min read

What is Lead Routing and How it Ramps Up Your Pipeline Outcomes

Discover how lead routing helps you put your pipeline on autopilot without compromising on buyer experience and growth outcomes.

Krishna Charan
November 8, 2022
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Updated on 4th October 2023.

Picture this. Your company is crushing its demand generation pipeline. Yes, finally! Your GTM can now say for sure how much revenue opportunities are going to present themselves every month or quarter.

But there’s one problem. Your sales team isn’t ready for this meteoric growth. Qualifying prospects is haphazard, the lead routing system has a mind of its own, AEs blame SDRs for poor quality leads, and the list goes on. 

As your lead count soars, chaos ensues, and the lead assignment process is now a loud cacophony of missed opportunities, confusion, and frustrations among SDRs and AEs. Pipeline doesn’t agree with your deals added.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the town, another company faces a similar influx of leads. However, they have a secret weapon called lead routing. No leads are left in the lurch, GTM is sorted with a smooth marketing-sales lead journey. 

SDRs aren’t disoriented. They know which lead to pick up. And more importantly, teams and functions aren’t blaming each other for pipelines not translating into revenue. 

That’s what a no-brainer like lead routing can do to companies that are ambitiously scaling their sales. 

Wait, but what is lead routing?

Lead routing or lead assignment is the process of distributing leads to the sales team based on preset conditions that can make conversions easier.

Consider a demo request from an enterprise lead, for instance. You can create conditions for lead routing and have only an AE who is experienced with enterprise pain points take the demo.

The ideal lead routing workflow can ensure that captured leads end up in the hands of the salesperson or team most equipped to turn the lead into a customer. 

Lead routing can be based on several unique factors that are relevant to your company. Here are a few examples of lead routing triggers:

  • Company size and revenue: Get specific sets of sales teams to handle leads from companies on different growth phases. The needs of these segments are different and having a dedicated team or AE for different outcomes and pains helps.
  • Lead source: Route leads to SDRs based on the channel that the conversion came from. For instance, if the source was your monthly newsletter, it could mean that they’re of high-intent, having already engaged with your marketing efforts.
  • Final touch before form-fill: Did your lead engage with one of your ABM campaigns before submitting their interest for a demo? Maybe you need to bump them up your crew as a priority lead.

Other widely-implemented triggers include SDR expertise, industry of the lead account, geographical location and timezone, job designation of the lead, and a lot more. 

Effective lead routing helps maximize sales productivity, shorten response times, improve conversion rates, and more importantly — fix broken and inefficient processes that your GTM is facing on the sales front.

What does the ideal lead routing flow look like?

If done right, lead routing can fetch details from your entire inbound and outbound funnel to assign leads accurately to the right salesperson:

  • Qualify leads before entering them into a lead routing system.
  • Build teams or distribution pods based on your sales folks’ expertise, product knowledge, account ownership, and pretty much any custom rule. 
  • Assign leads to SDRs and AEs based on the lead routing triggers set, automatically.

How to implement lead routing and put your inbound funnel on auto-pilot?

Instead of getting right to the lead routing set up, let’s try to make this interactive by understanding where your internal processes stand today in their lead distribution and the related GTM ops.

1. What happens when your lead’s company exists as an account in your CRM?

This is either super-tricky or super simple. If you already have a way to identify new leads from existing accounts, you’re going to me (mostly) fine. Because, you can pass them on to the AE who handles leads from the company. Your AE will be in a better position to take meetings about the scope of your product or personalize a demo based on the context they already hold.

About you being ‘mostly’ fine, it’s because if your lead-to-account matching process is manual, you’re just adding to your SDRs workload and breaking the lead routing system. You should consider deploying a lead routing software that accounts for special considerations like matched accounts. 

An image that shows RevenueHero personalized lead distribution conditions.
Lead-to-account matching is essential to future-proof your lead routing workflow.

