— These days it’s really difficult finding a good lead generation tool, that does your job, fulfils your expectations (basically produce MQLs/SQLs), and offers results without it testing your patience. And the few times you do find a tool working satisfactorily, I promise… it won’t remain like that for a long time. Something will break; platforms like LinkedIn will change their daily limits, for specific actions, or just stop providing you with results for several other reasons.
You’ve probably read it before “this is the last article you’ll need – the Magic Eight Ball you will ever need on Lead Generation tools”. Time wasted on guides that don’t apply anymore. I should know, I’ve spent a lot of time digging around, reading and testing; and because I’ve done it and I’m tired of finding outdated articles or biased ones, appearing in the top results of Google searches, usually written by companies that sell these kind of tools, I decided to write a lead generation tool guide, myself. My experience stems from working in lead generation for the past 5 years, either for marketing agencies, like DG, or in technology startups and
SaaS sales teams. I’ve had the opportunity to work with different Lead Generation or LinkedIn automation tools and gather knowledge and experience. All apps reviewed here where either purchased on a monthly subscription or used for the duration of a trial period, offered by the vendor. The order of review is random.
An important note before we start, there are two types of Lead Generation tools – those that are cloud-based and those that work as Chrome extensions. The former category works even if you quit Chrome and allows you to use any browser, but the latter option offers cheaper subscriptions.
Enough, with the notes and intros, let’s dive into the individual review for each tool we used. In the end, I’ll summarise what I believe is the best solution… today. Having said that, I suggest -if you find this post useful- to bookmark it and come back again. I will definitely be adding new reviews… until I find the perfect tool that I will stick with for a long time. But you’ll read about that, too.
Octopus is one of the first lead generation tools we used. It works as a Chrome extension and features
These are standard features in almost all the tools in the market, but with their “Starter” plan at $6.99 and their most expensive “Unlimited” plan at $24.99, they easily win the Value For Money prize in this comparison.
Zopto is one of the big players in the lead generation market. It is the most expensive tool on our list, but we are not convinced it’s worth the price it asks for. It’s cloud-based and feels solid and robust. It has some cool features like AI-assisted follow-up messages and auto-scale invitation requests, but these can be found in other tools without the asking price of $160+/user/month.
We started using Waalaxy when it was still called ProspectIn, in a previous job. We decided to give it another try a few months ago when I found a lifetime deal on Appsumo. As we started using it again, I tried to remember why we stopped using it the first time. I think it was the fact that it worked/works as a Chrome extension; the reporting isn’t so good, and you have to choose from pre-made campaigns that you can’t customise the steps. Having said that, I have to note that there is an extensive collection of campaigns to choose from. Before we purchased the lifetime deal, we contacted the support team, and they told us they were planning to introduce a cloud solution soon, and additionally the ability to respond to LinkedIn messages directly through the app. Which will be a game changer considering how tedious switching apps is. The cloud feature will be available in a hybrid mode, something between a Chrome extension and a fully Cloud-based app. It sounds interesting, but it is still in beta.
LinkedHelper is one of the oldest tools in the LinkedIn automation category. We first used it in 2017, and it looked excellent. After a while, it disappeared and reappeared as LinkedHelper 2. It has a beautiful UI, but you have limited filtering options, and it runs as a Chrome extension.
Expandi is well advertised, does the job adequately, and has more or less the same features as other tools, but something happened that put us off. More specifically a colleague, working with an AI startup client, lost access to his LinkedIn account (by his fault) and until he got that resolved he had no access to his Expandi account, and thus to all previous reports. That was very frustrating. Losing two days to resolve his LinkedIn account issue, in order to get access to Expandi, was not great for the client. For whatever reason Expandi could not work independently of what was going on with the LinkedIn account. Obviously other tools may have similar issues but we have not come across something similar. That glitch took some serious ‘be patient’ negotiation with the client…
SalesFlow has a beautiful layout and straightforward pricing. It doesn’t have extensive customisation options for campaigns, but this is something you meet in several of the afore-mentioned tools. Somehow we didn’t stick with it because it failed to impress us from the get-go. We were expecting more features from a Lead Gen tool working in the Cloud.
I personally wanted to adore MeetAlfred because I fell in love with their marketing… but after a few months of using it, I stepped away. The lack of extended customisation for campaigns, the not-so-great campaign reporting, the fact that they offered and then abruptly stopped a Sales Navigator offer —without sending a notice— while additional features or updates didn’t seem to be planned to happen soon, drove us away.
We really like the UI and the features of Skylead. It has a fantastic campaign-building process, a great reporting system, and a ‘warm-up mode’, amongst other features. You can find some of these features in other tools, mentioned above, but none gathered in one LinkedIn automation tool as in this occasion. At one time, they had a serious bug that nearly made us abandon it, but we gave it a second chance and have had no issues since then.
Obviously the list is not exhaustive. There are many other tools in the Lead Generation universe. Several are noteworthy, like Dripify; but we haven’t had the chance to test them yet.
Everyone might have a favourite on our lead gen team, but personally I prefer Skylead -despite the bug I mentioned- and Waalaxy. I think that if Waalaxy continues developing features and remains efficient, it will become my top choice. When Waalaxy adds the Cloud feature and LinkedIn messaging, directly from their application, while improving some minor reporting issues, it will be a game changer for them.
Keywords: LinkedIn Automation, Lead Generation, Multi-Channel Campaigns, Campaign Sequences, MQL, SQL, lead gen
Author: Nick Spanoudakis
Nick is a customer experience and engagement analyst. He has worked with technology startups, and SaaS companies, building their sales funnel with qualified leads. Now he leads the MQL team, here at Digital Giraffes, working closely with clients to attract more business on their behalf. He’s always open to learning new tools and approaches that will engage prospects.