36 fantastische tools om je startup-stack op te laden

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startup tools

Entrepreneurs these days seem to be all about ‘hustlin’, which basically comes down to ‘getting sh*t done’, but in a smart way. In fact, success in startups these days is often boiled down to a bias towards an almost machine-like calibration for efficiency: only the fast and the smart survive.

This darwinian idea has brought about a craze in the market for SaaS tools, designed to facilitate the hustle. All in all that sounds pretty great, it’s just that now the problem shifts from getting things done to understanding which tools you need to get things done. Which can be equally time — and effort consuming, if not more.

At Salesflare, we’re big fans of tools that improve our effectiveness and speed to the market. As we are in the business of helping startups boost their sales and productivity, we’d like to share our personal hit list of carefully researched apps we either use ourselves or recommend. Most of these tools offer free trials, giving you and your team the time to familiarise with the software and understand whether it could be an asset for your business. We listed the apps in according to the type of tasks they help you manage, optimise or automate.

As much as we are set out to help others with our best practices, the value of this article will be all the greater if it triggers a conversation. We’re curious to see what tools you are using to work faster and smarter at your startups. After all, sharing is caring.

We also made a SlideShare out of this in case you don’t like to read so much.

Teamcommunicatie en -coƶrdinatie

There’s no going around Slack these days. It has become one of my best friends since I joined Salesflare. Not because I don’t have a social life anymore (which is also not untrue) but because it’s just kind of ‘there’ all the time. I actually have troubles imagining how teams coordinated team communication in the pre-Slack era. If used to its full power, Slack acts like a central hub where everything comes together. You can set up an army of bots to keep you notified of everything happening throughout your startup, or to just keep fun levels high with the occasional meme and GIF. It’s an ever-changing blackboard filled with output of your team’s efforts, from every possible corner of your endeavours.

Project- en taakbeheer

Een geweldig hulpmiddel om je team op de hoogte te houden van al het werk. Alles wat we deden, doen en van plan zijn te doen bij onze startup staat op Trello. Elke vergadering begint met het bekijken van het Trello-bord en eindigt met het neerzetten van ideeĆ«n in uitvoerbare taken op dat bord. Deze efficiĆ«nte aanpak kan uw projectbeoordelingsprocesZo kun je de voortgang bijhouden en weloverwogen beslissingen nemen. Eenvoudige en minimalistische interface, maar toch zeer configureerbaar. Verdubbel het plezier met de Slack-plugin.

If you’re looking to get on with something else following Trello’s recent acquisition by Atlassian, check out UpWave — a slick alternative that was recently launched on ProductHunt.


Verantwoord het publiek
Everybody’s searching for something, right? Finding the right keywords to grow your organic search words starts with knowing what questions your target audience is looking answers to. Answer The Public will give you beautiful visual insights in the questions most frequently asked about your topic.

Ahrefs is about the best thing around for organic traffic research and SEO. It can show you backlinks (including its URL and domain rating as well as other cool data) of every website out there, which makes it great to dig into the SEO strategy of your competitors. There’s also a keyword explorer, which can be of great help to determine the keywords you should be targeting. You can use it day-to-day to keep track of how you rank in search engines, in different locations, for different keywords etc. I’ve written a more in-depth guide on how to effectively use Ahrefs for keyword research op Quora.

Tools like Moz.com and SEMrush are valid Ahrefs alternatives and are also reportedly great.

User engagement, testing and tracking

Talk to your website’s visitors in real-time. Intercom’s in-prompt personal messaging allows you to activate leads in the early stages of the sales cycle and is a great way to provide support for customers. Moreover, it’s great for tracking frequency of use and behaviour inside your app. Hands-on, low-threshold solution to get and stay on top of your users, whether they’re still in your sales funnel or already locked in.

Knowing who your users really are, what they need and how you can help them achieve their goals is an essential superpower for growing your startup. Refiner is a user feedback & customer survey solution to gather actionable insights from your users – in real time, while they are using your app. With Refiner you can launch beautiful in-app micro-surveys to profile your users, measure customer satisfaction (NPS, CSAT, …) or research what to build next. Analytics tools tell you what your users are doing, Refiner tells you why they do it and what they think.

Google Analytics
Default analytics tool for your startup’s website and web apps. There are some great, arguably more powerful alternatives out there, but this is still solid as a rock and just very convenient to use with your Google apps and accounts.

