This article is part of a larger series on CRM.
The best lead management software creates efficiencies by automating tasks and workflows while increasing conversions using lead monitoring and nurturing tools. We’ve listed the six best lead management software products for businesses that want to organize and track leads, identify sales-qualified leads as potential buyers, and move leads through the sales pipeline more effectively.
It’s important to note that lead management is a feature found in customer relationship management (CRM) software at no additional charge along with many other benefits to small businesses. So while there are standalone applications that can help you organize leads from contact forms or other one-off marketing campaigns, their limited functionality makes CRMs the better long-term lead investment for your company.
We evaluated multiple lead management software products and narrowed it down to our top six options.
- Zendesk Sell: Best overall—ideal for businesses looking for a full range of comprehensive lead management tools
- Freshsales: Great choice for sales teams that want multiple sales pipeline visualization options
- Agile CRM: Excellent option for companies that want solid lead scoring capabilities
- Pipedrive: Good pick for multiproduct businesses that want robust lead routing tools
- HubSpot CRM: Solid choice for organizations looking for free lead tracking software
- Bitrix24: Great options for teams that want to combine invoicing and quoting tools with their lead management software
Zendesk Sell: Best Overall Lead Management Software
*Pricing is based on annual billing, monthly billing is available for higher prices.
Zendesk Sell is comprehensive lead management software that assists businesses from the lead generation stage to the buyer stage—and everything in between. Leads can be generated using auto-conversion features within the platform, filtered through Smart Lists, and nurtured with automated communication tools, all while being monitored on the sales pipeline dashboard.
Although Zendesk Sell allows for sales pipeline customization, users are limited to one pipeline on both the Team and Professional plans, and two pipelines on the Enterprise plans. For businesses that operate using multiple sales pipelines, we invite you to check out Pipedrive for an option that allows you to create an unlimited number of sales pipelines.
Zendesk Sell Features
- Automatic data capture allows service tickets and web inquiries to be converted into sales leads with the full context of the potential opportunity automatically provided
- Fully customizable sales pipelines to track lead progress
- Built-in Smart Lists feature for segmenting and filtering leads in real time
- Integrates with applications like Mailchimp and Ada for Sell to nurture leads through automated communication
- Contact enrichment tools to keep lead data up to date
Want to learn more? Check out our full review of the Zendesk Sell CRM.
Freshsales: Best Management Software for Pipeline Visualization
*Pricing is based on a monthly billing option. Annual subscriptions are available as well for those who prefer long-term contracts.
Freshsales stands out when it comes to visualizing lead progress and deal management. Users have access to clean sales pipeline visualizations, which come with the options of a timeline, Kanban-style, or funnel view. Specific deals can also be filtered by potential value, expected close date, and current lead stage.
Unfortunately, Freshsales only allows users to view more advanced metrics such as won deals, emails delivered, and leads converted on the higher-priced Enterprise plan. For businesses needing access to these kinds of metrics on more affordable plans, we recommend considering Agile CRM.
- Smart Matches tool automatically detects and deletes duplicate leads from the database
- Built-in lead generation bot for auto-conversations to book meetings and qualify leads
- Visual sales pipelines can be viewed in funnel, Kanban, or timeline styles
- Predictive contact scoring for evaluating potential lead success based on demographics or behavior
- Marketing segmentation features automate the grouping and filtering of leads based on geography, demographics, and behavior
Read our full Freshsales review to learn how it helps teams manage leads, track deals, and grow sales revenue.
Agile CRM: Best Management Software With Lead Scoring Tools
*Pricing is based on monthly subscriptions. However, those who prefer long-term contracts may choose annual or two-year contracts for lower prices.
While most of the options on this list offer lead scoring functionality, Agile CRM stands out in how robust this specific feature is, and that the tool is available on the free plan. The use of advanced lead scoring allows businesses to focus more on qualified leads to ultimately close deals faster.
Agile CRM’s lead scoring can be automated to set custom triggers based on behaviors the sales team wants to know, such as opening emails, visiting web pages, or completing sales forms. The qualified lead can then be automatically handed off to the sales team with a full contact profile showing lead scoring factors and a history of company interactions.
Agile CRM is not as easy to operate as the other lead management software products on this list. For example, many users find it difficult to configure some of the automation tools as well as connect the platform to their email or website domain. For businesses looking for software that requires less technical skill, we recommend HubSpot CRM or Freshsales as viable, user-friendly options.
Agile CRM Features
- Lead Prospector feature allows users to capture leads from social media accounts and transfer them into the CRM database
- Marketing automation enables engagement with leads through multiple channels such as email, text messaging (SMS), or social media depending on the contact profile
- Built-in automated lead scoring shows which leads are sales-ready compared to others
- Contact timelines show the history of communication exchanges, updates, and content views with leads
Check out our Agile CRM review to discover how this software can help you achieve your business goals.
Pipedrive: Best Management Software With Lead Routing Capabilities
*Pricing is based on an annual billing option. Monthly plans are available as well.
