Behind every successful consulting business there is an agile owner. The owner keeps an eye on market trends, responds appropriately to new challenges, and does his best to serve the clients.
Consultancy is a multifaceted and complicated activity, especially if you are doing it on your own. Next to managing clients, you also need to manage projects and stay on top of your finances. All that being said, it is practically impossible to do a good job without the best apps for consultants
The best apps for consultants and why you need them
There are all sorts of software solutions out there. And yet, you should stay alert for a solution that caters to project management for a consulting business. Such solutions bring different functions under one roof, and they automate most of your daunting tasks.
The value proposition is very high, and the effects are visible almost immediately. The tool enables you to grow your business while investing significantly less time.
To help you find the right consulting business software for you, we’ve compiled a list of best solutions and practices. Here it comes:
Trafft is foremost oriented towards successful scheduling, and it caters to multiple industries. With it, you will be able to automate the on-site and online booking process, manage employees, and accept recurring payments.
It doesn’t matter whether your business takes place online or offline. Trafft will help you enhance clients’ experience with a nifty booking page, and to manage schedules end to end.
You can also use it for online meetings, and employ it to keep clients engaged even when they don’t need your services. SMS notifications and email reminders are just parts of this amazing deal.
You can customize Trafft and bring it in line with your brand even if you don’t have a business website.
With Trafft, you won’t have to acquire a separate project management tool. Trafft connects easily to many third-party tools, such as e-commerce solutions, calendars, Zapier, and many more.
This is what is at stake for you:
- Custom pricing that meets your exact needs
- Management of sessions and employees in multiple locations
- Strong focus on clients’ experience
- Comprehensive analytics and stats
- A professional booking page that loads perfectly on all devices
- Fewer no-shows and significant money-savings
- Real-time notifications for all concerned parties
If you are looking for a project management tool that can handle the proposal process, look no further. Ignition lets you create great proposals and distribute them to clients right away. It also lets you accept and process payments on the go.
In this way, Ignition makes your proposal process faster and more efficient, especially when it comes to pre-made templates. Next to the one-time payments, you can organize a recurring payment scheme and keep clients involved in the long run.
We are also talking of a tool that enables e-signature, which means proposals are not only delivered via the system but also signed.
A project management tool that allows you to see everything in one place so you can effortlessly manage your team, projects, clients, and freelancers. Teamwork has the balance of functionality, price and ease of use.
Teamwork gives you the tools and reports you need to maximize resources and never miss a billable minute again. Get a bird’s eye view of every project, from milestones to project planning, budgeting, time tracking, and more.
No matter the job, Teamwork has templates to get it done. Whether you work in consulting, marketing, operations or creative engineering.
Accelo is also among the best project management tools that can bring your consulting business to the next level. It excels in time tracking and time management, letting you accomplish more in less time.
Time tracking, however, is not the only perk. Multiple integrations let you manage business expenses. Next to them, there is a time tracking tool and a nifty connection to Google Calendar. The flexible pricing makes it just as good for small businesses as it is for large ones.
Automated invoicing is also a part of the deal. You can do time tracking for each project and invoice based on it. The time tracking software probably integrates with your current accounting solution.
This way, you won’t need to extract information and create invoices externally. The information produced by this resource management tool is always reliable and consistent.
A feature that is very useful and not offered by many apps for consultants is document sharing. Use it to keep clients involved for the entire duration of your project.
Consultants find great value in using electronic signatures. They improve client relationships, save time and money, and automate your workflow process. Jotform Sign is a great tool that can help you with these issues.
Use Jotform Sign’s proposal templates to make it easier to start creating legally binding documents that include a digital signature field. Once you create your document, share it with a link or embed it in your website for your users to sign. Visualize your document data in Jotform Tables, a spreadsheet software that automatically lets you uncover new business insights and create professional reports.
This versatile automation tool is excellent if you are looking for something that can be used in every aspect of your business.
This software can do miracles for your consulting business, and all you need to do is to connect it to your Gmail inbox. It also integrates with multiple CRM tools and keeps track of all important customer information. As expected, it will also send real-time reminders and notifications and create nifty email lists.
Think of it as a CRM that caters exactly to consultants. You can build business relationships that last, and keep track of clients wherever you are. Address books will be completely replaced by email lists, and information will be accessible in the cloud.
Speaking of good CRMs, individual consultants and small businesses should consider Capsule. The software focuses on strong relationships and lead collection. It keeps all customer information under one roof.
It will also manage vendor-related data thanks to the multiple categorization possibilities.
What we like the most about Capsule is that it grows alongside the consulting business using it. You begin running a one-man show, but you can add varying levels of access and control as you acquire new employees.
The tool also divides projects into manageable phases and lets you change information as you need it. It is also enabled for tracking time.
Most consultants bill their clients by the hour, which makes Harvest suitable for them. The solution is used to track time, but also comes with a smooth Trello integration that pays attention to each separate project.
Harvest keeps you in control by only starting and stopping the timer as you work. It brings in your logging expenses to estimate project costs, and it creates some of the best and most detailed invoices you have ever seen. All of this happens with a few simple clicks.
