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$6.6m Seed Round led by Craft Ventures
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The Best Lead Qualification Software for Growing Revenue Teams

Stan Rymkiewicz
April 16, 2024
10 mins
The Best Lead Qualification Software for Growing Revenue Teams

96% of website visitors aren’t ready to buy (Marketo). Among those that convert, 80% never close (Invesp). So if you have hundreds of leads per month, finding likely buyers isn’t something you can do manually. You need lead qualification software.

Choosing the best platform can make or break your lead flows, both inbound and outbound. So here’s a comprehensive guide to help you choose the right one. 

Why is lead qualification software mission critical?

Once you grow beyond your first ten inbound customers, your website will attract too many leads to handle manually. To effectively scale, you need to automate your lead qualification flow. That way, you can realize the following benefits. 

More revenue

The faster you can qualify and respond to leads, the more likely they are to close. Responding to inbound leads in less than 30 minutes leads to a 21X increase in likelihood to close. Reduce that to five minutes, and the likelihood jumps to 100X. The faster you can qualify 

Faster scheduling

The average lead-to-meeting conversion rate is around 47%. If only half your leads will book a meeting, you can’t afford to lose a single one. Automated lead qualification and scheduling processes reduce lacks and disruptions, making meeting follow through more likely. 

Marketing-sales qualification alignment

Marketing and sales often qualify leads differently. However, as GTM organizations become more integrated, and RevOps takes a more prominent role in managing and measuring performance, marketing-sales alignment is a must. Lead qualification software establishes a single source of truth for both teams, accelerating all stages of the pipeline.

Lead qualification software categories for your tech stack

Lead qualification software encompasses a range of tools and capabilities. Here are categories you need to effectively automate lead capture and qualification. 

Forms & lead capture

For inbound to work, you need to be able to capture leads. If you don’t, you won’t have any to qualify. Lead capture tools can include website forms, whether on your website or landing page, that capture basic lead information. Additionally, many organizations use messages and chatbots to connect leads with your team directly so they can ask qualifying questions and capture information. 

Data enrichment

Lead forms capture limited data. For a more holistic and accurate picture of your lead, you’ll need data enrichment tools to pull in demographic data, firmographic data, and even intent data from third-party sources.

Lead scoring software

Once you capture leads and enrich your data, it’s time to qualify them. Lead scoring software inputs lead data into a scoring model, assigning numerical scores to various categories, including:

  • Demographics
  • Engagement behavior
  • Firmographics
  • Lead source
  • Lead activity

You can weigh these and other categories based on your lead qualification framework. For instance, if your price point only works for organizations with $100M+ in annual revenue, you can assign that a greater weight than email open rate or pageviews.

You can also track individual variables, not just the lead score as a whole. A low-score lead could meet another criterion (like annual revenue) that makes a conversation worth it. Your lead scoring software should be equipped to handle these outliers, any one of which could be valuable to your business. 

For a more advanced approach, you can also use predictive lead scoring software. These tools analyze lead data and use an AI/ML algorithm to predict those most likely to qualify. 

Routing & scheduling

Lead qualification software shouldn’t just give you information on a lead. It should initiate action. This happens primarily through automated routing and scheduling. 

Generally, lead routing & scheduling software performs the following functions:

  • Lead assignment rules. Based on predetermined rules (e.g. geographic location, product expertise, salesperson workload, industry, buying intent), certain leads will be assigned to specific sales reps. Usually these rules are worked out in advance, then built into the platform. 
  • Lead distribution. The system applies the lead assignment rules and re-assigns it to the appropriate rep. This typically happens through an integration with your CRM, so there’s no conflicting data. 
  • Lead prioritization. Sometimes, the quantity of leads exceeds a salesperson’s capacity to take action. In these cases, lead routing software can prioritize leads and re-assign to other reps if necessary. 
  • Automated calendaring. Once the lead has been routed to a rep, your system should automatically set up a calendar invitation. Otherwise, you increase the risk of lead dropoff. 

While most of the leads you meet with will be qualified, keep in mind that non-qualified leads also add value to the conversation and may be good to contact. Read more about the four types of high-value non-qualified leads here.

Customer relationship management (CRM)

For the vast majority of GTM and RevOps organizations, the customer relationship management (CRM) platform is the central repository of customer data. This makes it a vital piece of your lead qualification software stack. 

CRMs contain all the data captured by your other tools: form submissions, enrichment data, lead scores, and lead assignments. The platform also tracks user activity across connected marketing and sales channels.

The problems with lead qualification point solutions

When choosing your lead qualification software, stay away from point solutions. Although they promise cost savings and simplicity, patching them together will cause problems: 

  • Lead dropoff. When inbound flows break, you lose people—58% of buyers will abandon a business due to a bad experience.
  • Lack of scalability. Patchworks of integrations inevitably lead to slowdowns, bottlenecks, lost data, and revenue leakage. 
  • Lack of adaptability. As the market shifts and customer demands evolve, you won’t be able to pivot in response. Additionally, you’ll waste time and resources adjusting your lead flow. 
  • Costly rebuilding & redesign. Point solutions will eventually need to be replaced, and that’s a costly process. Instead, choose a scalable solution from the beginning that will grow with you. 

Poor integrations cost 57% of companies $500K or more per year. Don’t fall into this trap. Instead, choose the right lead qualification software from the beginning and set yourself up for success from Day One. 

The best lead qualification software—and where they fall short

Now let’s dive into the “best” lead qualification software on the market. As you’ll see, while many of them offer impressive capabilities and serve certain use cases, they fall short in several areas. Let’s walk through exactly why and how. 

