As both an employee and small business owner, I adore G Suite. I’d consider it one of the best tools I have at my disposal, mainly because it’s so easy to use and incredibly multi-functional.
Whether I’m collaborating with my editor on a new HubSpot blog piece, scheduling time to chat with a new client, or emailing my friends a funny dog GIF, G Suite comes in handy for almost anything you’re doing on your computer — productive or otherwise.
Google entered 2019 with 5 million paying G Suite customers — a number that’s increased by 25% since the beginning of 2017. I’ll let that statistic speak for itself: G Suite is a highly valuable tool for individuals and businesses worldwide. Notable G Suite customers include Uber, BuzzFeed, PwC, and, of course, HubSpot.
If you haven’t tapped into the G Suite platform for your business, we encourage you to check it out. Read through this guide to better understand the G Suite platform, how you can optimize your account, and how you can use the tool to grow better. Better yet, bookmark this so you can reference it later.
What is G Suite?
G Suite is a collection of business, productivity, collaboration, and education software developed and powered by Google. The primary G Suite tools include Gmail, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Calendar, Google+, Sites, Hangouts, and Keep.
G Suite was released 12 years ago as “Google Apps for Your Domain”. The initial launch included Gmail, Google Talk, Google Calendar, and Google Page Creator (now known as Sites). Google Apps for Education followed two months later.
Over the last 10 years, Google released various tools and updates as part of its application suite. Google Apps was rebranded to G Suite in September of 2016, and not long after, the company launched its first hardware product: Jamboard.
The G Suite platform also includes the G Suite Marketplace (which was originally released in 2010), through which you can install third-party cloud applications to use as part of your collection of G Suite tools.
Who uses G Suite?
Both businesses and individuals use G Suite.
Consumer accounts aren’t necessarily called “G Suite,” though. For example, when I’m signed into my personal Google account, the top right corner of the screen looks like this:
Alternatively, when I’m signed into my personal business Google account, the top right corner reflects this:
While G Suite services are free for consumers, businesses have to pay for enterprise features such as a custom email domain, unlimited cloud storage, additional administrative and marketing tools, and 24/7 support. (We’ll get into the G Suite pricing structure later.)
If businesses have multiple users on their G Suite, they also have to pay per person. Here’s what Google looks like when I’m signed into my HubSpot employee account:
Unlike other free consumer software, though, free G Suite users don’t see ads while using the services. Bonus: Google doesn’t use the information stored in G Suite applications and accounts for advertisement purposes.
Google offers a wide variety of products for both personal and enterprise use. Most are accessible with a Google account (by tapping the menu in the top right corner), though some need to be installed as Google Chrome extensions to gain full functionality.
Later, we’ll walk through how to set up and manage your G Suite account, but for now, let’s review the different tools available in your G Suite.
Gmail is the G Suite email software. It was released in 2004 and now has over 1 billion users worldwide.
With a G Suite plan, businesses enjoy 30GB of storage space, custom company email addresses (email@example.com), unlimited Google Group email addresses, 24/7 phone and email support, and compatible add-ons available through the G Suite Marketplace.
Google Drive is the G Suite cloud storage platform and was launched in 2012. Drive manages all of your company’s content and supports collaboration across your entire organization. It also allows you to view various file formats so you don’t have to download additional software to your devices.
Depending on the G Suite plan, businesses enjoy 30GB, 1TB, or unlimited storage per user and audit and reporting insights for Drive content.
Docs, Sheets, and Slides
These programs allow real-time collaboration, save changes automatically, and track revision history. Users can insert comments, suggest edits, communicate through a built-in chat, and create templates for future use.
With a G Suite plan, businesses enjoy unlimited revision history among other perks.
Google Forms is the G Suite web form and survey tool. Also launched in 2006, Forms shares many of the same features as Docs, Sheets, and Slides, such as automatic saving, real-time collaboration, and template creation. To collect data through Forms, users can personalize surveys or quizzes, send respondents the URL, and review the data (that’s automatically collected in Sheets).
Download HubSpot’s Free Online Form Builder to convert your visitors into leads and start growing your business faster.
With a G Suite plan, businesses enjoy smart scheduling (where employees can see open windows of time on coworkers’ calendars), calendars for Google Groups, calendars for meeting rooms and shared resources, public calendars so customers can view company events, and easy migration from external calendars (e.g. iCal, Outlook, or Exchange).
Google+ is the G Suite social network. It was launched in 2011, and as of October 2018, Google is planning to sunset Google+ for consumers in April 2019.
But, with a G Suite plan, businesses can still enjoy the service as well as restricted communities and enhanced privacy controls.
Google Sites is the G Suite website builder. It was added to the platform in 2008 and allows users to create websites with little to no coding knowledge or design skills. Landing page and project websites can be created using pre-made templates and published internally or publicly.
