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Lead Distribution: An Ultimate Guide

Did you know 67% of lost sales are due to sales reps not qualifying potential customers before taking them through the entire sales process? Find out in this post how you can prevent losing out on sales with the help of a fool-proof lead distribution strategy.

Sayani Deb
November 8, 2022
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Every new lead is a potential customer for your business. So, all that matters is how you treat them. If you attend to them right away and nurture them well, they will convert. But on the flipside, making them wait for long may result in the leads getting lost in the crowd. Not just that, salespeople also need to follow up on leads to make a successful sale. Research says that only 2% of sales are made during the first point of contact. It means that if salespeople do not follow up, even with a simple email, you will miss out on 98% of your sales. So, it all comes down to attending to the qualified lead as fast as possible and then following up to convert. This is where lead distribution comes into play. Stay with us to know the essentials of lead distribution!

What is Lead Distribution?

Lead distribution is the process of assigning inbound leads to different sales reps as soon as they contact the business. It ensures matching each lead to a relevant sales rep who is the best fit to close the deal.Since each lead has different goals, problems, and desires, matching them to the right sales reps is necessary. Hence, businesses use lead distribution software to assign the leads to the right sales reps for a successful sale.

Manual vs Automated Lead Distribution: How Do They Work?

You can distribute leads using two types of lead distribution methods – Manual lead distribution and Automated lead distribution. You can use any of the two lead distribution methods. However, a lead distribution best practice is to implement the automated system when your business scales up. Manual distribution is a pull-based lead distribution system that depends upon the sales reps to initiate choosing leads based on their availability, experience, and expertise. On the contrary, an automated lead distribution system depends on certain predetermined lead routing criteria to distribute the leads to the right sales reps. Both manual and automated lead distribution systems work differently. Here’s how.

Manual Lead Distribution

There are four methods in manual lead distribution you can use for lead routing.

1. Cherry Pick

This method enables sales reps to pick the lead that matches their expertise. Hence, sales reps can handpick the leads according to their convenience.For instance, if a sales rep is good at making deals with manufacturing companies, they can pick the leads from the manufacturing industry.


  • Promotes service quality
  • Higher chances of conversion


  • Biased selection
  • Less attractive, low-budget leads can get ignored resulting in reduced conversions

2. Shotgun

If you have a specialized sales team, shotgun works very well. The method routes the leads to specific sales teams depending on their experience or specialization. Thus, the method enables sales reps to shorten the sales cycle.


  • Shorter time is taken to close sales
  • Best reps handle the leads


  • Limited use (the method can be used by specialized teams only)

3. Shark Tank

This method allows the sales reps to attend to leads as they come. The fastest sales rep who responds gets to handle the lead.


  • Promotes healthy competition


  • Unequal distribution
  • Sales reps may get leads out of their comfort zones.

4. Blind pull

This method promotes fairness. Using blind pull, sales reps can access lead information only after they have claimed the leads. It ensures equal lead treatments and no specific preferences.


  • Considers every lead as a priority
  • Promotes fairness
  • Reduced chances of funnel leakage (leads leaking out of the sales funnel)


  • Unprepared sales reps (as they can access lead information after claiming them)
  • Prevents sales reps with expertise from handling specific leads

Automated Lead Distribution

1. Round Robin

This method distributes leads according to the sales rep’s availability. It ensures that the leads aren’t kept waiting for long. They are assigned to the available sales reps as fast as possible.


  • Reduced lead wait time
  • Equal distribution


  • A sales rep’s expertise is not considered before assigning leads

2. Company size

This lead distribution method assigns leads according to their company size. The larger companies are big shots. So, they are assigned according to the sales rep’s expertise and experience.


  • Higher chances of converting big companies
  • Takes into account the experience and expertise of sales reps


  • Unequal distribution of leads

3. Country of Lead

Leads by Country

We can change languages to Hindi, English, Japanese/ Chinese. Locations – New York City, London, Delhi. Arrow can go from English à London Salesperson – Any nameSpeaks – English, JapaneseLocation - London This method enables you to assign leads to sales reps who are from the same country as the lead. Some leads prefer to interact with sales reps in their own country. Also, the method is beneficial to remove time zone differences


  • Reduced time difference
  • Leads and sales reps may share the same values, ethics, and culture


  • The method can be used only by global companies

4. Other rules

There are other methods of predetermined rules for automated lead distribution systems. For instance, the top producer method prioritizes high-performing leads. Further, leads can be distributed based on what language they speak, their job positions, industry, the experience of sales reps, or business functions.

Reasons to Automate Lead Distribution

When you have thousands of incoming leads, manual lead distribution doesn’t make sense. Here’s why you should opt for an automated lead distribution system as your business expands.

It improves efficiency

You cannot deny that implementing lead distribution software leads to a more efficient sales funnel. Once the leads are qualified and grouped, they are assigned to the right sales reps based on the lead routing rules (company size, location, availability, job title, etc.)An advanced lead distribution system considers all variables before assigning leads to sales reps. Thus, your sales team doesn’t have to look into multiple databases, spreadsheets, and calendars to connect the leads to the ideal reps.

It offers insights

A great lead distribution tool can provide your sales reps with additional insights and lead tracking capabilities. Your sales reps will be able to follow the leads and track their progress during the entire sales journey.With access to detailed reports and analytics, you can measure your business KPIs. These reports can, thus, provide insights into how well the sales funnel is working. Moreover, with the right insights and updates, your sales reps can be better prepared for lead interactions, increasing the chances of conversion.

It reduces the speed to lead

Speed to lead is the lead response time. It matters a lot in boosting sales. You are 100 times more likely to connect to a lead and 21 times more likely to convert them into an opportunity if you follow up in less than 5 minutes.Having a short lead response time helps in closing more sales and driving more revenue. Thus, you need an automated lead distribution strategy to speed up the process.

It is flexible

Automated lead distribution systems can easily adapt to any change in your process.For instance, say you implement the robin-round approach and generate 1200 more leads than you usually do.Now, you decide to hire six additional sales reps to manage the extra leads. You simply need to add the new sales reps into the robin-round system of your lead distribution software. The system will automatically consider the total number of sales reps and adjust the number of leads sent to each sales rep.

It helps personalize customer engagement

Lead distribution tools offer lead tracking features. The feature shows the pages your users visit and the content they click on. You can also track the lead conversations with sales reps. Further, your sales reps can get information about the leads beforehand from the lead distribution system. Hence, you can offer a more personalized experienced to the customers.

5 Factors to Consider During Lead Distribution

When distributing leads or setting up a lead distribution software, consider the following important factors.


One of the key factors in lead distribution is the availability of the sales reps. A sales rep can give the required attention to the prospect only when they have the time to do so. You can maintain a lead schedule or calendar that tells about sales reps' availability – who are available to handle leads and how many leads they can take on. The available sales rep may not be the best fit but attending to the prospect right away trumps all other factors in such situations.


Take into account the expertise of the sales reps with a specific industry, product, service, or buyer persona. Sales reps with expertise in specific services can understand the pain points better. Also, they can explain the benefits of the service and how it works well for specific pain points. Overall, they build a good rapport with the prospects, manage criticisms better, and close deals efficiently.


Though expertise is essential, some situations demand a more experienced sales rep rather than an expert. Experienced sales reps are usually proficient in handling complicated deals that require knowledge earned through experience. Also, large deals are often better handled by experienced sales reps. Further, when the prospect is an enterprise-level business or someone that doesn’t have a clear buying process, experienced sales reps are preferred.


Lead distribution by geographic location works well for a few business types. For instance, it is better to assign prospects to specific sales reps in a certain country or state when there is a requirement to know the demographics, market, or laws. Also, if your business relies on lead conversations in different time zones, lead distribution by geography would work well. Further, if your sales reps are to do demos, they must be present in certain geographic locations.  


Lead distribution can also be based on sales reps’ performances. Using this method, quality leads are assigned to sales reps who have a track of good performances. However, this type of lead distribution may cause biases. Moreover, the good-performing sales reps will keep doing better and the ones that require improvement will lose motivation. When using performance-based lead distribution, avoid assigning all top-quality leads to the leading performer. Remember that the goal is to keep the entire sales team motivated. While the star performers must be motivated to retain productivity, the rest of the team must be motivated to do better.

6 Steps to Implement a Lead Distribution Process

to Implement a Lead Distribution Process

If you find that manual lead distribution is taking more than 20% of your time per week, then it’s time to get an automated lead distribution system. Here’s how you can implement the lead distribution process in 6 easy steps.

1. Automate lead capturing

The hand-off between marketing and sales should be smooth. So, forget spreadsheet lists, email chains, ancient documents, etc., and automate lead capturing. With the right lead distribution tool, you can automatically capture new incoming leads. For instance, when someone;

  • Fills up your web form
  • Sign-ups for a trials
  • Messages on social media
  • Emails or calls to your support team

their information will be created in your CRM system through integration with the lead distribution tool. Thus, your sales reps will be notified.

2. Process lead qualification

The next step in your lead distribution strategy is automating the lead qualification process. But first, you must define the factors based on which your lead qualification will take place. For instance;

  • Business size,
  • Location,
  • Budget,
  • Decision-makers involved,
  • Business requirements or current issues, etc.

Based on such predetermined factors, your incoming leads will be filtered automatically. Thus, only those leads will be routed to sales reps who are potential buyers.You can also add questions in your web form related to the factors. That way, you will know more about the leads before you route them to your sales reps.

3. Set rules to route the right leads to the right reps

Once you have prioritized the leads, route them to the right sales reps. You need to set predetermined rules for lead routing. Here are a few factors based on which you can route your leads.

  • Experience – Assigning high-priority leads to the experienced sales reps
  • Geographic Location – Assigning leads to the sales reps who are from the same location
  • Performance – Top-performing sales reps get to handle high-priority leads
  • Availability – Lead distribution according to the sales rep’s availability
  • Company size – Distributing leads based on their company size

Regardless of the factor you choose, ensure that the sales reps have time and resources to attend to the leads properly.

4. Integrate your tool stack

If you are setting up your first lead distribution system, just integrate your lead generation tools and CRM with the lead distribution tool. It will ensure a smooth lead distribution process. Down the road, you can always make improvements in your process while maintaining transparency with your team.

5. Test the lead distribution strategy

Though you start with one lead distribution strategy, try out the others as well. Try both pull-based methods (cherry-picking, shotgun, etc.) and push-based methods like round-robin.Measure the KPIs and track your business performance for each lead distribution strategy. Compare and find out what’s working well and what’s not.

6. Track and measure outcomes

Your work does not finish with setting up your first lead distribution system. Just like the other areas of your sales funnel, track and measure the results of the lead distribution strategy. You can track a few metrics consistently to get early indications of something going wrong. For instance,

  • Call durations
  • Response time
  • First call reach rate
  • Conversion rate
  • Close rate
  • Revenue increase rate

Benefits of Lead Distribution

Still, having second thoughts about automated lead distribution? Here are a few benefits you can derive from lead distribution software.

Saves time and resources

A lead distribution software saves a lot of time and resources through automation. As the leads come in, they automatically get assigned to relevant sales reps in real-time. Thus, the sales reps are not required to run through spreadsheets to connect the leads with the team. Further, lead distribution tools offer features like automated data collection, CRM integrations, routing, reporting, analytics, etc. These features also save time.  

Boosts conversions and revenue

Implementing lead distribution software helps you generate inbound leads. It also builds trust between leads and sales reps. The system helps in simplifying the sales funnel. As lead distribution tools automate processes, it gives enough time to sales reps to prepare and interact with the leads well. With successful interactions, the prospects become more interested in your product. Later, the sales team can prioritize leads, follow up, convert the prospect into a customer, close more sales, and boost the overall business revenue.

Reduces manual errors

As a business grows, it becomes impossible to maintain a record of the qualified leads manually. And trying to do so results in heaps of manual errors. Thus, you need advanced lead distribution software to automate the process of assigning leads, tracking them and their overall management. Further, it also makes the work of sales reps easier. The lead distribution system eliminates errors and ensures automated processes and accurate lead reports.

Improved customer experience

Lead distribution software ensures a better customer experience. It assigns your leads to the best-suited sales reps who can handle the deals well. However, you have to ensure using the right lead routing rules to determine which sales reps will handle what lead profiles. Several advanced lead distribution tools notify salespeople when there is an incoming lead or when a lead takes some action. Thus, sales reps can prepare themselves ahead of time to give the prospects a great experience.

Create the Ultimate Lead Distribution Strategy with RevenueHero

Scaling up your business? Then, remember to incorporate a lead distribution strategy. As the business grows, it is vital to implement an automated lead distribution system so that your sales reps can spend more time interacting with leads. Also, with an advanced lead distribution tool like RevenueHero, you can qualify, prioritize and route leads to sales reps in no time. Thus, you can reduce the possibility of missing out on prospects. This, in turn, will lead to better conversion rates and higher sales.

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