1. HubSpot

HubSpot is a CRM, marketing automation, and conversational marketing platform that automates many parts of the lead qualification process. It features robust integrations across your channels, a sophisticated lead scoring system, and automated workflows for lead nurture. 

However, the platform can be unwieldy, especially for early-stage businesses. Many of the more advanced features are only available with the higher tiers, and the platform can be difficult to customize to your GTM needs. 

COMPARE: See how Default ranks against HubSpot here. 

2. Calendly

Calendly is a scheduling tool that simplifies the process of scheduling meetings and appointments. Users create customized scheduling links based on their availability, and the platform integrates with calendar apps, email platforms, and other productivity tools. 

The problem with Calendly is that it’s a point solution. It’s a good scheduling tool, but it does little else. Routing, enrichment, and qualification all must be done by other platforms, requiring excessive, brittle integrations. 

COMPARE: See how Default stacks up against Calendly here.

3. Apollo.io

Apollo.io is a sales intelligence platform offering a range of tools for prospecting, engaging, and closing deals. It includes advanced search and filtering capabilities, an extensive contact database, automated email outreach, lead scoring, and sophisticated analytics and reporting.

However, Apollo.io can’t route based on factors such as ownership, enrichment, territories, segment, and CRM data. Plus, it’s not customizable to every business use case. 

COMPARE: See how Default stacks up against Apollo.io here. 

4. Chili Piper

Chili Piper is a platform that works to improve scheduling efficiencies across sales and success teams. These include meeting booking tools, round-robin routing, automated reminders, and limited customizable booking flows. 

While Chili Piper is only managing your scheduling and lead routing workflows, it isn’t an all-in-one platform for all your RevOps workflows. As such, lead capture, data enrichment, and ongoing nurture aren’t included and require unpredictable integrations to serve your holistic GTM needs. 

COMPARE: See how Default compares to Chili Piper here.

5. LeanData

LeanData offers a suite of solutions intended to optimize organizations’ RevOps processes, improve efficiencies, and drive growth. It includes various types of lead routing, including account-based routing, lead-to-account matching, and other workflow automations. Other features include attribution modeling, data enrichment, and integrations.

The challenge with LeanData is its complexity. It’s difficult to customize and configure lead flows, and most teams require additional solutions to cover all lead qualification functionality. 

COMPARE: See our Default vs. LeanData comparison here.

6. RevenueHero 

RevenueHero is a relatively new entrant to the lead qualification software market, offering a solution that connects companies with high-intent website visitors, engage in more robust lead qualification, and drive more pipeline. Features include scheduling, qualification, and smart meeting distribution. 

The problem is that RevenueHero only manages your scheduling and some parts of routing workflows. Modern GTM teams need a solution with greater customization, visibility, and embedded data enrichment—all in a simple, intuitive platform. 

COMPARE: See why Default is a superior platform to RevenueHero here.

7. Typeform

Typeform enables users to create and customize interactive forms, surveys, quizzes, and other questionnaires to increase lead engagement and capture more data. Its intuitive drag-and-drop builder, customizable themes, and conditional logic, and mobile-responsiveness make it a popular choice among teams.

The problem with Typeform, ultimately, is that it’s a point solution. As such, you have to rely on extensive integrations for it to add value to your inbound flows. And the integrations for Typeform are far more difficult to manage and prone to breaking. 

8. Qualified

Qualified is a conversational marketing and sales platform, leveraging chat, chatbots, and automations to create personalized experiences. Chat features capture leads, then lead qualification and routing on the back-end accelerates sales conversations with the most engaged potential buyers. 

However, Qualified doesn’t offer all the lead generation capabilities mentioned above in a centralized platform. This forces it to rely on integrations to fill the gaps, which presents operational risk. 

9. Marketo

Marketo is perhaps the most reputable marketing automation platform on the market—it was acquired by Adobe in 2018. Its range of features includes campaign management, lead nurturing, email marketing, marketing automation, segmentation and targeting, lead qualification, and advanced analytics and reporting.

If that sounds complex, that’s because it is. Marketo is a highly complicated tool, often taking years to master. Its user interface is far from intuitive and takes time to configure to your organization’s specific GTM needs. 

10. Zapier

When Zapier launched in 2011, it revolutionized the state of tech stacks. Users could integrate their various applications and platforms without any coding knowledge. Over time, more “Zaps” became available to meet the increasing demands and complexity of the market.

However, a GTM and RevOps tech stack that relies too heavily on Zapier can be highly brittle. Application updates can cause Zaps to break, often without the GTM team knowing until it’s too late. This is why, ultimately, an all-in-one inbound solution is a better option for modern GTM and RevOps use cases. 

11. Workato

Workato is built to operationalize AI and ML to automate lead qualification workflows, among other use cases. Users create automated workflows, called "recipes," without the need for coding skills, allowing for seamless data exchange and process automation across different systems. 

Workato’s primary downside is that it’s highly complex and difficult to configure for users. Other platforms, like Default, also offer more visibility into your lead qualification workflows, enabling faster, more robust changes. 

Why you need integrated lead qualification software like Default

The primary weakness among all the lead qualification software solutions mentioned above is that they don’t offer a centralized platform that manages the entire process, end-to-end. If you use them, you have to rely on extensive integrations, which can cause problems down the line.

Default enables you to consolidate your lead qualification software, accelerating revenue while saving costs. To learn more about how Default supports marketing and lead gen efforts, click here.

Revenue Operations
Stan Rymkiewicz
April 16, 2024
10 mins
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