Have you intentionally managed and optimized your sales lead routing and assignment process? If not, you could be leaking sales, marketing ROI and not realize it.
Let me explain.
LeadData’s new report, The State of Lead Management, based on a survey of 527 B2B sellers and marketers found an average 25.5 % of marketing-generated leads get assigned to the wrong account owner.
Did you catch that? Over 25% of marketing-generated leads get assigned to the wrong person.
This means individuals who expressed interest are not getting the attention they deserve.
LeanData also discovered sales and marketing leaders also have different opinions on lead follow-up effectiveness. For example, the chart below shows 30% of marketing leaders believe that sales will always follow-up on marketing-generated leads compared to 61% of sales leaders.
There’s room for improvement.
In this post, I’m going to share seven tips to help you improve lead routing for more sales.
Do you have the following things documented with your sales team?
I helped a client develop a service level agreement to improve lead routing and increased their leads-to-opportunities by over 200%.
It takes some time to plan the process and collaborative work with sales. But it’s worth it. Using this approach, they converted 200% more leads to opportunities.
Use your potential customer’s and your sales rep’s time well. When someone downloads a single piece of content (like a white paper), are they ready for a sales rep to call? Not likely.
The key to lead routing to match readiness of the lead (i.e., future customer) with expectations of your sales team. If you don’t do this, you’re starting them off with an immediate disconnect.
First, you need to qualify each lead to see they are “sales-ready” which means they want to talk to a salesperson. You can find this ideal point by using lead scoring and lead qualification. There is only so much information that you can get off a Web form or that someone will volunteer in an email.
Like a relay race, there’s a point when Marketing’s and Sales’ hands are on the baton when you make a handoff.
Here’s what I mean.
You need to be clear when marketing is going to hand the lead off to sales. You need to be clear when marketing is going to hand the lead off to sales. So don’t drop the baton because that hurts the relationship.
Additionally, salespeople often struggle with their follow-up approach.After working with hundreds of sales people and seeing their sales processes first hand, I frequently hear this “stuck point.” They often ask, “How do I advance the lead when there isn’t an immediate need?” And sales people are often stuck wondering, “What else can I talk to them about?”
Without your input, sales people can resort to boring or irrelevant messaging. This is not because they lack creatively, it comes down to their time. Help your salespeople spend their time connecting and selling rather than building content and messaging.
Create a few emails and some talking points to help them connect with the motivation of leads based on their interest. In sum, help your sales team with messaging and content to engage relevantly.
Here are three potential ideas you can test to optimize your lead routing for more sales:
Use lead grading to rank what level of expertise leads need based on the need. More general inquiries can go to inside sales reps first. Do not frustrate field salespeople with sending them people who don’t want to talk to them. Make sure you sort your leads based on anticipated needs or interest then route them as soon as possible.
Use your sales team’s industry experience and knowledge. The more you know about your reps, the more you can match with leads they’ll have the most success. This is why round-robin lead distribution can be deadly to conversion. It assumes every salesperson is the same.
If you have a large distributed field team, you likely route leads via territories or regions. But smaller teams and inside sales teams can also use local lead routing too. You can help your help your sales team make local connections.
For example, if a contact works from home in CA, but their office is located in MN. Who do you route this lead too? Can that person based in CA connect work with someone local? You need to real collaboration with sales to do this.
Does your routing support the real-time tracking and reporting of all marketing-generated leads? You can monitor and measure lead routing in the following ways:
For more ideas, read 6 Metrics That Will Get You an Edge and Your CEO Clarity
Tip 7: Use a checklist to make sure no leads get lost or missed
Airline pilots, portfolio managers, surgeons use checklists so why not marketers? By using lists, you can improve your performance and get more consistent results. For more on this, read HBR: Using Checklists to Prevent Failure.
You can use the following list of steps to help you focus where you need to improve lead routing now:
In sum, you can get a boost to your lead generation ROI without any extra spending by improving how you route leads. Using the example I started with, if you were to improve lead routing, it’s like getting a 25% lift in leads. Here’s this best part: You can do this without spending anymore more budget. That’s the kind of results we can all get excited about.
It’s your turn. What’s worked for you to optimize lead routing? Share in the comments below.
Brian Carroll is the CEO and founder of markempa, helping companies to convert more customers with empathy-based marketing. He is the author of the bestseller, Lead Generation for the Complex Sale, and the B2B Lead Blog which is read by thousands each week. He also founded B2B Lead Roundtable LinkedIn Group with 20,301+ members.