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A beginner’s guide to sales prospecting tools

Sales Prospecting Tool
3 reasons to invest in a prospecting sales tool
What is Prospecting in Sales
5 of the best sales prospecting tools to consider
Final thoughts

A sales prospecting tool is software that can help you find leads, qualify prospects, schedule meetings and more.

However, choose the wrong solution and you’ll complicate rather than streamline your sales operation, damaging productivity and profits.

In this article, you’ll learn how to find the best sales prospecting tool for your business and why investing in one is a great idea.

We also explore some of the best sales prospecting software to help you choose.

3 reasons to invest in a prospecting sales tool

Our State of Sales and Marketing report found that the average salesperson spends 40% of their working week prospecting. With so much time dedicated to finding prospects, streamlining the process can significantly improve productivity.

Sales prospecting tools make all aspects of prospecting more efficient, from identifying potential leads and scoring them to scheduling meetings and follow-up calls. The right tool can help you find higher-value customers, close more deals and shorten your sales cycle.

Here are three ways sales prospecting software makes life easier for sales leaders and teams:

1. They reduce admin

Automation features eliminate repetitive tasks so your team can spend more time interacting with those potential and existing customers who need their help most.

Such features are proven to boost sales performance. Our State of Sales and Marketing report also revealed that salespeople who automate tasks are 16 percentage points more likely to hit their targets.

With the right tech, you can automate various aspects of prospecting.

For example, you can set up Pipedrive’s Chatbot feature so prospects identify and qualify themselves – that’s one less item on your sales team’s task list.

Website visitors who give pre-determined responses and information are automatically registered as leads, deals or contacts in your Pipedrive account. Sales reps can then find and follow up on the best sales opportunities from a single location.

2. They generate and organize valuable data

The best sales prospecting tools collect and organize data on your most valuable prospects and leads.

This data paints a picture of who to target with future lead generation and marketing efforts and how best to engage potential buyers.

With prospect data in one place, it’ll be easier to identify patterns…

  • In a specific location: If a significant portion of your qualified prospects is in one region, expanding marketing and prospecting efforts there could help you find more of the same types of people.

  • From a particular source: If you find most of your qualified prospects on social networks but few come from in-person events, you’ll know to spend more on social media marketing. Consider your audience’s social channel preferences for more precisely targeted marketing.

  • With certain communication preferences: If your best prospects are happy to provide phone numbers but few give email addresses (i.e., the “email address” field in your prospecting tool is almost empty), cold calling is more likely to engage your ideal buyers than email marketing.

Use all the data you collect in your sales prospecting tool to enrich your buyer personas and ideal customer profiles (ICPs).

A buyer persona is an outlined description of the person who best represents your target audience, while an ICP defines the perfect customer for your business on an organizational level.

3. They make sales teams more mobile

Some tools for sales prospecting have mobile apps that help users stay productive while on the move.

This is ideal for business-to-business (B2B sales prospecting) salespeople who spend lots of time traveling between pitches and meetings. They can complete a range of prospecting activities from anywhere through a single interface, including:

  • Scoring qualified leads

  • Contacting potential customers (e.g., via email, instant messaging apps or LinkedIn)

  • Scheduling outreach activity

  • Arranging follow-up calls

  • Updating contact profiles

Say one of your salespeople meets with a prospect for the first time. Using a mobile app, they can add notes to the contact’s profile and update their pipeline stage within minutes of the meeting finishing – rather than waiting until they return to the office.

That helps keep company data accurate and timely so others in the team can use it to make informed decisions. It also prevents admin tasks from building up, so salespeople can spend the end of each day planning for the next.

What is Prospecting in Sales

Every sales prospecting tool has different features and strengths. By choosing the wrong option, you risk:

  • Disrupting your sales team’s momentum

  • Paying for features you’ll never use

  • Missing out on opportunities to optimize your sales process

Making a list of qualities to prioritize can help you find the perfect solution for your business and avoid any wasted investments.

With that in mind, here are five of the most useful functions and characteristics to look for.

Easily configurable automation

Workflow automation tools must be easy to set up and use. Otherwise, team members will likely overlook them and carry on doing repetitive work manually.

Users shouldn’t need any coding skills. Instead, look for tools that walk you through the automation process one step at a time with easy-to-follow instructions.

In Pipedrive, you’ll see a visual representation of your automation as you set it up. That’ll help you choose the perfect triggers, conditions and actions (the key ingredients of any automated workflow).

