14 business management software solutions that increase efficiency

business management software
Types of business management software solutions
Sales tools
Marketing tools
Accounting tools
Project management tools
Team communication tools
Final thoughts

Finding the right business software solution in the sea of options can be long and labor-intensive.

From single-feature tools to all-in-one business management software, you need the right combination in your tech stack to work efficiently without wasting your budget.

In this article, we explain the types of tools you might need. We’ve also shortlisted the top tools in each category to suit your business needs.

Types of business management software solutions

Business management software is a broad category of tools and applications that automate and improve different business processes.

Under this wide umbrella of business software, you’ll find more specific categories relevant to different business operations. Here are some of the most common tool categories that businesses use to streamline tasks:

  • Sales and customer relationship management (CRM) software helps sales-led businesses turn leads into prospects and then customers efficiently, with many providing ongoing account management features.

  • Marketing tools connect your business to potential customers on various channels by creating and managing campaigns, gathering market intelligence, automating tasks and more.

  • Accounting tools offer a range of financial management capabilities, from expense tracking and budgeting to automated invoicing and payments.

  • Project management tools help businesses plan and move projects forward, often using workflow automation to speed up processes.

  • Communication tools allow teams to connect synchronously (in real time) or asynchronously (at their convenience) via chat, video and calls over WiFi.

The right tools allow companies to be more effective and efficient. The wrong tools, or too many that don’t communicate, can slow down or impede a team’s success.

The best combination of tools will depend on your team’s needs and budget. Generally, you should look for the least amount of tools required for the jobs you need to do. This will ensure your team doesn’t waste time switching between platforms and information isn’t siloed in tools that can’t sync.

Below, we’ve listed our top tools in each category, focusing on software that connects to a single dashboard for maximum team efficiency.

Sales tools

Sales-led businesses use sales software to keep track of deals, move prospects down the pipeline and analyze data to enhance their operations.

A customer relationship management tool is a common example of sales software that helps teams organize customer information, enhance customer interactions and improve their sales team’s success.

Here are our top picks for sales software.

Best all-in-one software for sales-led businesses: Pipedrive

Business management software Pipedrive dashboard

Pipedrive is a comprehensive CRM that streamlines the sales management process with a suite of sales tools and additional email marketing, customer service and documentation modules.

Pipeline management features on Pipedrive further support data-backed decision-making through tracking, analysis and reporting functions.

Pipedrive CRM software and its add-ons make it easier for teams to:

  • Collaborate through a visual sales pipeline

  • Send proposals, track contracts and request signatures with Smart Docs for document management

  • Eliminate back-and-forth scheduling emails or double-booking with Pipedrive’s Scheduler tool

  • Create forms, chat with web visitors or search for prospects through the lead generation toolset LeadBooster

  • Monitor website visitors through a Web Visitor add-on

Business managers at startups through to enterprise companies use Pipedrive to improve internal dynamics, like team collaboration and the customer experience.

Pipedrive is dedicated to continuously improving its CRM, most recently by leveraging AI.

For instance, the Sales Assistant’s new AI capabilities (currently in beta) analyze your sales pipeline and provide practical and actionable recommendations to enhance your sales team’s success. The tool can predict a deal’s win probability and recommend the next best action to improve your chance of winning.

Why we like Pipedrive for business management: Pipedrive offers every function you need to manage sales teams, plus additional applications and API integrations for more efficient business management across departments.

Best free CRM: Google Sheets

Business management software Google Sheets

Google Sheets is a popular cloud-based spreadsheet collaboration tool that lets teams create, share and edit databases across devices.

A Google Sheet can serve as a simple CRM for small businesses concerned about pricing and primarily looking for a way to organize their contacts. It makes a great beginner CRM tool for basic customer and deal tracking.

Note: We created a customizable Excel CRM template you can easily upload as your Google Sheets CRM.

To reduce switching between apps, integrate Google Sheets with other popular business management tools. For example, you can integrate Sheets with Pipedrive through the Google apps integration.

