The pandemic changed the balance of power on the eSignature market, leading to the emergence of powerful DocuSign alternatives. When searching for the best eSignature app for business, you can come across multiple signNow vs DocuSign comparisons, user reviews, and whatnot. With a vast variety of eSignature solutions out there, choosing the right option for teams and businesses of any size can turn into a real challenge.
This blog aims to compare industry-leading eSignature apps, such as DocuSign, signNow, PandaDoc, and Adobe Sign. We’ll walk you through the features, pricing, customer support conditions, and other relevant information to make the eSignature selection process easier for you.
At signNow by airSlate, we understand that businesses of all shapes and sizes — from freelancers and entrepreneurs, to small and medium-sized companies and even large enterprises — require advanced functionalities that allow for a smooth eSigning experience and hassle-free document management. So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Table of contents:
- What our eSignature software comparison process is based on
- signNow vs DocuSign vs Adobe Sign vs PandaDoc: Product overview
- General feature comparison
- Ease of use and deployment
- Customer support conditions
- Which eSignature app offers the best value for money?
What our eSignature software comparison process is based on
To make this comparison as accurate as possible, the signNow team analyzed over 20 various resources, including business SaaS review websites, customer review websites, and listicles of popular eSignature tools on reputable technology and marketing websites. We’ve also conducted in-depth research of each vendor’s official resources to verify the information about key features, pricing policy, customer support, and many more. In addition, for extra credibility, we compared with eSignature market research conducted by industry-leading research agencies, such as P&S Intelligence and IDC.
Some examples of those relevant sources used to create this comparison include:
- Compare DocuSign and signNow by airSlate (G2)
- DocuSign vs signNow comparison (TrustRadius)
- Electronic signature reviews and ratings (Gartner)
- Digital signature software (Capterra)
- 21 of the Best Electronic Signature Apps (HubSpot)
The lack of information often results in businesses choosing eSignature software that’s completely unsuitable for their needs. On the one hand, freelancers and/or small businesses will likely be overwhelmed by a comprehensive workflow automation software suite with eSignature functionality meant for enterprises.
On the other hand, large enterprises will likely be dissatisfied with solutions targeted at freelancers and small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). With this DocuSign vs signNow vs PandaDoc vs Adobe Sign comparison, we aim to provide business users with unbiased information about eSignature solutions to help them make the right choice.
signNow vs DocuSign vs Adobe Sign vs PandaDoc: Product overview
signNow by airSlate
signNow by airSlate is an award-winning eSignature solution that was named Top Performer in the 2021 Capterra Shortlist and recognized in the IDC MarketScape: Worldwide eSignature Software 2021 report.
signNow by airSlate is known for its ease of use and deployment, along with advanced features, integrations, and compliance certifications. signNow offers its users an outstanding scope of security features, including two-factor authentication, network protection, digital certificate technology, Audit Trails, document recovery, and retention options. signNow allows users to create templates from the documents they work with.
Take note: As a part of the airSlate Business Cloud, signNow complements other solutions that span PDF editing, eSignature workflows, and robotic and document process automation. On top of that, an airSlate Business Cloud subscription provides access to a library of over 85k industry-specific forms used across the U.S.
Pricing models: Subscription, user-based, seat-based, transaction-based, time-based
- signNow Business plans start at $8/user/month
- signNow Business Premium plans start at $15/user/month
- signNow Enterprise plans start at $30/user/month
- The airSlate Business Cloud with access to the entire suite of tools starts at $50/user/month.
The above pricing is valid if billed annually.
Support options: email/help center, knowledge base, 24/7 live rep, live chat, phone
Free trial: 7 days
DocuSign pioneered the eSignature software industry, this is why it boasts a number of awards and accolades. Together with signNow, it was listed as a Top Performer in the 2021 Capterra Shortlist and was also acknowledged for its contract management capabilities. This eSignature vendor offers an easy-to-use and compliant eSignature solution along with custom branding, Audit Trails, and integrations. Businesses can benefit from other DocuSign products, such as contract lifecycle management and analytics, document generation apps, and more.
