May 11, 2023

The 10 best tools for automating lead gen

15 min read
Over the last couple of years, as the market has become increasingly competitive and the world has faced challenging economic times, an increase in sale intelligence and automated lead generation has become apparent. With a growing need, the adaption of technology in the selling space has become central to the optimisation and success of sales teams globally.

In 2018, Forbes reported that sales reps were spending less than 36% of their working week actually selling. In fact, it was revealed that sales reps were spending more time on emails than anything else. Their days boiled down to a host of jobs that these sales reps were spending time on while they could have been selling. Most people interviewed stated they spent a huge chunk of time on the following tasks:

  • Writing emails
  • Researching sales leads, reading industry news to find sales triggers or intent data
  • Fact checking, verifying potential leads, and identifying prospects
  • Researching contact details for key decision makers
  • Manually updating CRMs with data entry tasks
  • Improving prospecting, outreach, and cold-calling skills through training exercises
  • Scheduling meetings and calls with prospects and existing clients
  • Attending internal meetings

Since this 2018 revelation, companies have been actively looking for ways to streamline their process by automating low-value, mundane tasks, and finding ways to get their salespeople back on the important task of building relationships, closing deals, and generating revenue.

Sales automation software can automate a range of sales processes. There are solutions to automate functions such as:

  • Lead generation
  • Emails
  • Research
  • Scheduling
  • Analytics
  • Reporting

By removing tasks such as these from the day-to-day of our sales teams, a sharper focus can be kept on developing warmer contacts while allowing an automated system to track potential future prospects. When these early-stage prospects are ready to move to the next step of the buying journey, alerts can be triggered, allowing the sales professional to step in at the most valuable point in the journey.

With sales intelligence (or market intelligence) as important to revenue-generating strategies as it now is, we’ve taken a look at key points you need to consider when developing an automated lead generation strategy and have gathered some highlights on the top 10 automated lead generation tools.

What is sales intelligence?

Sales intelligence refers to the process of collecting and using data to enhance the sales process. The data can come from a variety of sources, such as customer interactions (intent data), social media, web analytics, market research, or even pre-intent data in the form of sales triggers.

Sales intelligence helps companies gain a better understanding of their potential customers. By uncovering a prospect’s needs, preferences, and behaviours, sales professionals can use this information to make more informed sales and marketing decisions. This information can be fed into customer relationship management (CRM) software, predictive analytics, and machine learning algorithms to help analyse the data and extract insights. These insights will allow sales teams to identify the most suitable opportunities and help them in prioritising their leads while also personalise their outreach.

Ultimately, sales intelligence is designed to support increased revenue, improve customer satisfaction, and will help businesses achieve long-term success.

Why is automated lead gen important?

The benefits of automating slow, low-value manual processes might seem obvious, but let’s break it down. By removing these mundane tasks from your personal workload, you can benefit from:

  1. Constant (and quicker) prospecting – by streamlining your sales process with automation, you can guarantee that the prospects will keep rolling in. Forget clocking-off times or weekends and holidays - an automated system will continually gather leads for you, ensuring your funnel is always full of opportunity.

    Not only that, but with the right system in place, you can ensure that the only prospects you’re reaching out to are ICPs with a need or want for your product. The time you gain back from this task is huge. Hours a day that you have been wasting can now be spent on building relationships and actually closing deals.
  2. More data, better accuracy – it's every salesperson’s dream to connect with the right decision maker first time. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen very often. But the data providers that offer updated contact data can really streamline this bugbear of a task for you.

    With a host of possible decision makers at your fingertips, and contact data that can be filtered by accuracy, connecting with the right people can be a whole lot easier than dialling a switchboard and having to negotiate a number of gatekeepers who seem set on making you sweat.
  3. Intelligent outreach – warming up outreach has never been more important. If you already know who your prospect is, then sales intelligence makes it just a small step to understanding what also makes them tick, what their struggles and challenges might be, and can highlight exactly why they need your solutions.

    Integrating sales triggers into this process is the fastest, most efficient way to ensure you’re only speaking to companies with a need (be it realised or not). They’ll also get you ahead of the competition by up to three months – and don’t forget, being the first to speak to a buyer increases your chances of closing a deal by 74%!
  4. Pre-qualified prospects – sales intelligence makes it easier for a company to identify ICPs at the point of them wanting or needing to purchase new solutions. By integrating an automated system that uses sales triggers or intent data, you can make sure that you’re connecting with the right people at the right time.

