Inbound Salesforce.com leads are the lifeblood of your sales process. How prospects get assigned in Salesforce.com depends on a few factors such as:
- Your sales team roles. Is your team divided by industry, geography or another factor altogether?
- Volume of inbound leads. Dealing with large numbers is different than small numbers. If your lead generation produces a lot of noise compared to what matters, then the lead assignment rules need to recognize how to create efficiency rather than wasteful time.
- Response criteria. What is the response time and quality controls associated with sales response?
- Load balancing. Is there a way to assess how to distribute a volume of prospects?
- Prioritization. Do certain criteria drive high priority engagements from your sales team?
- Competitiveness. Does your team work from a performance structure rather than a delegation structure?
These are factors which will create the policies and rules for your lead assignment in Salesforce.com. Based on the governance of your sales management, customizing or programming Salesforce.com should then be done recognizing the flow of how prospects are managed and assigned. Furthermore, the management of key metrics around follow-up, responsiveness and lead conversion will be a feedback loop for further refining your rules.
Intelligent Lead Assignment
Once your process rules are established, create the rules with both sequencing and prioritization. Here are 3 approaches to use depending on the sophistication of your lead management process:
- Lead Assignment Rules. Within the Lead customization setup, the specific wizard will allow you to create the priorities and delegation reflective of your sales process. Be sure to clarify whether a prospect is assigned to a specific person in a prioritization sequence or within a queue. The advantage of using the latter is the ability for your team to work from a pooled group of Leads and assign themselves Leads based on their effort and work. The rules can later be modified. Use a report to monitor the load balancing and effectiveness and later modify the rules to ensure your sales team is managing leads without losing opportunities.
- Apex Triggers. You can create specific programmed triggers from your Lead records which will assign Leads to the right person on your team. For example, if a field such as “Industry” contains “Manufacturing,” then you can create a trigger for assigning this to a queue or person that manages this type of industry lead. The triggers are rules which will also initiate upon saving new or existing records in Salesforce.com. Be sure that these are accounted for in addition to any inbound leads from web forms.
- Marketing Automation. If you want the highest level of adaptive record ownership, then marketing automation will be able to score a Lead based on their activities with your content. This scoring becomes data which can feed the rulesle or Apex Triggers you have already set.
- Custom Programming. Of course, with your Salesforce.com API activated, you can also custom program scripts which will drive further intelligent assignment rules if the above do not suffice for process and strategy you are seeking to implement.
In my Salesforce.com consulting work, I start with process first. This means getting clear on the business rules, culture and goals which make sense for driving revenue. The options for enabling this are then discussed to ensure budget, flexibility and optimization are met.
The Lead assignment process is where your sales process first engages prospective customers. Place the proper focus and rules on this area of your business to ensure you maximize your sales opportunities.