In short, Harvest doesn’t only track time, it tracks everything. It keeps everyone in the company informed, including the clients.
If you work at a fast pace and want to follow every trend, PandaDoc is the right software solution for you. You will get access to advanced analytics and even a marketing dashboard so that you can grow your client base. The tool is enabled for tracking time, and lets you use pre-made templates for each occasion.
Better yet, PandaDoc is entirely cloud-based. This means you can create proposals on every device or location, and track the progress of your activities even when you are not in the office. The tool goes into detail, and lets you know how much time is spent on each activity.
Every consulting business could use some extra productivity, and that is where Focus Booster comes to the stage. It requires minimum involvement on your end, and it lets you focus on what matters the most – your clients.
The thing that makes Focus Booster so good is its focus on the Pomodoro technique. Thanks to it, all your employees will adopt time management skills and build improved working habits. The software is all about focus.
You can also turn it into a specialized smartwatch that keeps track of your sessions and projects.
Proposify is another tool designed to streamline the proposal process. The distinctive advantage is the low price. There aren’t many tools that create such appealing proposals for your clients.
These are some of the features to keep on the radar:
- Flexible and customizable proposal templates you can change to your needs
- Multiple visual elements, including video
- Mobile access for employees and clients
- Time tracking with a focus on the deadlines
- Tools for improved communication
- Interactive tables
TimeCamp is a very reliable in-cloud tool designed for team collaboration. It tracks the time used for particular projects and tasks and lets you report based on it.
It can be used to manage both billable and non-billable activities, which makes it perfect for hourly-rate billing.
TimeCamp has a lot in common with standard time tracking solutions, but the HR capabilities take it to the next level. To give you an example, you will be able to generate a report for each employee based on their performance.
This way, it will make effective use of your most important resources.
TMetric combines time tracking with effective invoicing, and it makes every minute count. It lets you set different rates for your billable hours, and it reports in detail to let you understand how you can profit the most.
The tool logs working times regardless of where a project is taking place. You can use it for time tracking of your online and on-site sessions, as it is available on desktop and mobile devices likewise.
RingCentral is strongly recommended by consultants focused on communication via different channels. The tool supports online meetings, video calls, regular phone calls, chatting, and even screen sharing.
The software was built around team collaboration, which makes it perfect for large agencies. Clients can reach out to you any time and any way they want, and they won’t even have to download anything to do that.
The security of your communication is guaranteed, as each client is provided a link and a password for every meeting.
This list wouldn’t be complete without Teamgate, as this smart CRM integrates with every tool you can think of. You can connect it to Zendesk, Mailchimp, Zapier, or QuickBooks, to mention a few.
The software solution is simple, yet customizable. It will support your efforts to grow your organization in multiple different ways. It will do so foremost by providing excellent client service and a friendly environment for your employees.
Their pricing is also very attractive, to say at least.
If you are after a simpler tool, Avaza may be just what you need. You might miss some of the fancy bells and whistles of similar tools, but you can still get the job done.
The dashboard is intuitive and easy to use and provides you with a combined overview of all projects and timelines. You can even do some customization on your own and tailor to view to your needs, If your employees have some great ideas, Avaza is there to try them out.
Avaza also makes your job easier with recurring processes. You can manage the team and assign them projects based on skills and roles.
Going back to proposal solutions, let’s check BidSketch. This tool is an excellent time-saver that summarizes the data of your proposals. It works only with the resources you have to boost your revenue and your success.
This is what you should look forward to:
- A nifty upselling feature
- Automated proposal processes
- A rich library with personalizable templates
- A built-in notification process that keeps clients involved
- Multiple great integrations, such as Zapier and Salesforce
If your biggest concern is saving time, let Calendly help you. The developers of this tool know exactly how messy a consultant’s desk can get. Therefore, they ensured their product takes care of all scheduling issues. Try it out, and see how it automates appointment scheduling.
With Calendly in your toolkit, there will be no more overbookings. Clients see the calendar updates in real-time and can manage their appointments without your support. As the admin, you can make all availability decisions and fill up the schedule even on the go.
What Hubstaff does best is to prepare monthly timesheets without spending unnecessary effort. Your employees will love it.
It also integrates with multiple different apps. this way, it lets you manage your entire consulting business from a single dashboard. The payroll is automated and based on time tracking. You can even use the GPS location to estimate how much time you need for traveling.
Everyone who’s ever had to deal with project management tools knows about Pipedrive. The innovative sales CRM keeps you in control of your entire pipeline and enables excellent conversations. Thanks to the data it produces, employees are always ahead of the game and know exactly what their clients need.
These are the most prominent Pipedrive features:
- An easy drag-and-drop interface
- An automated reminder process
- Integrations with tools like Google Drive and Dropbox
- Mobile apps for Android and iOS
- An accurate sales forecasting function
In its essence, Drip is a marketing tool. You can use it to improve and personalize your email campaigns. The process is as simple as pulling in data from third systems, and drag-and-drop customization.
Drop never lets data get lost. All the information on your subscribers is neatly and safely stored in the cloud. You can even categorize and group lists, and have this information imported directly in /from your CRM solution.
