I once had a friend come up to me and say…

My sales team is on fire. These guys are really rockstars - they have an 80% closing rate, and even if we were to pay for lead generator software, I don’t think we’d be able to improve our sales process that much.

Now, this isn’t the way you should be looking at things. Regardless of how amazing your sales team is, there’s always room for increasing employee productivity.

Consider this:

A study by Salesforce shows that the average sales rep spends 21% of their time doing lead research. Assuming they’re working a 40-hour week, that’s 8.4 hours that they spend on research, every single week.

via GIPHY

Not the most efficient use of time, huh?

Let’s say you start using a B2B lead generation software, and this helps your sales reps get through their research in half the time. You’re essentially saving 4.2 hours per week per sales rep; if you have a team of 10 reps, that’s 42 extra hours gained each week.

On top of increasing the productivity of your reps, B2B lead generation software also helps you amass a larger quantity of leads (duh). Assuming your team’s closing rate doesn’t change, this means more deals secured each month, more money in the bank, and happier reps (who often work partly on commission).

Moral of the story?

Lead gen software (when used properly) will always have a positive impact on your bottom line. Now that this is clear, let’s walk you through the process of how these software work…

How Does B2B Lead Generation Software Work?

There are tons of B2B lead generation software out there, and while some might cover the entire lead gen journey, others might be more tailored to a specific part of the process.

In this section, I’ll break down the different functions of B2B lead generation software, and explain how they work.

Identifying And Targeting Potential Leads

At the top of the funnel, B2B lead generation software helps you identify potential leads.

This is huge, because the majority of B2B marketers say that generating high-quality leads is the largest challenge that they face.

b2b challenges Image source.

How exactly do these software help you generate leads?

Most of these software utilize tracking scripts on your website to gather data on your website visitors. Basically, they compile a list of people who access your site, sift out the ones who are likely to convert, and provide you with their contact information.

Then there are those which stalk your competitors’ social media accounts. These software identify all the people following your competitors on, say, Twitter, and obtain their contact details so you can reach out to them. Pretty innovative, huh?

Last but not least, there are also those who rely on their own databases. You’ll have to define your ideal customer, and they’ll pull out matches from their databases based on the requirements you’ve provided.

Does the last option sound like a glorified purchased list? It’s not quite the same - these are supposed to be screened and updated 247, and most of the contact information you get should be accurate.

Okay, onto the next function of B2B lead generation software…

Understanding User Intention

Assuming you’re using lead generation software that tracks your visitors’ behavior on your website, these can offer you plenty of insights when it comes to user intent.

Because you can identify the pages that your site visitor has looked at, you’ll have a clear understanding of which products/services this person is interested in.

On top of that, you can also use this data to gauge which stage of the Buyer’s Journey your visitor is currently in.

stages Image source.

If a visitor simply scrolls through your home page, checks out a blog article, and leaves, then it’s likely that they’re in the Awareness or Consideration stage. You might want to nurture them, but it’s probably not a good idea to try and close them immediately.

If a visitor spends a great deal of time on your pricing page, however, and they’ve visited your case studies pages as well, this shows purchase intent. When following up with these leads, your sales rep can get straight to the point, and push for a sale.

Some lead gen software also allow companies to set up “trigger reports” that notify your sales team when certain activities occurs on your site.

For example, you could set up a trigger report to ping you whenever a prospect visits your pricing page for the 3rd or 4th time (with each occasion belonging to a separate session).

These folks who are returning to your pricing page repeatedly are likely to convert into paying users, and you’ll want to reach out to them ASAP - even if they haven’t filled in a form or contacted you.

The bottom line?

Closing the sale is all about identifying the right opportunities, and striking while the iron is hot. And B2B lead generation software will help you do just that!

(To learn more about the Buyer’s Journey, and how you can tailor your marketing efforts to address each stage that your prospects are in, check out this guide by Pardot.)

Reaching Out To Prospects

The numbers don’t lie:

Studies show that marketers who use email automation software generate 2x the number of leads, as compared to those using blast email software.

That’s not all… the marketers who use email automation software are also perceived to be 2x as effective at communicating.

If your sales reps are still painstakingly copy-pasting messages and sending out emails manually, they’re doing it wrong. Why stick to old-school methods, when automating your outreach process can get you more leads in less time?

Getting started with automated email campaigns is fairly easy. All you need to do is to set up a workflow, which might look something like this…

alt Image source.

Then sit back, A/B test the crap out of it, and let it work its magic.

Of course, this isn’t a 100% hands-off type deal. You’ll still have to step in and continue the conversation at some point, but you can save a load of time by using a drip campaign to nurture your leads first.

