Web Scraping For Lead Generation

Visitors to your website are not always ready to buy, so building a lead database can take time. In a recent report on the state of inbound*, 61% of inbound marketers stated that generating traffic and leads was their  #1 challenge.

Smart marketers are figuring out how to use technology to feed sales teams with relevant targeted lead lists for out-bounding, account-based marketing, and retargeting.

Kick start your lead generation efforts by defining your target customer and where they are on the Internet with data extracted from industry-specific websites, conferences, and events, social media platforms, or business directories.

What is Lead Generation Scraping?

Lead generation scraping is the automated process of gathering lead contact data from one or multiple websites. It’s one of the fastest and most affordable lead generation strategies out there.

Companies typically lead generation tools for web scraping to gather relevant lead data that they can then use to build targeted lists of potential leads and their contact information.

Sellers and marketers can use these lists for cold outreach, ABM campaigns, and contact number and other strategies to generate customers.

To implement web scraping, companies often use web scraping tools or data extraction services that enable them to easily extract specified data points (email address, phone number, etc.,) from relevant websites.

The collected data is then automatically structured, allowing for seamless flow into their CRM, where it can be used for various ends — from generating lists for cold outreach to doing target audience research for targeted advertising campaigns. 

The scraped data varies depending on the goals of the business, but there are some common data points that almost all businesses aim to collect:

  • Email address

  • Phone numbers

  • Street address

  • Business names

  • Job title

Overall, web scraping is one of the fastest and most affordable ways to get bucketloads of lead contact data. If used wisely, it can dramatically improve the efficiency of your sales process. 

Instead of trying to figure out how to get in touch with a decision-maker, a sales rep can simply make the call. With data collecting automated, outreach takes precedence in the days of your team members. 

Web Scraping for Lead Generation Example

Imagine a formerly NY-centric proptech company has developed a new software that appeals to the needs of property managers across the entire country. 

Currently, they have robust data on NYC business leads, but nothing on the big property management companies and decision-makers outside of NYC. 

How are they going to get those email addresses and phone numbers that they need to do their outreach and generate more quality leads??

They have a few options. 

They can buy a pre-made list of business leads. But that route is known for its struggles with data accuracy, which can cause their reps to waste valuable time sending emails into the ether or calling the wrong people.

Another option is to task their sales reps with gathering sales leads data manually and typing it into the CRM. But visiting websites and searching for contact information is a slow and error-prone process, not to mention a pain in the neck.

And it deters them from their marketing efforts and the other work that goes into actually generating qualified leads here.

The third option is to automatically extract data from sites. Let’s say they know of business directories that contain a plethora of lead data about the companies and contacts their sales team want to reach. 

So they decide to invest in a web scraping tool that helps them set up a lead scraper. This software fetches all of this data from the directory in a structured format and automatically inputs it into their CRM. 

Now reps and marketers can quickly generate lists of relevant leads that contain not only lead contact data, but also key information about the company, such as size, revenue, and other details that help them personalize their outreach messages. 

In no time they'll be generating high quality sales leads and winning more prospective customers.

Benefits of Lead Scraping 

The example above hopefully demonstrated some ways in which lead generation through web scraping is generally more effective than other methods for collecting lead data at scale. 

Let’s now dive deeper into the ways that it can streamline your lead generation strategy, improve the health of your sales pipeline, and help you win more sales. 

Increased Sales & Marketing Efficiency 

When you automate lead data collection, no time is wasted manually browsing web pages and copying and pasting decision-maker contact details or company information. 

As a result, your teams can spend more of their time executing their cold outreach and account-based marketing strategies. They can spend more time selling. 

Also, web scraping ensures that you have accurate and up-to-date information on new leads. So a higher percentage of your outbound calls and emails reach their targets. 

And sales reps won't waste time crafting personalized emails that end up bouncing or going to someone who retired years ago. 

Further, when equipped with mobile numbers and direct lines, sales reps won’t have to spend a bunch of time swooning gatekeepers for access to the decision-maker. They can reach them directly. 

These are just a few of the ways in which lead scraping increases the efficiency of your marketing, production and sales process. 

Better Understanding of Your Target Audience 

Lead scraping helps you do market research. It enables you to collect boatloads of data about your target companies and/or contacts.

You can then analyze this data to gain valuable insights into your target market and the industry trends your potential customers are experiencing. These valuable insights will enable you to take a data-driven approach to lead generation.

For instance, let’s say a tech company collected data about the technology use of several hundred relevant companies. 

After doing some data analysis with the structured data, they might find that a high percentage of their audience uses a specific competing software. 

Now they have a new marketing priority — to create a unique selling proposition (USP) that presents their solution as a better option than this competing product. 

Once crafted, they can include that USP in their drip email campaigns, Google ads, and other automated forms of outreach. Paired with a DMARC policy this will lead to higher open rates, more clicks, and a higher number of qualified leads generated.

