We built our own custom reporting tool, in addition to Google Anaytics. Our business is a little complex in that we needed very specific data (by client, week, etc.), and we would have needed a lot of tech support to integrate with the out-of-the-box tools we had looked at. They were also really expensive, so we just decided to build our own.
Google Analytics provides good baseline data.
We use the enterprise edition of Salesforce for our entire sales team, and we love it. It required a heavy tech implementation to start. At first, we tried to implement it and use it on our own without hiring a consultant; if I had to do it all over again, I would have hired that consultant sooner to do the initial implementation and to educate us on how to use the platform better for our needs.
Generally we've been very happy with MailChimp with regard to pricing and execution. We looked at a couple other platforms (including Sailthru), but there wasn't much differentiation between them and MailChimp. Email marketing is a big part of our strategy, and we do a ton of segmentation--over 500 per week. As our list grows, I think MailChimp will continue to be a good option for us.
We added Google Drive when we would have had to start paying for Dropbox. Google Drive is more confusing than Dropbox--it's harder to manage permissions. Google Drive is used for our day-to-day docs, but we've always felt like it's a little less reliable and secure than Dropbox.
We started with Dropbox only, and used it until we would have had to start paying. Then we added Google Drive, as well. Dropbox is better for sharing files externally, and also for managing user access, so we keep more sensitive documents in Dropbox.
We now use the desktop version of QuickBooks, but when I was doing our accounting, we used QuickBooks Online. Now we have bookkeepers and accountants who help us manage our monthly ledgers. Schwartz & Co is our bookkeeping company and I would highly recommend them to any early-stage startup. They are very thorough and good, and can work with you on a pricing structure to meet your needs. Our tax accountants, Wilkin & Guttenplan, are great and completely available whenever we need them, but they can be expensive (for a startup). I did all of our accounting myself the first 1.5 years, but our accounting became more complicated as we added more business lines and cities. It was taking up too much time and I wanted to hand over the task to true experts. On our near-term horizon, we'll be hiring a finance director and that person will take over CFO responsibilities and bookkeeping, so we'll bring all of that in-house.
We use Wave for invoicing our customers that pay with a credit card. It's just OK. It doesn't have all the fields we need for all of our internal accounting, so we have to manage some data manually in a spreadsheet, but it does save client credit cards online, which is nice. So it works well for our clients, but not well for our internal reporting.
Owens Group, an independent broker, is wonderful. I've recommended them to a lot of different startups. They're not necessarily startup-focused, but very high-touch and great for first-time founders who aren't familiar with the ins and outs of insurance, regulations, etc. We tried switching to ADP for this because we thought it would be easier to manage our workers in different cities, but when it came down to it, ADP wasn't as proactive in recommending which insurance we should use, and it was very hard to get someone on the phone to help us. Ultimately, we moved back to our independent insurance broker.
Hired is great for recruiting tech talent. It's a little expensive for what it is, but they've allowed us to do a payment plan, which allows us to spread out payments over 12-24 months. The platform makes it really easy to search through profiles.
For hiring service providers, we use Playbook HR to manage the pipeline of candidates. It's a startup, and has been very high-touch for our needs.
SalesLoft is great for prospecting and building lists, and their Cadence product enables us to pre-write emails and set them up to automatically send at whatever frequency we want. SalesLoft sits on top of and integrates with Salesforce.
We use Mindflash for training and educating our service providers.
With ADP, we ended up getting a discount for each payroll period, which was really meaningful to use when we were still self-funded and had only a few employees. We've stuck with them since then. Payroll is really easy with them, and we've never had any issues there. For a short period, we tried using them for insurance too, but they weren't proactive in recommending which insurance we should use, and it was very hard to get someone on the phone to help us. So ultimately, we moved back to our independent insurance broker.
We use JIRA on the tech side, and our team seems to like it for prioritizing bugs, fixes, etc. I don't like that it doesn't let you see the website or back-end portal that you're testing and easily click on the specific area you'd like to comment on. In JIRA, you have to start every ticket by describing the place on your site that you're referring to.