Best Lead Generation Tools in 2023
August 29, 2023
Lead generation is a big deal, and it’s something that tends to take up a lot of resources and effort.
The good news is that marketers and businesses today have a mountain of excellent tools they can use when it comes to generating and managing leads across a vast range of platforms.
In this article, we’ll explore why lead generation tools are so useful, what they can help you accomplish, and how they fit into your existing lead gen efforts. We’ll also share some of the best lead generation tools in each category.
What is lead generation?
Lead generation — the process of attracting and capturing potential customers — is a central part of just about every business you can think of.
It’s a long process, and it doesn’t end when you identify a promising lead. It also involves nurturing your leads, sometimes over long periods of time, using content and communication to guide and nudge them to becoming paying and loyal customers.
In the digital era, lead generation is more important than ever, and takes place across a vast range of multiple platforms, channels and methods.
Although lead generation can be complex and challenging, marketers today have access to a wealth of powerful tools to make the process both easier and more effective. Let’s take a look at some lead generation platforms and why the right tools are so essential here.
Why do you need the right lead-generation tool?
Marketers today can benefit from tools in pretty much every category imaginable, and lead generation is no exception. In fact, tools are increasingly becoming indispensable — companies that fail to tap into what’s available here risk finding themselves at a serious disadvantage.
Let’s take a look at a few of the key reasons why lead-gen tools are so important:
The right tools allow you to significantly streamline the lead generation process, saving tons of time and freeing up valuable resources (including human resources) for other tasks.
2. More accurate targeting
The right lead generation tools can help you identify and target your prospects with much more accuracy, boosting your chances of converting those leads into customers.
3. Higher quality leads
The right lead generation tools help you identify and connect with higher quality leads who will become more lucrative and lasting customers, driving higher sales and more business growth in the long term.
Lead generation methods
One of the great things about lead generation is its versatility. There’s an almost endless list of ways to connect with leads and nurture relationships with them, and most businesses will employ a mix of several different approaches.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common methods.
• Inbound lead generation
Just like inbound marketing, inbound lead generation uses engaging, valuable content to reel in potential leads and build a relationship over time. It’s about establishing a presence as a reliable, trustworthy, and authoritative brand that your prospects will gradually come to trust — until one day they find themselves at the bottom of your funnel hovering over the “buy” button.
• Outbound lead generation
In contrast to inbound, outbound lead generation is all about taking a proactive and outgoing approach to connecting with potential leads. It relies on methods like outbound email marketing and cold calling to open a relationship and start a conversation.
• Content marketing
Content is at the heart of inbound lead generation. Well researched and written blogs, engaging infographics, and gripping videos packed with value for your customers can, over time, generate a steady flow of qualified leads to your business. Content marketing is a long game, and best done across a range of channels.
• Social media marketing
Social media platforms can be an incredibly rich source of leads. By engaging with your audience across channels like Meta (Facebook and Instagram), Snapchat, TikTok and Twitter, you can build interest in your brand and capture impressive amounts of leads.
• Events and Webinars
Hosting events where you share valuable information and advice with your audience is an excellent approach to lead generation. These can take the form of talks from respected experts, workshops, and discussion groups. Events don’t have to take place in person, either — webinars can work just as well.
• Paid advertising
Running ads on platforms like Meta and Google can be a smart way to connect with swathes of new leads. Paid advertising typically requires some trial and error, and you’ll need to set aside a decent budget to see results, but if done right it can pay off enormously.
• Referral programs
Sometimes, your best salespeople are your former customers. Referral programs encourage your satisfied customers to refer others to your brand by promising incentives like discounts and rewards. Over time, this can generate a solid number of leads simply through word-of-mouth.
Different types of lead generation tools
“Lead generation tools” fall under a big umbrella. There are many different options here, all serving different purposes and driving different benefits for your business.
In this section, we’ll explore some of the main types of lead generation tools, what they do, and why they’re valuable. We’ll also show you what to look for in each category of tools.
• Email marketing
Email is an incredibly powerful tool for marketing, and businesses of all shapes and sizes stand to benefit from it.