Pricing model: Subscription, transaction based, maintenance fee
- Personal plan starts at $10/month
- Standard plan starts at $20/month
- Business Pro plan starts at $40/month
- Custom pricing for the Advanced plan.
The above pricing is valid if billed annually.
Mobile availability: iOS, Android, Windows Mobile
Support options: email/help desk, tickets, 24/7 live rep, live chat, FAQs
Free trial: 30 days
Adobe Sign is part of the Adobe Document Cloud software suite, used for document management and electronic signing. In 2021, it was selected as an Emerging Favorite in the Capterra Shortlist for Remote Work Software. Adobe Sign comes together with Adobe Acrobat to fit multiple personal and business needs. The capabilities offered by Adobe Sign as part of the Adobe Document Cloud platform include form signing with an eSignature or digital signature, signature collection from multiple users, branded form creation, and sending reminders and email notifications.
Pricing models: seat-based, user-based, and signature-based
- crobat PDF Pack with e-sign for individuals starts from $9.99/user/month
- Acrobat Pro DC with e-sign for teams starts at $14.99/mo/license
- Acrobat Pro DC with advanced e-sign for teams starts at $27.90/mo/license
- Custom pricing for enterprise users.
Take note: Acrobat Pro DC with e-sign and Acrobat Pro DC with advanced e-sign require an annual commitment.
Mobile availability: iOS, Android
Support options: Help center, community page, in-app support for enterprise users
Free trial: 7 days
PandaDoc is a document management software that is also used for eSigning and workflow automation. The platform supports popular document formats and integrations with apps like Google Drive, Dropbox, and others. This allows users to unite their existing CRM, payment, and file storage apps into a single workflow. PandaDoc also has 400+ document templates to provide faster document turnaround.
Pricing models: Subscription, seat-based
- Free eSigning
- Essentials – starts from $19/user/month
- Business – starts from $49/user/month
- Custom pricing for Enterprise subscription
The above pricing is valid if billed annually.
Mobile availability: iOS, Android
Support options: email support, product knowledge base, live chat, phone support only for premium users
Free trial: 14 days
signNow vs DocuSign vs Adobe Sign vs PandaDoc: In-depth comparison
signNow, DocuSign, Adobe Sign, and PandaDoc position themselves as electronic signature solutions for teams and businesses of all sizes. Every one of these eSignature apps offers a range of capabilities that not only digitize specific paper-based business processes but help organizations to grow and scale their operations.
It also needs mentioning that each eSignature solution targets a particular customer segment. Adobe Sign and DocuSign are enterprise-class solutions that can also be used by small and midmarket customers. Meanwhile, signNow by airSlate and PandaDoc primarily target small businesses along with lower and upper mid-market customers, while also testing the waters with their enterprise solutions.
And now, let’s take a closer look at these 4 industry-leading eSignature solutions to compare the capabilities that are most essential for businesses.
General feature comparison
According to user reviews, the top 10 in-demand features for an eSignature solution are as follows:
Reminders and notifications
Easy sign-in process
Mobile signature capabilities
Streamlined signature workflows
Bulk signature capabilities
History and Audit Trail
Performance and reliability
In real environments of remote/hybrid work, teams and businesses look for:
- document generation capabilities
- role-based access management capabilities
- security and compliance
- integrations with third-party apps, and others.
According to G2’s signNow vs Adobe Sign vs DocuSign vs PandaDoc comparison, every app meets the requirements of customers in terms of document signing, regulatory compliance, signature history and audit. And yet, according to user reviews, each of the apps has its own weaknesses — the lowest-rated features typically included poor user, role, and access management, and a lack of API integrations and custom branding. Even accomplished market leaders, such as DocuSign, scored low in some of the aforementioned categories.
