PandaDoc

Top 5 document collaboration tools to empower your team

Top 5 document collaboration tools to empower your team

“If everyone is moving forward together, success takes care of itself”

Henry Ford

Even in the early 20th century, effective teamwork was recognized by thought leaders as one of the key drivers of success.

A strong team pulling together towards the same goal is a powerful asset — it’s a defining aspect of the human experience, really.

The psychological state of working together has been found to spark motivation, enjoyment, and task persistence.

So, what can you do as an employer and team leader to facilitate this? You can empower your team with the right tools: group chats, document collaboration tools, task planning software, etc. to make it easier to collaborate.

Today, we’ll be going over our top picks among the real-time document collaboration tools.

The importance of effective teamwork

Being a part of an effective team seems to have profound effects on each employee’s productivity and motivation.

For example, did you know that nearly two-thirds of employees experience burnout on their job?

One measure that is often recommended to avoid employee burnout — effectively sharing the workload.

Teamwork also seems to drive ideas. In fact, the more diverse the team, the more ideas it might generate!

This study from McKinsey & Company found that teams that are diverse in terms of gender, race, age, etc. are more creative and perform up to 35% better compared to homogenous teams.

Employees also report that the respect of their peers is the No.1 factor that motivates them to go the extra mile. There is no doubt that working in a team drives creativity and helps people manage their workload.

How are we dealing with remote work?

But how is all of this being affected by the global pandemic? Are we finding it more difficult to work in teams now that everyone is scattered?

As expected, remote work has contributed to rising concerns about mental health driven by social isolation.

This large survey of almost 500 organizations employing over six million employees in the U.S. reports that:

 67% of employers are investing in digital platforms for mental health services

Additionally, 28% of employers offered digital engagement solutions to their employees with 44% considering doing the same.

There is also the other side of this story.

Professor Jeremy Bailenson of Stanford University postulated something he called “Zoom fatigue”. He claims that the very nature of video conferencing software is intense and fatiguing and proposes several ways to address these issues.

In short, remote work presents us with a whole new set of challenges and, to respond to these challenges, we’ll have to find new ways to connect, collaborate, and stay engaged remotely.

How we sourced our data

The research outlined in this article is sourced from 25.2 million page views of data, as of May 2021.

We grouped the articles into four cohorts:

  • <5.000 page views;
  • 5.000 – 50.000 page views;
  • 50.000 – 1.000.000 page views;
  • over 1.000.000 page views.

Sources used include review articles, comparison articles, and user reviews for each of the tools mentioned. Most articles come from specialized SaaS and tech publications with substantial experience in the industry, specifically software reviews.

Otherwise, for factual and up-to-date information, we consulted the blogs and other online assets owned by the mentioned tools’ developers.

Other sources include news articles, statistics, and studies linked in the article.

The best document collaboration tools

Now that we’ve set the stage, let’s get into our favorite document collaboration tools.

Depending on your company size and needs, you’ll find different tools most useful so we included several options here that would make sense for different types of documents and organizations.

1. Monday.com

Monday dashboard

Pros:

  • Appealing, modern UI
  • Supports document editing from the most popular platforms (e.g., Figma, Google Docs)
  • Highly customizable

Cons:

  • The free version is very limiting (only two users)
  • Offers no document analytics

G2 Rating: 4.7/5.

Mondays get a bad rap. Yes, it’s the start of a new workweek and yes, we have five more days ahead of us but when you’re properly organized, all of this comes easier.

This is the idea behind Monday.com — an online collaboration tool that helps you organize, plan, and track all your team’s work.

The platform is highly visual and, although it’s not a typical project management app, it facilitates task management by allowing users to see their active tasks, track project progress, and fill in for each other.

The key selling point for Monday.com is its attractive interface. If you’re familiar with collaboration tools, you might find Monday.com similar to Asana or Airtable: highly stylized collaborative Excel spreadsheets with vibrant colors and good UX.

File sharing on Monday.com is done through a simple drag-and-drop mechanism that keeps all your files centralized in one place. The platform supports all formats and allows you to regulate everything by managing client and team permissions.

You can share files and comments without leaving the platform. Monday.com also supports real-time document editing from platforms like the G-Suite and Figma — also done directly within the app.

