Yes, There Is a Better Way to Assign Leads in Salesforce

It is critical to respond quickly to web inquiries. Make sure you use Decisions on Demand’s business rules management software to increase the efficiency of your sales operations.

Yes, There Is a Better Way to
Assign Leads in Salesforce
• How quickly do your sales reps respond to new
web leads?
• In 2007, the Lead Response Management Study by
James Oldroyd
that the
recommended time for following up on a lead is
five minutes.
Nine years later, published
Best Practices for Lead Response
Management based on Oldroyd’s study. The
five-minute rule still holds true. However,
the average sales rep takes much longer
than the recommended time to respond to
Clearly, it is critical to respond quickly to web
inquiries. According
a study from, 78% of sales go to the company
that responds to an inquiry first. And yet, the
average time a company takes to respond to a lead
is 40 hours. This gap offers a chance to get ahead
of the competition by ensuring your lead
assignment process is automated, fast, and
There is no one right way to assign leads. The best
approach depends on a company’s product and
customer types. To complicate the process, speed
is not the only criterion for lead assignment. It’s
also important to consider factors like territory
alignment, existing relationships with a customer
account, skills and availability of the assigned rep,
and fairness in lead distribution.
Sending Leads to the Right Rep in
Salesforce includes built-in Lead Assignment rules
that are useful for small sales teams to get started.
But the rules have limitations. They are not
enough to support your organization as it grows
and the rules become more complex. This image
shows an example of basic Salesforce lead
assignment rules.
Mid- to large-sized companies need many more
rules, and entering those rules becomes a timeconsuming process. In fact, just managing a few
dozen rules is painful.
For example, you might use criteria like these to
funnel leads to your sales reps:
Company size or revenue
Product interest
Lead quality
Anne, an awesome rep, handles leads from
companies in the healthcare industry that have
revenues of $100 million or more and are located
in the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay areas.
Implementing that rule would involve entering
multiple criteria, including a list of ZIP codes or
county names. The image below shows an example
of more complex lead assignment rules using
revenue, industry, and location as the criteria.
It’s quite typical for a mid-size company to create
hundreds, sometimes thousands of rules. This is
especially true with fine-grained territory
assignments based on ZIP or area codes, or for
companies doing business internationally.
Entering complex rules with point-and-click is
cumbersome and prone to errors. To make
matters worse, there is no easy way to test the
rules to see if they work correctly before
activating them.
The people who define the rules — typically,
someone in sales operations or the VP of sales —
may not have the tech skills and access to validate
them. This results in miscommunication and more
If reps receive the wrong leads or leads remain
unassigned, there’s no way to figure out what
happened. The system doesn’t keep logs for
assignments or an audit trail for rule changes. It
would be valuable to have a monitoring and
reporting tool to stay on top of what’s happening,
identify any stray leads, and take action so leads
aren’t stranded.
Balancing the Load
Remember the five-minute rule? Anne may be
the best rep for XYZ criteria, but it doesn’t help
the company if she’s bombarded with too many
leads and can’t quickly follow up on them. Even
if she has a balanced number of leads, what
happens if she is at a meeting or out of the office
when a lead comes in? The clock is ticking, and
the lead is sitting in Anne’s queue.
That’s where Round Robin and Load Balancing can
help. Instead of assigning leads to individual reps,
they can be distributed to members of a group.
Distribution strategies can vary from a basic
Round Robin to Weighted Load Balancing. They
can be combined with assignment caps, checks for
absent users, or skills-matching.
Complexity Increases as the Number of
Sales Reps Grows
A company with dozens of reps has people coming
and going often enough that the lead assignment
rules will need frequent updates. On top of that,
territories periodically change or get re-aligned.
Assigning the right person to a lead also
depends on the current products and
business lines that are offered. New ones get
added, and old ones are removed. These
changes occur on a regular basis in large
companies. Acquisitions happen less often
— but when they do, they will affect the
lead assignment process.
Another factor to consider is a team-selling setup
in an internal sales organization. You may also
have partners, such as resellers and solution
providers, added to the mix. In this case, you may
assign to both an internal rep and a partner, or
you can choose just one of them.
How to Turn Complex Lead Assignment
Rules into an Easy-to-Manage Process
In summary, you want a lead assignment program
that achieves the following goals:
• Qualify the lead to determine which sales rep or
team is the right one.
• Verify the sales rep is available.
• Ensure that each rep has a fair number of
• Confirm that someone follows up with the leads
• Make changes to the rules easy, fast, and
• Monitor lead assignments with reporting and
• Confirm that someone follows up with the leads
• Make changes to the rules easy, fast, and reliable.
• Monitor lead assignments with reporting and logs.
The assignment rules in Salesforce are not
designed to manage this process, and Salesforce
does not offer Round Robin or Load Balancing
capabilities. Fortunately, the App Exchange has an
app like Decisions on Demand to give you
powerful tools to address these challenges.
After setting up the rules, you can test them with a
built-in Test Console. The unique Excel
import/export capability makes it easy to update
large rule sets containing thousands of rules. It
includes useful distribution options like Round
Robin and Load Balancing with weights, caps, and
Decisions on Demand for Salesforce boosts close
rates, cuts overhead, and reduces errors. With this
App Exchange app, your team can turn lead
assignment into a completely automated process.

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