The email sending process is simple and very visual. A large part of it is automated, meaning that interested clients will get similar offers and suggestions without you moving a finger. How awesome is that?
Mavenlink is a tool for consultants who want to improve margins and maximize utilization. They can use it as an out-of-the-box project management system and a resource planning tool that tells them what to do.
Mavenlink is suitable for any service delivery business. It tracks the success, loss, and profit of each project, and pulls out best practices for you to use next. You can pull in all workflows and keep teams connected, as the tool also allows external participation. Data sharing is also part of the deal.
Zoho is growing so fast, that it simply makes us wonder what the secret of its business model is. In our opinion, it is the strong focus on quality delivery they’ve showcased from the very beginning. It doesn’t only matter what you are doing, but how you are doing it.
Zoho is a powerful communication tool on the front end and a top-notch data analyzer in the background. It divides data into the smallest, most granular details, keeping you in control of all aspects of your business.
You can track the projects via mobile apps even when you are not in the office. This is also a document management tool and lets you work on documents anywhere, at any time.
The distinctive advantage is being able to produce Gantt charts and monitor the success of each project in real-time. Thanks to Zoho, you can see all deviations and know what went wrong compared to your actual planning.
Surprisingly, Zoho is an easy-to-use tool. You will appreciate the intuitive drag-and-drop interface and the multiple customization possibilities.
Scribe is not a tool on its own, but an extension for your Firefox or Chrome browsers that lets you automate how-to guides. Use it to record tasks and send interactive content to your clients. Scribe follows what you do and writes instructions automatically.
You can even highlight some of the steps and take screenshots, or modify the video any way you want. All of that is only at a fraction of the usual price!
In practice, this means you can cancel at least half of your Zoom calls. You won’t have to manually instruct clients and generate unnecessary Word documents. The guides you create with Scribe can be reused and shared over the long run.
What if we told you there was a handy marketing tool that lets you manage social media profiles? Well, there is. And it is called Hootsuite.
With this software, you can produce and share content on social channels with a single action. All consultants looking to stay accurate and close to their clients should have a tool like this. Hootsuite also produces intelligence for marketers and lets them know where most of the clients are active.
There is plenty to like about Qwilr, but the best part is probably its focus on branding. The tool enhances the proposal experience for every client, just by inviting them into an environment that is familiar to them.
With Qwilr, it is easy to create stunning proposals in minutes. The editor is a no-brainer, and there are several advanced building blocks for a designer-level document. But that is not where it all ends.
These documents are mobile-responsive and interactive. With them, you can forget about static PDFs and endless email chains. It is time to show clients how modern your service is.
What could be considered a downside to this great tool is that proposals are only visible online. If you want to see and edit a document offline, you would have to download it and adapt it to your device.
Evernote is an established market leader for taking notes, and there are enough reasons for that. You get a blank page to use for your meetings, as well as a single centralized hub to store project information and keep track of your consulting work. Evernote will improve your efficiency in the long run.
The best features include document scanning, handwriting and PDF search, tags, and notebooks. The tool also comes with powerful integrations with some of the best project management tools.
Monday.com didn’t take much to become a market leader. It offers out-of-the-box project management features which work surprisingly well for consulting businesses.
Monday.com does it all: it lets you plan, set, and monitor all of your tasks. You can also manage all client-related marketing activities, for example, M&A advisory: Teaser -> NDA -> Info Memo -> due diligence -> SPA. You can go into the details of each project and tailor the approach for each customer.
Monday also enhances team collaboration and keeps employees engaged in real-time.
Cooper will do a great job for consultants using Google software. It works seamlessly with the entire G suite, and it is just as easy and intuitive to use.
You can install the CRM extension directly to your Google Chrome browser and keep track of clients and their messages in real-time. The visual style of this extension reflects in detail the rest of your Google apps, so you will have no trouble bringing the team on board.
Best of all, Copper lets you automate most of your essential processes. Examples are calendar events, video conferencing with your employees and clients, and more. Google Sheets is also among the integrations.
Xero specializes in in-depth accounting, which makes it a desirable addition to any business.
It is among the most comprehensive invoicing tools for any consulting business, be it that you work with hourly rates or one-time payments. The variety of premade invoice templates makes the tool applicable for small and large businesses alike.
Consider Xero due to the following features:
- A two-step authentication process that prevents unauthorized access
- Automated notifications at customizable intervals
- Bulk invoicing for more efficiency
- Convenient recurring invoicing functionality
- Creating and sending invoices with mobile devices.
Final thoughts on the best apps for consultants
The market is overwhelmed with cool software solutions. Each of them promises the world to consult businesses. And yet, it takes a lot of research to find an app that meets your needs.
Software is indeed there to make our lives easier. Keep an eye on the functionalities, and make sure the tool grows with your business. Once you’ve found the appropriate solutions, you can maximize profits without investing that much time.
If you enjoyed reading this article about the best apps for consultants, you should read these as well:
- What are boutique consulting firms and what they do
- Management consulting vs strategy consulting. What’s the difference?
- How to plan an event and make sure every step is flawless