How to Start a SaaS Business – Even If You Don’t Know Programming!

It’s more common than you think: Many smart marketers and business folks have great ideas for a product and a great plan for selling it, but no ability to build it.

If you are passionate about starting a SaaS company but don’t know programming, should that stop you from pursuing your venture?

Not really. With all the options available today, you don’t need to know how to code to start a SaaS business. Not every successful startup founder has programming skills.

Here are some “tried and tested” options available to non-technical founders:

1. DIY: Ideate, Validate & Create

  • First start with your market: The “idea” needs to be some combination of your own knowledge, skill, aptitude coupled with an actual need. The idea does not need to be original, but the need must be real.
  • Next, create a simple presentation deck and test your hypothesis by emailing or talking to atleast 50 potential customers. Keep in mind that 8/10 people say “that’s really interesting” when in fact they will not pay for it. If you can get some customers to commit to buying what you are building (even before showing them the actual product), then you are definitely on the right track. The output of this process is a validated value proposition, and whilst we are at, a sense of the market opportunity.
  • Next, hire someone to build MVP: distill your ideas into a simple, functional app that will at least validate or disprove your hypothesis. Use a service like Upwork or Guru to find a developer who will help you build that MVP, and then get it into the hands of your potential customers. No, it won’t do justice to your final vision. But it will tell you whether people are interested in your approach to solving whatever problem you’re solving, and that interest and early traction will give you an edge in the next step: finding a technical co-founder.
  • Finally, find a technical co-founder: It’s a really hard thing to do, especially if you are a first-time founder without significant credentials. Great developers always have great opportunities available to them, so convincing them to partner with you is incredibly hard. Best place to find a technical co-founder: https://angel.co and https://cofounderslab.com

Pro Tip: The way to get startup ideas is not to try to think of startup ideas. It’s to look for problems you have yourself. For many entrepreneurs, successful business ideas don’t start out as businesses at all, but as solutions designed to address a challenge they face personally. For example, we built TeamWave to solve our own frustration with productivity apps.

2. White-Label Partnership

The technology business is very competitive. Building a software product from scratch is a high-risk option. IT / Software projects typically have a high failure rate. But, what if there a way to mitigate risk?

Solution: Consider a white label partnership, rather than building the product yourself. Of all the options available to non-technical founders, white-label licensing has the least risk.

Benefits of a white-label partnership:

  • It’s quick and easy to brand. White label solutions are generally fully integrated and ready-made, which makes branding & adding new features very easy. As the reseller/licensee, you’ll be free from concerns about needing to spend time and money on research, development and testing.
  • It keeps your customers happier. Your customers have an end goal, and using a mature solution can give them a clear and simple path to reaching it. The time (months or even years) that it takes to develop your own solution can force customers elsewhere for solutions. You can avoid this with a ready-to-use, proven business solution that meets their needs immediately.
  • It saves you time and money. Developing a solution from scratch takes a large amount of financial and human capital resources. Even if you think you can build it yourself, it’s important to factor in time for marketing. Remember, it takes time for product architecture, design, building, and testing. Cutting corners in any of these steps can leave you even further behind.
  • It gives you access to exceptional talent. Building high-quality web & mobile applications needs expertise. It’s difficult to hire (and manage) a team of “rock-star” designers, developers & project managers. By licensing a white-label solution you can get access to a great team that may be willing to collaborate on new ideas & features.
  • It allows you to focus on your business’s core competency. In many cases, the solutions that companies hope to build themselves fall far outside of their areas of expertise. It’s not smart to stretch your resources to do something that doesn’t fit within your core competencies. Avoid making the same mistakes that others have made before you.

Plug: TeamWave – Small Business CRM, Project Management & HR software. All-in-One platform. Join a community of 12,000+ users in 18 countries. Apply for white-label partnership program.

3. Buy a SaaS Business

Here’s a scenario that is completely opposite to yours: It’s not uncommon for technical people to build a good product… and have no idea how to sell it!

Just because developers can build good products does not mean they have the skills to do marketing & sales. Or maybe they’re not enthusiastic about “hustling” to scale-up revenue.

You could buy an existing SaaS business and perhaps turn it around with better strategy. Here are some places to find listings of SaaS/Software businesses for sale:

  • https://www.bizbuysell.com/software-and-app-companies-for-sale/
  • https://www.bizquest.com/
  • https://dealstream.com/software-companies-for-sale/listings
  • http://www.businessesforsale.com/search/businesses-for-sale?Keywords=saas

Pro Tip: There’s no such thing as a sure thing–and buying an existing business is no exception. If you’re not careful, you could get stuck with obsolete technology, uncooperative employees or unhappy customers. So be careful and do your due diligence.

