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Best E-Signature Software You Should Consider Using in 2022

27 Mins read

E-signature software gives users the ability to gather signatures on documents shared electronically, eliminating the need for physical documents to record signatures. E-signature software facilitates the distribution of legally sensitive documents for the collection of electronic signatures. Organizations use e-signature software to encrypt documents, such as sales contracts or employment paperwork, for which client, employee, or partner signatures are often required.

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16 Listing in E-Signature Software Available.

1. DocuSign

SellerDocuSign
HQ LocationSan Francisco, CA
Company WebsiteDocuSign.com
LinkedIn Page8,624 employees on LinkedIn®
Deals on SaaSDekhoDocuSign Deals Page
Year Founded2003

DocuSign helps organizations connect and automate how they prepare, sign, act on and manage agreements. As part of the DocuSign Agreement Cloud, DocuSign offers eSignature, the world’s #1 way to sign electronically on practically any device, from almost anywhere, at any time. Today, over a million customers and more than a billion users in over 180 countries use the DocuSign Agreement Cloud to accelerate the process of doing business and simplify people’s lives.

2. HelloSign

SellerHelloSign
HQ LocationSan Francisco, California
Company WebsiteHelloSign.com
LinkedIn Page72 employees on LinkedIn®
Deals on SaaSDekhoHelloSign Deals Page
Year Founded2010

HelloSign is an intuitive way to sign and request signatures securely online. Add legally valid signatures to any agreement—from new-hire offer letters to loans to sales contracts to NDAs. An award-winning user interface, robust admin controls, document tracking, and enterprise-grade security that’s more secure than pen-and-paper methods all come default out-of-the-box.

3. Foxit PDF Editor

SellerFoxit PDF Editor
HQ LocationFremont, CA
Company WebsiteFoxit.com
LinkedIn Page405 employees on LinkedIn®
Deals on SaaSDekhoFoxit PDF Editor Deals Page
Year Founded2001

Foxit is a leading software provider of fast, affordable, and secure PDF solutions. Businesses and consumers increase productivity by using Foxit’s cost-effective products to securely work with PDF documents and forms. Foxit is the #1 pre-installed PDF software, shipped on one-third of all new Windows PCs, including those from HP®, Acer, and ASUS®.

4. Foxit ESign

SellerFoxit
HQ LocationFremont, CA
Company WebsiteFoxit.com
LinkedIn Page447 employees on LinkedIn®
Deals on SaaSDekhoFoxit ESign Deals Page
Year Founded2001

Foxit is used by over 650 million users and has sold to over 425,000 customers, ranging from SMBs to global enterprises, located in more than 200 countries around the world. Foxit eSign is a legally-binding e-sign service to prepare and gather important signed documents. It provides a complete e-sign solution – uploads your document, creates your template, adds recipients, and sends. Foxit eSign automates workflow, providing a seamless process to allow the user to send, sign, track, and manage signature processes using a browser. After completion, you have a tamper-proof archived legally signed document. Whether from the web or mobile, generating agreements and sending them out for e-sign is quick and easy.

5. PDFFiller By AirSlate

SellerairSlate
HQ LocationBrookline, Massachusetts.
Company WebsiteairSlate.com
LinkedIn Page629 employees on LinkedIn®
Deals on SaaSDekhoPDFFiller Deals Page
Year Founded2006

PDFFiller is a comprehensive online document management platform that provides the services of an online editor, a cloud storage platform, and a signature request manager all in one package. Since 2008, pdfFiller has been allowing customers to fill out and send any PDF form online. Over 2 million people access the site every year, and our customers fill out 20,000 forms a day.

6. Adobe Acrobat Sign

SellerAdobe
HQ LocationSan Jose, CA
Company WebsiteAdobe.com
LinkedIn Page35,452 employees on LinkedIn®
Deals on SaaSDekhoAdobe Acrobat Deals Page
Year Founded2006

Acrobat Sign is the only intuitive e-signature solution that combines simple and secure e-signatures with the power of Adobe Acrobat. With Acrobat Sign, you can create, sign, send for signature, manage, and track documents – all from one Adobe platform. You can create delightful signing experiences for your customers and teams by enabling them to sign documents on any device or browser – anytime, anywhere. No additional software downloads or accounts are needed.

7. SignRequest

SellerSignRequest
HQ LocationAmsterdam, Noord-Holland
Company WebsiteSignRequest.com
LinkedIn Page7 employees on LinkedIn®
Deals on SaaSDekhoSignRequest Deals Page
Year Founded2014

With millions of documents sent all around the world, SignRequest is a secure, legally binding, and affordable e-signature solution.

