Published by Calendly - November 2, 2017

Building a tech stack with the fastest time-to-value and lasting ROI

Why evaluating tech tools for TTV is important for long-term success

As a SaaS professional, you’ve no doubt heard the term “tech stack,” and you’ve probably even researched or weighed in on purchasing decisions for your team’s software needs. But with so many tools out there, it’s hard to know exactly what to look for in a tech stack.

According to our survey, most teams are using up to 10 tech tools daily, plus even more tools on a less frequent basis. CIO found that companies pay for more than 20 SaaS products, and that is doubling annually.

With so many tools comprising business systems, SaaS companies need quick time-to-value (TTV) tools that work effortlessly with existing workflows to stay competitive and accelerate long-term growth.

According to Entrepreneur Magazine, the number one factor influencing a non-tech company in its tech stack purchasing decision is finding the product that makes the most short-term sense financially.

While being fiscally conservative is admirable—especially for startups—leaders need to be careful not to confuse value for a cheap price tag.

Tools that are complicated to set up (and demand extensive training time) or require tons of customization slow down business development and all operations. It can even result in disrupting current workflows, frustrating team members or breaking tech systems that are currently in use. You lose time, money and possibly even human capital that derails or stunts growth.

Building operations on reliable and robust tools that can scale and support your business ensures that the cost is a worthwhile investment rather than just another expense. TTV is one of the most important metrics that tools should be evaluated on when considering a new tech product.

Don’t have much time? Jump down to the list of our top recommended tools with the quickest time-to-value.

What comprises quick TTV?

Our survey results determined that most tech users want to have their tool set up and providing value in 1–5 business days. This means the shorter the turnaround from purchase to a fully onboarded and trained team, the higher the value of the tool to the organization. RRE Ventures defines great TTV products as those that are feature-complete and relevant to their core users, as opposed to feature-rich. So how should you evaluate TTV? Have your team look for the following:

Free trial offering

With the rise in importance of quick TTV, many companies now offer free trials. A trial provides the opportunity to test out just how quickly you can get set up and get started without making a commitment upfront. Consumers seem to be in favor of this as well—our research showed that 86% of people are more likely to try a tool if there is a free trial.

Integrations

Another aspect of our research showed that 64% of people feel it is very crucial for all of the tools in their tech stack to integrate. Ease of integration can affect your team and their productivity, so it’s important to evaluate whether a tool you are considering can integrate with ones you are already using. Look for direct integrations first, if those aren’t available be sure you can connect indirectly—which can be done with a tool like Zapier.

Onboarding availability

Onboarding includes both support during the sales process as well as direction and comprehensive support documentation. When you’re considering signing up for a tool, quick TTV starts with either a self-serve product or a responsive sales team that can provide a demo or help you make an immediate purchase if needed. From there, onboarding should be simple, smooth and allow you to get started right away and set up multiple team members at once.

Measuring TTV’s ROI

When your team is fully on board and up to speed, how long does it take to see results? Metrics for internal operations are often different than external performance-driven metrics, so keep this in mind. For instance, a tool like Slack, a messaging platform frequently used for internal back-and-forth, may not show a direct impact on your average rate of return (ARR), but it certainly cuts down on lost productivity by eliminating searching through email or walking across the office for a quick chat with a coworker. When employees have more time to devote to their craft, they achieve more of their professional goals and contribute to the company’s bottom line.

10 tools with high TTV results

We’ve put together a list of tech tools with exceptional TTV for customer success, sales and recruiting teams. These tools are widely used across industries and departments because of their flexibility and expected TTV of 1–5 business days. Round out your tech stack and improve your productivity with these work-smarter solutions.

Wistia

Our own Calendly customer success team uses Wistia to produce tutorial videos for our users. It’s an intuitive and cost-effective platform that allows you to seamlessly switch between screen sharing and webcam views, perfect for connecting with your audience while demonstrating product knowledge.

