Lead generation — the practice of attracting prospects with marketing materials and guiding them toward a sale — is a common pain point for startups and enterprises alike. And one of the biggest questions companies trying to generate leads have to answer is: Do we keep this work fully in-house, or outsource it to lead generation companies?
Beyond obvious questions about return on investment, outsourcing lead generation services also requires a reputational leap of faith. Any time a company asks an outside party to represent its interests — and even speak through its email domain — some risk is baked in. There can be substantial payoff as well though in the form of money and time saved, increased sales and a smaller, more targeted workload.
Top Lead Generation Companies
- Martal Group
- Lead Forensics
What Is a Lead Generation Company?
Lead generation companies use data and various marketing strategies to supply clients with qualified leads (or ways to more easily identify qualified leads) they can then turn into paying customers. Outsourcing lead generation services can come with a variety of benefits, such as more targeted sales efforts and the ability to reinvest time and energy on other important business activities.
Cost is, of course, a factor. The average salary for people working in the sales sector is just north of $100,000, depending on the sector, with tech sales often landing closer to the higher end. So the ability to supplement lead generation without taking on more salaried employees can sometimes look appealing.
Time is also a point of consideration. Too much research, outreach, coordination and scheduling can leave reps feeling like they’re spending more time on administrative upkeep than actually closing deals.
Companies that decide to leverage lead generation services, either as a stopgap ahead of larger sales-team development or as strategic rented muscle, will still eventually need to stock their toolkits with the most intuitive, integration-friendly lead generation software and platforms available. With that in mind, we put together some of the leading third-party services, plus a few notable platform providers to beef up internal operations.
Lead Generation Companies to Know
Location: Fully Remote
Excel is a digital marketing company that connects insurance brands with customers. Focusing on verticals including Medicare, health, life, final expense, auto and home insurance, it uses AI, predictive modeling and machine learning to identify exactly which products will serve which potential customers. Excel’s lead generation service uses data generated by insurance websites that it runs in-house.
Location: Austin, Texas
MVF Global is a lead generation company that many household name brands rely on for new customer acquisition. Using marketing data tech that tracks where people across its network are searching for specific products or services online, MVF then connects those potential customers with client companies as qualified leads and qualified clicks.
Location: Fully Remote
Ylopo provides digital marketing services in the real estate space, including targeted search websites and lead generation. Real estate purchases are heavily considered, and Ylopo uses big data and AI for lead nurture, a process that cultivates leads that are in the researching phase but are not yet ready to purchase.
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Salesloft is not a lead generation service, per se, but this sales engagement platform merits mention due to its utility, quick inroads and impressive funding. The platform has gotten high marks from sales professionals for its intuitive UI, customizability, sales cadence simplification and A/B capabilities.
Location: Vancouver, Washington
Zoominfo has cemented its reputation as a go-to provider of B2B sales contacts. Some 300,000 users leverage the subscription-based business, which is known for giving access to up-to-date contact information, plus less readily available details like company headcounts and tech stacks.
Location: Bellevue, Washington
Another leading option for contact sourcing and sales prospecting, RocketReach allows users to search for personal and professional emails and phone numbers across a variety of criteria: name, location, job title, skills, years of experience and employer industry and revenue, among others. Additional available features include a browser extension, bulk lookup functionality and an API. RocketReach touts its precision, reach and who’s-who client base as selling points.
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Lusha, another contact-sourcing contender, builds its B2B contact database through a combination of crowdsourcing, partnerships and automation. Community members post contact information, while the company also licenses data from affiliate partners and crawls the web for publicly available information. Lusha’s clientbase has included tech leaders like Google, Dropbox and Uber. Curious reps can try the free version, which allows five no-cost look-ups per month.
Location: Marina del Rey, California
System1 blends advertising and content marketing to steer clients toward ready-to-purchase customers. The company serves up ads on search engines and social networks, which direct users to personalized content on one of System1’s media pages, including HowStuffWorks, Forkly and CarsGenius. Then it sends user intent data to clients, who can pursue tailored outreach, while also feeding data back into System1’s machine learning algorithms to continually optimize the next rounds of ad placement and personalization tweaks.
