The View from TOPO: Lead Routing Matters

Research firm TOPO specializes in studying the fastest-growing companies in the world, looking for common traits that they share, and then using those lessons to help clients scale their own businesses.

And there’s one question that Craig Rosenberg, the Chief Analyst at TOPO, gets asked over and over. What can our business do to quickly improve our conversion rates?

His answer: Look at your lead routing.

Craig Rosenberg

“I can’t tell you how many times customers found that literally hundreds of leads were never touched or sent to the wrong places,” Rosenberg said. “It’s not sexy, but there’s a huge lift just from solving your lead routing process.”

Rosenberg recently joined Ash Kakhandiki, the Vice President of Marketing at LeanData, for a webinar where they discussed the eye-opening results of The State of Lead Management survey. They also explored how businesses can underestimate the profound impact lead routing has on revenue generation.

TOPO’s research has found that 45 percent of the top-scaling businesses use some form of lead management to supplement the cumbersome routing rules in Salesforce, Rosenberg said.

“The broader market is still thinking that we can just use Salesforce,” he added. “But that’s an antiquated way of managing leads. When you’re talking about the front-runners among high-growth organizations, almost 50 percent have a third-party vendor helping them manage leads. That should give you an idea about the importance of solving this.”

In fact, businesses can see an improvement of 20 to 25 percent in their conversion rates by fixing the routing process. So, lead management matters. That also was the take-home message from LeanData’s first-of-its-kind lead management survey of more than 500 B2B sales and marketing professionals. Some of the highlights:

  • More than 57 percent said their businesses fall short when creating good customer experiences
  • Less than 34 percent said sales always follows up on marketing-generated leads
  • One in four leads are assigned to the wrong rep

Kakhandiki said the results identify concerns in two key areas: customer experience and productivity. Rosenberg added that those conclusions echo previous TOPO research.

For instance, TOPO has found that 93 percent of business leaders recognize the need for good customer experience. That number is so high because if nothing else, sales and marketing are aligned around one fundamental idea — ensuring that the right person is engaging a customer with the right message at the right time.

“Every touch that a buyer consumes with your organization is incredibly important,” Rosenberg explained. “The low-hanging fruit is getting the right leads routed to the right person. Just tell a sales leader that one of their most important leads went to the wrong SDR and then got passed around. That just makes people’s skin crawl.”

In terms of productivity, Rosenberg has a pretty straightforward philosophy — wasting time is bad. TOPO recommends that at least 70 percent of a rep’s day should be spent on customer-facing engagement. But that cannot happen if sales teams are focused on manually researching and assigning leads.

“It’s incredible how much time is wasted in the act of triage,” he said. “In some cases, we found that companies had reps spend hours per day triaging leads. That’s not selling. Think about it, if you have 10 reps and they all spend one hour a day triaging leads. That’s 10 hours each day that’s being wasted.”

Then there’s response time. Everyone is familiar with data that shows the faster you respond to a prospect, the higher the conversion rate. But it’s not only speed that counts. It’s speed and context. You must understand the customer’s needs so the message can be personalized.

“You want to move away from SDRs treating all leads the same,” Rosenberg said. “So how do we get them in the hands of the right people within in an hour? Figuring that out is hard.”

But companies on a growth trajectory must solve that problem, which inevitably emerges as lead flow expands from merely a trickle to a raging gusher. For Rosenberg, it all comes down to an issue of complexity.

“Once organizations reach a certain level, they begin dealing with inbound leads, Account-Based Marketing and lots of different routing processes,” he added. “Suddenly, all of these challenges begin to manifest themselves.”

And that’s why Rosenberg sees lead routing as a critical component of the high-growth tech stack.

You can view The State of Lead Management webinar here.

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