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10 must-have startup tools for CRM, communication, documentation

Stephen Jagger is the co-founder of PayrollHero, a time, attendance, scheduling, HRIS, analytics and payroll platform built for the web and mobile.

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At PayrollHero we are big believers in knowledge sharing. From pair programming to private online forums for open discussions about our business to sharing online, we believe that transparency and leaving artifacts behind is the best way to succeed. So in keeping with that, I’d like to share ten cool tools we are using today.



We use HipChat as our water cooler. We have multiple rooms set up so that we can keep the conversations on topic. From business development to developers to customer service, each department of our business has a room to chat in. Plus, with the iOS app and alerts, our team can stay up to speed with the progress of the business.

One of the neat things about HipChat is that you can integrate with other tools so that they update the HipChat rooms. For example, in our developer’s room, it is common to see messages from Bugsnag, GitHub, CodeClimate and many others. In the customer service room, Zendesk and Intercom contacts show up. It is a great way to keep on top of your business and the different departments.

Google Hangouts

Every morning at 7:37am PHT and 3:37pm PDT, most of our team gathers for our standup meetings. Because we are situated in two locations, we do our meeting via Google Hangouts. Hangouts is stable, reliable and free, enabling us to keep both offices in constant contact with each other. Outside of our standup meetings, Google Hangouts are commonly used for department meetings, client support calls, and sales calls.


Everyone should know Skype, but we use it quite a bit as some Google products have trouble in China. Skype enables our client happiness team to speak with clients, share their screens, and demo the platform. Our business development team uses it for webinars as well as sales calls. Overall it is a reliable platform that helps grow our business.


Asana is a task tracking system built for web and mobile. It is designed to reduce email clutter within a workplace. We use it for tracking our engineering tasks, onboarding tasks, and any group projects we are working on.


We switched over from SnapEngage to Zopim for the live chat on all of our marketing sites recently. We made the switch based on features and pricing and found that Zopim had all the features we needed at a lower cost than what we were paying before (Zendesk just purchased Zopim).



We moved over to PipelineDeals from Highrise recently as we were looking for a change in how we manage our leads, deals, contacts, and clients. PipelineDeals is a great platform for B2B businesses that want an easy-to-use, slick interface that does not require tons of setup time. PipelineDeals plays nicely with our MailChimp account and our team instantly loved it. Plus their customer support has been quick and helpful (watch for PipelineDeals pushing more into Southeast Asia).

I really like Intercom and how it lets us communicate with all of our clients, and especially those that need support. It gives us an in-depth dashboard to all activity on our platform and makes it really easy to communicate with our clients. Their automated, action-triggered messages are really helpful and have changed the way we support customers.

Zendesk is where we manage client support requests and tickets from Intercom that require more time to resolve. We used to solely rely on Zendesk, but added Intercom for its complete client view and the two platforms work nicely together for our client happiness team. My guess is that Zendesk is going to either buy Intercom or replicate some of their features in the near future. Time will tell.


Google Drive

Our whole world lives in Google Drive. We store our financials, employee docs, communal spreadsheets/documents, photos, videos, memos, and much more. It is a quick and easy way to keep everything in the cloud and searchable at a moments notice.


Expensify is how we track all receipts that need to be reimbursed. We use the iOS app to take photos of the receipt, quickly document the details around the receipt, and store it for quick reporting.

Bonus tools

We are also playing with a couple of tools to test how they would work for us. They include Peak (see what people are working on), DropCam (to take a peek into each office), and Ghost (for release notes, trying it instead of WordPress).

This article by Stephen Jagger originally appeared on Techinasia, a Burn Media publishing partner..

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