Pricing: The Individual plan for up to two seats (free), Basic plan ($8 seat/month), Standard ($10 seat/month), Pro ($16 seat/month), Enterprise (custom price).

Why choose Monday.com: It provides a visually satisfying and efficient overview of tasks, people, and projects.

The file-sharing functionalities allow you to collaborate on files directly through the platform in a variety of apps. The interface is easy to use and you can manage file permissions to ensure safety.

Integrations: Monday.com offers many integrations with all the most popular apps, including Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Drive, Salesforce, Zendesk, MailChimp, SurveyMonkey, and many more.

Free trial: 14 days.

2. PandaDoc

document generation software

Pros:

  • Empowers the entire process of document management
  • Offers templates for all sorts of documents
  • Has document analytics
  • Offers eSignature

Cons:

  • Primarily works in PDF mode, Word is only available in higher tiers

G2 Rating: 4.6/5.

PandaDoc is an all-in-one document management solution that allows you to take charge of the entire process of creation, collaboration, and tracking digital documents to automate contract management.

In practice, this means that you can use PandaDoc to create documents (proposals, quotes, contracts, etc.) with customizable templates, collaborate on those documents across several teams, and send them to your clients to request legally binding eSignatures — all in a matter of minutes.

You can also use PandaDoc to collect payments when your clients sign the contract.

Before sending anything to your clients, you can share and edit documents with your team internally.

With PandaDoc, you can:

  • Collaborate on documents with the entire team
  • Increase visibility and monitor employees
  • Standardize the process and have a centralized way to communicate with your customers
  • Improve team collaboration and empower your team to make decisions together.

Once you send the file to your client, you can drill down to see exactly which actions your client takes upon receiving it.

Learn how much time they spend viewing your documents, how many times they view them, whether they click links, download your PDFs, and more.

Stay in the loop and receive notifications as soon as your document is opened and completed.

You can go even deeper and track analytics for each page of your document!

Pricing: Free eSign (free for as many documents as you like), Essentials ($19 month/user), Business ($49 month/user), Enterprise (custom price).

Why choose PandaDoc: It provides a centralized place to handle your documents across the entire organization, from creation to tracking client-side analytics.

You can make sure all your documents are on-brand, improve customer experience, and empower your teams to make decisions together.

Your marketing, sales, and customer success teams will be able to use collaboration features to create stunning proposals, case studies, quotes, and other files with zero design experience.

Integrations: countless integrations, including 15 different CRM tools, Microsoft Office, Trello, Slack, Gmail, Zoho, and many others.

Free trial: 14 days.

3. Coda.io

Coda.io dashboard

Pros:

  • You can have all information in a single document
  • An intuitive drag-and-drop interface

Cons:

  • You might need to use Zapier for some integrations (which is an additional expense)
  • Copying and pasting from other sources is too complicated

G2 Rating: 4.7/5.

Coda is a file collaboration app that cuts down on distractions and makes the whole process of document sharing easier.

Unlike Google Docs, Sheets, and similar apps, Coda keeps everything in one flexible workspace that allows your entire team to pitch in without causing mayhem.

No need to switch between tabs or apps — you have building blocks that you can use to grow your collaborative document over time. Using a simple (and fun) drag-and-drop interface, you can turn a blank document into a powerful organizational tool.

It’s simple: each document can be enriched with blocks that rest on the right side of the screen. Drag any of these onto the document and they’ll become interactive and editable by anyone on the team.

Among these templates, you’ll find anything from to-do lists and brainstorming sessions to charts, images, and even polls.

Pricing: The Free plan (free for the entire team but with document size limitations), Pro ($10 month/user), Team ($30 month/user), and Enterprise (custom price).

Why choose Coda: It provides an innovative way to organize your team, drive productivity, and collaborate on documents. You can do everything in one place without the need to constantly switch between documents and workspaces. Formatting, collaborating, and creating workflows is fairly easy.

Integrations: In Coda, these are called “Packs”. There aren’t too many apps you can integrate with (only 11 in the Team plan) but a lot of the big ones are there: Google Calendar, Intercom, Jira, Zoom, G Suite.

Free trial: You can’t try their paid plans, you can only use the free one.

