Lead distribution is an essential interface between marketing and sales. Done effectively, it enables you to precisely route new opportunities into the ideal sales process. This could be routing consumers to companies or products that best match their requests, or routing your own inbound leads into the sales team or salesperson that is most likely to close the deal.
Lead distribution is often the connection between a variety of marketing and sales systems, such as:
- Email Service Providers
- SMS Senders
- Diallers (Call Centres)
- Any Database
- Telesales Agents
- Field Sales Agents
- CRM Systems
Without lead distribution software, these connections are often facilitated by a messy and inefficient exchange of CSV and Excel files – exports and imports.
This type of manual process is fraught with potential pitfalls that quickly lower the viability and value of your leads and lead generation program.
As marketing and sales operations grow and become increasingly sophisticated, lead distribution becomes essential to sales operations performance. Delays in lead delivery, lack of data verification, random distribution processes, aged leads, and invalid leads, simply dump leads into the wrong sales pipelines and processes. Lead Distribution solves these problems by acting as a 'gatekeeper' that removes bad leads and delivers good leads to the right place.
In this executive guide, we'll guide you through the basics of lead distribution, highlight various types of leads and use cases, provide best practices for effective lead distribution, and show you tools and technologies that will increase the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and ultimately the performance of your sales operations.
What is Lead Distribution Software?
Lead distribution software helps marketing departments and lead generation organizations automate the processes of routing leads from marketing to sales.
Lead distribution software can also do a variety of additional processes in real-time to validate and enhance the leads as they pass through the systems. Some common value-added features include:
- Validating and cleaning lead data,
- Scoring the quality or desirability of the leads,
- Appending additional data to enhance the lead
- Dynamically segmenting customers and situations
- Intelligently matching leads to sales skills and desires
Ultimately, lead distribution helps you get the right sales leads to the right salesperson, increasing sales production and revenue.
Lead distribution software can connect marketing and sales within a single organisation or between organisations. It involves integrating various marketing and sales technologies, such as customer relationship management (CRM) systems, marketing automation software, and lead management systems, to ensure that leads are immediately sent to the right people in a timely manner.
Why is Lead Distribution Important?
Lead distribution is important because it is the simplest way to increase the ROI of your lead generation program and improve the conversion rate within your sales operation. Lead distribution ensures that you are routing the right lead to the right salesperson every time in a matter of moments.
The combination of timeliness, segmentation, and matching to the right salesperson gives your leads (customers) a highly responsive and personalized experience. This combination is the secret sauce to high conversion rates of the top sales and marketing organizations.
The alternative, maybe even your current situation, is that leads come in and are shuffled, jostled, and passed around in various formats, from spreadsheets to emails. This creates delays, errors, and inconsistencies in your marketing and sales processes, decreasing sales and marketing effectiveness and frustrating your customers..
Implementing lead distribution software helps to ensure that accounted for and tracked throughout your sales and marketing process – from capture to closed deal.
Of course, the proof is in the data. As you can see in the chart below, distributing leads in real-time is an incredibly significant factor in increasing contact rates and ultimately sales.
How to Integrate Lead Distribution into Sales and Marketing
Introducing lead distribution software into your sales and marketing tech stack will solve a lot problems and headaches around getting leads to your sales team or lead buying partners.
Fortunately, adding this to your lead management system is pretty straightforward.
Simply account for your lead sources and route them directly into your lead distribution software. Typically, this involves the simple use of an API.
Then, do a similar accounting for the sales team(s) or organisations to which you need to send valid leads and can again be connected via an API.
Once you have all of your data connectors in place, all of the complexity of validating, segmenting, and routing the right lead to the right salesperson, team, or organisation is as simple as a few configurations inside of the lead distribution software.
The Basics of Sales Lead Distribution
Lead distribution is the nerve center of your sales and marketing operation and a critical component of an effective lead management system.
Lead distribution software is designed to capture, validate, segment, and as its name implies, effectively distribute those leads to the right salesperson, sales process, or sales organization.
