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What is Lead Routing and its Best Practices

Do you want to route your leads on autopilot? Here are some best practices on lead routing that can help.

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Getting several leads is fine. But what comes next is more important.To convert maximum leads, sales reps must reach out to them as soon as possible, say, within minutes. In fact, research says that just after 5 minutes, conversion rates can drop up to 8x. But, according to a survey,  99% of the vast majority of B2B businesses fail to reach out to their leads within 5 minutes. Moreover, 57.1% of first call attempts to the lead take place after more than a week. If the competitors get ample time to build relationships with your clients, the chances of leads switching to your competitors increase. That is a lot of revenue missed!So, getting the leads to the right sales reps quickly is a priority. And this is where you need lead routing. Let’s dive right into the details!

What is Lead Routing?

Lead routing, also known as a lead assignment, is the process of assigning incoming leads to sales reps. In other words, it is the distribution of leads among the sales reps of the organization. The lead routing process can be simple. You can simply make an alphabetical list of your sales reps and assign them a new lead as they come in. However,  the manual lead assignment is quite tedious and time-consuming. Hence, today’s businesses use automated lead routing systems. The lead routing systems can be simple or sophisticated. The sophisticated ones assign leads based on different factors like industry, territory, potential deal size, and several other factors. These systems allow users to define the sort order criteria and set custom rules for lead assignment.

Top Lead Routing Best Practices

When a company generates a large number of incoming leads, it is a must to implement an effective lead routing system. Here are a few lead routing best practices you must closely follow to ensure a successful lead routing process.

  1. Set the appropriate routing criteria to assign a lead to the right person

Lead routing can be a bit like segmentation. It requires you to assign leads based on certain factors. There are a few popular criteria that you can consider to determine the lead’s route.

  • Company size – Use this criterion when you have a sales team divided by the size of the organizations they serve – small business or startups, mid-sized, or enterprise level.
  • Geography – This is one of the most used criteria by B2B companies when using automated lead routing systems. This criterion makes sense as the leads are assigned to sales reps in their territory.
  • Industry – When the sales team is divided based on industry expertise, you should match the leads to the reps who serve in specific industries.
  • Use case/ Expertise – Make a note of your sales reps considering their expertise in specific products and services. It will help you put the best person on the job.
  • Lead score – Typically, organizations with sophisticated sales models use lead scores for lead routing. The criterion assigns a value or score to each generated lead. The lead scores can be based on several attributes like all of the above (geography, value, etc.). Using lead scores, you can identify priority leads and use custom approaches to convert them.

Besides using these criteria, you can also base the lead routing process on the lead’s employer.

  • Is the lead’s employer already a customer?

If the lead works at an organization that is already your customer, you can pass them on to the Customer Success Manager or CSM. This is because the CSM will be in a better position to sell the product or service based on their relationship with the client.

  • Is the lead’s employer not a customer?

In this scenario, the organization your lead works in is not your customer. So, assign them to a sales development manager first. They will qualify the lead before moving them to the account executive. This routing criterion is entirely based on the relationship between your business and the lead’s organization. Using this criterion increases the conversion likelihood and enables you to provide the best customer experience. For instance, the CSM can educate the lead better about the product or service. They can explain how the stakeholders are using the product. Also, the CSM can offer more prescriptive solutions based on their knowledge of the lead’s employer.

  1. Match the right profiles with the right employees

Your sales reps may have different strengths and skills. A few may be good at converting leads in a specific industry. While a few others may have cracked deals with leads who serve in a specific job position.Once you identify your sales reps’ strengths, you can match the right person to the right lead. It will increase the chances of conversion and thus, you can expect higher revenues. Note that besides industry and job position, you can choose other criteria like company size, or even department, lead-to-account-matching (the company your lead belongs to), etc.

  1. Try routing leads based on territory or geography

As we have mentioned before, geography is one of the most popular criteria used by B2B companies. If your organization assumes lead ownership by location, use lead routing based on geography or territory. It is the best practice that you must follow closely. But why? Because it is very likely that a sales rep working in the same time zone as a lead will respond quickly. Also, the sales rep will be in a better position to nurture the lead as they will have better market knowledge. It will be easier for them to schedule meetings and connect with the lead more frequently. For successful lead routing by territory, define the territory first. Organize your CRM data around them. With the right lead router tools and CRM, you can sort the territory records and assign any sales reps working in the specific geography.

  1. Ensure well-integrated tech

Organizations often miss out on this best practice. But it is one of the most important ones. Before you respond to leads, check whether everything is working well or not. Nowadays, leads are most likely to come from a web form or any other channel (like social media) you use for your marketing campaigns. So, before you get ready to respond to your lead, ensure that you can receive them from different sources (ads, lists, forms, etc.). Integrate their data into the organization’s tech system to keep track. Also, ensure that you can receive leads from third-party sources. As you receive these leads, standardize the data according to the organization’s rules. The better the data, the higher the lead quality.

