Whether you’re just starting or scaling, you need software to support your ambitions as a founder or entrepreneur. With so many different platforms to choose from, it can be an incredible challenge to find the software you need, let alone what’s beneficial for your company; we’ve shortlisted 4 platforms in this post to help you run lean while focusing on growing your company.
We’ll expand on each in separate posts to give you a more in-depth review, but for now, we’ve kept it simple and focused on what we’ve seen as the most critical to get right from day one. In this post, we’ll be looking at Sales, Support and Accounting software for startups.
When it comes to CRMs we’ve had a love-hate relationship with trying to find a near-perfect solution for Helm. The platforms we’ve used have either been outdated, over-complicated or simply not geared to the deal structure or processes that we use internally. In the end, we went back to using a custom spreadsheet and our support desk software (Help Scout – listed below). As we started scaling back out though this just became unmanageable and absurd…it was a complete pain to update and track; we’d avoid trying!
Pipedrive at its heart is a CRM and enablement tool. It allows you to create custom sales pipelines that look easy on the eye and suit your company. The platform is super intuitive, easy to use and the automated tasks help you focus on the important work. You can create custom reports and public stats dashboards (helpful if you want to share your performance in an office or to shareholders). Within Pipedrive you can:
- Create custom emails and automation to help deals move through the funnel
- Use one-click contact data collection (a super useful feature that finds relevant public details about your prospects)
- Create custom views
- Add all different activities such as calls/meetings/tasks/email follow-ups
- Create templated emails and cadences
- Create revenue projections and custom sales dashboards
- Use the caller function – allows you to call and record calls directly from the prospect dashboard
- Integrate with third-party platforms like Help Scout (see more below)
If you’re selling products as part of your workflow you can create custom assets that can be added to each deal quickly, creating custom quotes and invoices that can be sent straight to your client. If you’re looking for a little more then you can easily enable the call feature and live chat, which helps make your interactions with prospects a little more personal. On top of all the great features, the one thing our sales team have found most helpful is the mobile app. The App allows you to access info anywhere, take and add notes to deals, make calls, schedule activities and even plan your day.
Pricing for Pipedrive starts super low at only £15 per month and includes:
- lead, deal, calendar and pipeline management
- simple data imports
- A whole load of other features. View online
If you’re looking for a little more then Advanced is £29 and comes with full email sync, templates and scheduling, plus group emailing, open and click tracking; workflow builder and automation. Professional is £59 per month, comes with all of the above and one-click calling, eSign docs and contracts, plus revenue projections and forecasting.
As a startup, you should be all too familiar with Hubspot; their helpful articles, templates and posts are everywhere, guiding you on every topic, from marketing software to creating sales and support plans or even hiring executives. Here at Helm, we’ve been fans of Hubspot for many years. The Hubspot platform was one of the first third-party integrations we chose to build as we could sync attendee data straight into your CRM. You can see more on how Helm integrates with Hubspot here.
We’ve included Hubspot on our shortlist of the top software for your startup, not because we integrate with the platform, but because of the tools they provide…oh, and have I said that their basic plan is FREE! That’s right; you can get started for nothing, and included in the free plan is:
- Contact management
- Contact website activity
- Company database
- Drag and drop deal board
- Task and activity tracker
If you’re looking for a little more, their paid plans start from $50 p/m (or £42 p/m if you’re in the UK). This gives you up to 2 users in the account and all of the core sales functions you need to close more deals faster. The Starter plan is excellent for a small team that needs more valuable features, such as:
- Removal of Hubspot branding on your live chat, meetings and documents
- B2B payments (U.S. only at the moment but fingers crossed it’s rolling out worldwide)
- Custom conversion routing based on your own processes
- Schedule repeat tasks to save time!
- Quote and bill in multiple currencies; perfect if you are growing internationally!
- Stripe integration ?
