Lead intelligence is a smarter way to prospect as not all leads are created equally.
Everyone has a different opinion on what qualifies leads as sales-ready. Depending on your industry or sales process, the information you need about a lead to consider them ready to pursue will differ. Lead intelligence provides sales professionals with an easy solution for establishing criteria for better lead scoring, and in turn, a better multi-channel sales strategy.
What is lead intelligence?
Lead intelligence refers to any data or personal information marketers and salespeople can collect about leads and prospects. This information helps businesses better understand how closely a lead aligns with their ideal customer profile.
In a crowded marketplace, lead intelligence is quickly becoming the go-to strategy for B2B companies. This guide will give you an overview of how lead intelligence works, what data you should be collecting from inbound leads, and a list of the best lead intelligence tools on the market according to reviews from people like you.
How does lead intelligence work?
Marketers and salespeople alike consider lead intelligence to be an incredibly effective strategy for managing information about leads.
But that's not all lead intelligence tools can provide your revenue organization. Lead intelligence also allows reps to automate the tedious tasks associated with lead scoring and focus instead on reaching decision-makers. Lead intelligence data can help reps gauge everything from a prospects interest level in your product to the best ways to contact them and more.
Here's an overview of how lead intelligence works from start to finish:
First, the lead intelligence tool will validate and verify that the initial information you've collected about a prospect (name, phone number, email address, and other contact information) is accurate. These systems check that you have the most accurate version of this data, as well as confirming that all of these communications channels belong to the same prospect. All of this is done automatically within the system.
Next, the lead intelligence software uses the lead data to create a lead profile and generate an accurate lead score. If you've incorporated other sales intelligence tools or CRM systems like Salesforce and HubSpot with your lead intelligence data, you can build accurate models and reports that help sales reps track leads along the buyer's journey.
Once a lead has taken enough actions to generate a qualifying lead score, lead intelligence systems can ping reps in real time to provide insights. These automated alerts can help reps make informed choices on which leads are worth pursuing and provide personalized outreach to target accounts.
Scoring leads before you pass them along to sales is a crucial step of lead intelligence. It helps save time and energy that might otherwise be wasted on chasing leads that aren’t ready to buy your product.
Types of lead intelligence data
It's important to note that these tools are only as powerful as the data you put into them.
Understanding the different types of lead intelligence data and when to use each is just as important as purchasing the right software. Lead intelligence tools can do a lot more than verify you're sending cold outreach to the right email address.
These tools collect a wealth of information about when and where prospects are interacting with your brand. Many lead intelligence tools use predictive analytics to measure these interactions and send sales reps real-time insights in lead behavior.
Most lead information that is valuable to sales professionals falls into one of two categories:
Actions a lead has already taken with your company (which webinars did they attend, which email marketing campaigns have they interacted with, which social channels they follow, etc.)
Actions a lead has already taken on your website (which pages did they view, which blogs have they read, have they visited a pricing page, etc.)
Once you gain a better understanding of what actions leads are taking along your sales funnel, you can get a better sense of who your qualified leads are and which accounts need a little more time. All of this can simplify the lead management process.
Here's a look at the different types of lead intelligence data available and how it can benefit your sales team:
Company details – has anything happened within your prospects organization (a successful round of funding raised, new acquisitions, etc.) that might influence their purchasing decision? This data can help you position your product as a must-have solution for fixing the pain points they might experience in their next stage of growth.
Demographic details – personalization in your sales outreach can be the difference between meetings on the calendar and getting ghosted. Using demographic data about leads can help you tailor your pitch to show how your product can help leads with their specific roles and responsibilities.
Social media profiles – social selling on platforms like LinkedIn is transforming the sales landscape. This casual approach to selling online makes it more important than ever to ensure you can connect with leads on their preferred social media platform.
Website visits – it's unlikely that a first time visitor to your website is ready to purchase your product. But you do want to keep an eye on which visitors are making return visits. Lead intelligence can help you gain insights into which leads regularly visit your website, which pages they frequently view, and whether or not they've filled out a lead capture form before.
As you've probably already guessed, managing all of this information manually is a data privacy nightmare waiting to happen. The sheer volume of consumer data lead intelligence comes in contact with makes lead intelligence software a necessity for most businesses.
Best lead intelligence tools
Lead intelligence software makes it possible to collect and manage accurate lead information in a single location. Lead intelligence tools empower everyone in your revenue organization to nurture and convert leads to prospects.
And because lead intelligence software can be used by several teams within your organization, it’s a smart idea to meet with other leaders in your org when choosing the right lead intelligence technology.
Lead intelligence software shouldn’t be confused with other software products that merely collect and store customer data. The primary benefit of lead intelligence software is that it can provide sales professionals with assistance in managing throughout the lead gen process. Everything from lead mining, capturing, scoring, and nurturing are available within most lead intelligence tools.
In order to be included in this list, a product must:
Allow users to integrate their own company data and data provided from third-party tools within the lead intelligence tool.
Provide unique customer data and insights to companies about how to engage with prospective sales leads smarter.
Analyze multiple internal and external data sets together to find new business opportunities, patterns in buying behavior, and more.
