Salesforce Assignment Rules Overview


What Are Assignment Rules

Assignment rules are a standard feature in Salesforce used to automate the assignment of leads and cases. Assignment rules can be a great alternative to manually assigning records. However, there are more than a few limitations you’ll want to be aware of. Luckily, this guide will tell you everything you need to know!


Let’s start by discussing some of the limitations of assignment rules:
  • Limited to Leads and Cases: assignment rules cannot be used to assign standard or custom objects other than leads and cases. This is definitely the biggest limitation of assignment rules.
  • No round-robin assignment: assignment rules cannot be used to assign to a group of users. You must designate a specific user or queue for each rule.
  • No workload-based assignment: it’s not possible to limit the number of leads and cases assigned to each user. This can result in slow response times and employee burnout.
  • No availability-based assignment: assignments cannot be paused for unavailable users. This can significantly slow down your response time.
  • Difficult to maintain: assignment rules can quickly become difficult to manage—even for small teams with simple assignment logic. Here’s an example of what a small portion of a typical assignment rule looks like:

Assignment rules can still be very useful despite these limitations. Continue reading to learn how assignment rules work.

How Assignment Rules Work

An assignment rule is a collection of conditional statements known as assignment rule entries. Each assignment rule entry contains one or more conditions and a user or queue to whom matching records will be assigned.

The Sort Order field can be used to change the order in which assignment rules are executed. Leads and cases will be evaluated against assignment rule entries in order and assigned by the first assignment rule entry that matches.

In the example above, we’ve prioritized our rules for Canada provinces (e.g. Ontario) higher than our country-wide Canada rule entry to ensure that leads from specific provinces don’t get assigned to the wrong person.

Next we’ll step you through how to actually create an assignment rule. 

How to Create Assignment Rules

Ready to create your first assignment rule? Follow these steps:

  1. Login to Salesforce.
  2. Navigate to Setup.
  3. Search for “assignment rules” in Quick Find and click either Lead Assignment Rules or Case Assignment Rules.
  4. Click New to create a new rule.
  5. Name your rule and then click Save. We recommend leaving the Active box unchecked for now. 

Now you’re ready to specify how leads or cases will be assigned.

  1. Click on the rule you created.
  2. Click New to create a rule entry.
  3. Fill out the following:
    1. Sort Order: this controls the order in which rules are executed.
    2. Criteria: you can enter one or more filters to define which records should be assigned by this rule.
    3. Owner: choose a user or queue to which records should be assigned. Alternatively you can check the Do Not Reassign Owner checkbox if this rule should not assign records.
  4. (Optional) Select an email template for notifying users of assignments.
  5. Click “Save.
  6. Repeat the above steps for any additional rule entries.

How to Run Assignment Rules

First you’ll need to activate your assignment rule. Follow these steps to do so:

  1. Navigate to your assignment rule.
  2. Click the Edit
  3. Check the Active
  4. Click Save.

Only one assignment rule can be active at a time. Active assignment rules will automatically assign leads and cases that are created manually or using web-to-lead forms, web-to-case, email-to-case, etc. You’ll also be able to select an assignment rule to use when importing leads or cases using the Data Import Wizard.

Tips and Tricks

  • It’s always a good idea to include a final rule entry with no conditions. This will be used to catch anything that didn’t match your rule criteria and assign it to a user or queue for review.
  • It’s also a good idea to include a rule entry that assigns junk (e.g. spam, test records, etc.) to a queue for review and deletion.
  • We recommend you test assignment rules in a sandbox before you add to your production org. However, keep in mind that assignment rules cannot be deployed from a sandbox to a production org.
  • Custom formula fields can help to simplify complex assignment rules. For example, rather than entering lengthy criteria (e.g. lists of states by region) you could create a formula field instead. This would reduce your criteria from “STATE/PROVINCE EQUALS IL,IN,IA,KS,MI,MN,MO,NE,ND,OH,SD,WI” to “REGION EQUALS Midwest”.
  • You can enable field history tracking on the owner field to track assignments made by your assignment rules.


Salesforce assignment rules can be a valuables tool for many organizations. However, it’s important to understand the limitations. If you’re struggling with assignment rules it may be time to look at alternative solutions. Kubaru is a powerful automated assignment application for Salesforce. Check us out on the Salesforce AppExchange.  

Haven Wilding

Haven Wilding

Haven is a business and tech writer with an emphasis on Salesforce and digital marketing.

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