    While intent data can provide a rudimentary idea of if your prospect is ready to buy, sales triggers provide the very first indicator of a company with a need. By tapping into sales triggers, you can make sure that your whole funnel is filled with prospective clients in exactly the right position for you to approach.
  5. More efficient sales cycle – sure enough, time kills deals. So having a process that works efficiently is essential to ensure you’re closing as many deals as possible. By optimising and automating parts of the sales process, you can gain back time to focus on closing out those deals in a timely manner.

    By opting for automation that serves a number of areas, you’ll also save on admin time. By only checking one platform or your CRM integration, you can kiss goodbye to an overloaded tech stack that takes as much time to manage as it would to do the job manually.

Sales triggers and lead generation

Lead generation is crucial for businesses, and using automation can make a timely (and, therefore, a costly) process far more efficient. Automated lead generation involves using AI and machine learning-driven tools to build lead generation systems across inbound and outbound channels, removing manual and timely processes from salespeople's workload. An automated solution can identify and engage with potential customers based on certain triggers or behaviours that indicate they may be interested in, or in need of, your product or service.

Sales triggers offer the first point of relevance in the customer journey through pre-intent intelligence. By monitoring a range of sales event triggers, it’s possible to track companies at the first point of potential, allowing salespeople to beat their competition to the line with relevant outreach. With alerts and saved searches for sales triggers, businesses can capture data on potential customers' behaviours, sort leads based on their interests and needs, and use targeted emails, social media ads, and other content pieces to help move leads through the sales funnel.

The benefits of automated lead generation include a more streamlined sales funnel resulting in a steady flow of potential leads into the pipeline. With consistent and reliable sales leads, businesses can save time, optimise work efforts, and focus their outreach. Automating lead generation using sales triggers makes it possible to engage with potential customers at the right time and with the right messaging, cutting down prospecting time and gaining more time to spend building relationships with serious prospects. By using business intelligence to make smarter choices in their outreach, salespeople can achieve better conversion ratios and ultimately increase revenue.

Best tools for automating lead generation

With so many solutions on the market (some catering to a range of automated services, while others focus on sole elements for automation), we’ve taken a look at some of the best tools for automating your lead generation practices:

1. Selligence

Selligence, a SaaS provider offering market intelligence services to the sales, marketing, and recruitment industries, is the industry-leading provider of trackable sales trigger events. Selligence saves users a huge amount of time in research and administrative tasks by providing high-quality B2B leads and prospects.

Sales triggers and pre-intent data enable sales professionals and companies to act on the first triggers in the buying cycle. Selligence’s all-in-one solution streamlines the prospecting process and automates lead delivery to the user's CRM. It also offers a Chrome extension that allows users to access company and contact data from any website they browse. If that wasn’t enough, the platform also lets users email contacts from within the website, further streamlining the admin process.

With international coverage across major industries, Selligence provides users with valuable intelligence allowing them to close deals and expand into new markets with a fraction of the research and admin time.

2. LinkedIn Sales Navigator

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a sales intelligence tool, specifically designed for sales professionals, marketers, and recruiters, that offers advanced search and filtering capabilities for LinkedIn outreach. With this tool, users can narrow their search for contacts based on industry, location, company size, job title, and other relevant criteria. The platform offers an advanced lead search, InMail messaging service, and real-time sales updates.

Pricing for LinkedIn Sales Navigator subscription is not publicly listed and requires either contacting their sales department or signing up for a free trial to obtain pricing information.

3. Cognism

Cognism is a sales intelligence software provider that offers access to B2B data. The tool enables users to reach out to their ideal clients through phone-verified mobile numbers, direct dials, and business emails.

Cognism's features include individual and page-level exporting, contact and company data, technographics, sales trigger events, CRM integration with a range of solutions, intent data to identify ready-to-buy accounts, and GDPR and CCPA-compliant data.

4. ZoomInfo

ZoomInfo provides verified contact and account information to assist teams in generating leads. Its goal is to enable sales representatives to accelerate lead generation and optimise sales and marketing automation.

ZoomInfo offers B2B contact data, intent data, and customisable filters as some of its top features. However, it doesn't offer phone verification and its mobile numbers are verified by the community instead of being individually verified in-house like some of ZoomInfo’s peers.