Integrate easily with other sales and marketing tools such as CRM systems, marketing automation tools, sales prospecting tools, and more.
*Below are the top five lead intelligence tools from G2’s Fall 2020 Grid® Report. Some reviews may be edited for clarity.
Lusha is a sales intelligence tool that makes it easy for sales reps to find the right insights about their customers. Lushas take the guesswork out of establishing quick and accurate connections with prospective customers. Looking for a tool that can do more? Marketing, recruiting, and customer success teams can also benefit from insights provided by Lusha.
What users like:
“As a Recruiter in IT, getting hold of the correct decision makers and hiring managers for multiple companies is vital. Lusha for me is a game changer and wish I had this tool ten years ago. Lusha 60-70% of the time provides you with either the email address or telephone number of people who you are not directly connected to via social media platforms. Using Lusha on Linkedin has improved my sales, and commission just because I am getting through to the right people.”
“I sometimes have concerns about the legitimacy of the data, as we venture into territories with stricter data privacy measures. We also come across a lot of DND numbers. I wish there was a way to separate them so that we don't annoy customers who do not wish to be contacted.”
Cognism is a B2B sales intelligence platform designed to accelerate your sales performance. Cognism easily integrates with your existing marketing and sales data and uses AI technology to deliver accurate lead intelligence. Sales prospecting, cold outreach, and data accuracy are all made easy with Cognism.
What users like:
“The ability to quickly build a marketing mailing list using domains and company names is amazing. Our leads list was populated very quickly using Cognism and our sales team has been very busy since. The team is able to provide tailored data upon request which is a little known feature of Cognism that is rarely advertised. Amazing platform.”
“Nothing to dislike – it's a very well designed and easy to use tool. If I could make suggestions to improve the system, the ability to include file attachments with emails, rather than just including a link to a document or file, and also the ability to customise emails using HTML (or some kind of drag-and-drop builder or templates) would be useful.”
UpLead is a B2B lead intelligence platform that provides sales teams with high-quality prospecting data and information. UpLead has a full suite of tools, including email verification, account based marketing tools, and integration capabilities with the world's leading CRM platforms. UpLead is a powerful platform that makes sales prospecting simple.
What users like:
“UpLead makes it very easy to find industries and target companies by use of different technologies. Making a list of companies filtering for size, industry and location is a breeze with the layout. Once you've found your target companies, it's very easy to find specific titles and add them to a customized list. Our company has a CRM integration with salesforce dot com so pushing your new leads over to work with them is incredibly seamless.
I really like the fact that once you try to unlock an email it is tested at time of unlock. If the email is found to be invalid you get your credit back. This is way better than the alternative of scraping the email, sending it off into cyberspace and then getting an Undeliverable or worse yet not receiving an mailer daemon and just wondering where your outreach is sitting.”
“Nothing really to dislike, but I would say the only thing would be that I was in love with version 1.0 and getting used to 2.0 was a bit of a learning experience. That being said the live chat helped me find where things were moved to in the new version immediately. I don’t have any real dislikes of the product and would highly recommend it.”
LeadIQ is a lead intelligence tool that makes sales prospecting fun again. LeadIQ takes care of the boring, tedious parts of sales prospecting, allowing reps to back to building relationships. The automated data management ensures LeadIQ is always giving you the most accurate and up-to-date lead information.
What users like:
“One of the great things about it is how it automatically responds as you cruise through LinkedIn. It brings up whoever you are looking at in the main screen, and when you have a list pulled up, it has the same list next to you. It provides a few bits of information on each person, and you use credits to get more specific information (cell phone numbers, addresses, etc...)”
“Sometimes the data in LeadIQ isn't great. I have had situations where I have called a mobile number and have been connected to a prospects parent, wife or children and this hasn't always gone down well. I have heard of colleagues experiencing this as well and often the mobile numbers are people's personal phone numbers and this results in the awkward conversations.”
Lead411 is a leading sales intelligence tool that helps companies start sales conversations on the right foot. Lead411 provides comprehensive insights that allow you to accurately pinpoint the leads that are the best fit for your product. Lead411 can also automate sales messaging campaigns, like email and SMS campaigns, so you can always deliver the right message at the right time.
What users like:
“I really like the amount of contact information available, even on the basic level. The greatest feature that surprised me is the way the program can/will verify addresses by pinging the email servers of a company in real time with a click of a button. The quality of details throughout the entire interface is everything and more than I expected from a lead-search service.”
“Our experience has been good, we have not presented serious problems with the platform but there are some inconveniences when importing contacts from LinkedIn to Salesforce, if they improve this, the performance within Lead411 would be much higher. This does not mean that it is a bad platform.”
Lead intelligence is just a small part of a larger lead generation strategy. Collecting this data from leads will give you a significant advantage in understanding what your prospects' pain points and needs – which in turn will make it easier to sell.
Lauren Pope is a Content Marketing Manager at Oracle and a former content marketer at G2. You can find her work featured on CNBC, Yahoo! Finance, the G2 Learning Hub, and other sites. In her free time, Lauren enjoys watching true crime shows and singing karaoke. (she/her/hers)
Better insights, smarter sales
Discover the best lead scoring software on the market today, reviewed by real people like you!