4. Partner OR Invest in a SaaS startup

Sometimes, its better to join a startup (that already has initial traction) as a Co-founder than to start from scratch on your own. There are some talented developers with a promising product that need help with marketing, sales and likely capital.
The best way to discover SaaS startups that are looking for Co-founders is to signup on Angel List:

  • Goto: https://angel.co/jobs
  • Choose your region and use keywords like “SaaS”, “Co Founder”, etc.
  • Start a conversation by applying for the role.
Source: morganlinton.com
Image Source: morganlinton

CRM & Project Management Integration for Quickbooks

Most small businesses use QuickBooks as their first CRM. Being able to access customer contact information from the accounting software is good enough when you are a startup.

Why businesses need Quickbooks + CRM

Just like spreadsheets, QuickBooks doesn’t actually do anything to help you make sales—it only helps you manage billing and accounting.

A growing business needs CRM software to manage relationships and bring transparency to sales funnels. This boosts chances of closing more deals.

Your business can get significant value by picking a CRM that integrates with Quickbooks online.

Think of “QuickBooks-CRM integration” as a way for every member of your team to have a birds-eye view of every client: What stage of the buying process are they at? Do you need to nurture them more? What do their past buying behaviors look like? What did you discuss during your last conversation with them?

Why businesses need Quickbooks + Project Management

Quickbooks offers time-tracking / timesheet management for payroll. However, Quickbooks does not offer project or task management. If you need to collaborate with your team, clients or partners you need to invest in a project management app.

Project management software can boost your team’s productivity and bring better accountability within the organization. Integrating project management with Quickbooks is particularly valuable for businesses that collaborate and bill clients for services.

How to pick the best CRM and project management software that integrates with Quickbooks

There are dozens of vendors/tools that claim to integrate with Quickbooks. However, not all integrations are equal. Most CRM/PM offer Quickbooks integration via third-party services like Zapier. This can be expensive and time consuming to set up.

Only a handful of CRM apps offer direct integration with Quickbooks. Even fewer project management apps offer direct integration with Quickbooks.

TeamWave is the only Quickbooks Online integration that works seamlessly for both project management and CRM.

Together: TeamWave and QBO combine to give you one complete view of your business, from capturing that first lead, delivering projects, right through to invoicing and payments.

Key benefits of TeamWave + Quickbooks integration:

  • Direct integration means an end to annoying downloading and uploading of files.
  • Automatically creates new customer records in TeamWave and QuickBooks Online and keeps them synced.
  • Export project timesheet to Quickbooks with one-click
  • Save time and keep your data clean
QuickBooks + TeamWave brings measurable increase in business efficiency, convenience and productivity.

Starting a SaaS Business? Consider White Label Partnerships

SaaS is a revenue and distribution model for software “product” companies that make money by charging customers on a monthly or annual basis. The SaaS business can be incredibly profitable if “product-market” fit is achieved and unit economics are right.

So how do you go about starting a SaaS company? How do you pick the right business idea? How do you hire a team to build the product for you?

Your first instinct may be to hire developers (in-house OR outsourced) and then try to do-it-yourself. After all, that’s what entrepreneurship is all about, right?

Not always. The technology business is very competitive. Picking a product idea or making a business plan is the easy part. Building a high-quality software product from scratch is really difficult and can actually be a high-risk option. Building your own product can lead you to:

  • Reinventing the wheel, making mistakes that others before you have already made and mastered
  • Dramatically slow down your time to market, as you try to troubleshoot and increase your learning curve outside your core competency
  • Spend too much money developing tools and solutions that already exist
  • Miss out on resources and expertise in the specific space where you need a focused solution

The million dollar question: Is there a way to mitigate risk? Is it possible to start a SaaS business without being involved in product development (and maintenance)?

Yes. You can license white label software, rather than building the product yourself.

“White label” refers to a fully supported product or service that’s made by one company but sold by another. As a reseller, you can purchase a White-label product license. That way, you (the white-label reseller) can customize the product with your own pricing plans, logo and identity, allowing customers to associate the product with your brand.

Benefits of a white-label partnership:

  1. It’s quick and easy to brand. White label solutions are generally fully integrated and ready-made, which makes branding & adding new features very easy. As the reseller, you’ll be free from concerns about needing to spend time and money on research, development and testing.
  2. It keeps your customers happier. Your customers have an end goal, and using a mature solution can give them a clear and simple path to reaching it. The time (years!) that it takes to develop your own solution can force customers to look elsewhere. You can avoid this with a ready-to-use, proven business solution that meets their needs immediately.
  3. It saves you time and money. Developing a high-quality solution from scratch takes a large amount of financial and human capital. Even if you think you can build it yourself, it’s important to factor in time for marketing. Remember, it takes time for product architecture, design, building, and testing. Cutting corners in any of these steps can leave you even further behind.
  4. It gives you access to exceptional talent. Building high-quality web & mobile applications needs expertise. It’s difficult to hire (and manage) a team of “rock-star” designers, developers & project managers. By simply licensing a white-label solution you can get access to a great team that may be willing to collaborate on new ideas & features.
  5. It allows you to focus on your business’s core competency. In many cases, the solutions that companies hope to build themselves fall far outside of their areas of expertise. It’s not smart to stretch your resources to do something that doesn’t fit within your core competencies. Avoid making the same mistakes that others have made before you.