Why we like Google Sheets for business management: Google Sheets is an easy customer database for a young company with one or two salespeople or a less tech-savvy team. You can also move data from Google Workspace to a more dedicated CRM solution when your team is ready to grow.

Best for sales gamification: Plecto

Business management software Plecto

Plecto is a business performance platform providing sales analytics for medium-to-large companies.

Plecto works by integrating with and pulling data from other sales tools to power customizable dashboards and real-time KPI visualization. For example, the Plecto app integration with Pipedrive displays data in your CRM dashboard for insights and team motivation.

You can add graphs, speedometers and leaderboards to your dashboard to encourage friendly competition among your sales team members.

With the app, companies can hold contests and incentivize top performers through Plecto’s reward store (a marketplace where reps can save up virtual “coins” and choose their preferred reward). Managers can set rewards and assign their coin value to motivate reps toward external and internal goals.

Why we like Plecto for business management: As well as sales dashboard templates, Plecto offers gamification features that encourage sales teams to reach and exceed their goals.

Marketing tools

Every business needs marketing tools, from small businesses and freelancers to enterprises. Using marketing software means you can connect with potential customers at scale and, often, on autopilot.

Like most categories, the complexity of marketing tools varies. For example, you might use a tool to add people who sign up for your newsletter on your website to your email client’s contact list – a fairly simple marketing automation.

You might use a marketing tool to automatically qualify leads – a more complex process – or automate the entire customer journey from newsletter to quote to close.

Here, we’ve showcased a few examples of the best business management software for marketing tasks, each with varying degrees of complexity.

Best for email marketing: Campaigns by Pipedrive

Business management software Campaigns by Pipedrive

The Campaigns by Pipedrive add-on helps sales leaders integrate and automate sales and marketing processes in an all-in-one, user-friendly email marketing tool.

The marketing automation software features a template-based, drag-and-drop email builder, real-time email analytics and audience segmentation for easy targeting.

Easily and confidently focus your sales follow-ups on the most qualified leads with audience segmentation right inside your CRM, ensuring all data is up-to-date and accurate.

Automate your information flow and get analytics in one tool instead of passing data to a separate email client.

Why we like Campaigns by Pipedrive for business management: If you’re already using Pipedrive as your CRM, Campaigns centralizes your data, contact lists and email marketing workflows.

Best for marketing automation: ActiveDEMAND

Business management software ActiveDEMAND

ActiveDEMAND is a marketing automation software for creating funnels, automating customer journeys and visualizing marketing performance.

Businesses use ActiveDEMAND as a bridge between sales and marketing for improved efficiency and to close more deals.

A whitepaper download may indicate a site visitor is an early funnel lead, while a quote request implies a later-stage deal. ActiveDEMAND gives you complete control over what information gets automatically delivered to leads and prospects based on previous actions.

Did your deal close? Set ActiveDEMAND to automatically stop your drip campaign.

ActiveDEMAND also integrates with other tools to streamline deal progression, like Pipedrive’s ActiveDEMAND app integration.

Why we like ActiveDEMAND for business management: ActiveDEMAND’s advanced automation capabilities make it ideal for businesses with more complex sales cycles.

Best for syncing LinkedIn with your CRM: Surfe

Business management software Surfe

LinkedIn has become more than just a place to display a resume or browse job listings. It’s now a primary professional networking and social media tool that helps sales teams learn about and connect with new prospects.

Surfe is a CRM and LinkedIn integration that allows companies to add their prospects’ email addresses and LinkedIn conversations to their CRM through a Chrome extension. For example, the Surfe app integration works with Pipedrive to connect activities between the platforms.

You can also send messages via templates within LinkedIn, allowing the marketing team to accurately qualify leads for sales team follow-up.

If you manually update contacts you run the risk of making errors – the app reduces the chances of this happening.

