Technology is changing the sales process. Prospects’ consumption of online information during the buyer’s journey continues to grow, delaying connections with sales and increasing the chance a competitor beats you to the opportunity.
Of course, shrewd salespeople are using this opportunity, employing innovative sales prospecting tools to automate lead discovery and intelligently engage them when the time is right.
“But,” you may be thinking, “I already have a website, a form capture solution, and I’m active on social networking sites. What more do you want?”
If you know much about inbound marketing, you know that lead quality can sometimes be a problem, especially as traffic begins to scale up. To someone with a simple “Contact Sales” form, a lead is likely a name and email address that may or may not be valid. To combat that issue, businesses sometimes pay for prospect or lead lists, but there’s little assurance these “leads” are aware you’ll be reaching out, or even have a business need that you can solve.
Neither of these approaches is correct, unless you want your sales development representatives and closers wasting valuable productivity on opportunities that will never convert.
Lead discovery and qualification is a crucial process for successful marketing and sales, but it can take hours of work — especially when data profiles have to be compiled manually, copying and pasting to your spreadsheet or CRM. Thankfully, the following four tools can help you more efficiently discover high-quality sales leads and begin gathering information that drives the lead qualification process. Many of these tools also offer powerful sales force automation features that can help your team do more with less.
Founded in Atlanta, Georgia in 2011, SalesLoft’s sales development platform is trusted by tens of thousands of sales and marketing professionals to help them automate key processes, discover and qualify new leads, and track sales activities in a single, integrated platform.
Sales development teams use the SalesLoft platform to craft cadences across contact channels — email, phone, and social — and “semi-automate” outreach, using a built-in auto-dialer that pursues leads based on engagement with your marketing content. Innovative features such as call recording, pre-recorded voicemail drop, and LocalDial (lets you make calls from the same area code as your prospect) make SalesLoft an even more powerful tool for your reps.
Users of SalesLoft cite increased visibility of engagement with emails and calls and a better ability to identify and duplicate successful campaigns as two of the primary benefits. If you use SalesLoft’s native integration with Salesforce, it can take some work to ensure your fields all map correctly at the beginning, but set-up is still relatively quick, compared to other solutions.
SalesLoft is delivered in three pricing tiers — Group, Professional, and Enterprise — each with increasing functionality. Group, the least expensive, offers cadence scheduling, their email engine, the SalesLoft dialer, and Salesforce integration (many similar products lock down Salesforce integration for all but the highest-priced version). Professional adds the voicemail drop, integration with several more services/data partners, and custom fields, plus the ability to map said fields to Salesforce. Finally, the Enterprise tier unlocks some of their most powerful features, including InMail integration, the LocalDial feature, and more.
Founded in San Jose, California in 2011, LiveHive’s sales engagement platform helps sales development teams build targeted contact lists, follow-up with personalized email and call templates, and track prospect engagement with website and email content.
LiveHive helps sales and marketing professionals with some of the best content analytics available; see how far a prospect read through your content, what they spent the most time viewing, even where it may have been forwarded. That insight can mean identifying decision-makers and buying groups faster. Intelligent analytics help you identify top prospects and help your team maintain focus on the most qualified leads. Easy activity tracking (plus integration with your CRM and marketing platform) lets sales managers measure follow-up effectiveness and identify top performers. With the same functionality, Marketing can identify the best performing email templates and sales enablement content.
LiveHive users cite the content insights, plus the seamless integration with marketing automation, CRM, and email as two of the platform’s primary benefits. Some users find it difficult to learn initially, which may be due to the width and depth of LiveHive’s capabilities, rather than any fault in its design.
LiveHive’s subscription-based annual pricing is highly variable, depending on the requirements of your team, but it’s in line with other solutions on our list.
Founded in 2011 in Tampa, Florida, KiteDesk’s automated prospecting software for B2B sales, KiteDesk FIND, helps lead generation teams keep the top of the funnel filled, manage outreach, and identify their ideal customers.
KiteDesk FIND helps sales development representatives build highly targeted lead lists using a Chrome extension that grabs contact information from LinkedIn, company websites, and wherever else you find leads. Thanks to KiteDesk’s data enrichment capabilities, you’ll be assured that phone numbers, social profiles, and email addresses are accurate and current. Sales development reps won’t waste time trying to connect with someone who has moved on to a new company.
Users cite KiteDesk FIND’s “upload and enrich” feature as one of the best tools for account-based marketing and sales. The feature helps you build a prospect list and then discover other contacts within the same organizations. Furthermore, the activity tracking and robust integration with your CRM/marketing platforms means you don’t have to buy additional, costly CRM seats for your sales development team; they can work exclusively in KiteDesk, but still easily collaborate with marketing and sales.
KiteDesk FIND’s pricing is straightforward — $75 per seat gets you access to all of their tools. There are no pricing tiers, though you will have to pay extra for data packages and any custom development or implementation services you require.
The newest entrant on our list, Prospect.io, was founded in 2016 in Brussels, Belgium. Countless sales reps are already using their prospecting tool to collect prospect information, manage outreach and follow-up, and track interactions with emails and web content.
As with the other solutions on our list, Prospect.io offers a browser extension that lets you “clip” contact information and build custom lead lists from any source, including LinkedIn. You can send individual emails using the system, or build complex drip campaigns that engage prospects in various buying stages. There’s also robust tracking of email opens, link clicks, replies, and even a tracking pixel for conversions made on your site.
Where Prospect.io sets itself apart is pricing: instead of tiered pricing with increasing functionality, they offer “credits,” which are spent to send a cold email, or when a Prospect.io-powered search on LinkedIn or another website returns at least one email address. Plans start at $39/monthly for 500 credits, and no matter how many credits you buy, you can manage an unlimited number of records, collaborate with unlimited users, upload unlimited templates, create unlimited drip campaigns, and have access to all integrations. This unique pricing structure means you only pay for what you use, and you’re given the opportunity to move up to the next credit tier when you’ve used 80 percent of your credits for the month.
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No matter which of the above sales prospecting tools you choose, you’ll enjoy increased alignment between sales and marketing, detailed engagement tracking, and more accurate prospect data — three factors crucial to sales development success.
READ MORE: How Modern Technology is Bridging the Sales/Marketing Gap
If you have suggestions for comparable solutions that you feel should have made our list, please let us know in the comments. Shopping for sales prospecting tools? Call, click, or email for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation. You can also visit our Product Selection Tool to compare solutions that match your requirements.