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Even the smallest teams need an easy way to work together and stay connected, especially when they’re not working in the same physical location.
But whether you’re a remote team, have numerous locations, or manage a small team working in the same space, collaboration is a critical piece of crushing your business goals and finalizing projects on time.
Plus, it’s excellent for company culture.
However, choosing the best collaboration software for you and your team isn’t always easy. There are thousands of options with varying features covering different aspects of working together as a team.
So, how do you decide which tools you need (and don’t need)?
Great question. We’ve used dozens of collaboration tools over the years. And as a result of our experiences, we narrowed things down to our top seven recommendations.
Then, we reviewed them and put together a list of factors to consider as you make your final decisions.
The Best Collaboration Software to Consider:
- RingCentral – Best all-in-one communication software
- Zoho Projects – Best for small to midsize businesses
- Wrike – Best collaboration software for marketing teams
- Teamwork – Best collaboration software for agencies
- ClickUp – Best project management software
- Google Workspace – Best for real-time document collaboration
- Slack – Best real-time internal communication software
When Does It Make Sense to Invest In Collaboration Software?
There are a ton of free and incredibly affordable options on this list. As such, collaboration software is accessible for businesses of all sizes, even solopreneurs and freelancers.
With that said, true collaboration software may be overkill for solopreneurs and others working on projects alone. But you may find project management and document collaboration software helpful, depending on the types of work you do.
In a perfect world, you should have collaboration tools set up before you start onboarding new employees. But, that’s not a hard requirement—it just makes things easier.
So, if you’re thinking about hiring or expanding your team soon, have recently shifted to remote work, or struggle to stay connected with your current solutions, you should carefully consider investing in one (or several) of the tools on this list.
However, if you’re a team of one and never work with anyone else, you probably don’t need to invest unless you’re considering project management software by itself.
#1 – RingCentral — The Best All-in-One Communication Software
If you’re looking for an all-in-one communication software that includes messaging, task management, and file sharing, RingCentral Messaging is an excellent choice.
At its core, RingCentral is a communication platform. So, you can rest easy knowing you and your team have access to the best of the best internal messaging tools. Plus, you get unlimited messages, so you never have to worry about maxing out your plan.
And the best part? RingCentral’s messaging solution is absolutely free. With the free plan, you get a ton of powerful features, including:
- Unlimited internal instant messaging on every device
- Drag and drop file sharing
- Ability to pin essential documents
- Task assignments and basic management
- Organization by project, topic, or team
- Unlimited guest users (for free)
- 100+ native integrations
- Shared-file commenting
- Filterable archive searching
Plus, you can easily update stakeholders and other members of your team, all while keeping a bird’s eye view on the progress of current and upcoming projects.
On its own, RingCentral Messaging is perfect for small businesses looking for a free way to improve team collaboration.
However, you can also upgrade to a paid plan (RingCentral Office) if you need more features, like a business phone system, video conferencing, SMS messaging, internet faxing, and more. Those plans start at $19.99/user per month.
Create a free account to get started with RingCentral Messaging today!
#2 – Zoho Projects — The Best All-in-One Collaboration Software for Small to Midsize Businesses
Zoho Projects is a collaborative project management software built specifically for small teams. Accessible pricing and a robust set of features make it our top choice for businesses with at least six employees.
It can be beneficial if your team’s smaller than that, but pricing plans start at $3/user with a minimum of six seats. So, you’ll have to pay at least $18/month, whether you end up using all six accounts or not.
On the Standard Plan, you can have up to 10 users, and you get up to 10 projects. However, the Express plan ($4/user) offers more robust capabilities and flexibility because it includes unlimited projects.
Just keep in mind that you have to pay for at least 12 seats on the Express Plan, making your minimum payment $48/month. With that said, it’s one of the cheapest per-user rates you’ll find on this list.
With the Express Plan, you get a wide variety of project management and collaboration features, including things like:
- Unlimited projects
- Up to 10 project templates
- 20 GB of storage space
- Task dependencies
- Subtasks and recurring tasks
- Custom views
- Timesheet approvals
Plus, you can also set up project-wide updates in a newsfeed style, create forums to start team-wide discussions, set up an internal knowledge base, and chat 1-1 or as a group with the internal chat feature.
Try it free with a limited free-forever plan to see if Zoho Projects is right for you!
#3 – Wrike — The Best Collaboration Software for Marketing and Creative Teams
Wrike is a work management platform built for marketing and other creative teams. So, it’s an excellent option if you’re interested in empowering your team with real-time performance insights and intuitive collaboration tools with one software.
Aside from marketing, Wrike also offers specialized solutions for service delivery teams, students, product developers, and more.
Plus, it has over 20,000+ happy customers, including Google, Airbnb, and Dell.
One of the newest features is the ability to optimize your digital ROI real-time campaign performance insights. It can include data for more than 50 different marketing channels in just a few clicks.