Pipedrive is an excellent fit for businesses that sell multiple products or services using several different sales pipelines, as well as multiple sales reps for the various pipelines. Not only does it allow for an unlimited number of sales pipelines to be created, but it also offers advanced lead routing tools.
The lead routing tools can be configured manually or automatically to get leads to the proper sales channel and representative. For automated lead routing, businesses can use the chatbot to conduct automated conversations with new leads on their website. Then, based on answers to questions, the lead is qualified and routed to the right sales representative.
Pipedrive is priced competitively compared to the other options on this list, but does not offer a free plan. For startups that want access to free lead management software, we recommend HubSpot CRM.
- Chatbot feature automatically chats with new leads and routes them to the proper sales reps based on their answers to default questions
- Built-in meeting booking tool sends calendar links to leads via live chat, then syncs appointments to the sales rep’s calendar through Pipedrive Scheduler
- Smart contact data feature available to gain valuable insight on leads
- Custom webform creation to generate inbound leads
- Lead data field customization to design an unlimited number of data fields and tag them as important or required fields
Want to learn more about this CRM? Check out our Pipedrive review to explore its rich feature set.
HubSpot CRM: Best Free Lead Management Software
*Based on monthly billing. However, you can also opt to pay in full annually for a lower price.
Many of the lead management software tools provided by HubSpot CRM are available within its free option. This includes lead appointment scheduling, multiple reporting dashboards on lead progress, and live bots to qualify leads as potential buyers through automated live chat communication channels.
Lead and deal scoring are only available on the higher-priced Professional and Enterprise plans of the Sales Hub product. For sales teams looking to have high-level lead scoring tools included as part of their package, we recommend considering Agile CRM.
HubSpot CRM Features
- Custom workflow automations to create tasks based on lead triggering activities
- Multi-dashboard reporting capabilities
- Email scheduling tools to engage with leads one-on-one at a set time
- Live chat autobots to communicate with leads and qualify sales-ready leads
- Built-in meeting scheduling tools for leads to set appointments
Read our HubSpot CRM review to get more information on how this platform helps small businesses grow.
Bitrix24: Best Software With Quoting & Invoicing Features
*Pricing above is based on monthly plans. However, you may also pay in full quarterly, annually, or biannually.
Even on the free version of Bitrix24, users can email and save PDF quotes within the CRM system. These can be attached to various lead profiles and converted into sendable invoices with one-click quote-to-invoice functionality. The built-in quote and invoice management tools allow small businesses to perform sales enablement activities within their lead management software.
Although Bitrix24 allows users to add an unlimited number of leads to the CRM system for free, users are unable to generate lead or deal analytics reports on the free plan. For smaller businesses looking for CRM analytics regarding their leads, we invite you to check out HubSpot CRM as a free option with those specific tools.
- Kanban view for visualizing lead progress in the sales pipeline
- Built-in tools for attaching quotes or invoices to lead profiles
- Card scanner feature for generating leads from an image of a business card
- Website form creator that can generate leads and import them automatically to the CRM database
Want to know if this CRM fits your business needs? Read our comprehensive Bitrix24 review.
How We Evaluated the Best Lead Management Software
To determine the best lead management software, we evaluated overall product pricing as well as features specific to lead management activities, such as lead scoring capabilities, lead data organization tools, and options for tracking lead progress within the sales pipeline. The product should also offer both intuitive platform usability and solid customer support.
Based on our evaluation, Zendesk Sell is the best overall choice as it offers full-range, comprehensive solutions to lead management with tools for lead scoring, prospect filtering, sales pipeline monitoring, and lead data enrichment.
It also offers automation capabilities for lead capture, in which businesses can auto-transfer lead information from a web inquiry or service ticket into a sales opportunity and then nurture them using built-in or integrated automated email communication.
The tabs below offer insight into our evaluation process for choosing the best lead management software:
40% of Overall Score
With cost typically being among the most important criteria for any small business, price was the most heavily weighted when reviewing the best lead management software. We considered the availability of free plans, the option for different subscription options, and whether or not monthly billing was available.
20% of Overall Score
We looked at overall features and those specific to lead management, including the ability to filter leads based on attributes, lead tracking capabilities, and tools for capturing new leads. Additionally, automation capabilities for these various lead management activities were taken into account.
15% of Overall Score
The functions of any application are only as beneficial as they are usable; therefore, ease of use of the lead management software products held the next highest weight of criteria. This was analyzed in terms of the expertise needed to integrate it with other applications, the skill required to operate the lead management features, and the intuitiveness of the interface.
15% of Overall Score
Extensive support and service can prevent issues a user might encounter while using the platform. Help and support were evaluated in terms of customer service hours and availability of support via phone, live chat, and email.
10% of Overall Score
In addition to firsthand experiences with the providers, we evaluated what other users are saying about each lead management software. These criteria consider how customers feel based on their reviews to gain insight on the CRM product popularity, ease of use, and overall value for the price.