(2022) Lead Routing Guide & Best Practices to Improve Sales
Responding to an incoming lead as quickly as possible may be the difference between a successful sale or the loss of a prospective client. If your team does not have access to organized incoming leads as soon as they come in, you are at a disadvantage.
Prioritizing lead routing and distribution is key to increasing your conversion rate. This is because it allows you to direct new leads to the right person in a matter of minutes. So, at Myphoner, we believe effective lead distribution is essential for your sales team to run smoothly!
What Is Lead Routing?
Lead routing (a.k.a., lead distribution) is the organizational system a business uses to distribute incoming leads among sales representatives. You can think of a lead routing system as a SATNAV of sorts—directing incoming leads to a suitable sales representative as efficiently as possible.
In its most basic form, lead routing might mean distributing incoming leads to the next available sales representative. More complex lead routing systems might match sales staff with leads based on experience, expertise, performance, or location (more on that later).
What are the Benefits of Lead Routing?
Lead routing is a process that can impact your sales workflow in a ton of positive ways. The main benefits include:
Improved Sales Rep Performance
Lead routing also allows sales representatives to prioritize their time and maximize productivity. When leads are organized and accessible to everyone on the team (instead of randomly distributed), every sales rep is on the same page and knows exactly what to do next. This leads to a more productive workforce that can more effectively meet its targets!
Improved Response Times
Everything in business is about speed, especially when it comes to following up to an incoming lead. Like we mentioned before, the difference between a successful sale and a lost potential client may come down to how quickly you respond. There's nothing more frustrating than sending an email or making a phone call only for the recipient not to get back to you after hours of waiting.
By routing leads to the right sales representative, you can drastically decrease your response time. Responding to an incoming lead as quickly as possible may be the difference between a successful sale and the loss of a prospective client.
Improved Customer Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is at the heart of every business—both B2B and B2C. When customers feel like their concerns are not being heard, it can cause them to jump ship and do business with your competitor.
Often times, closing comes down to how quickly and effectively you were able to respond and handle their inquiries, questions, and concerns—especially when the customer is already interested in your product or service.
By allowing each sales representative to focus on his or her specific area of expertise, you'll be able to quickly and effectively address incoming leads. This allows you to maximize customer satisfaction and improve your brand's reputation.
Increased Morale (and Retention)
Few things frustrate sales reps more than issues surrounding incoming leads. Leads arriving at unpredictable times, low quality leads, irrelevant leads—all of these are great ways to annoy your sales staff.
Effective lead routing allows your reps to focus their time on converting as many leads as possible. When it’s adopted, you'll see an increase in morale and a decreased turnover. Both of these improvements have a huge impact on the success of your organization as a whole.
When all of your sales representatives are receiving the targeted, relevant leads, you’re more likely to get an accurate snapshot of your market’s buying habits. This information can be used to make better business decisions and increase organizational efficiency. Furthermore, this data may help predict trends (e.g., which target market for your product is growing quicker than others).
Why You Should Automate Lead Distribution
Lead routing systems fall into one of two categories:
- Manual: Sales representatives pick the leads they pursue themselves or receive lead assignments from managers based on some predefined system.
- Automatic: Automated software instantaneously routes incoming leads to specific sales representatives or teams based on lead or sale representative characteristics.
Of those two options, there are a number of benefits that recommend automatic lead routing systems over manual ones:
1) They're more efficient
Automatic lead distribution is a much more efficient way of assigning leads to reps because it streamlines the process and saves time. The less time your reps spend on finding and sorting through leads, the better.
2) They help ensure consistency
Manual lead distribution can be inconsistent for a number of reasons. For example, managers may not always be around to hand out leads and reps may get side-tracked with other tasks. Automatic lead routing systems are consistent because the system does all the work for you.
3) They maximize productivity
Manual lead distribution is inefficient because it requires time and effort on the part of your sales force to find the leads they should be pursuing. Unlike manual systems, automated lead distribution ensures that your reps are working on leads that match their skills and expertise—leads that they have a higher chance of closing.
4) They're scalable
Manual lead distribution does not scale easily. If you expand your sales team, for example, it will be difficult to manage leads when each rep is responsible for finding his or her own—especially if the company has grown exponentially in size.
What Kinds Of Automated Lead Routing Systems Are There?
Automatic lead distribution may differ depending on the company and its sales team. Common types of lead distribution include:
This type of routing system automatically assigned at regular intervals. It's one of the most simple systems that sees frequent use.