Location: Fully Remote
Countless lead-generation services are built upon the promise of massive prospect indexes, stuffed by the millions. Apollo sells itself on bringing its voluminous database straight to your CRM. Integration as a whole is key to Apollo’s appeal; it syncs with Salesforce, LinkedIn, Marketo and other sales-arsenal standbys. Other aspects of the engine include a lead-scoring platform, an analytics suite and customizable process flows.
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
JumpCrew works to build awareness, generate leads and increase sales for its clients. Its marketing solutions include SEO, website design, paid search and paid social services. For example, well-known makeup sponge producer Beautyblender used JumpCrew to achieve a 263 percent increase in e-commerce revenue.
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
With Leadpages, old-school lead-capture website design meets the newer frontiers of no-code and targeted data movement. The platform lets its customer base — primarily freelancers and small businesses — build professional-looking home pages and landing pages that steer data to a host of supported platform integrations in analytics, customer relationship management, email marketing, e-commerce and more. A conversion toolkit lets users add pop-ups, alert bars and checkout forms to their pages, while a resources library includes webinars, podcasts, guides and other media to help maximize site-based lead conversion.
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
All companies want to know who’s visiting their site in hopes of using that info to target interested leads. But no one should run afoul of privacy regulations in the process. To that end, Lead Forensics uses a process called reverse IP tracking to determine which businesses are visiting clients’ sites without resorting to individual user-tracking. Essentially, it queries the DNS associated with an IP address to uncover what business hosts that IP. Then it culls a database to find contact information associated with that business, which is then passed along to the client.
Location: Solana Beach, California
One of the fastest-growing sales and marketing companies in the country, CIENCE provides inbound and outbound sales development help and sales data solutioins. Assisted by natural language processing, CIENCE researchers look beyond demographic basics, scouring firmographic data, social behavior data, tech stack info and more to build targeted lead lists. The firm claims a database of tens of millions of up-to-date records. Notable clients have included Uber, Square, SAP and Microsoft.
Location: Berkeley, California
LeadGenius combines artificial intelligence and human help to generate demand and build leads for a client base that has included Snowflake, eBay and DoorDash. The company’s crawler scrapes the web for lead-friendly data, and researchers verify the data and assist with email outreach campaigns.
Location: Dover, Delaware
This B2B lead generation firm is perhaps best known for its appointment-setting services. After Belkins reps learn about a client’s business and campaign model, draw up customer profiles and launch tailored outreach, they put each call or face-to-face meeting they generate on clients’ calendars and prep reps with any must-know details.
Location: Encino, California
Callbox pairs clients with industry-specific consultants to better customize outreach. Tech features prominently, but the firm also services telecommunications, healthcare, advertising, HR, finance, and manufacturing and distribution. The company emphasizes its multi-channel approach, using email, outbound calls, social media, SEO, landing pages and webinars to rope in prospects. Clients are also outfitted with Callbox’s Hubspot-linked contact management platform, which lets them keep real-time eyes on the lead pipeline.
Location: San Francisco, California
ON24’s webinar-based approach dovetails with both the experiential marketing trend and the pandemic-necessitated virtualization of everything speaks more to its prescience than any perceived bandwagoning. ON24 lets users host virtual events and webinars, which can give rise to much so-called behavioral data — degrees of receptivity, interest and engagement — that are frequently more difficult to quantify than demographic data — and harder to come by.
Location: Miami Beach, Florida
CloudTask offers reinforcements for customer support, customer success and, of course, sales. With this B2B agency, clients can opt for traditional lead generation assistance or get full-blown sales, sales chat and sales administration teams. The firm’s sales partners have included Apollo, Chorus, Aircall and HubSpot.
Location: New York, New York
Fluent promotes its own CRM and programmatic marketing tools, but the crux of the operation is its proprietary network of lead-generating websites. According to the company, those sites attract some 1 million daily users, generating a plethora of data, thanks in part to opt-in surveys within those properties. Aside from gleaning targeted data, the sites can also serve as launching pads for ad campaigns to further generate leads.