On top of that, you also get:
- Centralized communication tools
- Complete campaign visibility
- Shared folders and tasks
- Customizable workflows and task statuses
- Dynamic reporting
- Optimizeable workloads
- Streamlined digital asset management
- Branded workspaces
And you get various free marketing-specific templates to help you get started on the right foot.
Pricing isn’t available for Wrike’s marketing plans since they depend on the number of user seats and features you need.
However, they offer general plans starting at $9.80/user per month for basic features. There’s also a limited free plan for up to five users and 2 GB of storage space, so you can try it out before investing.
Try it free to see if Wrike is right for your creative team today!
#4 – Teamwork — The Best Collaboration Software for Agencies
As an agency, you work on various client-based projects. And usually, there are several of them going on at the same time.
So, it’s essential to find collaboration software built to handle, manage, and organize all of your current and upcoming projects. Furthermore, you need to be able to share progress with your clients at no extra charge.
And the good news is that Teamwork doesn’t fail to deliver everything you need.
Teamwork originally started as an agency, so they understand exactly what you’re going through. As such, they know just how important organization and optimization is.
Even better, they know exactly how to help you.
With Teamwork, you can easily break projects down into tasks and subtasks, no matter how complex the project is. Plus, you can leverage recurring tasks for clients on a regular retainer to streamline the flow of your business.
Furthermore, you can use templates to speed up the project setup process for projects of the same type. This is a huge time-saver if you perform the same types of work on a regular basis.
On top of that, you and your team can log billable hours inside the platform, create and send invoices, and automatically export those invoices to your accounting software in just a few clicks.
You also get a ton of excellent features, including:
- Customizable client access permissions
- Workload management capabilities
- Advanced analytics
- Time budgeting
- Custom branding
- Teamwork mobile app
Teamwork pricing starts at $10/user per month, with a minimum of five users. There’s also a free plan for up to five users and two separate projects.
The same company also offers customer communications, CRM software, content collaboration, and internal chat. However, they’re all separate tools. With that said, you can bundle everything together for $35/user per month (minimum of five users).
It’s a great deal if you need those additional tools as well.
Sign up for a free 30-day trial to see if Teamwork is right for your agency today!
#5 – ClickUp — The Best Project Management Software
Best Project Management Software
Feature-rich project management software including internal communication tools like a knowledgebase, internal chat, workload management, and more. Get everything you need to manage projects with ease. Very robust free plan available. Paid plans are $5 per user per month for unlimited everything.
If you’re looking for top-notch, feature-rich project management software, ClickUp is one of the newest and most impressive options on the market.
Plus, it’s incredibly affordable and offers an excellent free forever plan. So, it’s a fantastic choice for businesses of all sizes, looking to collaborate on the most complex projects down to essential to-do lists and task management.
ClickUp also offers extensive training so you can get the most out of your new software. Those offerings include live demos, webinars, a comprehensive onboarding guide, support articles, and coaching.
Paired with excellent customer support, you get everything you need to succeed and optimize your entire business.
As a project management software, it’s undoubtedly one of the best, including features like:
- Recurring tasks
- Two-way calendar syncing
- Collaboration detection
- Super-rich doc editing
- Dozens of project views
- Customizable views
- Threaded comments
- Priority assignments
- Time tracking
And while ClickUp’s project management features are excellent, you also get internal chat, knowledgebase creation, workload management, and 1,000+ built-in integrations.
Furthermore, you can download ClickUp on any device from your laptop to your iOS or Android tablet/mobile device. So, you can take your work with you to streamline your processes and projects wherever you go.
The free plan is perfect for most freelancers and solopreneurs. However, if you need more advanced capabilities, ClickUp’s paid plan is affordable as well.
It’s $5/month per user with unlimited storage, dashboards, boards, integrations, and more.
Sign up for free to get started today!
#6 – Google Workspace Essentials — The Best for Real-Time Document Collaboration
If you use Gmail for personal emails, you already have access to essential real-time document collaboration tools via Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more.
Your free Gmail account may offer everything you need to collaborate and share documents with your friends or family for personal use.
But as a business, you’ll need more storage space and advanced collaboration features.
Enter… Google Workspace Essentials.
Workspace Essentials plans are incredibly affordable, starting at just $8/user per month, and you get access to tons of extensive collaboration tools for your team.
As part of your subscription, you get features like:
- Unlimited video conferencing for up to 150 participants
- Meeting recordings automatically saved in your drive
- 100 GB of cloud storage per user
- Shared drives for unified team storage
- Access on virtually every device
- Group-based policy controls
- Collaborative content creation
Essentially, you get everything you need to stay connected to your team. However, collective content and document creation are where Workspace Essentials really shines.