If you’re a more established team with more “butts on seats”, then you’ll be looking at their Professional plan starting at $500 p/m, including 5 paid seats. Included in the Professional plan is:
- Everything in Starter
- In-depth sales analytics
- Team management
- Automation tools for your sales workflow
- Custom records
- Create required fields for your team to complete
- Create custom reporting and sales forecasting
- Custom outreach sequences (or cadences depending on what you’re already used to)
- 1:1 video messaging
- Configurable products, pricing and esignatures for quotes and invoices
With all plans, you can save more if you’re looking to commit to an annual plan, opting to pay upfront for a yearly commitment.
1. Help Scout
Bringing the sales in is all well and good but if you’re any type of service company, online shop or software platform you’ll always have to handle support. Many people scoff at the mere word support and have a strong want to ignore incoming customer issues. Here at Helm we built our platform around support and believe support should be prioritised above almost everything else. Support is the beating heart of win/loss and impacts everything from your reputation with new customers, your existing user retention rate and even helps craft your sales and marketing.
We’ve been using Help Scout since July 2018 and cannot help sign its praises. The support desk is simply amazing. It’s quick to get set up, simple to use and full of useful features to make life as simple as possible for you as a solopreneur through to an established team. One of the biggest positives with Help Scout is its intuitiveness – the team have delivered a product that’s so well thought through you’ll barely need to reach out to support.
Regardless of your use case, you’ll find exactly what you need with Help Scout, and pricing starts at $20 per user per month. For that you get all of the following:
- 2 mailboxes
- 1 docs site (to host all your FAQs)
- Live chat
- Beacon help widget
- Custom reports
- Automated workflows – a real timesaver!
- Custom customer properties
- API access
For only $15 more per month ($35 per user, per month), you get even more oomph to power your company, such as:
- 5 mailboxes
- 2 doc sites
- Custom fields – a great use for this is setting a snooze reminder which changes the status of a message back to live on a certain date or sending a follow-up message to a customer automatically.
- Create custom teams with advanced permissions
- Unlimited reporting history
- Advanced API access
- Integration with leading 3rd party apps such as Hubspot, Salesforce and Jia
For bigger or more power-hungry teams you can go all out with the Company plan for $60 per user, per month which simply gives you unlimited access to the entire platform.
Although Help Scout is a dedicated support platform to manage customer queries, you can integrate with a host of other platforms like Pipedrive or Jira, which allows you to create custom trackable properties across platforms. Where integrating Pipedrive you’ll be able to add a customer within Help Scout to Pipedrive, and any new deal that’s created against that customer within Pipedrive automatically pulls through against their Help Scout profile so you’ve always got the latest information to hand. If you’re also integrating Jira you can assign new bugs or development tasks relating to a specific customer, which is perfect if you want to keep your customers updated as soon as your dev team have resolved a pesky bug! ?
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- It’s for everyone – quite literally – with tools for any type of business
- The platform is feature-packed – from bookkeeping, reporting and even payroll or tax submission
- It integrates with payment gateways to automate invoice capture
You can get started almost instantly with Quickbooks, with three prices available – Simple, Essentials and Plus. Simple starts at £12 per month plus tax and includes:
- VAT submissions
- Income tax estimates
- Send invoices straight from the app
- Manage all of your income and expenses
- Phone support
For £22 per month plus tax, you get all of the above features, plus:
- Accept invoice payments online
- up to 3 users
- Track employee time
The plus plan comes in at £32 per month plus tax, but brings a little more functionality should you need it, which we’d highly recommend given its usefulness:
- Manage stock inventory
- Oversight of profitability on each job or project
- Set smart budgets
- 5 user max
One annoying thing about Quickbooks is that you have to pay extra if you want to add payroll to your plan, which is either £4 per month for Standard, or £8 for advance. The core difference between the two payroll add-ons is that advanced allows you to pay employees using any pay frequency, submit pension information to 5 separate providers, includes a HR and employee portal and has a timesheets functionality.
We always recommend using a registered bookkeeper and accountant, but the great thing about Quickbooks is that there are specialists available across the world that can help give you guidance on setup and ongoing usage.
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Disclaimer: Helm has created this content based on our internal experience, reviews, or comparisons using the specified software. We may, at times, make referral income when you subscribe to a paid plan with third-party software providers. Although we may earn a small commission, we always provide unbiased content and provide honest reviews of software providers to help you make an informed decision about what is suitable for your company.