What is Lead Distribution? Definition, Examples, and How It Works

Unlock the secrets of efficient lead distribution: discover strategies, understand its importance, and boost conversions.

Rory Sadler
September 26, 2023
February 24, 2024
Unlock the secrets of efficient lead distribution: discover strategies, understand its importance, and boost conversions.
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Leads are the lifeblood of any business. Unless you're generating new leads, your company can't succeed. They're how your brand grows and scales. But just generating new leads isn't enough – it's what you do with them that matters.

Lead distribution is about assigning the right lead to the right sales rep. Ensuring your team gets the sale and your company converts a new customer. It involves vetting your prospects to find out what they want and who is best to deliver it.

Consider that 67% of lost sales are due to sales reps failing to qualify prospects before going through the sales process, and you can see why it's so vital.

In this article, we explore:

  • What Lead Distribution Is
  • How Lead Distribution Works
  • Pros and Cons of Lead Distribution
  • Top Examples of Lead Distribution

What is Lead Distribution?

Think of lead distribution as like a postal office. You're trying to ensure every letter – or leads – gets to the right destination. Only you're not using the address; you're using your prospect's pain points, goals, and budget.

As each lead proceeds through your marketing funnel, you learn about the problem or goal. Maybe they're hoping to increase their efficiency, or maybe they wish to increase brand awareness. Whatever their goal is, a different sales representative could be required.

You'll need to consider your sales reps' expertise, experience, and skillset. For example, you'd never give a big, new client to a novice sales rep. Nor would you assign a basic lead to your top salesperson.

Just as a postal office sorts the mail by address, leads are distributed based on alignment with a rep's strengths. This efficient matching ensures optimal outcomes, maximises team potential, and boosts conversion chances.

Think of it as delivering each 'letter' to its best handler, ensuring success for both the client and the representative.

How Lead Distribution Works

Your lead distribution process needs to be a well-oiled allocation machine, directing incoming leads to the right salesperson or team. Here's how to do it:

1. Generating Leads

You can't distribute leads if you haven't got any. But this is also the first step in the vetting process. Target mediums with the highest ROI that guarantee the best conversion rate. You could try:

  • Digital Campaigns. Online advertising, social media promotions, email marketing, and search engine optimisation are common avenues for collecting digital leads.
  • Events and Trade Shows. Participating or hosting an event gathers your potential clients in a single location, helping filter out people uninterested in your product or service.
  • Referrals. Incentivise and ask current customers, partners, or stakeholders to refer potential clients.
  • Cold Outreach. Reach out to prospects using traditional methods like cold calling or newer strategies like LinkedIn outreach.

Remember: the wider you cast the net, the more leads you'll get, but the lower quality they'll be.

2. Screening Leads

Not all leads are created equal. Once generated, leads need to be evaluated for your marketing team. After vetting, they are known as a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL). Rate leads on their likelihood to convert and their potential value.

  • Lead Scoring: This involves assigning values to leads based on specific criteria like demographic information, interaction with the company website, or purchase history.
  • Lead Qualification: Here, leads are assessed to determine if they fit the company's ideal customer profile or have a genuine need or interest in the product or service offered.

3. Assigning Leads

Once the leads are scored and qualified, they need to be distributed to the appropriate sales representative or team. This is the key step – continue to evaluate your process as your staff improves, develops new skills, or new team members come on board.

There are two types of lead distribution:

Manual Distribution

A sales manager or lead distributor assigns leads based on specific criteria, such as geographic location, product interest, or sales rep expertise. Consider these manual lead distribution strategies:

  • Cherry-Picking: Sales reps choose leads based on their preference, potentially leading to slower response times and decreased deal closures due to unmanaged lead volume.
  • Shark Tank: Leads are available to all sales reps, promoting competition but risking overload for faster reps and discouragement for those who often miss out.

Automated Distribution

Using CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software or other specialised tools, leads are automatically routed to the most suitable salesperson based on predefined rules. Try these rules:

  • Rotational Distribution: Leads are allocated to sales reps in a cyclic order, ensuring even distribution but potentially overlooking individual rep expertise and availability.
  • Criteria-Based Allocation: Leads are assigned based on specific rules or criteria, like company size, allowing sales reps to specialise and cater to distinct segments of your ideal customer profile.

4. Follow-Up

The process doesn't end once a lead is assigned. Timely and effective follow-up ensures the lead gets the help and resources needed. There's no harm in bringing another sales rep to consult when necessary.

  • Engagement: This involves reaching out to the lead through calls, emails, or other means of communication. The aim is to understand their needs better and pitch the product or service.
  • Nurturing: Some leads may not be ready to buy immediately. They need to be nurtured with relevant content, offers, or touchpoints to keep them engaged and gradually move them toward a purchase decision.

Pros and Cons of Lead Distribution

Pros of Lead Distribution:

  • Maximised Efficiency: By matching leads with the right sales representative based on expertise and experience, you ensure faster response times and a higher likelihood of conversion.
  • Optimal Utilisation of Resources: Distributing leads helps leverage each sales rep's strengths, ensuring that no talent goes underutilised or overstretched.
  • Personalised Approach: Leads are addressed based on their specific pain points and goals, offering a more tailored experience that can lead to higher satisfaction and trust.
  • Data-Driven Decisions: Modern lead distribution often uses analytics, which can provide insights into which strategies are working and where improvements are needed.

Cons of Lead Distribution:

  • Complexity in Management: Setting up and maintaining an efficient lead distribution system can be complex, requiring the right tools and constant monitoring.
  • Risk of Misalignment: If incorrectly calibrated, leads may be matched with the wrong sales rep, leading to missed opportunities.
  • Dependency on Technology: Automated lead distribution relies heavily on technology. Any software malfunction or data discrepancies can disrupt the process, causing potential delays or errors.

Top Examples of Lead Distribution

Geographical Distribution

The most obvious strategy is to allocate leads to the sales representative based on the lead's specific geographic location. A common strategy for pharmaceutical companies trying to market a drug to a country. Such methods ensure sales reps understand a particular region's nuances. And interregional competition encourages each team to be the best.

Product or Service Specialisation

Some reps will specialise if you have a broad selection of products or services. Allowing reps to become experts in particular aspects of your business ensures you can answer all your leads' questions. For example, if you run an electronics firm, you'd want to allocate home appliance queries to one team and laptops and smartphones to another.

Lead Score Priority

Does your company work in one location and only sell a handful of products? If so, consider distributing leads based on their potential value and likelihood of conversion. In this distribution method, those with higher scores are usually paired with seasoned sales representatives, ensuring high-potential leads get expert attention.

For instance, a B2B company might prioritise a lead from a major corporation and route it to a veteran representative.

CRM-Driven Rules

Companies can set predefined rules for lead distribution by leveraging the capabilities of an advanced Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. Such systems let you use multiple criteria, including the lead's source, demographic details, and interests.

For example, an e-commerce business might utilise CRM rules to direct leads originating from social media campaigns straight to a team adept in social media client engagement.

Final Thoughts

Gathering as much information as possible about your leads is vital to ensure the best distribution. Using Trumpet to funnel leads to a personalised, interactive microsite where you can track their actions and learn what they want. Our trackable platform is perfect for any lead distribution strategy. Want to learn more? Schedule a free demo to get started.