14 lead generation software ($ comparison included)

When you’re just starting out, manually handling your lead generation is all your startup business can afford. Unfortunately, manual lead generation isn’t the most efficient process. In fact, it’s often ineffective and insufficient when growing and scaling your company.

According to Salesforce, 21 percent of a B2B sales rep’s time is spent merely performing lead research — and when you’re paying the salaries that top salespeople command, manual lead generation isn’t a good use of their time and your money.

The solution is automated lead generation software. There are myriad companies to choose from to assist in lead generation strategy and management, as well as thousands of features to consider. Using lead generation software can be complicated and expensive if you don’t use it to its full capability, so it’s essential to understand how these tools work and what features they boast before choosing one.

What is lead generation software?

Lead generation software is a system that automates the segmentation, capture, and management of your sales leads. Some lead generation software also nurtures those leads, which can allow the business owner or manager to more efficiently manage their time and the leads.

Here’s one example of how lead generation software works. (See Chapter 3: Optimizing your site for lead generation for more tips on creating the best forms and pages on your website.) You’ve displayed an offer that the site visitor wants, and so they enter their information into your form. The visitor has now become a lead — and lead generation software automates the capture of that information and can help you sort, distribute, or in any other way manage that lead.

Rather than someone manually combing through collected lead information, automated platforms help distribute and analyze the data. This allows the salesperson to focus on quality leads, and automates the interactions with visitors to encourage them to become leads.

Once those leads are at the beginning of your sales funnel, the lead nurturing functions of lead generation platforms can assist in moving those prospects through the stages of the funnel to that final purchase. It can also assist with maintaining lines of communication with your customers, encouraging them to stay with you and potentially upselling them or reselling to them in the future.

If your salespeople are chasing too many cold leads, they face hard sells and people who weren’t initially interested in the product you’re selling. However, if your salespeople have been in constant contact with warm leads, or people who are ready and willing to buy your services, they will be able to make more sales and, thus, more profit for the company. Additionally, automated software can keep salespeople in contact with cold leads, giving them information and possibly assisting in moving them from the “cold” to the “warm” category.

Your lead generation software can also be vital in keeping accurate contact information for your leads. Data from marketing lists, social media, referrals, trade shows, word-of-mouth recommendations, and even search engine marketing can become inaccurate or can be missing critical pieces of data.

To recap, lead generation software is a powerful tool. It can help you

  • Find leads
  • Convert visitors to leads
  • Identify hot and cold prospects and leads
  • Disseminate large quantities of data to assist in developing optimized marketing strategies
  • Schedule new campaigns
  • Shorten the timespan of existing campaigns by automating complex processes
  • Automate lead nurturing (see Chapter 9 for more information about nurturing your leads through every step of the process)
  • Score those warm and cold leads to help figure out which ones should be pursued
  • And more

What to look for in lead generation software

Some of the most important things to look for in lead generation software are tools to create forms and landing pages. Just as important, however, are the tools that the software can connect to. Integrations are important because even the most robust lead generation software can’t do it all. Once you capture your leads, you’ll want to send them emails, add them to your CRM, track their activity, and more.

Most lead generation tools have a number of native integrations to the tools you’re already using. For everything else, you can use something like Zapier, a third-party integration tool that connects to 1,000+ apps. No matter which tools you’re using to generate and capture leads, Zapier can seamlessly send these leads to the other apps in your marketing stack.

Other helpful options are social media, lead segmentation, and lead assignment integration.

Lead segmentation software should be able to break up data in a way that best suits your business’s needs. Important factors to consider are demographics (job title, company size, location, etc.), referral source (web page, landing page, offer form, social media, etc.), and behavior (e.g., the type of offer downloaded). Some software focuses on specific industries (such as healthcare or hospitality). Picking the tool that provides the most data for your market will aid in your sales process.

Remember to pick a software system that’s right for the size of your company. If you are a tiny, lean team, it might not make sense to shell out the huge bucks yet for an expensive system — there might even be a free option. Choose software you can grow into, but don’t pick something that may have more bells and whistles than you’ll use in the next five years.

Other essential decision-making factors include

  • The stages of the customer relationship covered (e.g., contact to conversion)
  • Cloud vs desktop accessibility
  • Simple vs advanced functionality
  • Native integrations with other sales software (e.g., your current CRM or Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Google Cloud)
  • Customer segmentation
  • IP tracking

Also, consider using software that fits your sales model — whether B2B or B2C .

According to Forrester, 66 to 90 percent of your customer’s journey from initial search to buying is self-directed. That is why it’s imperative that your marketing and sales efforts get in front of the right people, the first time. There are many aspects to getting found and leading that person to your sales funnel, such as SEO, social media, and advertising. Using lead generation software will make it easier to tie all the pieces into one uniform package, which in turn frees up the sales and marketing people to engage more potential leads and make more sales.

The closest thing we have to a real life superpower
Chad is a former VP of Marketing and Communications at Jotform. He’s also a frequent contributor to various tech and business publications, and an absolute wizard with a Vitamix. He holds a master’s degree in communication and resides with his wife and cats in Oakland, California.

Send Comment:

Jotform Avatar
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.