8. Proposify

SellerProposify
HQ LocationHalifax, Canada
Company WebsiteProposify.com
LinkedIn Page84 employees on LinkedIn®
Deals on SaaSDekhoProposify Deals Page
Year Founded2012

Proposify helps sales teams streamline the process of creating, sending, and closing proposals, quotes, contracts, and other sales documents. It’s a simple way to deliver beautiful, winning proposals to your clients.

9. Lightico

SellerLightico
HQ LocationNew York, NY
Company WebsiteLightico.com
LinkedIn Page140 employees on LinkedIn®
Deals on SaaSDekhoLightico Deals Page
Year Founded2014

Lightico empowers businesses to accelerate customer journeys. With Lightico’s Digital Completion Cloud‚Ñ¢, companies leverage no-code workflows to collect customer eSignatures, documents, and payments and authenticate ID in real-time ‚Äî straight from the customer’s smartphone. As a result, businesses enjoy faster and shorter sales and servicing cycles, boost NPS, and significantly improve their completion rates.

10. Formstack Sign

SellerFormstack
HQ LocationFishers, IN
Company WebsiteFormstack.com
LinkedIn Page312 employees on LinkedIn®
Deals on SaaSDekhoFormstack Deals Page
Year Founded2006

Formstack Sign (formerly InsureSign) is the simplest, fastest, and most secure way to get any document signed electronically. Trusted by thousands of businesses of all sizes, Formstack Sign (formerly InsureSign) lets your customers easily sign your documents from their laptops, tablets, and mobile devices – and even via text message. All customers enjoy dedicated customer assistance available via phone at any time.

11. GetAccept

SellerGetAccept Inc.
HQ LocationPalo Alto, CA
Company WebsiteGetAccept.com
LinkedIn Page206 employees on LinkedIn®
Deals on SaaSDekhoGetAccept Deals Page
Year Founded2015

GetAccept is an all-in-one solution for e-signature, contract management, proposal creation, sales collateral management, document tracking, and prospecting. Used by sales, HR, customer success, and development teams; personal video messaging, live chat, and analytics are popular features.

12. SignEasy

SellerSignEasy
HQ LocationDallas, Texas
Company WebsiteSignEasy.com
LinkedIn Page98 employees on LinkedIn®
Deals on SaaSDekhoSignEasy Deals Page
Year Founded2010

SignEasy is a SaaS-based mobile-first solution to electronically sign and fill documents from smartphones, tablets, and the web. People across industries such as real estate, legal, accounting, sales, insurance, human resources, logistics, and healthcare from over 150 countries use SignEasy to reduce business turnaround times, close deals faster, cut costs, and delight customers by eliminating the cycle of printing, scanning and faxing of paperwork.

13. Qwilr

SellerQwilr
HQ LocationRedfern, New South Wales
Company WebsiteQwilr.com
LinkedIn Page74 employees on LinkedIn®
Deals on SaaSDekhoQwilr Deals Page
Year Founded2014

Save time and win more work by replacing your sales documents with interactive & mobile-friendly webpages that plug into your systems and are as easy to build and reuse as they are beautiful.

14. CocoSign

SellerCocoFax
HQ LocationN/A
Company WebsiteCocoSign.com
LinkedIn Page23 employees on LinkedIn®
Deals on SaaSDekhoCocoFax Deals Page
Year Founded2020

CocoSign is the simplest and most secure e-signature service that can be seamlessly integrated into your daily business. CocoSign enables you and your business partners to sign or approve documents from laptops, tablets, or any mobile devices at any time. You will find CocoSign to be the most effective solution to streamline contract management, enhance team collaboration, and boost business.

15. ValidSign

SellerValidSign
HQ LocationEefde, Gelderland
Company WebsiteValidSign.eu
LinkedIn Page24 employees on LinkedIn®
Deals on SaaSDekhoValidSign Deals Page
Year Founded2014

ValidSign offers a solution for the valid and digital signing of all your documents. Easy to use and easy to implement within your processes. For example, ValidSign offers integrations with Sharepoint, Office 365, Alfresco, OpenText, K2, Nintex Workflows, BCT, iBabs & Centric.

16. Scrive

SellerScrive
HQ LocationStockholm, Sweden
Company WebsiteScrive.com
LinkedIn Page231 employees on LinkedIn®
Deals on SaaSDekhoScrive Deals Page
Year Founded2010

Scrive eSign enables businesses to manage agreement signing processes on any device so they can reduce administration, increase security and improve customer experience.

Choose Your E-Signature Software:

Choosing E-Signature Software can be a daunting task but it doesn’t have to be. The best thing to do is make a list of your must-haves and compare the possible tools on SaaSDekho to select the right software for your team.

Or, Schedule a Call with our SaaS Consultant and they’ll guide you in your SaaS Discovery and Buying Journey. 

