A Short But Mighty Guide to Salesforce Lead Routing

By Nathan Bellehsen

Lead routing is integral for any sales process – simply put, it needs to be done right, and yet it is still something that many businesses overlook, or perhaps don’t spend as much time on as other parts of their sales process.

In this article, we’ll cover how to route your leads and what type of lead routing rules you can set up, while also offering free templates for you to use in your own lead routing process.

What is Lead Routing?

Lead routing is what happens after a lead enters your CRM and before they’re in the hands of a sales rep – this is also called Lead Assignment Rules in Salesforce.

Leads can come from different sources:

  • A form on your website
  • Created manually from your customer service
  • A list uploaded after a tradeshow.

The magic of lead routing can either happen manually by updating the Lead Owner field, or automatically through some – you guessed it – automations (Lead Assignment Rules, Flow, Apex Class, etc.).

However, even with automations in Salesforce, it can be complicated to maintain. For example:

  • Round robin and weighting aren’t supported, which can make it tricky to distribute leads evenly.
  • Whenever a sales development rep (SDR) or account executive (AE) leaves the company, you have to manually update the entirety of your routing logic.
  • Out-of-office status isn’t taken into consideration and leads could be mistakenly assigned to reps on vacation. 

How Not to Route Your Leads

There is a right and a wrong way to route your leads. Let’s talk about how not to route your leads (because it’s way more fun!).

1. Sending your reps the wrong leads

You should really be routing your leads according to the lead routing rules you have set up. North American reps should get leads from North America, enterprise reps should be getting leads that work at enterprise-sized companies. You get the idea!

2. Sending your lead to the wrong rep when you already have an Account Owner (Lead to Account Matching is not respected)

In a similar vein, don’t send your reps leads that are already owned by another rep – that’s a good way to make a lot of people unhappy:

  • The real account owner will be frustrated you sent their lead to someone else.
  • The fake account owner will be frustrated they wasted their time sending an email to a lead someone else owns.
  • The customer is going to be frustrated because they have two sales reps trying to send them one-pagers. 

Nobody wins here, so don’t do it.

3. Waiting too long to connect your leads to the right rep

78% of B2B customers purchase from the vendor that responds first. This means that if your rep responds second, it might be too late. Remember the days when we could make an entire sandwich in the time it took a webpage to load? Well, those days are gone!

And nowadays, if a webpage doesn’t load within two seconds, we’re gone! We’re living in a world of instant gratification, and speed-to-lead is the name of the game. That’s why it’s important to consider the availability of each person to make sure your lead will talk to a rep as soon as possible.

What Types of Lead Routing Rules Should You Set Up?

I love this question. The answer is, of course, “it depends”. But I bet you saw that coming!

You can route by: 

Geographic Territory

Do you have a sales function where sales reps travel to their territory? Do you have sales reps who meet with people based on state/country? Postal code? Then you’re probably routing by geographic territory. 

Nobody wants to make their PST reps try to meet with a prospect in APAC — it’s just not right.

Company Size

If you’re selling to both small and enterprise customers, those customers’ use cases will likely differ. This means you’ll need reps who really get SMB customers and reps who really get enterprise. And – you guessed it – you’ll also need a way to route those customers to the right rep.

Here’s how you could segment your accounts by number of employees:

  • Company size = 1-50 employees = SMB
  • Company size = 51-200 employees = Mid-Market
  • Company size = 251-5,000 employees = Enterprise

Here’s a diagram to visualize what those lead routing rules could look like:


Similar to company size, different industries have different use cases. If that’s the case for you, you’re probably organizing your sales team by industry verticals. Here’s an example of how you might set up your routing rules: 

Product Line

If you sell different products, you might have sales reps specialized in each product. This only works at companies that have two distinct products that can be purchased independently; if you’re selling a platform with different products that work together, you definitely won’t want to break up your reps this way. 

Account Ownership vs. Lead to Account Matching vs. Round Robin

In all of the above routing scenarios, you can distribute leads/contacts based on predefined account ownership or by round robin. Here’s what that means:

  • Account Ownership refers to a time when a rep owns a specific account in your org’s CRM. This means any existing contact associated with a specific account will automatically be assigned to the current account owner after they fill out a form.
  • Lead to Account Matching means any inbound lead that is related in a way to an existing account (e.g. the email domain matches an existing account website domain) will automatically be assigned to the current account owner.
  • Round Robin, on the other hand, refers to scenarios when leads are assigned to a queue that alternates recipients. This can either be equal or weighted based on factors such as tenure or performance. 

Here’s what that would look like:

READ MORE: Salesforce Lead Routing Solutions – An Overview

Free Lead Routing Templates You Can Steal

Are you trying to improve your inbound process? You’re in luck! We help companies trying to improve their inbound process every day. And, we have pooled our internal knowledge to make these editable templates you can use to get started on your lead routing journey:

All you have to do is:

  1. Click the link
  2. Create a free Miro account
  3. Duplicate board
  4. Start routing!

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the basics of lead routing, it’s time to figure out which solution you should use. Whether your leads are ‘hot’ or ‘warm’, there are different ways you can connect to ensure that no lead gets left behind. 

If you’re interested in learning more about automating your lead routing, check out Chili Piper

The Author

Nathan Bellehsen

Nathan is a Solutions Consultant at Chili Piper.

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