Struggling to word those emails? Check out this bumper list of B2B sales email templates. While you’re at it, also read this ultimate cold email guide.

How To Choose The Best Lead Generation Software

There are tons of lead generation software out there - and all of them claim to be highly effective. So how do you know which will actually work for your company?

First, think about the scope you’re dealing with.

If you already have an effective automated email campaign, and you just need to increase your number of leads, then you can go with a lead generation software that’s more specialized.

If you’re starting from scratch, and you need to optimize your entire funnel, then it makes more sense to choose an end-to-end solution.

A word of advice:

When it comes to lead generation software, more isn’t always more.

I know it’s easy to get carried away, and choose the fanciest tool which comes with a gazillion cool features. But if you don’t actually need these features, you’re just throwing money away.

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On top of that, you’ll also want to take into consideration:

  • Your budget: how much can you spend?
  • User-friendliness: does the software come with a steep learning curve, or is it easy to figure out? How long does setup take?
  • Integration: does the software integrate with the CRM or sales platform that you’re currently using?
  • Tracking and reports: what metrics are provided? Are these relevant to your company, and are they a good indicator of ROI and effectiveness?

After weighing up your options, shortlist your top three candidates. If it’s available, sign up for a free trial; if not, contact the vendors to request for a demo.

Once you’ve gone through your trial or demo, you should have a good gauge of which lead gen software is the most effective and user-friendly. Before you make your decision, reach out to the vendors and ask them the following questions…

Questions To Ask When Choosing A Lead Generation Software

1. Is The Software User-Friendly?

The best lead gen software feature easy-to-navigate dashboards, and they’re simple and intuitive to use.

Now, given that your sales reps are the ones using the software on a day-to-day basis, make sure you get their buy-in.

If you’re leaving it to your tech-savvy CTO to make the call on which software to get, they might end up choosing something that’s too advanced for your reps’ needs.

2. What Does A “Qualified Lead” Mean?

If you check out the websites of the various lead generation software in the market, you’ll find that most of these sites will talk about bringing you more “qualified leads”.

Here’s the problem: the term “qualified leads” is highly subjective.

Some might say these are leads whose contact details have been verified, while others might argue that only those who have a purchase intent count as “qualified”. (This opens up another can of worms: how do you define purchase intent?)

In any case, don’t take it for granted that a particular software’s definition of “qualified lead” aligns with yours. Dig around their website to see if you can find any information, or get in touch with them to clarify the term.

3. Is It Scalable?

Some lead management softwares are designed exclusively for businesses of a certain size, and others might be able to scale easily.

If you don’t foresee yourself expanding rapidly in the future, you’re free to use a software which simply caters to your current needs. But if you’re in a high-growth industry, and you have an aggressive expansion plan, then make sure you get a software that can grow alongside your company.

4. Are There Any Guarantees?

As mentioned earlier, some software come with their own internal lead databases; using these databases, they filter out the most relevant contacts for you to reach out to.

Now, the risk with this is that you might get a ton of outdated emails that no longer work.

To make sure this doesn’t happen, opt for a lead generation software that offers a accuracy guarantee for their lead databases and lists. Some, for example, will guarantee you that 95% of the emails that they provide you with are accurate. This means that less than 5% of the emails you send to these prospects will bounce.

Looking to boost your lead gen efforts? These lead generation software that I’ve highlighted below are the best of the best.

1. Albacross

The average website lets 98% of their visitors slip through the cracks - I think you’ll agree this is a tremendous waste.

Enter Albacross. Our tool allows you to identify who’s visiting your website, and it also tells you how to reach and convert them.

albacross

Entrepreneurs are busy folks, so we built this tool such that it’s super easy to set up.

Signing up and creating your account takes 30 seconds, tops. After you’ve done that, paste our tracking script into your website, and kick back while we start gathering data.

To make sure your leads are all high-quality, use our filtering tool to narrow down companies based on their size, industry, and more.

Using the contact information that we provide you, your sales team can easily reach out to these leads. Because your team can access information about each lead’s behavior on your website, they’ll be able to personalize their pitch, and sell more effectively.

Last but not least, Albacross integrates with major CRM platforms to allow you to streamline your outreach efforts. And as a bonus, we even throw in daily, weekly, and monthly email reports that give you a bird’s eye view of which companies are visiting your website.

Okay, bear with me while I do a quick plug:

Albacross serves over 11,000 customers across the globe; on average, we generate over 2,000,000 leads for our customers per month.

Check out all the nice things our customers have to say about our product:

reviews

If you want to get started with Albacross, click here. It’s 100% free to use, and you don’t need a credit card to sign up.

2. OptinMonster

OptinMonster is a conversion optimization toolkit, with features including…

  • Exit intent pop-ups
  • Scroll boxes
  • Full-screen welcome mats
  • Onsite retargeting

And more.

optinmonster

These guys also have tons of “celebrity” clients, if you will.

Neil Patel, who’s a marketing and SEO legend, says he’s used OptinMonster’s exit intent pop-ups to double his email opt-in rate. Joost de Valk, the founder of Yoast, also says OptinMonster doubled his email sign-ups.

3. OutreachPlus

OutreachPlus enables you to automate the sending of your emails, and personalize these emails while you’re at it.

OutreachPlus

While you’re building your campaigns with standard templates, you can set up unlimited variables to customize each email that’s sent out.

Obviously you’ll want to plug in your prospect’s name and company; on top of that, you can also include custom fields to reference their interests, hobbies, and more.

OutreachPlus also comes with a smart automation platform which detects user behavior (email opens, link clicks, etc.) and triggers specific emails based on these actions.

4. Prospect.io

Prospect.io is a one-stop shop for companies who need to up their lead gen game, and fast.

Prospect.io

First up, their email finder tools are pretty nifty.

They have a Google Chrome extension that you can use to find names, emails, job titles and companies, and you can even search for your prospect’s contact information simply by visiting their website. (Once you’re on their site, click on the extension, and you’ll get a list of email addresses associated with the domain name).

You can also use Prospect.io to set up drip campaigns, and track the email opens, clicks, and replies that you get. All cold emails are sent from your own email address, and you can hook Prospect.io up with:

  • Gmail
  • GSuite
  • Microsoft Office 365
  • Microsoft Exchange, or
  • Your own SMTP server

Last but not least, using Prospect.io’s “Campaign Stats” page, you’ll be able to benchmark your performance against other companies in your industry. Anything to give you that extra edge, right?

5. Pardot

Pardot is a highly effective B2B lead generation software; like Prospect.io, it’s a bit of an all-rounder.

Pardot

First, Pardot’s drag-and-drop builders help you create beautifully designed landing pages and smart forms that will keep the leads coming in.

On the lead management front, Pardot also has a lead qualification feature that scores prospect interactions, and determines who are your hot leads.

Of course, you can also use Pardot to build email campaigns and trigger emails to your leads based on time, interactions and other custom parameters.

Finally, Pardot also has a lifecycle reporting tool that feeds you insights on how your customers are moving through your sales funnel. With this tool, you can easily identify your bottlenecks, and optimize your funnel to increase conversion rates.

6. Pipedrive

Finally, Pipedrive bills itself as a sales CRM built for “minimum input and maximum output”.

Pipedrive

This tool tracks your emails, calls, and progress automatically - it frees up your time, and allows you to focus on building relationships.

Because Pipedrive provides you with an overview of your pipeline, you can easily see what tasks are currently on your plate, and what items are coming up next.

Free Lead Generation Software

All the tools I’ve listed above are paid ones (with the exception of Albacross, which is 100% free to use).

Now, there are other free lead generation software that you can add to your toolkit, but these are generally less extensive and customizable compared to the ones we’ve listed above. That said, they can still help in optimizing your sales funnel…

1. Sumo

Sumo is a plug-and-play lead gen software that helps you grow your email list.

Sumo

With Sumo, you can configure your site with smart pop-ups, sticky bars, and more.

The best part? You don’t need any technical knowledge or coding skills to use this tool.

You can also integrate your Sumo account with HubSpot, GetResponse, MailChimp, Drip, and other CRM and email platforms. Make sure you follow up with those leads!

2. Skrapp

If you regularly source for leads on LinkedIn, then Skrapp will be right up your alley.

Skrapp

In a nutshell, Skrapp is a Google Chrome extension that identifies the email addresses of people you’re searching for on LinkedIn.

Here’s how it works:

Once you’ve installed the extension, head over to LinkedIn and search for a prospect you’d like to reach out to.

Skrapp

Click on the red “Find email” button on the prospect’s profile, and Skrapp will identify their email for you. Pretty cool, huh?

3. HelloBar

Like Sumo, HelloBar helps you capture emails and grow your subscriber list.

Skrapp

HelloBar allows you to create sticky banners, pop-ups and more to use on your website.

You can configure your banners and pop-ups to display immediately or after a few seconds, and there’s even an option to create an animated “wiggle button” to catch your visitor’s eye.

A Final Word On B2B Lead Generation Software

If you want to increase your number of leads (and your revenue) exponentially, then the way forward is clear. You know what to do.

The longer you snooze, the more you lose. As of now, only 37% of B2B marketers are using marketing automation to generate leads, which means that you’ll get a huge leg up on your competition if you start using lead gen tools.

What are you waiting for? It’s time to start fine-tuning your lead generation efforts!