It’s 2023 and it looks like artificial intelligence (AI) is finally coming of age. Look around and you will hardly find a software that doesn’t have AI capabilities under its hood.
Of course, note-taking is one area where AI has contributed in a big way to improve the efficiency and productivity for professionals who are customer-facing and otherwise.
For instance, note-taking is a key part of every sales rep’s daily workflow—therefore automating it with AI makes a world of difference to their productivity and performance.
Our survey indicates that an average sales rep wastes more than 4 hours of their time each week taking manual notes.
The second-order problems are even worse. With manual note-taking, it’s hard to note down every small detail of a call or a meeting. Handwritten notes are also prone to errors.
And the biggest of all—it’s distracting (and disrespectful too) to keep taking notes when you are supposed to actively engage in the conversation.
A good AI note-taking app is one that automates the manual steps, saves you a ton of time, updates the meeting notes to your favorite CRM, but more importantly takes notes contextually like how a human would do.
The fight for AI note-taking tools is just getting started, but not every tool in G2 that claims to be the ‘best AI notetaker’ lives up to the name.
So, if you are looking for the right notetaker to do the job for you, we have narrowed down your options to three of the best AI notetaker tools available in the market.
But why did we pick just 3 AI notetakers out of the whole lot?
It’s based on our finding that most customer-facing teams are looking for a note-taking app that doesn’t cost them a lot of money. So we excluded the likes of Gong or Wingman which cost north of $50/user/month. Secondly, the three apps other than Avoma are the ones that come up most often in our sales conversations, especially when it comes to AI-generated notes.
A fair disclaimer: It’s no secret that Avoma has been in the business of note-taking for a while, but we are very intentional about not turning this blog into a disguised ad for Avoma.
We admit that Avoma isn’t perfect (at least not yet)—and we might not be the right solution for everyone. Our purpose with this blog is to help you identify the tool that’s right for your specific use cases—and not be self-serving.
With that note, let’s take a look at each of these tools and what they have to offer.
Avoma is one of the first solutions in the conversation intelligence space to offer comprehensive AI-powered note-taking capabilities when even incumbents like Gong or Chorus didn’t have them.
And that has only gotten better with time because Avoma’s AI-generated note-taking offers unparalleled advantages for busy professionals.
With Avoma, you don’t have to worry about taking detailed hand-written notes. Once you connect Avoma to your work calendar, the AI meeting assistant will:
- Hop on every call or meeting
- Listen to your conversations
- Take notes on your behalf
- Automatically update relevant to your CRM
Notes are not to be confused with plain-vanilla call/meeting transcriptions. While Avoma does offer meeting transcription, notes refer to a one-pager summary of the call/meeting smartly categorized under topics such as Pain Points, Current Workflow, and more.
Who has the time to listen to the entire conversation or read through the entire transcript?
But there’s something that makes Avoma stand out from the rest of the note-taking apps.
Generative AI Notes
Recently, Avoma has taken its AI generated note-taking to the next level by leveraging the power of OpenAI's GPT3 added to its own custom AI models.
Believing in the best blend of human intelligence and artificial intelligence, this makes AI take a human-like first draft—saving you more than 80% of the time otherwise lost in manual note-taking—and allowing you to review and edit the notes, so you have complete control.
The best part is—the AI understands the context of the meeting, the topics discussed, key speakers in the context of the meeting and more.
Here’s an example of how the Generative AI notes look in the context of a sale discovery meeting:
With Avoma having 565 reviews on G2, at an average of 4.6/5, here’s what Dan says about Avoma’s note-taking experience:
What makes Avoma unique is—it allows AI and you to collaborate on the same page instead of keeping AI notes and manual notes as separate instances.
Avoma also offers some of the best collaborative capabilities that cut through functional silos. For instance, Avoma saves call/meeting notes in a centralized repository for all go-to-market (GTM) functions like marketing, sales, customer success, and product teams to access.
This allows the teams to align better and share either the entire context about a customer or pointers from an internal meeting via playlists, snippets and more. You can also tag specific people or comment on the transcripts to communicate more contextually.
As opposed to other note-taking apps, Avoma helps you manage your meetings from a holistic lens. Recording, transcription, and note-taking are a few activities that you need during a call/meeting.
But there are a lot of other activities that you need to do before the meeting (scheduling, sharing agenda, creating templates) and after the meeting (note-sharing, CRM update, conversation insights, revenue insights, and more).
Avoma integrates with your favorite applications across categories such as dialers, video conferencing, CRM and collaboration tools such as Slack.
As of this writing, Avoma supports transcription for 20+ global languages.
On the downside, you can’t trial or use Avoma using your personal email. The app requires you to use your work email for you to access the platform.
If you are an individual podcaster or a research scholar, you are better off using a different point solution that is happy to onboard individual users and offers limited features rather than a full suite of meeting management capabilities.
Avoma’s pricing starts at $17/user/month with a 14-day free trial for each of its paid plans. Avoma also offers a free forever plan that includes scheduling, transcription, AI-generated notes, and other collaborative features.
Fireflies is a meeting assistant with AI note-taking capabilities for business teams across various functions like sales, engineering, and recruiting. Unlike Avoma, Fireflies caters to other smaller niches like consulting, education, and podcasting.
Like the other note-taking apps, Fireflies makes it easy for you to delegate your note-taking to the AI assistant, share the notes with other stakeholders, and automate them to your CRM.