Bottomline

White label reseller program and partnerships in SaaS can help you utilise your business’s unique branding to offer a product or service without investing in infrastructure or technology creation around the solution. You can focus on building your brand and selling your services while simplifying the conversion path for your customers.

List of Software / SaaS companies that offer white label partnerships:

Upwork Alternatives

upwork-alternatives

Upwork was formed by merging two popular freelancing platforms, oDesk and Elance. Upwork is arguably the  largest freelance marketplace at this time. That said, it doesn’t mean that Upwork doesn’t have issues – for instance,  it doesn’t tell you about the availability of the applicant and the sheer volume of the applicants for any job makes it tough to weed out the ones who are unqualified.

Upwork is the biggest player in freelancing market, but there are many alternatives. Let’s check out 15 alternatives with considerable traction.

Plug: TeamWave – Simple CRM, Project Management & HR Software for Small Business

Freelancer

Freelancer is one of the most competent alternatives of Upwork with more than 9 million projects and more than 17 million users. It is a gigantic and constantly growing platform that offers almost all of the benefits of Upwork without most of the negatives.

For business owners, it is quite easy to sign up and get started. You post a project, fill up the requirements along with associated information like the skills of applicants, pricing by the number of hour or fixed price and relevant files. There are different project types – free, basic level, private, urgent, NDA-required, and much more. Employers also have the option to directly connect with the freelancers without going through the job posting process. Once the job is submitted, freelancers will bid on the project and you’ll able to review their portfolios, reviews, qualifications and other details. After the project completion, the employer gets option to rate and review their freelancer. The negative issues of this platform are slow payment processing and poor customer support.

Hubstaff Talent

Hubstaff Talent is a free platform that connects freelancers and employers across the globe. As there are no markups on the fees for both of the sides, freelancers receive exactly what their client pays them. It displays a freelancer’s hourly rate, skills, previous work, availability, resume, and languages spoken. Freelancers are also allowed to add short “bio” to provide additional information.

Business owners can find freelancers and agencies by browsing the profiles on Hubstaff Talent and selecting the team of choice directly and finalise the job details. Apart from the free directory Hubstaff offers time tracking, activity monitoring, automatic payroll etc., to easily manage remote time. All these additional offers come with a simple and flat pricing plan ($5-$9 per user per month).

Outsourcely

Outsourcely was started with the idea of hiring high quality (vetted) freelancers from more than 130 countries who are interested in long-team projects. This is great for employers who are looking for dedicated remote teams for long lasting projects. Employers search remote workers by skill or by creating a job post. It also lets both of the parties connect via real-time private chats, browser to browser video & voice calling, messaging and emails. Outsourcely lets you to hire remote workers directly and pay them directly. Apart from saving processing fee, you also get to manage the team via Outsourcely platform. You can even invite your existing team to their Team Workplace platform. Plans start at $9 – $99 /month depending on the number of works you’d like to interview and number of jobs you’d like to post.

Fiverr

Fiverr works on a different model – it’s the biggest online marketplace for $5 services, and these services can be anything including people ready to dance in front of you in banana suit, paint logo on their body and much more. Although the name says Fiverr, the site allows users post projects for a lot more than $5. The unique thing about this platform is that sellers post what they will be doing for how much and buyers browse the marketplace to hire them.

As per pricing option is limited by $5 multiples, it might not always yield good quality output.If you can looking some cleacr cut and simple job quickly this can be right platform. But, there won’t be long-term relationship with the sellers.

Guru

Guru is similar to Freelancer.com and helps business owners hire technical, creative or business folks from the 1.5 million freelancer network. Freelancer are evaluated by the reviews, recommendations, and testimonials along with portfolio. Guru.com lets you create agreements, add milestones and tasks, communicate, and share documents. Only after the completion of the project, you need to pay. Guru is great for small and mid-sized business owners who need a one-time project like a website, app, or even an article.

Workhoppers.com

Workhoppers.com was created for companies to find and hire professionals in their own city, for contract, gig or part-time work at a flat rate. This site also doesn’t charge any fees to both of the parties. Workhoppers believes in the positive points of working face to face even if it is just once a month for a coffee. Companies and ‘workhoppers’ can connect directly and form the terms of the agreement. Their skill-matching matching makes sure that the employer gets the best possible freelancer without investing a lot of time on the selection process.

Once the job is completed businesses have the opportunity to review their freelancer. All companies and jobs are verified before they can create job posts. The issue with Workhoppers is that, because of its localised hiring process freelancers work can attract drastically different fees according to the city. This platform is indeed great for the kind of work that requires face to face meeting.

PeoplePerHour

This site offers three options to get started – Browse Hourlies, fixed price offers that can start immediately, job post to attract applications and contact the freelancers accordingly. Similar to other marketplaces, PeoplePerHour allows you to choose freelancers based on reputation. Employer can go through the reviews of previous projects and hire someone depending on the budget. PeoplePerHour’s proprietary discovery technique, Hourlies helps you find a service at a fixed price so that you’re completely aware of the final price.

You also get options to manage the project, share documents, and pay for the service without ever leaving the platform. The satisfaction guarantee ensures that you pay only when you’re satisfied with the final outcome. This platform is also great for one-off projects.

Witmart

It is a China-based internet marketplace for non-physical products including service, designs and digital goods. With more than 7 million users and combined with their sister website zbj.com, they are one of the largest crowd-sourcing service companies. The website offers a place where employers submit service requirements and freelancers can place bid to work on jobs. Though it is projected as a global marketplace, this freelancers community is heavily dominated by the Chinese.

99 Designs

99 Designs as the name suggests is great for anything related to design – website design, logo, brand, T-shirt to laptop cover. 99 Designs pioneered the marketplace where vendors compete for your payment in the form of a competition. You post a design brief stating the requirement and then launch a contest on the marketplace. You’ll get a lot of images, provide feedback, and finally pick a winner. With affordable pricing that starts at $299, you get to launch a contest and receive close to 30 designs (multiple solutions to one problem).

TopTal

TopTal focuses on high quality providers via rigorous screening process to ensure the employers work with only the best of the best. You inform TopTal what type of developer you need to build your software, they find the perfect developer to suit your needs. And the most compelling part of TopTal is that you get to work with the developer risk free.

From their website:

“If, for whatever reason, you are not completely satisfied with an engineer you have been paired with, you will not be liable for any payment, and we can either part ways or we will restart the entire cycle with you at absolutely no cost.”

Note that they are one of the most expensive hiring marketplaces on the web. But that’s what it takes to get quality output. Here are some of the numbers from their FAQ page:

  • $1,800 – $3,200+/week per full-time Front-End or Back-End engineer
  • $1,000 – $1,600+/week per part-time Front-End or Back-End engineer
  • $1,200 – $1,800+/week per full-time Quality Assurance (QA) engineer
  • $600 – $1,000+/week per part-time Quality Assurance (QA) engineer

Codeable.io

Codeable offers no obligation and no risk wordPress projects. You can create a task and the team of hand-selected expert WordPress developers will ask questions and estimate it for free. You pay only when you finalise a developer as per the estimation and happy with proposed project timeline. Developers are only allowed to estimate if they are 100% sure they can complete the work. This means that as a  client you will hire a developer who has completely reviewed the requirements of your task. It’d be nice to note that 98.9% of all jobs are rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Twago

This freelance marketplace caters exclusively to Europe. Twago stands for Teamwork Across Global Offices, and positions itself as the leading platform for online work in Europe with 225,000 registered users on its platform. It works just like some of the other sites that were mentioned here. First, you create a free profile and add a job post with skills, requirements, and budget. Once service providers review your job post, they will ask questions, provide feedback, and the most qualified will apply to get your project. Finally the employer will review feedback, answer required questions, and select the most suitable freelancer.  Payment and project progress can be managed via Twago’s system.

crowdSPRING

This marketplace focuses on logos, graphic design, and company naming. It has two ways to work – you can crowd-source your project (post a job and pick your favourite design) or go through their database of 176,000 designers to find the one that you’d like to work. You have option to pick from 43 categories including logos, stationery, web design, and even get help naming your company. One an average each post receives close to 120 responses. As an employer you get an opportunity to go through vast array of designs and select the one that suites you requirements; then work with the designer to get it perfected. As the job poster, you get 100% freedom on your price and your deadline. Like other freelancing marketplace there is price protection as well.

TaskRabbit

This platform helps you hire local freelancers who might or might not be skilled. Although it initially started as a consumer marketplace, TaskRabbit has many useful applications for businesses. If you need a personal assistant who is local, or a handyman to work on logistics, or someone to be a cook at the company picnic, TaskRabbit can help.

Mechanical Turk

This freelancers marketplace owned by Amazon.com allows you to hire people to perform tasks that computers cannot do in the present scenario. Amazon calls the businesses and entities who post “Human Intelligence Tasks” as requesters. These tasks include things like reading scanned copies of receipts and converting them text or searching the phone numbers of analytics companies. Workers in the marketplace can browse and complete the tasks with which they are comfortable. There is rare interaction with the person (or people) who work your tasks. Payment automatically gets disbursed on completion of the project.

Recommended reading: How to Start a Software Company – Even If You Don’t Know Programming


TeamWave Project CRM HR Software

 

Basecamp Alternatives in 2019

Founded in 1999, Basecamp was the pioneer in cloud-based project & communication management software. Key features that made Basecamp popular:

  • Simple & Elegant Task Management
  • Search (keyword, person, images & files)
  • Direct Messaging & Group Chat
  • A portal for clients to view tasks and communicate with users
  • Documents & file storage

So why would you need a replacement for Basecamp?

