Insights

8 Qualified Competitors & Alternatives For SMBs (2023)

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January 17, 2024

Insights

8 Qualified Competitors & Alternatives For SMBs (2023)

Explore top competitors & alternatives to Qualified for account-based marketing and chatbot-led lead generation.

Posted on

November 10, 2023

Alan Zhao

Head of Marketing

8 Qualified Competitors & Alternatives For SMBs (2023)

Qualified is somewhat of an industry standard when it comes to account-based marketing and chatbot-led lead gen.

They offer solid conversational chat, decent B2B buyer intent data, and fantastic customer service.

But here’s the thing:

Qualified is built for enterprise, not SMBs.

At a minimum, it will cost you $42k a year, plus the costs of running a sales team large enough to take the heavily human-led approach that Qualified promotes.

Plus, you pretty much have to be using Salesforce.

For large enterprises running a Salesforce + Marketo + 6sense tech stack, Qualified makes a lot of sense.

But for anyone not working in Salesforce (yes, other CRMs exist) or with a more modest budget, there are many other suitable options.

In this article, we’ll explore 8 more realistic Qualified competitors & alternatives.

  1. Drift - Best For Enterprise
  2. Intercom - Best For Customer Support
  3. HubSpot Chat - Best For Basic Chat
  4. 6sense - Best For Conversational Email
  5. ZoomInfo Chat - Best For An All-In-One Platform
  6. Demandbase - Best For ABM Execution
  7. Clearbit - Best For Developer-Focused GTM Teams
  8. Warmly - Best For Account-Based Orchestration
  9. Why Consider An Alternative To Qualified?

8 Qualified Competitors & Alternatives

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1. Drift - Best For Enterprise

Drift is kind of the industry standard when it comes to automated chatbots.

It sits at the other end of the human-automation spectrum to Qualified, designed for high-volume lead funneling.

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Why Consider Drift As An Alternative To Qualified?

Drift is basically built for large enterprises with millions of visitors to their sites each month, something which would require a huge salesforce to cover with Qualified’s motion.

They’ve also started leaning into AI-powered chatbots, though there are other more advanced tools in this space.

One key feature that Drift has over Qualified is video. A sales rep can send an embedded video in an email (like a Vidyard). This kicks off a cool little playbook:

  • Prospect clicks the video
  • Directed to a landing page to watch the video
  • Drift notifies the rep that the prospect is watching the video right now
  • Sales rep can reach out to start a live conversation with the rep while they’re engaged

Where Drift Falls Short

Drift kind of missed the boat on a deep integration with a CRM.

They’ve caught on now (they have native integrations with Salesforce, HubSpot, and a couple of others), but they decided earlier to be an independent platform that you do everything out of.

This means you didn’t have the tie-in to CRM deals and opportunities that Qualified offers.

So, it's not really a perfect alternative if you’re just looking for a non-Salesforce version of Qualified.

Drift Pricing

Drift is cheaper than Qualified, but still fairly expensive.

You’ll pay at least $30k annually for their standard plan and $90k upward for their more advanced packages.

So, Drift is still serving the same market as Qualified (and thus not ideal for SMBs).

2. Intercom - Best For Customer Support

Intercom is a household name in chat, though it comes at it from a support angle rather than a sales one.


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Why Consider Intercom As An Alternative To Qualified?

Intercom is an industry standard for customer support.

It’s a people-driven chat tool, but they have started integrating more automated, AI-driven flows to respond to market demands.

This is great news for small businesses that might not have the budget for a dedicated support team but still want to provide at least some level of customer service, as Intercom’s AI chat tool is more cost-effective (and claims to resolve 50% of support requests instantly).

Where Intercom Falls Short

Intercom isn’t focused on the sales use case.

It is a passive rather than proactive chat tool (Qualified, Drift, and Warmly all take a proactive approach), and so it doesn’t respond to buying intent signals, like these solutions do.

Intercom Pricing

Intercom’s Starter plan begins at $888 per year. This includes their AI chatbot, but with limited functionality. You’ll have to upgrade to the Pro plan (custom pricing) to create custom answers.

3. HubSpot Chat - Best For Basic Chat

HubSpot Chat is a good out-of-the-box chat tool that requires minimal setup.


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Why Consider HubSpot Chat As An Alternative To Qualified?

Okay, we gotta be real here.

HubSpot Chat isn’t super sophisticated. Out of all the Qualified alternatives, it's the weakest tool as an outbound chat for sales teams.

