In this blog, Josselyn Jara Gonzaga, Digital Analyst at The B2B Marketing Lab, takes a look at the best lead generation systems for B2B companies, analysing features, uses and pricing plans.
Generating leads for your business can be difficult and time-consuming. You not only have to convert website visitors into leads, you also have to ensure those leads meet your sales team’s criteria.
Fortunately, there are several ways for you to drive people to your website and convert them into leads: organic search, pay-per-click advertising, social media marketing, content marketing – the list goes on.
The problem, however, is finding the right system to support all of this activity.
Today, there is a wide selection of lead generation systems that are designed to help businesses attract the very best leads. Many automate chunks of the lead capture and nurture process – but if you want a more comprehensive system, you can opt for an all-in-one solution. These platforms are perfect for businesses that not only want to streamline marketing, sales and customer service, but also want to focus on how to grow their business.
In this article I’m going to share the best B2B lead generation systems and evaluate them so that you can figure out which is best for your business.
HubSpot is one of the biggest and most prolific lead generation systems, not just because of how easy it is to use, but also because it supports every aspect of marketing, sales and customer service activity.
HubSpot can be described as a “full platform of marketing, sales, customer service, and CRM software”. It’s an all-in-one lead generation system that enables businesses to attract, engage, convert and delight prospects.
From easily building pages and pop-up forms to powerful workflows and lead nurturing tools, HubSpot allows you to attract website visitors, convert them into leads and close deals. With the sales tool, you can see your entire sales pipeline (from start to finish) in an organised dashboard and engage contacts at the right time.
It’s equipped with a built-in CRM, which allows the sales team to see activities of your leads and how they are interacting at various points. You can even set up alerts for when leads revisit your website or specific pages (lead revisit notifications) to alert the lead owner of critical activity.
Compared to other CRMs, however, HubSpot’s platform can sometimes be inflexible. While there are features you can customise around your teams’ processes and needs, organisations with complex sales processes might not find the flexibility they’re looking for out of the box. Fortunately, HubSpot has an incredible integrations library – so if you need a particular solution for, say, your sales processes, check the integrations library to see if it works natively with HubSpot.
Also, while you can use HubSpot CRM alone, you can also easily connect it to your CRM, email tool, or customer data platform of choice.
Pricing: Free and aid plans vary (£42 - £2624) depending on which features you need.
Marketo is another all-in-one lead generation system. Its tools enable businesses to attract new buyers, nurture them and deliver them as qualified leads to sales.
It also comes with powerful lead management, lead nurturing and lead scoring tools, allowing businesses to identify, engage and close leads faster.
Marketo’s “Lead Management Solution” comes in four packages: Basic, Pro, Elite and Enterprise. The basic package includes features like Marketo’s proprietary customer management engine, as well as lead nurturing and scoring, segmenting, email, landing pages, forms and more. On the opposite end of the scale, its Enterprise package can be tailored to a business’ requirements.
However, given Marketo’s complexity, it may be better for those with software or analytics backgrounds. For those without technical expertise, it can be difficult to use. Marketo’s customisation options require a lot of knowledge and time to make them work properly, and you may need an IT or marketing automation specialist to help.
Overall, that’s a lot of downtime and specialised know-how for something that should make marketing easier. Therefore, it’s not ideal for start-ups or small businesses.
Pricing: Paid plans vary depending on which features you need.
SharpSpring is a fully integrated, cloud-based marketing tool that offers marketing automation, mobile and social marketing, sales team automation, customer service and a CRM, all within one solution.
SharpSpring can integrate with any CRM, so users can keep their existing CRM and the information contained within it.
The system’s lead nurturing and scoring tools can track an individual lead’s page visits, demographics, and engagement. SharpSpring’s VisitorID feature helps identify anonymous site visitors by looking up their IP addresses, allowing users to see who is viewing their site, including their name and contact information.
Other features include a Landing Page Builder and a Blog Builder. SharpSpring also has a template library from which users can download templates and designs from.
SharpSpring can be utilised by both small and large businesses in a variety of industries including advertising, insurance, engineering, telecommunications and more.
But while it offers various features, many are outclassed by similar products. That said, unlike other products, it’s a cost-effective solution for those looking to get started and can really help drive growth.
Pricing: Paid plans vary from $450 – $875, depending on which features you need.
Pardot, by Salesforce, is designed for businesses that focus primarily on B2B lead generation. It offers the means to personalise the buying experience by dynamically changing email and website content based on a contact’s score, grade, industry, job title and more, thus helping sales move through the pipeline faster.
Through Pardot, businesses are able to generate leads using custom landing pages and forms with intuitive drag-and-drop builders. Forms can be automatically set up to trigger notifications, increase lead scores and execute other actions upon a conversion.
As well as the above, Pardot also helps businesses to better connect with customers through personalised email marketing. It achieves this through list segmentation (these lists can be tailored to a business’ exact specifications), giving businesses context into which content resonates with email recipients and ensure messages reach their mark with email A/B testing and SPAM Analysis.
Many of these features are only available to PRO plan users, which may not be ideal for smaller businesses with a limited budget. Also, while Pardot integrates with most CRMs, it has a limited selection of third-party apps (only 32), significantly less than Marketo or HubSpot, for example.
The enterprise edition offers more advanced capabilities such as custom security controls, increased storage space and a dedicated IP address.
Pricing: Paid plans vary from £1000 - £3200 a month, depending on which features you need.
5. RD Station
RD Station is an all-in-one platform that helps small and medium-sized businesses manage and automate their digital marketing activities. Similar to the systems above, it helps businesses attract qualified visitors through landing pages, pop-up forms, contact management and lead scoring.
However, the really good thing about this lead generation system is its “My Journey” feature. This is essentially an interactive guide designed to help businesses achieve their goals. It includes educational content and enables users to create to-do lists, assign responsibilities and manage deadlines.
Unfortunately, due to the purpose of this system, RD Station has only one plan: PRO. That said, it includes the lead generation features you need to ensure you only ever generate high-quality leads, such as lead scoring and tracking.
Pricing: Pricing plans vary from $59 to $769 a month, depending on which features you need.
So, what next?
If you’re looking for a powerful lead generation system, one which has end-to-end analytics, lead capture and management tools, a CRM, deals and more, you should consider one of the above.
Deciding which lead generation system is right for your business can be overwhelming - but remember your goals. What is it you want to achieve? What level of support do you need? What features do your marketing and sales teams require?
If you know the answers to the above, you will be in a much better position to choose a platform which caters to your specific needs and audience.
In addition, before you select your lead generation system to boost business growth, you need to know how the technical capabilities and limitations of your business could affect your choice. How easy is it for your sales team to track and engage with sales prospects? Can your marketing team accurately demonstrate ROI?
These are just simple considerations but essential to your overall success. Make sure you put some time aside to think about your goals, requirements, technology stack and what you really want to do with a lead generation system.