Lead distribution software is the middleware between marketing campaigns and customer relationship management (CRM) systems.
What types of leads work with lead distribution software
Lead distribution software is designed to be a smart switching system for data and calls.
Generally speaking, there are three types of leads that can be managed through lead distribution software: inbound leads, outbound leads, and referral leads.
- Inbound leads are generated through organic search engine optimisation (SEO) activities, such as optimising content for certain keywords, and paid media ads on search engine and social media platforms.
- Outbound leads are generated through direct marketing activities, such as email campaigns or telemarketing.
- Referral leads are leads that are generated through word-of-mouth referrals or other methods.
Lead distribution software can uniquely distribute different types of leads
Once you understand the different types of leads, it is important to understand the various lead generation methods. The most common lead generation methods include SEO, content marketing, email marketing, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, social media marketing, and telemarketing. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, and it is important to understand which method is best for your needs.
How Leads are Distributed
Leads can be distributed in a variety of ways, depending on the type of lead and the lead generation method used. Inbound leads can be routed to a CRM system, a dialler, or an external sales partner. Outbound leads can be distributed directly to sales agents or routed to a dialler. Referral leads can be distributed directly to sales agents or routed to a CRM system. Once leads are distributed, it is important to track them and report on their performance.
Using mail to distribute leads carries a large risk of non-compliance and extra work is typically required when dealing with handling of leads.
Password-protected emails offer a thin layer of protection, but still lack security.
Using a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a more standard practice and offers a greater chance of accuracy and reliability, but still lacks security.
SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) provides more security than FTP, but lacks the same level of sophistication in terms of advanced distribution options that can be achieved through an Application Programming Interface (API).
An API offers more security, a faster journey, and the ability to optimise the monetisation of lead distribution through advanced distribution rules. It is advised to consult a developer when setting up an API, but once set up, it provides an increased ease of use. For more information, please refer to the article titled Why You Should Use An API To Transfer Data.
Best Practices for Sales Lead Distribution
In order to ensure that lead distribution is successful, it is important to follow best practices. The best practices for lead distribution include lead qualification, lead prioritisation, lead routing, and lead tracking and reporting.
When using dedicated lead distribution software there are multiple techniques and strategies to maximise performance, depending on the type of lead and endpoint required:
A ‘Ping Tree’ is a specific type of lead distribution software that facilitates the buying and selling of leads between lead generators and buyers, in real time.
Simply put, Ping Trees can be used to send leads out to various buyers based on predetermined rules, allowing you to sell the same lead multiple times or prioritise the buyer spending the most. By automating this process lead generators are able to obtain maximum value from any leads they are selling.
A ‘Ping Post’ uses a similar technique, but rather than automatically distributing leads out based upon predetermined weighting or order, it will allow the potential buyers to see minimal elements of the lead and they then enter into an auction to determine who the lead is distributed to. The highest bidder gets the full details of the lead.
Weighted delivery in lead distribution refers to the manipulation of pre-determined values which dictates a percentage or weighting of leads to each client. This can be decided based upon a range of factors of your choosing. For example, you have 3 buyers and distribute the leads in a ratio of 60% / 20% / 20%.
Delayed delivery in lead distribution refers to delaying a delivery of a lead until the point a certain set of predetermined conditions are satisfied.
It may go against intuition to think about delaying the delivery of a lead - indeed, we will soon press the importance of speed! - but there are rare occasions where the use of delayed delivery can be beneficial. For example, you may wish to avoid a clash of contact strategies and so a delayed delivery can be used to achieve this. Or you may wish to delay delivery until office hours open again, or you may want to day delivery for a far longer period of time (for example the renewal of an insurance policy).
Additionally, you may wish to delay distribution until a lead has taken a certain additional action after the point of generation, such as filling in an additional form or survey giving the sales rep more knowledge and increasing their chance to convert.
This is not a feature that is often used, but it can be a useful tool in certain campaigns.
Conditional delivery within lead distribution refers to the delivery of leads based on predetermined rules or conditions. For example: deliver to Destination X if the lead meets Condition A… and deliver to Destination Y if they meet Condition B.