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CRM SoftwareSales Acceleration | Sales Intelligence


What is E-Signature Software?

E-signature software allows users to receive, sign, and send documents virtually, eliminating the need for physical distribution. Sending a contract or another document requiring electronic signatures becomes even more convenient when you can ensure that those documents are shared and stored securely. Aside from the paperless work environment that e-signature software helps create, the tool also alleviates the burden of waiting on the recipient to sign and send the contract without confirming if the document has been received or sent. 

Simply, an e-signature is a digital method of putting pen to paper. According to the Electronic Signature & Records Association, it can be a sound, symbol, or process. E-signatures can be captured on a computer, tablet, or mobile device. They verify and validate the intentions of the signer while also providing records retention. Since signing and tracking documents on the go can be convenient or perhaps a necessity, e-signature providers continue to add greater functionality to their products through native iOS or Android applications or mobile browsers.

E-signature software provides users with an efficient alternative to the traditional methods of preparing, sending, signing, and verifying documents, agreements, and contracts. It provides an enhanced customer experience, improved workflow efficiencies, and an effective method to stand up to legal muster. Nevertheless, due to the sensitivity of the documents exchanged and signed with e-signature software, most products adhere to strict industry standards for authenticity, security, and encryption. 

 In 1999, the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) was enacted, which alongside the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-SIGN Act), led to increased adoption of e-signature software. In June 2000, the US Congress passed the E-SIGN Act, which states that electronic records and signatures cannot be “denied legal effect, validity, or enforceability solely because it is in electronic form.”

Simply, digitized contracts and electronically submitted signatures hold an equivalent legal weight, are legally binding and can pass the same legal scrutiny as a paper document in the United States. In 2014, the European Union (EU) created a regulation, named the electronic Identification, Authentication and Trust Services (eIDAS) Regulation, which, similar to the E-SIGN Act, states that signatures cannot be denied legal effect “solely because it is in an electronic form.” However, the EU further categorizes electronic signatures. A qualified electronic signature (QES) is the sole e-signature with the equivalent legal weight of a handwritten signature, a key distinction between locations. 

Some e-signature solutions come equipped (or facilitate the integration) with solutions that offer e-notary functionality. While both solutions support the data integrity of sensitive documents, electronic notarization goes beyond encrypting and securing electronic signatures. E-signature platforms can also provide document generation capabilities to streamline the document creation process. Both solutions support sharing and storing documents, but document generation further allows users to create complex document types, including text-based and graphics. Additionally, many e-signature products offer out-of-the-box integration with popular CRM or document management tools. Integrating an e-signature product with your CRM software or content management system can make the contract-signing process more efficient and easier to manage.

Types of E-Signatures

All electronic signatures adhere to signature laws and requirements based on their geographical location. E-signatures can be leveraged for both personal and business use on documents including but not limited to purchase orders, sales contracts, non-disclosure agreements, lease agreements, school forms, real estate contracts, and employment agreements. The following points expand on the types of e-signatures and detail the distinctions between the various electronic signatures recognized by the EU. 

Electronic signatures 

The term “e-signature” generally refers to any type of electronic authentication method to accept an agreement or contract. That method simply needs to verify the signer’s identity, ranging from a corporate ID to a verified email account. E-signatures can come equipped with multi-factor authentication to align with increased security measures when necessary while also creating an audit trail. 

Digital signatures

Digital signatures are a specific type of e-signature. Essentially, digital signatures are an enhanced version, as they feature additional security capabilities. Digital signatures typically require a certificate-based digital ID, which adds a level of encryption to the identity verification method. Then the digital signature is validated through a trust service provider (TSP), commonly through certificate authorities (CAs). Companies can use both e-signatures and digital signatures for various business purposes. However, digital signatures are commonly utilized for processes with higher risk variables. A few examples of more highly regulated business processes are loan approvals, bank transactions, HR manager processes, and doctor signatures.

Standard electronic signatures (SES)

Also referred to as simple electronic signatures, an SES is the most basic type of e-signature recognized by the EU. These signatures do not mandate stringent authentication processes, do not leverage enhanced encryption, and depend on the signer’s intent to validate the agreement. While an SES may still stand up to legal muster, the risk for fraudulent activities is higher as the signer’s identity is easier to fabricate.

Advanced electronic signatures (AES)

This e-signature provides additional steps to ensure user authentication compared to SES. A key distinction between SES and AES is that the latter requires the signer’s identity to be verified. Furthermore, to be considered an AES, the eIDAS Regulation states that the signature is required to be: uniquely linked to the signer, capable of identifying the signer, created using electronic signature creation data that the signer can use under their sole control, and is linked to data signed to detect any subsequent change. These requirements mitigate the threat of fraud and improve the legal standing of the agreement. AES can be used for various purposes, such as employment offers or inputting a one-time password to verify identity before signing into platforms. While this e-signature provides enhanced security compared to SES, the EU does not recognize AES as equivalent to a handwritten signature. 

