Lead generation software & tools

Attract more qualified leads to your business with lead generation software.

A guide to the best lead generation software

Prospecting manually is time-consuming, stealing hours away from other sales activities that could drive profits. Lead generation software—or lead gen software—automates and refines the prospecting process. It allows your marketing team to create campaigns that bring in higher-quality leads.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll answer your burning questions surrounding lead generation software and how it works. With this information, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of how lead generation software can boost your productivity and profits. And which lead generation software can get you there the fastest. If you feel like skipping around the page, you can do so by clicking through the table of contents below.

What is a lead generation system?

Lead generation software is a time-saving marketing and sales app that lets you automatically generate more leads and route them to the proper team. It helps you increase brand awareness, attract more qualified leads, and close more sales deals.

Lead generation focuses on the top of the sales funnel, typically pulling leads from online channels like email, social media, and landing pages. From these channels, it collects contact information from people who have expressed interest in your product or service.

So you can market to them with better insight. More targeted marketing tactics mean more qualified leads, which ultimately translates to more profitable deals.

Is lead generation a marketing tool or a sales tool?

In some ways, it’s both. It’s the marketing department’s job to create materials that target your ideal customer and attract leads. From there, sales takes over to nurture the lead until the deal is closed. Lead generation programs refine the lead-finding process with both sales and marketing in mind. Often, a lead generation system is a feature of a larger platform, like a CRM. That gives both teams even more useful tools for streamlining productivity and boosting profits.

Why do you need lead generation software?

Competing for consumer attention requires constant effort. But even the most dedicated teams can find it tough to identify and engage with the right customers. Every day, businesses change addresses and phone numbers, contacts leave organizations, and new companies are started.

Lead gen software helps minimize the time your company spends tracking down leads. All by automatically updating contact information. That means you won’t find yourself working with outdated data.

A lead generation system not only helps you find customers, it gives you the tools to find the right ones. The highest value customers are ones who:

  • Are genuinely interested in your product or service
  • Have the money to invest in your product or service
  • Have a problem that you can solve

Lead generation software is highly advantageous because it attracts leads who generate the most profit while requiring you to expend minimal effort. It narrows your sales team’s focus to the customers who are most likely to buy your product or service. That minimizes time wasted on cold leads, and helps you develop a stronger customer base.

How does a lead generation platform work?

Lead generation isn’t a one-size-fits all approach. Depending on if you’re a B2B or B2C business, you’ll use lead generation programs differently. Some lead generation tools are meant to increase customer engagement, while others help you streamline the sales call process.

But no matter which approach is best for your business, the idea is the same. Get your name out to customer leads, and attract them to your door before they go to the competition.

Lead generation can include a lot of different tools, but here are some of the most popular ones:

  • Content creation tools: Some lead generation platforms offer templates for creating content like blogs, white papers, infographics, and e-books. Sharing this kind of content on your website and across social media channels boosts engagement. And it establishes you as a knowledgeable source in your industry. You can also require viewers to submit contact information before accessing long form content like e-books or instructional videos.
  • Lead nurturing tools: Once someone enters your pipeline, it’s vital to keep the engagement going. Lead generation lets you gather enough information to target your contacts with personalized messaging via email campaigns or phone calls.
  • Lead scoring: Lead generation systems can calculate and assign a numerical value to your contacts. The higher the score, the more likely that contact is to make a purchase. Leads are scored based on several variables, including industry, website activity, and company size. Trying to manually score your leads would be an exhaustive task, which makes it one of lead generation’s most powerful and time-saving tools.
  • Lead distribution: Once your program has identified a high-value lead, their information is automatically passed along. Right to the appropriate sales representative to follow up and continue building the relationship.
  • Sales analytics and reporting: The simple act of using lead generation isn’t automatically going to boost profits. You’ll need to look at your analytics and reporting to see what’s working and what isn’t. Putting the effort into checking your analytics and making adjustments to your process may take some time, but it’s a necessary step in ensuring your lead gen software is working for you.

