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The best lead management software and tools in 2024

By Toby Peterson · February 15, 2024
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Have you ever herded cats? Of course you haven't. In fact, I defy you to find a single person who's ever successfully managed such a feat. And yet, in marketing and sales, it's kind of your entire job: it's called lead management

Lead management software is a fuzzy concept—there's no magic bullet app for handling all of your lead management tasks. A real estate agent, for example, doesn't manage prospects in the same way as an enterprise tech company might. Like any good strategy, your lead management system is going to involve matching the best solutions to your specific needs—but no matter what, it's going to involve a lot of lead management software.

Lead management software helps keep your business-critical tasks running smoothly while you focus on the work that humans do best.

The best lead management software and tools

How we evaluate and test apps

Our best apps roundups are written by humans who've spent much of their careers using, testing, and writing about software. Unless explicitly stated, we spend dozens of hours researching and testing apps, using each app as it's intended to be used and evaluating it against the criteria we set for the category. We're never paid for placement in our articles from any app or for links to any site—we value the trust readers put in us to offer authentic evaluations of the categories and apps we review. For more details on our process, read the full rundown of how we select apps to feature on the Zapier blog.

What is lead management software?

Lead management refers to all the ongoing processes involved in attracting leads (potential customers), qualifying them, and using targeted strategies to convert them into customers.

Lead management software, then, is software that helps marketing and sales teams manage these leads that come through their pipeline. At a high level, it includes tools for the following aspects of lead management:

  • Lead generation

  • Lead qualification and segmentation

  • Lead nurturing

  • Lead scoring and routing

  • Measurement of success

What to expect

If you're looking for a single lead management tool, you probably want a CRM. But your online lead management system is more likely going to involve a whole suite of tools—because lead management is a complex beast. It starts with lead gen, and moves through lead distribution, lead scoring, lead nurture, and beyond. 

I'm going to introduce you to the categories of apps you should be thinking about when putting together your leads management system. I'll suggest some specific apps along the way and link you to lists of the best apps for each of the categories, so you can dig deeper.

The best lead management software at a glance 


Best for


Lead generation

Building landing pages in minutes

Zoho CRM


Combining multi-channels (sales, marketing, help desk, and social) into one platform


Free CRM

Managing up to 250 unique leads with sales, marketing, chat, and customer service features for free


CRM for small business

Managing everything (contacts, deals, inventory, marketing, and help desk) in one easy-to-use platform


Marketing automation

Sending automated messaging across email, SMS, chat (including social media), and WhatsApp


Drip email

Kickstarting email workflows using automation templates


Email marketing

Delivering dynamic, text- and image-rich content to inboxes 


SMS marketing

Quickly setting up marketing lists and building easy-to-run marketing campaigns


Meeting scheduler

Integrating seamlessly with other calendars



Transcribing phone conversations to text in real time 



Delivering pre-recorded or live presentations 


AI sales assistant

Handling campaigns from top to bottom

Lead generation software like Carrd

Carrd, our pick for the best lead generation software.

To have an efficient lead management strategy, you'll need to have a few leads standing by in the first place. That's where your lead generation workflows come in. Much like lead management, lead gen isn't any one single item on your to-do list. It involves a number of complementary pieces, all moving in concert with one another to drive eyeballs to your business and prospects to your door. 

For an in-depth overview of lead gen software options, check out Zapier's coverage of the best lead generation software. It includes apps like Carrd, a landing page builder that offers its core features for free and helps you build a one-page website in a matter of minutes.

The right lead management tools will help you build your lead generation funnel—whether that's using top-of-funnel content, email marketing, lead generation forms, landing pages, or anything in between.

And once you're set up with your lead gen tools, be sure to analyze your lead gen efforts. Taking steps to review your lead scoring metrics, for instance, will give you a better sense of where your efforts are paying off, and where they're being wasted. That way, you can move on to the real lead management stage of things.

CRMs like Zoho CRM, EngageBay, and Vtiger

Once those prospects start coming in, you'll need to reach them while they're hot for the best chance at conversion. It sounds simple, but you know this better than anyone: it's not.

For starters, you'll need to be able to nail down your lead scoring for easier segmentation and routing to the right channel with the most relevant message. This takes a reliable and speedy lead distribution system. And you'll need to stay on top of things along the way to ensure that no balls get dropped or leads go cold. For that, you'll need reliable and responsive tracking to get the latest updates.