When it comes to lead generation, email has an important role to play. The right email campaigns can be used to nurture leads and build stronger relationships with them, guiding leads through the five stages of awareness:
- Unaware — where your leads have no idea who you are or how you can help them
- Problem aware — they know they have a problem, but aren’t sure how to solve it (they may not even know there is a solution)
- Solution aware — now your leads know that solutions exist to their problem, but they don’t know about your specific solution
- Product aware — this is where leads become aware of your products and services and how they can solve their problems. However, they haven’t decided yet, and are still considering other options.
- Most aware — your leads are as aware of your solution as they ever will be. They know and trust your brand, and are close to becoming customers
This process will take your prospects from interested to itching to buy.
And the right email marketing platforms can take this process to the next level, helping you attract and convert more leads than ever before. There are lots of good email marketing tools out there, so let’s look at some of the key things to look out for when choosing yours:
- An intuitive and user-friendly interface that everyone on your team will be able to navigate and use to set up and manage email campaigns
- Support for automated email sequences like autoresponders and nurture campaigns
- Solid analytics and reporting capabilities, allowing you to take a data-driven approach to your email marketing and closely track the performance of your activities over time
- Compliance with privacy regulations like GDPR and CCPA
- The ability to segment your email subscribers into different groups for more targeted messaging
The best email marketing tools for lead generation
- One of the most recognisable names in email marketing, and with good reason, Mailchimp is packed with features to help you create, manage, and track email campaigns for every activity imaginable — including lead generation.
- Pros: It’s user-friendly, affordable, and comes with great analytics and tracking tools
- Cons: Mailchimp’s complexity also means it can take a while to learn
- Pros: It is built to handle just about every aspect of email marketing you can think of, with a ton of lead generation and lead management features. It also integrates with a huge number of other platforms.
- Cons: Klaviyo has a bit of a learning curve, but most find it’s worth investing the time.
Brevo (formerly known as Sendinblue):
- Pros: It’s powerful, user-friendly, and can be used by businesses of all shapes and sizes in their email marketing and lead generation efforts
- Cons: Some limitations with layout customisation
• Lead capture forms
Lead capture forms are the link between prospects who are aware of your brand, and leads that are in your funnel.
A well-designed lead capture form allows you to learn a ton of incredibly useful information about your new lead, allowing you to run much more effective marketing and personalisation activities throughout the rest of the buyer journey.
Building an effective lead capture form requires the right tools for the best results. Here’s what to look for:
- Customisation - You should be able to exercise a lot of control when it comes to building your lead capture form so that it’s easy to navigate and interact with while also reflecting your branding.
- Mobile-friendly - Many of your leads will be coming from mobile devices, so make sure your lead capture form is mobile-responsive and easy to use on a range of screen sizes.
- Secure - It’s essential that your forms are safe to use, and the data you collect from your leads is kept as secure as possible at all times.
- Notifications - The best lead capture forms will send you notifications when leads are captured, allowing you to quickly follow up and stay on top of your lead generation activities.
The best lead capture tools
- As the name suggests, it is built to help you create engaging and effective landing pages and lead capture forms.
- Pros: It helps you optimise your pages and forms to drive the best possible conversion rates, and comes with a suite of analytics tools to track progress.
- Cons: Some of the features can be tough to figure out at first.
- It is designed to keep your visitors on your page and turn your website into a conversion machine.
- Pros: It’s packed with tools and features to capture and convert leads.
- Cons: It lacks integration with certain tools, so it’s worth doing your homework.
• Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software
Your CRM is a crucial part of your lead generation efforts, allowing you to access powerful insights and take a more data-driven approach to the whole process.
There are lots of good options when it comes to picking a CRM. What works well for one business might not be the best choice for another. It’s always best to research, experiment and find out what works best for your specific needs.
That said, here are some general green flags to look for in your CRM:
- Scalability - Your CRM should be able to grow with your business, accommodating your lead generation and management needs not just now but also into the future.
- Integration with your other tools like email software and lead capture forms.
- Ease of use - Everyone on your team should be able to use your CRM easily and get the most out of its features.
- Analytics - A CRM with powerful reporting and tracking features is an incredibly useful tool when it comes to tracking your lead generation activities and performance.
The best CRM platforms
- A household name in the world of marketing, HubSpot’s CRM is a safe bet for most businesses out there.