4. Slack

Slack dashboard

Pros:

  • Lots of integrations with other tools
  • You can share Google Docs files quickly and easily
  • Intuitive UI

Cons:

  • You can’t edit documents in real-time without leaving the app
  • Can be pricey, especially for larger enterprises

G2 Rating: 4.5/5.

For years now, Slack has been one of the most popular communication tools in the industry.

In such a competitive field, the instant messaging app has established itself as a go-to solution, especially for smaller teams that can benefit from the free version. And, since the acquisition from Salesforce, we can expect Slack to maybe make some interesting moves in the near future.

Since it allows teams to communicate and work together on projects, it makes sense that Slack would introduce some solutions for online document sharing and editing.

On Slack, this happens through some of their many integrations. So, while there are no additional features within Slack to facilitate file sharing, you can integrate with Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, and SharePoint to add your documents and turn Slack into a powerful collaboration platform.

The obvious drawback here is the fact that to collaborate on these files with other team members, you need to leave the app.

For example, the Google Drive integration will allow you to do all sorts of things like sharing Drive files with one click, automatically grant access to files, get updates on Slack for all changes on Drive, and even reply to Drive comments directly from Slack. However, the one thing you won’t be able to do is editing a Drive document from the app.

For that, you’ll need to leave the platform.

Slack also doesn’t support all file types so you might run into some issues here.

Pricing: Free (with limited access to message history), Standard ($6.67 user/month), Plus ($12.5 user/month), Enterprise Grid (custom price)

Why choose Slack: It’s a streamlined, user-friendly team chat solution loved by millions. It doesn’t have built-in document management features but it offers just enough file-sharing options to help you communicate and collaborate on files at the same time.

Integrations: According to their website, there are more than 2.400 integrations in the library. They include apps of every type: productivity, communication, project management tools, etc.

Free trial: You can’t try their paid plans, you can only use the free one.

5. Zoom

Zoom dashboard

Pros:

  • Interactive, real-time collaboration
  • Verbal communication

Cons:

  • Document collaboration doesn’t happen directly on the platform
  • Tracking everyone’s actions, comments, and mark-ups can be confusing

G2 Rating: 4.5.

Zoom has seen a big spike in active users during the global pandemic. As we shifted towards remote work, more and more remote teams became dependent on video conferencing as a primary means of team communication.

And, although Zoom has backtracked on its previous claims of having 300 million active users, its growth is still impressive.

Much like Slack, Zoom has also established itself as a leader in the industry. It’s among the most streamlined video conferencing tools, allowing meeting participants to join the conversation with one click, close deals, and effortlessly communicate with other team members.

In addition to providing a very necessary human touch during these times of isolation, a lot of people consider video conferencing the best way to collaborate on a document online.

You can discuss everything through real-time collaboration, share your screen, and use the chat option to share documents.

Pricing: Free (for up to 100 participants and up to 40-minute meetings), Pro ($149/year), Small & Med Business ($199.90/year), Zoom United Business ($350/year).

Why choose Zoom: If you’re a fan of live document sharing, video calls might just be your best option. Zoom is likely the best video conferencing solution on the market, with other options like group chat, meeting notes, and video webinars.

Integrations: There is no exact number of integrations mentioned on their website but Zoom integrates with many of the essential organization apps like Skype, Google (both Chrome and Calendar), Microsoft Teams, Zoho, and others.

Free trial: You can’t try their paid plans, you can only use the free one.

Choosing the perfect document collaboration software for your team

These five document collaboration tools are all good options and your choice will largely depend on the needs of your team members.

Make sure that your software of choice supports collaboration across different departments and gives you complete control over the process: who can access, edit, and share files.

You want to have a good overview of everything that’s going on with your files — there’s nothing worse than misplacing or permanently deleting a document.

Find a platform that allows you to do all of this with the least clutter and confusion.

The best part about making this decision is that most of these tools have either free trials or completely free plans so there is almost no risk involved!

Yauhen Zaremba

Yauhen Zaremba Director of Demand Generation at PandaDoc

Yauhen is the Director of Demand Generation at PandaDoc. He’s been a marketer for 10+ years, and for the last five years, he’s been entirely focused on the electronic signature, proposal, and document management markets. Yauhen has experience speaking at niche conferences where he enjoys sharing his expertise with other curious marketers. And in his spare time, he is an avid fisherman and takes nearly 20 fishing trips every year.

Related articles