What are the features of lead generation software?

When it comes to shopping for a lead generation system, here are the five key features you should look out for.

Intuitive interface

Even the most powerful software will be ineffective in your hands if you can’t use it. Marketing teams are experts in marketing, not web development. Look for lead generation programs with an intuitive interface and multiple options for training. Then anyone on your team can use it without suffering technical headaches.

Integrations

You’re probably already using business apps, so any lead generation software you decide on should include integrations. This will allow you to share data between your lead generation system and your CRM, email apps, and other business-related platforms you’re currently using.

Integrating your lead generation software with your other platforms eliminates the need to constantly switch browsers. Or double-check your data between platforms to make sure it’s accurate.

Analytics

Having accurate and up-to-date data is vital to strategizing better business practices. Any lead generation software you invest in should have a comprehensive analytics and reporting feature. That way you can always have an eye on the numbers. This lets you make data-driven decisions for improvement, and identify where you’re falling short of your goals.

Automation

Automation saves huge amounts of time by responding to leads, analyzing data, and prioritizing leads. You don’t have to automate every task on your to-do list. But having the option means more control over how your teams are spending their time.

CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT

In your search for lead gen software, you’ll probably come across something called CRM software — customer relationship management. Lead generation is often included as a feature of CRM. Because it all falls under the umbrella of nurturing customers in your sales pipeline and building a loyal customer base.

If you’re worried that CRM sounds too big for you at the moment, don’t be. CRM for small businesses is specifically designed to scale with you. While still providing all the benefits of lead generation, contact management, and sales tracking.

Most CRM platforms will let you add on features as you grow. Meaning you can pick and choose which features you can afford to invest in at any given time.

What are the benefits of using lead generation tools?

Improved customer insight

Your customers aren’t just going to tell you what they’re thinking. You need to ask the right questions and gather the right data to better understand their pain points. And why they are (or aren’t) buying from you.

Lead generation programs allow you to quickly capture more useful data from your potential customers. With better insight into why people show interest in your product or service in the first place, you can lean into the features that people like the most. The better you understand your customers, the better you can tailor your sales pitch and pipeline to their specific needs.

Better qualified leads

Having more leads isn’t always a good thing. More leads means more work, and if most of your leads are cold or lukewarm, you’ll end up working harder for smaller returns.

Lead generation software uses lead scoring to analyze customer data and identify the ones who are most likely to buy from you. It tracks their engagement, personal information, and interactions with your company to determine who’s really worth your time and effort.

Calculating lead value lets you reach out to the best qualified leads faster. While you’re still fresh in their minds. And that sets aside the people who were just browsing.

Refined marketing tactics

With powerful analytics reporting, your team will be able to see exactly which marketing campaigns brought in the highest value leads. With this information, you can continue to build campaigns that resonate with the most qualified leads. Then you’ll attract even more high value customers, and minimize time waste with cold leads.

Save time across the board

All of this adds up to time saved. Lead generation provides your sales reps with the most relevant customer information so they don’t have to spend hours researching leads. Furthermore, your sales reps will spend less time chasing after cold leads. That means more time following-up on the ones who have already ticked off multiple boxes.

Fishing in murky waters isn’t a good use of your time. Guesswork drains your resources, wasting valuable hours and manpower. Imagine your business is a fishing operation. Using a lead generation system would be like seeing exactly where the biggest fish swim, what they like to eat, and when they’re most ready to feast. And that would most certainly put you ahead of the competition.

What types of lead generation are there?

There are two principal types of lead generation software: outbound lead generation, and inbound lead generation. Some lead generation programs will include features for both categories, while others might narrow their focus to just one.

Before committing to a lead generation platform, ask yourself some important questions about how you’re currently finding leads. And how you want to find them in the future. The best approach is to invest in software that includes features for both inbound and outbound lead generation. So you can combine the two approaches for maximum effect.