  1. Avoid being too prescriptive

Try to draw the line between providing information and sharing too much information with the sales reps. If you provide details that are not essential, you will likely motivate the reps to handpick leads and neglect several others. It naturally results in a low conversion rate. Also, it impacts your long-term sales. The marketing and sales managers can partner and conduct regular testing of conversion rate variance. It will ensure that handpicking leads is not impacting the conversion rates.

Reasons Why You Should Implement Lead Routing in Your Organization

Have you implemented lead routing in your organization? If not, perhaps these reasons will make you think about it.

Lead routing helps to build and maintain relationships

Nurturing leads is not effortless. It requires more than a call to build and maintain strong relationships with your leads. Constant engagement and consistency are necessary to ensure conversion. Through lead routing, your sales reps get connected to the leads. They can schedule meetings and conduct additional follow-ups if needed. Lead routing also enables sales reps to identify relatively colder leads. Thus, they can automate follow-ups to warm them up.

It makes lead distribution easy and effective

The main reason behind implementing a lead routing system is to make lead distribution easy. You can avoid the manual tasks as the system automatically assigns leads to the best sales reps. All you need to do is set the criteria right and witness higher conversion rates.

Lead routing enhances business growth

Once you implement a lead routing system, you can save a lot of time and resources. Also, you can lower the risk of errors by analyzing the lead data, providing specific forecasts, and reporting. Incorporating lead routing in your marketing and sales strategy works well. It maximizes efforts and helps to work more efficiently.  

Steps to implement Lead Routing System in Your Organization

With the right lead routing tools, it is easy to implement the system within an organization. To get started, ensure that you have the necessary tools like a CRM with an automation function and a lead scoring tool.

Define your lead routing criteria

This is the first step to implementing lead routing. Set your criteria like use case, geography or territory, value, lead score, etc.

Create automation or workflow

The next step is to design the workflow based on your defined criteria for lead routing.

Qualify leads

The last step to set up the lead routing system is to qualify leads. You can do so with lead scoring. Implementing automation is pretty easy with lead routing tools. But to build a successful sales strategy, there’s something more you must do other than automation. To improve and optimize lead routing, you must know what’s working for the organization and what’s not. Closely monitor each criterion to identify successes and shortcomings. Analyze them and find out why some criteria work better than others for your product/service, customers, and sales team. Automation makes experimenting with lead routing easy. So, shift gears when you find the most effective approach to managing leads efficiently.

5 Benefits of Lead Routing System

Lead routing automation saves time and resources. It also minimizes the risk of errors. Besides these two benefits, there are a few others. Let’s take a look.

Improved response time

Did you know around 71% of internet leads are wasted due to slow or no response? Consumers, today, are accustomed to instant responses. So, if businesses fail to respond within 5 minutes, prospects are likely to switch to other brands. To avoid slow or no response, 29% of companies have automated lead routing. A lead routing system can assign the leads instantly to sales reps who can respond as soon as possible. You can set your criteria and rules to;

  • Create an organized routing system;
  • Easily assign leads to sales reps; and
  • To reroute the lead to another sales rep if there are delays

Data Accuracy

Sales reps already have a lot to do. They do not get the time to manually collect lead data and analyze them to make better-informed decisions. Even if they do so, errors and misjudgments are likely to happen.Lead routing automation makes the job easy. It enables you to collect lead data and analyze them, identify lead routing trends, improve forecast, make informed decisions, and improve sales intelligence.Lead routing tools with advanced analytics can also provide comprehensive reports. Thus, the sales reps will be able to identify their hottest leads and how to manage them.

Better leads organization

Lead routing automation helps you to organize your leads effectively. It is critical to have a proper lead order so that the right sales rep can reach them on time. Different factors determine what leads an organization. You can organize them by the communication channel, engagement time, location, behavioral patterns, etc. Also, you can identify leads who have been contacted before and avoid the uninterested ones.You can use filters to check the lead statuses and find the most relevant ones. It will save time and make the entire process more efficient.

Improved performance

Lead routing enables sales reps to improve their performance significantly. With the help of automation, you can save a lot of time. Thus, they can prioritize jobs and increase productivity. Automatic lead routing ensures that the leads are organized, accessible to all sales reps, and are not randomly assigned to them. Thus, every sales rep is on the same page. They are aware of the next step. Overall, lead routing creates a productive workforce ready to meet its sales target effectively and efficiently.

Improved resource utilization

Research says that 1 in 4 sales leads generated by marketing campaigns are inaccurately assigned. Lead routing ensures assigning the right lead to the right sales rep as it increases the possibility of successful sales. In lead management, it is crucial to utilize sales reps’ expertise and skills. Assigning the best-suited sales reps to leads can result in increased conversions and happy customers. Thus, ensuring building an effective lead routing strategy. The better the lead routing strategy, the higher the customer satisfaction.

Final Thoughts

Lead routing is all you need to eliminate the slow response and no response issue. It makes lead handling more efficient.A successful lead routing strategy improves user experience, providing the leads with sufficient knowledge to make purchase decisions. However, to ensure lead routing success, having the right tools is a must.  

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