We try all of the latest tools and apps that can help startups get users and build traction. Here’s our list of the top tools we recommend to the startups we work with.

Intercom

Intercom App

What it is

Intercom is an app that makes it easy to communicate with your customers. Have you ever gotten emails a few days after you signed up for a site? That’s what Intercom does. It stores all of your customer information (name, email, when they signed up, etc.) and let’s you set up custom rules to contact segments of customers by email. It also allows you to post messages directly in your app and chat with users when they’re logged in.

Why you need it

Many entrepreneurs mistakenly think that all they need to do is get people to sign up for their app. However, Getting people to sign up is only the beginning of your funnel. To build a successful startup, you need to make sure that your users become active users and that you retain them for a long time. If you’re building any type of SaaS app, Intercom is a must-have.

Alternatives

Intercom is so good that I’m not going to even mention alternatives. Just go and sign up now: https://www.intercom.io/.

Bonus: Also be sure to check out Intercom’s awesome blog.

Heap

Heap Analytics

What it is

Heap is an analytics platform that allows you to easily track analytics by user or by segments of users. Heap’s killer feature is that its analytics are retroactive, meaning you can install it today, and it will start to automatically start to define and track events for you without any setup. No matter how much you plan out your metrics beforehand, there will always be events that you decide are important later. Heap has you covered for those instances. With most other analytics tools you would need to define any events you want to track upfront.

Why you need it

Most sites will already have Google Analytics installed. Google Analytics is great, but requires much more setup – especially if you want to segment out groups of users. Segmented analytics are key for growing startups because they give you better visibility on your users and let you hone in on what’s working and what needs to be fixed. Heap allows you to harness this segmented analysis much quicker.

Alternatives

There are plenty of good analytics alternatives. Mixpanel and Kissmetrics both provide excellent segmented analytics. However, as discussed above, you will have to pre-define the events you want to track. If you have a simple site, Clicky is a great tool to see your most important metrics.

Pipedrive

Pipedrive CRM

What it is

Pipedrive is a CRM that gives you a clear overview of your sales pipeline. Pipedrive has a simple interface where each lead is a card. You just drag and drop the cards to move them through the Pipeline (similar to Trello). Pipedrive gives your team a powerful reminder system so you’ll never forget about a lead.

Why you need it

Our dream when building a Saas app is that customers will automatically sign up without much sales effort. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work in practice. To have a chance to get users and survive you will have to make sales a priority. After trying every CRM, Pipedrive is the easiest way I’ve found to quickly focus your team’s attention on sales.

Alternatives

There are countless CRM alternatives. If you’re looking for something more lightweight, Streak is a CRM that sits right in your Gmail account. Highrise is another solid option that allows you to send emails right from the app. For larger sales teams, Salesforce is the giant player in this space.

Mailchimp & Mandrill

Mailchimp

What they are

Mailchimp and Mandrill are email services. With Mailchimp you can send email updates and newsletters to your subscribers. Mandrill (owned by Mailchimp) is a service you use inside of your application to send emails. Both tools give you incredible control over your company’s email campaigns.

Why you need them

Email should be a central piece of your startup strategy. It’s always a good idea to build your email list early (before launch) so you have a group of fans ready to sign up and buy your product. Email becomes even more important after you launch to keep your customers engaged. Mailchimp and Mandrill (plus Intercom, above) will help you build a rock-solid email strategy for your startup.

Alternatives

The Mailchimp/Mandrill combo is hard to beat for startups. If you’re looking for an alternative for email newsletters, Campaign Monitor and Mad Mimi are good choices. For in app emails, SendGrid, Mailgun and Postmark are all solid alternatives to Mandrill.

Buffer

Buffer

What it is

Buffer is a tool that allows you to post to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google Plus all at once. It adds your post to a queue and lets you set the frequency and time that your posts will go out on each platform. It also gives you analytics for all of your social media posts and let’s you invite other members of your team to post.

Why you need it

You’ve probably already set up your Twitter and Facebook accounts for your startup. Unfortunately, most startups quickly forget about social media. Buffer will make it easy for you to keep your social media feeds fresh and start to build an engaged audience.

Alternatives

SproutSocial and Hootsuite are both great platforms that allow you to post to multiple social media channels and provide solid analytics.

Did I miss anything?

Did we miss an app or service that you love? Let us know about it on Twitter @LaunchPadLab.

Scott Weisman

Co Founder & Developer

Combining his 7 years of law experience and love for technology, Scott built WarRoom Law. By tapping into his creative streak, he has developed an intuitive sense of front end design and coding. Always current on the latest products in the tech world, Scott has an intimate understanding of product design and development.

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