Blog 4 must-have tools for a startup CEO’s tech stack

4 must-have tools for a startup CEO’s tech stack

Jun 1, 2023

13 min read

We asked CEOs from some of the fastest-growing startups in the US about the tools that have set their businesses up for success. Here are the definitive 4 that they use on a daily basis. Do you have them in your tech stack?

Table of contents

  • How to decide if your current tech stack is good enough?
  • The most popular tools amongst startup CEOs
  • The benefits of having a well-curated tech stack
  • Picking the right tech stack is half the battle
  • The tool-adoption leader’s role
  • Found holes in your tech stack? Choose carefully

As a CEO you’re probably more qualified than anybody in the entire organization to make critical decisions, set strategic goals, or reduce the risk that the company might encounter. But how much do you know about the tools that can help you run your business? Have you ever considered what will happen when your startup reaches the next fundraising stage? Are your current processes scalable or will something break? According to Greg Head: changes happen in 1’s and 3’s. What worked for just 1 person will break when there are 3 people, and then, breaks again when you go from 10 to 30 and then again at 100 and 300 folks, etc.

Answering these questions is especially important for smaller teams. Given the fast-paced environment and the rapid growth that is part of the essence of the startup world, getting to know all the available tools in the market is critical.

Having the right tech stack can help you automate time-consuming tasks, scale your processes and you can even win back time so you can focus on the areas where you can make the biggest possible impact.

The market has more tools to offer than ever before, and every problem you could possibly have has a handful of solutions (if not more) for you to choose from. We selected the most popular startup tools amongst CEOs to help you optimize everything from sales to team productivity, email management, and communication.

If this sounds like something you want for yourself, keep reading to find out where to start.


How to decide if your current tech stack is good enough?

Technology plays an essential role in driving your company’s success. Your tech stack, consisting of the tools, software, and systems you rely on, is the backbone of your operations. But how do you determine if your current tech stack is good enough, or if it’s time for an upgrade?

The first thing you should do is make sure the tools you use tick the most important box: if your current tech stack is effectively meeting your business needs and delivering the desired outcomes (strong team communication and visibility, easy to use and adopt, etc) there’s a strong case for sticking to what works.

The switching costs of time, energy, and potential risks associated with implementing new technologies can be substantial. If your current tech stack is enabling your team to operate efficiently, serve your customers well, and drive growth, then you should avoid unnecessary disruptions.

That said, it’s essential to periodically assess your tech stack to ensure it remains aligned with your evolving business goals and industry advancements. Keep an eye out for signs that suggest your current tools are falling short or hindering your team’s productivity. To do that, constantly ask yourself:

  • If my company grows, will my tech stack grow with it?
  • Is this tool flexible?
  • Does this integrate easily with the rest of my tech stack or is it becoming obsolete?

The most popular tools amongst Startup CEOs

Most companies in the world, regardless of size and headcount use Google Workspace on a daily basis and for good reason. The combination of tools that they offer can help set up your business and promote collaboration, communication, and document management.

They have undoubtedly revolutionized the way we work, but what’s beyond Google Suite? These are the top 4 tools startup CEOs are using to run their business in a more effective way:


Salesforce is one of the most popular tools amongst the CEOs we observed. This is how other CEOs are leveraging Salesforce to gain an overview of their business operations. Here are three tactical ways for you to start implementing in your startup:

  1. Evaluating closed lost reasons: By analyzing your closed lost reasons over several time periods (such as the past month, 3 months, and 6 months), you have a quick overview of why your team is losing deals. Growth stage companies are monitoring to ensure that no more than 10% of deals are lost due to pricing. This approach will help you maintain a healthy pricing strategy, which is crucial for sustained growth.
  2. Monitoring deal cycle duration: Examining the length of your deals in the current quarter, the previous quarter and the one before that allows you to forecast your future pipeline accurately. This analysis empowers you to set targets for your team, communicate progress to investors, and identify achievable milestones.
  3. Watching win rate percentage: Understanding your win rate percentage changes in this macro environment is incredibly useful. Whether it’s 35%, 20%, or 25% and how it’s changed provides a comprehensive view of your overall performance. While aiming for higher win rates, analyzing this metric in conjunction with closed lost reasons and deal duration allows you to gain a holistic understanding of your business dynamics.