Link to a video recording on your help page or embed in email campaigns to drive full usage of your product, decrease support ticket volume and even upsell. Setting up a Wistia account takes very little time and the best part about their TTV? When you make a change to a video in your account dashboard, it syncs that change automatically to the embedded version(s) of that video.

Video usage analytics let you see what your viewers engage with and determine what is most valuable to them. Wistia makes video simple, straightforward and intuitive. No extensive education required.

GoToMeeting

GTM is a favorite web-conferencing tool due to its sheer versatility. With options to schedule meetings ahead or ad hoc, call in via computer, phone or VOIP, and connect using a desktop or mobile device, you can meet with anyone no matter where they are or what kind of technology they’re working with. Time from setup to sharing your conference link is minimal. You and your invitees can connect right away.

With GTM, all participants have the option of sharing their screen. This means the host has control and can allow a customer to share their view of the product or service and any issues they are experiencing. The customer success or sales rep can, in turn, demonstrate the solution live on-screen, resolving problems quickly and personably. For those who host demos, webinars or trainings, the recording and screen sharing features are particularly helpful.

Promoter.io

Gaining reliable insight into customer satisfaction and then putting that feedback into action is not always an easy task. However, marketing, customer success and product teams are leveraging Promoter.io to accurately measure customer sentiment and capture high-quality feedback to deliver actionable insights provided by Net Promoter®.

Focus on an end-to-end customer experience to increase conversion and drive your company growth, ultimately allowing you to capture actionable customer feedback and proactively reduce churn. Promoter.io integrates with the tools you know and love like Segment, Slack and hundreds more via Zapier, so you can easily add this into your tech stack and ensure you’re capturing meaningful customer data.

Datanyze

Learn more about your prospects and their preferences to enhance how you sell with Datanyze—a sales intelligence and lead generation tool for tech companies. With it, you can gather real-time insight based on a company’s technology choices and buying signals, like which companies stopped using one of your competitors, where web visitors are going after they visit a site and which customers are currently using a technology integrated with a specific app. Utilize predictive analytics, a simple prospecting workflow and a direct Salesforce integration to track prospect activity and push directly into a new lead.

To start using Datanyze, all you have to do is add their Chrome extension and sign up for an account. Then, you can get started with the basic features right away, for free. The Datanyze Chrome extension provides a sidebar that can expand and live on the right side of your screen, allowing easy access so you can integrate your research into your everyday workflows.

Yesware

Track your emails throughout the sales cycle with Yesware. Identify where to strengthen your sales enablement package with valuable analytics including open and reply rates, link clicks, attachment opens and page views. Digital HR platform, Zenefits uses Yesware to determine which sales emails perform best in their outbound sales strategy.

Yesware’s brilliance is its ability to live within your email suite so that you can touch-dial prospects, track email performance and stay on top of your workflow within one screen. Weave emails, calls and social campaigns together for a 360-approach to reaching your prospect. Sync all these action steps to your calendar and prospect list so you always know who to contact, when and how. Connect it all with Salesforce, logging every touchpoint, attachment and note in preparation for closing deals.

Lever

Lever is becoming a go-to applicant tracking system for the same reason that Salesforce is dominating the CRM space. They have integrations with every tool HR needs: office and communication tools like G-suite and Slack, sourcing and referral programs like Entelo and Scout, popular job boards like LinkedIn and Glassdoor, hiring and onboarding tools like Docusign, Zenefits, and GoodHire, plus so many more.

Lever takes sourcing and referrals to a new level with recruiter collaboration and tracking features. Use the Chrome extension to easily source and refer candidates. Share info directly from a lead’s LinkedIn profile so that it’s logged and seen by the appropriate members of the recruiting team without getting lost in email. Close that recruiting cycle on a dime with offer documents that you can compile, approve and send directly from Lever. At Calendly, we are all about accelerating your productivity, which is exactly what Lever is built to do for recruiters.

