How’s your speed to lead rate, and how well-oiled is your lead nurturing process? The speed at which you nurture leads directly impacts the rate at which you generate revenues. Leads shouldn’t be sitting still — they need to be generated, qualified, distributed, nurtured, and closed. To do that efficiently, you need a strategy at every step of the way. And one important step is forwarding leads to reps.
After lead generation, comes lead distribution. Much in the same way a lead generation strategy imposes an efficient structure onto your lead generation efforts, a lead distribution strategy will make your nurturing efforts more effective.
What Is Lead Distribution?
Lead distribution is the routing of the leads you generated to your sales reps. You generate leads from various campaigns, qualify them, and then send them to your reps for nurturing campaigns. The critical aspect of lead distribution is matching the right leads to the right sales reps, because at a certain point of business maturity, your lead nurturing campaigns and sales teams will have more robust and well-defined standards and processes for turning leads into customers.
If that doesn’t seem like such a big deal, broaden the scope of what you’re imagining.
Just the simple mistake of sending information qualified leads to sales teams handling sales-ready leads can lead to some complicated situations. Hard selling leads who are still busy collecting information on what they want could easily backfire on your brand, not to mention adding to their touch point fatigue when you still want to keep nudging them in the right direction. From the business side of things, that also amounts to time wasted for the sales team members who need to constantly be churning output.
Lead distribution through software comes with the added benefit of automation. Given enough information, lead distribution software can automatically analyze, qualify, and assign leads to appropriate sales teams, reps, or campaigns. This naturally reduces manual effort and error, which again depending on the scale of the operation can be quite significant.
Additionally, effective lead distribution software and processes account for important factors on your side, as well. These include specializations, experience levels, and approach styles of your sales reps. Incorporating this information will improve the outcome of automated lead distribution.
Why Do You Need a Lead Distribution Strategy?
You need a lead distribution strategy for the same reason you need a proper strategy in any other part of your business: to make the process more efficient. In this case, to make the distribution more efficient and effective, matching the right leads to the right sales teams or reps to increase close rates.
Internally, there are a few specific benefits that stand out:
- It helps reps stay focused: High output, high stakes roles are better alleviated by effective strategy. Lead distribution strategy ensures that sales reps can leverage their expertise and experience to nurture leads more effectively instead of just getting random leads and trying to muscle them through the process.
- It increases speed to lead: An efficient lead distribution strategy strikes while the iron is hot. It wastes no time in activating an interested lead and, if and when timely and applicable, forwarding the lead to the right sales rep.
- It reduces overlooked leads: Efficient strategy wastes little. In this case, a good lead distribution strategy ensures that practically all leads are qualified, assessed for suitability for distribution, and forwarded to the right place. Most of the time leads that fall through the cracks can be traced to improper qualification due to manual errors or missing information, both of which can be addressed by improving their portions of the overall strategy.
What Are the Types of Lead Distribution Strategies?
There are generally three types of lead distribution methods.
Manual Lead Distribution
In this format, sales reps manually “pull” leads from the database your company uses. Manual lead distribution typically comes in two flavors:
- Cherry-picking: Sales reps pick leads based on key information such as their industry, job roles, and other qualifications to better match their sales expertise and thus potentially increase the chances of a successful close.
- Blind pulling: Sales reps just pull a random entry in the lead database with no visibility into key information.
Solely relying on manual lead distribution isn’t very efficient for large enterprises, as you can imagine, but it might be ideal depending on circumstances, e.g. clients purchasing large volumes per sale so reps cherry-pick the leads to increase the close rate. On the other hand, it might also seem obvious to cherry-pick instead of blind pull every time. But again, depending on circumstances, blind pulls can greatly increase process efficiency. One example is blind pulls being used for a sales team that processes generated leads to try to convert them from cold to warm through quick offers.
Automated Lead Distribution
Automated lead distribution uses lead routing rules to forward leads to sales reps that best match, according to specifications inputted into the system. Some formats of automated lead distribution include:
- Round robin: An automated lead distribution version of blind pulling, where routes simply lead to which sales rep is available at the time. Usually, sales reps are queued and leads are matched to who’s next in line.
- Top performer: A routing rule that prioritizes forwarding high-performing leads to top sales performers, therefore maximizing the close chances on high yield leads.
- Territory: Routing rules are based on which sales rep owns a specific territory, which is calibrated within the system. A territory can be a combination of factors and not necessarily a geographic territory.
Hybrid Lead Distribution
Combining manual and automated lead distribution gives you a hybrid model, where leads are still forwarded to sales teams based on routing rules, but then individual reps in that team can pull the leads they want to work on.
A shotgun method of distribution is a common hybrid format where leads are distributed to specialized teams based on their type. Both automated and hybrid lead distribution are more often used in medium-sized to enterprise-level organizations, for obvious reasons.
Implementing a Lead Distribution Strategy
Automate, optimize, and test. Simply put, automate lead capture wherever possible, automate lead qualifying as much as you can, and test the lead distribution strategies you use to sift through those leads.
Upon automating lead capture and qualification, you can outright dismiss leads that don’t meet your requirements or collect them into a pool you can revisit later. This will depend on your internal policies, but note that the key is to automate efficiently: always ensure the methods and tools for lead capture and qualification can give you as much valuable information as possible without the need for human intervention. Still, provide avenues for human contact where needed.
If your organization is at a certain stage of maturity, there is no real way around using automated or hybrid lead distribution methods, so there is a constant need for ongoing performance testing. You need to be able to create lead routing rules that send the right leads to the right reps based on important factors like location, experience, expertise, performance, and availability.
Then you need to test out the system you set up to pinpoint areas of improvement. Constantly. Again: Always automate, test, optimize, and repeat.
Effective Lead Distribution Strategies Make Sales Processes More Efficient
Handling leads properly requires effective strategy, especially once your business grows to a scale where the quality and quantity of leads you generate forces you to adapt more complex approaches to lead generation, distribution, and nurturing.
Effective lead distribution strategies can make or break your entire lead pipeline. Trust us, we know what high performance looks like. Aktify’s integrated solutions deliver 10x ROI for clients through reliable, scalable connections supported by conversational AI technology that’s invisible and requires no software to install.
If you’re interested in activating sales prospects and delivering them to your sales reps as phone calls, book a demo with Aktify to learn more.