Example:** **Leads are distributed to sales representatives every Monday morning.
This type of routing system distributes leads based on priority. Priority is usually dictated by your sales team, but can also be determined by the type of lead, the product or service they're interested in, and their current position within the buying process.
Example: A lead that is likely to close within the next few weeks might be prioritized over a lead that is currently receiving quotes and gathering information.
This type of routing system takes into account how much time it will take for reps to convert incoming leads into sales.
Example: If one sales representative can close two deals in a day, two leads can be distributed to them at the beginning of every workday.
Scoring & Filtering
These types of routing systems are great for varied sales teams that have departments or representatives that specialize in selling different products or services to different kinds of leads. By scoring, tagging, or segmenting each lead according to some criteria, you can prioritize which leads to pass to which sales representatives.
Myphoner allows sales managers to segment incoming leads within customized identifiers. Segments can be assigned to users independently of the underlying list assignments. This allows managers to create custom filtering criteria, including based on geographical location, to prioritize certain groups of leads.
Leads are automatically routed by Myphoner using an "if this then that" logic within list rules. List rules can be set so that the first lead in a particular queue will always go to one user first before being passed on to another user.
Example: A sales manager segments incoming leads based on product of interest. Leads interested in "A" are sent to one sales representative, and leads interested in "B" are sent to a different sales representative.
Lead Routing Made Easy
With the right software and tools, you can manage your sales team in-person or remotely—no matter how big or small your team is. Through specialized APIs or integration software, you can ensure that every member of your team is on the right page. Giving your team access to quality inbound leads promptly provides them with the necessary tools for success. This lead routing process happens when the marketing team hands the responsibility over to the sales team. While the process you choose will depend on your business model, this step doesn’t need to be complicated.
If you use lead routing software, you can successfully implement lead routing in three simple steps.
- Your first requirement is to define your criteria. These can be based on territory, value, specialization, lead score and more.
- Decide on the right process for your chosen criteria and qualify the lead.
- Evaluate the process.
The first step focuses on assessing the lead to route it to the correct member of the sales team. If you work with multiple territories or segments, you may need to route specific leads to certain sales team members. You can also value incoming leads based on whether they are existing clients or prospective clients. This can help the system determine how high up the sales team this lead should reach.
Lastly, once a sales agent has attended to a lead, the process is not over. You should evaluate each step of the process and the results to determine whether your criteria are working or not. These should constantly change based on an analysis of the success rate from each lead.
Lead Routing Best Practices
While responding to incoming leads as quickly as possible is essential for success, you also need to ensure that your leads reach the right people. This not only guarantees that the right member of the sales team deals with the right clients, but it also ensures that no agents become overburdened.
Here are a few best practices when it comes to lead routing.
Prioritize Your Criteria Parameters
You need to have a system in place that quickly routes incoming leads to the right members of your team. And this can only happen if you set the proper criteria. For example, one measure could be whether the lead is a new or existing client.
If the lead is a new client, you may want it to be routed automatically to a sales rep who can qualify whether the lead has the potential to convert or not. Then, the agent can pass the lead on to the relevant account executive. On the other hand, if the lead is an existing client, it should go directly to a team member who already has a relationship with that client.
These criteria help speed up the process of assigning leads by automatically routing them to the right members of your team. Automating this process also allows the system to value leads based on the prospective client’s movements on the website.
Sort Leads Based on Geography
If you operate in multiple geographical zones, lead sorting becomes another essential criterion to implement in the lead distribution stage. Sending inbound leads directly to the corresponding time zone ensures your sales reps are ready to respond to the lead.
If you don’t have enough centers to cover all time zones your prospective clients may be situated in, you should connect them to the team in the closest time zone. This enables your team to get in touch as quickly as possible.
Create Niches in Your Sales Team
Scattering incoming leads amongst your sales team to ensure the first available rep attends to the lead is not always the best strategy. While you want to attend to the leads quickly, you also want the right member to handle the lead.
Finding and nurturing the strengths of the members of your sales team can help you pair leads with the right rep. These team members can then rotate leads amongst them, ensuring the most knowledgeable member for a specific industry is available. This gives you the best chance of success for sales.
Responding to incoming leads within five minutes of it reaching your system will help your team increase their success rate. However, the lead needs to get the right team member as well.
As such, creating a sound lead routing system in place is a must! You can easily do this with our lead routing software to manage your incoming leads. Myphoner can help you with these essential elements to increase your conversion rates.
This article was first published on August 16, 2021 and updated on March 28, 2022.