Best Document Management Software

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Companies exchange private information with clients and customers all the time. If even one document falls into the wrong hands, they could lose a great relationship in an instant.

Everyone I work with uses document management software, and you should too. Once you get started, you’ll see that it gives you tons of advantages beyond security. 

Whether you are trying to go green, stay organized, build great looking newsletters, or meet the most stringent regulations, document management software can make a hard process much easier.

The key is finding the right one for your specific needs. I’ve put together a list of my top five document management solutions — let’s talk about why they are valuable and how they can help.

The Top 5 Options for Document Management Software

  1. DocSend  – Best for sales engagement
  2. FileCenter DMS  – Best for going paperless
  3. PandaDoc  – Best for closing more deals
  4. Rubex by eFileCabinet  – Best for automating daily tasks
  5. MasterControl  – Best for enterprise compliance

How to Choose the Best Document Management Software for You

Estimates, proposals, contracts, invoices — documents are the base layer of every business relationship.

The easier it is to manage documents, the easier it’s going to be to manage these relationships.

Document management software can do a lot to help you stay organized and efficient. Let’s look at some of the features that can have a huge impact. 

Scanning and Imaging

Digitizing documents is a pain without the right product. In fact, going paperless is one of the key reasons people get document management software. 

It turns a really inefficient workflow into a streamlined process with tools to identify, sort, tag, and store all kinds of file types. 

Some products come with optical character recognition (OCR) which translates the printed words into digital text. This means that any document you scan can be searched. Pretty slick, right?

Document Security Features

A lot of these tools increase the control people have over documents, even after they have been shared.

Some of the features I really like are:

  • Password protection
  • Flexible view, comment, and edit permissions
  • Document expiry
  • Restricted use

It’s really nice to be able to send a document knowing that it can’t be shared, altered, or printed. This is a huge step forward for businesses that lose all control once they have sent a document.

Document Engagement Metrics

At a glance, I know exactly who has read a proposal and how much time they spent on each page. Microsoft Word won’t tell you that.

For sales, this is an information gold mine. Or, if you are trying to raise funds, this is insight into who is actually interested that is easily gleaned.

I find these ultra-valuable metrics. There’s definitely a reason more and more document management solutions are adding these features.

Document Creation

Making great looking, on-brand, up-to-date content of any kind is hard. Document management software takes all the formatting and presentation legwork out of the equation. 

There are templates for all kinds of use cases, helping you quickly build proposals and newsletters that look phenomenal, automatically optimized for both web and mobile.

Some products have a visual document builder. Drag and drop your way to a show-stopping proposal that includes videos, or draw up the perfect contract with a signable field.

Design legal documents with confidence, no law degree necessary.

It’s really nice when a document management solution connects to your CRM software and autofills templates with customer information. Get a proposal in a lead’s inbox before the first call is over.

Logging and Versioning

As you might expect, good document management software keeps a careful record of events. 

This is important for collaboration. People always know that they are working on the latest version of the same document. This avoids needless time lost due to redundant actions and confusion.

Plus, with prior versions logged, changes to documents can be examined and the original can be restored if something bad happens.

For companies that are subject to lots of regulations, document management software provides helpful audit trails and additional compliance features.

eSignature and Payment Gateway

I really like having an electronic signature solution built into my document management platform. It removes a needless hurdle between my customers and my service. 

Closing a deal is hard enough. I don’t want to have to fret about how to get a signature.

Plus, I’m not asking a potential customer to sign up for a third-party signature service. It’s all in-house and frictionless.

The same is true of connecting a payment gateway. It’s always a good idea to streamline the process of getting paid. I mean, look at Amazon. You can pay with one click from practically anywhere on their site. Not an accident.

An eSignature solution and payment gateway really go hand-in-hand. Integrations with PayPal and Stripe allow you to get both signature and payment in a single step.

Can the same be said about the products that you use?

However your eSignature and payment gateway connect, find a document management solution that makes the basic stuff a breeze.

The Different Types of Document Management Software

There’s a lot of overlap between the two main types of document management software. Every product is going to help you track, sort, and find your documents faster.

That said, they’re focused on different problems that companies face.

Some businesses are looking for a solution that helps them move their documents to the cloud. By digitizing their paper archives and records, these companies can finally preserve and organize all their information in a searchable format. 

Others need a tool that lets them create and manage documents of every kind. These tools come with features that enable internal collaboration as well as secure client-side sharing.

The first step for finding the right document management software for you is deciding which of these categories best fits your needs.

Document Imaging Systems

One of the major tasks for traditional document management software is scanning and imaging paper files. 

Whether companies are going paperless or interfacing with vendors that still use hard copies, document imaging systems quickly create high-fidelity digital documents.

These products are going to come with two main features. 

One, they should have fairly well-developed OCR capabilities. Being able to recognize text, document imaging systems with OCR can automate the process of recognizing, naming, and filing all your important paperwork.

The second thing they do is provide an interface to organize your documents once they have been digitized. This may be a built-in interface or the software can connect with a storage system you already use, like Google Drive.

Document Management Systems

A document management system (DMS) provides the functionality businesses need to stay in control of all their important paperwork. 

This includes some document imaging capabilities as well as really well-developed tools for searching, tracking, organizing, and sharing all kinds of file types.

The truth is that the file / folder system of something like Windows is just not sufficient for the real-time needs of most businesses. 

For one thing, they are not able to create the documents they need, like PDFs with signable fields or emails that track customer engagement. 

On top of that, staying organized with traditional file systems gets really tricky during periods of growth. Documents can get lost, shared incorrectly, or walk out the door with a former employee. Then there’s nothing you can do.

With a DMS, you retain control. Beyond that, these tools take over a lot of the busywork. Documents are stored in known locations, easy to find when they are misplaced, and always available to anyone who needs them. 

Documents are also always automatically updated to their latest version, even if multiple people are working on them at the same time.

There is still a lot of variety within the DMS product category. What you are looking for is something that is focused on delivering the capabilities you need. 

Some DMS solutions are built for sales teams, some for automating administrative tasks, and others are tailor-made for companies facing strict compliance requirements.

Find one that’s good at what you need it to be.

# 1 – DocSend – Best For Sales Engagement

DocSend  is a turnkey document management solution that provides great information about how people interact with the files you share.

Once your documents are uploaded to DocSend — which integrates with all the top storage platforms — you can share secure links. 

No more attachments, no more asking leads to download monster files, and no more getting stuck in a client’s spam folder.

Whenever someone views a link you’ve shared, you’ll get a notification and the ability to track how they engaged with the document. See whether they forwarded your document and get page-by-page analytics that show you where they spent the most time.

What’s really holding the customer’s attention? Now you know. 

These insights can be really valuable for figuring out what’s really connecting with each customer.

Another nice feature is the ability to create Spaces. You can get all of your sales material in one place and use flexible permissions to let different customers engage with the right files.

Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission. 

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