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Clay vs Apollo.io: Which Sales Intelligence Platform Should You Use? [2024]

Clay is perfect for discovering qualified prospects, finding their valid contact details, and scaling their outreach efforts. While Apollo finds qualified leads and enables you to engage with them at scale. Read more to find the best sales tools that fit your needs.

Clay vs Apollo.io: Which Sales Intelligence Platform Should You Use? [2024]

If you’re looking for a sales intelligence and engagement platform, Clay and Apollo are two ideal options you should consider. Both tools streamline your sales processes and ensure you get the most out of your sales efforts.

But which one should you choose? 

The answer solely depends on your needs. As such, you should compare both options to determine which works best for you. 

This is why you have this article. Here, we compare Clay and Apollo to enhance your decision-making process. Let’s get started.

What is Clay? 

Clay is a sales intelligence platform that scales personalized outreach with a robust data enrichment service. It grants you access to over 50 data sources to ensure extensive data coverage of your prospects. 

In other words, sales teams can get accurate contact information about their prospects and build their lead list. The sales intelligence platform also doubles as a sales engagement platform with its AI email builder. 

You can send personalized emails at scale and automate your outbound process to optimize your outreach campaign. Clay integrates with other software to streamline all sales processes and boost sales efforts.

What is Apollo.io?

Apollo.io is an all-in-one sales platform that enhances your prospecting efforts and scales the engagement process to drive more revenue for your business. It is a sales intelligence platform where you can get accurate data from over 275m contacts to find and convert ideal buyers.

Apollo also serves as a sales engagement platform that automates and personalizes your outbound campaign to build relationships with your prospects. Its wide array of features helps teams streamline their sales processes, increase efficiency, and crush their sales targets. 

A Quick Look at Clay vs. Apollo.io

Here is the summary: Both sales tools can find qualified prospects to boost your lead generation efforts. However, there are slight differences in their features. 

Apollo is a perfect option if you want a sales tool that finds qualified leads and enables you to engage with them at scale. The only downside is the validity of the contact details. 

Meanwhile, Clay is the best option for discovering qualified prospects and their valid contact details. It works with an email verifier to ensure you reach actual people and prevent your outreach efforts from going down the drain. Read on for more details about both sales tools. 

Clay vs. Apollo.io: Core Features 

Sales Prospecting

Every sales prospecting process starts with building a lead list. Your lead list is a collection of your prospect’s contact information — the people you want to target with your cold email outreach. Clay and Apollo.io have unique features that allow you to build a lead list. 

Clay

Reinforced with AI, the sales tool, Clay easily extracts relevant information from various data sources. Its list-building feature grants you access to over 10 data sources to build your lead lists.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re searching for people (including decision-makers), companies, or local businesses, Clay integrates with various software to ensure an easy prospecting effort. 

Building your lead list with Clay is simple. First, click “Create New” > “Table” in your workspace. You will see different data vendors you can select to discover information about people and companies. These data vendors include: 

  • Companies — LinkedIn, Google Maps, Store Leads, HubSpot, and CSV.
  • People — LinkedIn Standard, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Loxo, HubSpot, Github, Close, and CSV. 
  • Other research — Google search, Webhook, Apollo, Typeform, Phantombuster, Salesforce, DappRadar, Airtable, Apify Actor, RSS Field, and Mixpanel Cohort. 

So, let’s say you want to create a lead list that features the “director of sales or head of sales” of companies in notable cities such as New York and California. All you need to do is to fill the search field with relevant information. 

Input the type of company you’re searching for, the prospect’s experience, job titles, location, bio, certification, language, education, and more. This provides precise and detailed information for your prospecting needs. 

Click “Preview People'' to generate the results within a few seconds. Once the result is ready, you will have a comprehensive lead list that shows your prospect’s name, company’s name, job title, location, and LinkedIn URL. This information acts as a bedrock for your sales campaign.

Apollo.io

Apollo takes list-building to a whole new level with its “Search” feature. Unlike Clay which sources various data vendors, this sales intelligence tool generates your lead list from a single database. It discovers people and companies within a few seconds, saving you time and boosting your lead generation efforts. 