As we’re striving for objectivity, we cannot afford to base our comparison on user review websites alone. The recent IDC MarketScape: eSignature Software 2021 Vendor Assessment indicates the challenges that each of the eSignature vendors has to address.
Adobe, the vendor behind Adobe Sign, is challenged by internal siloes, which affect the performance of each solution developed. Keeping pace with harsh competition on the eSignature market, and competing with new solutions emerging up and down the signing value chain is another challenge Adobe is facing. On a positive note, Adobe Sign is recognized for its authentication capabilities and support of different eSignature types.
DocuSign’s main challenges, according to the report, are its high pricing policy, lack of customization options, and lack of support for automated document generation capabilities such as reusable content blocks, or dynamic updates of templates and text blocks. Despite that, DocuSign is recognized for continuous innovation, support for a large number of country IDs, and an impressive global network of trusted providers.
PandaDoc is grappling with a lack of tracking and reporting options, such as reporting customization, cloud security, and uptime reports. The second biggest challenge for PandaDoc is the scarcity of third-party app connectors — only authoring apps, content sharing, and collaboration, and CRM integrations are supported. Finally, PandaDoc can only be hosted through Amazon Web Services, there are no on-premises or alternative cloud options.
Some of the more minor challenges that signNow by airSlate is addressing include a limited number of templates and reporting options, lack of certifications, and limited language support beyond English. And yet, it’s recognized by teams and businesses of all sizes for its extensive functionality, ease of use, customization capabilities, and 200+ integrations. Also, signNow by airSlate represents the best value for the price paid for businesses — signNow Business plans start at only $8/user/month.
Apart from a reasonable pricing policy, signNow by airSlate offers business users a vast scope of benefits. Most importantly, signNow’s capabilities suit companies that are both only beginning to adopt eSignature and those with more experienced eSignature users.
Ease of use and deployment
When using review services to compare how easy it is to implement DocuSign vs signNow vs PandaDoc vs Adobe Sign, it becomes clear that all of the apps are recognized for their ease of use.
Adobe Sign scored a little below average at 9.0/10 for eSignature apps on G2, as some users said that “setting up a user may not be as easy as it can be from an admin standpoint”.
IDC indicates that despite “some customers provided an overall positive feedback of Adobe Sign, all of them claimed that deployment time exceeded two months.”
signNow by airSlate is recognized by customers for its ease of use and deployment that doesn’t hinder its advanced features, integrations, and compliance certifications. And so is DocuSign, which has a high rate of customer satisfaction. PandaDoc is praised for its workflow capabilities which customers can access out-of-the-box.
The ability to access customer support is critical for maintaining business continuity. As well as the quality of customer support provided by a given eSignature vendor can significantly impact the purchase decision. Speaking of customer support, it’s important to understand that each eSignature solution reviewed targets a particular customer segment. This is why the available support options will also vary.
Adobe Sign and DocuSign are enterprise-class solutions that can also be used by small and midmarket customers. Meanwhile, signNow by airSlate and PandaDoc primarily target small businesses along with lower and upper mid-market customers, while also testing the waters with their enterprise solutions.
signNow by airSlate covers all of its subscription plans with its email/help center, knowledge base, 24/7 live rep, live chat, and phone support (for enterprise customers).
Small and midsize business customers find it useful talking to a live rep that can guide them to relevant resources, create tickets, and assist in resolving issues.
DocuSign offers online case submission and management under its standard support plan with access to the community forum and knowledge base. It needs mentioning that DocuSign offers advanced customer support plans which are beneficial for larger enterprises.
Adobe Sign offers support via its help center, community page, and in-app for enterprise users. Adobe provides full customer life-cycle assistance starting from migration and launch of its enterprise software suite to onboarding and expansion of new use cases by implementing Adobe Sign via API.