You can create documents, spreadsheets, powerpoints, websites, notes, and forms using browser-based software. From there, you can share them and collaborate on them in real-time. You can also leave comments, assignments, notes, and more within those files.
We use their content collaboration features… all the time.
From blog posts and marketing collateral to meeting minutes, company policies, and everything in between, it’s the perfect solution for highly collaborative teams.
Workspace Essentials starts at $8/user per month. Sign up today to get started!
Note: if you don’t already have a calendar and email solution, we highly recommend Google Workspace ($6/user per month) instead. It includes internal chat features, business email, and collaborative calendars for your team.
#7 – Slack — The Best Real-Time Communication Software
Slack is significantly different from the other options on this list. In fact, you may want to utilize it in conjunction with other collaboration tools listed here since it’s not an all-in-one solution.
However, it is one of the best real-time communication tools on the market. And it has more than 750,000+ customers around the world.
Here at Crazy Egg, we use it every day to stay in touch on projects, discuss upcoming deadlines, talk about the weather, share photos of our pets, and more. It’s also used by countless big-name companies like Uber, Time Magazine, Intuit, and Oracle.
With Slack, you can start individual chats, group conversations, topic-based channels, discussion threads, and more.
Plus, there are 2,200+ integrations to help you stay organized and have more efficient conversations.
You can also tag users, react to messages, and share awesome cat gifs from any device, including iOS, Android, web-based, and desktop. So, your most important discussions are always at your fingertips.
With the robust free plan, you get:
- Up to 10,000 searchable messages
- Ten apps and integrations
- 1-1 video conferencing
- Two-factor authentication
- All basic Slack features
This may be enough for your team, especially if you’re on the smaller side and don’t need a ton of integrations or searchable archives.
But Slack’s paid plans are incredibly affordable for most businesses. Paid plans start at $6.67 per person per month (paid annually) and $8 per person per month paid monthly. The Standard plan includes unlimited archives, unlimited apps and integrations, and group video conferencing with screen sharing.
Sign up for a free account to see if Slack’s right for you and your team today!
Methodology For Choosing The Best Collaboration Software
We frequently use our top recommendations regularly, but that doesn’t mean you need to use all of them.
So, don’t forget to use the following considerations as you go through the process of choosing the best collaboration software stack for you and your team.
Type of Collaboration Software
There are several types of collaboration software designed to help bring your team together, regardless of where they’re working. Some of the most common types include:
- Task and workflow management
- Project management
- Collaborative content creation
- Internal communication
Furthermore, some software includes a solution for everything you need. But you may get better results using a combination of specialty tools instead. Alternatively, you may not need a solution for everything.
So, make sure you understand what you need to help your team stay connected before making any decisions.
Number of Users
Most of the tools on this list are priced per the number of users you need. Some plans may have a minimum or a maximum number of accounts, so it’s crucial to understand how many you need.
You should also consider how fast you’re going to grow.
If you end up hitting one of those maximum limits, you’ll need to upgrade to a higher tier. As such, you need to prepare for those added expenses.
However, those extra costs are much cheaper than managing an unproductive team.
Furthermore, f you have a large team and multiple departments, you need a solution to handle various configurations for different accounts. The last thing your engineering team needs is to see every notification from your marketing team.
So, you need something a bit more customizable and flexible but still affordable for a large number of users.
The best collaboration software for you and your team plays well with the tools you already use to run your business. It may help to start by making a list of the software your team uses on a daily basis.
From there, you can make sure the collaboration tools you choose integrate with everything you need them to. Don’t forget to consider your current solutions for:
- Document management
- Internal communication
- Time tracking
- Storage space
- Calendars and scheduling
- Email and video conferencing
- Marketing and sales
- CRM software
Most of the options on this list integrate seamlessly with thousands of tools, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the software you use is on their list. So, always double-check to make sure.
You may even want to test it out during your free trial.
Every option on this list provides a mobile app for users to collaborate on the go. It’s a crucial feature, and we don’t recommend choosing any collaborative software that doesn’t offer this as an option.
Furthermore, make sure to test out the mobile app during your free trial to make sure it’s user friendly. If it’s challenging to use, your team won’t feel encouraged to use it.
Some of the software choices on this list offer free forever plans, but not all of them.
Furthermore, the free plan may not provide enough for you and your team, especially if you’re a midsize or large business.
It’s also crucial to remember you may need more than one option on this list. So, keep that in mind as you sort through pricing and figuring out what fits within your budget.
Our top all-in-one collaboration software solutions are RingCentral (paid plans) and Zoho Projects. However, they are a bit more expensive than some of the other options on this list and may not be suitable for everyone.
You may only need communication tools or project management software, which come at a more affordable price since they’re not all-inclusive.
Alternatively, you may want to piece specialty software together for the ultimate collaboration stack.
So, don’t forget to use the methodology we talked about as you sort through picking the best collaboration software for you and your team.