The Best Marketing & Sales Tools for Startups in 2018

At Stacklist, we’ve documented over 350+ tools across marketing and sales that startups are using, and have narrowed them down to the Top 25 for 2018 (and a special selection of Editor's Picks).

The toolscape for marketing and sales is growing every year. According to MarTech, there have been over 5,000 new marketing and sales tools since they’ve started their study in 2011.

We know you have real problems to worry about when it comes to building and starting your business, so we've made our picks for the best marketing and sales tools startups should be using this year.

Here's how we picked our top tools:

  • Great reviews from users
  • # of users and reviews gained in 2017
  • Added value to customers

Now with all that out of the way, let's start our first Stacklist awards!


Top CRMs in 2018



Outreach


Outreach is an email automation tool that integrates with favorite tools like Salesforce, SendGrid, and LeadIQ. It puts leads and prospects into an email marketing sequence, helping push prospects down your sales funnel.

Outreach gives you analytics on your email sequences, like open rates, replies, click rates, and location data for your prospects.

Founders have loved using outreach for their email automation and sales. Startups like AdStage, Greenhouse, Branch, and Outbound use it in their marketing stacks.

Many founders love being able to set up their email sequence, and then just forget about it, keeping them and their sales teams more productive.

We use Outreach for direct email and lead outreach. It’s more of an email campaign management tool, and not really for email marketing. You can send an email to a thousand people, and it looks like a 1:1 email to each of them. It competes with Yesware, but is honestly already like Yesware 5.0; it’s years ahead. - Brian Frumberg, Founder of VentureOut

Quick stats: 3% of startups use Streak. 14 Startups have reviewed Outreach.


Close.io

Close.io is a CRM with calling, email and SMS natively built-in to their software. Their streamlined dashboard makes it easy to view all of your messages, notes, and timeline of activity for your leads.

Close.io has helpful email capabilities like templating and email reminders, but it’s stand out feature is it’s VOIP.

Many startups choose Close.io  because of the ability to make and receive calls from their web app.

Users love Close.io’s UX and dashboard but have complained about the lack of integrations. Close.io makes it easy for startups to manage their sales workflow by giving teams complete transparency of what’s going on in the sales process and with specific leads.

Some users might find Close.io’s data & reporting features lacking, but they seem to give a good overall view of email analytics, sales performance and expected sales.

I used to be a sales director at Zendesk for 5 years where I used Salesforce. I didn't want to use Salesforce when I started my own company. They give us what Salesforce is giving us but in a much more cleaner, simpler, more modern and easier to use package. Salesforce is infinitely more complex and hard to administer. At a small company, we don’t want to have someone just to administer Salesforce--we want something that works out of the box. The downsides are that you don’t have an infinite feature set, but we don’t really need that either right now. - Nick Franklin, Founder & CEO of ChartMogul

Quick Stats: 2% of startups use Close.io. 13 startups have reviewed Close.io


SalesforceIQ

SalesforceIQ (formerly RelateIQ), is a CRM and a subsidiary of Salesforce. RelateIQ launched in 2011 as a relationship intelligence platform, and was acquired by Salesforce in 2014, rebranding under the name “SalesforceIQ.”

SalesforceIQ is Salesforce’s SMB offering. Many smaller businesses and early-stage startups cannot use Salesforce as their CRM, because of its price and complexity. That’s where SalesforceIQ shines. It’s not quite as simple as Pipedrive or Highrise, but it’s not as complex as Salesforce.

SalesforceIQ is easy to setup and intuitive to use. It also tries to cut down on the data entry necessary by using data science to comb through emails and automatically update itself from customer communications.

In Early November, Salesforce launched Salesforce Essentials – a similar product offering to SalesforceIQ that targets SMBs with a lower price point.

SFIQ is like Salesforce lite and a lot less intimidating, especially for a small team. There is minimal set-up required, and it’s an intuitive platform. The downside is that it doesn’t integrate natively with a lot of tools, but with Zapier we can hack it a bit. - Rachel Kaplowitz, Co-founder & CEO of Honey

Quick Stats: 5% of startups use SalesforceIQ. 24 Startups have reviewed SalesforceIQ.