The big win, however, is that it's free. So, it can work as a starting point for small organizations with no budget.

Where HubSpot Chat Falls Short

The list is pretty long here, but to keep things as simple as possible, HubSpot Chat lacks intent data, company reveal capabilities, sales orchestration, and reporting. However, this might change with their recent acquisition of Clearbit.

Alternatives like Warmly and Drift provide these functions, but HubSpot Chat isn’t designed as an ABM tool so much as a human-led live chat solution.

HubSpot Chat Pricing

HubSpot Chat is one of many free tools from HubSpot.

Being a freemium tool, though, functionality is limited. You’ll need to subscribe to a paid plan to go deeper (in which case, you’re probably better off going with one of the other alternatives listed here.

4. 6sense - Best For Enterprise Account-Based Marketing

6sense is one of the most well-known platforms in the account-based marketing space and is also core Qualified partner.


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Why Consider 6sense As An Alternative To Qualified?

6sense is a hugely comprehensive platform.

In 2023, it was named a leader in the Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Account-Based Marketing Platforms for the third year running, joined only by Demandbase.

Specifically, Gartner called out 6sense’s customer satisfaction, sales alerts and insights, and marketing strategy.

For those with an enterprise plan, 6sense also offers AI-driven recommended actions, helping sales reps focus on the highest-value activities.

Another cool feature is their conversational email.

It basically sends and responds to emails on your behalf using natural language. Obviously, this is a little scary, especially for enterprises, so it's generally reserved for low-stakes emails, but it's a cool way to clear a lot of tedious work off your plate.

Where 6sense Falls Short

For SMBs, the biggest challenge with 6sense, like many other competitors, is its pricing model.

Sure, it's great that you can pick and choose different modules and features to customize your plan (and pricing), but certain tiers need to be bought before others can activate.

For instance, to get the conversational email function we discussed above, you’ve got to buy the ABM platform, Predictive Analytics, and Orchestration tiers.

To get to a point where you have full end-to-end orchestration of a workflow, you’re spending ~120k.

Additionally, much of this is experimental and only works on Salesforce.

A few other drawbacks, as mentioned by Gartner, include:

  • Lack of attribution modeling
  • UX complaints
  • Some reports regarding ICP traffic (like ICP traffic converted to a meeting) are missing

6sense Pricing

6sense customizes pricing to your company’s specific needs. However, it's not cheap. You’re looking at about the same price range as Qualified or Drift.

5. ZoomInfo - Best For An All-In-One Platform

ZoomInfo is a suite of GTM software platforms. They have tools for marketing, operations, sales, and hiring, as well as a decent chatbot with solid “if/then” workflows.


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Why Consider ZoomInfo As An Alternative To Qualified?

ZoomInfo is well-known as a best-in-class solution for contact and company data.

That’s really the core of their product offering. Everything else is built up around that.

For example, their SalesOS platform has prospect insights and buying intent signals, conversation intelligence (think Gong), data enrichment, and engagement tools like chat workflows and email automation.

They also have their own demand-side platform, so you can sync your audience so you can advertise to them.

The big benefit, then, is that when you want to add another GTM-related offering to your contract, you don’t need to stitch together another vendor. You just buy from the same supplier, reaping the benefit of native integrations.

Where ZoomInfo Falls Short

ZoomInfo does a lot of things well.

Where they fall short, though, is that in trying to do a lot of things well, they’ve started to lose ground on being the expert at any one thing.

ZoomInfo built its name on having the best contact data out there. But contact data has been commoditized and, in general, is an ongoing depreciating asset.

Realizing this, ZoomInfo has taken a “acquire and cross-sell” approach to expand revenue and keep growing ACV. They bought Insent.Ai for their chatbot tool, Comparably to expand their Talent asset, and Clickagy to improve intent signaling.

Diversifying into other offerings means less focus on their core competency, and so other vendors (like Apollo.io and Seamless.ai) have been gaining ground on contact data.

Their chat is also less powerful than alternatives like Qualified and lacks full CRM integrations. Again, this is a consequence of tackling too many surface areas at once, and acquiring tools rather than building them natively.

ZoomInfo Pricing

ZoomInfo is one of those “you gotta talk to us first” companies. We don’t have any pricing available, but we’ve heard that they’re also a pretty expensive solution, depending on the modules you opt to include.

6. Demandbase - Best For ABM Execution

Demandbase is another solid ABM tool and the only other platform named as a leader in Gartner’s 2023 Magic Quadrant.


