LEAD ASSIGNMENT SYSTEMS
Cherry-Picking – The Great Scourge
Perhaps the most basic lead assignment system of all is one which allows sales reps to choose which leads they will work on. In this situation reps tend to cherry-pick the best-looking leads. Often, the most experienced sales reps will dominate the process, cherry-picking the best leads for themselves.
Cherry-picking is the scourge of many a sales team. It can be de-motivating and often causes tension and disruption within a team. The problem is that the leads being cherry-picked are often the easiest to convert. The leads with the highest long-term potential are often left in the pack, getting colder by the minute. Cherry-picking has a devastating effect on productivity, performance and morale.
The Shark Tank – First Come First Served
Similar to cherry-picking, the difference being that with the shark tank method the system proactively notifies every sales rep when a new lead comes into the business. Then it’s simply a case of which rep moves fastest to “claim” the lead. Needless to say the most attractive looking leads will be claimed very quickly, whereas less attractive leads sit in queues, waiting to be claimed.
Round Robin Assignment Systems – Nice and Easy
Round robin is perhaps the simplest automated lead assignment system. Leads are assigned to reps one by one. It’s just like dealing cards around a poker table. The dealer deals to the left or right, everyone gets dealt one card in turn, then everyone gets another. Round robin can be effective in smaller teams.
But it’s very crude. Round robin distribution takes no account of the different skills, capabilities and capacities of each sales rep. So productivity and performance can quickly be undermined as some reps become overwhelmed whilst others are sat idle.
Weighted Round Robin – Factoring in Rep Capability
A weighting is assigned to each rep based on their skills, experience or capabilities. So if an inexperienced rep is deemed to be in over their heads when it is their “turn” to receive a lead, then that rep will skip their turn for that round or assignments
Dynamic Round Robin – Load-Balanced Lead Assignment
A dynamic round robin assignment system applies a bit more intelligence. A weight is now applied to each sales rep dynamically, based on real‑time information about the rep’s current workload and capacity. So if a rep is at or over capacity because they are dealing with one or more particularly complex assignments, or perhaps because there has been a sudden influx of leads, the next due assignment gives them a miss.
BEYOND ROUND ROBIN
Round robin distribution systems are a good place to start, but in high-volume Enterprise environments, the round-robin element becomes superfluous. In teams of 50 or more, there is a critical need for a more dynamic approach, in order to drive maximum productivity and performance.
Assign Leads to Best Available Agent
Sales reps have different skills and capabilities, be it product knowledge, experience or language. They also have different physical attributes, for example their location and equipment/tools at their disposal. An advanced assignment system can use assignment rules to factor all of that into the assignment decision-making process. By analyzing every lead as it comes into the business, and then making an instant decision on who is the best-qualified and available rep to process and (hopefully) convert that lead, productivity and performance can be dramatically improved.
Assign Leads to First Available Agent
In super-busy high volume environments, queues are the biggest scourge. A lead which is stuck in a queue is a lead which is going cold – fast. In these circumstances it can make sense to simply assign each and every lead to the first agent to become available. Or perhaps reps can be organised into teams or assignment groups which share similar skills, and then leads can be matched (i) to the most appropriate team and then (ii) to the first available rep in that team.
Match Leads to Previous Agent
Where a new lead has had a previous interaction with a sales rep, perhaps one which resulted in a sale, it may make sense to route that new lead to the same rep, so long as they are available. Developing relationships can be a key to success, so matching known prospects to familiar sales reps can boost conversion rates significantly.
Match Leads to Dedicated Account Manager
In the large Enterprise, many accounts will have nominated account managers, in which case it makes sense to route any new leads from that account to the dedicated account manager, so long as they have the capacity.
Match Leads to Account Team
Very large accounts often have a team of account managers including, perhaps, a sales executive, a senior account executive and perhaps even an account director. Under these circumstances caps, issues around queues and capacity can be overcome by routing new leads to the first or best available sales rep within that whole team.
Intelligent Lead Assignment Systems with Dynamic Rules
The Rolls Royce of lead assignment systems which incorporates the best elements of all of the above. A truly intelligent lead assignment system, ideally native to the Salesforce CRM platform, will assess the whole situation in real-time. It will analyze lead attributes and then match to reps, teams or queues on any number of criteria, deploying weighting, caps, quotas and using automated load-balancing to maximize productivity and performance. Queues can be constantly monitored, again in real-time, and leads can be automatically reassigned if they have to wait too long or a better qualified rep becomes available. In high volume sales environments, where performance optimization is business critical, this is the way to go. Lead throughput can be maximized, productivity optimized and overall performance can go through the roof. It’s all about routing the right lead to the right rep at the right time. An intelligent lead assignment system, which utilizes dynamic assignment rules, can do just that.
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