    1. While Basecamp is simple and easy-to-use, the tool is just too simplistic, leaving out valuable communication and collaboration functionality that most modern project management apps include.
    2. Basecamp does not compete with project management apps (or so they claim!). Their competition is with EMAIL! So think of Basecamp as an alternative to email: it does not provide the necessary structure and features to manage in-depth projects.
    3. Pricing: The annual fee for Basecamp is $1,188. We believe that this is rather steep for small businesses to shell out for simple project management.

Bottom-line: Basecamp has been in business for nearly twenty years and long past its prime. There are significantly better tools today, offering more for less. Let’s look at some affordable project management solutions in the market.

List of Project Management Software – Basecamp Alternatives in 2019

1) Trello – Setup boards to organise everything you’re working on, delegate tasks among colleagues, get custom workflows, add to-do lists within task cards, attach files and comment on items. The idea is that you manage all aspects of a project within the app, regardless of whether it’s team-based or individual. Hundreds of third-party integrations.
Ideal for: Real estate management, software project management, school bulletin boards, lesson planning, accounting, web design, gaming and law office case management.
Annual Fee for upto 10 Users = $1,199 [Business Class]

2) TeamWave – Integrated Project Management, CRM & HR software. All-in-One platform for small business. PM features include: To-dos, file sharing, team calendar, messages, events, milestones, estimates, timesheet & more. Best suited for collaboration with clients or partners (you decide what they see!)
Ideal for: Digital agencies (SEO, web design, content marketing, creative), financial services, Service-based small businesses, etc.
Annual Fee for UNLIMITED users = $468 [Includes Project Management, CRM & HR]

3) Wrike – Designed around a minimalist multi-pane UI and consists of features in two categories: project management, and team collaboration. Project Management features are those which help teams track dates and dependencies associated with projects, manage assignments and resources, and track time. These include an interactive Gantt chart, a workload view, and a sortable table that can be customized to store project data.
Ideal for: marketing companies, digital agencies, media, etc.
Annual Fee for upto 10 Users = $3,000 [Business]

4) TeamWork Projects –  Feature-rich productivity tool to manage projects with your team. Teamwork allows you to keep all your projects, tasks and files all in one place and easily collaborate with a team. Visualise the entire project through a marked calendar and gantt chart and setup reporting. The interface may be overwhelming for beginners but a good tool for advanced users.
Ideal for: software companies, high-tech, engineering, freelancers, web design, etc.
Annual Fee for upto 10 Users = $1,080 [PRO]

5) Podio – Organize team communication, business processes, data and content in project management workspaces. Users can also select business “apps” from an online app store or build their own according to project needs.
Ideal for: Companies that need SCRUM & Business Process Management. 
Annual Fee for upto 10 Users = $1,320 [Plus]

6) Jira [Atlassian] – Plan, track, and manage your agile and software development projects in Jira. Customize your workflow, collaborate, and release great software.
Ideal for: software companies, high-tech, engineering, etc.
Annual Fee for upto 10 Users = $120

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a project management tool other than Basecamp you’ll soon find out one thing: So. Many. Options.
The search can be overwhelming, even though you can do the exact same work in a superior platform for a lower cost.

So while you’re looking, don’t forget the goal: to get more done in a productive way that your whole team loves using. The easier the project management software, the more time there is to actually get things done.

 

Gmail Vs Outlook: Best small business email?

There are over a dozen email service providers in the market geared towards towards small business. Google’s Gmail and Microsoft’s Outlook are the primary options. Both provide similar features, but their suitability for companies depends on the specific needs of the business. Let us examine different features of these products which would help you in choosing the right product.

Pricing

Most businesses would prefer to buy customized domains (email@companyname.com) which are not offered with free services by Gmail or Outlook. To get customized domains, organizations need to sign up for premium accounts. Office 365 Business Essentials plan which is Microsoft’s paid service for outlook is priced at around $4 user/month, but it does not include office applications (Word, Excel, Powerpoint etc.). To access outlook along with office applications, the price is around $8 users/month. On the other hand, Google offers G Suite with other business apps like Calendar, Google Docs, and Google Sheets at $5 user/month. Clearly Gmail is cheaper option as compared to Outlook.

Business application

If your employees use Microsoft suite frequently because of the nature of the work, then outlook can be a better option as it provides seamless integration with MS office applications like Word, Powerpoint, Excel etc. Users can send the documents using ‘share’ option from within the application as they are integrated. This is better suited if users have designated laptops/desktops. Whereas Gmail is a better option if your employees don’t use MS suite often and also your business needs an online storage space to store the official documents. Gmail offers a storage space to store MS documents like Word, PowerPoint, Excel etc. In addition to secure storage, these documents can be edited online which makes it very convenient to share the edited documents instantly without sending them through email. Your business processes and the workplace integration need can help you decide either of the two.

Storage

Gmail offers 15GB free storage space across Gmail, Google Drive and Google Photo for free accounts, whereas premium paid platform ‘GSuite’ provides 30GB at basic level ($5user/month). Outlook on the other hand offers 50GB specifically for your inbox, with their cheapest plan (Office 365 Enterprise E1), and 1TB for the rest of your linked cloud office suite.