You can customize your own system in a way that makes the most sense for your budget and industry, but if you're looking to do most of it with just one lead tracking tool, you won't do better than a CRM.

CRM software for every business

Zoho CRM, our pick for the best CRM software for every business.

Contacts, pipelines, deals—if all of that is on your shopping list, CRM apps will help. Salesforce is synonymous with CRM, but you have a lot of other options.

Check out Zapier's picks for the best CRM software to see which one fits your business's needs.

Zoho CRM, for example, lets you scale up painlessly, starting with a free option and then charging as you grow. And you can do even more with Zoho CRM by integrating it with Zapier. Then you can connect it to thousands of other apps to automate your CRM workflows. Learn more about how to automate Zoho CRM, or get started with these pre-made workflows. 

Create contacts on Zoho CRM from new leads from Facebook Lead Ads

Create contacts on Zoho CRM from new leads from Facebook Lead Ads
  • Facebook Lead Ads logo
  • Zoho CRM logo
Facebook Lead Ads + Zoho CRM

To get started with a Zap template—what we call our pre-made workflows—just click on the button. It only takes a few minutes to set up. You can read more about setting up Zaps here.

Free CRM software

EngageBay, our pick for the best free CRM software.

If you're looking to start free and stay free with your CRM choice, there are still a ton of great CRM tools available at the best price point imaginable: zero.

To see your options, check out this list of the best free CRM software.

EngageBay is one such free lead management platform, allowing you to manage up to 250 unique leads while providing you with sales, marketing, chat, and customer service features.

Connect EngageBay with Zapier to streamline your CRM workflows even more. Learn more about how to automate EngageBay with Zapier, or get started with one of these workflows.

CRMs for small business

Vtiger, our pick for the best CRM for small businesses.

Free is an unbeatable price if your resources are limited, but if you run a small business, chances are you have other unique challenges to consider when picking a CRM.

Start by reviewing Zapier's picks for the best CRMs for small business.

The right choice for you starts with understanding exactly what a CRM can do for you, the kinds of CRM tools that are available, and how each feature might work with other parts of your sales pipeline.

Once you've made your call, you'll also need to consider how you're using your lead management software. Prior to bringing your CRM online, you'll need to have a plan for managing change, leveraging third-party apps, and tackling other strategies covered in these tips for successful CRM implementation.  

Once you've got that handled, you're ready to go shopping. Vtiger is one lead management app to consider, providing sales, marketing, and help desk functionality for an all-in-one price point. You can also connect Vtiger to Zapier and streamline even more of your CRM workflows.

Once you've settled on the right software for you, it's time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Or, you can do the exact opposite: let automation handle all the business-critical tasks for you.

Marketing automation platforms like Brevo

Brevo, our pick for the best marketing automation platform.

Efficiency is one thing—successful outreach is something else altogether. When it comes to nurturing leads, ensuring a personalized and responsive presence is vital. The challenge lies in making sure the right message is finding the right people at the right time. Even if you have all the kinks worked out in your lead management workflows, you'll still need to make sure your communication is effective.

With the right lead management software, you can automate your entire marketing campaign. From email to social media to more sophisticated tasks like A/B testing and analytics reports, marketing automation software gives you the power to outsource a ton of work. 

Here's a list of the best marketing automation software.

Take Brevo (formerly Sendinblue), for example. Even on its free plan, it automates email, SMS, chat (including social media), and WhatsApp—more mediums than most paid marketing software. And it doesn't stop at just building marketing workflows; it's also a CRM and meeting scheduling tool.  

Connect Brevo with Zapier to automate even more of your marketing workflows. Learn more about how to automate Brevo with Zapier, or kickstart your workflow with one of these Zap templates. 

For more inspiration, check out other ways to grow your business with marketing automation.

Drip email apps like Mailchimp

Mailchimp, our pick for the best drip email software.

The old adage of striking while the iron is hot doesn't really apply when you're bulk emailing every lead with the same generic message. (That's more like trying to strike while you're not even sure if the iron is plugged in.) When it comes to tailoring your outreach to the right prospects at the right time, you'll want to take advantage of drip email apps.

Here are Zapier's picks for the best email drip campaign software.