You can also message prospects, manage deals and configure your pipeline while in LinkedIn.

Why we like Surfe for business management: The extension allows you to create tasks and keep track of your to-do list anywhere in your browser.

Accounting tools

Accounting software tools make it easier for companies to manage various financial functions, such as expense tracking and collecting payments.

Depending on your needs, accounting software tools can also assist with:

  • Financial reporting

  • Account monitoring

  • Invoicing

  • Inventory management

  • Tax preparation

The most effective accounting tools integrate with other apps, like your CRM, so you can stay within one tool rather than losing time learning a second tool or switching between them.

Bookkeeping tools that sync with your business bank account save reconciliation time by identifying patterns and auto-categorizing transactions.

Here are the best accounting software tools.

Best comprehensive solution: QuickBooks

Business management software QuickBooks

QuickBooks is one of the most popular accounting tools out there. It offers a suite of comprehensive financial management system software tools for small businesses, as well as enterprises and everything in between, for both desktop and mobile apps.

QuickBooks can accept payments and prepare tax documents. It can also help with inventory management and payroll on more advanced plans.

The accounting tool also provides Bill Pay, a tool that automates recording, paying and reconciling bill payments to reduce manual bookkeeping.

QuickBooks integrates with other applications, including Pipedrive through the QuickBooks by Pipedrive integration app. The integration allows you to easily create invoices from Pipedrive’s “deal details” view without switching between the two applications.

Why we like QuickBooks for business management: QuickBooks Time is another tool in the family that provides timesheet and time-tracking software features to streamline payroll operations.

Best for small business invoicing: Xero

Foxglove screenshot

Xero is another one of the power players in online payment solutions. It works well for quote preparation and invoice customization and allows businesses to automate incoming and outgoing payments in a way that reduces the need for a dedicated bookkeeper.

It also offers secure cloud storage for record-keeping, invoicing and bank reconciliation automations and customizable reporting features.

Xero integrates with many other applications, including Pipedrive. ThePipedrive-Xero integration app allows you to sync Xero records to view invoices, quotes and payments directly inside Pipedrive.

Why we like Xero for business management: Xero is simple and intuitive, making it beneficial for small businesses without a dedicated accountant.

Project management tools

Project management software helps companies streamline task management and organize workflows.

Advanced project management tools offer additional features that mean companies can improve employee productivity and monitor time management, like time tracking features.

Here are some of the most popular project management software tools available, both simple and advanced.

Best basic project management tool: Trello

business management software Trello

Trello is a simple project management tool that includes customizable Kanban boards and templates that help teams break work tasks into primary milestones.

Straightforward and intuitive, Trello works well for small teams handling a few simple projects at a time. Trello is best for teams who don’t need dedicated reporting features or performance tracking.

If you like Trello’s interface but need more capabilities, explore the platform’s “Power-Ups” library. Power-Ups offer additional time tracking, resource management, invoicing and other applications.

For a small price, you can get additional features such as calendar views and advanced checklists.

Trello also integrates well with other tools, like the Pipedrive-Trello integration where you can create new Trello cards, boards and lists inside Pipedrive.

Why we like Trello for business management: Even human resources departments can use Trello for workflow management, like onboarding, using Trello’s premade templates.

Best for complex project management: Asana

Business management software Asana

If your company has complex project management needs, Asana is a good work management solution.

Project managers work in Asana Projects, Workspaces and reports, while team members use timelines and to-do lists to focus on their responsibilities. Asana’s message threads and comments sections make it an effective team collaboration tool.

As well as Kanban boards, you can create Gantt charts in Asana, like in the image above, to visualize project tasks across a timeline. Asana now allows managers to compare a project’s original plan with their team’s real-time progress through its new “Gantt View”.

Asana also integrates with other business management tools, like the Asana CRM integration with Pipedrive where managers can create new Asana tasks directly inside Pipedrive.