Plug: TeamWave – CRM, Project Management & HR Software for Small Business

Instant messaging

Gmail provides instant messaging and video conferencing service through Google Hangout, but the unpaid version allows only up to nine individuals in a video chat. The participants can be increased to 25 with paid service (Gsuite). Outlook provides video conferencing and instant messaging through Skype, again up to 25 users can join a conference at a time. In fact, in both the applications, external users can join if provided with a meeting link. In terms of service quality both of them are similar.

User experience

Gmail provides a lot of customization options like labels, automatic sorting, primary, social and promotion segregation for mails, different kinds of flagging etc. which enable tweaking the inbox as per your needs. Considering Google is the best search engine in the present time, Gmail’s search function is also superior. Apart from that Google’s recent advancement in artificial intelligence provides automation features like reply suggestions. Coming to Outlook, it provides most relevant buttons on the top horizontal bar (basic three-panel design) where they are clearly visible and let the users add plugins as per their requirements. Gmail is a winner here in terms of the customization features it provides as compared to Outlook.

Offline email access

Outlook provides a clear advantage here by enabling users to access mails offline and they can even save their responses to emails offline. As soon as the internet connection is established, the saved emails from outbox are sent out automatically. Gmail provides access to only last month’s email offline by changing the settings to save mails offline, but you can access Gmail offline only on Google Chrome and Safari browsers. There is no such restriction for Outlook.

Security

Gmail has been in the limelight mostly because of its pioneering efforts for security. It came up with two-factor authentication before Microsoft did for any of its email clients. With Outlook 2016, Outlook also implemented two-factor authentication. Hence, in terms of signing in signing in both of them have similar approach at present.

Google uses its robust machine learning capabilities to detect suspicious logins and block most advanced types of spam. Note that Google also automatically scans every email attachment before a user downloads it in order to prevent spread of viruses.

Office 365 comes with Exchange Online Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) – a new email filtering service that provides additional protection by targeting specific advanced threats like unknown malware and viruses, real-time, time-of-click protection against malicious URLs.

Conclusion

Both Gmail and Outlook are powerful platforms. Gmail is cheaper, and if you’re choosing which office suite platform to use, that’s a huge consideration. Apart from that there are numerous integrations with third-party apps (example: TeamWave) and extension support via Chrome that put Gmail far ahead of Outlook. In our experience Gmail offers better returns for small businesses.


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Pipedrive vs Salesforce

Pipedrive and Salesforce are popular CRM software that have been adopted by businesses; small and medium to large enterprises. If you are in the market for a CRM solution to strengthen your sales process, this post will help you take an informed decision by highlighting some of the key factors based on which, CRM software (for small business) should be selected.

Salesforce

Ease of use

Ease of use is important for any modern app. Traditionally Saleforce has been lagging in this area, However their latest lightening UI provides a viable solution in terms of UI. When you log in, the dashboard presents wide range of report widgets that provides a bird’s-eye view of how the revenue. Sales reps can also view real-time summaries of their performance and customer data. The dashboard can also be customized to show you data related to wide range of key metrics — from sales quota and pipelines to key opportunities, leaderboards and more.

There is a simple navigation at the left hand side. Each tab is separated into the categories, such as Home, Contacts, Accounts, Leads, Campaigns, Opportunities, Forecasts Files and more. As part of the dashboard’s customizability, you can also reconfigure each tab or add your own as per your preference.

Some of the areas such as pipeline management and deal settings demand higher learning curve as there are multiple steps involved in the process.

Features

Salesforce has plethora of features and integrates with many third party apps. If something is not available, then the Salesforce marketplace allows to purchase the add-on to fit your business process flow. However, this very fact makes it cumbersome and costly for small businesses. Key features:

  • Contact management
  • Lead tracking — from campaigns and marketing acquisition channels to the sales pipeline
  • Deal evaluation and quotation tools
  • Sales forecasting
  • Reporting tools
  • Team collaboration with access to associated files, reports, data sources, leads and more
  • Workflow automation
  • Mobile App

Limitations: A big concern for small business owners is that there are additional costs associated with using Salesforce beyond its core capabilities. For instance, third-party apps that require additional licenses or accounts, such as Data.com, aren’t part of Salesforce’s pricing plan. You’ll end up paying for those services on top of the already expensive Salesforce subscription.

For small businesses, Salesforce’s biggest strength is also its weakness. Because of the robustness of the CRM app, it can be a good choice for larger businesses and at the same time it can be overwhelming for small companies that don’t need such an exhaustive software solution.

Pricing

Given below is the pricing of Salesforce which limits usage of feature and differentiates in terms of customer support apart from locking the customer for a year.