Google Analytics will tell you which pages your users visit and how much time they spend on your website. What they won’t tell you is what those visitors are actually doing on those pages. CrazyEgg is a lightweight but powerful heat-mapping tool that can fill in those gaps. It will tell you exactly where users have clicked, scrolled and which parts of the pages they’ve spent the most time on. You can segment clicks on your website by variables such as referrer and search keyword and visualise the results on what is called a confetti map. Crazy Egg is far from the most powerful heat-mapping tool around but does stand out for simplicity and affordability. It does one thing and it does it well.

Surveys are a great way of getting a hold of your customer’s feelings and thoughts. Too bad surveys are among the most boring things in the world and nobody really likes to take them. SurveyAnyplace is changing that with beautifully designed, interactive surveys that are easy to make for you and fun to take for your target audience.

UXProbe is a remote user testing tool that allows you to have users test your website or app without you or them having to physically move. You can set and customise the different tasks you want the user to carry out. Both the user’s activities on-screen and his expression in front of it are recorded to give you the most accurate idea of how they experience your website. This frees you of having to go through all the trouble of inviting people, setting up the session and providing all the gear. After the session, the app provides you with insightful metrics, giving you a full-fledged idea of how your website ranks in terms of user experience so you know where and what to improve.

Prospectie en leadgeneratie

LinkedIn Sales Navigator
LinkedIn’s very own sales solution is not likely to be the cheapest tool you’ll come across, but nor are you likely to find something a lot better for prospecting. Sales Navigator is a great place to kickstart your sales pipeline for the simple reason that it allows you to fish from the biggest pool of business professionals there is to be found. Its wide range of filters allow you to search for very specific customer profiles. Sales Navigator comes with powerful analytics, insights and recommendations so you can stay updated and focus on the right people.

We use Dux-Soup to automate lead generation from Sales Navigator. Dux-Soup is a Chrome extension that acts like a teeny-tiny robot you can send out to visit LinkedIn-profiles from a given list and collect their data on its way. Just set the filters of Sales Navigator to target a certain person and tell Dux-Soup to go and visit the search results. Not only will all these people be notified of you visiting them, you’ll also have their names, industries, roles, company domains and more. Data you can extract as a .CSV and use for several other purposes later on.

Email Permutator+
Als je eenmaal namen en domeinen hebt, is de manier om hun e-mailadressen te krijgen door redelijke gissingen te doen en hun bestaan te bevestigen. De meest voorkomende formaten zijn voornaam.achternaam@domein, voornaaminitial.achternaam@domein en firstname@domain.com. Er bestaan natuurlijk ook andere formaten. Maar er bestaan natuurlijk ook andere formaten en het verzamelen van al deze mogelijke e-mailadressen is behoorlijk tijdrovend. Gelukkig kun je dit proces automatiseren met Email Permutator+. Permutator+ genereert mogelijke e-mailadressen uit voornaam, achternaam en domein. Deze kun je vervolgens controleren met andere tools die verderop in deze post worden genoemd, zoals Hunter, Rapportive en Salesflare.

Hunter will help you find out e-mail addresses based on company and domain — which you can thus easily get from the magical Sales Navigator + Dux-Soup combo. Just bulk upload email addresses in a .CSV and Hunter will tell you which ones are ‘deliverable’. Hunter is not perfect though, we’ve had confirmed email addresses that turned out bad anyway.

If guessing and Hunter don’t cut it, try Elucify. It’s a crowdsourced and free database for business contact information. Just enter what company you want email addresses from and see what it has in store for you. It’s free, like really, free.

Rapportive is a Chrome plugin that shows you linked accounts like LinkedIn, Google and Twitter for any given e-mail address, straight from a sidebar in your Gmail inbox. You can use it to guess e-mail addresses you didn’t find with Hunter and Elucify. Try typing possible email addresses according to the most common formats or others you found with Email Permutator+ and see the magic happen while Rapportive digs up linked accounts. If you haven’t found email addresses with company domains at this point, you might want to try gmail.com as domain, as a lot of people have a Gmail account next to their company email. We don’t use Rapportive because Salesflare kan dit en nog veel meer doen vanuit zijn Chrome-plugin die ook in je e-mail inbox zit.

