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Lead Routing Best Practices to Transform Your Sales Process

Overwhelmed with managing leads? Ever wish you could automate your lead routing process? Wonder if there's software that could increase your sales efficiency? 

Adopting lead routing best practices can transform your sales process and zero in on your core competency–closing deals. No more confusion in lead distribution, and no more missed opportunities due to human error or oversight.

In this article, we'll explore lead routing best practices to optimize your entire sales process, improve lead qualification & distribution, and increase sales efficiency.

If you're familiar with the basics of lead routing and are particularly interested in the advanced routing strategies, feel free to skip to the advanced section.

How Does Lead Routing Work?

Lead routing is a strategic process that amplifies the probability of conversion by intelligently distributing incoming leads to the most appropriate sales representatives. By leveraging advanced lead routing tools, businesses can automate this process through a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system or a similar platform, eliminating the risk of human error in lead assignment.

But how do you ensure that:

  • Sales teams are operating at peak efficiency,
  • Leads are not overlooked, and
  • Conversion rates are maximized?

The lead routing journey commences when a lead enters the system through various channels such as a website form, an email, a phone call, or a social media interaction.

The first step involves capturing critical lead information, including the lead’s contact details, their industry, the potential deal size, and other pertinent data. Following this, the lead is evaluated based on predefined criteria such as their budget, their readiness to buy, or their compatibility with your product or service.

Once the lead is deemed qualified, it is assigned to the most suitable sales representative to maximize the chances of sales conversion. This assignment hinges on factors like:

  • Territory (Geography): For instance, a New York lead is assigned to the representative managing the East Coast.
  • Industry: For example, a lead from the healthcare sector is assigned to the representative specializing in healthcare sales.
  • Potential Deal Size: Larger deals are typically assigned to more seasoned representatives.
  • Round-Robin Distribution: To ensure fairness and a balanced workload, leads are evenly distributed among representatives.

Upon lead assignment, the sales representative promptly follows up. Swift responses can significantly boost conversion rates. This, in turn, can lead to increased sales and revenue for the company.

See An Example of Simplified Lead Routing

SmartScheduler (1)

The example above is configured using Smart Scheduler, by Cirrus Insight.

Key Components of Effective Lead Routing

Undefined key components turn lead routing into a game of blindfolded darts - occasionally lucky, but not a recipe for long-term success. Therefore, consider the following components to shape your sales strategy for improved conversion rates.

Ideal Customer Profiles and Buyer Personas

A robust lead routing strategy begins with a deep understanding of who your ideal customers are (ICPs) and what their specific needs and behaviors are (Buyer Personas). This knowledge allows you to align your business goals with customer needs, empowering you to: 

  • Sharpen your lead targeting by comprehending your ideal customers’ needs and how your offerings can meet them.
  • Equip your team to customize their approaches to each lead’s unique preferences and requirements.
  • Optimize resource allocation by focusing on leads with high conversion potential and avoid low-yield prospects.

One of the lead routing best practices is to learn how to identify: 

Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs) that is a strategic blueprint outlining the characteristics of your perfect customer. 

  • Analyze existing customers for common characteristics such as industry, company size, location, and revenue.
  • Conduct market research to identify potential new markets or segments that align with your offerings.
  • Engage with customers through interviews and surveys to understand their motivations and value perceptions.

Pro-Tip: An ICP is dynamic. Regularly review and update your ICP to capture as much market share as possible.

Buyer Personas, however, are detailed representations of individual customers within the broader ICP framework. 

  • Interview a range of customers to understand their goals, challenges, etc.
  • Group customers with similar characteristics and behaviors to form the basis of a buyer persona.
  • Detail each persona’s job role, daily activities, pain points, and preferred communication channels.

Pro-Tip: Use these personas to customize sales and marketing messaging so that it will resonate with your prospects.

Lead Scoring Models for Prioritization

To optimize both time and resources, Lead Scoring Models help you focus on the most promising leads. How? By prioritizing leads based on engagement, interest, and fit with the ideal customer profile.  

The payoff? Businesses employing these models have seen a whopping 77% increase in ROI in lead generation. 

Some scoring models are: 

  • Scoring for Fit: Prioritizes leads based on company attributes such as company size, revenue, or location. 
  • Engagement Scoring: Scores leads based on interactions with your business such as email clicks, or web pages visited.

Advanced Routing Strategies

Here's how advanced lead routing best practices can transform your sales game.

Time-based Lead Routing

To prioritize the timing of lead engagement, time-based lead routing establishes rules to promptly address time-sensitive leads and rejuvenate cold leads. This proactive method helps businesses seize potential opportunities and maintain an active lead management process.

In fact, a swift response time can make you 21 times more likely to qualify for a lead compared to a 30+ minute delay. You have a brief window, and if you wait too long, it could result in the loss of once-eager prospects. 

How can you implement it? 

  • Define Parameters: Identify decay thresholds, such as a lead not contacted within 48 hours, to prevent value loss. Tailor these parameters to your industry and lead nature.
  • Set Timeframes: Establish maximum time between lead capture and follow-up, like contacting all new leads within 24 hours, to ensure timely engagement. 

Pro-Tip: It is as short as a few hours for high-intent leads, or a couple of days for lower-intent leads.

  • Automated Reassignments: Use CRM automation to reassign decaying leads, ensuring no lead is overlooked, and opportunities are not missed. For instance, a lead not contacted within the set timeframe gets reassigned for immediate follow-up.

Geography-based Lead Routing

Geography-based lead routing strategically assigns leads to sales reps based on their location, ensuring familiarity with the local market. 

How does this enhance successful conversion chances?

