. With the ability to power your website, maintain social media, host blogs, manage CRM contacts and generate leads – and much more – you’ll not likely need supplementary software options.

However, one you might want to consider is Seventh Sense, which allows you to send HubSpot emails at the perfect time for each individual recipient, based on their previous interactions.

For the survey that accompanies nearly every SaaS marketing strategy, Typeform allows you to create a very clean and clear questionnaire that can be customised for a branded look. For those considering video, Vidyard is video made easy, which can add a personal touch when connecting with potential clients.

Sarah O’Donoghue, Senior Marketing Executive at Software Advisory Service, the UK’s fastest-growing technology buyer community, influencing over £4bn worth of UK buying decisions in 2018. Widely regarded as an industry thought leader, Software Advisory Service has unique insight into buying trends and this data forms the basis of our highly successful, dynamic content and activities.

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