Starting our picksaas project, we had quite a simple idea in mind. Help others discover the best apps to grow their businesses. This was quite an ambitious plan. There are over 2,000 SaaS applications/software on the market and going through each one of them would be an enormous struggle.
So if we want to help others discover the best apps, how should we do this?
“With the cloud, individuals and small businesses can snap their fingers and instantly set up enterprise-class services.” Roy Stephan, Founder, and CEO of PierceMatrix
Which app do you recommend for (…)?
This is the question we’re hearing all over again. People are searching for software solving their problems at Facebook groups, Quora, Product Hunt, even in the Medium’s comments.
That’s also the problem we’ve been having some time ago when we had no idea that installing a Live Chat window on a website is quite a simple process. While starting my other, consulting project I’ve been asking my more experienced friends which app they can recommend for managing particular processes.
So what we did in picksaas was looking for particular problems and the software which can solve them. Starting with live chats, we did reviews of multiple live chat software. Then, we followed with the e-commerce platforms letting you create an online store by yourself. Showing users how to use them connected with analytical applications, we also did a Tutorial On Building Your Own E-Commerce Store. Going further, we’ve gone through the total of 23 software categories including Project Management, CRM, Mailing Automation and many others, adding the total of 150 SaaS solutions to the platform.
After registering for hundreds of different cloud app solutions, my mailbox is a nightmare. Finding a message from a real person, among all the onboarding emails, blog post notifications, and app reminders is a true challenge so I had to implement a system dividing contacts into the real people I stay in touch with and notifications from software applications.
We haven’t only tested each and every solution we have put at picksaas.com. Not only do we still use many of them in our daily job (a day without Trello, Slack, Woodpecker, Stencil or Pipedrive would be more than difficult) but we have also connected them, creating more complex engines.
E.g. we have connected Google Spreadsheets, Woodpecker and Pipedrive creating a complex all-in-one prospecting solution, uploading contacts from Google Spreadsheets into Woodpecker cold mailing campaigns, followed by automatically creating a deal in Pipedrive as soon as the prospect is interested.
This way, we’ve learned both how to use particular apps in solving problems of enterprises as well as how to connect them, creating more complex environments managing whole processes within the companies.
“Build a product that’s greater than just the sum of its features” Hiten Shah, co-founder of Crazy Egg, Kissmetrics
Do one simple thing in an outstanding way
After looking more deeply into hundreds of different SaaS products, we have quite an interesting and broad view of the apps’ usability. Interacting with apps’ users at Quora and Product Hunt also gave us a great insight into what customers actually expect from the cloud applications.
Successful launch of picksaas at Product Hunt has also enabled us to learn about the true SaaS users’ expectations.
We have seen and tested many solutions which attempted to solve each and every customer’s problems. Finding a software offering “all-in-one” engine for customer support, managing HR or marketing automation is not a problem, there are multiple complex solutions on the market with the variety of advanced features. However, most often, these apps just don’t meet the customers’ expectations and tend to be far less usable then simple apps doing one thing in a great way.
The products which tend to be the most usable, user-friendly and accessible focus on solving one customer problem providing one core functionality. On the other hand, they “outsource” features from other areas to other cloud apps, offering multiple integrations with other SaaS solutions.
“Usability is not only about ease of use but also about bringing something meaningful, having an objective in common with the user.”― Marcus Österberg, author of Web Strategy for Everyone
Let’s look at the examples of a few apps which are extremely popular and are known for their usability.
Leaders in the “usability approach”
LiveChat is an online solution letting you put a live chat window on your website by adding only a short piece of code. But contrary to other live chat apps, it doesn’t provide any advanced and extensive features non-related to live chat, like CRM, marketing automation or building a chatbot. Instead, it focuses on delivering a core live chat feature in the best possible, user-friendly and well-designed way. At the same time, it provides a vast number of integrations letting you extend the LiveChat’s functionality with other applications, doing these things in a much better and structured way.
So for example, you can easily connect LiveChat with Pipedrive CRM and manage contacts from Pipedrive within LiveChat’s application without needing to switch between the two solutions. Want to build a chatbot? Just connect the BotEngine solution as an integration. The effect? LiveChat is one of the more popular live chat solutions, especially among small and medium enterprises and e-commerce businesses.
Other examples of this approach are Trello and Slack, probably the most popular cloud apps today. They are extremely simple in their nature, providing core project management and communication framework, at the same time, focusing on enabling you to integrate as many additional solutions as possible. Want to create a Trello card as soon as a somebody fills in your form in Typeform or when you close a deal in your Pipedrive CRM? That’s the spirit!
Another great example of an outstandingly usable product is WIX, a website builder focused on delivering a website building experience as close to PowerPoint as possible. With WIX, you can drag and drop particular elements and immediately upload the created design creating your own website without knowing a piece of code.
However, the inputted elements are not limited to the ones created by WIX team. Its app market is open to external parties integrations, which means that you can greatly extend its functionality e.g. by inputting a contact form, automatically uploading emails to your MailChimp’s subscriber list or integrating a document upload on your website with your Dropbox account.
Sumo, another leader in “usability approach” is a solution focused on growing traffic on your website, through building email lists, pop-ups, and share buttons. This is no different than other solutions, like Privy or AddThis, but the number of integrations offered by Sumo is just super extensive which is likely one of the major reasons for the app’s popularity. You don’t have to worry about adding the collected email addresses to your GetResponse mailing app, everything happens automatically thanks to the built-in connection.
MailChimp, being probably the most popular mailing automation software sending 1 billion emails every day focuses on building and monitoring email lists and designing well-crafted email campaigns using pre-defined templates. These are things which it performs just extraordinarily great. At the same time, MailChimp has put a huge effort into providing hundreds of integrations with other applications. Adding an email collection form to any website created in Shopify, BigCommerce or simple WordPress website is just super simple which contributes to the software’s increasing popularity and most importantly, its usability.
Is usability so important, after all?
There are many examples of applying “usability approach” among cloud apps producers, we even had a chance to interview some of them and learn How One Company Got To 1,000 Paying Users In 2 Years thanks to using other cloud apps.
“Usability approach” is not the only way of creating a successful product. After all, there are many products which focus on delivering a complex solution, within a closed environment (e.g. Salesforce is not the most popular one for its integrations, but provides a vast number of functionalities within its system and is used by thousands of major businesses worldwide).
However, focusing on delivering a unique, user-friendly, open-ended product doing a limited number of things in a simple and effective way is just a more convenient path towards connecting product development, sales, marketing altogether and offering a unique value proposition to the customer.
That’s the path we like the most at picksaas and that’s the reason we love using products like MailChimp, Slack, Pipedrive, Trello, Sumo, Stencil or Woodpecker in our daily work and we’re more than happy to recommend them to our customers.
In picksaas.com, we discover the apps to help you grow your e-commerce, services, website, blog or other business. We find and implement the right sales, marketing, analytical or even design apps to save your time and increase sales.