- Pros: One of HubSpot’s biggest strengths is the sheer number of integrations it supports, allowing you to easily fit it into your existing stack.
- Cons: It can get expensive, especially with extra features.
- Pros: It comes with a wealth of tools including many powerful lead generation features. According to their website, it helps "unite your teams around your customers, get actionable insights from data, attract prospects, and retain loyal customers".
- Cons: Salesforce is a little pricey, so it may not be the best choice for smaller businesses.
- It is designed by salespeople, for salespeople, and is a solid choice for any business looking to take greater control of their lead generation and lead management efforts.
- Pros: Packed with features and built for sales teams.
- Cons: The interface can be a little tricky to navigate at times.
- It is a cloud-based sales CRM solution that helps businesses of all sizes close more deals. It offers a wide range of features. Close CRM is also mobile-friendly, so salespeople can stay productive on the go.
- Pros: Close is User-friendly and has a wide range of features for sales automation. It also has a mobile app and offers a 14 day trial. Lastly, it is affordably priced.
- Cons: Not as customisable as some other CRM solutions.
• Content marketing tools
Content marketing involves using different types of content — blog posts, videos, guides, and more — to build a relationship with your audience, generate leads, and grow the presence of your brand online.
Content marketing is also a powerful lead generation channel, as a good piece of content can put you on the radar of countless new prospects. A good lead magnet at the end can turn a popular content piece into a lead-generating machine.
When it comes to creating and sharing content, there are lots of good tools out there. Here’s what to look for:
- Support for different formats like videos, blog posts, and infographics. Content marketing works best when the net is cast wide.
- The ability to easily share and distribute your content across multiple different channels.
- Analytics - You should be able to easily track the performance of your content, measuring things like reach, engagement, and time spent on each page.
- SEO assistance - SEO is the art of ensuring your content ranks high in search engine results. It is key if you want to maximise reach. Your chosen tool should come with features that help you improve your SEO performance.
The best content marketing tools
- The tool allows you to conduct effective and fast research for content marketing. Find out how your competitors’ best pieces are performing, identify topics and keywords to target, and track your own efforts with precision and ease from one platform.
- Pros: Lots of features and easy to navigate.
- Cons: Occasional delays with data.
- It allows you to create beautiful content pieces for your website, along with a ton of analytics and SEO features to give your pages the best possible chance of ranking highly and ensuring a steady stream of traffic and potential leads.
- Pros: A great solution with tons of features even for those with low budgets.
- Cons: Some plugins and themes may have poor support.
- Canva gives you the tools to create dazzling and engaging assets like infographics, videos, and graphs tailored to your audience’s key interests and questions.
- Pros: Very easy to learn and a huge amount of features and resources.
- Cons: Some limitations when it comes to customisation.
• Social media lead generation tools
Social media platforms like Meta (Facebook and Instagram), Snapchat, TikTok and LinkedIn are powerful lead-generation channels, allowing you to connect with potentially vast audiences of people.
Generating leads effectively on social media can be a complex task, but it can yield incredible results if done right. Using the right tools and software solutions can be an enormous help here.
Let’s take a look at what to look for:
- Compatibility with all the social media platforms where your audience is active.
- The ability to carefully track the effectiveness of your lead generation efforts on social media, and identify areas for improvement.
- Automation features allowing you to schedule posts ahead of time.
- Integration with your other tools such as your CRM.
The best social media lead-gen tools
- Linkedin Sales Navigator is the perfect tool for those looking to generate B2B leads on LinkedIn.
- Pros: Comes with countless features aimed at finding and connecting with leads, like the ability to hone in on accounts that are already linked to your company.
- Cons: Can be tricky to export data.
- Hootsuite is built to help you make the most of social media.
- Pros: You can schedule and automate posts, track key metrics, and gain powerful insights. If you’re serious about social media lead generation, definitely check out this tool.
- Cons: The free version is somewhat limited, however, and the paid version may be a little expensive for some.
• Platform native Lead Generation tools
Lots of social media platforms now have their own lead generation features built-in, and these can be extremely useful.
- Typically delivering a 50%+ cost per lead saving vs a normal website form, Facebook Lead Ads are a great way to connect with your audience on the world’s biggest social media platform.
