Check out this guide on writing cold emails to generate leads, which includes detail on how cold emailing works and how to do it successfully.
Sales prospecting tools are any software that help sellers generate sales leads. These can refer to B2B databases, website visitor tracking tools, email finders and verifiers, lead scoring software, and lead management software. We've listed some of the top prospecting tools in the order you'll likely use them in your sales process, and we've also called out their pricing and main offerings so you can choose the ones that will best help you generate and manage leads:
Before you can reach out to leads, you'll want a solid list of ones that you believe could be a good fit, plus as much key info on them as possible. B2B databases help you find new leads to contact as well as fill in any info gaps on the leads you've already identified. This includes data like firmographics, geographics, and technographics, plus contact details so you can easily reach them. Read on to learn about some of the top database options: UpLead, ZoomInfo, and LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
UpLead is a B2B database that focuses on helping you find high-quality leads and their data and contact information, guaranteeing as much as 95% accuracy. It allows you to filter across 50+ search criteria to find the right leads for your brand among its database of 85 million contacts, then it provides valuable insight into those leads like demographics, firmographics, and technographics. You can also use its Chrome extension to find info on potential leads you come across online.
UpLead is also great for finding and verifying emails — click here to check out those features.
ZoomInfo is an enterprise-level B2B prospecting tool offering a searchable database of leads across sales, marketing, account management, recruiting, and other roles. In the database, you'll see decision makers' emails and direct dials, organization charts for your target companies, and company news to leverage as you reach out to connect. You can also upgrade to Advanced to get key buyer intent info and to indicate your ideal customer profile to match against potential leads.
ZoomInfo is also one of the top website visitor tracking tools. You can learn more about its website features below.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a sales tool for generating leads on LinkedIn’s large network. You can search for good-fit leads using key filters, then see their contact info and even reach out using 50 monthly InMails. You'll also get customized lead recommendations and learn which mutual contact should connect you. The first pricing tier gives access to all basic functions, but you can upgrade to work with an account manager and ensure you're getting the most out of the subscription.
In addition to B2B contact databases, another good way to identify and generate leads is by figuring out who is visiting your website, how they're finding your site, and which pages are grabbing their attention. We'll mention a few top website tools next.
If you want to forego or supplement a B2B database to find leads and their information, consider using website visitor tracking software. These tools help you learn about and reach out to leads who have visited your website so you can be confident that the ones you contact have heard of you before and may already be familiar with what you do. Below, check out three of the best website visitor tracking tools available, including Leadfeeder, ZoomInfo, and Google Analytics.
Leadfeeder is a B2B website tracker that monitors traffic to your website to help you turn visitors into leads. You can use their preset lead filters or create your own to find visitors. When you identify them, you'll see their complete browsing history so you can start to understand their interests even before you speak with them. Leadfeeder will even score the best leads and notify you when certain companies visit your site so you can reach out to the right leads at the right time.
ZoomInfo is a database and prospecting tool that helps you identify and convert website visitors. At the Advanced level, you can define your ideal customer, then the platform will uncover good leads who visit your website, including their contact info and the pages they view, so you can reach out. You can automate this tracking and follow-up process in the Elite tier — for example, ZoomInfo can send a prewritten email to a good-fit lead that visits your website three times.
ZoomInfo's database is also helpful for sales prospecting — jump up to the B2B database section to see those offerings.
Google Analytics is a website tool that tracks who your visitors are, which sources they come from, and what they do on your site. It can capture their demographics like age and gender and track their behaviors via traffic source, bounce or conversion rate, session duration and page views, and other metrics. This helps prioritize your efforts to reach the right people, get more traffic from the sources that are working and direct them to certain pages, and add lead magnets and forms strategically.
Some visitor tracking software — like ZoomInfo, which is also a database — will give you visitors' email addresses even if they don't submit a lead capture form on your website. Others will focus more on what leads do on the site; in this case, think about using an email finder and/or verifier so you can contact leads after they learn a bit about your business.
Once you've identified leads to contact, it's time to find or verify their email addresses. This software is especially helpful if you don't use a trusted lead database. Finder tools often allow you to insert a lead's name and company to find their email, whereas verifiers prevent damage to your domain reputation from emails sent to incorrect addresses. Hunter, Snov.io, and UpLead offer both services, while DeBounce and ZeroBounce focus on verification.
Hunter.io is an email finder and verifier in one that helps sales and marketing teams check each lead's email before emailing them individually or via a campaign. With Hunter, type in a lead's name and company website to find their email address, or verify the email you have for them. Beyond this searchable database, Hunter's Chrome extension will give you the email addresses of companies you search online. You can then save your new or verified emails within Hunter or integrate some CRMs.
Snov.io is a combined email finder and verification tool that finds emails by domain, company, lead name, and more. You can search for or verify emails individually or upload a list through their bulk search feature. Their Chrome extension also allows you to visit any site or a lead's social media profile and find the email address(es) associated with it. If you already have their email, Snov.io's seven-step verification process will ensure that it's correct before you reach out to the lead.
Credits can be used for both email searches and email verifications.
UpLead is a database with email finder and verification capabilities. You can enter a lead and company name, and UpLead will return an email address. You'll also get the lead's phone number and social media links. With bulk email lookup, upload a list of leads and companies and receive their email, number, and links all at once, then export the completed list as a new spreadsheet. Similarly, the verification tool allows you to upload many emails, then download only the verified ones.
UpLead's database also makes it a good option for sellers looking to find new leads to contact. Learn more about the database above.