Streak

Streak is a former Y Combinator startup that offers a simple solution to relationship management. It’s a CRM that exists entirely within Gmail, that means users can be more productive by handling all of their sales and workflows within their inbox, instead of constantly switching between apps.

It’s exceptional for early-stage startups because it’s lightweight and doesn’t require much setup. After creating a workflow (which ends up looking similar to a pipeline), it becomes easy for users to keep track of valuable contacts.

Streak also has standard email features, like tracking, reminders, and templates.

Even though Streak is CRM, many Stacklisters are using it to handle other workflows for their startups. Because of how simple it is to setup and customize a workflow, founders have used it as a recruiting tool to manage their applicants, as a PR tool to keep track of press contacts, and as a fundraising tool to stay in touch with potential investors.

The sales team loves Streak. I think one of the issues with these tools is to find the right tool that people actually use. Streak, between ease of use and features, found the right balance. - Marco Peluso, Founder & CEO of Qardio

Quick Stats: 6% of Startups are using Streak. 29 startups have reviewed Streak.


Zoho

Zoho has an entire suite of tools for small businesses for sales, finance, customer service, project management and HR.

Many startups are using it as their CRM of choice because it’s affordable, flexible and customizable without being too overwhelming with features.

Users have noted that it’s not the most intuitive platform, but it does get the job done.

We use Zoho CRM, and it was a good choice. I come from a Salesforce background, and Zoho is much cheaper and allows you to get a lot of things done. We use it also to measure customer marketing success and any back office team has some access to it. We send reports to the different departments. - Olivier Gemayel, Partner & CBDO of Dayuse

Quick Stats: 2% of startups use Zoho. 15 startups have reviewed Zoho.


🏆Pipedrive (#1 CRM for Early-stage startups)

Pipedrive is a CRM and pipeline management tool. It’s a simple yet effective solution to managing sales and other processes. Many startups choose Pipedrive as their CRM of choice because it’s simple and easy to use, and affordable. Many of their users are Seed-stage startups. In fact, Pipedrive is our #1 CRM for Seed-stage startups.

Many users find Pipedrive easy to use because their pipeline based, process-oriented workflow is very familiar to most. It gives Pipedrive many uses outside of sales. Users have found Pipedrive to be a great tool to help manage their recruiting, fundraising, and media outreach.

We’ve looked at everything, and this one is nice and easy. When you’re doing sales, the dashboard is really easy to navigate. It works really well on your phone which is important if you’re not always on your desktop. It's one of the easiest apps ever; I love it! - Christine Carrillo, Co-founder & CEO of Impact Health

Quick Stats: 8% of startups are using Pipedrive. 43 startups have reviewed Pipedrive


🏆Salesforce (#1 CRM for Startups in 2018) 

Salesforce is often called the “gold standard” of CRM software for startups and our #1 CRM for Startups in 2018. Many founders when asked why they chose Salesforce for their CRM, say “It’s Salesforce. You have to use it.”

Founders end up choosing Salesforce over other CRMs because of all the tools and features the CRM offers. Salesforce is very customizable and can track a wide variety of customer information. Salesforce has a vast ecosystem of tools that work together very well with it like Pardot mentioned earlier in our list, and Desk.com, Salesforce’s customer service solution.

Because Salesforce is the market leader for CRMs, many companies and tools build integrations to Salesforce to help their customers. Chances are any tool you’re using has a Salesforce integration, and if it doesn’t, you can create your own Salesforce integration or use Zapier.

Previous complaints about Salesforce have been about its UI, but they’ve launched a redesign called Lightning in 2016.

Startups are also happy to choose Salesforce because they know the CRM will easily scale with them as they grow.

Salesforce is not just a CRM; it’s a platform. The Salesforce ecosystem is so powerful; anything you think that is outside of CRM capabilities can be plugged into Salesforce very easily (dashboards, analytics, modules, etc.). There’s a lot of plug-&-play with Salesforce. I like that it’s very open and you can customize it whatever way you want. We chose Salesforce over other CRMs because our engineers can build our specific needs into Salesforce. There’s probably a better, more specific vendor for insurance CRMs, but they wouldn’t be as customizable or have the same ecosystem of tools Salesforce has. - Inaki Berenguer, Founder & CEO of CoverWallet

Quick stats: 25% of startups use Salesforce. 121 Startups have reviewed Salesforce.



