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HubSpot Marketing Hub

HubSpot is a leading growth platform. Over 52,000 total customers in more than 100 countries use HubSpot’s award-winning software, services, and support to transform the way they attract, engage, and delight customers. Marketing H...Read more about HubSpot Marketing Hub

4.5 (5926 reviews)

8 recommendations

Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Audience Studio is a data management platform (DMP) designed to help businesses deliver personalized marketing experiences by capturing and storing data signals from multiple sources. Advertisers can utilize machine learning techn...Read more about Salesforce Marketing Cloud

4.2 (489 reviews)

7 recommendations

RocketReach

The Rocketreach platform is constantly improving on the frontend and on the backend. RocketReach's team iterates at lightspeed, so anything missing - features or data will be filled fast. No installation for the platform, and a si...Read more about RocketReach

4.2 (129 reviews)

3 recommendations

Creatio CRM

Creatio is a global vendor of a no-code platform to automate workflows and CRM with a maximum degree of freedom. Creatio offering includes a no-code platform (Studio Creatio), CRM applications (Marketing, Sales and Service), indus...Read more about Creatio CRM

4.7 (121 reviews)

1 recommendations

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CASTANET

CASTANET is the industry leader in LinkedIn campaign management with over 2,750,000 new B2B connections generated! Leverage all available LinkedIn tools to identify highly targeted lists of new leads. -LinkedIn search results -...Read more about CASTANET

5.0 (4 reviews)

1 recommendations

WP Business Growth Platform

The WP Small Business Growth Accelerator is a cloud-based customer acquisition, lead generation, and CRM software that includes a variety of functions such as marketing automation, deal pipeline management, sales team management, ...Read more about WP Business Growth Platform

5.0 (1 reviews)

1 recommendations

Salesforce Sales Cloud

Grow your revenue and profits with intelligent sales automation with Sales Cloud. Help every rep be more efficient. Close more deals. Collect cash faster. Boost growth and profit with intelligent automation and integrated tools fr...Read more about Salesforce Sales Cloud

Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM is a cloud-based business management platform that caters to businesses of all sizes. It offers sales and marketing automation tools with helpdesk, analytics and customer support functions. Zoho CRM helps users respo...Read more about Zoho CRM

Dynamics 365

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a cloud-based CRM ecosystem for small, medium and enterprise organizations, with a focus on Sales, Field Service, Customer Service complete with strong integrations with Microsoft’s other Office 365 offer...Read more about Dynamics 365

Zoho Social

Zoho Social is a holistic social media management tool that lets you effortlessly expand and grow your social media presence from one platform. Zoho Social supports major social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter...Read more about Zoho Social

Pipedrive

Pipedrive is a web-based Sales CRM and pipeline management solution that enables businesses to plan their sales activities and monitor deals. Built using activity-based selling methodology, Pipedrive streamlines every action invol...Read more about Pipedrive

Constant Contact

Constant Contact delivers for small businesses with tools to simplify and amplify digital marketing. Whether it's driving sales, growing a customer base or engaging an audience, Constant Contact aims to help users build strong con...Read more about Constant Contact

ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign helps small teams power big businesses with the must-have platform for intelligent marketing automation. Customers from over 170 countries depend on ActiveCampaign’s mix of pre-built automations and integrations (in...Read more about ActiveCampaign

Airtable

Airtable is a cloud-based project management solution targeting small to midsize businesses as well as departments within larger companies. This system focuses primarily on data organization and collaboration. The system uses...Read more about Airtable

Keap

Keap (formerly Infusionsoft) is a cloud-based sales and marketing solution that offers customer relationship management (CRM), marketing automation, and e-commerce functionalities in one suite. Keap helps small businesses across v...Read more about Keap

Marketing 360

Marketing 360 is a cloud-based marketing platform suited for entrepreneurs as well as small and midsize businesses. This solution allows organizations to run social media advertising campaigns, conduct search engine optimization (...Read more about Marketing 360

Intercom

Intercom is the only complete Customer Service solution that provides a seamless customer experience across automation and human support, delivering increased customer satisfaction while reducing costs. We're building a future whe...Read more about Intercom

Typeform

FrontRunners 2024

Typeform is an interactive data collection tool that lets you create forms, surveys, and quizzes that people enjoy answering. By asking questions one at a time, you get more thoughtful responses and higher completion rates. Plus, ...Read more about Typeform

Bitrix24

Bitrix24 is an online workspace for small, medium, and large businesses. It features over 35 cross-integrated tools, including CRM, tasks, Kanban board, Gantt chart, messenger, video calls, file storage, workflow automation, and m...Read more about Bitrix24

Lead Gen & CRM (formerly SharpSpring)

At Constant Contact, we deliver for small businesses with powerful tools to simplify and amplify digital marketing. Constant Contact Lead Gen & CRM (formerly SharpSpring) is a marketing and sales platform developed to help busines...Read more about Lead Gen & CRM (formerly SharpSpring)

Buyers Guide

Last Updated: November 21, 2023

Lead generation software allows companies to automate the capture, segmentation and assignment of leads to improve targeted marketing communications and shorten sales cycles. Meanwhile, lead nurturing software allows companies to stay in contact with those generated leads until they are ready to commit to a purchase. A number of customer relationship management (CRM) systems provide lead generation and nurturing capabilities, and some vendors offer solutions developed specifically for these tasks.

This guide explains features commonly found within these systems, the types of buyers who will get the most use out of this software and other considerations to help buyers narrow down their choices.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What Is Lead Generation Software?

Common Features of Lead Generation Systems

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Best Tactics to Select Lead Generation Software

Benefits and Potential Issues

What Is Lead Generation Software?

A lead is any contact—either an individual or a business—that has the potential to be converted to a customer. Leads can be collected through a variety of online and offline channels, including:

  • Website forms

  • Virtual events

  • Trade shows

  • Direct mail

  • Phone calls

Lead generation software automates the capture and distribution of lead data from online channels. For example, a website visitor may enter their name and email address in a Web form to gain access to a piece of content. Their information is then recorded in the CRM database, and distributed to the appropriate salesperson to manage.

Silverpop-lead-generation-screenshot

Screenshot of Silverpop’s Web form and landing page design tool

Lead nurturing software automates and streamlines the process of maintaining contact with prospective customers. If lead generation gets prospective customers into the sales funnel, lead nurturing helps guide those who aren't yet ready to buy through the funnel toward a purchase decision. Lead nurturing software enables companies to remain in touch with their leads, keeping them engaged (e.g., through the delivery of relevant content) until they're ready to buy.

Lead data can be very basic—name, title, phone number, company name and number of employees, for example. When visitor tracking and analytics is used, more in-depth data can be added to the lead’s profile, such as the referring website, pages viewed by the lead and other behavioral information.

After lead information is captured, the use of lead management software enables sales teams to efficiently nurture, score and track leads to increase qualification and conversion rates.

Common Features of Lead Generation Systems

Applications vary from vendor to vendor, but a lead generation system will typically include the following types of features:

Landing page and web form creation

Web forms embedded on landing pages are the most popular method for capturing leads. With this feature, marketers can create custom forms and landing pages—or integrate existing forms—to deploy on websites and collect leads. Some systems also support the creation of promotions, such as contests and surveys, as an additional method for generating leads.

CRM integration

Lead data is automatically recorded and stored in the CRM database, where it can then be utilized for a variety of marketing campaigns based on leads’ interests and behavior.

Social media integration

Social media is a vast data source for companies that generate leads across multiple channels. Lead generation tools that collect data from social platforms, such as LinkedIn and Twitter, go beyond a company’s own website to deliver greater insights and increase the number and quality of opportunities for the sales team.

Lead segmentation

Demographics (e.g., job title and company size), referral source (e.g., organic search and paid advertising) and behavior (e.g., type of content downloaded and website path) information is used to categorize the lead. This allows it to be assigned to the appropriate sales team member for evaluation and lead scoring.

Lead assignment

This function routes leads to the right employee within a company based on filters users define, and alerts the sales team when a new lead is captured.

Below is an example on one CRM vendor's landing page and Web form creation tool. Lead generation CRM applications with these types of tools make it easy to design and embed forms on websites to capture lead information.

Infusionsoft-lead-generation-screenshot

Screenshot of Infusionsoft’s Web form and landing page design tool

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Any industry can benefit from using lead generation software: from student loan providers to restaurants to software vendors to advertising agencies. Generally, however, buyer segments are broken into two categories:

B2C buyers. These buyers sell their products directly to consumers. Typically, B2C sales cycles are short, with leads turning into buyers soon after their first interaction. For example, someone might visit several online retailers shopping for a new pair of sunglasses. When that person finds a retailer offering the style they desire for the right price, they make the purchase immediately. In cases where leads don't turn into buyers right away, lead nurturing software for B2C buyers might serve up content such as discount vouchers or information about special deals to potential buyers.

B2B buyers. These buyers sell their products and services to other businesses, rather than to consumers. Because B2B purchasing decisions are often made by more than one person—or even a formal buying committee—more nurturing is required to convert a lead into a buyer than in the B2C sales cycle. Thus, lead generation and nurturing software tools are often used in conjunction to guide prospective customers through the sales funnel.

Best Tactics to Select Lead Generation Software

There are hundreds of lead generation applications from which to choose. Selecting the best one for your business depends on a variety of factors, including the type of lead generation campaigns you want to run, which channels you use to capture leads and what other software needs to integrate with the solution.

Even after paring down your list based on the above criteria, you’ll likely have many products to evaluate. We recently surveyed software buyers across multiple industries to determine the best tactics for selecting software. Top methods include checking vendor references, having an attorney review agreements and preparing a request for proposal (RFP).

Software Selection Methods

Software-selection-tactics-quadrant-chart

Quadrant indicating where selection tactics fall on the “impact” and “satisfaction” spectrum

After creating a shortlist of products that have the functionality your business requires, you can use the methods above to speed further evaluation to find the product that best meets your needs.

Benefits and Potential Issues

Companies that adopt a lead generation system can experience several benefits:

Shorter sales cycle. Because the sales team is alerted to new leads in real time, reps and managers can contact leads promptly and with the right information to close sales more quickly.

More accurate data. There is less room for data entry errors because lead data collected from online forms is automatically synced with a CRM system, rather than being collected from various mediums and manually entered by an employee.

Improved efficiency. The core benefit of automation is to reduce or eliminate manual tasks, thus saving employees many hours of time evaluating leads and performing data entry.

Companies that fail to see these benefits often do so because of:

Unoptimized landing pages. Poorly designed landing pages and Web forms may fail to motivate potential leads to take action.

Lack of training. Employees who aren’t properly trained to use the software’s complete scope of features may miss out on opportunities to capture leads.

Lack of planning. Businesses that don’t strategically plan for their business’ changing needs and growth may make poor software purchasing decisions.