How To Compare Work Management Software

ChelseaWilliams
By Chelsea Williams
Senior Copywriter
Aug 17 2023 read
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Selecting the right tools for your business can feel like an uphill battle. Decisions are complex, and stakes are high. One wrong move and you could find yourself sacrificing time, money and productivity.

Despite how overwhelming the search for transformative tech can be, it’s worth it when you find a platform that makes your business more operationally sound, facilitates seamless team collaboration and helps you generate bigger profits.

We often hear from leaders and business owners in professional services who say they didn’t have any idea what they were looking for before they found Accelo. Once they discovered that client work management software was the category that best applied to their service business, they needed some guidance in properly evaluating their options.

That’s why we’ve written this short and simple guide for how to compare work management software. Let’s first take a look at what it is so you can determine whether there’s a potential fit.

What Is Work Management Software?

Think of work management software as a hybrid of project management software, task management software and team collaboration tools. Its core functionality includes task assignment, time tracking and project progress visualization. 

But a true work management platform that’s built for client work goes way beyond projects to connect all stages of your client journey. These robust platforms have additional essential features such as: 

  • Sales lead tracking
  • Quoting
  • Retainer management
  • Request management
  • Billing and invoicing
  • Reporting
  • Client portal

The most important factor of software for work management is its end-to-end nature. You can replace many other tools by using a single platform to connect with sales opportunities, plan, execute and review work, manage client requests, bill clients and more.

Now, let’s think through five steps for discovering potential platforms and comparing them across the features that matter most. 

1. Evaluate Your Business Needs

One of the biggest mistakes people make in seeking new business software is to start searching without knowing what they need. In doing so, you could run the risk of selecting a platform you have to adapt to instead of one that has the capability to mold processes according to how your business runs.

Ask yourself a few key questions:

Reviewing your annual or quarterly goals can also be a helpful way to prioritize.

2. Explore Feature Sets

With a clear understanding of what you’d like to accomplish and how software might fit into those goals, it’s time to delve into what’s available. In your initial exploration, think about the top features of each software in your estimation rather than what the platform markets as its top features.

Unique features can be enticing, especially if they’re being called out because they’re newly released, but they aren’t a reason to be swayed unless they align with what you need. For example, if you need clients to be able to accept quotes, submit requests and see updates based on their role via client portal, you won’t be happy with a portal that offers view-only access and shows the same thing to every user. 

In this step, it’s important to get granular about your “must-haves,” “should-haves” and “nice-to-haves” in each area of a work management platform.

Discover a format for prioritizing and comparing features in our handy buyer’s guide:

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3. Consider User-Friendliness

The best work management software is one your team will actually use. Don’t get too excited about the look and feel of a given platform before you dive into its practicalities. A lot of software promises to save your team time or simplify tasks, but what does that look like for your day-to-day? 

➡️ How many buttons do you have to click to convert a quote into a project? 
➡️ Is it possible to attach work to a retainer and automatically bill for it each month?
➡️ Can your team receive and prioritize client requests in one place?

If the platforms you’re considering offer a free trial, this can be one of the best avenues for narrowing down your options. However, remember that trials won’t always show you everything that’s possible. When you love 80% of what a platform can do, push it through to the next step: Contact the sales team for a demo.

4. Ask Questions About Integrations and Workflows

Next, think about the reality of bringing new software into the mix. Look at your demo and follow-up conversations as opportunities to check off any remaining boxes that stand between you and a decision. 

Come prepared with specific questions about what you do now and how that will change if you adopt this platform. What kinds of integrations does it offer? Can the platform help you consolidate other tools and save on costs? Will you be able to customize it to match or improve upon your existing workflows?

Don’t forget to get input from at least a few team members about what they would need new software to do, and ideally, bring a trusted colleague to the demo with you. A second pair of eyes and ears is always helpful for conducting a thorough evaluation.

5. Scrutinize the Details

The final step in the comparison process is to review details like pricing, data migration and implementation. A good salesperson will help you understand how much you’re going to pay up front and monthly and be able to demonstrate the value of this investment.

They’ll also explain what’s required of your team, how long the platform setup process will take and what options (if any) they offer for guided implementation.

 

This is the step that often creates a roadblock and keeps you from achieving business efficiency as quickly as you could. It can help to hear how and why other business leaders committed to a given software. Read reviews, ask for case studies and see whether you can be connected to a referral in the same industry or with similar challenges.

 

More Support for Navigating the Path to Efficient Client Work

It’s precisely because work management software can be so impactful that you should take this vetting process seriously. Client work is unique, and you need and deserve technology that can keep up with everything you have to do to maintain quality service.

We’ve created a resource to help you determine which platform fits the bill. Download our buyer’s guide to thoroughly execute your software comparison.

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About the Author

ChelseaWilliams

Chelsea Williams is Senior Copywriter at Accelo, where she shares unique insights with service professionals and tells user stories via blogs, eBooks, industry reports and more. She has over 15 years of B2B and B2C writing experience — primarily in tech, sales, education and healthcare. Chelsea is an AWAI-certified Master Copywriter trained in brand storytelling and microcopy.

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