Datanyze is another intelligent lead generation tool you can use to fill up your sales pipeline. It does this by telling you the exact software stack of a given company. You can even find out exact dates of when a certain technology was dropped by the company you’re investigating. In addition, Datanyze can also be useful to help you find email address and other contact information, per website. In fact, Datanyze offers a free Chrome plugin you can use to request technology reports, company information and contact data on websites you visit.

Socedo is een tool om leads uit sociale mediakanalen te verzamelen en activeren en ze effectief toe te voegen aan je sales funnel. Het werkt door sociale netwerken te scannen op basis van trefwoorden, twitterhandles, locatietags en dergelijke en leads op te graven die aan deze criteria voldoen. Je kunt vervolgens hun betrokkenheid triggeren via geautomatiseerde outreach tools. Socedo creƫert automatisch een database met sociale gegevens die je kunt exporteren en gebruiken in je CRM, e-mailcampagnes of andere marketing- en verkoopstrategieƫn.

E-mail outreach

MailChimp is de tool bij uitstek voor het beheren van nieuwsbrief-ey email campaigns. It allows for effective email campaigns that won’t end up in your recipient’s spam box. To minimize your chances, set up your SPF record. Verder: lage leercurve, krachtige analytics, e-mailtracking, geweldige bronnen voor e-mailsjablonen en eenvoudig te integreren met andere tools. Gewoon heerlijk gebruiksvriendelijk.

Mixmax is de tool om je Gmail een turbo te geven. We gebruiken het voor cold emailing omdat het e-mails rechtstreeks vanuit je Gmail verstuurt, in tegenstelling tot MailChimp en alternatieven. This makes it perfect for cold emailing, as it will prevent your email from ending up in the ‘Promotions’ section of your lead’s Gmail account. Furthermore Mixmax gives you a lot more power in setting up your email sequences; it allows you for example to break off a sequence when a recipient responds to your first email. Mixmax is filled with a bunch of cool features to spice up your email game: slash commands, email templates, email and click tracking, embedded surveys/polls and an awesome meeting scheduler.

CRM / Verkoopfunnelbeheer

Our very own intelligent sales CRM. Salesflare is built to automate most of your sales funnel. It automatically fills out your address book with data it pulls from sources like social media, email signatures and company databases. It tracks and logs all interactions of leads towards you (phone, email, calendar), including email and website tracking. All that is handed to you in an automated timeline so you have everything you need at your fingertips at every stage of the sales cycle. There’s more: from the data it gathers, it will tell and remind you what to do about specific leads so no deal can fall through the cracks anymore. Basically all you have to do is write emails, do meetings and have coffee. It’s not a robot yet, but it does do most of the working and thinking for you. There’s a desktop and a mobile app, but we mostly use it straight from our Gmail, where it gives us everything we need on a customer from an integrated sidebar. Besides Gmail, it’s perfectly integrated with our Google apps and other productivity apps like Slack, Stripe, MailChimp and Trello.

Beheer van online betalingen en abonnementen

Stripe is de vriend die zorgt voor je online betalingen. Er is geen enkele inspanning van jouw kant vereist. Als je hun tarieven wilt controleren, kun je gebruik maken van verschillende stripe vergoeding berekenen tools out there. Very easy to work with and great in handling different subscription plans. Highly flexible in its integrations and a friendly API. Hook it up to Salesflare to automatically mark an opportunity as ‘won’ when the customer starts paying in Stripe.  Then have it tell in real-time you when your money is flowing in by linking it to Slack. Awesome, right? You’re gonna need Zapier for this though, read on.


With the gazillion tools and accounts you and your team are using, you’ll have a lot of passwords laying around. LastPass allows you to have everything safely stored and easily accessible at all times so you don’t have to waste time anymore getting headaches trying to remember that one password of that one website.

Videohosting en -analyse

Wistia is a video hosting service that will give you insightful analytics and heat maps on the views and viewers of your videos. You can completely customise the video player to fit your brand and control the pre — and post-roll behaviour of the video. It has an API so you can make adaptations to videos, accounts and statistics in the back-end. Perfect for tutorials, how-to videos and a lot more.

Inhoud maken

Hemingway app
Must-have if you’re serious about creating great content. Hemingway will analyse a piece of text and grade it on readability. It does so by taking into account stuff like complex sentences, use of adverbs, use of passive voice and common spelling errors. We use it to make sure our content is easy on the eye and suited for publication.