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Why Consider Demandbase As An Alternative To Qualified?

Demandbase is, for all intents and purposes, a #2 version of 6sense.

It's been around for a bit longer (so it kind of has a legacy interface) and was a proponent of ABM for years before other brands jumped on the idea.

It does most of the same stuff as 6sense, with slightly better segmentation and reporting, though Gartner scores it slightly lower on both its Completeness of Vision and Ability to Execute scales. 

They also have a cool Buying Group AI feature in beta, which purports to “define, track, and engage members of a buying team within an account, outcome-driven ad campaigns to achieve marketing objectives, and prescriptive sales dashboards with recommendations for sellers.”

This is something many vendors have hand-waved at, but never quite nailed.

Where Demandbase Falls Short

Demandbase, like ZoomInfo and 6sense, has an “a la carte” model, and there’s plenty to choose from.

Unfortunately, “a la carte” generally translates to “expensive,” so this is another out-of-range tool for SMBs.

Demandbase Pricing

Demandbase creates pricing on a company-by-company basis, which is pretty much the standard for software solutions in this category.

7. Clearbit - Best For Developer-Focused GTM Teams

Clearbit is somewhat of a different beast from the rest, but still worthy of mentioning as a Qualified competitor thanks to its visitor identification and prospecting functionality.

More importantly, Clearbit was recently acquired by HubSpot, which has the potential to be a huge partnership in this space.

This acquisition combines CRM, data, and workflows, creating a solution that can break down data siloes and integrate seamlessly across systems. It will be one of the first to bring forth the new era of autonomous orchestration.

As Whitney Sorson, CTO of Hubspot, puts it:

"Picture having complete data on over 20 million companies right inside HubSpot. All with over 100 rich data points about the companies and their decision-makers. Then, imagine being able to easily find high-fit prospects natively within your CRM. Finally, imagine that once those companies and contacts are in HubSpot, being alerted when those companies are showing buying intent."

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Why Consider Clearbit As An Alternative To Qualified?

Clearbit is great at deanonymizing site traffic, enriching it with best-in-class B2B data, and then syncing that back to your CRM.

They’ve got strong integrations with both Salesforce and HubSpot, with the latter likely to strengthen, given the recent acquisition.

They also have a powerful tool called Prospector.

This uses AI and their B2B database to find the buying committee for a given account and then sync that back to your CRM to line up orchestration in engagement tools like Outreach and SalesLoft.

Lastly, they offer a robust API for custom connections. So, if you’re a developer-focused GTM team and have people who can stitch together systems to create automation off of data, Clearbit is a winner.

Where Clearbit Falls Short

That last point works both in favor of Clearbit and against it.

If you’re running classic sales-led motions, Clearbit doesn’t come with any out-of-the-box playbooks to execute sales workflows. It’s designed more with the developer in mind.

That might change as the HubSpot acquisition plays out, though it's clear that any workflows will need to take place in their own sales tools.

For now, though, Clearbit is like the building blocks but doesn’t necessarily solve the problems end to end. You need to integrate it into your other tools to make sure the data is being used to fuel the rest of your GTM.

Clearbit Pricing

Clearbit’s plan structure looks pretty simple. You’ve got a free option (obviously limited), a paid option (no pricing information given), and an option to just buy API credits.

8. Warmly - Best For Account-Based Orchestration

Did we save the best for last? Obviously.

Let us introduce you to Warmly, our AI-powered platform for account-based orchestration, purpose-built for SMBs.

With Warmly, you can build an army of AI SDRs, finding that sweet spot between the human touch and AI-led engagement.

Also read: The Rise of Account-Based Orchestration in the Age of AI and Automation.

Why Consider Warmly As An Alternative To Qualified?

Compared to the other alternatives discussed here, Warmly takes a different approach.

We use generative AI to automate and personalize outreach on your rep's behalf.

That outreach is triggered by intent signals from tools in your tech stack (Slack, SalesLoft, Apollo, and so on), and enriched with best-in-class intent data from 6sense, Bombora, Clearbit, and PeopleDataLabs.

We call this account-based orchestration. It is a far more scalable, efficient, and cost-effective alternative to account-based marketing.


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The goal here is scalability and speed to lead.

35-50% of sales go to the company that responds first, but only 7% of companies respond within five minutes of a prospect filling in a form. Half don’t even respond for five days.

Achieving this speed is super difficult (and ridiculously expensive) to do with a human-centric approach. Warmly finds that perfect middle ground between human touch and AI automation.