In a way, this is the key to Lead Distribution in a more narrow sense as discussed in the introduction: the optimal distribution of leads amongst a sales team.
Lead Scoring within lead distribution takes this idea even further by assigning a score to a lead based on the chance of conversion. Some software does this by using condition sets to segment data based on certain criteria. There is also a more in-depth version of lead scoring which uses machine learning to identify patterns in data and assign each lead a score based on “intelligent” insights.
To learn more about this read the article: Lead Scoring: The Easiest Way To Optimise Performance
Sales Lead Distribution Tools and Technologies
In order to ensure that lead distribution is successful, it is important to use the right tools and technologies. Some of the most common tools and technologies include customer relationship management (CRM) systems such as Hubspot, Marketo and SalesForce, but typically these are used as the endpoint leads are distributed to.
To get the most out of your lead distribution you need a dedicated lead distribution system such as Databowl. This provides a streamlined platform for managing and qualifying leads. It allows users to automate the lead distribution process and ensure leads are routed to the right endpoint quickly and efficiently. It also provides comprehensive analytics and reporting, so users can gain insights into the performance of their suppliers, sources, sales reps and campaigns.
Challenges and Solutions
Distributing leads can be challenging due to the fact that leads need to be met with personalisation and attention as quickly as possible to ensure that the most qualified leads follow through to conversion. This can be a challenge depending on the size of the team managing the leads, which can result in leads not being distributed quickly enough. Furthermore, leads can get lost in the process, not be addressed properly, or not be tracked to assess their progress.
Other big challenges companies face fall into the realm of marketing operations - that is the role of implementing and executing the strategies required to achieve success. Oftentimes, companies face huge difficulties in building and maintaining the requisite APIs for smooth and consistent data distribution.
A lead distribution system can help to overcome these challenges by streamlining the process of distributing leads and providing a central hub to manage, track, and analyze leads. The system can be set up to automatically distribute leads to team members based on their availability and expertise, and can provide a built-in workflow for tracking the progress of leads. The system also allows for data-driven decisions to be made based on the analysis of lead behaviors. All of these features help to reduce the amount of manual work needed to distribute leads and ensure that each lead receives the attention it needs for conversion.
For more on overcoming these challenges read the following article - The Importance of Marketing Operations.
Should You be Considering Lead Distribution Software?
Lead distribution is an essential component of sales and marketing operations. It helps to ensure that leads are routed to the right people in a timely manner. In this executive guide, we discussed the basics of lead distribution, the different types of leads, the different lead generation methods, how leads are distributed, and best practices for effective lead distribution. We also discussed the various tools and technologies available to help businesses succeed in this area. Finally, we discussed the challenges and solutions related to lead distribution.
Recap of Key Takeaways
Lead distribution is an essential component of sales and marketing operations. It helps to ensure that leads are routed to the right endpoint in a timely manner. It involves the use of various technologies, such as customer relationship management (CRM) systems, marketing automation software, and lead distribution software. The best practices for lead distribution include lead qualification, lead prioritisation, lead routing, and lead tracking and reporting. Additionally, businesses must ensure that their lead distribution process is well-defined and that they have a system in place to track and report on lead performance.
Final Thoughts on the Importance of Effective Sales Lead Distribution
Effective lead distribution is essential for businesses that want to maximise their sales and marketing efforts. It helps to ensure that leads are routed to the right endpoint, tracked throughout the entire sales process, and reported on in a timely manner. Additionally, businesses must ensure that their lead distribution process is well-defined and that they have a system in place to track and report on lead performance. This will help to ensure that leads are managed efficiently and that the right leads are sent to the right place.
Daniel HopewellHead of Marketing
Daniel has worked with huge brands all over the world, in the Fashion, Music, and Tech industries. He specialises in creative direction and helping cool brands grow. He is the co-host of the B2C Lead Gen Podcast where he aims to give the show structure and orchestrate topics of conversation; he largely fails at this job as the podcast tends to meander all over the shop…
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