Qualified electronic signatures (QES) 

This type of e-signature provides the highest level of authentication and is the only type that the EU recognizes as equivalent to a handwritten signature. QES is exclusive to the EU and does not have an equivalent in the US. To be considered a QES, the requirements for SES and AES are enforced along with additional requirements regarding the device which provided the signature. QES requires a verification process by a Qualified Trust Service Provider (QTSP) and is created with an electronic signature device. The additional requirements imposed on QES provide greater authenticity and decrease the possibility of fraud or tampering. As QES is the sole type of e-signature that the EU recognizes as equivalent to a handwritten signature, this should be leveraged for agreements or contracts that are subject to high levels of scrutiny. 

What Types of E-Signature Software Exist?

The following bullet points lay out the different types of e-signature software that can be deployed.

Cloud 

Cloud e-signature tools offer a software-as-a-service (SaaS) pricing model and work inside a browser. Most new e-signature platforms originated in the cloud. The cloud pricing model is typically a set price per user per month. Cloud tools are easy to implement, do not require hardware investments, and allow you to pay over time based on usage. 

On-premises 

On-premises e-signature tools are installed on hardware owned and maintained by the customer. Most customers who use on-premises tools purchase a perpetual license based on the number of users and pay an annual maintenance fee. On-premises tools might be client-server tools that require software to be installed on each user’s PC or might be browser-based. On-premises tools require hardware investments and IT support to install and maintain. 

E-Signature

What are the Common Features of E-Signature Software?

E-signature software is a great aid to any organization with the need to create, share, and sign documents or agreements quickly. The following are some core features within e-signature platforms that can help users make the most of them:

Document signing: The tool allows the signer to easily and intuitively sign documents in a virtual capacity. This feature enables businesses to focus on higher-priority tasks rather than obtaining, reviewing, signing, and sending documents. E-signature solutions are user-friendly and expedite the signing process. 

Progress tracking: This technology allows interested parties to track documents and identify if the document has been received, opened, and signed in real-time. This feature provides businesses greater visibility into the signer’s activities and allows them to understand when agreements will be signed and delivered more accurately. 

Regulatory compliance: Signatures often adhere to strict regulatory and legal standards. E-signature software allows signers to focus on work tasks rather than worry about regulatory compliance of an agreement as these tools typically have regulatory compliance embedded within the software.

Document creation and templates: Agreements and documents often have nuanced differences and vary depending on their use case. However, e-signature solutions allow users to either use premade templates or create templates to customize agreements for the individual signer quickly.

Mobile accessibility: Users can easily send, review, and sign documents on mobile devices or mobile apps. This allows users to freely review and sign agreements independently, rather than being physically present in front of the interested parties or on a computer. 

Bulk digital signatures: Users can send documents and agreements requiring thousands of signers at once. E-signature platforms enable businesses to send documents in bulk to various parties, increasing the efficiency of the signing process and enhancing document management processes. This feature saves companies countless hours of sending, receiving, and tracking the status of documents.

Document repository: Another key feature of e-signature tools is retaining all documents or agreements and storing them within the solution or on a third-party platform. Businesses can enhance their document management capabilities by having a solution that stores all documents securely and is accessible for future use cases such as contract negotiations, renewals, or legal matters. 

Signature creation: A core feature of e-signature software is creating and customizing signature blocks and initials for signers to use. Signature creation can occur on all required electronic document types or forms and can be individualized for the user. This allows businesses to sign documents electronically and create an authentic signature at any point in the document workflow. 

Custom branding: Many e-signature solutions allow businesses to implement custom branding in the various types of documents that will be shared, signed, and stored. This feature enables businesses to leverage their brand in documents or agreements and has consistent brand marketing throughout their documents. 

File sharing: In addition to signing documents, e-signature tools enable businesses to quickly share files with multiple parties in real-time. This allows companies to efficiently share and send any type of document to interested parties without physically moving.  

API integrations: E-signature software can also leverage API integrations to enable users to create and update documents, forms, or templates and integrate them into other business processes or workflows by leveraging an all-in-one e-signature system. API integrations provide businesses with an effective way to seamlessly integrate the document signing process into any other core aspect of their business. 

Reminders and expirations: Another feature offered within e-signature solutions is the ability to remind signers of documents or agreements that are waiting to be signed and notify them of expiration dates for digital documents. Users can be notified through various mediums, including SMS messages and email notifications. This feature assists in progressing the document signing process increase turnaround time and ensures interested parties do not miss contract renewals or offer period expirations. 