Lightning Essentials

(up to 5 users)

Lightning Professional

 

(unlimited team size)

Lightning Enterprise

 

(Additional customization options)

Lightning Unlimited

 

(Power users with priority support)

25 USD/user/month (billed annually) $75 per user (billed annually) $150 per user (billed annually) $300 per user (billed annually)

Pipedrive

Ease of use

Pipedrive is known for its simplicity and usability. The on-boarding comes with a guided tour where the app prompts you to perform various basic activities like deal and contact creation. Although it can be considered as a good sales pipeline management tool, it lacks holistic approach towards the needs of a small business.

Features

Pipedrive was built with the philosophy that majority of the features are not used by sales personnel. Hence, this it came up with basic functionalities; however, over time the features have grown to accommodate the needs of bigger companies as well. Given below are the key features

  • Pipedrive is based on sales pipeline and the activities are closely tied with deals to ensure that the deals move from one stage to another. You can manage sales pipeline and contacts as well as use the data import/export functionality.
  • Integrations: There are 80+ third party apps integrated with Pipedrive which portrays the extent of dependency on other apps in order to set up the business process.
  • Email tracking: Email tracking is quite important for salesperson — it allows your team to keep track of the conversation for quick reference while carrying out sales activities to close the deals.
  • Pre-built reporting and sales forecasting
  • Mobile apps
  • Customization options

Pricing

Here is the pricing of Pipedrive that restricts you from using certain features based on the plan:

Silver 

(Smart BCC email)

Gold

 

(Full email sync – send and receive email)

Platinum

 

(Phone support and private storage)

10 USD/user/month (billed annually) $24 (billed annually) $63 per user (billed annually)

Why TeamWave is a better alternative for small businesses

TeamWave is built by a small business for small businesses worldwide. Our mission is to provide a unified platform for collaboration, sales & marketing to small businesses at an affordable price. TeamWave offers a complete software suite of essential apps required to run a small company, i.e., CRM, project management, people management & more.

TeamWave’s CRM offers the following features while ensuring great usability:

  • Visual sales pipeline which offers pre-built sales stages along with option to configure as per your company’s business process. Robust contact management functionality along with import/export tool.
  • Activities tied to the deals that comes with reminders
  • Email integration
  • Goal set up to help your team achieve their sales targets.
  • Third party app integration including Google apps and Zapier
  • Free API access for additional customization and integration
  • Sales forecasting
  • Sales automation (creating deals and contacts via emails)
  • Pre-built reports to track deal closure, performance of the salesperson and sales activities
  • Mobile app
TeamWave’s visual sales pipeline

Apart from the above-mentioned features, because of TeamWave’s software suite, the native project and people management apps provide additional benefits. Here are the key advantages:

  • Important files can be copied from deals to projects (example: requirement document) with a few clicks. This comes handy when you commence project delivery after winning a deal.
  • In the HR app, if you add someone as the reporting manager of a sales rep, then the reporting manager will be automatically added as a deal follower whenever the sales rep adds a new deal. This fosters collaboration and helps in progress tracking.

Finally, all these apps are not differentiated based any tiered plan. The pricing is simple and straightforward — all the users get to use all the features and apps (pricing is only based on the number of users). 

Comparative view of the pricing for 10 users in case of annual subscription plan:

teamwave salesforce pipedrive

Takeaway

TeamWave delivers essential software suite required for any small business while ensuring robust set of features and superior user experience. And all this comes at a fraction of the cost you’d pay for the other alternatives.


teamwave-projects-crm-hrms

 

Top 7 Gmail Add-Ons for Business

Last year, Google launched third-party add-ons for Gmail.

Sitting on the sidebar on the right side of your inbox, these third-party add-ons can be used directly with Gmail to improve your productivity. The biggest advantage of “add-ons” (over chrome extensions, etc) is that they work seamlessly with all browsers and mobile devices. You can install multiple add-ons from different vendors without compromising performance or experience.
When launching add-ons, Google itself described email as “mission control” for your working life, and the best add-ons make Gmail feel more like centralized command center!

Here is a selection of Gmail add-ons for business that are popular, ones that we rely on to get things done, have great reviews, and make Gmail more powerful than it already is:

Dropbox – The add-on lets you save and share all files, big or small—including photos, videos, presentations, docs, and project work—without leaving Gmail. And now you can attach files from Dropbox when you compose an email.

RingCentral – Users can access the cloud-based phone system from within their email. RingCentral’s contacts, messages, call history are displayed in your Gmail message threads. Users can also see the on/offline status of their connections, send SMS messages and make outbound calls.

TeamWave – Integrated Software to Run Your Entire Business – CRM, Project Management, HR & MoreTeamWave’s Add-on for Gmail currently offers only CRM. Ideal for small & mid-sized businesses.

Hire – Simplify your recruiting process. Users can review candidate applications, respond to job applicants and schedule interviews from their inbox without going back and forth through applications. It also allows users to view and track team member interactions so you never have to wonder if someone followed up.

Zoom – Users can set up calls or video chat directly through Gmail, using contact info in an email or saved to Google. It also allows you schedule meetings for later and check for any scheduled calls you have coming up without opening Zoom or a calendar.

