June 30, 2016

Our Definitive Sales Operations Guide to Effective Lead Routing

In recent years, the important task of getting leads to speak to the right representatives has become easier as the information provided by the leads themselves has increased at the point of conversion. The question now becomes: How and to whom do we route those leads in order to nurture them through the sales funnel? Though manual routing is a plausible solution, depending on lead volume, it can become a huge bottleneck in the organization. Just as there are tools to automate email campaigns, there are now many options when it comes to lead routing. Below, I will offer two use cases and examples of where lead routing automation will be most effective for your business.

Regional Managers

Let's say your company has a regional sales strategy and nurtures leads based on their country, state or region. Because of how you structured your form strategy you should be collecting location information on MOFU and BOFU forms to make sure that they align with the way you're trying to distribute your leads. This type of lead routing can be useful if your sales reps have location specialties or are expected to travel within their assigned regions.

Tier Based Routing

Another type of lead routing can be based on specific attributes of the company, or tiers. This criteria can be largely different from business to business and may factor in as few as one attribute (e.g. number of employees) or can become a complex criteria of determining a lead's fit for you organization (see figure 1 below).

Once you determine the criteria, you want to create a rank or tiered system of priority in order to make sure high-value leads are passed to the right sales reps. You should assign reps to different tiers based on their ability to work with leads in certain tiers. For example, a rep whose focus has been primarily on SMBs will likely not be a good fit to work with corporate leads yet and should therefore be placed into a tier with smaller company sizes. Routing based on company tier allows control over who nurtures high priority leads to make sure reps who are the most equipped to work with certain businesses are matched up appropriately.

Figure 1.

Tier Level        

Number of Employees        

Average Web Traffic/month        

Annual Revenue

Tier 1




Tier 2

500 - 999

5,000,000 – 49,999,999

$10,000,000 - $49,999,999

Tier 3


< 5,000,000

< $10,000,000

It is important to note that this type of routing allows control based on company criteria and may not always take the location of the company into account. If that is the case, you need specify whether sales reps are expected to be globetrotters or nomads. (You can always leverage both types of routing depending on the size of your team.)

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Advanced: Round Robin

Now that your routing criteria is set, from a sales operations perspective, we should be done. Correct? Well, consider what happens when your team scales from a 5 person sales team to a 100-person team. Eventually, many of the lead routing criteria will have a one-to-many relationship with your sales team.

There are two ways you can account for this.

The first is an assigned sales administrator to manually determine capacity and route leads accordingly. The second is using a lead routing tool for a round robin routing scheme. A round robin contains a list of sales reps and will assign leads to reps based on their position in the list. Once everyone has been assigned a lead the rotation begins again.

Last month, HubSpot released their lead routing tool for use in workflows. This tool can be leveraged when we have multiple reps that match the same routing criteria. The tool understands who is next in line to receive a lead and will route it appropriately. Using workflow branching criteria, you can build out all of your lead routing rules and implement a round robin in your organization.

Have questions about lead routing, or looking for examples or best practices? Post in the comment section below and we will keep the discussion going!


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Matthew Solomon

Matthew is a former New Breeder.


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