What are the Benefits of E-Signature Software?

E-signature software can have its own set of benefits, as mentioned below.

Increase workflow efficiencies: E-signature solutions allow users to create and share documents digitally with the signer, enabling the workforce to focus on more strenuous tasks. E-signature tools enable users to leverage already created templates, send documents virtually, and get notified when documents have been seen, signed, and returned, saving time and manual effort. 

Improve customer experience: Rather than constantly checking physical mailboxes, meeting with the signatory, and ensuring receipt of the agreement, these solutions enable the signer to virtually receive, review, and sign the document, providing a better user experience to all parties involved. Additionally, many e-signature tools integrate with other software, such as CRM, allowing sales teams to get notifications when the agreements have been received, reviewed, and signed. 

Provide audit trail and compliance: E-signature tools provide businesses with an easy method for tracking the movement of their documents and detecting changes or edits made to documents and agreements. These tools provide an audit trail where companies can see who signed the document, when it was signed, where it was signed, and who it was shared with. This benefit provides businesses with enhanced contract management and ensures compliance with various industry standards. 

Increase cost efficiency: E-signature solutions eliminate the paper trail of contracts, which reduces printing and physical file storage needs. Not only does this reduce the environmental impact businesses are having, but it also allows businesses to save on office and administrative expenses such as paper, printers, fax machines, and pens. 

Improve productivity: Another key benefit of electronic signature software is improving productivity by allocating less time to sign, send, and process contracts or agreements. In addition to the reduced time needed to sign and process documents, e-signature platforms help businesses cut administrative expenses and allow employees to focus on high business priorities rather than shipping and receiving contracts.

Allow ease of scalability: E-signature software allows businesses to easily scale up software usage to additional users, teams, or the entire enterprise. Because signing documents electronically is relatively easy to train users on, compared to more in-depth software, businesses can scale up their software used to increase productivity in other business areas. Additionally, e-signature software allows companies to have uniform documentation and branding across the enterprise, rather than having individual departments tailor documents appropriately. 

Who Uses E-Signature Software?

Given the vast applicability, e-signatures offer to businesses, a wide variety of stakeholder groups leverage this software. Below are a few examples of business groups that likely regularly use e-signatures.

Sales teams: E-signature software assists sales teams in quickly sending sales agreements, purchase orders, or contracts to vendors and increases the efficiency of the signing process. Sales professionals are tasked daily with communicating with prospective clients and sharing sensitive documents about sales agreements or contracts. E-signature solutions can assist them in reducing a prospect’s wait time. Sales team members also leverage the tracking and reporting capabilities of e-signature tools to understand better where the prospect is in the signing process and what details they have reviewed and signed in real time. 

HR Teams: E-signature software allows human resource professionals to efficiently interact with potential employees by sharing, reviewing, and receiving employment offers and other HR documents directly with the prospect. HR professionals can easily send documentation to potential employees with e-signature platforms and track where potential employees are in the signing process.

Legal teams: Legal professionals constantly send and receive legal documents to sign and review. E-signature software allows legal teams to effectively access the plethora of documents they are regularly required to take action and tailor them accordingly.  

Property management professionals: Real estate and property management professionals are tasked with sending, reviewing, and receiving several different types of documents daily to perform their duties. This software allows property management workers to quickly send lease agreements, among other industry-relevant documents, to current or future tenants and track the tenant’s progress in signing documents. Signing reports electronically simplifies contract and document management practices as it consolidates all retrieval and signing processes into a single platform. 

Procurement and supply chain teams: Among their responsibilities, supply chain professionals are consistently tasked with reviewing and signing documents such as contracts, licenses, and purchase agreements. E-signature solutions enable supply chain professionals to streamline their contract management processes and consolidate all document signing activities to a single location. 

Insurance professionals: Insurance professionals are constantly tasked with providing customers with applications, insurance claims, and renewals, among other documents, which can be cumbersome to deliver and receive in physical forms. E-signature software enables insurance workers to quickly provide their customers with digital copies to expedite the signing process and ensure that customers are adequately protected. 

Financial services: In the financial services sector, workers are required to send, sign, and review agreements or financial documents regularly. E-signature tools allow finance workers to easily review and sign documents in a remote setting, including on a mobile device, which helps them streamline the signing process for what can be complex financial deals. Financial services professionals must adhere to various industry regulations, and e-signature software seamlessly ensures compliance, saving workers time and resources. 

What are the Alternatives to E-Signature Software?