  • Reps’ knowledge of their territories better caters to the unique needs and preferences of leads.
  • Reps's understanding of local language, culture, and business practices fosters stronger lead relationships via effective communication.
  • Geographic lead assignment ensures synchronous communication, facilitating timely and convenient interactions.

For instance, a multinational company might assign a lead from Frankfurt to a Germany-based rep. This representative, knowledgeable about local business practices, language, and regulations like GDPR, can effectively cater to the lead’s needs to increase conversion chances with customer satisfaction. 

Match Profiles with Employees

To allow for a more personalized lead engagement, you can opt for matching lead profiles with employees who possess the relevant skills, experience, or expertise, which increases the likelihood of successful lead engagement. To implement it: 

  • Identify employee profiles to understand your sales team’s unique strengths, skills, and expertise by assessing their performance, specialization, and traits.
  • Define lead criteria based on their industry, company size, specific needs, or sales funnel stage.
  • Assign each lead type to the best-suited employee by mapping lead criteria to employee profiles.
  • Use lead routing software or CRM workflows to set up an automatic routing system for leads to the appropriate employees. 

This strategy is a lead routing best practice that not only optimizes lead engagement but also effectively re-engages cold leads by aligning them with the right employees. For instance, you can strategically reassign a cold lead to a seasoned sales rep. By employing a multi-day, multi-channel re-engagement strategy encompassing emails, calls, LinkedIn messages, videos, and direct mail, they can reignite interest. 

Lead Assignment Automation

To optimize lead routing and minimize manual tasks, automated lead assignment is key. This results in swift, precise lead routing, improved response times, and enhanced sales outcomes. 

How? 

  • Identify and assess your sales team’s needs and pinpoint areas where automation can enhance productivity.
  • Choose automation tools that can be implemented into the earliest step in the sales process.  For example, Smart Scheduler can be inserted into your meeting request process directly on your website so that your qualified prospect can select and schedule an open time directly on the calendar of the appropriate salesperson.

Best Practices in Lead Distribution

As one of the lead routing best practices, employing multiple lead distribution systems can boost conversion rates by up to 107%. To up your sales efficiency, implement best practices such as: 

Round-Robin Distribution

Round-robin distribution is a method that ensures fair lead allocation among sales representatives by distributing opportunities in a rotating order. It prioritizes representatives based on the time elapsed since their last lead assignment, ensuring that opportunities are distributed equitably. This system can be automated efficiently, providing an equal opportunity for all representatives to sell, thereby fostering a balanced and competitive sales environment.

Clear Routing Rules and Criteria

Routing rules are specific guidelines used by businesses to assign leads. These rules are based on various factors such as industry, geographical region, or lead score, ensuring a consistent and efficient lead distribution.

Routing rules can be set based on:

  1. Lead source, such as website, email, or social media. 
  2. Lead types, such as new leads, returning leads, or hot leads. For example, new prospects could go to a sales team, while returning customers go to a retention team.
  3. Lead score, which is a numerical value assigned to leads based on their fit, interests, and behavior. For example, high-scoring leads could be immediately routed to the sales team.
  4. Product or service the lead is interested in. For example, leads interested in a specific product could be routed to the corresponding product expert within the sales team.

Behavioral Triggers for Dynamic Routing

Businesses set up automated responses based on lead interactions to personalize the routing process. This behavioral trigger allows businesses to respond promptly and appropriately to lead engagement and dynamic routing, ensuring that the right leads connect with the right representatives at the right time. Some key behavioral triggers:

  • Webinar Attendance: If a lead attends a webinar on a specific topic, they could be dynamically routed to a sales representative specializing in that area. 
  • Content Downloads: Leads who download specific content could trigger dynamic routing. For example, a lead downloading a whitepaper on data security could be routed to a data security expert within the sales team.
  • Demo Requests: If a lead requests a product demo, they can be routed to a specialist. For example, a lead requesting a software demo could be routed to a software product specialist on the sales team.
  • Contact Form Submissions:  Leads submitting specific inquiries can be dynamically routed. For example, a lead inquiring about enterprise solutions could be routed to an enterprise sales rep.

lead-routing-cirrus-insight

The Strategic Impact of Lead Routing

A well-structured lead routing process is a must-have for any thriving business. Why? It elevates sales performance. By adhering to lead routing best practices, businesses can augment efficiency, foster personalization, and unlock their sales potential. Wondering about the necessity of a lead routing process? Harvard Business Review emphasized that a prompt response to queries within an hour amplifies the likelihood of lead qualification by seven times.

To maintain a competitive edge, businesses can leverage automation tools that streamline the process by instantly linking leads, prospects, and customers with the right colleague’s calendar.   They take into account factors such as representative territory, skill sets, availability, and utilization, thereby eliminating the scheduling friction often faced by buyers. 

Cirrus Insight has recognized this need and introduced its Smart Scheduler. A tool that does all this and more. Smart Scheduler empowers businesses to shorten lead response time, and drive customer satisfaction by intelligently connecting customers with the right resources and optimizing scheduling efficiency.

Conclusion: Transforming Your Sales Process with Lead Routing

Choose your lead routing software to maximize sales efficiency and improve lead conversion chances by: directing the right lead to the right sales representative at the right time. Real-time analytics and insights should help you optimize your lead routing strategy and foster better team collaboration. This allows your sales team to concentrate on closing deals.

Looking for a real-time lead routing solution? Discover Smart Scheduler.  

Still unsure? Book your demo call now and experience Cirrus Insight's power to help your sales team focus on their forte–selling

Ryan O'Connor
Ryan O'Connor

Ryan is a driven young professional with a background in project management and marketing operations in the SaaS world. With a wealth of industry experience and a talent for crafting engaging content, Ryan brings a unique and insightful perspective.

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