2. How well does your lead routing system speak with your CRM?

A modern lead routing software has components that are usually an afterthought in your CRM. Instant meeting scheduling, custom forms, automatic CRM syncing, SDR-to-AE handoff — can such functionalities be added to your lead routing workflow? 

Figure out the functionalities that are non-negotiable in your lead routing-CRM handshake and take it from there. A few examples of these functionalities: 

  • Automatically update lead data into the CRM from lead routing software.
  • Sync meeting details into the CRM after a website form-fill or demo schedule.
  • Match leads to account owners in the CRM with custom assignment rules.
A screenshot of RevenueHero’s inbound routing feature.
An example of a perfect CRM handshake with RevenueHero’s lead routing.

Also read:

> How to set up lead routing in Salesforce
> How to set up lead routing in HubSpot

3. How do you qualify your leads before you assign them to your SDRs and AEs?

This is important. Because if your SDRs are doing the lead qualification by tearing through lead information from forms manually, you’re doing a disservice to your pipeline, forecast, your team, and your org.. 

Even if your SDRs manage to qualify every single lead in less than 5 minutes and reach out to the prospect to book a meeting, you’ve basically give your prospect a poor experience. 

Think about it… Would you rather have your prospect, somehow find your email in their inbox that’s already overflowing, open it, click on the link, find a slot that works, and again fill another form? 

Or would you rather have them automatically qualified the second they request a demo and instantly book a meeting with the right SDR or AE right there?

Qualifying your prospects instantly and letting them book meetings with your sales team frees up your SDRs time and reduces chances of manual errors. They can use this free time to do more prospecting and drive more pipeline for your business instead

4. What’s the capacity of your sales team? How much can they handle?

What’s the point of lead routing if your team is short-staffed or lacks the time to handle an inbound burst? Let’s circle back to the previous burning question — lead qualification. Lead qualification is one way of weeding out your low-intent leads and helping salespersons prioritize leads with the best buying signals.

Sizing your sales is tricky. The truth is, no playbook can bail you out given that they don’t account for unique business needs, pipeline velocity, and sales cycles. Here are a few things you do to manage your sales workload.

  • For starters, prioritize building a predictable pipeline over focussing too much on the headcount or SDR capacity. Cracking your inbound and outbound velocity is key to hiring sales with diligence.
  • Remove inhibitors that make buying difficult for prospects — you’ll never know your true demand until you fix the buyer experience. For instance, you can help them find an SDR or AE instantly if the situation demands.
  • Deploy a lead routing system to distribute meetings across your sales team automatically with special conditions. You can also assign equal workload to your sales folks using round-robin logic, with the flexibility to assign specific AEs or SDRs to lead based on prior camaraderie, domain, and problem expertise.
Easiest way to qualify, route, and schedule meetings from anywhere
RevenueHero is the easiest way to connect prospects to the right reps. Instantly qualify, route, and schedule meetings with your prospects.

5. How do SDRs handoff leads to your AEs today?

I’m not going to mince words here. The current state of SDR-to-AE handoff is burdened with pain points and inefficiencies that hinder the smooth transfer of leads.

From scheduling coordination challenges to difficulties in getting leads back on track after a meeting no-show, SDRs are left grappling with complex workflows that affect their ability to help AEs meet their quotas — and more importantly, manage their own time by indulging in these manual treks. 

So, if your SDR-to-AE handoff is manual. It needs to change for good. Period.

Forget spreadsheets for SDR-to-AE Handoff

1. Enhance AE visibility and lead scheduling: Give SDRs access to the calendars of every available AE, complete with account ownership details and matching rules. This newfound visibility simplifies the process and eliminates unnecessary back-and-forths for SDRs with the leads and AEs to agree on a time.

2. Avoid manual CRM updates: Save SDRs from the trek of going through spreadsheets for AE availability and schedules. Instead of having SDRs create meetings for leads, they should be able to have leads book meetings directly from the AE’s calendar slots. In essence, deploy a lead routing software with which SDRs can relay leads to AEs.