Bonus: You can also quickly peek at who are your highest-performing sales team members. Salesforce enables you to identify which sales representatives are consistently closing the most deals or booking the most meetings. Use this insight to express your appreciation and offer quick thank-you messages or recognition to boost morale. Recognizing and celebrating achievements not only uplifts the entire team but also reinforces the importance of acknowledgment, even for your top performers.


Notion is an all-in-one workspace that allows you to keep everything organized, up-to-date, and easy to find. But how can you make the best out of it? By identifying the key pages that deserve your attention. These are some of the pages other CEOs focus on:

  1. OKR progress: CEOs are leveraging Notion pages to track the progress of their Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). By setting up dedicated pages for each function and enabling Slack notifications, they ensure seamless communication and visibility across the team. Paying attention to these OKR pages helps keep everyone aligned and informed about the progress toward the goals.
  2. Weekly update page: One crucial page that you should focus on is the weekly update page. It serves as a central hub where CEOs share updates, highlight achievements, discuss challenges, and provide insights into ongoing projects. Regularly reviewing this page ensures you stay informed about the current state of relevant projects and fosters a culture of transparency and collaboration.
  3. Addressing biggest risks: Notion pages dedicated to identifying and addressing the biggest risks are highly valuable. These pages outline potential challenges and vulnerabilities that could impact the company’s growth and success. By prioritizing these risk-related pages, you can proactively mitigate threats and make informed decisions to protect your startup.
  4. Sales and fires: CEOs know the importance of having dedicated pages to track sales performance and address any potential fires (urgent issues or crises). Monitoring these pages allows you to stay updated on your sales metrics, identify areas for improvement, and promptly respond to critical situations that require immediate attention.
  5. Metrics: Notion pages showcasing the essential metrics that CEOs regularly monitor should not be overlooked. These pages consolidate KPIs and provide a snapshot of your startup’s health and progress. By receiving push notifications to your Slack, you can conveniently stay informed and analyze the metrics that matter most to your business.
  6. Bonus: Productivity Page. CEOs have found value in setting up a productivity page that outlines the weekly setup. This page includes the top three priorities, daily tasks, quick wins, and big rocks (major projects).

Try this downloadable productivity template out and see if it works for you. If you start using it, we would love to know how is it helping you be more productive.



Superhuman describes itself as “the world’s fastest email” and if there is one thing CEOs are constantly running out of is time.

A recent study of 27 CEOs found that leaders spend 24% of their time checking their email. This, translated to your daily schedule, means that one-fourth of your day goes to checking and sending emails. What if it was possible to get those 2 hours back? Maybe it is if you know all the tricks to this tool.

Superhuman’s most popular features amongst CEOs are setting up reminders for emails at exactly the right time, and how incredibly fast they can go through their email thanks to an extensive range of keyboard shortcuts. But other than that, how are CEOs getting the most out of it? By customizing their inbox and creating splits tailored to their needs. here are some useful inbox splits:

  1. Team: Use Superhuman to group messages from your team, and make sure they receive prioritized attention.
  2. Calendar: Create a split for calendar notifications and keep your primary inbox uncluttered. Bonus: Add a filter for all “accepted” calendar invites to go directly to the archive and reduce the number of related emails needing attention. To do this in your Gmail settings, you can add the following under filters:
    a. Subject: accepted OR subject: declined OR subject: maybe.
    b. Filename:ics and subject: Invitation and -subject:accepted and -subject:declined.
  3. Newsletters: Set up a split dedicated to newsletters, so the valuable content you get doesn’t get lost in the sea of information.
  4. Bonus: this is our favorite category, perfect for the truly busy CEOs that want to get rid of the hundreds of emails they get every day. Create a split called “Probably sales” and add all the emails that contain the word “unsubscribe”. A bit drastic, but it’s worth it.

By organizing your inbox with Superhuman’s Split inbox, you can handle email more effectively, and if, on top of that, your executive assistant becomes the first filter for your email and drafts your responses, you’ll spend no time going through your inbox.


