Every company dreams of ringing the bell on Wall Street. It’s the ultimate symbol that a startup has made it from seed to IPO. But getting there isn’t a walk in the park. Small businesses must kick operations into high gear, also known as scaling up, for small businesses to move up the ladder.
Scaling up is defined as increasing the size and scope of business operations. To scale, a business needs to: maintain a standard performance level with increased demand and increase revenue without incurring high costs.
In this article, we’ll cover the basics of scaling up and share some of the best tools around that can help your business grow and scale at a steady pace.
Essential apps for scaling
What does it mean to scale up?
Mastering the scale-up phrase goes beyond having a great product or service. Your business needs to identify the right milestone(s), pinpoint your ideal customer profile (ICP), and commit to optimizing the customer experience to accelerate company growth.
According to McKinsey, success, and failure for scaling businesses lie in a company’s ability to achieve
“threshold levels of proficiency in people, technology, go-to-market, governance, operations, product & strategy, and capital.”
When preparing a scale-up strategy, it’s important to start adopting new tools into the mix early, so your team can properly gear up for exponential growth.
There’s nothing worse than things falling through the cracks as your team starts to see a spike in demand.
Research shows that about 45% of everyday tasks can be automated. If you don’t have a calculator handy, that equates to about 3.6 hours of the day.
Can you imagine what gets done when you empower your team to focus more on the big picture and less on the day-to-day operations?
It’s beautiful, and introducing these tools into your scale-up strategy can help.
Let’s start at home with PandaDoc. Yes, we’re biased.
PandaDoc is an all-in-one document management tool that helps businesses of all sizes manage the creation, editing, and signing of documents in a single place.
With PandaDoc, you can kiss those days of paper jams, exploding ink cartridges, and Staple runs goodbye.
PandaDoc’s digital document solution replaces the need for traditional tools like fax machines and printers, not to mention it’s great for the environment. #SavethePandas
Advanced features like customizable templates, approval workflows, and CRM integrations make it easy for scaling companies to create and share documents for eSign in a matter of minutes (sometimes seconds).
The best part about PandaDoc is that the company offers unlimited documents and eSignatures for all plans (including Free eSign).
We all know too well the struggle of coordinating calendars with key stakeholders and prospects.
Add in multiple time zones, and you’re sure to have a headache before you hammer down those meeting details. Luckily Calendly can help you.
Calendly is an automated scheduling tool that allows scaling companies to schedule meetings quickly and efficiently, without the hassle of back and forth emails.
With Calendly, you can increase productivity, revenue, and client satisfaction by standardizing your scheduling process. Features include round-robin scheduling, first-available, and geography-based assignments for remote-first companies.
Up next, we have Typeform.
Typeform makes it easier than ever to collect, convert, and follow up with leads.
The form and survey tool allow you and your team to create personalized and interactive touchpoints with customers and prospects using forms, surveys, and quizzes.
Typeform is a great tool for scaling companies looking to add a self-service option to their business strategy.
You can create new business forms from scratch or take advantage of the company’s templates to get started. They offer a range of templates, including order forms, HR surveys, and application forms.
Earlier, we mentioned that establishing the right ICP is crucial for scaling businesses. But why is this step so important?
Knowing your ICP as you begin to scale will allow you and your team to dedicate more time and resources to qualified leads and less time on unqualified leads.
If you’re struggling with nailing your ICP, this next tool can help steer you in the right direction.
ZoomInfo can help you get an edge over the competition with actionable insights. It offers advanced data to help sellers and marketers identify opportunities based on company activities.
The company provides insights that support territory planning, lead scoring, sales prospecting, targeted outreach, and more. With the help of ZoomInfo, teams can know exactly when and how to reach out to new and existing accounts.
Until 2019, having an online storefront was nice, but now any small business that wants to have skin in the game needs to invest time and resources in eCommerce.
Done properly, an online store can have many benefits for B2B and B2C companies, including the ability to connect with audiences worldwide, and WooCommerce can support this initiative.
