Finding the right tool for digital signatures can be tricky, especially for small businesses that need versatility or enterprise-level sales teams who need to quickly produce documents.
In many cases, these individuals are looking to e-signature solutions as the final process in their workflow. It’s the last, preparatory step before sending proposals and contracts ultimately designed to close a deal.
Today, we’ll take a look at Adobe Sign (formerly EchoSign), a tool designed to help expedite those final stages in the process, and see how it compares with PandaDoc.
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As you might expect, there are a number of areas where both Adobe Sign and PandaDoc execute well.
All of the basic tools are available for both companies, including the ability to send and track documents (audit trails), create branded correspondence, and manage users and groups.
Since both platforms are designed to help companies collect signed documents, here’s a closer look at where the products overlap.
One of the major benefits that users will see when adding PandaDoc or Adobe Sign to their workflow is the ability to convert everyday Word documents and PDFs into secure, signable forms.
While nearly every electronic signature software tool does this, Adobe Sign and PandaDoc stand out from the rest for two different reasons.
Adobe Sign has an in-built feature called “Automatic Form Placement.” When you upload a designated company form, Adobe Sign scans the document and automatically places form fields in the designated areas. It’s not perfect, but every correct form it places is one that you don’t have to place by hand.
On the other hand, PandaDoc uses a flexible document editor, so you can upload your Microsoft Word document or import a contract directly from Google Docs and continue editing text as though you were still working inside your word processing application.
Need to collect payments when you send a proposal, contract, or invoice?
Using either of our two apps on offer, you can make payment collection a breeze.
By enabling a payment gateway inside your document, you can create a self-serve environment where users can e-sign and pay all in one place. This is a powerful feature for your signature process because it eliminates the need to send additional online payment requests or documentation after the initial contract is signed.
Build a better signing experience into your document workflow by empowering signers to wrap up everything all in one place.
Both Adobe Sign and PandaDoc offer document versioning, which can be a helpful tool for document management and templating.
When reviewing finalized documents, checking older versions may help you find great candidates for document templates. These features can also help you spot where unauthorized changes may have been made to a document.
Both PandaDoc and Adobe take customer support seriously. We both offer 24/7 chat support so that you don’t have to wait in order to get back to work.
There are a few minor differences here, though. With PandaDoc, all support is free for all users. From free e-signing plans all the way up to enterprise teams, PandaDoc offers chat and email support, as well as an extensive library of support documentation.
Adobe Sign offers most of this, but they also charge extra for “Premium Support” at the enterprise level. While this might not be a dealbreaker if you’re looking for priority support, keep in mind that PandaDoc doesn’t withhold any support options when you have a problem.
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At a high level, PandaDoc and Adobe Sign serve similar markets, but each product offers a different level of value at each pricing tier and overall.
Here are a few key differences where each product stands out.
Similar to DocuSign, Adobe Sign limits users to a set number of transactions per year. Briefly, Adobe designs transactions as “a document sent from your account for signature.”
For individual and small business plans (the majority of plans other than customized enterprise solutions), the number of transactions that a user can send is limited to 150.
If you’re a small business, this might be enough to cover all invoices, hiring documentation, contracts, and other signature requests. Unfortunately, if you’re a business that contracts with customers on a regular basis, this may be a count for a relatively small number of your annual transactions.
Customers who need more can move to an enterprise-level plan and work with a sales rep to create a more customizable solution.
On the other hand, PandaDoc has no transaction limits at any level, for any plan. If you’re worried about hitting the proverbial ceiling when asking customers to sign documents, PandaDoc may be the no-limit solution that you’re looking for.
Like we mentioned above, Adobe Sign and PandaDoc both handle document preparation in a different way.
With Adobe Sign, you’ll be able to drag and drop form fields onto your document during the signing process. This includes fields for signature and date, as well as other text-based formats.
PandaDoc takes an approach that’s different from every other e-signature tool on the market. Our in-built editor is designed to keep documents flexible throughout the entire signing process.
When you create or upload a .docx file, you can continue to edit that file within PandaDoc. Because every line of text remains editable throughout the signing process, contract negotiations can become a collaborative process as your team works with project stakeholders to reach a deal.
This is also a huge time saver because responding to a customer objection doesn’t require your team to take a document offline for corrections before uploading and reformatting the document.