When it comes to effectively communicating with your team on Slack, especially in larger organizations with numerous channels, managing the growing notifications can become overwhelming. In order to make Slack the most effective communication channel, we suggest you create truly useful sections dedicated to specific teams, needs, or projects. Here are a few:

  1. Direct reports: Maintain strong and fluent communication with your direct reports by creating a custom section dedicated to them. This will allow for seamless collaboration and facilitate one-on-one discussions. Plus, it will be easier for you to keep up with updates and track both individual and team progress.
  2. Product: Create a custom section for product development, feature requests, bug tracking, and user feedback. This custom section facilitates efficient collaboration between product managers, developers, and other team members.
  3. Temporary group chats/channels: Create temporary group chats or channels within Slack to discuss specific topics or initiatives. For instance, when hiring for a specific role, a temporary channel can be set up to bring together hiring managers, recruiters, and relevant team members to speed up the hiring process.
  4. External relations: Communicate with external parties, such as customers or partners, through channel integrations. By setting up dedicated channels with external integrations, CEOs can engage with customers, receive feedback, address inquiries, and provide support.
  5. Automated reminders: Leverage Slack’s automation capabilities to send reminders and notifications for various purposes. For example, you can set up automated reminders for important action items like project deadlines or upcoming meetings.

The benefits of having a well-curated tech stack

Building and maintaining a tech stack requires thoughtful planning, continuous evaluation of tools and technologies, and adapting to the evolving needs of your company, but the benefits of doing so will have a tremendous impact on your business:

  • Scalability and growth: a robust tech stack provides a foundation that can handle increased workload, user demand, and data volume without compromising performance.
  • Enhanced collaboration and communication: facilitates collaboration among team members, departments, and even remote teams, fostering innovation and productivity.
  • Cost optimization: optimize costs by minimizing manual work, automating repetitive tasks, eliminating inefficiencies, optimizing resource allocation, and driving cost savings in the long run.

Have your executive assistant conduct thorough research on the most useful tools for your industry and find the best solutions for your workload.

Picking the tech stack is half the battle

Picking the right tech stack for your startup is indeed crucial, but ensuring its successful adoption by your team is the other half, a critical one. Here’s how you can get buy-in from your team regarding the use of the new tools you choose for your tech stack, highlighting the benefits they bring:

  • Explain the why: clearly communicate the rationale behind selecting the tech stack. Explain how it aligns with the company’s goals, enhances efficiency, and improves overall operations. Emphasize the specific benefits that team members will experience, such as time savings, easier delegation, and the establishment of high-quality standards.
  • Involve the team: Involve your team early in the decision-making process. Seek their input, opinions, and preferences regarding the tools they use and the challenges they face. By involving them, they will feel more engaged and invested in the final decision, making it easier to gain their buy-in.
  • Address concerns and feedback: listen to your team’s concerns and feedback throughout the adoption process. Encourage an open dialogue and address any issues promptly.
  • Designate a tool-adoption leader: identify team members who are enthusiastic about the new tech stack and have them serve as internal leaders. These individuals can support and advocate for the tools, help their colleagues with onboarding, and share their positive experiences.

The tool-adoption leader’s role

When introducing new tools to your company, designating a tool-adoption leader is essential for successful implementation. Without a designated tool-adoption leader, there will also be a lack of direction and support, leading to confusion and resistance among your team.

Assign a designated leader for each of the tools. Having a point person for each tool is crucial to ensure its successful implementation. Ideally, a knowledgeable team member should specialize in each tool within their respective teams, such as sales, marketing, or customer success.

The tool-adoption leader will oversee proper onboarding for the new tools. They will guide team members through the learning process, providing training, resources, and support. This ensures that everyone understands how to effectively use the tools and maximizes their benefits. This will also facilitate a smooth transition by acting as a point of contact for questions, concerns, and troubleshooting. They can address any issues promptly and provide guidance to ensure successful adoption.

Whomever you designate will play a crucial role in promoting and encouraging the adoption of new tools. Their advocacy and support help drive higher adoption rates among team members. Plus, they can establish consistency and standardization in tool usage across the company.

How to choose the best tools for your company?

As a CEO, it’s crucial to take a closer look at your existing tech stack as it directly influences various aspects of the business, including operational efficiency, scalability, and visibility for everyone across your organization.

Assess whether it adequately covers the functionality offered by the 4 recommended tools above. Explore each tool’s purpose and features and compare them to the capabilities of your current tools.

If you find that your existing tech stack doesn’t fulfill the desired functionality, it’s essential to understand the reasons behind it. Is it a deliberate choice based on specific business requirements, budget constraints, or other factors? Could it be a missed opportunity where your current stack falls short?

We hope that this article has made you given you some food for thought on how various productivity tools could benefit your tech stack as a CEO.

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