What is Data Extraction? Definition, tools and use cases

Understand how data extraction works and why it is indispensable in today's business landscape. Discover the best tool, techniques and use cases!

What is Data Extraction? Definition, tools and use cases
Guillaume Odier

Guillaume Odier



Do you ever feel like you spend entirely too much time gathering data? Well, you're not alone. A lot of people struggle with collecting and organizing information.

Luckily, there is a process that can help make this task a little bit easier: data extraction.

What is data extraction, and how can it help your sales process? Keep reading to find out! 👇

What is Data Extraction?

In short, data extraction is the process of extracting information from sources like websites, databases, and files. This can be done manually (and quite slowly) or entirely automated  - with the use of the right tool.

Extraction is the first step in the ETL process (which stands for extract, transform, and load), which is also known as the "data ingestion" process, that prepares information for business intelligence or analysis.

In practice, here is how it looks like:

  • Extract - scrape companies, names, and emails from public sources.
  • Transform - filter your list, delete irrelevant entries and format it properly for the outreach tool. 
  • Load - upload your list into your cold email outreach tool and send it out.

How Can Data Extraction Help You?

In present days, companies that do not have a data-driven vision will lose most of their business to the ones that do.

Data extraction can bring valuable insights into various aspects of your business, including customer behavior, market trends or sales performance.

It can also be used to identify opportunities for growth, as well as help you optimize your marketing efforts and improve lead conversions with targeted communications.

The main problem is that manual lead generation remains a time-consuming,  unreliable and therefore costly process.

However, automating your lead generation is becoming easier with the latest technology! Once automated, data extraction becomes your most efficient method of building a customer database without having to do all the tedious legwork.

5 ways data extraction can add value to your business right away 

While data extraction has many uses, these five are the ones with the most impact on your bottom line:

Lead Generation

Your company needs to generate fresh leads at all times.

With a quick setup, you can gather the names, emails, and positions of your prospects, and build your own lead database. 

Database Enrichment

Do you have a database of prospects, and you want to get more information about them?

With data extraction, you can easily add more fields to your records and enrich your lists: company LinkedIn profile, number of employees, their contact details, etc.

Feedback Analysis

Are people chatting about your company on several platforms? To transform this feedback into actionable steps, you must first gather it all in one place.

With the extracted data, you can easily monitor all the platforms where people might mention your company and gather this valuable feedback.

Improve data quality

By focusing on the most relevant data sources and reducing the possibility of human error, whether you need to search for relevant contact information or analyze data on consumer preferences and spending habits, data extraction is the way to go.

Enhance your ROI

Most importantly, data extraction has a huge impact on your ROI!

Any business has a funnel. To get more and more clients at the bottom of the funnel, you have to "feed" it with a constant stream of new leads at the top.

How Do You Extract Data?

So now we know the benefits that data extraction can bring to your company, but how do you actually do it? 🤔

The answer is: data scraping.

In data scraping, an agent or bot is sent to a website or any other online resource to collect data. The agent then parses through the HTML code to find the relevant information and store it in a database.

To do it yourself, you would need to:

  • Create the agent
  • Host it somewhere
  • Structure the received data

Obviously, doing all this is not your priority. You should be focusing on growing your business and serving your customers to the best of your ability instead of creating a scraping tool.

That’s where tools like Captain Data come into play.

Without having to know how to code, you can easily extract data from any source on the web, enrich it with 3rd party providers and integrate it with your favorite data management tools.

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What are the Types of Data Extraction Tools?

There are many different types of data extraction tools.

Some are command-line-based and require users to have a sound knowledge of how programming works.

Others simply require a user to copy and paste HTML into the tool, with little to no knowledge of how all the pieces work together.

 <div class="cms-tips"><div>💡</div><p>Feel free to check them out for yourself, as we prepared an in-depth review of data extraction tools that are now on the market.</p></div>

Challenges of Data Extraction

Data extraction offers many opportunities, but also some limitations.

