Lead Routing: The Critical Process for Go-to-Market Revenue Growth

The faster you can connect with a lead, the greater your chance of success. This makes routing marketing leads to your sales team a critical step for driving revenue growth. Without proper attention to your lead routing system, you’ll spend resources to generate leads that may not go anywhere.

A modern lead-routing strategy that’s built for revenue growth includes three main elements: 

  1. Integrated account-based selling tools
  2. The ability to route any object (e.g. leads, accounts, or contacts)
  3. Features to enable faster response times

Intelligent routing along with reliable and complete business data enables faster speed-to-lead response times. Every field is accounted for with the right records, so new leads can easily be classified, segmented, and routed properly. 

What is Lead Routing and Why is it Important?

Lead routing is the process of collecting and assigning leads to your sales team in real time. When done correctly, leads are organized, assigned, and delivered to the sales rep who is best suited to managing them. 

For go-to-market (GTM) modernization, the importance of a highly automated and integrated routing system can’t be overstated. Without a custom routing process that matches the right sales rep to the right leads, contacts, or accounts, you will be left at the mercy of potentially error-ridden, manual processes — or worse, leads that are abandoned because data fields are missing.

What to Consider in Your Lead Routing Strategy

A comprehensive routing workflow is fueled by seamlessly integrated lead cleansing and enrichment capabilities. Standalone point solutions fall short on this score, introducing needless logistical hurdles that can slow down the selling process. 

Without an intelligent approach to lead routing, your data will lack the enrichment that adds critical context to a sales motion. Your sales team will be left to work with deficient data, and will miss out on significant sales opportunities. Disjointed routing solutions aren’t designed with data maintenance in mind, leading to costly bottlenecks in your lead management process and possible deficiencies in your CRM. 

To stay competitive in today’s market, companies require an end-to-end data lifecycle management solution that enables automated record assignment. With a comprehensive routing system that’s fast, informed, and data-driven, accelerated pipelines and higher sales campaign conversion rates become more than just goals. They become reality.  

3 Essential Elements of an Intelligent Lead Routing Solution

Sales teams have a small window of time to engage inbound leads. A recent Gartner survey showed that buyers involved in complex solutions purchases spend only 17% of their time interacting with sales teams. That engagement time becomes even smaller when you add competing vendors going after the same buyers. The vendors that work actively on outreach and quickly build relationships have higher rates of success. 

Yet, too many companies aren’t set up to be the first to contact leads. There’s a growing need to support complex GTM strategies with a dependable lead distribution engine that has three essential elements: integration, automation, and speed. 

1. An Integrated Solution for GTM Motions

The ideal lead-routing process is an integrated system of accurate data and automated functions that enables sales teams to engage with leads before they grow cold. But end-to-end sales process automation that works like a well-oiled machine requires data that is matched, normalized, enriched, and scored. 

Match: Merge existing records with ease

Incoming lead data requires a process that scans your existing database to identify whether it matches an existing contact. If it matches, the data is sent to the sales rep who already owns it. Effective matching is flexible, so operations teams can create any type of rule that maps to the company’s use case and how its sales team is organized. 

Deduplicate and normalize: Start with clean, fresh data

A marketing automation process that normalizes records so they’re cohesive, and then removes and prevents duplicates, will enable salespeople to work with data that is clean and reliable. 

Enrich: Fill in the missing pieces from multiple sources

Enrichment is a customizable, rule-based workflow that uses multiple data sources to fill in missing details. It’s a key element of any GTM motion. Enriched data creates better lead-to-account matching, resulting in a better overall customer experience.  

Score: Prioritize what the team should do first

Sales representatives get clarity on which leads to prioritize by using a sound lead scoring system that aligns the goals and objectives of a company’s sales efforts. Traits, actions, demographic information, and prospect criteria are used to determine how likely a lead is to buy. The higher the possibility, the higher the lead score.

Hot, high-value leads that match many of the scoring criteria should be contacted first, with minimal lag time.  

2. Automated Any-Object Routing 

With any-object routing, you’re able to automatically route: 

  • Leads
  • Contacts
  • Accounts

Records are routed using segmentation logic and a highly customizable set of routing rules. With ZoomInfo OperationsOS, teams have full control to route leads based on a variety of factors, including territory, company size, job titles, or annual revenue. This ensures that hot leads continue to land on the right sales rep’s dashboard.

3. Improved Speed-to-Lead Response Times

Speed is the name of the game in lead follow-up. When every second counts, manual routing processes can add lag time between capturing a lead, contact, or inbound account and connecting that activity with the right sales rep.

By leveraging Salesforce triggers, with tools like the Route feature of ZoomInfo OperationsOS, you can successfully automate the routing of leads, contacts, and accounts to your sales team — without lag time. 

Other time-saving features of OperationsOS with intelligent routing include:

  • Workflows, round-robin, or time-based routing features to manage lead assignments
  • A drag-and-drop interface to build admin rules and dictate the best place for each lead to go at any given time

Lead Routing Best Practices

In addition to these essential ingredients, there are certain best practices that marketing teams can follow to reap the full benefits of lead routing:

Maintain Good Data Quality

The foundation for effective lead routing is accurate data. Information that is incorrect, incomplete, or out of date can undermine even the most carefully designed lead-assignment rules.

That’s what makes maintaining or creating a routine for data maintenance an important step in implementing lead routing. It’s a good idea to assign a specific individual to this task, although certain marketing automation tools will handle much of the everyday work.

Use Form Fields to Collect Information

While lead scoring can be based on technographic and demographic data, it’s much easier to simply ask potential customers some direct questions during the lead generation stage.

Consider adding some new fields that relate directly to your lead qualification and routing criteria to sign-up and inquiry forms. This information should make your prioritization workflow more effective, and assist with closing potential deals down the line.

Define Rules for Reassignment

Most lead-routing software works on the assumption that the perfect team member is always available to handle new sales leads. But that’s not always how it works in the real world.

When a particular rep already has an entire sales pipeline on their desk, it’s important to define rules for reassignment.

Round-robin lead reassignment is probably the most common method, but each business should set criteria that make sense for their requirements. For smaller teams, it may even be worth allowing clients to browse calendars and book the next available slot with a suitable rep.

Internally, reassignment needs to be well managed and transparent. When a qualified lead is passed from one rep to another, the new assignee should always receive a clear notification.

Ditch Point Solutions for an Integrated Lead-Routing Experience

A comprehensive, integrated routing system ensures that your speed-to-lead response is optimized, with an automated, 360-degree data quality and lead management approach that eliminates lag and streamlines the handoff from marketing to sales. Learn more about ZoomInfo’s lead-routing software today, and get started on the next phase of your modern go-to-market journey.