Everyone knows that finding the right lead is important. But it’s just as important to get leads to the right person at the right time. To do this, you need a good lead assignment strategy. This article introduces twelve industry best practices to help you organize your team and assign your leads strategically.
1. Automate Lead Assignment
According to a Harvard Business Review study, companies are nearly seven times as likely to qualify leads if they contact those leads within an hour. The same study found that most companies still take more than an hour to respond to leads. The most common reason for slow lead response is a lack of automation. If you’re still manually importing and assigning leads, this may be your best opportunity to improve response time.
2. Assign Leads Based on Skill Set
“The trusted advisor is quickly replacing the salesman.”
Customers expect to speak to a knowledgeable sales rep. They want someone who understands their needs and can guide them through the decision-making process. Assigning leads to sales reps based on product line, industry, or other criteria can help you meet that expectation.
3. Assign Leads Round Robin
Using geographic territory to assign leads is suitable for outside sales reps because it reduces travel expenses. When travel isn’t a consideration, try a round-robin approach. Round-robin distribution is a lead assignment method that ensures leads are evenly distributed to sales reps. It’s quick and impartial and can save you time when every minute counts. Round-robin distribution can also:
- Put an end to the bickering among sales reps about territories. Keep your sales reps focused on what matters.
- Eliminate the need for territory balancing. Managing lead assignments becomes far simpler when leads are assigned evenly rather than based on geographic territory.
- Help you compare sales reps on equal ground. When you evenly assign leads, you remove statistical bias. This helps you to accurately measure sales rep performance.
4. Measure Lead Response Time
“You can’t manage what you can’t measure.”
It’s difficult to tell if your assignment strategy is working without measuring response time. You want your sales team to act on leads quickly, so the more effective your assignment strategy, the faster your response times. Fortunately, response time is not difficult to measure. One common approach is to compare the create date and time of the lead to the date and time of the first activity.
5. Take Availability Into Account
Your lead assignment strategy should account for sales rep availability. Assigning leads to a rep who is busy or out of the office is a surefire way to let hot leads grow cold. Consider pausing assignments for reps who are unavailable.
6. Automatically Reassign Leads
Many companies set specific requirements in their sales SLA related to lead response time. This is made even more effective when enforced by automatic lead reassignment. Nothing will motivate your sales reps to respond quickly to leads more than the risk of leads being reassigned. This is also an effective measure to ensure leads assigned to unavailable reps do not go unworked for long.
7. Automate the Initial Response
Research shows that 78% of customers buy from the company that responds first. More and more companies are relying on sales automation solutions to automate the initial response to prospects. Platforms such as Outreach and Groove can help you send prospects automated email responses that are highly relevant and feel personalized.
8. Use Weighted Lead Assignment
Weighted assignment allows managers to optimize performance by controlling the number of leads assigned to each sales rep. Weighted assignment can help companies maximize conversion rates, reward top performers with additional leads, and balance sales rep workloads.
9. Create an SLA
A service-level agreement (SLA) is a critical tool to prevent misalignment between sales and marketing teams. An SLA is a contract that outlines the responsibilities of each team, defines terms like “qualified lead,” and explains how teams should communicate. Most companies find writing this out to be the first step to cooperation and more effective lead management.
For a more in-depth look at SLAs, see our article “How to Craft a Winning SLA”.
10. Score Leads
To assign the best leads while they’re fresh, you have to know which leads are the best. Lead scoring helps with this. Lead scoring is a way of projecting how likely a prospect is to purchase based on their attributes and/or actions they perform. A prospects score increases as they perform actions associated with purchasing such as:
- Website visits
- Content downloads
- Form submissions
- Video views
- Event participation
Many companies use lead scoring to help determine when a prospect is ready for contact.