We don't have revenue or a web presence yet, so we haven't had a need to go beyond Google Analytics yet. We use Google Analytics to monitor traffic on the website, and this is perfectly adequate for a simple business that doesn't yet have a conversion funnel. At this point, we're just looking at sources of traffic and content that's viewed--and Google Analytics is fine for all of those basic metrics. In the past, I've had a lot of success with Mixpanel. It's really good at visualizing funnels, and helping you understand what the funnel looks like and how it can be optimized. We'll probably implement it sometime soon.
We've just implemented Podio, so I can't say that much about it. We chose Podio because it seemed like it were agnostic to the type of sales process we have. We have a very consumer-oriented sales process, not a complex sales funnel. Most traditional CRMs are set up to sell to enterprise clients with a lot of accounts. But the whole concept of contacts and accounts is irrelevant to Common; we need more of a one-to-one relationship. We think about our clients as individuals vs. individual players within a large account. Podio is a little more flexible, and they do a bidirectional sync with our own database, so we are still effectively the database of record. I much prefer to house our own data, as opposed to housing it within a third-party CRM.
MailChimp is inexpensive and easy. At an early stage, it's a good solution. It's not as robust and doesn't have as much functionality as other platforms, but for early-stage companies, it's sufficient. For now, email marketing isn't a huge part of our business--our list is still under 10,000 people.
Google Drive is great for collaborating on documents, which we'll then download, reformat and move it over to Dropbox for sharing. The problem with Google Sheets is that it's not a good place to build complex models.
TriNet is very responsive. I'm a big advocate for startups using PEOs, rather than just payroll or benefits providers. I used to use standalone payroll providers (Paychex, ZenPayroll), and the problem with them is you still have to deal with all the compliance, filings, etc., all of which are things a PEO will handle for you. TriNet is great for that, but the biggest issue with them is that their software seems to have been built in 1993 and hasn't been updated since. The UI is terrible--it makes government websites look great. They even made me use Internet Explorer for part of their site! But the people are super-friendly, they have great customer service, and they offer a really important service for startups in Seed or Series A. Once you have a dedicated HR person on staff, then you can switch off of a PEO to a lower-cost provider like Paychex or ZenPayroll.
We've implemented Slack, but it's not really the right fit for our employees right now. Most of our employees are out on the street or at work sites all day, and Slack's chat application seems to work best when people are at their desks all day. We just don't have that type of company right now. As we build more of a product/engineer culture, which we will as we grow, Slack will be more useful. But for now, we mostly just text back and forth.
I'm a huge advocate of 15Five. It's a way for people to do weekly status updates in a way that doesn't take up valuable one-on-one time. By the time I walk into the meeting, I know where people stand, where they need help, and what their pain points are. I have a certain way I like to manage, and 15Five fits that management style perfectly. The UI is OK--it fits a startup very well.
We use InVision as a project management tool. It helps us see the progress of designs. I really like the UI, and the ability to comment on specific parts of the site. This has made our design process much easier and smoother, and I really appreciate the ability to provide easy feedback on specific issues.
We'll use this as an ATS. We looked at Jazz, Greenhouse and a few others, but I decided on Lever because the way they structure data is much more aligned with the way early-stage startups hire. It's less about having a specific job description, closing out the job when you hire, and then starting from scratch when you have another opening, etc. For early-stage companies, you're more focused on looking for a large pool of smart candidates with a general skill, specific motivations, and who can wear the hats that you need worn, as opposed to hiring for a very specific job description. Once you have that pool of candidates, you can dip into it the next time you have an opening. Once you get around 30-40 employees, you do need to start the process of writing specific job descriptions, filling out evaluation forms after interviews, etc., and that's where a product like Greenhouse is more helpful. For our current hiring needs, I found Greenhouse to be too opinionated, structured and complex, and that's just not right for earlier-stage companies. Later, standardization matters a ton, and using software to enforce those standards is incredibly important. But when you're an early startup, that can be more destructive and annoying than useful.