Maintenance if done manually

If you choose to update your database manually, you will have to deal with a significant amount of work regarding maintenance and data cleanliness.

Platform Limitations

When it comes to potential prospects, most of the searching is done through Linkedin Sales Navigator (or just plain old LinkedIn).

There is a limit to the number of leads that you can extract.

  • 20 connection requests per day, on a free account;
  • 100 requests per day, on a paid account;
  • 225 requests per day, if you paid for Sales Navigator;

As you scale your extraction campaigns, this can quickly become a serious bottleneck, slowing down your growth. 


Another big bottleneck is manpower. There is a very small amount of data that one person can manually scrape.

Why waste your team's time on data entry tasks? Their capacity would be much more efficiently used reaching out to the leads that the extraction brings you.

Both these obstacles can be solved by an automation tool. Building an extractor in-house would not be feasible.

5 Use Cases for Data Extraction with Captain Data

Now that you know the ins and outs of data extraction, let's have a closer look at how you can leverage it for your company.

Here are five popular use cases where our customers use Captain Data to extract and enrich relevant information.

1 - Data extraction for web scraping

Web scraping is at the root of data extraction. It is the #1 classic method to collect and store information from websites.

Scraped data can be used to:

  • Create databases of relevant, up-to-date data
  • Quickly gain insights into specific companies
  • Better analyze the market and competition
  • Create new products, test, and innovate faster

At Captain Data, we have two ready-to-use automations at your disposal. 

Website scraper

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This automation allows you to extract data from any website in a matter of seconds and a few clicks. Scrape relevant information such as emails and social network URLs from LinkedIn or Twitter.

What you’ll need is a list of website URLs → What you’ll get is a list of Social Media URLs and emails.

It is useful when you want to quickly gain insights into a given company and identify decision-makers and potential business opportunities. One way you can be really efficient with this, is to combine the website scraper with other automations like Extract Linkedin company profile.

When you retrieve the LinkedIn URL, Captain Data will extract the company’s information such as country, industry, company counts, employees…

Bonus: you can take this approach one step further and find all the information about the decision makers from any given company that you want to contact: full name, job title, emails and phone numbers. 

Generic Scraper

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This automation allows you to retrieve more detailed information from any given website. However, you need to be a slightly more experienced scraper. But we’re sure you’ll get there in no time 😉

What you’ll need is a list of website URLs → What you’ll get is extracted data based on the specific information you requested and the parameters you entered. 

  • For example, if you're looking at the Hubspot Solutions Directory and you'd like to extract all the partners, you're not going to do it manually. It'll take forever. Captain Data will extract this for you in a matter of seconds.
  • Another example would be G2 reviews: Suppose you want to extract Hubspot reviews . You can use the selectors to do so, ,but you can always choose to extract something else, like the HubSpot Marketing Hub Comparisons on the right of the page.

This can be done with any listing/directory website.

But you can take this automation to yet another level. How?

Just use it within a workflow: if there's something you want to check daily or weekly, such as a price change, you can create your own custom workflow.

In addition, you can use this to perform an automated market study, which would allow you to analyze and look for key trends in a particular market.

2 - Data extraction for Lead Generation

For lead generation, data extraction can be used to:

  • Generate actionable insights as part of a Sales, or Growth strategy. Salespeople use data to enrich a CRM to get more context on leads and potential opportunities.
  • Build an automated sales pipeline
  • Run Outbound and ABM campaigns (at Captain Data, we feel very strongly about ABM and we believe it is the most efficient way to do outbound)
  • Run an Inbound Strategy
  • When completing a form to download any resources on your website, you can ask your leads to enter full names and emails → you can use data extraction and data enrichment to find more information like phone numbers, company, URLs, or social profiles;
  • Have a powerful SEO strategy (tools like SEMrush or Ubersuggest would not be possible without powerful data extraction);
  • Quickly find out your SEO competitors for a given keyword
  • Find the most relevant keywords for your business and the topics you should be writing about

This is one of our most-used workflows for lead generation: 

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Captain Data has a pre-set workflow that allows you to generate leads from a LinkedIn search. On top of that, you can also use different email finders to find leads' emails. We call this unique Captain Data feature Email Cascade.