5. Lusha

Lusha is a data enrichment platform that provides businesses with contact information such as email addresses, phone numbers, and company information. Lusha's top features include a B2B contact database, a free plan with basic features, and contact exports. With a range of plans available, there’s something here for everyone, although some of their more useful tools such as exporting prospecting lists and integration with certain CRMs are only available on higher-tier plans.

Lusha’s plans start with a free option, but that’s limited to just 5 credits a month – be prepared to run through those faster than you can say what’s their number?


Apollo is a B2B sales intelligence platform that enables sales teams to increase productivity and automate time-consuming workflows. It offers lead and opportunity management, email tracking, and task management tools that provide a solid foundation for driving sales success.

Some of Apollo's top features include sales engagement automation, call and meeting scheduling tools, and lead and opportunity management. However, the platform doesn’t offer sales event triggers or intent data, and customer support is only available via email.

Paid plans for Apollo start at $39 per month for a user, while a free tier is also available with basic features limited to only 60 mobile credits a year.

7. 6Sense

6sense is an account-based orchestration platform that uses artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to help B2B companies identify and engage with potential customers. By generating insights into buyer intent and behaviour, 6sense helps sales and marketing teams to personalise their outreach with the aim of improving conversion rates.

The platform offers a range of features, including account identification, predictive analytics, intent data, and multi-channel engagement. Although pricing for 6sense is not publicly available, you can book a demo call with a sales representative to find out how much a sixth sense will really set you back.

8. Bombora

Bombora analyses online business behaviour (intent data) to help businesses gain insights into which companies are actively researching specific topics or products. The tool collects and analyses specific topics and keywords and uses this data to create company-level and account-level intent profiles. This enables B2B sales and marketing teams to identify potential leads and target them with more personalised and relevant campaigns.

Bombora's intent data is integrated with a range of marketing and sales platforms, including CRM systems and sales enablement tools, enabling its users to incorporate the data into their existing workflows. Bombora is another provider keeping pricing close to its chest; interested parties will need to reach out directly to receive a personalised pricing plan.

9. Dealfront (formerly Leadfeeder and Echobot)

Leadfeeder, a self-professed “visitor identification software platform” is a sales intelligence tool that enables businesses to track and identify the companies and individuals visiting their websites. Freshly merged with Echobot and renamed to Dealfront, the platform now offers GDPR-compliant B2B data for sales intelligence in the European markets. It integrates with Google Analytics to display information on which companies visit a website, which pages they view, and how long they spend on each page.

Some of the platform’s key features include lead generation, account-based marketing, website visitor tracking, and sales prospecting. While the platform does offer a free plan that allows users to access up to 100 profiles every month, paid plans with all features start at €199 per month for three seats.

10. UserGems

UserGems focuses on a goal of helping teams “achieve their aggressive revenue targets” by offering automated playbooks that turn manual tasks into more efficient processes.

UserGems boasts an end-to-end solution that provides qualified pipelines every month, designed to help reps book more calls, find warmer introductions, and close deals faster. Revenue teams can benefit from features such as UserGems’ pipeline generation, contact data, and prospect management tools. By providing better visibility on the sales process, they aim to help reduce churn, support account expansion, and speed up the deal cycle too.

Takeaway points

With the increase in sales intelligence and automated lead generation, it’s more important than ever that sales teams are using the right tools to streamline their processes and automate low-value tasks. Saving time on these allows sales professionals to focus on the important, time-intensive tasks of developing relationships, closing deals, and generating revenue. By creating more space in their diaries, sales teams can work more effectively to build reputation, make new contacts, and ultimately hit their sales targets.

Automated lead generation tools offer several benefits, such as constant and quicker prospecting, more data, better accuracy, and intelligent outreach, as well as pre-qualified prospects. By removing mundane tasks from the day-to-day, sales professionals can use the data collected to make better informed sales and marketing decisions.

Sales intelligence also helps companies gain a better understanding of their potential customers, allows them to personalise their outreach and prioritise their leads. The pay off? With the right tools in place, companies are ultimately looking at increased revenue, improved customer satisfaction, and long-term company success. By taking the time to select the right automated lead generation tool, sales teams can benefit from boosted productivity and efficiency, as well as enhancing their sales process, which means their funnel will always be full of opportunities.

Want to know more about Selligence’s all-round solution? The Selligence platform will help you save time, increase leads, and ensure you’re always reaching out with relevance. Book a demo of the Selligence platform to see how easy you can make hitting targets while also boosting recurring revenue.

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