E-signature software can be partially or completely replaced by the following tools:

E-notary software: Like e-signature solutions, e-notary software typically offers users the ability to add digital or electronic signatures and authenticate the signer’s identity. Additionally, it provides a similar audit trail feature to e-signature tools and saves users both time and resources. Businesses may opt to use e-notary software rather than e-signature software if they are typically required to notarize documents. 

Legal document drafting software: Similar to e-signature, this software allows legal professionals a medium to store legal documents and offer templates for different types of legal documents. While legal document drafting software does not replicate the full functionality of e-signature software, the industry-specific templates and storing capabilities offer legal professionals many benefits. 

Document scanning software: This software usually provides users with a platform to streamline the scanning process. Some businesses may opt to leverage a document scanning software instead of an e-signature tool if most of their electronic signatures stem from physical documents uploaded to a software. While document scanning software does not typically offer an online portal to sign documents electronically, it does provide the ability to upload, save, and store documents. 

Software Related to E-Signature Software

Related solutions that can be used together with e-signature software include:

Contract management softwareContract management software simplifies and streamlines the contract process. Since an important part of contract management software is its compliance with business legal requirements, the software is a sensible fit because it adheres to legal regulations.

Contract lifecycle management (CLM) softwareCLM software supports the entire contract process, beginning at pre-signature. CLM software also tracks the contract creation and delivery process, which is related to e-signature software, as this similarly provides tracking and an audit trail from creation to execution. 

Proposal softwareProposal software streamlines the creation, editing, and submission of proposals and RFPs. Some proposal software offers built-in e-signature functionality, and others integrate seamlessly with third-party tools.

CPQ softwareCPQ software automates the lifecycle of the entire quoting and proposal process of contracts. While e-signature software is typically leveraged at the end of the aforementioned lifecycle, the effectiveness of a CPQ system correlates with its ability to integrate both downstream and upstream.

CRM softwareCRM software helps businesses keep track of prospects, leads, and other activities related to sales efforts, typically in the form of an expansive database. E-signature software leverages CRM databases to confirm the recipients and points of contact through the contract lifecycle. Additionally, many e-signature tools integrate with CRM software to provide seamless integration and increase visibility. 

Document generation softwareThis software enables users to create and edit documents, including PDFs and other templated documents. These solutions help businesses maintain brand consistency and important relevant information from third-party systems like CRM and ERP. Document generation software can be leveraged alongside e-signature solutions to create agreements or documents and efficiently send them to the appropriate parties. 

Mobile forms automation softwareMobile forms automation software provides workflows to track the progress of created transferable documents. E-signature takes on similar tracking functionality, ensuring all relevant parties stay in the loop so that users can proactively reach out to resolve blockers.

Challenges with E-Signature Software

E-signature software can come with its own set of challenges. A few of them are listed below.

Security: Since e-signature tools are leveraged to electronically sign and share sensitive documents, ensuring security is a continued challenge. As most e-signature software is cloud-based, businesses may not be able to independently control and secure the cloud environment that manages these sensitive materials. For tools hosted on vendor-specific servers, companies may be concerned with the security of the vendor’s IT environment and their inability to measure the server’s potential for vulnerabilities. 

Compliance requirements: As e-signature software is used to share, review, and sign documents and agreements across multiple industries and locations, there are various regulatory and legal requirements that businesses must adhere to. Companies should ensure that the tools they use to meet compliance requirements for their specific industry or location alleviate the potential for noncompliance. 

Proprietary software: Proprietary software can cause users to worry that they must remain with one e-signature vendor, lest they lose or compromise any secure documents passed through the solution. To mitigate this concern, vendors should consider a platform’s capability to download and store documents should a vendor switch solutions. 

Verification process: The criteria to certify the legality of e-signatures are that the signer must be authenticated, the signer must give legal disclosure and consent, the software must protect documents against hacking or tampering, and some sort of audit record must be kept throughout the lifecycle of a document. These criteria lead businesses to place great emphasis on the authentication and verification of the signatory. 

Storage: Although many e-signature software solutions are hosted within a cloud environment, businesses remain concerned with storage volume. Some platforms limit firms to a certain amount of documents to be stored. As such, companies should estimate the volume of documents they require to select the best software for their circumstances.

Which Companies Should Buy E-Signature Software?

This software can be leveraged by any business required to sign documents or legal agreements, meaning that practically any industry or business type may have use cases for e-signature software. Below we have detailed the following company types, based on their size, that may leverage e-signature tools given their anticipated needs. 

Small businesses: Many small businesses have a single individual that manages the contract management process, positioning them well for a lower-tiered e-signature software subscription. Depending on the specific industry, some small businesses do not require an enormous amount of electronic signatures, further showcasing how a single-user software license is sufficient to meet their business needs. 