Outbound lead generation

With outbound lead generation, you initiate contact with people who have little or no knowledge of your company. This involves activities like cold calling, emails, direct mailing, and live events.

Outbound lead generation is more typical when it comes to B2B sales. This is because whatever you’re selling is designed to help people make money. That already puts you in a good position to snag their attention.

Outbound lead generation is labor-intensive. But it’s a tried-and-true method of gaining attention from people who otherwise would never hear of your product. It’s also a good way of getting your brand into people’s heads before the competition.

Sometimes the people who need your product or service most aren’t putting themselves in your way, so you have to go to them.

Here are some features you’ll find included in outbound lead generation platforms:

Inbound lead generation

Inbound lead generation involves creating content and advertising that motivates potential buyers to reach out to you. It’s more popular with B2C industries, where “salesy” tactics can sometimes seem disingenuous or pushy.

Most inbound lead generation activity is digital, which means it tends to be more cost-effective. But inbound lead generation involves waiting for people to find you and reach out, which means they might also be reaching out to the competition at the same time.

With inbound lead generation, you’re constructing materials that organically attract leads to you. If you’re looking for software with inbound lead generation tools, keep an eye out for these features:

  • Landing page building
  • Web forms
  • Live chatbots
  • Survey forms
  • Visitor tracking
  • Content creation & delivery

Top 20 lead generation software tools

An internet search of lead generation platforms will reveal a staggering number of results. To narrow it down for you, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best lead generation tools on the market.

  1. Zendesk Reach
  2. Unbounce
  3. LeadPages
  4. Pipedrive
  5. HubSpot
  6. Agile CRM
  7. CallPage
  8. AeroLeads
  9. Vainu
  10. LeadFuze
  1. LinkeLead
  2. LeadsBridge
  3. OptinMonster
  4. MaxTraffic
  5. LeadFeeder
  6. Sumo
  7. LeadBoxer
  8. Extole
  9. Rollworks
  10. RightHello

1. Zendesk Reach

Zendesk Reach

Zendesk Reach is a lead management tool included in Zendesk’s sales CRM Suite, or as an add-on to Zendesk Sell. Reach’s clean and intuitive interface lets your sales people ditch the tedious tasks and get back to crushing their quotas. Reach lets you create targeted prospect lists for multiple channels and build custom templates so you can engage contacts with a personalized touch.

Features

2. Unbounce

Unbounce lead gen tool

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Unbounce is a lead landing page platform for ecommerce, SaaS, and agencies, with features for building landing pages, pop-ups, and sticky bars.

Features

  • Customizable templates
  • Form builder
  • Real-time editing
  • Reporting/analytics
  • SEO management

3. Leadpages

Leadpages Website & Landing Page Software

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Leadpages is a landing page builder program for small businesses that hosts features for creating landing pages, pop-ups, alert bars, and includes 40+ integrations.

Features

  • Form builder
  • Pre-built templates
  • SEO management
  • AB testing
  • Data import/export

4. Pipedrive

Pipedrive Sales CRM & Pipeline Management Software

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Pipedrive is a lead management and CRM platform for sales teams that included pipeline management and code-free development.

Features

  • Call recording
  • Lead capture
  • Content delivery
  • Customer segmentation
  • Calendar/reminder system

5. HubSpot

HubSpot Sales CRM

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HubSpot is a CRM for growing teams. It offers lead management features as well as contact and campaign management functions.

Features

  • Performance metrics
  • Pipeline management
  • Prospecting tools
  • Lead qualification
  • Lead nurturing

6. Agile CRM

Agile CRM

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AgileCRM is a customer relations and auto-dialer program for small to mid-sized sales and marketing teams.

Features

  • A/B testing
  • Automated routing
  • Appointment management
  • Blended call center
  • Call logging

7. CallPage

CallPage

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Callpage is a sales call platform for B2B, B2C, and ecommerce companies with outbound lead management features including auto-dialer and live chat.