Automation in Pipedrive

If you’re unsure what to automate first, consider which repetitive tasks your team spends the most time on.

For example, if reps spend a lot of time updating each other via email or instant messaging apps, triggering notifications when prospects move between sales pipeline stages could boost their productivity.

An intuitive interface

Great prospecting tools help keep the early stages of the sales process smooth and efficient.

When team members can enter, retrieve and edit contact data with minimal training and support, they can focus on turning prospects into leads and leads into loyal customers.

Read case studies and third-party reviews for honest assessments of how easy a sales prospecting system is to set up and use.

Check out this G2.com review of Surfe, a useful B2B sales prospecting tool we’ll discuss later:

G2 review of Surfe

The first line praises Surfe’s accessibility. We also know the reviewer is a head of marketing at a mid-market company, so if you fit that description, you may get a similar experience with this software.

In addition to helping your current team work faster, an intuitive sales prospecting tool will save time during onboarding. New employees can get to work in minimal time, accessing the data they need to prospect and nurture leads effectively.

Useful integrations

Your sales prospecting tech won’t replace all other tools in your business. Instead, it should connect to (and work with) them to provide extra value.

Integrations make that happen. They allow different tools to communicate and share data so salespeople, marketers and others in your business have a single source of truth.

When comparing sales prospecting software options, look at their integration libraries to see if your favorite tech is present.

For example, Hunter.io (another tool we’ll cover soon) links with customer relationship management (CRM) tools, project management tech, Gmail, spreadsheets and more:

Hunter IO

The Pipedrive integration automatically synchronizes any leads you save with Hunter to your Pipedrive account.

That saves users from having to copy data manually. It also ensures salespeople and marketers get the same accurate lead information wherever they look, allowing for more informed decisions across the sales funnel.

If you can’t find the integration you’re looking for, it may still be possible to connect your tools using an application programming interface (API) or with the automation app Zapier.

Plenty of support options

A robust support package will help you overcome issues quickly and get the most from your chosen prospecting software. Just make sure your team can get fast answers in ways that suit their working styles.

Start by looking at operation times. Ideally, you’ll be able to speak with support agents anytime, not just during the company’s standard office hours (as these hours may not match your own or be useful for remote staff).

Then check for a range of channels.

Telephone and email are always helpful for in-depth queries, but you should also have access to…

  • A live chat function: Instant messaging is a fast way to communicate basic queries. Staff can continue working while they wait for a response.

  • Frequently asked questions (FAQs) content: Others have likely asked your question before. An FAQs section helpfully solves the most common queries.

  • A knowledge base: Product resources like step-by-step guides and video tutorials enable users to learn at their own pace or overcome issues as they arise.

Multilingual support is essential if your sales team is global. Prioritize the most commonly spoken languages for the best coverage.

Flexibility and customization

The best providers accommodate different types of users with versatile, scalable and customizable software.

The more flexible a tool is, the easier it’ll be to tailor it to your company or team’s unique needs. Then you can avoid paying for features and functionality you don’t use.

Pricing options, device support and function-boosting add-ons are great places to start.

  • Pricing plans: Look for multiple pricing tiers that you can easily move between. Then you can start small (i.e., with the most affordable option) and upgrade your package as your business grows.

  • Device and browser support: Reps are more productive when prospecting with their favored devices, operating systems and browsers. Consider what your team uses most and ensure your chosen tool is compatible.

  • Add-ons: With the right add-ons you can turn an out-of-the-box prospecting system into a bespoke one. That’ll help you adapt to new needs and challenges. Pipedrive’s LeadBooster add-on is a great example – it turns your CRM into a powerful lead generation tool.

You may need to pay for additional features, but a tailored prospecting tool should help your team find prospects, nurture leads and close deals more efficiently. That means more sales and a bigger return on investment (ROI).

Enrich your plan with more features

When researching, ask providers if they have any product updates in the pipeline. Plans for new features and add-ons imply that software evolves to be more effective, meaning you’ll get more for your investment.

5 of the best sales prospecting tools to consider

You may need a few different tools to get your prospecting process running like clockwork. Consider starting your sales prospecting toolkit with these great applications.

