Just because larger companies spend thousands of dollars on sales lead services doesn't mean there aren't options available for cash- and time-strapped startups. Here, we look at three tools that can help small teams generate actionable leads. And when used in conjunction with simple research on social networks like LinkedIn or Facebook, they can help entrepreneurs establish sales pipelines quickly.
1. ZoomInfo Community Edition
Waltham, Mass.-based ZoomInfo offers users access to its database of 60 million business contacts, with search functions that let users drill down to specific types of contacts. With a caveat: the free Community Edition asks for your business contacts in exchange. But sharing them can be a bargain since its paid small business plans start at $995 per year for a single user.
ZoomInfo makes the process of sharing your contacts easy, using a plugin that works with Google Apps for Business or Microsoft Outlook. The downside is that ZoomInfo rations the number of contacts it shares with you, depending on how many you share with it. You get 100 contacts per month. This number number refreshes on a monthly basis as long as you are using the plugin to provide ZoomInfo with more contact information. Advanced features, such as the ability to export contacts to a customer relationship management tool such as Salesforce or Capsule CRM, are only available in paid versions.
Santa Barbara-Calif.-based Lead411 offers a straightforward, searchable database of business contacts. The user interface might not be visually appealing, but the detailed information -- including email addresses and direct phone numbers -- are searchable by city, area code, revenue, company size, position and more.
Lead411 starts at $29.95 per month for access to more than 100,000 company profiles and 700,000 executives. For $39.95 per month, you can get access to nearly three times as many contacts.
The quality of information on Lead411 can vary. It lists the most recent update for contacts, but not all entries are complete, missing either emails or phone numbers. For instance, your emails can bounce because they are either incorrect or the employee no longer works for the company listed.
Jigsaw by San Francisco-based Salesforce.com takes a collaborative approach to contacts. Businesses earn point rewards for adding, updating and flagging inaccurate contacts in the Jigsaw database. You can then spend these points to get free contacts.
Every listing includes a name, title, email, phone number and mailing address. Paid plans include refunds for incorrect contacts as well as the ability to upload contacts directly into your CRM software.
It's free to earn contacts on Jigsaw by sharing contacts. Paid subscriptions start at $250 per year to download 350 contacts per month.
What tools would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments below.