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All your associates are probably talking about how great their lead generation is going and how many sales they’re making from their inbound marketing. But they probably don’t mention how they’re managing leads when they come pouring in all at once.

How do you deal with so many calls and web form submissions? Which salesperson should handle which customer? How do you prevent a sales rep from grabbing all the new leads but never nurturing them appropriately?

The answer to all of these questions is lead routing — a set of rules in your CRM or sales engagement software that will automatically assign new leads to available sales reps based on custom guidelines and rules. Let’s dive into lead routing and learn why it’s such a critical automation tool for growing teams.

What Is Lead Routing?

Lead routing is the process by which you assign incoming leads to different people on your sales team. There are several different lead assignment methods that may work for your organization, including territory, use-case, deal value, lead score, availability, and hierarchy. 

Appropriate lead routing has even been used in emergency response to reduce misrouting by 50%! It’s up to you to decide which method — or combination of methods — works best for your sales process and workflow.

Territory Lead Routing

Territory lead routing is an ideal option for those sales teams that are targeting several geographic locations with reps assigned to specific territories. When a new lead comes in from a certain region, like America, Europe, or Africa, it gets sent to the person responsible for that area.

If you have multiple reps that support one region, you can add another rule to your lead routing process by ensuring the lead gets sent to the next available rep or to the rep that has the most experience in the service or product in which this lead is interested.

Use-Case Lead Routing

As I mentioned above, there is a way to assign inbound leads based on the expertise of your reps. If a lead is interested in a specific product or service from your lineup, you can direct them to the rep who knows most about it.

However, this type of lead management has a few pitfalls. You might only have one rep experienced in your most popular product, resulting in unequal lead distribution that overloads them and leaves your other reps with nothing to do. If this is a trend you anticipate, ensure more reps are trained on your most popular services and products so reassignment of qualified leads doesn’t delay your response time.

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Deal Value Lead Routing

An additional way you can utilize automated lead routing is by using the value of the potential deal. This is especially easy if you have sales leads fill out a web form before contacting you. Depending on the information you request, you can calculate deal value and assign higher value deals to those team members with more experience.

You can also use this lead routing system to ensure fairer distribution among your sales representatives with everyone getting equal opportunities to meet metrics, make sales goals, and increase commissions.

Lead Score Routing

Lead scoring, also known as lead qualification, is an essential part of your lead generation process that should come before you route a lead to a customer success manager or salesperson. Why is lead scoring so important? Because it can help determine whether a potential customer is exhibiting the right buying behaviors to ensure a conversion.

When you know how high a potential lead scores on your qualification chart, you can prioritize those leads that are more likely to convert and assign the highest scoring leads to your next available rep or to the representative with the most experience. Some lead scoring metrics that may help you determine the best rep include:

  • Company size
  • Time zone
  • Location
  • Use case

Availability Routing

This lead assignment rule is also known as round-robin and simply assigns the newest lead to the next available rep. This style of routing can reduce lead response time and provide an immediate connection to a sales rep so they can respond in real-time.

Hierarchy Lead Routing

This type of lead routing is the most complex and relies on how much firmographic data you have. It’s most often utilized by teams who sell to enterprise organizations with multiple companies underneath a single banner. When contacted by a new lead owned by the same parent company as an existing customer, you can assign it to the sales rep already familiar with the organization.

Lead Routing Best Practices

Lead Routing Best Practices graphic
 Implement best practices to train salespeople to make better decisions.

To ensure your lead routing software is operating seamlessly within your workflow, there are a few recommendations that can optimize and enhance the functionality of this marketing automation.

1. Keep It Simple

Don’t let your routing rules get too complicated unless it’s necessary. Typically, round-robin assignments are best, unless you’re an enterprise with complex territory and account guidelines.

2. Accuracy Over Speed

While availability-based lead routing solutions are quick, they’re not always accurate. Temper your speed with knowledge when you assign customers to the right sales rep — especially if you serve multiple industries with specific reps for each one.

3. Pacing Through Assignment Rules

Sometimes, your leads may need to be routed more than once. If a sales rep hasn’t responded to a lead within an appropriate time frame, it’s a good idea to reroute them to the next available rep automatically, ensuring a timely follow-up.

4. Update As Needed

Your sales and marketing teams will grow and your business processes will evolve. Don’t let your lead routing stagnate and stifle growth. Use integrated forecasting and analytics to spot room for improvement to continually optimize and streamline your outreach.

Lead Routing To Maximize Conversion Rates

There’s a lot to learn about lead routing. If you don’t have a solution yet, check out a list of the top lead routing software options that could hold the answer to your lead flood. If you already have a software, but you’re not sure if you’re using it correctly, head over to this Salesforce lead routing guide to discover key tips for automation and optimization.

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Phil Gray
By Phil Gray

Philip Gray is the COO of Black and White Zebra and Founding Editor of The RevOps Team. A business renaissance man with his hands in many departmental pies, he is an advocate of centralized data management, holistic planning, and process automation. It's this love for data and all things revenue operations landed him the role as resident big brain for The RevOps Team.

With 10+ years of experience in leadership and operations in industries that include biotechnology, healthcare, logistics, and SaaS, he applies a considerable broad scope of experience in business that lets him see the big picture. An unapologetic buzzword apologist, you can often find him double clicking, drilling down, and unpacking all the things.