What is the best e-signature platform for me?

Sep 28, 2023

Not all e-signature tools are made equal. While we all know this to be true, we might have differing preferences on how to go about signing in light of this fact. Sometimes, the best tool is the one that offers the maximum of the set of features you need from the total set of features it offers max (features you need) / total (features offered). Let’s call this the magic is-it-worth-it ratio.

  • When ( max / total > 1 ), your needs are not being met.
  • When ( max / total < 1 ), you’re overpaying for a service you are underutilizing. 
  • Perhaps the best tool, then, is not that which offers the greatest number of total features for the cheapest price, but the one that offers all the features you need for the best price. This looks like ( max / total = 1 ).

We’ll use this methodology to shed some light on what e-signature tool is the best fit for you.

“Analog” vs Cloud

Analog here refers to the default PDF viewers and their replacements that don’t involve collaboration tools. Namely, this is Apple’s Preview, Microsoft Edge, and Adobe Acrobat.

Analog e-signatures overview

  • What these are best used for: quickly opening PDFs. That’s the main thing.
  • Where these start to fail: organizing your files into multiple levels of hierarchy (let’s not forget Desktop>Personal, Desktop>Work>Contracts, Desktop>Legal, and the like).
  • Where these start to really be a headache: sharing documents that require signing. No one likes searching through their inbox to find the right email thread with the right email with the right document version, and no one likes managing files named “Contract_For_Signature”, “Contract_Signed_1-3”, “Contract_Signed_2-3”, “Contract_Signed_All” that all share the same contents save for who has signed where.

This is a case of the magic ratio being greater than 1 ( max / total > 1 ), so unless you’re exclusively signing your own documents, these tools become cumbersome for a range of tasks. Meanwhile, here’s where the landscape of cloud e-signing tools stands today.

e-Signature platforms: Overview of the main brand-name tools

  • Big fish tools: Adobe Sign, DocuSign, and DropboxSign certainly have their strengths, and many large enterprises choose them for a variety of reasons, brand familiarity being one of them. These platforms offer a robust selection of functions, half of which most users will never use, and spend a huge part of their budget trying to upgrade customers to paid plans to keep their revenue streams growing for investors’ satisfaction.

This is a case of the magic ratio being less than 1 ( max / total < 1 ). You’re not really paying for an e-signature platform; you’re paying for a company to be able to say that they offer you 10x the features you need and for them to be able to employ 10x the employees necessary to justify the subscription fee you’re paying.

What do you really need?

There’s not one tool that’s best for everyone. The beauty of tech—the kind of tech industry that is truly innovative—is that competition makes the best options available to those who need them. And what you deserve is a magic ratio = 1.

If you regularly need documents signed, want to see/filter/organize them by status (Out for signature, Signed, Void, Drafts, etc.) and want them all in one centralized place where you can delegate access to them, we have good news. Countersign is the magic platform with the magic ratio for you.

We offer a Community Plan that is free forever, no strings attached. And if you need some extra capabilities like adding your own branding or exceeding the send limits of the Community Plan, that option is available for an affordable price.

Who is Countersign?

Countersign works with a set of magicians, artisans, and aesthetes (aka strategists, engineers, and designers) who contribute to the development of the platform in accordance with their expertise and with the needs of our community. We’re not focused on endless growth, we don’t answer to investors, and we’ll never badger you with marketing emails to get an extra buck out of you. (All of this not to mention our security practices which not only meet but exceed industry standards and best practices; more on that here.)

We are a group of humans who work who want to make the lives of other humans who work a little simpler. Reach out to our team of humans at support@countersign.com and if you have any suggestions or feedback we’re happy to read over all the submissions that come through countersign.com/feedback.

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