On your Apollo account, click the “Search” icon on the top left side of your screen. 

Then, input relevant details such as email status, job title, company, location, industry, buying intent, employees, and more. Once you’re done, click “Save Search” to generate your lead list. 

For this example, we created a lead list featuring “project managers” or “managers of operations” for software companies in Seattle, Los Angeles, and Boston. Here is the pictorial example of the lead list. 

Waterfall or Data Enrichment

A waterfall or data enrichment tool finds your prospect's contact information — valid email addresses and phone numbers. Unlike traditional data sources that rely on a single database, waterfall enrichment tools sequentially search multiple data providers until they find your prospect’s contact details — a valid email address or phone number. 

Let’s say you’re looking for your lead’s email address or phone number. A data enrichment tool searches a vendor’s database for this detail. If they don’t find it, they ask the next vendor. The process continues till they find a vendor with the contact information. 

On the other hand, data enrichment involves enhancing existing data with relevant additional details from internal or external sources. This process transforms raw data into a comprehensive asset that contributes to having deeper insights and making informed decisions. 

The key difference between waterfall and data enrichment is the source. While waterfall enrichment tool obtains its additional details from external sources (multiple data providers), data enrichment tool only use its database to enrich your lead list. Clay and Apollo have one of these features. 

Clay — Waterfall Enrichment Tool

Clay is a great example of a software with waterfall or data enrichment features. It analyzes over 50 data sources (Prospeo, Debounce, DropContace, and more) to find your prospect’s valid email address or phone number.

To begin the contact enrichment process, you must have a lead list. Select the lead list and click “Add Enrichment.” Scroll down to the person’s data (email or phone number) that you want to find. 

Let’s say you want to find your prospect’s email address. Scroll down to “Work Email” as seen in the image below.

Clay will provide you with a list of data vendors it will analyze to provide your prospect’s work email address. The image below shows various data vendors such as Prospeo, DropContact, Datagma, Findymail, Hunter, Nimbler, Icypeas, People Data Labs, and more. 

Click on “Work Email” to begin the contact enrichment process. Then, wait for a few seconds for Clay to generate results. 

Once it’s done with the enrichment process, you will have enriched data that features your prospect’s email or phone number. This enables you to reach more leads and optimize your sales cycle. 

Apollo — Data Enrichment Tool

The data enrichment process with Apollo is more robust. Unlike Clay, its data enrichment doesn’t come with its free plan. You need to upgrade to the basic plan to access this feature. Plus, it doesn’t enriches your lead list using multiple data vendors. Instead, it uses its database which may not provide enough contact information about your prospects. 

That said, the data enrichment process starts when you click the “Enrichment” icon on the right side of the screen, just below the “Search” icon. Perform all necessary requirements such as importing your data, mapping fields, adding personas, and creating account segments. 

Once you’re done, Apollo will display a dashboard that features your overall data health center, CRM, CSV, job alert changes, and more. You can enrich your lead list after integrating with CRMs (HubSpot and Salesforce) or using a CSV file.

In this example, we enriched a lead list using a CSV file. Click “Select CSV” and choose whether you want to enrich people or companies. 

After you have selected a CSV file from your lead list, map many fields such as your lead’s full name, company name, LinkedIn profile, and more. Then, click “Next” to continue.

Apollo will display two enrichment options for you — email enrichment and mobile number enrichment. You can use one or both of these options for the tool to provide your leads’ email addresses or phone numbers. Click “Confirm” once you’re done.

The data enrichment tool will process and provide the enriched CSV in your email. Click “Done” to view a report or download the enriched CSV from the data enrichment dashboard.

Sales Engagement

Your sales campaign isn’t complete without engaging your audience. This is why you need a sales engagement software to boost your outreach efforts. A sales engagement platform features a built-in communication tool for emailing, calling, or interacting socially with a potential customer. 

