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The Difference between SaaS (Software) and PaaS (People) for your Research Needs

What is SaaS for Lead Research? 

SaaS or Software as a Service when used for research is a tool that can give you leads and contacts real-time based on filters. Depending on the access levels and subscription plan, you can easily select and download leads of your choice that fit your Ideal Customer Profile. 


Apollo.io is a customer engagement platform that helps businesses find prospects, verify emails, manage lead scoring, and establish communication via email or phone.*

Apollo is cost and overall user-friendly for first-time users. If you have experience using Sales Navigator, it would not take long for you to figure out how to use Apollo. Leads are easy to find and you can search for advanced SEO descriptions that can help filter your ideal leads and accounts. Apollo’s capability in being able to do outreach is what makes them stand out based on reviews


ZoomInfo powered by DiscoverOrg is a cloud-based lead generation platform for B2B organizations. It uses buyer intent data to inform sales and marketing teams.


ZoomInfo does not disclose their pricing online, some sources, like UpLead, mention that the basic plan starts at $10,000 annually. ZoomInfo’s best edge would most likely be their capabilities of producing Intent Data. Intent Data is a powerful way of identifying companies that are in the market to buy a product with the use of intent signals. There are mixed reviews though many of which are positive which can be found here


UpLead is a lead generation software designed to help businesses of all sizes manage account-based marketing, real-time email verification, targeted sales generation, and opportunity engagement.


UpLead is somewhat similar to Apollo, the cost is inexpensive, and using UpLead is Select filters to identify ideal prospects and build a list that is suitable for outreach. UpLead has received good feedback for good customer service and ease of use overall. Reviews on UpLead can be found here

Advantages of using SaaS for Research

  1. Cost and Budget Friendly. Depending on your choice, the cost of leads that come from a software can be cheaper compared to leads produced by agencies.
  2. Timeliness. When doing research using a software source, leads are obtained real-time as opposed to waiting to receive an accomplished list from agencies. 
  3. Scale and Quantity. Using a software solution can help find contacts of higher quantity in a shorter period of time. The more leads found, the lower the Cost Per Lead can go. 

Disadvantages of using SaaS for Research

  1. Data Quality. There is no certainty how often leads that sit in a database are updated. So it is important to check the accuracy of data before engaging with the leads pulled from a database. Some of the information may be inaccurate or no longer be valid. E.g. Wrong email format or Decision-Makers changing positions or companies. 
  2. Data Availability. Depending on who and what you need to find, careful evaluation and study is required if the data you need is available with the software solution of your choice. Some software database providers may not have data available in certain locations around the globe. 
  3. Use Case. If the data you need to find is based on specific account or prospect traits like “US E-Commerce Stores selling into the United Kingdom” or “CFOs who’ve attended events in the past year” it requires more than a software to figure which account or leads fit requirements alike. 

What is PaaS for Lead Research? 

PaaS also known as People as a Service functions under a completely different model. Whilst the product may be somewhat the same, the way leads are generated is completely different. 

Think of it like software providers for research being apples and people as a service provider being oranges. They’re both fruits, they provide nutrients, but they are different. Depending on which suits your preference and needs, that’s what you go with. 

People as a Service providers normally do not store leads and resell them. It goes on the very basic principle of why companies under this model exist. Instead of storing and reselling leads, they provide resources who find the contacts on your behalf and function to be an extension of your team. 

Advantages of Hiring a PaaS Research Provider: 

  1. Data Quality. Human-Curated research requires careful verification if the Account and Contact match the ICP. Eliminating any external threat compromising data quality. 
  2. Data Availability. Research by hiring PaaS providers allows you to find contacts that aren’t easy to find in softwares because all public sources like search engines, social media, and company directories are used to find the relevant accounts and contacts that fit the ICP. 
  3. Use Case. Account and Contacts that may initially fit the filter by using a software do not necessarily fit the ICP, by hiring agencies that function in the PaaS model, the Account and Lead Scoring are done for you, saving valuable time from an SDR or Sales Person having to verify the relevance and fitness of an Account or Contact to the ICP. 

Here are some companies that provide People as a Service Research. 


TaskDrive supports sales and marketing teams by providing personalized lead research, data enrichment and account-based insights.*



TaskDrive team of lead researchers carefully identifies the leads to research by identifying the ICP.


Leadium, just like TaskDrive, provides Lead Research services, Leadium also analyzes the Ideal Customer Profile and produces the best leads possible that match the ICP. 

More information about Leadium can be found here.



CIENCE provides Lead Research services, and just like TaskDrive and Leadium, they provide Lead Research services also known as human-curated research so you have a ready-to-use list for your outreach. 

More information about CIENCE can be found here.


This article was written in a sense that would allow the readers to make the best decision on what model to best go with. 

While it may look like SaaS and PaaS providers may be competitors, they can support each other in some ways: 

  1. Direct Phone Numbers. This type of data isn’t publicly available and can only be found from a provider. ZoomInfo and UpLead normally provide information for Direct Dials and researchers from PaaS agencies can do live research to identify if the phone number is correct. 
  2. Intent Data. Isn’t easy to come by some SaaS research customers can pull this data from ZoomInfo and have a PaaS agency clean up and verify if the contacts are relevant and still connected with the company. 
  3. Account-Based / Person-Based Insights. When leads are pulled from SaaS providers and databases, it often contains general information about accounts and leads but not activities or recent insights that SDRs may use to leverage a personalized email. PaaS providers can find this additional information for you. 

So which model should you go with? It depends on what you need! If the data quality from SaaS providers is good and you find all the information you need, the SaaS model may work just fine. But if you face any of the disadvantages mentioned in this article by using the SaaS model, then a PaaS model may work better for you. 

Interested in learning more about which option works best? Let us know

General Manager at TaskDrive

Create sales conversations with TaskDrive so that your team can focus on high-value activities.


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