To learn more about using data to guide strategy, check out our article on data-driven decision making in business.  

More Personalized Outreach

In addition to email addresses and other types of contact data, scraping leads can also be used to collect firmographic information such as company size, annual revenue, or recent news involving this company. 

Pieces of intel like this can help your team personalize their cold outreach. For example, if they know that a target company recently opened a new office, they can write a cold email outreach that positions their solution as a salve to growing pains. 

In short, lead scraping automates lead research. This way, sellers begin with the intel they need to craft highly relevant and personalized emails, cold call openings, and ABM campaigns. 

Happier Sales Team

There’s no denying that company and lead research is one of the most grueling parts of working in sales, especially when reps know they could be spending that time on the phone working their magic on potential buyers. 

It makes sense that automating this research process with lead scraper will create a happier sales team. They get to spend more time doing fulfilling work. 

In addition to boosting talent retention, you’ll also see increases in output. After all, research suggests that increases in worker happiness lead to significant increases in workplace productivity. 

The Lead Scraping Process

There are four steps to the scraping process: defining your data needs, identifying sources, choosing your method of data extraction, and cleaning and structuring the gathered data. Below we’ll go over each step in a bit more detail. 

1. Define Your Data Needs

Before any web scraping project, take some time to decide which data points you want to collect. 

Perhaps that’s something highly specific — the email addresses of people with a specific job title in a particular industry, or the phone numbers of local businesses, for example. 

Or maybe your search is wider. Perhaps you want all the contact and firmographic data you can find on financial services companies and their decision-makers in the state of California. 

Regardless of the scope of your project, it’s crucial that you define your search so that you collect the data that will help you reach your lead generation goals and eventually reach your potential customers.

2. Identify Your Data Sources

Now that you know what information you want to gather, it’s time to figure out where to get it. 

Common data sources for lead generation scraping are online directories, online business listings, social media platform, or other websites. 

When judging your data sources, keep the following factors in mind:

  • Data Structure: The more complex the data structure of the site’s content, the more advanced data parsing techniques you’ll need to extract it. 

  • Data Quality: Make sure that the source has accurate, up to date, quality data about your potential buyers to make sure you get high quality leads. It should also contain relevant information that meets the data needs you defined in Step 1.

  • Legal Compliance: Check the source’s terms of service to ensure that they don’t prohibit web scraping on their site. 

  • Data Accessibility: Some sites have anti-scraping technologies that make it harder to scrape data. A web scraping API may be necessary if you want to scrape these sites efficiently. Some sites on the other hand make it easy to scrape leads.

3. Choose Your Method to Generate Leads

After selecting one or several data sources, you need to choose how you want to go gather data about your potential new customers first.

There are two main methods for scraping lead data at scale: 1) building a lead generation software in-house and 2) outsourcing lead generation process to a third party.  

Building a web scraper on your own is a bit tricky if you don’t have coding experience or a team of developers on deck. You’ll also have to structure and clean the data on your own after collecting it. 

That said, there are web scraping APIs meant to make this easier for the non-techie. These also tend to come with helpful anti-blocking features. 

Still, because many local businesses are too busy, they find that outsourcing the lead scraping to a third-party data extraction service is the better choice for them.

In this approach, the web scraper service will ask you about your data needs and then handle the various steps of the data collection process for you, including step 4. 

When they’re done, you’ll receive relevant data on high quality leads, all in a structured and usable format. 

Can't decide which route is best for you? Read our breakdown of the in-house vs outsourcing decision.

Challenges of Lead Scraping

While following the above process, you may run into the following challenges: 

  • Data Quality Issues: It’s critical that you ensure the data you’re collecting is accurate and fresh. Bad lead data can lead to fruitless outreach as well as the creation of lead long-term generation strategies based on incorrect information. 

  • Legal Compliance: Check whether the data you’ve chosen to scrape is governed by regulations. If so, it’s critical to ensure you comply with those regulations. 

  • Scraper Bans: Some websites use anti-scraping technologies that can block your automated lead scraping attempts. There are plenty of technical solutions to this, such as proxy rotation, as well as web scraping tools designed to help you avoid these bans. 

You’re not alone in navigating around these challenges. There are web scraping services out there built to help you get the data you need without worrying about these hurdles. 

For example, Zyte offers a data extraction service that handles the various steps of the lead scraping process, from finding and extracting the lead data to structuring and cleaning it. 

A service like this will help you focus on using data to generate business leads, rather than on scraping data yourself. As a result, you'll find more quality leads in your pipeline, a greater percentage of them turning into new customers.

Learn more about web scraping for lead generation

Here at Zyte , we have been in the web scraping industry for 12 years. We have helped extract web data for more than 1,000 clients ranging from Government agencies and Fortune 100 companies to early-stage startups and individuals. During this time we gained a tremendous amount of experience and expertise in web data extraction

Here are some of our best resources if you want to deepen your web scraping knowledge: