Lead Routing within Sales Teams
Most organisations have more than one sales rep taking on incoming leads, which means that as leads come in there needs to be a process to decide who takes it. This is what is known as “Lead Routing”.
Lead Routing: the process of automatically distributing incoming leads among the appropriate sales reps, transferring qualified leads from marketing to sales.
Benefits of Lead Routing
There are various benefits that come from effective lead routing, some of which are listed below:
Prioritisation of best leads: when there is a high number of leads coming in but not enough salespeople to take all of them, it’s crucial to prioritise the best leads first. Namely, if there is a lead with a high lead score/grade, which is almost ready to buy versus one that has simply downloaded an eBook, your reps should first follow up with the one that has a higher purchase likelihood to ensure the opportunity is converted as soon as possible. This is due to the fact that “hotter” or more recent leads are more likely to convert than “colder” or older leads.
Marketing and sales alignment: both your marketing and sales team are responsible for determining what consists of a good lead and what factors, such as technographic data, should be considered when routing the lead. Creating a strong lead routing process ensures that marketing and sales will have to communicate more and work in conjunction, thereby increasing alignment between the two departments.
Time-saving: having a clearly defined lead routing process, ensures that there is less administrative time wasted deciding how leads should be distributed. In fact, InsideSales found that sales reps spend over half of their time (63.4%), taking care of admin tasks and only 35.2% of their time actually selling. If leads are efficiently routed to the sales team without any additional manual work from the salesperson, this helps them to focus more on closing deals and less on analyzing data.
Factors to Consider When Routing Leads
Beyond the benefits of lead routing, it’s important to consider some of the different factors that can be considered when assigning leads:
Industry experience: if there are salespeople with specific experience in a particular industry, matching them with leads from the same category can help facilitate a productive conversation and increase understanding of the requirements of the lead. Additionally, its easier for these sales reps to become familiar with the jargons and most commonly asked questions of these industries, helping them to specialise in certain sectors and exponentially learn more over time.
Geographic factors: if a lead is paired with a sales rep that is in a similar geographic location, it’s easier for the sales rep to coordinate outreach efforts within their typical work schedule. When considering the importance of speed in reaching out to leads, this can help increase conversion rate due to the lack of time change shuffling. Furthermore, potential language barriers are minimized as well as communication missteps from locally-specific jargon.
Random assignment: a common type of lead routing is known as a “round-robin”. A round-robin assignment means that each new lead is assigned to a different salesperson until everyone has been assigned one and the cycle repeats. This can help with concerns about leads being distributed evenly, which can improve team morale and motivation.
Sales expertise: different salespeople have different specialisations and skillsets. Beyond just industry experience, there might be salespeople that are particularly knowledgeable about tech, making them more adequate to answer questions about the technical features of your product or service. There could also be salespeople that have worked in a certain company before or have experience talking to a type of customer, which can make them more effective at converting a specific lead.
Similarities: if a salesperson has relevant similarities with a lead, such as mutual connections, culture, or educational/professional background, this can significantly boost rapport building. Especially in B2B and even more so in larger enterprise-level deals, some level of rapport is essential to build trust and credibility to successfully close a deal.
Availability: as aforementioned, the speed with which a lead is reached out to can greatly impact the conversion rate. As a consequence, simply giving leads to the first available salesperson can aid in reducing response times while simultaneously increasing closing rates.
Once your lead routing process has been finalised, it’s essential to keep developing it over time. Controlling and analyzing data coming from lead routing activities and how it relates to the lead nurturing and lead scoring/grading processes, is an excellent way to optimise the purchasing process and increase lead conversion. Altogether, these processes form the lead management structure of a company. All of these procedures can be automated, and finding the right balance between personalisation and automation is crucial to reap the full benefits from any lead management strategy.