Google Hangouts is the G Suite communication and messaging tool. Originally launched in 2006 as Google Talk, Hangouts supports text, voice and video conversations (for up to 25 participants) and can be used between desktop and mobile devices. It’s also a common alternative to Slack.
With a G Suite plan, businesses enjoy a seamless integration with Calendar, screen sharing for participants, auto focus and intelligent muting features, public livestreams automatically saved in YouTube, and custom administrative controls.
Google Keep is the G Suite note-taking tool. The newest addition to the G Suite platform, Keep can be used to create, organize, and share memos, lists, images and voice notes across multiple devices. It’s available as a Chrome download and mobile application.
With a G Suite plan, businesses enjoy a seamless integration with Google Docs among other perks.
There’s no doubt G Suite is a valuable tool for businesses of all sizes. It’s the digital equivalent of a pocket knife — it supports collaboration, organization, productivity, marketing, and sales.
Do you think G Suite would be a great addition to your company? Follow along this section as we discuss how to set up G Suite for business.
Over the last ten years, G Suite has grown and expanded tremendously … without changing their prices. (How crazy is that?)
Since day one, Google has offered two G Suite business offerings: the G Suite Basic Edition (at $5 per user per month) and the G Suite Business Edition (at $10 per user per month). Read more about the G Suite Editions here.
On January 16, 2019, Google announced that, for the first time in a decade, they’d be raising the prices of G Suite (albeit by a fraction). Starting on April 2, the Basic Edition will increase to $6 per user per month, and the Business Edition will increase to $12 per user per month. Pricing for G Suite Enterprise Edition customers won’t change.
Despite the incremental increase, G Suite is still a fantastic investment for your business. The per-user pricing model presents a cost that’s proportionate to each business, regardless of size. Also, with the G Suite Flexible Plan, businesses can pay monthly and avoid long-term commitment.
Setting Up Your G Suite Account
Creating a G Suite account is simple. Head to the G Suite homepage and click “Get Started.”
Enter your company name and indicate how many employees you have. You can always change this number as your team grows.
Next, enter your contact information (or the information for whoever will be managing the G Suite account). Google will send a confirmation to the email address you insert here, so be sure it’s accessible.
The next screen will ask if you have a business domain name. If you already have one, insert it here. If you don’t, Google will help you find and purchase one — most domains are $12/per year if purchased through Google.
Enter your business address and contact information on the next screen.
Finally, choose a username and password for your G Suite account. You’ll use these credentials to sign into any G Suite tools in the future. Note: Your username will also be the first part (or local-part) of your business email.
To complete your account set up, you’ll be asked to review your account and check out. On this screen, you’ll see a summary of your monthly charges (after your 14-day trial) and any other one-time charges, such as a domain name. You’ll also be asked to review your account information and enter your payment method.
Lastly, you’ll see two choices to automatically renew your domain and keep your domain information private — we encourage you to keep those checked to simplify the domain purchase process.
Managing Your G Suite Account
Once you create your G Suite account, you’ll be directed to your G Suite Admin panel. This is arguably the most important part of your G Suite account — you’ll manage all of your settings from this page.
Let’s break down the sections and what you can do within each.
This is where you add new users to your G Suite account. You can also manage your users and assign them various attributes, like Job Title and Department, as well as track their Last sign in and Email usage.
This is where you update information about your company and personalize your G Suite account with your company logo. You can also create custom URLs to your various G Suite services for your users.
This is where you view your account charges and manage your G Suite license(s). You should see whichever Edition (plan) you chose for your business reflected here.
This is where you track the usage of your G Suite services and apps as well as user activity. Under Highlights, you’ll see an overview of usage activity per app, user status, storage statistics, and security. Under Reports, you’ll see options to run reports on specific services, devices, and users. You can also run audits to see what users are accessing what services and tools.
This is where you manage your G Suite services and their settings. Here, you’ll see how many G Suite core apps you’re using, what additional Google services you’re using, and any Marketplace or Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) services you’ve connected to your account.
This is where you secure your company data on all devices connected to your G Suite account. You’ll see how many mobile and Chrome devices are connected as well as how many Google devices (like Jamboard) are linked to your account. There’s also a handy screen on which you can manage all your company-owned devices.
This is where you manage all security features for your G Suite account. From password management and monitoring to setting up single sign-on (SSO), this page equips you to keep your G Suite account and users secure.
This is where you access G Suite support, which is available 24/7 over phone or email. Before being directed to a live support line, though, you’ll be shown a Help for Admins pop-up box with recommended help content.
This is where you import your company email, calendar, and contact data. Google makes it easy to bring over any company data you need to successfully organize and use your G Suite. You’ll need to run this tool for each type of data you migrate. To run a migration, you’ll need the migration source, connection protocol, and the credentials of an account to verify that you own the data.
This is where you see relevant insights about any business domains connected to your G Suite account.
Buildings and resources
This is where you manage and monitors any buildings, rooms, and company resources connected to your G Suite account. Here, you’ll plug in any meeting and conference rooms that you want to be available for your users to schedule on their Calendar. You can also access insights that tell you how and when your rooms are being used.
This is where you create groups and mailing lists. Groups are handy for communicating with entire teams or parts of your organization at once. You can also give each group its own calendar for scheduling events and managing team meetings.
This is where you add new admins and manage current admin roles and permissions for your G Suite account. You can also set admin permissions for specific groups, services, and devices. You’ll see what admins have what permissions, and you can change those accordingly.
This is where you can add or remove domains associated with your G Suite account. You can add a new domain or domain alias on this page, as long as you can verify ownership. You can also manage where your visitors are redirected when they visit your domain.
Note: I used my personal business G Suite account to pull example images for this section. You’ll see that there’s only one user on my account (me 🙋🏻♀️) … your account and admin panel will likely look much different if you have multiple users, groups, admins, and domains.
G Suite is a valuable platform for your company. But how can you use it to grow your business better? Below, we cover seven specific strategies for making the most of your G Suite account.
1. Create On-Brand Templates with Drive
Brand identity is crucial, and the cost of branding and logo design can be costly. Who wants to see their marketing dollars go to waste (i.e. see employees using off-brand documents, presentations, and graphics)? I sure wouldn’t.
Use your G Suite services to simplify the process of staying on-brand. Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms all have template capabilities — have a designer create on-brand design templates and save them to your Drive. Then, encourage your employees to use these templates instead of starting from scratch.
2. Collect Customer Feedback with Forms
Customer feedback is the lifeblood of a healthy, growing business. If you don’t know what you’re doing right, you can’t do more of it. If your don’t know what you’re doing wrong, you can’t fix it. Customer feedback should be a high priority for your company.
Google Forms makes it easy to gather and analyze data from customers and clients. Use the tool to create simple surveys that collect customer feedback, market research, your Net Promoter Score®, and more. You can also use Forms to conduct internal research or gather information from peers and coworkers.
3. Empower Remote Employees with Calendar
Take it from me — as awesome as remote work can be, there’s something to be said about working alongside your team every day. For one, it can be easier to collaborate if you see each other in person. But that’s not always possible for those who work remotely or internationally.
If you have remote employees, Google Calendar can help them feel connected and included in what’s going on at work. Calendar makes it easy to see coworkers’ schedules and book time in an open room by their desk — without ever having to step foot in the office. You can also set up dedicated calendars for company-wide events or extracurriculars like the gym or after-work book clubs. Employees can simply subscribe to those calendars to stay up-to-date.
4. Manage Team Tasks with Keep
The internet keeps us connected, but it can still be hard to collaborate remotely. If you’ve ever wanted a place to digitally jot notes, make lists, draw sketches, and save images, all while working in tandem with multiple people, Keep is the solution for you. Keep is a common Evernote alternative that’s super helpful even if you’re not using G Suite.
Use Keep to manage team tasks, outstanding projects, and ongoing collaborations. Create checklists to stay on top of assignments, and link a Collaborator so they can see what’s due. You can also save articles and websites to your Keep folder and add notes with important thoughts and ideas — making online research even easier.
5. See How Employees are Using G Suite with Reports
Not everyone uses G Suite equally. The Reports panel on your Admin Console can tell you how and how often your team is using the G Suite tools and apps. Use this insight to better educate your team on what G Suite has to offer. Also, the Reports panel can provide valuable security information — like what devices have been used to login and which users might need to install updates — so you can keep your team and data safe and secure.
6. Leverage New Tools on the G Suite Marketplace
The G Suite Marketplace is one of my favorite places to shop. Google has integrated literally hundreds of third-party tools that only serve to make your and your employees lives easier. Choose from tools for business, productivity, communication, education, and utility. Download apps like Zoom, Xero, Google Analytics, and Asana to link seamlessly to your G Suite account and integrate with other apps like Sheets, Calendar, and more.
Tip: Keep an eye on how your employees are using any new tools to see if they’re benefiting your business or not.
Check out and install the HubSpot app on G Suite Marketplace today.
Take Your Business to the Next Level with G Suite
For the last decade, G Suite has been helping businesses collaborate, communicate, and grow. Through simple tools and an even simpler on-boarding process, G Suite has become an indispensable tool for companies worldwide. Regardless of what industry you’re in, G Suite can only serve to help you improve your business processes, inside and out.
G Suite equips your employees to complete hundreds of tasks with ease — productive or otherwise. 😉