The Email Cascade works just like a waterfall: if an email is not found with one email provider, we will try with the second one, then a third one and so on. You can choose the email finder you want, and maximize your chances of finding your contacts' email addresses.

What you’ll need is a LinkedIn People Search URL → What you’ll get is a list of leads with contact, company, and email information

Want to take it even further?

  • Use a simple LinkedIn Sales Navigator Search to segment your leads. In fact, we offer real lead segmentation capabilities by filtering precisely the types of leads that you want or do not want. This allows you to be efficient in your research and more restrictive. 
  • You can then push the results to a Google Sheet, your CRM, or a Lemlist Campaign.

3 - Data extraction for Account-Based Marketing

Do you already have your ideal customer and account profiles? Then it’s time to get those contacts' information

You can leverage data extraction for Account-Based Marketing:

  • To take your lead generation to the next level and extract the highest qualified prospects. If you identified the right companies, all you have to do now is engage the right decision-makers with a hyper-personalized campaign

This is one of our most-used workflows for Account-Based Marketing:

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This workflow allows you to find the employees of given companies that you previously qualified using Boolean filters (you can consult our complete guide to learn more about Boolean Operators and Google Xray Search) and enrich them to find their email using our Email Cascade feature.

What you’ll need is  a list of LinkedIn Company Profiles → What you’ll get is a list of LinkedIn companies enriched with employee information and verified emails.

As a next step, you could:

4 - Data extraction for Lead Enrichment

Imagine the following scenario: you just got back from a great trade show in your industry, where you generated tons of business leads and opportunities. You go to the website and get the names of all exhibitors and sponsors.

So what now? Go through each company and manually search for their CEO, then try to find their email and Linkedin profile? 

This can take several working days. In business, timing is everything, so you may want to pitch to these companies right after the event, not a week later. 

Data extraction can do that. Based on the company name, it can enrich your data with: 

  • Full name
  • Position
  • Email

And just like that, right after you get back from an event - you have a full list of participants, with the right person and their email! 

No wonder the Enrich Companies & Leads workflow is one of our most popular:

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Enrich people's LinkedIn profiles with their associated company data and find their contact using third-party email finders.

What you’ll need is a list of LinkedIn People Profiles → What you’ll get is an enriched leads list with company information and certified emails.

You can go even further by combining multiple enrichment automation into a personalized workflow:

Let’s expand on our earlier example. Combined enrichment campaigns would allow you to:

  1. Scrape the names of speakers at an event
  2. Enrich the list with their Linkedin profiles
  3. Extract Company, Position, and Contact

With these few extractions, you can have a highly targeted lead list for your outbound team without spending significant hours!

5- Data extraction for social media tactics

You can leverage data extraction for social media:

  • To boost your Social Media audiences
  • To get a competitive edge over your competitors
  • Extract and follow and/or DM the followers of your competitors

One of our most-used social media workflows:

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This workflow is ideal if you want to grow your Instagram audience: It allows you to extract followers from specific Instagram accounts, then follow each account.

What you’ll need is a list of Instagram Accounts → What you’ll get is an automated process to follow those Instagram Account Followers

If you want to go even further, use our workflow editor to scrape any competitor's website (using our website scraper), get their social media links, then extract/follow/DM their followers!

Captain Data’s  Workflow Editor is a feature which allows you to build your own workflows by putting together multiple automations available.


Now you not only know what data extraction is, but you have an overview of all the powerful ways it can help your business!

While the applications are truly limitless, if your primary goal is business growth, you should focus your attention on:

Of course, the potential of data extraction does not end there. You can use data extraction in many different ways. Candidate sourcing, product & ad extraction or customer review monitoring are just some of them. 

Start with something basic, like extracting more leads for your business, and experiment from there!

Captain Data has all of these workflows ready to go, and they can be activated with just a few clicks.

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