Sales lead generation is what keeps your sales and business going. Any big or small business needs to make sales. Your lead generation strategy is how you build your sales funnel and keep it full of qualified leads that will convert to paying customers.
For most B2C and B2B companies, lead generation is a top-of-the-funnel activity that feeds inbound and outbound sales and marketing efforts. Put simply; lead generation is contacting potential customers who may be interested in your product or service. A solid lead generation strategy enables you to find your target audience, capture leads, and nurture them through the sales process.
Sales is tough work, and for many businesses, staying on top of lead generation efforts can be a challenge. Building lead generation tools, updating social media, tracking potential customers, qualifying leads, entering them into your CRM, and converting leads to sales can exhaust your sales and marketing team.
On top of that, you need to keep your customer contact information up to date as people move, businesses change their email and phone numbers, and new companies enter the market. The last thing you want is your salespeople working on administrative tasks when they could be selling.
So, what’s the solution? Investing in lead generation tools.
Lead generation software is an easier and faster way to automate your lead generation efforts. It gives you the tools to reach your target markets, raise brand awareness, identify, capture, and qualify potential leads, send them to your sales team, and close more deals.
This article will help you understand how lead generation tools optimize your lead management and how to choose the right tools for your B2C or B2B business.
A quick search will reveal hundreds of lead generation automation tools available, covering almost every aspect of B2B and B2C lead generation. It’s essential to research the right tools for your business and market to get access to quality leads and increase your sales conversion rate. Lead generation tools usually provide one or more of five main functions:
Automation saves you time and money by engaging with, analyzing, qualifying, and prioritizing leads. Lead gen platforms can integrate with your CRM and marketing software to automatically send qualified leads to your sales reps for follow-up.
Many platforms feature digital marketing tools, templates, and editors to create webinars, landing pages, email campaigns, blogs, case studies, infographics, CTAs, and social media posts. You can share this content via social media or your website to boost engagement and SEO.
It’s essential to keep new leads engaged as they move through your sales funnel. Different tools do this differently, but the general goal is to automatically maintain engagement through content marketing and follow-ups until the lead is qualified. Prospecting tools facilitate outreach by ethically collecting contact information such as email addresses and phone numbers.
Platforms can analyze your potential leads in real-time and assign each one a score indicating how likely they are to purchase from you. Depending on the platform, the score can depend on website visitors, company size, estimated budget, pricing, industry activity, and level of engagement with marketing campaigns.
Built-in sales analytics and reporting features let you see the performance of your lead generation efforts and sales processes. This capability enables you to run a/b testing and make tweaks to your lead management and marketing strategy to ensure your sales team gets high-quality leads that convert to sales.
Lead generation consists of inbound and outbound lead generation efforts. Your lead generation strategy should combine elements of both approaches to optimize your results.
Outbound lead gen is all about outreach – you contact potential customers directly through cold emails, cold calling, direct mail, and events. Therefore, outbound lead gen is more often associated with B2B lead generation, although B2C companies can also use it.
Lead generation platforms can offer outbound features themselves, or they can integrate with your existing outbound tools.
Here are a few of the outbound features available:
- Sales dialer and recording
- CRM software
- Pay-per-click ads
- Pop up windows
- Email marketing automation
- Templates for emails
Inbound lead gen involves convincing potential customers to reach out to you. It’s a commonly used tactic in B2B and B2C lead generation. Inbound lead gen is a digital marketing strategy that attracts new leads through content marketing, community building, and engagement.
Inbound lead gen tools assist with:
- Landing page creation
- Web forms
- Website visitor tracking
- Content creation and sharing
- Survey and contest forms
Both B2C and B2B lead generation strategies have the same goal: attract as many qualified leads as possible. They differ in how they approach their markets and lead generation efforts.
B2C companies are interested in attracting as many consumers as possible. That means their target market is the general public and their marketing strategies tend to focus on market segmentation. B2B companies target specific customers within an industry or company, and their marketing strategies focus more on personal outreach and lead nurturing.
The B2C sales cycle is shorter because consumer purchasing decisions tend to be emotion-based and take less time. B2C lead generation efforts focus more on increasing brand awareness through promotions and advertising. The B2B sales cycle is much longer because businesses need to understand the benefits and risks of purchasing your product or service. The purchase decision may also involve many stakeholders. Therefore, B2B lead generation is focused more on building strong customer relationships through lead nurturing.
Both B2C and B2B companies use social media platforms in their marketing strategies. Social media lead generation efforts can include building brand awareness, engaging potential customers, sharing content, and lead nurturing. B2C companies tend to use consumer-focused social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. In contrast, B2B companies use these platforms, but their lead generation efforts are more focused on LinkedIn.
B2C and B2B companies use content marketing to attract and nurture leads, but with different goals. Content for B2C lead generation focuses on raising brand awareness. In contrast, B2B companies use content to nurture leads. They provide information and advice to help potential customers determine the value of the product or service. Both B2C and B2B companies use social media to share content and engage with their target audience.
B2C marketing needs to respect consumer privacy. That means lead generation tools and email marketing activities must comply with privacy laws and social media privacy policies, especially around asking consumers for permission to use and share their contact information. Privacy is a concern in B2B marketing; however business customers are generally ok with cold emails and cold calling. It’s still essential to ensure that your B2B lead generation software is compliant with privacy laws if privacy laws or social media privacy policies change.
The Best Lead Gen Tools for B2B and B2C Sales
Datanyze helps B2B companies identify the tools, products, and online and SaaS services used by a target company. The Datanyze Google Chrome Extension lets you access contact information and company data while browsing a potential lead on LinkedIn. Datanyze supplies email addresses, mobile, and direct-dial phone numbers directly from target companies’ social media profiles and websites without you needing to leave your browser.
When it’s time to contact a potential lead, Datanyze makes outreach easy with featured and personalized icebreakers that relate to what’s going on in your prospect’s world.
Datanyze automatically adds all the leads and contact information you collect to your online contact list, where anyone on your sales team can access it. You can seamlessly manage and export contact information and email lists to your CRM or other business platforms with the click of a button.
Datanyze offers a free 90 day trial for new customers. Pricing for paid plans starts at just $39 a month.
Hunter is an all-in-one lead generation platform for outreach automation and B2B lead generation. It provides a powerful email search tool that can get you a list of all the email addresses for an entire company, find an email address for a single professional, or find an article author’s email from the article’s URL. Hunter also provides an email verifier feature to check if an email address exists.
Hunter provides outreach automation that can manage your email campaigns. You can send personalized cold emails, configure follow-ups, and check analytics from a single dashboard.
A free trial is available. Pricing for Hunter.io starts at $49/month.
Seedprod is a WordPress plugin that builds B2B landing pages using a drag and drop editor and prebuilt page templates and themes. Seedprod provides SEO optimization, subscriber management, and spam protection features and easily integrates with email marketing and lead generation tools such as MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, Convertkit, and Constant Contact.
Pricing starts at $79 per year.
Leadfeeder reveals who visited your website, how they got there, and what they looked at while they were there. The tool can also find website visitors’ contact information so you can follow up with them.
Typeform provides an editor and templates to design your forms and surveys. The platform integrates with other lead gen tools such as Slack, Zapier, Salesforce, and Mailchimp, and it provides analytics to track and evaluate your forms’ performance.
Hubspot provides a wide range of lead gen features and tools to capture, nurture, and qualify leads and run inbound marketing campaigns. Hubspot lets you manage social media accounts and create and manage marketing automation workflows, and it provides a free CRM system.
Optinmonster features a drag-and-drop editor that lets you create lead generation forms and pop-ups to capture website visitors and invite them to opt-in to subscriptions or offers.
- Salespanel – For visitor tracking and insights on your website
- Unbounce – For landing page creation and AI marketing tools
- Yieldify – For personalized website experiences based on segmentation
- Hootsuite – For social media marketing and management
- Expandi – For personalized LinkedIn messaging
- UpViral – For running contests and marketing campaigns
- Agile CRM – Cloud-based contact management for sales, marketing, and support
- Nimble – For integrated customer relationship management
- Snov.io – A CRM for outreach automation and tracking
- Drift – For conversation marketing and on-site messaging
- Hellobar – For adding targeted pop-ups to your website
The best lead generation tool for your business will depend on your business model and market. To help you find the right tool, ask yourself some questions about your business:
- Who is your target audience? How are you reaching potential customers today?
- What channels do you use today for your marketing strategy? Where do you get the most engagement? What channels are you not currently using?
- Are you currently using inbound or outbound lead generation (or both)?
- What lead generation or CRM tools do you currently use? What do you like about them? What do you not like?
- What’s your social media presence and strategy?
- What business goals do you want your lead generation strategy to help achieve? How will it achieve these goals?
- How do you find leads today? Do you score them? If so, how?
- Do you currently have a content marketing strategy? If so, how is it working? If not, do you plan to create one?
Armed with this knowledge, you can choose the right lead generation tools, or a combination of tools, to build and execute a solid lead generation strategy.
If you’re an early-stage startup or small business, a lead generation tool like Datanyze may be just what you need to kickstart your lead generation efforts.
With an ethically-sourced database of over 120 million business professionals and 63 million direct phone numbers, Datanyze can provide detailed contact information on sales-qualified leads through LinkedIn.
The Datanyze Chrome Extension is easy to use and quickly and smoothly integrates with your current workflow. It lets you connect with high-quality verified leads right away while remaining compliant with existing data protection laws.
Want to take it for a spin? Sign up to start using Datanyze for free today!