And although it offers automatic recording and transcription functionalities, the recording is audio-only for lower-tier plans. That means you can recap the entire meeting notes umpteen times, but you won’t be able to review the other person’s body language and micro-expressions that are critical in video sales meetings.
For some reason, Fireflies has a Chrome browser extension but it doesn’t have iOS or Android apps available yet. That’s a big no-no for busy professionals who might want to attend and replay meetings or review their notes while on the move.
It’s something that we hear a lot from sales leaders in general. As an example, take this statement from Tim Tonella, CEO of MatchStar Venture Search:
Sometimes, I take calls from my car while driving. I can't take ANY notes in such a situation, so a bullet point summary and the ability to export notes are very helpful.
A mobile app doesn’t always offer the full range of capabilities like a software’s website or web app, but it certainly helps you get some work done while you are walking a dog, grabbing coffee, or lounging in the airport.
Fireflies recently launched AskFred—a feature within the app that is powered by OpenAI's GPT technology that can answer your questions about a recent meeting, write post-meeting emails, suggest blog topics, or generate reports.
The AskFred feature is currently only available to Fireflies customers subscribed to Pro and Business plans. If you want a glimpse of it during your trial, you have to enroll in a different trial plan (AskFred free trial) and earn some amount of credits first.
On that note, there’s one more thing that distinguishes Fireflies from the rest of the AI notetakers on this list: Fireflies doesn’t offer a free trial. Rather, it has a free forever plan that gives you a hint into the app’s potential but it locks out plenty of other functionalities such as transcripts downloads, search, AI summary, topic tracker, and CRM integration.
With Fireflies, you also can’t access critical capabilities like video recording and conversation intelligence unless you upgrade to one of its higher paid plans.
Contrast this with Avoma’s 14-day unrestricted free trial where you can choose any plan you like and take it for a spin without any strings attached. That way, you can test drive the app’s full potential instead of guessing what’s on the other side of the free trial.
On the plus side, Fireflies is one of the most affordable options on this list.
Fireflies’ paid plans start at $10/seat/month and include tricky verbiage around the rate limits, transcription credits, and storage that you should be aware of. Their focus on servicing non-traditional business buyers like podcasters, academic professionals, and consultants justifies their low price.
Out of all the other apps in this post, Otter.ai compares most closely to Fireflies because of their common focus on overlapping markets. If you want a more detailed comparison between the two, read the Otter vs Fireflies blog that we previously wrote about.
Like Fireflies, Otter doesn’t limit its offerings to sales or business teams in general—it also extends its product to niche markets like education, media teams, and individuals.
While still spread out in its offering, this is an evolution for Otter which initially started as a voice-to-text transcription app for everyone. And since it services price-sensitive markets like academics and individuals, Otter offers the most affordable pricing plans out of all apps mentioned on this list.
For individual users that want to sign up using their personal email address, Otter and Fireflies are better alternatives than Avoma—both in terms of pricing as well as personal use cases.
But here are a few things that give Otter an edge over Fireflies. Otter is less pricey and offers a 7-day free trial for at least one of its paid plans (Business). Otter offers not just a Chrome browser extension but robust mobile apps for iOS and Android users. Both its apps have rave reviews from Otter users and the iOS app even has an Editor’s Choice badge in Apple’s App Store.
On the downside, Otter doesn’t offer collaborative functions like Fireflies or Avoma. It also lacks integration outside of a few apps like Google Calendar, Outlook, Zoom, MS Teams, Google Meet, and Dropbox.
Notice that Otter doesn’t integrate with any CRM whatsoever. If you use Otter to take notes and want to add them to the CRM, you will either have to do a manual data entry or use a third-party app to make the integration possible. Frankly speaking, that’s the opposite of what an AI-based note-taking tool should be doing.
Otter’s missing integration with dialers is a problem for sales and customer success teams that rely heavily on VoIPs to interact with customers on a frequent basis.
Otter offers basic analytics about the app usage, but it lacks conversation intelligence capabilities like post-meeting conversation insights or reports. These are critical features for teams that are high on note-taking. Otter also doesn’t offer AI-generated call summaries like Avoma, but it generates summary keywords and word clouds.
Otter only supports the English language (U.S. and U.K.) as of now—a downer for teams who meet with overseas clients in Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, or the rest of the world.
What Otter does great is it allows you to play the recordings at different playback speeds, manually edit the transcription for added accuracy or additional context, and save the transcript to your company’s storage drive.
Otter’s Automatic Side Capture is a unique functionality that lets you capture and insert the slides into the meeting notes—helping you retain more context about the content discussed in the meeting.
Otter has a basic free forever plan while its paid plans start at $8.33/user/month. Otter is not as favorably rated in G2 (rated 4.1 out of 105 reviews) as other apps in this post and most customers complain about its lack of accuracy and buggy app performance.
Parting note on choosing AI notetakers
Let’s be honest—there’s not a single app in this world that can make everyone happy.
Even the most successful software will have fanatic users as well as brutal critics—and note-taking apps are not an exception to this norm.
While most apps in the AI note-taking category offer similar features, there are smaller nuances that differentiate one app from another.
- Avoma is good for business teams that want a full-range of functionalities starting from scheduling and AI powered note-taking to revenue intelligence. If you want a scalable solution for your note-taking (now additionally powered by GPT3) and meeting management use cases, choose Avoma.
- Both Fireflies and Otter are affordable tools for individuals and smaller teams. Fireflies has more advanced capabilities at a premium price range. Go with Otter for affordable pricing and stick to Fireflies if you want to bet on a growing product.