To expand your reach: LinkedIn Sales Navigator

With around 930 million users, LinkedIn is likely the largest database of professionals available. You can harness that reach effectively by using the platform’s lead generation and sales engagement tool, Sales Navigator.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator

LinkedIn Sales Navigator offers…

  • Advanced search capabilities: Use detailed search filters to find your ideal customers’ LinkedIn profiles.

  • Prospect list management: Build lists of target accounts and receive real-time updates when their profile data changes (e.g., get notified of job changes).

  • Profile analytics: Find potential leads by seeing who’s looked at your individual and company profiles, and then engage them through LinkedIn’s InMail instant messaging platform.

Use Zapier to integrate LinkedIn Sales Navigator into your CRM. After connecting it to Pipedrive, you can save accounts as new contacts with one click. There are also Gmail and Outlook integrations that will show contacts’ LinkedIn profile information in your email interface.

To find accurate contact information: Hunter

Hunter is a sales intelligence tool that provides access to verified and accurate email addresses for companies and their decision-makers (i.e., B2B buyers).

Give it a company name or website and it’ll try to find the best person for you to contact. Each result has an accuracy score so you can confidently send cold emails.


You can save the people you find on Hunter as new leads and contact them through your usual channels or use Hunter’s cold email software.

There’s a desktop app, although you can also prospect on the move by loading Hunter in a browser.

Helpful integrations include Pipedrive, Gmail, Airtable and automation all-rounder Zapier.

For contact data enrichment: Surfe (formerly Leadjet)

Surfe connects your CRM to LinkedIn to provide detailed information on your contacts. With enriched contact data, you’ll be able to engage prospects and sales leads more effectively.

Surfe also prompts you to update your CRM data whenever a prospect edits their LinkedIn profile. That’s useful for tracking job changes and ensuring cold emails are relevant.


One of Surfe’s biggest selling points is that it eliminates manual data entry (as it automatically imports data between the two platforms). It’s the kind of valuable automation we touched on earlier that frees sales reps to focus on more demanding work.

Naturally, Surfe integrates with a range of CRM tools, including Pipedrive. It also works with LinkedIn Sales Navigator.

To unearth hidden opportunities: BuiltWith

BuiltWith is a technology lookup tool that helps sales professionals find companies that use certain software. You can use it to determine which businesses in your target market use tools that integrate with your product.

Built With

For example, if your company sells software that complements Google Analytics, you might search for companies that use it – as they may need your product.

BuiltWith also provides companies’ contact details so you can reach out with cold calls or emails and estimates of company size, tech spend, social following and employee numbers. That data paints a clearer picture of each lead, helping you qualify them faster.

BuiltWith connects to various CRMs for exporting contact data and has Firefox, Edge and Chrome extensions. Other integrations include Google Sheets, Excel and Slack.

To do it all: Pipedrive and LeadBooster

Pipedrive is a versatile and intuitive CRM system companies can use to manage lead and customer data. It’ll support you throughout the sales prospecting process.

Pipedrive’s LeadBooster add-on is a four-in-one lead generation toolkit that helps you capture high-quality outbound and inbound leads before they drift elsewhere.

Leads Prospector

The add-on includes Prospector, which pulls leads matching your ICP from a database of over 400 million professionals and 10 million companies. Each leads’ data can go straight to your CRM for reps to target with cold calls, email campaigns and other tactics.

Smart Contact Data will fill data gaps to save time and give you the edge when interacting with contacts. It finds publicly-available information associated with customers’ email addresses or domains and adds it to your CRM account.

From there, you can track buyers’ journeys to conversion and beyond using a highly customizable, Kanban-style visual sales pipeline.

Pipedrive Sales Pipeline

Other key Pipedrive features include:

  • Unlimited contacts

  • Custom fields

  • Automatic lead assignment

  • Sales automation tools

  • Beginner-friendly email marketing software

  • Cold email templates

  • Chat and email support on all plans

Integrate Pipedrive with the rest of your tech stack to keep workflows smooth and data consistent. Popular integrations from the Pipedrive Marketplace include Calendly, Zapier, Slack and Microsoft Teams.

Final thoughts

Sales prospecting tools can help you find better leads and convert them faster. With workflow automation, you’ll also increase your team’s productivity.

Take time to build your perfect prospecting toolkit. Use free trials to test apps and features you think could be useful and connect new software to your existing solutions wherever possible.

If you’re building a toolkit from scratch or overhauling your sales tech, you’ll find plenty of inspiration in our guide to the best sales tools for 2023.

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