Top Email Marketing Tools in 2018



PardotPardot is a B2B Marketing Automation tool that is part of the Salesforce ecosystem, making it particularly effective when used with Salesforce. Many users end up using Pardot as their email marketing tool because it’s a Salesforce tool.

Pardot has very robust email marketing capabilities. It makes it easy to build and design emails, and create a personalized and marketing campaign based on how leads interact with your emails.

We use Salesforce's marketing automation system. I’m a former 5-time VP of marketing and was an early adopter of Salesforce. When we built our software we built it on the Salesforce platform so we wanted to make sure we knew all of the Salesforce products well so that we could partner with them. - Bonnie Crater, President & CEO of Full Circle Insights

Quick Stats: 2% of Startups use Pardot. 12 Startups have reviewed Pardot


🏆SendGrid (#1 Transactional Email tool for Startups)

SendGrid is an email marketing tool, best known for its API, transactional email, and email deliverability. Users tout the service for its focus on deliverability and transactional mail. It’s our #1 Transactional Email tool for startups.

While many users only use SendGrid for their transactional email, which they excel at, SendGrid has made great strides towards being a marketing automation suite to design newsletters and personalized workflows based on campaign engagement.

SendGrid does everything--it’s like using MailChimp and Mandrill together. It is one unique platform for marketing and transactional emails. MailChimp is the easiest path if you don’t have any experience, but SendGrid has rich features, is cheaper and allows more flexibility. The analytics are also good. - Anne Kavanagh, Founder & CEO of Zera

Quick Stats: 12% of Startups are using SendGrid. 47 startups have reviewed SendGrid.


🏆MailChimp (#1 Marketing & Sales Tool for Startups)

MailChimp is an email marketing solution, and besides being our #1 Marketing & Sales tool, it’s also our #1 Email marketing tool for startups.

MailChimp is a startup favorite because of how easy it allows users to create and design fantastic newsletters.

It has excellent automation workflows that you can set up, which can be customized based on your subscribers’ activity.

MailChimp also offers analytics so you can see reports and numbers on list growth, open rates, and click rates.

Besides being an easy to use tool, it also integrates with a bunch of apps, either natively or through Zapier. That makes it easy to have subscriber info based on data you’ve collected from other apps, and have your CRMs, social media or customer service tools all play a role in your email marketing.

Beyond the great platform, and countless integrations, MailChimp has also had a couple of very exciting updates to their product this year, like working with Facebook & Instagram Ads, new popup forms for websites, and a new landing page tool.

We’re really gung-ho about MailChimp. I’ve loved watching it grow and have been using it since 2010. I’ve been surprised and delighted with the feature set which has a lot of value out of automation and integrates well with event tracking and other systems. - Sam Gimbel, Co-founder & CPO of Clark

Quick Stats: 57% of startups are using MailChimp. 275 startups have reviewed MailChimp.


Top CMSs in 2018


Squarespace

Squarespace is a CMS and website builder that makes it easy to create and design blogs, web stores, and landing pages. It’s the #2 CMS tool of choice for startups.

Users love Squarespace’s UX and design. There’s no coding or HTML knowledge required – their drag & drop editor is easy to use, and they have a huge variety of templates available.

Squarespace is really great, design-wise. They’re much stronger than something like WordPress. And from a design perspective, it’s very easy to use. - Thomas Kelly, Co-founder of Mexicue

Quick Stats: 3% of startups use Squarespace. 14 startups have reviewed Squarespace


Medium

Content marketing and social media are two of the most popular marketing strategies for startups. Medium is a platform that mixes in elements for both. Medium is a publishing platform where writers can post their work for others to read. Because Medium has an active community of users, it also acts as a distribution channel.

Medium is easy to setup, low maintenance, and free. All three very startup-friendly characteristics.

Some startups host their own blog, but also publish their posts to Medium to help with distribution and awareness. Others host their entire blog on Medium because it’s easier than setting up a company blog on their website, and because users are already familiar with Medium’s format. Either way, we’ve seen a significant spike in Medium’s user base. According to our research, Medium’s user base has doubled at the end of 2017, compared to the end of 2016, and we expect more startups to adopt it in 2018.

