The Source of Awkward Lead Routing Fails

As B2B marketers, we spend a lot of time thinking about the buyer’s journey… maybe drawing some cool looking funnels… mapping our content to different decision making phases… you know the drill.

But this energy is wasted if your hard-earned leads end up being tossed like hot potatoes from rep to rep once they get in the door.

Often leads get sent to a BDR queue as the first line of defense, regardless of whether those prospects would be better served talking to someone else. The BDRs then call and email the lead in hopes to further qualify them and get the next meeting — and they treat them the same, whether they’re talking to Joe Schmoe or Oprah Winfrey.

Getting these leads routed to the right rep, at the right time, is essential for the kind of buyer experience people have come to expect.

Lead Routing Based On Greater Context

What would the ideal future state be for lead routing? In my mind, there are three questions to logically ask when determining which sales rep should act on a lead:

1. Who are they?

What demographic information do we know? Do we have data to indicate how well they match our ideal customer profile, like location, company size, industry, etc.?

2. What did they do?

What content did they interact with? What did they do, say, or request, and what does this tell us about intent?

3. Why does that matter?

What other dependencies are there? Are they already in the system, or is this a net new individual? Is their account/company in Salesforce already? Is there an open opportunity with their company, or has one of their colleagues bought from us in the past?

Salesforce’s native lead assignment rules make it easy to route based on #1. Pardot’s completion actions, groups, scoring, and automation rules make it easy to layer on #2.

#3 is something that a lot of marketers have been challenged to systematize. Sure, if you manually search by company name in Salesforce, you can usually identify any dependencies right away and get it to the right person. But how do you scale this?

Lead Routing Failures When You Don’t Have the Full Picture

Without a process for this, all kinds of “whoops” moments can emerge. Things like:

    • Two reps calling on different people from the same account


    • Hitting a new C-Suite lead with all of your prospecting firepower — only to have them respond “we already work with you guys”


    • A well-intentioned BDR outreach to a customer who’s having a complete service melt down


    • An engagement from a high value Named Account being sent to a BDR… after months of marketing and sales nurturing with the intent of getting it to a specific rep.


A Better Way Forward for Lead Routing

If you’re cringing at any of those scenarios in recognition — you’re not alone.

This is a challenge several of my customers are wrestling with, and they’re using a company called LeanData to step up their game. You’ll be seeing more posts on this blog as I continue learning the ins and outs of it — but suffice it to say I’m low grade geeking out so far.

Is this something you’ve run into in your business? How do you manage complex routing scenarios and avoid those “oops” moments? Let’s hear it in the comments!


To read more on Lean Data, check out their recent post on the Pardot blog.

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Andrea is a 12X certified Salesforce MVP and the founder of Sercante. When she's not Pardot-ing, she can be found playing with her German Shepherd Murphy, making homemade gin, or traveling with her hubby Buck.

4 thoughts on “The Source of Awkward Lead Routing Fails”

  1. How would you use native Pardot functionality to check to see if the Company/Account already exists in Salesforce on a newly created Prospect?

  2. Great post! Curious how you would use completion actions, groups, scoring, and automation rules to determine if a Prospect already matches a Company/Account in Salesforce. Been trying to come up with a solution but am drawing a blank. Thanks for any insight you have!

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