All That and a Bag of Lead Generation Tools: What They are and How to Use Them

Much like it’s impossible for a single pair of jeans 👖 to fit a plethora of body types, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to lead generation. You need the right lead generation tools for your specific strategy.

Let’s face it, this outbound marketing thing is nothing like The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants – it’s a different strokes for different folks kinda game entirely.

Using lead generation tools makes the whole process easier, sure. Here’s the kicker: You’re not going to get the same results using one tool that you will with another. In short, they’re made for different users and for different reasons.

We’ve separated some of the most competitive lead generation tools in the market into several categories so you can find the ones you need. Why waste time trying to figure this shit out when we’ve gone out and done it for you? You’re welcome. 😉

Category 1: Email Finders

With email finders, the focus is on finding email addresses. Generally, users are required to input the company domain or name and the employee’s name in order to find the accompanying email address.

Most solutions include both a web app and a Chrome Extension, and offer additional services like email drip campaigns or sales automation. In this case, the web app is generally used for manual, one-by-one email verification whereas the Chrome extension is used to harvest lead profiles and to add emails to those profiles.

Some of these email finders offer APIs and integrations to CRMs, sales automation platforms, and similar outbound marketing tools.

Feedback from real users:

When it comes to outbound marketing, accuracy is everything. Quite obviously, people prefer ‘found’ email addresses to ‘guessed’ email addresses – there’s no point sending out those campaigns if half of the target audience isn’t going to receive your mails!

There is some worry about the possible abuse of data. Where do these email addresses come from and have they been obtained responsibly? Understandably, it’s important to only use tools that are GDPR compliant and to implement those same rules in your outreach.

One of the other concerns users have is that sometimes the connection to certain sources is either capped or blocked. This often occurs with more secure platforms, like LinkedIn, who go the extra mile to protect the privacy of their users.

Our favourite email finders:

Category 2: Prospectors

These tools focus exclusively on prospecting leads based on advanced filtering, including job titles and similar criteria. As a result, some prospector apps maintain their own database, which is renewed periodically. The information found here is a combination of publicly-sourced and algorithm-derived data.

While most of these tools are aimed at sales and marketing professionals, a fair portion of them are also suited to recruiters. Some of these tools also offer company profiling as well as prospecting as a service, technology trackers, and other extra features that are a mix of automation and human interaction.

The vast majority of these prospectors are a combination of web app and integrations into other platforms, including emails and social media.

Feedback from real users:

The main feedback from users of these tools is a request for streaming API to keep them updated on changes. Databases can change in what seems like the blink of an eye, so it’s natural that sales and marketing professionals want to stay ahead of the curve. With the periodic updating of certain databases, it’s important for users to know if and when these changes occur.

Our favourite prospectors:

Category 3: Influencer Marketing Platforms

These are marketplaces where influencers and marketers meet. These platforms include extensive metrics on influencers – including reach, price-per-click, and so on – helping marketers find the right fit for their brand and needs. Most of these databases work on an opt-in model, charging marketers a fee for the use of their platform.

The primary source of analytics data on these platforms is web monitoring. A fair chunk of the available information is vetted by humans, while several of these tools lean towards AI.

Feedback from real users:

Although these tools are viewed as pricey, users really love how they can use these tools to track and find influencers, keep an eye on which of their own content is performing well on social media, and find any relevant brand mentions.

A little more functionality would go a long way to making the fees for these tools worthwhile. One feature that users seem to be requesting is an influencer map that identifies networks of thought leaders, and who “influences” them. There are tools that can find this information but it makes sense to integrate them with these influencer marketing platforms to deliver a little more “bang” for that hard-earned “buck”.

Our favourite influencer marketing platforms:

Category 4: Web Scrapers

Web scrapers, as the name suggests, target websites to find information related to your specific keywords or search queries. These tools come in various forms as web apps, desktop apps, and APIs.

Custom web scrapers target specific websites and roles. For instance, they can be used to crawl for certain types of sellers on Amazon, industry experts on Quora, or the authors of certain blogs, whitepapers, or articles. Other web scrapers are used for more generic search engine queries, rather than specific websites.

Some of these tools offer APIs which can be used to schedule and run crawls without constant monitoring. They can also review and download data – making it that much easier to collate the required information quickly. Some of these scrapers are extremely easy for the average person to use, while others need engineers to crawl tougher sites.

Feedback from real users:

While web scrapers are extremely versatile when it comes to accessing a plethora of websites, none of these tools monitor real-time updates on social media. Additionally, the ability to extract data from websites like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram would have a marked effect on outbound marketing strategies. What better way to achieve this than by having a tool that does it all?

Our favourite web scrapers:

We’re always on the hunt for more great lead generation tools to use – join our Sales, Leads, and Prospecting Group and become a part of the conversation!