We have a blog in both HubSpot and Medium. We are trying to transition everything to Medium. Medium has a simpler interface. A lot of people have experience with it already. It has space for reviewing content and approving content. We notice that we have more views when we post on Medium as it has its own pool of viewers. - Mattan Griffel, Co-founder & CEO of One Month

Quick stats: 9% of startups are using Medium. 44 startups have reviewed Medium


🏆WordPress (#1 CMS for Startups for 2018)WordPress is a free, open-source CMS, and currently our #1 CMS for Startups. Almost one out of every three startups is using WordPress, either for their site or just for their blog. It’s fast to setup and the most common solution for a website builder.

WordPress has many tutorials, plugins, and integrations available to it, which many users love to use. One of the most popular plugins startups use for their WordPress site is mentioned earlier in our list, Yoast.

Users often complain about the frequent security updates that are necessary to maintain their WordPress sites, as WordPress sites are prone to hacking.

Most of our website is based on WordPress. A third of the internet runs on it. WordPress is ubiquitous--lots of people know how to develop on it without having to start from scratch. - Andy Fossett, Co-founder & CEO of GMB Fitness

Quick Stats: 28% of startups are using WordPress. 114 startups have reviewed Wordpress


Top Content Marketing Tools in 2018


BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo is a content marketing tool that helps users find out what content is popular by topic or on any website. It’s a must-have tool for startups that focus on content marketing and want to make informed decisions on what type of content works for their audience and industry.

BuzzSumo also lets users find out who are prominent influencers to particular topics. It also has web monitoring features, so you can get alerts for keywords, brand mentions, and track your competitors’ mentions.

We use BuzzSumo for competitive analysis. It’s so hard to keep track of your competitor’s mentions and what they’re doing, who they are talking to, and what they are talking about. BuzzSumo is great for seeing interesting content channels and seeing what is doing great with the media or with customers and come up with a content plan to ride that angle. - Andrew Josuweit, Co-founder & CEO of Student Loan Hero

Some users have found the sharing data on BuzzSumo lacking, noting that they only provide “share numbers” that can be inflated by bots, but it’s still a highly recommended research and monitoring tool.

TOOL TIP: Use BuzzSumo with NinjaOutreach for link building.

We use BuzzSumo to monitor mentions of our competitors. Then we have a VA filter out the noise and use Ninja Outreach to contact the people who mentioned our competitors to see if they would be OK to give us a try. - Emeric Ernoult, Founder & CEO of Agorapulse

Quick Stats: 3% of startups use BuzzSumo. 11 Startups have reviewed BuzzSumo


Moz

Moz is an SEO platform that provides a full suite of features that includes keyword analysis, website monitoring, rank tracking, page optimization, and crawl reporting.

This SEO tool is an excellent pick for users who are looking for an all-in-one app for their SEO needs. There are weekly crawl reports that alert you of any errors on your site that to fix and help you monitor your inbound links and keyword rankings.

Startups like Really Good Emails, Webflow, Venngage, and FullContact, all use Moz as an essential part of their content marketing stack.

On the SEO front, Moz is great for managing search engine optimization efforts including tracking search engine visibility for key brand terms, running crawl reports and reviewing competitor activity (e.g., position, inbound links). - Ben Hordell, Founding Partner at DXagency

Quick Stats: 4% of startups use Moz. 13 Startups have reviewed Moz.


Yoast

Yoast is a WordPress plugin that helps startups optimize their site for SEO. WordPress is the most popular content marketing tool startups are using, with over 28% of startups using it as their CMS or blog host. Yoast taps into WordPress’ large user base, providing an easy to use SEO tool.

Yoast makes it easy to properly set up meta tags, headers and optimize your new pages.

We use WordPress on the company blog, and an SEO plugin called Yoast. Yoast is SEO for complete idiots, so it’s great for me. You smash in your keywords, and it gives you the ticks and crosses of whether you’ve used them enough and in the right places. - Adam Hempenstall, Founder of Better Proposals

Quick stats: 2% of startups are using Yoast. 7 startups have reviewed Yoast.


🏆SEMRush (#1 SEO Tool for Startups for 2018)

SEMRush is an SEO tool that helps with keyword research, competitive analysis, backlink analysis, and rank tracking. SEMRush is our #1 SEO Tool for 2018.