Mailchimp offers a number of automation templates for you to kickstart your email workflow. You can set up campaigns to find and welcome contacts, nurture leads, re-engage your audience, and manage your list. And as a robust marketing automation tool, Mailchimp also comes with loads of extras. The flashiest one is AI, helping you on three fronts: generating text, creating designs, and analyzing your newsletter content to ensure it fits the best practices of your industry.

You can also connect Mailchimp with Zapier to streamline your email campaigns. Learn how to automate your email marketing with Mailchimp and Zapier, or get started with one of these workflows. 

Once you've picked your drip email app, learn how to automate your email drip campaign so you can boost conversion rates.

Email marketing software like MailerLite

MailerLite, our pick for the best email marketing software.

Budget constraints dragging down your outreach? Financial limitations don't have to get in the way of your message. 

Here's a list of the best free email marketing apps.

MailerLite is one option to consider. Its free options include pre-designed content blocks that deliver dynamic, text- and image-rich content to your leads' inboxes. Include product details, embedded videos, blog posts, RSS feeds, and more—all for free. 

MailerLite also integrates with Zapier, making it easy to automate your email workflows. Learn more about how to automate MailerLite, or kickstart your workflow with one of these Zap templates. 

Take your free email marketing efficiency to yet another level with automation. Add and segment prospects, stay responsive to inquiries, follow up on abandoned carts or cold leads—and do it all without adding to your to-do list. Here's how to automate your email marketing.  

SMS marketing software like SimpleTexting

SimpleTexting, our pick for the best SMS app.

If you have prospects that value more direct interaction, SMS marketing can be a better choice. As part of your lead management software suite, SMS apps can get your message directly into the pockets and purses of future customers' phones, opening up scalable, more flexible avenues of communication that can boost conversion rates.

Here's Zapier's list of the best SMS apps for businesses.

SimpleTexting, for example, makes it easy to text the same message to everyone on a list. You can configure an away message in case a customer texts when you're closed, and leave notes on conversations or assign them to your teammates for a seamless handoff. SimpleTexting also integrates with Zapier, making it easy to streamline your SMS marketing.

By integrating your SMS app with other platforms, you can automatically follow up on new leads and orders, respond to incoming feedback, and loop in team members. Here's how to get the most out of SMS messages with automation.

Meeting scheduler software like Calendly

Calendly, our pick for the best meeting scheduler software.

There's nothing more frustrating than doing all the hard work required to attract a potential customer, only to run into an additional mountain to climb when it comes to setting a face-to-face or virtual meeting. 

Meeting scheduler apps take the back-and-forth out of the equation by managing your and your prospects' calendars, finding availability, and preventing dropped balls with automatic reminders and follow-ups.

Take a look at Zapier's list of the best meeting scheduler apps. Or, if you prefer to have the robots help more, here are the best AI scheduling assistants.

One well-known option is Calendly, which integrates seamlessly with your own calendar (Google, Outlook, etc.) and provides you with customizable booking pages that allow attendees to schedule themselves. You can connect Calendly to Zapier to streamline your scheduling workflows even more. Learn more about how to automate Calendly, or get started with one of these workflows. 

You'll also want to look for tools that integrate with your video conferencing app of choice. This takes the "where" out of your complex meeting equation by putting you in real-time touch with teams, clients, and prospects in a dedicated, virtual meeting space. Zoom is the biggie here, but there are plenty of other apps that can provide you with reliable, high-quality calls—and you might already be using them for other purposes.

And there's no shortage of ways to streamline your meeting-related workflows when you connect Zoom to Zapier. Learn more about how to automate Zoom

Whether in-person or online, your meetings can also benefit from automation. Integrate your scheduling software with other applications to manage your contacts across calendar platforms, confirm meetings, relay links, and more. And streamline video conferences with automation, generating pre-call reminders, setting agendas, and handling follow-up tasks, all while keeping your focus on a successful call.    

VoIP software like Dialpad

Dialpad, our pick for the best VoIP.

Looking for real-time interaction without having to appear on screen? You can still keep in touch while staying mobile by taking your meetings over the phone. And there are plenty of ways for you to improve upon this more traditional approach with a virtual phone system. Using a voice over internet protocol (VoIP) saves you money while affording you the same flexibility as a mobile phone and the traditional reliability of a corded desk phone. Plus, you can take your calls via desktop or laptop to avoid juggling devices.

Here are Zapier's picks for the best virtual phone systems.