Features

  • Lead distribution
  • Dashboard
  • Call list management
  • Contact database
  • Lead capture

8. AeroLeads

AeroLeads

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AeroLeads is a prospect generation program for finding individual and business contact information.

Features

  • Pipeline management
  • Prospecting tools
  • Lead qualification
  • Lead capture
  • Lead database integration

9. Vainu

Vainu

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Vainu is a European-based lead generation platform with sales intelligence and prospecting tools for businesses across all industries.

Features

  • Lead verification/validation
  • Pipeline management
  • Contact database
  • Lead capture
  • Data import/export

10. LeadFuze

LeadFuze lead prospecting tool

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LeadFuze is a contact-finder for salespeople, recruiters, and marketers, and includes features like lead verification and segmentation.

Features

  • Prospecting tools
  • Contact database
  • Lead distribution
  • Lead nurturing
  • Lead qualification

11. LinkeLead

LinkeLead LinkedIn lead generation tool

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LinkeLead is a lead generation platform specifically built to search through LinkedIn Sales Navigator for clients, partners, and businesses.

Features

  • Contact database
  • Data import/export
  • Lead nurturing
  • Lead segmentation
  • Prospecting tools

12. LeadsBridge

LeadsBridge lead gen tool

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LeadsBridge is a lead generation program for advertising agencies, retailers, financial services, and real estate businesses. It includes social media marketing tools, and offers 350+ integrations.

Features

  • Lead capture
  • Lead nurturing
  • Data import/export
  • Lead management
  • Lead segmentation

13. OptinMonster

OptinMonster lead gen tool

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OptinMonster is a lead generation tool for small businesses, bloggers, marketing agencies, and eCommerce websites.

Features

  • Prospecting tools
  • Lead capture
  • Lead segmentation
  • Email integration

14. MaxTraffic

MaxTraffic lead gen tool

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MaxTraffic is a marketing platform that includes features for customer profiling, exit intent, promotional overlays, and analytics.

Features

  • A/B testing
  • Customizable CTAs
  • Drip campaigns
  • Lead capture
  • Geotargeting

15. LeadFeeder

LeadFeeder lead gen tool

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LeadFeeder is a lead generation platform for B2B businesses that lets your salespeople track website visits and see where they came from.

Features

  • Engagement tracking
  • Source tracking
  • Lead notifications
  • Prospecting tools
  • CRM

16. Sumo

Sumo email capture tool

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Sumo is an email marketing tool for eCommerce businesses that offers multiple integrations including MailChimp, Shopify, and Campaign Monitor.

Features

  • A/B testing
  • Subscriber management
  • Templates
  • Conversion tracking
  • Campaign management

17. LeadBoxer

LeadBoxer lead capture tool

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Designed for B2B companies with a prominent online presence, LeadBoxer is a lead generation tool offering features such as behavioral analytics and GDPR compliance.

Features

  • Data integration
  • Engagement tracking
  • Customer profiles
  • Campaign management
  • Audience targeting

18. Extole

Extole lead generation tool

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Extole is a referral software platform used by businesses for building engagement and advocacy among your existing customers.

Features

  • Advocate management
  • Gamification
  • Lead engagement
  • Analytics/ROI tracking
  • Bonus management
  • Multi-channel marketing

19. Rollworks

Rollworks lead generation tool

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Designed for information technology and service industry B2B companies, Rollworks is an accounts-based lead generation platform that offers audience segmentation and campaign personalization tools.

Features

  • Collaboration tools
  • Engagement tracking
  • Data extraction
  • Contact management
  • Lead qualification

20. RightHello

RightHello B2B lead generation tool

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RightHello is a B2B lead generation tool for marketing agencies, software developers, and tech start-ups.