Location: Denver, Colorado
Intelligent Demand is perhaps most noted for its account-based marketing services, but it also offers sales enablement, customer nurture and creative strategy. The company boasts well-rounded B2B and B2C lead generation that encompasses strategies ranging from paid search to snail-mail outreach.
Location: Austin, Texas
DJM Global has led sales and marketing growth campaigns for many of the most noteworthy tech heavies who have a footprint in the Silicon Hills, including Oracle, VMWare, PayPal, eBay and IBM. Available services include lead development (upping clients’ digital profiles and expanding a client’s existing prospect list — or building it outright) and appointment scheduling.
Location: Plano, Texas
Leadpoint focuses on the mortgage, lending and finance sectors by hosting a two-sided bidding marketplace: sellers and purchasers can bring or buy voice and data leads, with prices dictated by supply and demand. According to LeadPoint, the company’s in-house algorithm applies a score to each lead, and interested buyers can filter options along a variety of criteria.
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Launch Leads caters to software, big data consulting, healthcare and other specialized sectors. Household-name clients have ranged from enterprise retail (Nike, Walmart) to technology (Oracle, Yahoo!, VMWare). The firm promises targeted lists, rather than firehouse volume, plus dead-lead revival and, when available, a strong trade-show presence. It’s all driven by an in-house data platform that monitors and prioritizes options based on factors like email opens, time of day, previous outreach attempts and more.
Location: San Diego, California
Lead generation outfits tend to fall into one of two camps: service or platform. That is, clients either outsource some portion of lead development or sign up for a new tool to assist. Rev is something of a difference-splitter. The company’s sales platform hoovers up data to create an ideal customer profile, which uses artificial intelligence to evolve and update over time. Rev then sources and prioritizes prospects based on that fluid profile. Notable clients have included Google, Salesforce, IBM and Adobe.
Location: Waltham, Massachusetts
DemandDrive has helped develop outbound sales operations for companies in cybersecurity, edtech and healthcare technology. This tech-focused generation firm also offers inbound development and a temp-to-hire pipeline for companies just getting started with sales. But its bread and butter is outbound, where it promises a higher bar for qualified leads than comparable outsourcing companies.
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Leadium claims to have produced more than 10 million unique leads for a client roster that ranges from direct-to-consumer wine brand OneHope to data infrastructure standout Segment. In-house strategists work with clients to hammer out what constitutes their vision of a quality lead and an ideal customer fit. Customer data goes deep into psychographic, technical and other non-demographic detail, all of which is validated by dedicated researchers.
Location: Oakville, Ontario
Firms that help companies to outsource lead generation sometimes outsource themselves, driving down costs by using far-flung contracted researchers. Martal Group, on the other hand, points to its entirely North America-based staff as proof of at-attention availability. The firm — which touts a contact database of 50 million — specializes in software, IoT and other tech vendors. It focuses heavily on intent data, a metric that identifies prospects that are likely close to making a purchase, based on digital behavior and other factors. The agency has closed deals with Pinterest, Samsung and Honeywell, among others.
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Leadfeeder promises new sales potential by essentially shining a light on who’s visiting your website. Its GDPR-compliant software lets users know what businesses are clicking on their sites and the paths through which they reached it — intel that would’ve otherwise been anonymous. That’s coupled with the company’s own database of contact information, all of which can be piped into standard-use CRMs, email marketing platforms and analytics dashboards.
Location: Los Angeles, California
The most popular offering Cleverly boasts is LinkedIn lead generation. Cleverly uses data from thousands of LinkedIn B2B campaigns to home in on a client’s ideal prospects. Then, Cleverly crafts customized outreach messages and notifies the client when a lead responds and it’s time to close the deal. The company says it has won LinkedIn leads for more than 5,000 clients.
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Intelemark provides several B2B services, including appointment setting, lead generation, customer reactivation, emergency telemarketing and database cleanup. The company says its clients have seen an average 40 percent increase in qualified lead generation and 30 to 70 percent increase in top of sales pipeline activity.