An application like Dialpad, for example, lets you track missed calls, capture voicemail, provide recordings, and it even transcribes your phone conversations in real time. And you can connect Dialpad to Zapier to streamline your VoIP tasks even more. 

Add automation to the mix to integrate your virtual phone system seamlessly into your workflows to stay just as responsive and up to date as you do with your email and SMS conversations.   

Webinar software like Demio

Demio, our pick for the best webinar software.

What better way to make your case to your prospects than a webinar? Whether it's live or captured, a webinar allows you to put a human face on your business pitch. It also gives you an interactive element that run-of-the-mill email marketing simply can't. If the thought of presenting a live demo seems overwhelmingly complex, there's help.

Check out Zapier's recommendations for the best webinar software.

Tools like Demio, for example, give you the power to deliver pre-recorded or live presentations, register attendees, generate polls, and follow up once the webinar ends. Connect Demio to Zapier to streamline your webinar workflows even more. 

And if you need to create a presentation that doesn't give off stuffy business vibes, check out this list of the best PowerPoint alternatives

By introducing automation into your webinar marketing, you can let the computers take care of repetitive tasks like managing and tracking registrants, so you can focus on your actual job.

AI sales assistant software like Regie.ai 

Regie.ai, our pick for the best AI sales assistant.

From acquiring leads to following up with cold accounts to handling customer queries, sales teams have a lot to do. That's where AI sales assistant software comes in. It uses machine learning, predictive analytics, generative AI, and smart automation to help sales teams close the deal.

Take a look at Zapier's recommendations for the best AI sales assistants

Take Regie.ai, for example. It can handle campaigns from top to bottom—from automated prospecting to copywriting to sequencing, all the way to web content creation. It even handles inbound emails, while most other AI emailers start and end with outbound.

Other lead management software

Once you've streamlined and integrated your platforms to trim as much of your bloated task list as possible, it's likely that there will still be moments when you find yourself asking, "Can't someone else do it?" The answer is more often than not a resounding "yes"—provided that someone is an app. Here are other lead management apps to consider adding to your tech stack. 

  • Electronic signature apps like DocuSign can provide you with an intuitive dashboard to track and manage your documents, and you can create custom templates to save a ton of manual management.

  • Online form building software like Google Forms allows you to build forms from templates and manage responses as aggregated or individual data. There are even options specifically built for WordPress.   

  • Survey apps like SurveyPlanet allow you to proactively grab data from prospects with feature-rich interfaces. Easily customize your branding, question types, response logic, data exports, and more.   

  • Video hosting sites (including YouTube—but also a lot of other options) can do more for your bottom line than just store your files. Make sure your videos are reaching your leads and generating clicks. 

  • Business card scanner apps like BizConnect let you accurately and easily capture details from your business cards and organize it all in your contacts. 

  • Sales tools like Lemist can take you from zero leads to booked meetings using a suite of prospecting tools, like email enrichment, message sequencing, and reporting. 

Connect your lead management software with automation

All of these lead management tools can make your job even more efficient when you integrate them to create automated workflows that are more reliable, more manageable, and even—dare we say it—more enjoyable.

  • Streamline your lead management by integrating your apps to handle incoming forms and surveys, follow up with event attendees, maintain a responsive virtual presence in prospects' inboxes, stay on top of lead updates, and more. 

  • Track your leads with automation to handle all the complex processes of capturing prospect data from emails, forms, and ad responses and getting it to the right place, whether that's a spreadsheet, your CRM or email marketing app, your ad tools, or anywhere in between.

  • Try Zapier Tables and Interfaces to collect, store, and manage your data, all in one place. Then you can use any of the automations we already mentioned to connect that data to thousands of other apps. It's an easy way to build a simple lead management system—and there are plenty of templates to get you started.

Lead management software and tools are at their best when they're all working together—so connect them, and then let them do their thing.

Zapier is the leader in workflow automation—integrating with 6,000+ apps from partners like Google, Salesforce, and Microsoft. Use interfaces, data tables, and logic to build secure, automated systems for your business-critical workflows across your organization's technology stack. Learn more.

Related reading:

This article was originally published in February 2023. The most recent update, with contributions from Jessica Lau, was in February 2024. 

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A Zap with the trigger 'When I get a new lead from Facebook,' and the action 'Notify my team in Slack'