How Lead Routing is Critical & Strategic to Results

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Sales development representatives (SDRs) have an important job. Essentially, you have tasked them with educating customers about the ways your products solve real-world customer problems. The SDR has to guide a cold-to-warm lead into a conversation that makes that prospect decide, “yes; I would like to [get a demo, book an appointment, insert your next action here].” To get the best results from your sales team, lead routing should be a top priority.
With such an integral role in your sales organization, how do you go about ensuring you’re routing the proper leads to the right person at the right time? The answer is in your sales engagement solution.

The way you handle leads within your sales team is crucial to the success of your overall organization.


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Is Your Lead Routing Software Up to Par?

Ask yourself these three fundamental questions:

  1. Are you hitting industry benchmarks?
  2. Are you using a list-based or queue-based lead routing solution?
  3. Are you coaching SDRs to success?

SDRs are the champions moving leads closer to a purchase decision. The sales engagement platform you select must facilitate this process.

Let’s take a look at some industry KPIs to see where you might need to focus your attention.

sales statistics

Call Productivity

The industry benchmark for call productivity is eight to ten calls per hour, and an SDR working in a traditional, list-based CRM environment should be able to achieve at least eight calls per hour (Source: Ovation Sales Group).

By contrast, sales reps using a queue-based sales engagement platform will see much higher productivity levels. Sales reps using a queue-based solution on average make 24 calls per hour (Source: Telfer School of Management).

Review your SDR’s hourly call averages to identify anyone who may be struggling. Use your CRM or phone system’s call monitoring features to listen and coach them on a call.

Initial Contact Attempts Per New Lead

Making initial contact with a new lead can be trying. In fact, a minimum of eight contact attempts are often needed to first connect with a new prospect (Source: Ovation Sales Group). Unfortunately, the typical SDR using a list-based CRM solution only makes two attempts per lead (Source: Sirius Decisions), meaning that contact is often never made. A sales rep using a queue-based platform, however, averages nine contact attempts, (Source: Telfer School of Management), ensuring that more leads are actually connected.

Use your sales technology to measure each SDRs contact attempts per new prospect. Is anyone failing to make at least eight tries to reach a prospect before giving up on making a connection? Set aside some one-on-one time with each rep who falls below the benchmark. Review the data you have on hand. Ask questions to uncover reasons for not making the total required calls. Is it call reluctance? Is the person a bad fit? Maybe he or she misunderstands expectations. Or are the leads just getting buried?

An easy fix to the problem, of course, is to invest in a solution that allows you to create and automate the perfect sales cadence. All your SDRs need to do is sell — the system ensures each lead gets handled appropriately.

Follow-up Contact Attempts Per Lead

Following up with an established lead can be just as difficult as making the initial connection. According to The Marketing Donut, 80% of the time a successful sale requires at least five follow-up calls. How well does your team do when it comes to those follow-ups? Research shows that 44% of salespeople using a traditional list-based CRM alone discard a lead after a single follow up attempt (Source: Marketing Donut) while 48% of sales never follow up with a lead at all (Source: IKO Systems). However, research shows that salespeople who use a queue-based solution average 8.6 contact attempts (Source: Telfer School of Management).

Take similar steps as listed in the section above regarding follow-up attempts for new leads. Measure, counsel, coach.

Here again, technology could save you training and coaching headaches. With the right sales engagement solution that automates cadence, your reps will average nine calls per lead.

Contact Ratio

When it comes to contact ratio for marketing qualified leads, Marketing Sherpa reported that salespeople don’t contact 80% of their marketing qualified leads (MQLs) (Source: Marketing Sherpa’s B2B Benchmark Report). That’s a massive waste of time and money.

In the Annual 2014 Lead to Response Report, 47% of 9,538 companies using a list-based solution that received a test lead did not attempt to contact the lead. List-based tools leave almost half of all leads in limbo while queue-based system users have far fewer leads that go uncontacted — only 17% (Source: Telfer School of Management).

Unfortunately, with list-based solutions, SDRs have the opportunity to cherry-pick what prospects to contact. So, they’re spending more time looking for that perfect lead rather than making calls. There’s no logic and no prioritization other than the sales reps gut feel or individual biases. If you have a queue-based system with automatic lead routing, and dynamic prioritization of leads, the reps have to engage with the leads in the order they are presented. This dramatically increases the sales cadence and also ensures you’re following up on leads based on defined criteria.

Response Time To Leads

Speed to lead is key to increasing your sales. If a salesperson contacts a new lead within five minutes of the contact expressing interest, the odds of connecting are 100 times higher (Source: insideSales.com).

According to the Annual 2014 Lead Response Report, for a list-based solution, the average first call response time was 61 hours and one minute – only 5.6% responded within five minutes. Take a minute and let that soak in. How many potential sales are you losing each day using a list-based solution?

Telfer School of Management’s report stated the average first call response time using a queue-based solution was between 31-60 minutes…29% responded within five minutes. That’s a big difference!

The best way to help your SDRs increase their speed to lead is by providing them with lead routing software that helps manage the lead prioritization, allowing them to spend more time in quality conversations and less time figuring out which lead they should be calling next. Keep an eye on how your reps are doing by monitoring your call-activity dashboard and creating reports to review with your SDRs.

Lead Tracking and Monitoring

Logging call results is critical to your overall sales process. Unfortunately, only 57% of salespeople log their call results into their CRM (Source: IKO Systems). This contrasts with queue-based systems where 90% of all contact attempts are logged (Source: Telfer School of Management).

When reps log call results, it keeps everyone at your organization in the know for each contact. Logging call results allows you to accurately evaluate the results of your sales and marketing efforts. Implement logical branch scripting to help guide your SDRs through calls to assist them with capturing data based on responses from the contact. By using scripting with data capture prompts, you reinforce the need to track calls. You’ve also captured critical data to help you evaluate script and campaign effectiveness.

Lead Routing Gets Results

If you’re not hitting these benchmarks, then your team isn’t meeting its full potential. Now is the time to consider whether or not you’ve got the right lead routing solution in place that yields results. Today’s SDRs need a queue-based lead routing solution that takes away the administrative tasks and gets results.


Scott Amerson

As Vice President of Sales, Scott is responsible for leading our global sales team. He is a results-driven professional who brings more than 25 years of sales and executive-management experience to VanillaSoft. He is a proven veteran at building scalable infrastructure for inside sales and call center teams by defining key performance indicators, sales process, and training programs. In his previous role as Director of Sales at BenefitMall, Scott built and launched their inside sales team. In this position, he created and delivered policies and procedures, strategic planning, and technology integration leading to a 42% decrease in their sales cycle, and 30% increase in revenue per sale. Scott has also held prestigious positions at multi-million-dollar companies, including Capital One, where he overhauled the entire sales and training processes to drive goal-surpassing revenue from $300 million to $900 million. Scott holds a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Marketing from Nicholls State University.

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