Features

  • Prospecting tools
  • Lead capture
  • Lead segmentation
  • Campaign management

A summary of the best lead generation tools

CRM

Mobile access

Start free trial

24/7 live rep support

Lead capture

A/B testing

Live chat

Reporting and Analytics

Zendesk Reach

14 days

Unbounce

X

X

14 days

X

X

LeadPages

X

X

14 days

X

X

X

Pipedrive

14 days

X

HubSpot

14 days

X

X
Agile CRM

Free up to 10 users

CallPage

X

X

7 days

X

AeroLeads

X

X

Info not available

X

X

X

X
Vainu

X

X

X

X

X

X

X
LeadFuze

X

X

14 days

X

X

X

X
LinkeLead

X

X

Info not available

X

X

X
LeadsBridge

X

X

14 days

X

X

X
OptinMonster

X

X

X

X

X

X

X
MaxTraffic

X

X

Info not available

X

X

LeadFeeder

X

X

14 days

X

X

Sumo

X

X

X

X

X

X
LeadBoxer

X

X

Info not available

X

X

X

Extole

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

Rollworks

X

X

X

X

X

RightHello

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

How to select the best lead generation program?

Every business is unique, so you have to be selective about which software programs you integrate into your daily workflow. Before committing the time and money to learning a new platform, create a lead generation plan by asking yourself the following questions.

  • Are you primarily engaging in inbound or outbound lead generation?
  • What are your current goals?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • Where are you currently finding most of your leads?
  • How are you currently scoring your leads?
  • Which channels are you getting the most engagement from?
  • Which channels aren’t you using?
  • Are you currently creating engagement content like blogs, videos, and e-books? If not, do you plan to in the future?

Lead generation system FAQs

What is B2B lead generation?

B2B stands for business to business. Unlike B2C lead generation, B2B lead generation doesn’t typically involve reaching out to the general public. B2B lead generation is usually more personalized and dedicated, since B2B contracts are longer and more expensive than most B2C transactions.

How do you generate leads automatically?

There are different ways to automate lead generation. Chat boxes, cold email campaigns, personalized blog post recommendations, and website use notifications, for example. They’re all automated to save you time, while still producing valuable lead data.

How can I get free leads?

Generating leads sometimes costs money in the form of paid advertising, media distribution, or contact list purchasing. For some B2B businesses, the cost of acquiring a new lead can be as much as $200 for one contact. But there are some free and low-cost lead generating options out there. Such as personalized emails, website visitor tracking, social media polls and surveys, blogs, and customer referral offers.

Generating free leads requires some creativity. Make sure to choose lead gen software with plenty of templates and customer support for maximizing your free and low-cost lead generation options.

Which is better: free lead generation software or a paid platform?

Free lead generation software is typically designed for small businesses. If you’re a small company with no plans for growth, it would be possible to continue using a free platform forever.

However, the more qualified leads you bring in, the more profit you’ll make. At some point, investing in lead gen software will give you a greater ROI. That means you’ll make more money even as you continue investing in more powerful lead generation tools.

What is the future of lead generation technology?

Software is always updating as times change, and lead generation technology is no different. As developers push the envelope, here are some of the upcoming trends you can expect to see coming out of the lead generation landscape:

  • Better buyer intent data that lets you create even more personalized outreach methods.
  • Improved data sharing and communication tools between sales and marketing teams for generating higher quality leads.
  • Accounts-based marketing that targets a narrower, more qualified pool of leads.
  • Video content that increases engagement and builds even greater brand awareness.
  • More powerful automation tools like AI-powered chat boxes and tool integrations for better connectivity with your CRM.

Try lead generation software for free

If you’re thinking that lead generation sounds like a smart investment, you’re right. But if you’re not ready to commit to one yet, consider enrolling in a free CRM trial with Zendesk. Zendesk Sales Suite offers a 14-day trial for you to test drive their all-in-one lead generation and engagement tool, Zendesk Reach.

During your 2-week trial, you’ll have access to Zendesk’s powerful Reach Advanced sales engagement features and prospecting tools. With its easy-to-use interface, Zendesk Reach can be up and running in no time, helping you attract higher-quality leads into your pipeline.

Try out Zendesk Reach, for free, today.

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