WooCommerce is a customizable, open-source eCommerce platform built on WordPress that blends scalability, ownership, control, and SEO into a single source of truth.
The tool makes it easy for you to sell products and services online through a customized web storefront.
In addition to easy to build and manage web pages, WooCommerce also offers features such as flexible and secure payments, automated tax calculations, live shipping rates, options to print labels at home, and a mobile app for iOS and Android.
We can’t talk about scaling without mentioning the R-word. Revenue. More specifically, recurring revenue.
Chargebee interprets this as “ how a business makes money by trading access to products or services for regular, scheduled payments.”
In other words, it’s predictable revenue that is often used for tracking performance, sales forecasting, and budgeting.
As a small business owner, it is okay to start managing billing manually, but as your company begins to scale, digging through spreadsheets to track payments and renewals isn’t going to cut it.
Manual billing functions often include incorrect data and calculations that can make or break your business financially. That’s why as you begin to scale, it’s important to invest in subscription management and recurring billing software like Chargebee.
Chargebee is a subscription management and recurring billing software that enables you to capture, retain, and maximize revenue opportunities while minimizing churn.
Chargebee offers automated financial processes and subscription workflows for self-service and sales-driven business models. It’s perfect for businesses looking to scale their business profitably.
Customer feedback is at the heart of all good business decisions, but sometimes getting the feedback you need can be a challenge.
Luckily, customer experience and survey tools such as Survicate can help scaling companies measure customer satisfaction, find product-market fit, and conduct user research.
Survicate has feedback buttons, mobile and web surveys, and feedback hubs that allow you to get feedback at every customer journey stage.
With the data retrieved from Survicate, you can plan future marketing campaigns and make tweaks to your existing business strategy to provide a stellar customer experience from start to finish and back again.
A common pitfall of growing businesses is data silos. Data silos occur when “raw data is accessible by one department, but isolated from the rest of the organization. Resulting in a severe lack of transparency, efficiency, and trust within that organization.”
Business leaders need to have a 360-degree view of what’s going on in the organization to plan for future initiatives.
When data is siloed, it can be a challenge to understand and make the best decisions for your organization fully. It is almost equivalent to judging a book by its cover.
The best solution for breaking silos is to integrate your existing tech stack… enter Databox.
Databox connects to all your systems, syncs data regularly from them, and makes it easy for all of your teams to visualize, track and report your data in an automated and standardized way.
Pre-built reporting templates, custom KPIs dashboards, and custom integrations provide you with valuable insights and a 360-view of your business in a centralized location.
Whether in the office or working remotely, every scaling business should have a project management tool.
With a project management tool, you’ll have a single source of truth to brainstorm, collaborate, and track the status of your projects. One that we regularly use here at PandaDoc is monday.com.
monday.com’s Work Operating System (Work OS) is a flexible cloud-based solution for any company that wants to visualize and streamline processes and projects while maximizing visibility.
This no-code platform offers features like workflow automation, drag-and-drop building blocks, and powerful integrations to keep your business scaling at speed. The fun, user-friendly interface offers vibrant colors and makes it easy to provide full transparency on project progress.
Doing more in less time is the official motto of scaling business around the world. And this can easily be accomplished by using advanced automation tools to connect apps, move data, and automate manual workflows.
While most tools offer basic integrations and data syncs, consider building your own custom solution for a more extensive integration between your existing tools.
With Integromat, you can build and deploy cloud-based integrations with tools you depend on to get work done faster.
The no-code visual builder comes equipped with drag-and-drop commands that can help you create automated workflows instantly. Repetitive tasks are a thing of the past with Integromat.
B2B and B2C companies alike need to be well-equipped to communicate with prospects and customers effectively.
This means having a phone system for sales and customer success teams to make calls. And we’re not talking about an old-school landline.
When we say a phone system, we mean a virtual tool that allows your team to make and receive calls from anywhere using an app that’s connected to their desktop, laptop, or smartphone — something like Aircall.
