January 12, 2023
In less than 10 years, the marketing software landscape has grown from about 150 solutions to over 7,000 companies. The now famous “supergraphic” on Scott Brinker’s Chief Marketing Technologist blog chronicles the proliferation since 2011. Without a doubt, the universe of lead generation software has exploded right along with it.
Below you'll find framework we’ve developed for finding the best lead generation tools for your business, without falling into the trap of over-engineering a system - or building it too cheap to scale. We've put together our picks for the best lead generation software you can find in 2020, rating each of the solutions by G2 reviews, problems solved, metrics for success, pricing & team resources needed to manage the technology. Borrow our Google Sheets template here - you can make a copy and repurpose for your own search.
Let's begin by laying the foundation for a few important concepts:
For the purposes of digital marketing and sales, lead generation is the practice of attracting visitors to your website or blog, and turning some portion of those visitors into leads. These leads are known people that indicate they want to learn more about your company’s product or service. Hubspot, a pioneer in inbound marketing, wrote a comprehensive guide to lead generation here.
Want to see live examples of how Vocal Video customers like Google, Comscore, and Martha Stoumen Wines are using video testimonials to power their marketing? Check it out here.
The key difference between B2B and B2C lead generation is rooted in the nature of the respective buying cycles. B2C buying cycles are usually short and lead generation efforts often attempt to connect with buyers on an emotional level, creating urgency with sales and other time-sensitive offers. B2B buyers are typically making higher consideration purchases for their companies, and informational content shared in lead generation efforts often help these buyers educate themselves on the industry, challenges they need to solve, and building trust and loyalty with their brand.
We've divided the lead generation software tools into these different categories; feel free to skip around based on your business' needs.
Sales Prospecting Tools
Inbound Marketing Software
Outbound Lead Generation Tools
Lead Management Software
Landing Page Software
Live Chat Tools
If your company has a new product or service, chances are that you don’t have a relevant database of prospective customers built up yet through things like inbound marketing. Inevitably someone will suggest buying a list. Many of today’s data providers have tried to distance themselves from the stigma of the popular ‘spray and pray’ approach, and focus on providing valuable, targeted data that can help your business or nascent product build out the ideal customer profile and overcome a classic cold-start problem of not being able to reach your prospective buyers. The landscape of b2b lead generation tools is growing fast. Read on to learn more about some of the best prospecting tools for marketing and sales.
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Inbound marketing tools run the gamut from content creation to SEO analysis tools. Your inbound marketing strategy should focus on attracting qualified traffic to your website with world-class content, then on conversion. Inbound marketing software can enable faster and more efficient creation of high-quality content to attract your audience to your site, and scalable ways to identify and convert that traffic.
Outbound lead gen software is used by sales teams to enable and make calls, emails, and messages more scalable, efficient and trackable. A centrally managed tool also enables more consistent messaging, and testing over time.
Having *too* many leads can seem like an enviable position - until you find yourself experiencing this challenge. This critical mass means that software is essential to scoring leads to determine how they are prioritized and segmented, measuring lead performance, and ultimately improving quality of leads.
By putting a pixel on your website, or importing your database you can effectively follow your prospects around the web with your offer. All companies with major eccommerce operations will attempt to entice/remind you to return to their site, often with a picture of the item that you had last looked at.
Ultimately you’ll need to provide your website visitors conversion moments so that they can become leads. These lead captures pages might appear when they register for a webinar, download a white paper, enter a contest - or even as you’ll see below, inserting a form into a video.
Many B2B companies are turning to account based marketing as a sales and marketing strategy after watching traditional tactics flag. By drastically narrowing the focus to truly target ideal customers, many organizations report impressive results.
Real time communication has been heralded as the cure for engaging audiences with short attention spans. The software ranges from laser-focused, to encompassing every other existing channel.
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