Docusign – Securely use a digital signature on legally binding documents, the add-on lets you send an attached document in an email over to DocuSign with only two clicks. It then opens the document in DocuSign, too, so you can take care of business right away. And just like that, a convenient service gets more convenient.

Insightly – Build better customer relationships right in your inbox with the Insightly Add-On for Gmail. Save emails to your CRM and link them to the relevant people, deals, or projects. You can also create new leads and opportunities without leaving your inbox, and insert prebuilt email templates to save time and stay on message.

Got a favorite Gmail add-on not on this list? Share it with us in the comments.

The Best CRM for Gmail

Can’t live without Gmail? You are not alone …

The *new* Gmail is more than just email. It’s a complete productivity platform

Gmail for Business” has a marketshare of 37% (Source: Datanyze) and the platform is used for important business functions including: project management, CRM, support, team collaboration and more.
While none of these functions are included out-of-the-box, they are available via third-party integrations.

An extremely valuable business function that Gmail is used for is Sales / CRM

There are hundreds of CRM solutions that integrate with Gmail. Some of them enable users to seamlessly manage prospecting and sales right from the Gmail Inbox; without the need for switching tabs.
Before we list the top CRM solutions that integrate with Gmail, it is important to note that there are two types of integrations: (1) Add-ons for Gmail and (2) Chrome Extensions for Gmail

What’s the difference and why should I care?

1. Add-ons for Gmail
The biggest advantage of “Add-ons” is the flexibility of where you can use it: You can use the Add-on in any browser or mobile app (Android & iPhone). It has clearly defined navigation and you can install multiple add-ons from different vendors …everything works just fine!
The biggest disadvantage of add-ons is limited functionality. Google is extremely strict about security (authorization scopes) and provides restricted access to vendors.

2. Chrome Extensions for Gmail
The biggest advantage of “Extensions” is that a fully functional app can be be built on top of Gmail with little or no restrictions. Great for power users!
Disadvantages:
– Bloated. Could slow down Gmail in your browser.
– Works only on the desktop. Only in Chrome.
– Extensions from different vendors may or may not work well each other. This can sometimes break the UI.
– Every time Gmail releases design changes, the extension UI can break.

If you are looking to use productivity apps on your mobile and want a “native” Gmail experience you consider the Add-ons for Gmail. If you are a power user and use Chrome on the desktop, you should consider the Extensions for Gmail.

Best CRM Integrations for Gmail

1. Streak : Widely considered as the “gold” standard in the “CRM for Gmail” space. Use cases include sales management, project management, hiring & customer support. Streak offers both: Full-feature Chrome Extension and the Limited-feature Add-on.
Pricing for 10 Users = $49/User X 10 = $490 per month

2. TeamWave : Integrated Software to Run Your Entire Business – CRM, Project Management, HR & More. TeamWave’s Add-on for Gmail currently offers only CRM. The features, UI & pricing are best suited for small & mid-sized businesses.
Pricing for UNLIMITED Users = $39 per month

3. Insightly : The Insightly Add-on for Gmail allows you to create contacts and leads, view records, and search your entire CRM from your inbox. Also you can send an email through any Gmail account from Insightly and automatically save a copy in the CRM.
Pricing for 10 Users [PROFESSIONAL PLAN] = $49/User X 10 = $490 per month

4. Accelo : By combining Accelo’s unique automated email tracking with its ability to manage the complete Service Operations lifecycle – from Quote to Cash – for any service business or team, this Gmail Add-on allows anyone to see the full context of an email conversation without leaving Gmail.
Pricing for 10 Users = $16/User X 10 = $160 per month

5. Capsule CRM : CRM for individuals, small businesses and sales teams wanting a simple and effective solution. Capsule extends G Suite to better manage leads, customers, partners and other contacts to grow your business. Work from Google Mail, Mobile or Desktop.
Pricing for 10 Users = $18/User X 10 = $180 per month

Are You a Star at Work?

Most professionals genuinely want to be more productive, do their best, and live up to their potential. They see other people getting ahead, people with roughly the same talent and yet they don’t know what to do about it!

So what exactly separates the BEST from the REST…
Talent? Personality? Having the right job or the right boss?
Correct Answer: None of the above!
It’s not what people bring to the party that makes them a star – it’s what they do with what they bring. The secrets to being a star performer are not in people’s personal characteristics but in how people go about doing their work.

Everybody aspires to be a star. But do you know what it takes to be one at work? Here are important traits of “A players” or “Stars”:

  1. You propose solutions
  2. You are responsive
  3. You are humble, friendly and kind
  4. You share credit
  5. You know your stuff, but you never stop learning
  6. You care about the quality of your work
  7. You beat deadlines
  8. You listen carefully, and ask relevant questions
  9. You take pride in your work
  10. You help others
  11. You are loyal
  12. You always do the right thing (ethics!)

The good news: All of these skills can be learned. Becoming a star at work is like improving your golf or tennis game. You identify your weaknesses and focus on improvements you need to put in place – and then you practice those improvements every day.