Zapier

With a selection of over 750 apps, Zapier connects your tools in a way that automates your work and decreases the need for repetitive manual labor so you can focus on important tasks.

For instance, recruiters can create “Zaps” (automated workflows) in just a few minutes—without the need for developers or coding—to keep candidate information consolidated in one place, relieve the risk of human errors, and speed up the hiring cycle.

Ever sourced candidates from Twitter? Set up a Zap with Twitter’s “Search & Geo Mention” as the Trigger and enter a keyword and (optional geolocation), then route the new lead to a selected destination for review, such as a spreadsheet or your applicant tracking system (ATS).

The recruiting team at Stanley Steemer uses a Calendly link to schedule interviews with candidate leads sourced through LinkedIn. Take this workflow a step further with Zapier’s native email parser to extract important candidate info from application emails. Capture attachments like cover letters and resumes and automatically route to your ATS. Zapier provides countless ways to maximize your productivity and reach your sourcing, time-to-contact, and time-to-hire goals.

Simppler

As Mark Zuckerberg says, “Nothing influences a person more than a recommendation from a trusted friend.” That’s why employee referrals are so valuable, and yet, they’re highly under-utilized. Simppler makes employee referrals a breeze, leading to faster and more cost-effective hiring, better business performance and lower attrition.

Employees will want to get involved in hiring through personalized referral recommendations and a suite of engagement tools. Tracking referrals and bonus payouts can be tedious but Simppler helps you conquer common workflow challenges so your employee referral program is easier and more productive than ever. Most importantly, streamlining the entire process enables you to hire for more positions without sacrificing quality. It only takes a few minutes to sign up, pricing is affordable ($3-$5/user/month), and you’ll be able to start finding the perfect fit for your team right away.

TextExpander

TextExpander helps boost the productivity of your team and keep messaging consistent across the board. Instantly insert snippets of text from a repository of emails, boilerplate and other content as you type, using a quick search or abbreviation. Utilize the efficiency of TextExpander without losing the intentional touches of personalization by tailoring messages you frequently send with custom fields and powerful automation.

Recruiters can use this to store specific emails that are delivered throughout the interview and hiring process—introduction emails, follow-ups, culture decks, hand-offs to hiring managers, etc. However, it’s not limited to that—you can save email addresses, signatures, code chunks, form letters, images and much more. And sales teams can save email text templates for outreach associated with discovery calls, demos and check-in calls. Getting your team set up only takes a few minutes and if you dedicate a few days to building out a library of shortcuts, you can start saving time right away and get back to those top priority tasks.

Calendly

Everyone benefits from higher productivity and emptier inboxes when leveraging a scheduling tool to coordinate availability with prospects, customers, vendors, candidates, influencers and partners. Calendly makes scheduling more efficient, allowing you to connect with the right people without confusion or inbox clutter.

Just send someone a link to your scheduling page, display availability in an email or embed it on your website. Your invitee chooses the best time for them to meet and within a few clicks, the event is confirmed and routed to your preferred calendars. Many customers like Signpost found that Calendly’s setup is nominal with implementation taking less than 10 minutes.

What’s your stack’s TTV?

When your procurement team is researching new tech tools and making a purchasing decision, it’s important to assess TTV to ensure the investment will provide ample ROI and will not interrupt any current processes.

If your team chooses tools that have a quick TTV, it benefits every aspect of the company. It frees up engineers to work on their own product or service and, ultimately, drives metrics like monthly recurring revenue (MRR), loan-to-value (LTV) and customer acquisition cost (CAC), while reducing churn.

What’s in your tech stack? Tell us which tools you use and how they benefit your team.

  • Abhishek Ballabh

    Brilliant Article…
    I’ll also add :
    1) Intercom – during onboarding via workflows
    2) Asana – to cleary communicate settings / modular customisation to support team which are customer specific.

    Cheers !!

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