Leads, leads everywhere…
You have leads coming in from PPC ads, blog banners, emails, sponsored posts on social media, and some organic traffic on the website.
Now, suppose you are in a business with multiple services and catering to different geographies. You must be able to manage the leads properly and allocate the right sales representative. Effective lead distribution is key to driving maximum sales and beating the issue of leaky sales funnels. This is known as lead routing or lead assignment. It is a lot like email segmentation wherein you categorize the leads according to specific factors.
Understanding Lead Routing
The automated process by which you distribute the incoming leads among sales representatives is known as lead routing. Businesses with large sales teams face the issue of broken sales funnels. That’s why it is imperative to use an automatic lead routing software.
The CRM software designates the leads to the sales professionals according to predetermined parameters that match the business type. It could be zip code, product inquired for, lead score, or expertise and availability of the sales representative. These are known as lead routing rules. They govern the allotment of sales representatives for the incoming leads. It is done in such a way that there is a maximum chance of converting them.
Lead Assignment Rules
1. Company size
Sales is always a relative subject. If you have multiple packages for your product, you have to consider the kind of requirements that the user has. For example: A solopreneur, a mid-level company with 100-250 employees, and a large enterprise should be dealt with differently. It is a general observation that larger companies are more mindful before investing in a new software. You will have to build their confidence with compelling case studies or testimonials to convince them to purchase. A lead routing software will help in distributing the prospects to the correct sales representative.
2. The prospect’s location
Most companies have business development representatives working in different shifts or from different locations. The CRM can assign the sales representative according to the time zone and availability. It is good to have dedicated teams for every geographical location you cater to. (We shall discuss the benefits of lead routing in the next section. Keep reading…)
3. Business feature
Not all sales representatives are well-versed with all business functions. They don’t even need to be… Lead routing will help assign expert sales representatives who can understand the customer’s needs and address all their concerns.
These are just some of the most commonly used lead routing rules. You can modify them according to your business model.
Here’s how the lead routing flow chart would look if your business has both B2C and B2B products.
By now, you must have had a slight idea of the benefits of lead routing. Let’s take a closer look at how lead routing facilitates faster business growth.
1. It improves customer experience
With lead routing, you can redirect the leads to the right salespersons. It will facilitate the sales process and render a pleasant customer experience. Through this method, sales reps who are experienced in selling to solopreneurs won’t be assigned business owners of large enterprises and vice versa.
2. It reduces the response time
By mapping the correct sales reps with the leads, you can ensure instant replies and better conversations. Suppose you have a lead from Australia. With lead routing, you will be able to assign a sales rep who works in line with the Australian time zone. It will ensure that there are no timezone barriers while the sales rep deals with the prospect.
Lead routing software enables real-time lead distribution. Due to this, it is easy to recognize the leads who need to be acknowledged instantly.
A prospect who has sent an email asking for a product demo after visiting your blog, needs to be addressed almost immediately.
3. You get access to accurate data
More often than not, your salespersons are juggling several things at a time. Amidst all that work chaos, it is not possible to analyze lead data or even collect it. They might not be able to manage the data properly and end up making mistakes. Lead routing helps provide more accurate data. It will let the sales professionals know about the hottest leads and pay special attention to them.
4. It will organize the leads better
Arranging the leads in the correct order, according to the date added or last interaction, is an important aspect of effective sales. Lead routing works as a platform to organize the leads properly. Consequently, the right sales reps can contact them at the right time. It also maintains a record of the leads who have been contacted previously. You will also get data of the leads who are not interested so that you can stop contacting them. Easy filtering of leads is one of the most useful features of lead routing software.
5. It will increase the employee productivity
Using a versatile lead routing tool will warrant that every prospect is put in touch with the most suitable sales professional. Hence, it will contribute to better sales and higher conversion rate without hampering the productivity of the sales professional. It will reduce the number of hours wasted over a wrong lead. Ultimately, it will translate to better utilization of the resources and high profitability.
6. You will be able to gauge the effectiveness of your sales and marketing initiatives
The lead routing software offers you analytical reports with insights into a sales professional’s performance. Number of incoming leads, quality of leads, conversion rates, average response time, revenue, and leads accepted or declined are all vital details that a lead routing software provides. These details will let the managers and decision makers understand how their business growth programs are performing. It will give an idea about any leaks in the funnel and workflow challenges. Then, if needed, they can go for sales training.
How to Execute Lead Routing System For Your Business
Let me break it down into 3 easy steps for you.
1. Outline the criteria for lead routing
The first step is to determine the lead routing criteria. How do you want to assign the leads? By lead score, geography, use case, or any other parameter relevant for your business?
2. Build the workflow
Subsequently, create the automation workflow considering the criteria defined in step 1.
3. Qualify leads
Lastly, you will have to use a lead scoring model to qualify leads.
There are some best practices that you must follow for a coherent lead routing strategy. Here’s a low-down on all those points.
1. Use a well-integrated platform
Like I said at the outset, you are receiving leads from all sides (read: platforms). You must make sure that the CRM platform is keeping track of each one. There’s social media, PPC ads, emails, and also third-party sources. Marketers often overlook the third-party sources but it can prove detrimental for your business growth. Always remember the more organized your data is, the better will be the lead quality. Eventually, it will bring in more conversions.
2. Try to circumvent handpicking leads
When you provide too much information about the prospect, the sales reps get inclined to handpick leads. This might lead them to miss out on several other leads. Obviously, the conversion rate will be low and so will be the long-term sales.
3. Profile the lead correctly
Often, we come across a situation where we notice that the SQL in our Excel Sheet is from a company who is already our customer. Such leads have to be routed differently. The Customer Success Manager will be the right point of contact to handle such leads. In case the SQL’s employer is not a customer, the routing criteria will include the relationship between you and the employer. In case you already have a rapport with the business, the CSM can directly take over and educate the lead about your product.
4. Monitor the performance of your strategy
A lead routing software can surely help you set an automation workflow. What’s more important is how you track the sales strategy’s successes and drawbacks and work on the latter. With automation, you can easily take the trial and error approach and keep optimizing it with time.
Leads are lost because of no response, delayed response, not-so-good customer experience, and incompetent sales professionals. By investing in a lead routing software, you can overcome such challenges and avoid losing out on valuable leads.
Disha Bhatt (Dave)
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