I will preface this blog post by listing the SaaS tools that I am currently using:
|SaaS Tools I use|
|Segment||Use this to pipe application data into Drip and Intercom. Should probably cancel this and setup direct API connections instead. Totally underutilising.|
|Hotjar||I intermittently change from free to paid plans on this depending on whether I have time to actually use it. Even when I do use it, I’ll be honest, I don’t really have that much time to do much with the data. It’s mostly just cool to look at.|
|Google Suite||Docs, Sheets, Drive, Analytics, Tag Manager, Webmastertools, and occasionally Slides. The most heavily utilised SaaS tools I use. Wouldn’t know what to do if someone took this away from me.|
|cPanel||Use this for managing experimental projects, and my families and friends’ websites. For anything serious or production, use leaner NGiNX webstacks with no panel.|
|Buffer||Holding on to this because still have a few months left on the annual subscription. When that expires will switch to Planable.io.|
|Planable||The future replacement for Buffer. Very powerful social scheduling tool that offers a native preview function and a signing off option great for when working with larger teams. Co-founder is Vlad Calus which is a mentor on this platform.|
|Slack||If something is important, transactional, and has an API, it’s probably got a channel in Slack. The destroyer of wholesome Sundays away from work.|
|Trello||Simple, powerful, and it just works. Use it for managing my jobs to be done. My biggest problem with Trello (although it’s probably more of my own problem due to ADHD) is that boards get created, used, and then abandoned way too often. Although with proper discipline this can be avoided.|
|Zapier||Zapier is the super glue, of the digital arena. When shopping for tools, one of the first things I’ll generally ask is “is it compatible with Zapier,” if not – I tend to just move on. Childish? Totally. Do I care? No.|
|Drip||After a few years of depressing use of Mailchimp, I stumbled on this tool after watching one of Brennan Dunn’s youtube videos. When I scratched the surface, I realised I could create ridiculously complex (yet still elegant) workflows that actually worked with ease. Huge fan. One of my favorite tools, ever.|
|Close.io||The biggest reason why I love this tool is because it stays out of your way. It doesn’t really do anything extraordinary. It’s up to you to modify it to work as you want it using Zapier.|
|Intercom||Intercom is like the luxury German car you buy because “everyone can’t be wrong” and usually, they’re not. It works as it should, and generally does not let you down. Yet you know you’re paying more than you could be paying if you shopped around more, but you just don’t care. Their marketing is just that good.|
|Keywordtool.io||The tool that I renew once every 12 months for that one month that I am going to use it 200 times for creating loads of long-tail keyword landing pages. It’s incredibly good, but I’m “pretty sure” there are opensource freemium and/or free tools just as good leveraging similar data sources. I just don’t really have the time or patience to search for them.|
|Ahrefs||The best SEO tool out there. Used to use SemRush but after I saw Tim Soulo’s course on B2B blogging where he highlighted the feature set. Amazing now that they are charging people $799 to basically watch an advertorial for their software. Hat trick FTW!|
|Typeform||I use this for everything from surveying, to training, to sales lead forms, to personal KPI tracking for my gym workouts. It’s a wonderful piece of software that would make my life much more difficult if it did not exist.|
|Youcanbook.me||I know Calendly is kind of “in” right now, but if you’re a Zapier user and use hidden fields, Youcanbook.me is your only option. Also I just think the interface looks better. Anyway – personal preference on this one to a large degree.|
|Manychat||I don’t really know why I am still paying $10 per month for this. Haven’t ran a worklow on this in over 5 months. This is a perfect example of why you should be auditing your SaaS tools on a monthly basis. I am going to go ahead and cancel this right after posting this post.|
|Invisionapp||This where me and Alek Manov hang out and have chats. Great tool for working with your design and product team. We make do with the free plan thankfully, although that does mean the boards can be a bit crowded …|
|Appcues||This tool is currently in trial mode at Growthmentor. We’re testing to see if having the onboarding checklists will help decrease lag time from sign up to completed profiles. The problem is it’s kind of tricky to setup, and I simply don’t have the time to mess with this right now.|
|Optinmonster||Another tool that was purchased with the most noble of intentions. Content upgrades, one of the most well revered tactics in a marketers arsenal for collecting leads. Again, no time to set it up properly. So the annual membership collects dust until time comes to renew again.|
|Sendgrid||Transactional mailing. Great service. Just works.|
And these are just the ones I can actually remember off the top of my head.
If I check my credit card statement, there for sure will be a couple of pleasant surprises there!
The point is, it’s a lot!
And this does not include:
- Chrome extensions
- Standalone apps like Sketch
- Development tools like Github, Sequel Pro, etc.
- PPC platforms (Facebook, Adwords, Quora, LinkedIn, Reddit)
I think there’s a word for this — tool sprawl.
Just look at this image!
And I don’t think I’m alone in this.
I’ve surveyed over 500 marketers, founders, and developers, and the average is around 8.7 SaaS apps, with a significant minority clocking in at +15 tools.
Tools can be a huge time drain
Every tool you use means:
- You spent time to decide that you need to use a tool like this to solve a problem
- You probably trialed it and a few competitors as well and gave them a test run
- You for sure spent at least 30 minutes reading reviews
- You definitely spent a good amount of time setting it up, learning how to use it, and putting it to work.
How to waste less time on SaaS tools
Talk to a mentor on Growthmentor.io!
Yep – shamelessly promotional, but it works, and I’ll prove it to you right now.
By talking to a growth mentor that has used (or are currently using) the tools you want to use, you’ll get the following:
- A guarantee that the person you’re talking to knows their stuff (all mentors are vetted, you can’t just “sign up” and join as a mentor)
- The ability to filter and sort by mentors that have experience with specific tools (no other platform in the world has this as of October 4th, 2018)
- The ability to pick their brains on their experiences with the tool, their feedback on whether they regretted it, what sucks/rocks about it, or anything else related to that tool.
- The chance to maximise our ROI on that tool by actually setting it up like a boss using more than 5% of the feature set.
- All of this in real-time, and over screenshare if your little heart desires!
In a nutshell:
Instead of spending shitloads of time figuring things out yourself just talk to others who have already had to invest their time to figure it out themselves.
Tools are super important
We get things done with tools.
Some mentors don’t like to touch tools.
They prefer high-level stuff.
We think tools should be on the table:
We’re going to be creating more software and tool related pages over time, but these are the ones that are currently ready:
If you need help – you’ll get help.
Solve problems, smash bottlenecks, always be growing.