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Lead routing software

Here's how to get leads to the right place at the right time.

Zendesk's guide to lead routing

A line out the door is usually seen as a shining beacon of a business’s success. When people camp out overnight for the new iPhone, no one doubts Apple’s commitment to quality and no one questions needing to wait hours for service.

Not so in digital sales.

When it comes to leads, the tortoise always loses the race. According to Harvard Business Review, companies that respond to a lead within the first hour of outreach are 60 times more likely to convert than companies that respond after 24 hours.

That means when your leads come in, they need to be assigned as rapidly and efficiently as possible before the competition swoops in and steals them away.

Round robin lead routing is the best way to get those leads where they need to be in order to keep your conversion rates high and your pipeline humming.

In this piece, we’ll reveal what makes round robin lead routing so beneficial and give you the inside scoop on the lead routing features you need to make it happen.

Lead routing definition

First, let’s talk about basic lead routing.

Lead routing is the process of quickly gathering incoming leads and distributing them amongst your sales team for follow up. Different companies have different lead routing styles, but the general rule is that you want to have a system in place—not leave your reps to a disorganized free-for-all.

With an organized routing rules system, you can efficiently match leads with a sales rep who makes sense. Quick matches ensure that your leads are contacted in a timely manner by the people best suited to converting them.

First come, first serve lead routing can technically get the job done, but it’s not always the best idea. Putting aside the fact that different reps bring a variety of skills to the table, the ‘first come, first serve’ method often leaves leads feeling neglected. Your best reps might be able to handle more leads than some of their peers, but they’re ultimately working with the same number of hours in the day.

Too many leads distributed to any one rep means opportunities slip under the radar and leads are lost. That’s a huge revenue risk. Using a smart lead routing system keeps your team accountable and prevents leads from falling through the cracks.

Additionally, lead routing decreases your average response time to inquiries. Sales prospecting is already a lengthy process, especially with B2B sales. Getting that zippy response to your lead’s inbox jumpstarts a faster sales cycle and catches their attention before the competition snatches them away.

Lead scoring and round robin lead routing

Lead scoring and lead routing go hand-in-hand. Lead scoring (an organized form of lead qualification) is a critical step in the sales process. When lead scoring, inbound leads are typically given a numerical score based on a predetermined list of criteria. Leads that make the cut move into the sales pipeline and leads that don’t get put on the backburner so you don’t waste time and resources.

Zendesk lead scoring

Round robin lead routing ensures qualified leads consistently get to the right place. When leads aren’t spread out amongst your team, they can start piling up in a huge line waiting for their turn to be scored. When the leads are dispersed evenly, reps have time to qualify efficiently and accurately—steadily adding MQLs and SQLs into the funnel without causing a plumbing backup.

Round robin lead routing

No lead routing system is completely foolproof, but the round robin style is by far the most efficient and fair method of lead management. Round robin lead routing is simply a rotation through lead assignments—a bit like dealing cards. If your sales team has five people on it, then your assignment rules would go as follows:

Zendesk lead scoring

By using this delegation system, leads are automatically assigned to the next rep in line. This increases response time and keeps lead assignments equitable. If there’s a guaranteed rotation, no one runs so low on leads that they miss quota and no one gets so overwhelmed with leads that you start seeing churn increases.

Round robin lead routing best practices

The premise of round robin is simple, but there are still ways to make it more specific and efficient. Let’s take a look at a few best practices.

Keep your systems in alignment

The primary benefit of the round robin approach is that it ensures a steady stream of leads are always flowing into the sales pipeline. However, if your other departments don’t know which lead distribution system you’re using, their own behaviors can easily muck up your efforts.

For instance, your sales team may have their own array of effective sales prospecting techniques that create a steady flow of SQLs. But if marketing is dealing with a huge influx of leads and waiting to qualify them all as MQLs before sending them on, it creates a massive backup. By the time that wave of leads hits your sales team, the round robin becomes frustrating as reps work as fast as they can to deal with the onslaught.

If your goal is a steady stream of leads, align with other departments to keep that stream flowing from initial outreach to the final purchase.

Make use of your employees’ skill sets

Remember, equality is not equity. Let’s say you work for a SaaS company. You have four sales reps on your team, all of whom are well trained in your basic products. However, you’ve recently introduced a new product specifically designed for medical offices and the leads are flooding in. Three of your reps have knowledge of the medical administration team and one has none. Is it wise to use a full round robin?

The answer is no.

If you have reps with specific skills and a product that needs those skills, adjust your rotation and let your reps shine in their own territory. In this scenario, there’s nothing wrong with shifting the medical leads over to a team of three and letting your fourth rep handle basic software inquiries. If you hit a slow patch, that fourth rep can work with one of the others to improve their knowledge without risking a huge loss.

Stay flexible and adapt to the ups and downs of your sales cycle

Automation might be a gamechanger for the sales industry, but nothing will ever fully replace the power of human nuance and insight. If your sales cycle is facing an uphill battle, feel free to change your system to combat the problem. The beauty of human choice is that we’re not locked into one system.

If you need to break round robin rotation because a flu takes out half your team, do it. If you need to move a high-profile client from a brand new rep to a seasoned pro, go ahead.

Finding a solution that works most of the time doesn’t mean it works all of the time. When flexibility is needed, don’t be afraid to stretch.

How to choose a lead routing tool

Round robin lead routing is all about adopting easy automation that saves time, speeds up response rates, and increases sales rep success. However, not all lead routing software is up to the round robin standard.

If you’re in the market for the ideal lead routing solution, here are some of the features to look for:

  • Adaptive round robin automated lead routing (the number one feature to look for)
  • Lead engagement tools
  • Automatic regional lead distribution
  • Lead position tracking

Additionally, great lead routing software is always user-friendly. Make sure your software offers a demo or trial so that you can test drive usability and key sales prospecting tools. A top lead routing system will have simple interfaces that let you easily adjust scoring criteria and rules. When your sales strategies have to be adaptable, your sales software should be as well.

Try lead routing software for free

Zendesk Sell provides the flexibility you deserve with the robust automated features you need. As an all-in-one sales CRM, Zendesk Sell aligns your entire company while offering the tools you expect of fast, accurate lead management, lead scoring, and lead generation software.

Ready to implement round robin lead routing with your sales team? Request a demo of Zendesk Sell today and see what top-of-the-line lead routing can do for you.