SEMRush provides marketers and founders helpful info on what kind of traffic keywords get, current top ranking organic keywords, and get a breakdown of your competitors’ keywords. Other features include backlink auditing, on page SEO checking, brand monitoring, social media management, and rank tracking.

I really like SEMrush’s interface. They give you a deep analysis and a lot of data compared to other tools. The pricing is very affordable comparatively (to other similar tools). - Aziz Ali, Founder & Chief Instructor of iLoveCoding

Quick Stats: 3% of Startups use SEMRush. 11 Startups have reviewed SEMRush.


Top Sales Tools in 2018


🏆Unbounce (#1 Landing Page Tool for 2018)

Unbounce is a landing page builder used by startups across all industries and sizes for their marketing campaigns. While they’re #20 on our list of Top Marketing & Sales Tools for 2018, Unbounce is our #1 Landing Page Tool for 2018.

Users are delighted with the platform. Many reviews comment on how easy it is to set up landing pages with their builder since there’s no coding required. Marketing teams can quickly create landing pages and get analytics about conversions and traffic through the Unbounce dashboard, and optimize their pages through Unbounce’s A/B testing features.

Unbounce also offers many integrations with widely used tools like MailChimp and Salesforce, making it an excellent fit for a lot of startups’ marketing stacks.

We use Unbounce for clients and our own marketing to generate leads. Unbounce is very useful for our marketing team because it lets them put pages together easily. The web-based designer deals with desktop browser and mobile layouts. - Ash Young, Managing Director of Evoluted

Quick Stats: 4% of startups use Unbounce. 17 startups have reviewed Unbounce


Yesware

Yesware is a productivity tool for sales teams. Yesware provides sales teams with analytics on their outbound emails, adding more data and visibility into what happens after you click send.

This sales toolkit gives analytics on open rates, click rates, and downloads. It also has team templates, mail merge, and sales automation features.

Our Sales Team is very happy using Yesware. We get pretty good metrics off it: open rates, response rates, etc. Yesware makes it easy to follow up with warm leads. - Dave Kearney, Founder & CEO of Fluid UI

Quick Stats: 5% of startups are using Yesware. 21 Startups have reviewed Yesware


🏆Mixmax (#1 Sales Productivity Tool for 2018)

Mixmax is an email & sales productivity tool for Gmail and Salesforce. It’s our #1 Sales Productivity tool for 2018 based on our user reviews. It’s used by startups like Beamery, Webflow, and Teleport.

Mixmax has all the standard email features like tracking, scheduling, templating, and snoozing. But the features that set them apart are things like embeddable calendar widgets that make scheduling meetings more natural and their email analytics.

Users are also fans of Mixmax’s Sequences. Sequences are like mail merges, except you can schedule multiple emails for recipients, and have emails trigger based on how they interact with other emails in the sequence. It’s like a light marketing automation tool. Unlike mail merges, you can add recipients into a sequence, and get analytics about your open rates, click rates, and replies.

Mixmax is a tool that can do everything from email sequencing to calendar scheduling. Through Mixmax, we can share our calendar availability with potential partners, and they are then able to select a date/time that works well for them to meet. When they make their selection, they will receive a calendar invitation instantly. No more back and forth emails. It is a huge time saver. - Drew Silverstein, Co-founder & CEO of Amper Music

Quick Stats: 2% of startups use Mixmax. 10 Startups have reviewed Mixmax


🏆HubSpot (#1 Marketing Automation Tool for Startups)

HubSpot is a marketing automation platform, that offers tools for content marketing, email marketing, sales, and social media. Because HubSpot has so many features and products, many startups adopt it to handle all of their marketing and sales. It’s also our #1 Marketing Automation tool.

HubSpot has tools to manage all parts of a sales funnel to help increase traffic, find leads, and close deals. Because of how robust the platform is, many startups are happy to choose HubSpot because they’ll know it will scale as their company grows.