PandaDoc’s customer support scores high across various user review websites. PandaDoc has email support, a product knowledge base, and live chat. The solution actively supports the user community with forums for communication and information sharing. According to PandaDoc, the reason they don’t offer phone support is that it’s much more convenient to keep track of the issues and resolve them online. PandaDoc doesn’t offer phone support in any of their plans. It’s still possible to contact sales via a hotline or request a call back via a web form. Premium users can have phone support as a paid option.
signNow by airSlate has over 270+ integrations with popular CRM systems (Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics 365, NetSuite), cloud storage services (Google Drive, Dropbox, Box), productivity and collaboration tools (Google Workspace, Microsoft Teams, Workplace), security apps (1Password), and many more. signNow’s eSignature is used across different industries — healthcare, higher education, property management, construction, and many more.
DocuSign offers 350+ integrations with CRMs, ERPs, CLM systems. As an enterprise-grade app, DocuSign integrates with multiple partner solutions across all partner tiers. Also, DocuSign integrates with industry-specific software suites and has a dedicated agreement solution for real estate and mortgage.
PandaDoc’s website lists 37 integrations, which include integrations with some of the most popular CRM systems (Salesforce, Monday.com, HubSpot CRM), payment systems (PayPal, Stripe), cloud storage services (Google Drive, Dropbox, Box), productivity apps (Zoom, Slack), etc. PandaDoc offers premium integrations with Salesforce, Slack, Microsoft OneDrive, Google Sheets, FreshBooks, and QuickBooks Online.
Adobe Sign integrates with 84 apps, including CRM systems (Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Oracle CRM), payment systems (eSignPay, RevSpring, IRIS CRM), productivity apps (Egnyte, Nintex, UiPath, SharePoint), and cloud storage services (Google Drive, Dropbox, Box).
signNow by airSlate and DocuSign are a great fit for teams and businesses that leverage multiple applications in their day-to-day operations. Both eSignature solutions easily integrate with enterprise software so you don’t have to worry about switching between multiple apps that are already in use.
So, which eSignature app offers the best value for the money?
DocuSign is an enterprise-grade solution that offers three pricing models — subscription, transaction-based, and maintenance fee. Despite having a 30-day free trial period, DocuSign’s Business plans start at $40/mo. Also, many DocuSign capabilities are available for an extra cost (i.e. qualified signatures). All of the above makes DocuSign’s cost one of its key challenges in the eyes of potential customers.
Adobe Sign is also an enterprise-grade solution that offers three pricing models — seat-based, user-based, and signature-based. As for pricing, Adobe Sign plans for teams start at $14.99/user/month, which makes it a bit more attractive for larger enterprises compared to DocuSign. And yet, one of Adobe Sign’s main challenges is deployment time, which, in some instances, can take up to two months.
PandaDoc offers two pricing models — subscription and seat-based. Despite PandaDoc having introduced a Free eSign plan, its Business subscription starts at $49/user/month with several capabilities offered at an extra cost (i.e. Salesforce integration, content locking, etc.) At the moment, PandaDoc offers a limited number of connectors and no options for any third-party add-ons for these connectors. Several premium integrations are available at an extra cost. One of PandaDoc’s biggest challenges is the lack of tracking and reporting capabilities already offered by its competitors. Finally, PandaDoc doesn’t offer phone support in the majority of its subscription plans. Users can only purchase PandaDoc’s premium support package that does include phone support for additional cost.
signNow by airSlate offers five pricing models — subscription, user-based, seat-based, transaction-based, and time-based. signNow has a free 7-day trial period, and a reasonable pricing policy with Business plans starting at $8/user/month. This allows teams and businesses of any size to adopt and scale eSignature with minimum spending while reaping the benefits offered by enterprise-grade solutions at a much higher value. signNow is a cost-effective and full-featured eSignature solution that can be used by larger enterprises as a part of the airSlate Business Cloud.
In our opinion, if you’re looking for the best eSignature software for SMBs, you won’t find a better option than signNow by airSlate.