Medium-sized businesses: Many e-signature vendors offer tiered plans, which may be compelling for medium-sized businesses with a small team of individuals who manage most document signing and document management processes. This type of business may have more standardized and templates documents to send that do not require extensive custom branding or editing, leading them to focus on the volume of documents being sent instead of the additional features offered by e-signature software. 

Enterprises: For businesses with multiple stakeholders managing processes that require extensive document management-related practices, such as a large business with a sales team, legal team, and an HR department. This type of business typically seeks to have a limitless volume of documents, a higher number of licensed team members, and additional features such as custom branding and additional templates. 

How to Buy E-Signature Software

Requirements Gathering (RFI/RFP) for E-Signature Software

Requirements gathering for an e-signature solution is critical to ensure that the business is leveraging a product that meets its needs. To do so, companies must evaluate the software based on their critical needs, as given below.

Compare E-Signature Software Products

Create a long list

Long lists are created by eliminating software options that do not provide critical functionality. To make a long list for an e-signature vendor, a buyer should look at the essential functionalities and determine which products provide the necessary functionality. Common functionalities provided by e-signature software include document creation and templatizing, the ability to integrate with existing software, mobile accessibility, scalability, customization, and reporting. A typical long list should not contain more than 10 products unless there are many very similar options. In this case, buyers can use additional details such as the geographical presence or industry regulations and standards to eliminate vendors. 

Create a shortlist

From the long list of vendors, it is helpful to narrow down the list and develop a shorter list of contenders, preferably no more than three to five. With this list in hand, businesses can produce a matrix to compare the features and pricing of the various solutions. 

Conduct demos

To ensure the comparison is thoroughgoing, the user should demo, or free trial where applicable, each solution on the shortlist with the same use case and datasets. This will allow the business to evaluate like for like and see how each vendor stacks up against the competition. 

Selection of E-Signature Software

Choose a selection team

E-signature software can be widely used across an organization, from the HR department to sales, marketing, and legal teams. It is important to consider input from a member of each employee group that intends to leverage the software, as each group may have differing needs and applications for the software. The selection team for the e-signature tool should include a senior member from each of the departments that will leverage the software, such as a senior sales member, legal representative, and an HR employee, as well as an IT professional to ensure software compatibility. This selection team will ensure that all use cases and potential applications of the software can be assessed and ensure the compliance of a potential e-signature solution. 

Negotiation

When negotiating a software contract, it is crucial to minimize risk in terms of performance or security and accurately assess the business needs relating to this software. As most solutions are priced based on the number of licenses, with the potential for additional charges based on desired features, businesses need to estimate the number of licenses they may require. If the company has cash flow, it may behoove them to ask for a discount in return for an annual upfront payment rather than a monthly fee. 

Buyers should also determine if they need assistance implementing the e-signature software or integrating it with another system. Lastly, businesses should also decide how long they will need this software to better negotiate with longer-term contracts. 

Final decision

The final decision should be made based on all the information gathered previously. Businesses should seek to prioritize needs and select the tool that meets most of, if not all, their requirements. Companies should remember that there is likely no one perfect software, but there is likely one that best meets the needs of their business. 

What Does E-Signature Software Cost?

E-signature software is often priced in tiers, with lower-tier options providing a limited number of users, and in some cases, limited documents and restricted access to all the features encompassed within the tool. The tiers are typically structured, with the lowest tier offering a single-user license and the ability to sign and upload a specific volume of documents. As the tiers increase, businesses are typically offered additional licenses and features to leverage, such as additional templates, integration options, or custom branding. 

The ongoing cost is the subscription cost to use the e-signature software. These tools usually run on a subscription model, meaning that users will pay a monthly or annual rate to use them. Furthermore, some vendors charge for additional features per–usage, such as API document capabilities (charged per document) or bulk document signings. Additionally, when considering implementing e-signature software, businesses should take advantage of the free trials offered by vendors to access the features provided by each e-signature software solution before making a purchasing decision.

Pricing for e-signature software ranges based on the number of users and desired features. Still, some providers offer a free plan with limited functionality, while others provide a basic plan that can be charged as low as $10 per month per user. As the tiered plans increase in functionality and number of users, so does the pricing, with plans going upwards of $80-$140 a month with the potential to further increase based on a business’ needs or the number of users. Businesses should consider the number of users that intend to use the e-signature solution, as this may be a good negotiating strategy when discussing pricing plans. 

Return on Investment (ROI)

Many factors impact an e-signature software’s ROI, such as time saved, administrative or office expenses, productivity gained, enhanced user experience, expedited revenue, and reduction of manual errors. 