Asana’s time-tracking tool allows managers to estimate the time required for a task and for staff to record the time spent. Another recent update allows managers to allocate a percentage of an employee’s workload toward a certain task.

Why we like Asana for business management: Managers can use Asana’s reporting feature to analyze their staff’s productivity while working in-office or remotely.

Best for workflow automation: Zapier

Business management software Zapier

Zapier is a workflow automation tool that connects and integrates apps. It streamlines workflow management by eliminating repetitive admin tasks that strip your team of precious productivity.

Zapier refers to its workflow automations as “Zaps”. Teams can set up Zaps by specifying a trigger and the action Zapier should take in response.

Take Pipedrive, for example. Zapier can connect Pipedrive with Gmail and a Zap can trigger automatic emails as deals move from one stage to the next.

If you still like to use traditional spreadsheets, you can use Zapier to automatically import data from a Google Sheet into Pipedrive.

Why we like Zapier for business management: Zapier removes repetitive tasks from your team’s already full plate, but the app can also reduce and control notifications by automating most (or all) tasks in one place.

Team communication tools

Fast and effective communication is key to all business managers, no matter your business size or industry.

Here are several software tools for better team communication.

Best for text communication: Slack

Business management software Slack

Slack is a workplace instant messaging tool that reduces the time delay associated with emails. It’s most beneficial for large and remote teams looking to communicate synchronously or asynchronously.

Slack’s new user interface (UI) aims to make workplace text communication less distracting. It centralizes conversations inside Slack so that it’s easier for team members to switch between conversations and communicate with multiple team members at the same time.

You can designate Slack channels to group messaging on specific topics and managers can use them for workflow monitoring.

It also integrates with other tools to reduce task and app switching. For example, the Pipedrive Dealbot for Slack helps sales teams coordinate and share updates.

Why we like Slack for business management: The new “Slack canvas” feature provides another way for colleagues to work together in a dedicated evergreen space. You can use it to log meeting notes, hold a list of action items or share resources.

Best for video conferencing: Zoom

Business management software Zoom

Zoom is a widely used video conference tool that supports distributed teams, vendors and clients to meet virtually or host webinars. It has a simple interface with several features to make remote meetings painless.

Zoom is ideal for both one-on-one or group video calls, with unlimited free calls up to 40 minutes. The chat feature and new emoji reactions allow meeting participants to ask questions or contribute without interrupting the speaker.

Looking for a scalable solution for virtual events? Zoom can host large online webinars with up to 10,000 view-only attendees.

The Zoom Meetings by Pipedrive integration enhances sales team efficiencies by allowing sales reps to schedule and manage calls from inside their CRM.

Why we like Zoom for business management: Zoom recently joined the generative AI (GAI) landscape with its new AI Companion, a feature available to paid subscribers. The AI Companion provides text-based support features including meeting transcription and summarization to improve note-taking and reduce missed information.

Best Zoom alternative: Livestorm

Business management software Livestorm

Livestorm is a video conferencing tool that works directly from your browser, meaning vendors and prospects don’t need to install yet another app to join a call with your team.

Livestorm offers breakout rooms that make it a great platform for large group training or holding interactive meetings. It automatically records sessions and recordings are accessible through the original meeting link.

It also makes a great tool for hosting webinars where you can allow attendees to participate or simply log in to attend. Livestorm tools allow companies to create customizable landing pages, send promotional emails and analyze event performance with advanced dashboard analytics.

You can integrate Livestorm with other apps, like the Livestorm integration for Pipedrive, which helps improve lead qualification processes by connecting data from Livestorm webinars to Pipedrive.

Why we like Livestorm for business management: Livestorm offers a straightforward, no-fluff video conferencing tool for teams.

Business management software FAQS

Final thoughts

Comprehensive software for businesses helps you get the most value from your tech stack. Some solutions offer additional integrations to make your business processes even smoother for your specific needs.

Business management is easier and more successful with an all-in-one software solution that supports teams to move quickly and sell more.

Driving business growth