The tool makes it easy for sales teams to do all their prospecting in one place and complete tasks. Clay and Apollo both have sales engagement features that make it easy to reach your prospects with a few clicks. 

Clay

Clay’s sales engagement feature is useful for sales and marketing teams that intend to engage in cold email outreach. To use this feature, you must first integrate with any email outreach tool such as Smartlead on Clay.

Then, select a lead list from Clay’s workspace. On the top left side of your screen, click on “Start Email Campaign” >> “Create Smartlead Campaign.” 

Then, fill in the necessary details with the appropriate column and click “OK” to automate your emailing process. 

Your sales engagement process is now live with Clay.

Apollo

In contrast to Clay, Apollo’s sales engagement feature is a bit more robust. It requires a series of steps for it to work. 

To get started, click “Engage” > “Sequence.” Click “New Sequence.

Next, click how you want to create your sequence. Choose whether you want an AI-assisted sequence, a pre-formatted style, clone an existing sequence, or create a new sequence from scratch. 

Upon choosing the AI-assisted option, the sales tool will generate a cold email template within seconds. You can choose to edit the template or not. After that, click “Save Sequence.

Now that your AI-generated messages are ready, the next step is to add contacts to reach your prospects. You can add contacts through three methods — using the Apollo search tool, uploading a CSV file, and selecting contacts from a list.

Once you have added your contacts, ensure to activate your sequence on the top right corner of your screen. You should activate the toggle on the left side of your screen. 

Your sequence is now live. You can begin your outreach process to boost your sales efforts. 

Integrations

Both sales tools integrate with other software to streamline your outbound process. However, its number of integrations differs. 

Clay

Clay has a vast library of integrations, partnering with over 50 tools to enhance your sales process. These tools include Salesforce, Coda, Loxo, Smartlead, HubSpot, Pipedrive, Apollo, Debounce, and more. 

Apollo

Apollo offers limited integrations for its users. It partners with 18 software including Cenus, Adobe Marketo Engage, HubSpot, Koncert, Nooks, Outreach, Salesforce, and more. 

Clay vs. Apollo.io on Reddit

We researched on Reddit to see what Redditors feel about Clay vs Apollo.io, and here’s what the community has to say about the two sales tools.

“Clay integrates with lots of tools and can enrich data from many different data sources. It also supports automation and allows you to create personalized emails based on the info you have.”

“Apollo.io is an easy-to-use sales platform for finding and exporting contacts. It also allows cold email sequences and enables you to A/B test these sequences. ”

If you intend to find qualified prospects and engage them, Apollo.io will do. However, if you want to find your potential customers and their contact details, integrate with tons of software, and automate your sales processes, Clay is a perfect option. 

How Much Does Clay Cost?

Clay uses the credit system and offers a free plan with 100 monthly credits. The free plan gives you access to 50+ data providers and up to 100 searches per company or person. Paid subscription starts at $149 per month for the starter plan. 

For $349 per month, the Explorer plan grants you 10,000 credits. Then, you have the Pro plan for $800 per month. The final plan, Enterprise, requires custom pricing. 

How Much Does Apollo.io Cost?

Apollo also offers a free monthly plan with unlimited email credits. The free plan provides you with a wide array of features ranging from basic sequences to basic filters, buying intent, and more. Its Basic plan starts at $49 per user, per month and offers data enrichment, and A/B testing, among other features. 

The Professional plan starts at $79 per user, per month and offers unlimited sequences, advanced reports, and other features. Finally, you have the Organization plan for $119 per month which offers customizable reports, advanced security configurations, and more.

Partner with ColdIQ and Start Generating Sales-Ready Leads Today

Both Clay and Apollo are excellent sales intelligence platforms for finding qualified leads that fuel your sales pipeline. But you lose out on most sales opportunities if you don’t know how to optimize these tools effectively.

That’s why you should hire ColdIQ for your sales prospecting needs. Our agency does quality work with both sales tools to flood your business with vast sales opportunities. We do the market research, identify the leads, and bring the qualified ones for you to close deals. Book a strategy with us today!

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