DeBounce is an email verifier for users wanting to bulk verify emails. Upload a spreadsheet, and the platform will highlight duplicate emails so you don't pay twice for the same one. Next, you can have DeBounce enrich your list or just check for syntax, bounce, catch-all, spam-trap, and disposable email addresses. Finally, you can download your full list or only the clean version. DeBounce offers a pay-as-you-go plan, so you only pay for what you use, and your credits never expire.
ZeroBounce is an email verification platform that offers a pay-as-you-go plan or a monthly plan with a set amount of credits each month. Both types of plans come with credits that never expire and allow you to filter invalid emails out of your lists and receive key lead details such as name, age, and location. You can also use verification credits toward ZeroBounce Score, which identifies subscribers that interact most with your emails so you can focus your nurturing efforts on them.
After you find or verify your leads' email addresses and reach out to engage them with your brand, you can score those leads based on their traits as well as how they interact with your emails or other communication methods.
Once you start reaching out to many leads, you'll have to prioritize the ones that are likely to close — scoring software can help with this. First, specify ideal demographics and actions based on the ones your current customers have exhibited, then assign weights to each so the software can take that info and auto-score the leads in your pipeline, pushing the best ones to the forefront for you. Learn more about Zoho CRM, Freshsales, and HubSpot Marketing Hub's scoring capabilities below.
Zoho CRM is a marketing and sales tool that enables you to use multiple channels to attract leads and score them. It's great for businesses that generate leads via multichannel marketing — first send social media and email campaigns, then set scoring rules for traits such as demographics and for behaviors such as email opens, social media likes, and website visits. Once Zoho CRM scores your leads, you can reach out to the best ones for futher nurturing.
Freshsales is a sales-focused CRM that offers AI-powered lead scoring and prediction as well as deal management. Its Freddy AI assistant measures lead traits and activities and assigns predictive scores accordingly, helping you to prioritize the leads in your pipeline and reach out to the ones that are most likely to close. Freddy's sales forecasting feature also gives you up-to-date analytics and keeps the best deals moving via automatic follow-ups.
In addition to its lead scoring features, Freshsales offers great lead management tools in general. We cover those tools in the next section.
HubSpot Marketing Hub is a marketing management and automation tool for generating inbound and outbound leads. With Marketing Hub, set up your scoring criteria and let the platform auto-score leads, and manage your blogs and SEO, social profiles, ads, email campaigns, and more. Marketing, Service, and Sales Hubs all have free versions, so you can reach out to leads via marketing and direct sales prospecting and then nuture the ones most likely to convert.
HubSpot CRM (the free version of Sales Hub) is one of the top lead management platforms, making the HubSpot suite a good option for those wanting to organize and score their leads. Click here to read our write-up on HubSpot CRM.
After you generate and qualify leads, it's time to nurture them. Lead management software can help with this, so we'll cover these tools next.
Lead management software are typically quality CRMs that track a lead's progression through your pipeline from generation to close, allowing you to organize them and perform activities that will get them in a buying mindset. These tools can even help you manage current customers and tell you when to reach out for a simple check-in or a contract renewal. We've highlighted four CRMs that are great for lead management: Freshsales, HubSpot CRM, Pipedrive, and Salesforce Essentials.
Freshsales is a CRM that helps users track and score their leads, then segment them into email lists based on lead data and past activity. Its Freddy AI tool uses sales forecasting and predictive scoring to suggest tasks so you can engage with the best leads at a time when they're likely willing to discuss a purchase. You can automate some of this engagement through workflows that trigger welcome emails and other follow-ups to make lead management as simple as possible.
As you generate and manage your leads, consider also scoring them so you can prioritize the best ones. Above, we explain why Freshsales is a solid lead scoring tool.
HubSpot CRM is a lead management platform with a quality free version that allows for unlimited users and up to a million sales contacts. The free plan includes key sales features like a shared inbox, email templates, and meeting scheduling, and it also integrates with the free Marketing Hub and Service Hub tiers so multiple departments can use a single platform. Premium upgrades, such as conversation routing and repeating tasks for advanced lead management, are available as you grow.
Because HubSpot CRM integrates well with HubSpot Marketing Hub — one of our top lead scoring software above — it's a useful tool for sellers wanting to generate and score new leads.
Pipedrive is a highly visual CRM that helps you see where your leads sit within your sales process. As you generate and nurture leads, you can move them along a Kanban-style drag-and-drop pipeline. To further organize them and reach out at the right time, you can add labels and schedule tasks and activities. Its lowest tier comes with the tools most sales teams need, but you can upgrade for access to more features or buy add-ons like Campaigns, LeadBooster, and Smart Docs.
Salesforce Essentials is a customizable CRM within the Salesforce Sales Cloud platform. It offers lead management tools like lead routing automations, pipeline tracking, reporting and dashboards, email and a built-in caller, and more. Teams with long or complex sales cycles can add leads to an initial pipeline, then transfer them to an opportunity pipeline as they get closer to closing the sale. Start out with Salesforce Essentials and upgrade to a higher Sales Cloud tier as needed.
Choose a platform based on what your team needs most. For example, Freshsales, Pipedrive, and Salesforce Essentials are highly sales-focused, while HubSpot CRM also offers marketing features. Freshsales' AI tools can help busy teams automate lead management, while Pipedrive is great for those wanting a visual pipeline. All are solid choices, but because lead management is constant throughout the customer lifecycle, it's important to think through what will move the needle for you.
While there are many types of lead generation software, the types of sales prospecting tools in this article are arguably be the most important for direct outreach. If you look at the list and categories above, there’s sure to be good options for you and your team. Consider pricing, features, and the ways you believe you could get use of each platform when making your decision.