For all our marketing automation, we just use HubSpot. It’s great. They’re the inDinero for marketing, a one-stop shop. You don’t need to piece together pieces, like MailChimp with something else--it’s just all together. - Jessica Mah, Co-founder & CEO of inDinero

Quick Stats: 12% of startups are using HubSpot. 96 startups have reviewed HubSpot


Top Social Media Management Tools in 2018


Sprout Social

Sprout Social is a social media management & marketing tool. Sprout Social doesn’t just publish and schedule social media posts; it also lets you engage with customers and people who mention your brand, while also providing you with analytics on your social media marketing.

The tool is very robust and offers a lot of different features that many early-stage startups might find unnecessary for them. Sprout Social is also more expensive than other social media management tools, but it does offer the most features and the best reporting.

Startups that use Sprout Social include Full Circle Insights, ReviewTrackers, Instapage, and HandUp.

I’ve been using it for many years now; I think it’s the best on the market. It has great scheduling and analytics, and they add new features very regularly. It has a really great design and is one of my favorite apps to use. It makes management a lot easier and saves me a ton of time. - Riana Lynn, Founder & CEO of FoodTrace

Quick Stats: 3% of startups use Sprout Social. 15 Startups have reviewed Sprout Social


TweetDeck

TweetDeck is a social media management tool for Twitter accounts. TweetDeck is free to use and offers a much more convenient way to look at your Twitter feed and monitor your account.

It has scheduling capabilities, and keyword tracking so you can monitor mentions of your brand and topics in your industry.

TweetDeck’s dashboard displays different columns for things like tweets, notifications, messages, scheduled tweets, and keyword searches, making it easy to view everything going on at once in real time.

TOOL TIP: You can integrate Twitter with Slack for an easy way to keep tabs on your Twitter mentions

We have TweetDeck searches setup so that if someone has an issue with our product, we can connect over Twitter and then move the conversation into a DM or email (but we use email mostly). We have all of that Twitter stuff integrated with Slack, so it’s all dropped into a Slack channel so we can keep tabs on that conversation. - Mike Nelson, Co-founder of Really Good Emails

Quick Stats: 7% of startups use TweetDeck. 25 startups have reviewed TweetDeck.


Buffer

Buffer is a social media management tool to help schedule and manage posts on all of your social media accounts. Scheduling social media is usually a time-consuming task for small startups, but Buffer makes it easy.

One thing that makes it different from other social media management tools is their scheduling process. You set up a schedule for what days and times you want your posts shared, and then when you upload posts, Buffer will automatically add them to a queue based on your schedule.

Buffer also offers analytics that helps you know what time your audience is most engaged so that you can optimize your posting times.

We tried HootSuite, but we didn’t like it as much as Buffer. Buffer is the tool that we decided to adopt to manage social media. It works very well for us. - Adelia Carrillo, Founder & CEO of Direct Cannabis

Quick stats: 20% of startups use Buffer. 82 startups have reviewed Buffer.


🏆Hootsuite (#1 Social Media Management tool for Startups for 2018)

Hootsuite is a social media management dashboard that helps you schedule posts and monitor your accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and more. It’s our #1 Social Media Management tool for startups and the market leader in the space.

Hootsuite has many competitors and alternatives, like Buffer and Sprout Social. A few reasons Hootsuite is more popular for startups is because of its scalability. Teams can start on a free plan of Hootsuite and upgrade their plan and add more features and users as their team grows and they start focusing more on social media.

Hootsuite continues to build out their platform to help teams, so solo-entrepreneurs might not find much value choosing Hootsuite over other options. Users love that it’s a place where they can manage all of their social media accounts and monitor mentions of their brand.

They’ve been building out their analytics and working to expand the integrations they offer to provide more value to their customers.

Hootsuite is our main social media management platform. Now that it integrates with all the social streams, it's a big win and makes it really easy. They’re the most robust out of all the other systems. - Jason Andrew, Co-founder & CEO of Limelight Health

Quick stats: 24% of startups are using Hootsuite. 108 startups have reviewed Hootsuite


Editors' Picks: Top Marketing & Sales Tools to Keep an Eye on in 2018


🏆Drift (Editors' Pick: 2018 Best Sales & Marketing Tool)

Drift is a messaging platform that helps qualify leads and make your sales team more productive. It’s a tool similar to Intercom, except it focuses much more on sales and marketing teams instead of customer support.

Their automated messaging bot grabs lead customizable lead info, and then automatically books meetings with clients on your website with your sales team.