- For those targeting B2B audiences, LinkedIn’s Lead Gen Ads feature allows you to include lead generation forms within ads that your audience sees, collecting info quickly and easily.
- These Snapchat forms allow you to pre-fill lead generation forms with users’ personal info, saving a ton of time and significantly lowering cost-per-lead.
- TikTok Lead Gen Ads are a great way to connect with TikTok’s massive audience. Quickly capture leads with a pre-filled lead gen form.
• Live chat and chatbot tools
Chatbots have always been useful tools for lead generation, and now, with the ongoing AI renaissance, they’re more promising than ever.
The right chatbots can take a huge amount of strain off your human customer support staff by dealing with user questions that are commonly asked and easily answered. On top of that, they provide a user-friendly and intuitive way for leads to communicate with your brand, automating some of the relationship-building that’s a central part of lead generation.
Here’s what to look for in your next chatbot tool:
- Live chat functionality, enabling real-time communication with your website visitors.
- The ability to customise and tweak your chatbot to best reflect your brand and communication style.
- Advanced AI features for the most rewarding and user-friendly experiences
- Analytics and reporting features so you can collect useful data on your chatbots’ conversations and follow key metrics like lead capture rates.
The best chatbot tools for lead generation:
- Intercom harnesses the power of AI to give you a highly customisable chatbot tool, allowing you to build your bots in your company’s own image, always with an eye towards lead generation and conversion. If branding is important to you, this is a very solid option. Intercom also comes with some strong lead capture tools.
- Drift is packed with chat, email, and video features to create impressive and engaging chatbot experiences for your customers at every stage of their journey
• Lead magnets
Lead magnets are an essential step in the lead generation journey. They’re the bait you dangle in front of your potential leads — pieces of content and information that are so enticing and valuable that your prospects will happily volunteer their contact information and jump right into your funnel for a chance to access them.
Lead magnets come in all shapes and sizes, from snappy infographics and short-form videos to full-blown e-books, but the best ones offer some kind of value, specific to your leads’ needs, that they would struggle to find elsewhere. How-to guides, templates, product demos, and free tools and offers are all great examples of lead magnets.
There are plenty of tools available to help you create the perfect lead magnet. Here are some things to look out for:
- The ability to deliver the lead magnet effectively through whatever method you use — email, a dedicated landing page, a download at the end of a blog post, or something else.
- The ability to integrate lead capture forms and store your leads’ contact information securely and effectively.
- Tracking and analytics features to follow your lead magnets’ performance.
The best lead magnet creation tools
- It is a great resource for generating ideas for your next lead magnet. It works by identifying top-performing pieces of content in your industry and suggesting the hottest current topics, giving you endless idea fuel.
- Loom allows you to make quick, easy videos based on a recording of yourself and your screen. It’s perfect for explainer videos and snappy guides that can make for fantastic lead magnets.
- Google docs may not be quite as sexy as some of the other tools, but when it comes to putting together a text-based piece of content like a blog post, e-book, or PDF, it’s hard to beat.
Choose the right approach for you
Lead generation works differently for every business out there, and it’s the same with the tools you use. A platform that generates countless thousands of engaged leads for one brand might fall completely flat for another.
Ultimately, it’s all about experimenting and finding out what works best for your business, your target audience, and your specific goals. The tools in this guide are a great place to start, but there are many amazing options out there.
At Driftrock, we’ve built a platform to help businesses and marketers take control of their lead generation and management efforts. It is an all in one solution that helps you increase ROI from your lead generation campaigns.
With Driftrock you can:
Generate: Generate more leads from your website visitor.
Integrate: Connect & automate 20+ lead sources such as Meta, Snapchat, TikTok, LinkedIn, Google and more in minutes.
Validate: Invalid leads cost money & waste time. Validate removes bad data before it gets to your CRM, saving time & driving ROI from your marketing spend.
Convert: Turn leads into paying customers. Use Convert to engage & nurture your customer relationships with personalised content & communications with features to retarget, autorespond, etc to drive ROI.
Track: Increase the ROI with lead tracking, optimisation and gain valuable insights.
Book a Demo to find out more and become a marketing rockstar!