Below is the breakdown of the estimated time to ROI according to the review data on G2 as of December 21, 2021: 

  • 67.09% of buyers see an ROI in 6 months or less
  • 17.5% of buyers see an ROI in 7-12 months
  • 4.77% of buyers see an ROI in 13-24 months
  • 1.58% of buyers see an ROI in 24-36 months 
  • 0.21% of buyers see an ROI in 37-48 months 
  • 8.84% of buyers haven’t realized a full payback yet or seen an ROI after 49 months 

Implementation of E-Signature Software

How is E-Signature Software Implemented?

According to G2 data, as of December 21, 2021, 83.77% of users were able to implement and go live with an e-signature tool in under one month, with another 7.66% of users being able to implement and go live between one to three months. This data showcases the general use of implementing e-signature software, likely due to the regulatory compliance aspects offered by the tools. E-signature software can be implemented in a few different ways, either through an in-house team, seller services team, or a third-party consultant. Given the quick go-live and implementation times associated with this type of software, vendors often opt to implement e-signature solutions through an in-house team. 

Who is Responsible for E-Signature Software Implementation?

As detailed above, the quick implementation and go-live time for e-signature software has led to many businesses electing to implement it in-house rather than using a third party or the seller’s services team. Furthermore, business leaders can deploy many e-signature tools directly with some assistance from IT professionals to ensure software compatibility, compliance, and security. 

What Does the Implementation Process Look Like for E-Signature Software?

The implementation process for adopting e-signature software begins by assessing which systems and processes the solution will integrate and interact with. This primarily involves checking compatibility with other systems currently in use, verifying compliance standards (both based on geographic location and industry), and lastly, ensuring that the software can be effectively integrated into the company’s existing IT environment. 

When Should You Implement E-Signature Software?

Given the relatively quick implementation and go-live times associated with e-signature technology, companies should first establish a strong business case for acquiring the software. After establishing a genuine need, businesses should implement e-signature software after it has gone through the steps mentioned above. Considering this, companies should likely expect that the implementation process will take under one month, possibly reaching upwards of three months, depending on compliance requirements. Even after the implementation, it is beneficial to provide resources and training materials to users to reduce the potential for any compliance issues, learning curves, or additional desired integrations. 

E-Signature Software Trends

Increased focus on security and compliance 

To promote acceptance of e-signature technology, many vendors strive to meet or exceed industry security standards such as the Digital Signature Algorithm (DSA), a Federal Information Processing Standard for digital signatures adopted in 1993. Measures such as these ensure guidelines for the secure transferral and signature of contracts using modern encryption technologies.

Companies using e-signature software are subject to a variety of compliance requirements. Per the E-SIGN act, financial institutions are required to maintain accessible electronic records of documents for some time. HR departments also must ensure that their use of electronic signatures for employee onboarding is compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996. 

Most e-signature products offer detailed information about their security standards and technology. If security features are your primary concern when choosing an e-signature solution, you should select a product that provides advanced document encryption capabilities as well as secure access and authentication features. By comparing the offerings of each e-signature solution, you can ensure that you select the product with the optimal blend of security features for your business. 

Artificial intelligence and integration of apps

Many e-signature software vendors have begun to leverage innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence to provide analytics into the document signing process. As businesses continue to aggregate data on the document signing experience, they can begin to analyze their customers’ experience and dissect what areas of the document may be most scrutinized or reviewed the longest.

The use of this technology is further evidenced by the countless applications that can be integrated with e-signature solutions, which further streamlines the document signing process and helps centralize document management. Integrating e-signature software with other business applications may lead to enhanced customer insights, as businesses can analyze which deals were signed the fastest and cross-reference that with the customer’s experience through the sales process. 

Enhanced authentication

As the world grows increasingly concerned with security and the potential for breaches, e-signature software is also exploring methods to secure the process further and prevent unauthentic signatures. Vendors have begun exploring and leveraging biometric electronic signatures to help mitigate a user from faking someone’s signature. One form of biometric e-signatures is handwritten, meaning a user would manually draw their signature on a touch screen or using a stylus device. Another form that is becoming more popular is fingerprint-based, in which a reader would use a fingerprint reader to confirm their identity and sign the documents. Unfortunately, these biometric authentication factors still have flaws, like the availability of touch screens or fingerprint scanning devices when the signing process occurs.

Additionally, the most accessible fingerprint device, a smartphone’s fingerprint reader, leverages a 2D scan of the print, which is relatively easy to fabricate, leading to some concerns with this technology. More sophisticated fingerprint-reading devices use a 3D scanning process. However, these are less likely to be available during the signing process as they are less commonly used. Nevertheless, as technology continues to advance and the threat of security breaches remains, e-signature software vendors may continue to explore advanced authentication practices to further secure and verify the signing of digital documents.

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