Drift has a product-driven team. Their CEO, David Cancel, was the former Chief Product Officer at HubSpot. His focus on making a great product has meant Drift has gotten many new features, integrations, and upgrades since they launched in 2015. Their focus on improving their product makes Drift a great tool to pick for 2018, and beyond.


🏆Reply (Editors' Pick: 2018 Top Outbound Email Tool)Reply is an outbound email tool that lets you track opens, clicks, downloads and more for your email campaigns. The emails are very personal, as they come from your Gmail account and not via an Email Server like MailChimp or Constant Contact (because of this, there are some daily sending limits on your outbound email campaigns).

Reply is becoming a startup favorite for cold email outreach because of how fast it is to setup, and the easy to understand interface. Reply also has many useful features: A/B testing so you can optimize your cold email campaigns, email validation to always send to the right address, and email automation.


🏆Agorapulse (Editors' Pick: 2018 Top Social Media Management Tool)If you've been looking for a new social media management tool to try out in 2018, Agorapulse would be a great pick for your startup. Agorapulse is a social media management platform that competes with tools like Buffer and Hootsuite.

What makes Agorapulse stand out, is its focus on "social inbox zero." It's a significant relief for social media managers because it organizes all incoming social messages into one inbox.

Besides the messaging features, Agorapulse also connects to all the popular social media channels (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) for efficient multichannel marketing. Agorapulse also makes it easy to customize posts for each platform, tag users in posts, and upload images.

Users are also big fans of the reporting, analytics, competitor monitoring, and brand monitoring features Agorapulse offers.


🏆NiftyImages (Editors' Pick: 2018 Image Customization Tool)

NiftyImages is an email marketing & design tool that lets you add personalized images and countdown timers to your email campaigns.

Using merge fields, NiftyImages makes customized, dynamic images that change based on your data.

NiftyImages' API also lets you update any of your personalized images in real time so that you can edit the text, image or inputs and the changes will appear to your users.

Their contextual images can also be embedded into landing pages and websites.

NiftyImages lets us personalize an image with different fields in our audience and include countdown timers in our emails for events or limited-time promotions. NiftyImages is our go-to service for next level email personalized images and countdown timers. - Matt Helbig, Co-founder of Really Good Emails


🏆Planoly (Editors' Pick: 2018 Instagram Scheduling Tool)

If your startup focuses heavily on Instagram and you've been unhappy with the Instagram scheduling tools available, Planoly would be worth checking out in 2018.

Planoly is an Instagram planning and scheduling tool that also lets you analyze your content, respond and manage comments, and collaborate with team members.

You can upload pictures to Planoly from your phone, or via your Google Drive or Dropbox account. Their drag & drop feature makes it easy to move around images and visually plan your Instagram posts.

Since Instagram doesn't allow tools to publish on your behalf, Planoly still sends you a push notification to publish your posts like other Instagram scheduling tools. But the visual planner, ability to write pre-written posts and their analytics features make Planoly a standout Instagram tool.


🏆People.ai (Editors' Pick: 2018 Sales Productivity Tool)People.ai is an AI platform for data-driven sales and marketing. The platform gives managers a good overview of sales activities in their company by using AI to analyze sales data.

They're a pretty new startup, recently launching in 2016. They were in Y Combinator's S16 class and raised a $7 million Series A in May 2017.

People.ai tracks activity across different communication touchpoints and measures them so managers can find out where their sales team are spending the most time, and what they can do to improve their sales campaigns.


🏆Quuu + Quuu Promote (Editors' Pick: 2018 Social Media Tool)

Looking to share curated content for your social media channels, AND get your content into the hands of influencers and new readers? Check out Quuu, one of our tools to keep an eye on in 2018!

Quuu offers two products: Quuu and Quuu Promote.

Quuu can automate your social media channel. By selecting a few topics you're interested in sharing, and how many posts you'd like to share, Quuu will automatically share content on your behalf.

Quuu Promote is an easy way to share your blog posts. By submitting your content and choosing what topic it fits into, it will get shared via other Quuu and Buffer users, expanding your reach and increasing your views. The Quuu Promote dashboard will give you analytics on how many times your promoted content has been viewed and clicked.