With PandaDoc, it all happens on the same platform, making it easier than ever to seal the deal.
Integrations & versatility
While there is some overlap in terms of integrations, Adobe Sign and PandaDoc offer a variety of different tools to insert e-signature software into your existing workflow.
As cloud-based solutions, both software tools offer a certain level of native connectivity. For example, you can access both solutions via a web browser or through a mobile device running Android or iOS.
Likewise, both companies offer integrations with productivity software tools like Salesforce, Dropbox, and Dynamics.
Adobe Sign gains an advantage here if you’re using PowerPoint, SharePoint, or Outlook as part of your signature workflow (and you’re willing to pay for it). With Adobe, everything is packaged along very strict guidelines.
However, the sheer number of integrations that PandaDoc offers both natively and through Zapier means that it’s far more likely to fit into your everyday workflow. We offer direct integrations to CRMs, payment solutions, administrative services (like Single Sign-On), and even design tools.
All of this makes it easier to build outstanding documents, personalize them to your customer’s needs, and get your contracts signed.
At PandaDoc, we’re always looking for ways to help you automate your workflow.
That’s why we offer a template library with 450+ options to choose from. We also don’t limit the number of templates that you can create. You can build a template from any create document or use our library to jumpstart your own creative process.
This lack of restrictions is why our customers regularly save hours of production time by tapping into their prebuilt arsenal of documentation!
We even take this a step further by offering a content library on our Business plan so that you can select snippets of text from your documents and insert them into other documents as needed. It’s line-by-line customization on demand!
With Adobe Sign, you can create templates from uploaded documents, but there isn’t any customization available beyond adding fields to the document. These templates are saved in the Adobe Document Cloud and are accessible as needed.
Plans & pricing
When it comes to pricing, Adobe Sign offers tiered plans similar to PandaDoc.
Here’s a closer comparison of the features you’re likely to see at each tier.
While Adobe offers a 30-day free trial, the company has no free plan at this time.
PandaDoc offers an unlimited free plan that offers many of the same features you’ll find in Adobe Sign.
While the document editor is locked for users on the free plan, you can still capture legally binding e-signatures and collect payments with your documents.
With PandaDoc, users on the Essentials plan gain access to the document editor, as well as some key features like template creation and document analytics. With these features, it’s easy to move beyond basic customization and start creating versatile documents.
Meanwhile, Adobe Sign has two e-signature plans for entry-level users. Both of these plans are targeted toward individual users and make use of Adobe Acrobat for signature capture.
The flagship plan at this level is Adobe Pro DC with e-sign, which runs $14.99 per month with an annual subscription. This plan allows users to format documents and send them for signature capture. Payment gateways and integrations are not available on this plan.
For small business users, Adobe Sign offers the Sign Small Business plan. This plan comes with base-level integrations and greater versatility than the single user plan. However, as mentioned above, this plan is still limited to 150 transactions per user/year.
Meanwhile, PandaDoc users on the Business plan enjoy a wide variety of integration options, branding solutions, and content creation tools. Comparatively speaking, the PandaDoc plan is more expensive at this level but comes with fewer restrictions and greater utility.
Because enterprise plans are so customizable, it’s difficult to go into extreme detail when comparing plans and solutions at this stage.
Both Adobe Sign and PandaDoc invite you to contact their sales team to learn more about enterprise-level solutions.
While each platform offers more integrations and unique features — like in-person signatures and three-way identity verification — it’s difficult to determine value over cost because of the custom pricing involved.
Bottom line: Adobe Sign
There are a lot of great things to say about Adobe Sign.
As part of the Adobe Creative Cloud, Adobe’s flagship signature platform is geared toward ease of use without sacrificing versatility. It comes with tools to make document production easy, from advanced roles to workflow templates.
But, overall, this signature solution limits itself. Between transaction limits and neatly packaged plans, the only viable plan for small businesses seems designed to drive serious customers into the enterprise-level category.
Customers who are looking for a halfway solution, whether it’s a single power user or a small business team with one main contracting officer, may find the gulf between the small business plan and the enterprise option a little too steep.
On the other hand, PandaDoc offers a wide variety of options and flexibility at every price point and for every customer. Come see how our tools can empower your business, help you sign contracts, and optimize your document workflow.
Sign up for a free 14-day trial to get started!