Automate lead routing for lean sales teams
In 1908, Herbert Johnson watched a baker mixing dough with a metal spoon and went to create a tool that would help: the electric stand-mixer. His “KitchenAid Food Preparer” became standard equipment for bakeries in less than 7 years (and remains the #1 most-requested wedding registry item to this day).
Kitchen appliances prepare ingredients for cooks so they can focus on the actual work of putting dishes together. They've revolutionized the way commercial kitchens operate, letting them create at scale and serve more customers with fewer hands.
In the same way, business tools replace manual labor, helping sales teams stay small while their audience grows. Software can automatically prep, qualify, and sort new leads so that salespeople can focus on the most important part of the job: talking to promising prospects.
And lead routing is one step in the contemporary sales prep line that’s in desperate need of a KitchenAid-style revolution.
The lead routing revolution
Many companies route leads manually: a salesperson researches a list of new leads, determines which territories they belong to, and assigns them to the appropriate reps. This consumes hours and can introduce lengthy delays that get in the way of reps as they reach out to prospects whose interest has cooled off.
Other companies try to speed up with a bad compromise: they add more fields to their signup forms to capture more data about the lead, such as company size and location, in order to cut down on research time. But long forms slow leads down and lower conversion rates.
Clearbit and Salesforce come together to bring the power of automation to lead routing, without needing long forms. Clearbit removes the research step in one fell swoop by populating new leads with firmographic data directly in Salesforce, which helps you assign ownership to reps based on territory rules.
This instant lead routing gives reps a head start on follow-up and saves time on research — allowing a leaner team to handle more leads as the company scales.
Ways to automate territory detection for routing
Clearbit can populate leads with as many as 100 firmographic and demographic attributes. This breadth of data gives companies maximum flexibility in the way they slice up territories.
Popular Clearbit attributes for lead routing include:
- Location (zip code, state code, country code, etc.)
- Company size / number of employees
- Industry, sub-industry, and vertical
- Tech tags (the software vendors that the lead’s company already uses)
Routing leads by geography
Tealium divides territories by geography, using Clearbit location data for the prospect’s headquarters to route new leads to the correct sales rep.
These new leads either come to Tealium as form fills — or as anonymous website visitors who don’t even fill out a form. Tealium uses Clearbit Reveal to do a reverse IP lookup to identify which company an anonymous visitor is coming from. Once the company is identified, Clearbit fills in company-level data points, including the location of their headquarters. This indicates which geographic territory to send that lead.
Salesforce routes the lead accordingly, and sales reps in that territory receive a Slack notification that a new lead is on the site. They can also check the territory’s Slack channel, which logs visitor activity, enabling reps to see which pages leads in that territory have looked at.
Tealium’s reps waste no time in reaching out to the visitors who are showing purchase intent.
Automating lead-to-account matching
New leads who show interest in a company may belong to a larger account that a rep is already pursuing, so it’s important that the rep knows about this activity and can take responsibility. Automated lead routing paves the way for also automating lead-to-account matching.
For instance, Outreach uses Clearbit data to route leads to the rep responsible for the corresponding account. Like Tealium, they do this by enriching leads who come through sign-up forms or via an anonymous website visit identified by Clearbit Reveal. Based on what Clearbit finds, Outreach’s system checks whether that company is already an open opportunity in Salesforce. If it is, it routes the lead to the AE working the deal and alerts them via Slack. Leads that aren’t yet assigned get routed to Market Development Reps via a round robin.
“Automated lead routing and alerts help our sales development team understand where they may find low-hanging fruit," says Dan Ahmadi, Director of Demand Gen at Outreach. "They prioritize the accounts that are active on our site for prospecting. In some cases, it's also validation — an account they're about to have a call with will often visit the site a few minutes in advance.
In addition, Dan explains, “The alerts help our account executive team understand which deals are moving and which ones are stuck. AE's hate when deals go silent, and having an instant alert that their prospect may be thinking about our platform again gives them an indication of the perfect time to follow up.” Instant routing is the linchpin that makes this possible.
Outreach also uses LeanData and Distribution Engine to take the pain out of lead-to-account matching and routing. “This is one part of our stack we rarely have to worry about,” says Dan, “and it powers so many other downstream systems. Feeling confident about the ownership of a record is what makes data from Clearbit so powerful.”
Optimizing signup forms to boost lead routing
The beauty of automated routing with Clearbit is that sales teams get the firmographic data they need to sort and route leads without asking for that data from the leads themselves. Signup forms can stay short, keeping conversion rates high.
Heap keeps their signup forms slim. They rely on Clearbit to fill in the rest of the company’s data, which helps them qualify leads based on industry and size. Currently, their routing system is an automated round robin: checking the lead against open opportunities to make sure it’s not already in the system, then creating a custom Salesforce object enriched with Clearbit data, and finally assigning the lead to a rep.
They plan to start routing leads to reps by territory, but rather than dividing by geography like Tealium does, they’ll divide rep attention into three groups by company size: startup, mid-market, and enterprise.
This gives Heap the best of both worlds: short sign-up forms and less research time for the sales team. Charlie Liang, Head of Demand Gen at Heap, says, “The BDR team already has to do enough research as is, so Clearbit cuts down their time if they don't have to think about whose lead it is. Multiply the 3–5 minutes it takes to research an open opportunity by the 10–12 leads they each get a day, and it adds up to a lot.”
Time is money for any business. Automated lead routing helps reps follow up with interested leads faster, and it removes the manual labor from researching, qualifying, and assigning leads. With Clearbit and Salesforce, sales queues are populated without reps lifting a finger, letting smaller sales kitchens serve up their creations to more hungry customers.