3. Automate lead routing and handoff workflows:
SDRs need the ability to configure automated account ownership, AE-specific routing, and simultaneously manage distribution evenly. Overburdening your star AEs is always a problem in managing your workload.

But with the right set of outlier conditions and round-robin rules, AE workload can still be managed without overburdening your star performers, while enabling others to hit their monthly quota. 

A comical image that shows an athlete holding two relay batons in a race.

Choosing the right lead routing software for your pipeline goals

1. Don’t settle for basic round-robin 

Round-robin is a great way to ensure evenly weighted distribution among your SDRs and AEs. But banking on it alone can be detrimental to your lead routing if you have to manually override it for scenarios where the usual workflow changes.

  • Meeting no-shows from leads
  • AEs on holiday.
  • A returning lead who has already engaged with one of your SDRs.
  • A lead who belongs to a company account that exists in your CRM
An illustration that shows how a poor lead routing system can lead to chaos in the SDR quota.
A rigid round-robin routing may not account for exceptions in lead flow.

Deploy a lead routing software that can automate all these unique scenarios without breaking your round-robin with smart meeting distribution.

2. Prioritize hot leads by letting them choose the calendar slot of your best AE

Letting your high-intent leads wait on a callback and allowing them to shop around shouldn’t really be a part of your lead routing workflow. Deploy a tool that can instantly qualify leads and pop your best AEs calendar right after a demo form fill.

Here’s how we, at RevenueHero, enable instant meeting scheduling for our customers:

A GIF that shows how RevenueHeor lets leads book instant meetings with reps soon after a form fill.
Allowing high-intent leads to schedule demos right after a form fill can fix your drop-off problem.

3. Route leads to teams that are best equipped 

Choose a lead routing software that can distribute meetings based on custom attributes like company, location, or any data from your forms. Ensure that leads are assigned to the right teams. 

Brownie points if the tool can let you add unique form fields into the routing workflow to narrow down your lead qualification and distribution rules.

4. Build personalized routing conditions to fast-track target accounts

Campaigns like ABM require AEs that are well equipped to handle the target accounts. This could be based on their prior interactions with leads from the same company or engagements with similar accounts. 

Look out for a tool that can help you match incoming campaign leads to the AEs who have experience handling those accounts. 

1. Efficient lead ownership

Match contacts to AEs who manage leads from a particular company and streamlines the handling of numerous leads and decision makers in enterprise and mid-market companies.

2. Targeted ABM campaigns

Account matching and routing aligns perfectly with ABM strategies, allowing for precise marketing efforts aimed at multiple stakeholders within a single account in your CRM.

3. Improved insights into enterprise accounts

In large enterprises, AEs may have interacted with various leads from the same corporation due to its size. Account matching before routing the leads will reveal these connections and enhance your understanding of account relationships.

4. Hyper-personalized interactions

With this data, you can create personalized campaigns and responses that address the specific needs of different departments within a large corporation. SDRs and AEs can then showcase your product's ability to streamline processes across these functions and demonstrate a deep understanding of the company’s pain points.

RevenueHero can be your lead routing software that plugs your leaky funnel

RevenueHero goes beyond just lead routing routing by helping you take back control of your entire pipeline. 

Account for every scenario that you wouldn’t otherwise pay attention to with a conventional, barebones lead routing software.

- SDRs can stay on top of their leads’ minds after a no-show or campaign response. They can do this with email nurtures that contain 1-click magic links to the best AE’s calendar – without even a form-fill.

- Qualify leads right after a form-fill with custom logic. No more SDRs chasing around false alarms for high-intent leads.

A meme that speaks about the negative impact of poor lead qualification.
Don’t have your sales folks chase false alarms.

- Set up the smoothest SDR-to-AE transfer for leads by passing the baton with your AEs calendar links.

Hear it from the horse’s mouth!

Revenuehero is fast and intuitive, custom-built for modern sales teams.
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