Goede inhoud begint met begrijpen welk soort inhoud je gebruikers aanspreekt. BuzzSumo kan je inzicht geven in de populairste inhoud over een bepaald onderwerp of een bepaalde website. Het werkt als een zoektool die inhoud op sociale media volgt en deze rangschikt op basis van het aantal shares op Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ en Pinterest. Je kunt inhoud volgen per onderwerp of gebruiker en inzicht krijgen in gemiddelde shares, shares per netwerk, type inhoud, publicatiedatum, lengte van de inhoud en gedeelde domeinen. Dit alles maakt het geweldig voor SEO, concurrentieanalyse en het opsporen van de belangrijkste beĆÆnvloeders in jouw branche.


StockSnap / Pexels / Unsplash / Pixabay
Great pictures shouldn’t cost you any money.

The internet’s largest stock of free icons, available in all possible formats.

Canva is the place where you make magic with the stuff you found on free stock photo directories and Flaticon. It’s probably the most user-friendly graphic design tool you’ll ever come across, and it’s free. Canva gives you the power to create practically anything — social media graphics, banners, invitations, infographics, flyers, business cards — by just dragging and dropping. It’s filled with great resources and templates you can easily combine with your own images. The paid version, Canva for Work, packs all this power plus the possibilities to create brand kits with consistent fonts and colours, customise templates and set up shared folders. The Canva Design School is a great online virtual community stacked with tutorials, inspiration, tools and templates. Your graphics will have never looked better.

Piktochart is een online infographic maker en alles-in-Ć©Ć©n visuele communicatietool voor het maken van professioneel ogende infographics, rapporten, presentaties, afbeeldingen voor sociale media en drukwerk. Met Piktochart kunnen gebruikers snel alle tekst- of data-inhoud omzetten in een visueel verhaal met impact. Bovendien is er geen training of training voor nodig. grafische ontwerpvaardigheden. Illustraties, pictogrammen en afbeeldingen die in het platform zijn geĆÆntegreerd, worden toegevoegd via slepen en neerzetten. Visuals kunnen vanaf nul worden gemaakt of je kunt beginnen met een van de honderden sjablonen die gratis beschikbaar zijn en die zijn ontworpen door experts.


Colorcinch is an intuitive photo editor and graphic design tool that lets you craft beautiful social media and blog visuals on the fly. You can add texts, vectors & icons, masks, and overlays to your photos and personalize them. You can give your photos a revamp with hundreds of AI-powered effects and filters. And make their colors pop as you have full control over exposure, clarity, sharpness, etc. It’s free, you just have to upload your photo or choose from their collection of stock photos to start with.

Affiliate marketing

Partner programs can be a great way for startups to accelerate traction across multiple channels and get your sales pipeline going fast. Partners bring in leads, set up advertising for you and put backlinks all over the internet, which is great for boosting your SEO. And you only have to pay for actual results, which makes it very cost-effective as well. All you have to do is set up the partner program and find your partners. GrowSumo makes this process wonderfully easy, by providing a platform where you can quickly find partners to promote your startup and vice-versa. Once you’ve found yourself some partners, you can train and reward them while tracking their progress from your GrowSumo dashboard.

Sociale media

Om snel en slim te zijn, is Buffer een social media management tool die je helpt om effectief content te delen naar je social media kanalen vanuit Ć©Ć©n hub. Je kunt berichten inplannen om te verspreiden en Buffer de meest geschikte tijdstippen laten kiezen om te posten.

Je kunt Crowdfire zien als een kleine hulp die je helpt om dingen goed te doen en snel te groeien op sociale mediakanalen. Het werkt als een kleine bot die je helpt bij het vinden van geweldige inhoud om te delen en het juiste publiek om het mee te delen. Het gebruik van Crowdfire neemt ongeveer 1 tot 2 minuten per dag in beslag, waardoor het heel gemakkelijk is om het dagelijks te blijven gebruiken.

Workflow automatisering

If you don’t know about Zapier yet, you’re missing out. It’s pretty much the holy grail of all SaaS tools for the quite simple reason it can make them all work together. You can just pick out your favourite tool for every job of your sales cycle and tell Zapier to streamline them into an effective app flow that is perfectly aligned to your startup. For us, Zapier is like an engine in which every single app of our toolset works together. Workflow automation done right.

Welke tools gebruik jij om je sh*t bij je startup slimmer en sneller voor elkaar te krijgen? Tweet ons op (@salesflare), met #startuphustletools!

Gilles DC