Our AI platform runs your entire workflow—from intent being triggered to outreach being fired—until it's the right time for a rep to get involved.


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From the customer’s perspective, it looks like they were speaking with a human the whole time so that transition is seamless.

With this approach, you can build and scale up an AI SDR army on an SMB budget, creating full-cycle automated orchestration with human intervention at the right point based on real-time purchase intent data.

Learn more: Warmly: The Account Based Orchestration Platform.

Why Warmly Might Not Be A Good Fit For You

We, like all of the platforms discussed here, aren’t a perfect fit for everyone.

Warmly is designed specifically for the SMB and lower middle market.

So, we’re a great alternative for smaller organizations who find Qualified’s enterprise-facing feature set to be overkill or who simply don’t have the budget for that kind of sales motion.

However, it does mean that our integrations right now aren’t perfectly supporting the middle market or enterprise-level companies.

Warmly Pricing

Warmly offers 3 different plans:

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Our most basic paid plan comes in at $850 a month, or about ¼ of what you’d pay for Qualified.

We also offer a free plan, meaning you can start getting free warm leads without having to speak with a salesperson.

Get started for free here.

Why Consider An Alternative To Qualified?

Qualified is clearly a solid tool.

In fact, there are a few things it does exceptionally well:

  • Reporting - You can see exactly who’s coming to the site, what percentage of traffic fits your ICP, which campaigns are driving conversions, which accounts are hot, and so on.
  • Salesforce integration - Qualified is built by ex-Salesforce people, so they’ve got a pretty strong tie-in. The Qualified-Salesforce integration is about as deep as integrations get, so it's a great choice for larger teams who need everything fed into Salesforce as the source of truth.
  • Amazing customer support - The team at Qualified is hungry to get you leads, and you’ll have a dedicated CSM to guide you through setup, including setting up Salesforce.

It's billed as “pipeline generation software,” which largely rests on their conversational marketing tools (i.e., website chat).

While there is an AI component to the software (you can build automated chatbots), where Qualified differentiates itself from competitors like Drift is in taking a distinctly human-led approach.

The idea is that customers are chatting with real people, which is where the drawbacks begin.

Only Works If You Can Scale Your Sales Team

Qualified’s ethos is human-first. That means that, as a customer, when someone reaches out through website chat, it's a human being on the other end.

This is great from a personalization standpoint, providing better buying experiences (assuming the skill is there on the other end). But it also means you need a dedicated person to “man the chat.”

This is made clear by Qualified’s reporting, which is built around things like chat leaderboards and analysis of traffic hours, so you can set up your team around peak times.

It's a great tool if you can organize humans appropriately, but it is largely out of reach for SMBs and even mid-market businesses that don’t have inbound reps on hand nor the budget to hire them.

Not Built For SMB Budgets

Speaking of budget, Qualified is expensive.

It's one of the most expensive chat-based ABM tools around. You’re looking at $42k a year for their Growth plan and $72k for the Premier plan, and those are just the “starting at” points.

Then, you’ve got things like implementation and integrations with your tech stack (you typically see Qualified paired with Salesforce and 6sense) to build.

All of this means lengthy setup times, and requires an established revenue organization to set up all the reports and workflows, plus organize all the reps.

Non-Salesforce Users Are Out Of Luck

Lastly, Qualified only works on Salesforce.

As mentioned, the Salesforce integration is strong. But they don’t integrate with any other CRMs.

So, it's basically a Salesforce-only platform.

An Army of AI SDRs at ¼ The Price of Qualified

It's tough to deny that Qualified is a solid platform.

If you’re deeply embedded in the Salesforce architecture and have the manpower to run a human-led motion, Qualified makes a lot of sense.

That’s a pretty niche situation, though.

For small and medium-sized businesses, lean sales teams, or any company working in any CRM that isn’t Salesforce, Qualified’s value prop becomes questionable, especially considering how expensive it is.

With Warmly, you can begin receiving hard ROI in 20 minutes with just two steps

  1. Add a code snippet to the site
  2. One-click authenticate your existing systems (Hubspot, Outreach, Apollo, Slack, LinkedIn, etc.)

You’ll immediately start improving conversion rates by revealing who is on your site, enriching that with best-in-class data, syncing that data back to your CRM, and routing hot accounts to the right rep.

Plus, with plans starting from just $850 a month (billed annually), you’ll reduce your Qualified bill by ~75%.

Discover how Kandji booked 2 qualified meetings just 8 minutes after going live with Warmly.