Aircall is an easy-to-scale integrated phone system that can help you build better conversations by automating post-call processes for inbound and outbound calls.
Not only does Aircall offer call center and general phone features, but it can help your teams follow up faster with action-based triggers that share one-sheeters and feedback surveys with a single click.
You can also take the features of Aircall further by integrating a CRM to gain the ability to sync notes from your phone call into a contact record automatically.
Want to use your customer interactions to power your sales, marketing, and customer success strategies? We already know the answer, and this next tool is for you.
Gong is a revenue intelligence platform that gathers data from customer calls, web meetings, and emails.
Understanding how customers and prospects alike interact with your brand can help you create repeatable, scalable processes that help your business skyrocket and scale in record time. Gong specializes in three things: deal, people, and market intelligence.
Creating a digital marketing strategy has become increasingly complicated over the past few years.
Between the rise of new platforms, changes to advertising regulations, and figuring out how that pesky algorithm works (thanks, Facebook 😑), you could spend anywhere from a few weeks to months just trying to identify the right marketing channels to reach your customers.
If you don’t have a dedicated team to manage your paid marketing campaigns yet, it’s in your best interest to use a third-party agency or tool.
AdRoll’s AI-driven marketing software can help you keep business consistently growing with paid digital media and account-based advertising. The company takes your email lists and generates a targetable audience for your advertising needs.
AdRoll can also assist with abandon cart recovery, retargeting, brand awareness, and customer loyalty campaigns.
If you’re not doing video content, you should. Using video in your content strategy is a great way to engage, educate, and entertain your audience.
Research also indicates that video content results in higher click-through rates, higher web conversion, and more web traffic. Once you have the logistics of your video strategy worked out, you’ll need to start looking for a video hosting platform.
You’re probably thinking to yourself, that’s easy. I will just upload everything to YouTube. Yes, you should use YouTube, but consider opting for a solution like Wistia.
Wistia gives you full control over the customer experience, from brandable players to actionable insights. Wistia makes it easy for you to kick start your video marketing strategy with tools such as heatmaps, video analytics, and lead scoring to help you better engage with your audience.
Wistia even allows you to embed links and forms into your video to capture leads. The best part about Wistia is that you don’t have to worry about ads from competitors on your video content.
Virtual events have become a staple in our day-to-day lives, but as things continue to evolve back to “normal,” events may start to look a little different.
Some companies are taking a hybrid approach that provides the best of both worlds for in-person and virtual event participants.
Creating an immersive event means delivering a high-value experience from pre-sell to post-event requiring meticulous planning and production at every touchpoint.
Hopin’s all-in-one event management platform can assist you with this. The event technology platform can support every aspect of in-person, hybrid, and virtual events, from expo halls and breakout sessions to speaker scheduling and sponsorship management.
In addition to planning and execution, you can easily organize event data and run targeted campaigns at scale to increase engagement.
14. HubSpot for Startups
No tech stack is complete without a customer relationship management (CRM) tool. A CRM software keeps historical data for sales, marketing, and customer service in one place.
With the helpful insights and data from the CRM, your teams can create more customer-focus experiences with optimized workflows and cross-team collaboration to get the job done.
One that comes highly recommended for growing businesses is HubSpot. HubSpot is an all-in-one CRM that scales with your business.
The platform is an affordable solution that provides lead generation, sales, marketing, and customer service hubs.
In addition to the traditional CRM, the company also offers a HubSpot for Startups program that can “help you rapidly expand your business with a simple, user-friendly, and cost-effective suite of tools and resources.”
With HubSpot for Startups, you’ll be able to manage your pipeline, log sales activity, and store contact data in one place. But wait, there’s more. HubSpot seamlessly integrates with all of the tools we’ve talked about today.
Technology is an essential part of a good scaling strategy. By leveraging the apps and tools mentioned above, you’re sure to see consistent, long-term growth.
You’ll also streamline operations, access data faster, and focus more of your time and attention on what matters most – your business.