Key considerations when picking a routing solution
Written by RingLead Marketing on February 18, 2021
Planning is essential to success. To guide you on your journey to increasing speed to lead, here are six steps you can follow:
Six Step Process
- Who are the key stakeholders? (See step 2.)
- How will you determine whether your routing strategy is successful? Put another way, what are your success criteria?
- Identify your key performance indicators (KPIs) and remember to build a dashboard to report on them.
- What’s your decision-making process for picking a routing solution? (See the next section for three key considerations.)
- Identify your stakeholders. (Who)
- A good project manager knows who’s involved with every aspect of a mission-critical endeavor before the project starts.
- An executive sponsor can help champion the project.
- Who should help define and approve the routing requirements?
- Consider whether a RACI matrix might be useful.
- Who is Responsible for the implementation? Who is ultimately Accountable? Who should be Consulted, such as a subject matter expert? And who are the people that need to be Informed (one-way communication), and at what frequency?
- Who’s responsible for managing the data that empowers your routing? A committee or center of excellence for data quality might be beneficial for your organization.
- Document your routing scenarios. (What)
- Share your plan with end-users. Transparency and communication are good ways to get buy-in and support.
- In plain language, write down your routing scenarios, perhaps in a Google doc, and make it visible to your stakeholders and end-users.
- Define a service level agreement (SLA) if you don’t already have one. This will set expectations on how quickly a salesperson must respond to a new lead before it gets taken away or escalated.
- Define the timeline. (When)
- If you fail to plan, you have planned to fail. Everyone is busy.
- With any new technology, there is a learning curve. No matter how simple or intuitive the software is, there is still some level of training required, even if it’s just watching a couple video tutorials or reading product documentation. Take the time to familiarize yourself, and you’ll be able to execute faster.
- A documented timeline removes uncertainty and will further inspire your employees and get their support.
- Create a policy for users to request updates. (Where)
- Create a mechanism for people to request and suggest changes. Your users will be the first to identify any necessary updates to your routing processes. Help them help you.
- Plan for next steps.
- Once your intelligent routing strategy is in place, you’ll want to keep it running and innovating it.
Key considerations when picking a routing solution
No doubt, there are a variety of solutions available in a growing, competitive landscape as more organizations realize the need for robust data orchestration. This can complicate the buying process and make it important to carefully review your options as you consider today’s needs as well as looking forward to tomorrow’s.
Below are some ideas and questions to guide your decision-making process.
Build or Buy?
When buying a car, would you want the first one off the lot? Technology vendors perform extensive work testing for quality, making improvements, and innovating in the contexts of diverse industries and scenarios. You can reap the benefits of thousands of development hours already put into a product.
What’s the cost of waiting? Software has predictable costs and results and can often be deployed in hours, while custom development requires conceivably more time to plan, design, and test and can snowball into unforeseen work. Consider the total cost of ownership.
Do you have resources available to perform maintenance? CRMs like Salesforce periodically release updates that may affect custom development. SaaS providers typically have a process for ensuring in advance that their solutions seamlessly work with any changes made to the CRM.
What about native CRM functionality and Salesforce?
If your assignment rules are basic, then using out-of-the-box lead assignment functionality is fine, but that’s hardly ever the case with growing organizations.
Using Salesforce workflow rules is restrictive because of limited cross-object referencing. With process builder, it’s more flexible, but it can get convoluted and complex. Apex code is powerful, but it’s also expensive to maintain.
Salesforce will be the first to say they don’t try to solve for everything. This is why the AppExchange exists. As they remain true to core functionality, their investment in native routing capabilities is limited.
Point solutions or an all-in-one platform?
An end-to-end routing process generally looks like this: First, an incoming lead is validated and duplicates are prevented. Next, important data points are populated and standardized. Finally, the data is segmented, matched, and the record is assigned to someone.
All of these steps are necessary to optimize the routing process. Accordingly, there are multiple point solutions available on the market that separately solve for one step of the routing process.
When multiple technologies are purchased from multiple vendors, IT spend is spread out and software costs add up. Overhead is incurred as administrators spend time managing the integration of multiple systems with different user interfaces. Unnecessary amounts of API calls are consumed when, for example, a lead enters the MAP, gets enriched by one or more data vendors, and is sent to the CRM. Wait steps are typically configured to allow time for the data to process without encountering errors like record locks.
With multiple point solutions and data enrichment steps involved in the routing process, it can take 5-10 minutes just for a lead to be assigned to a salesperson. This means there’s no chance for the salesperson to respond within that magic five-minute window. When speed is the name of the game, routing latency is costly.
An all-in-one platform capable of performing all the necessary steps in an end-to-end routing process can drastically decrease total cost, reduce overhead, and improve lead response time. Consolidating software saves time and money. Consolidating technologies eliminates inefficiencies. For these reasons, the synergy of a robust platform is fundamental to an intelligent routing strategy.
Other questions to ask
- What level of support is provided?
- Is training provided?
- Will you be assigned a dedicated specialist to help accelerate your time-to-value?
- How can you make sure the solution scales with you as you grow?
- Do you have the data you need to support the process you want?
Future-proofing your intelligent routing strategy
Organizations seeking to innovate their go-to-market processes should consider not only the initial need for a routing solution, but also future operational improvements across the entire revenue machine. Intelligent routing is one component of a larger data orchestration strategy.
To effectively execute account-based marketing, you need quality data to inform your routing processes. Just a few examples include company size, annual revenue, territory, and industry. The question is, how will you get this information? Manual research is time-consuming and tedious. And you don’t want to add more fields than necessary to your web forms because you risk decreasing conversion rates.
As prospects enter your CRM or MAP, the data needs to be cleansed, enriched, and normalized—and then routed. Routing processes must be data-driven. The chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
Let’s review three links in the chain:
When a lead enters the system, whether it’s from a form fillout or an imported list from an event, the record needs to be populated with pertinent data so your routing system knows exactly what to do with it. (Remember, you want to keep the number of fields on your forms to a minimum to increase conversion rate.)
Your routing system should be able to enrich data in real time as leads enter the system or when field values change. For leads, contacts, and accounts already in the system, automated bulk enrichment ensures they’re always up to date with fresh and accurate data. No more calling into a contact only to find out they switched jobs six months ago.
There are numerous data vendors available on the market. But no single vendor has 100% coverage of every professional in every industry. This is why organizations need multiple data sources to ensure all their data enrichment needs are met. In the US alone, marketers spend over $20 billion annually on data enrichment services, and this is expected to increase as go-to-market strategies continue to become more sophisticated.
Organizations using multiple data sources tend to custom-develop connectors for their CRM and MAP, and build in wait steps to avoid errors caused by multiple data vendors trying to update the same record at the same time. This creates inefficiencies in the routing process: Not only are overhead maintenance costs incurred, but it also consumes the finite amount of available API calls which impacts Salesforce and Marketo API usage, for example. This is a common cause of the traditional routing latency problem.
An robust routing system is one that efficiently supports multiple data vendors and streamlines the enrichment process by:
- Saving API calls.
- Eliminating the need for wait steps.
- Automatically mapping data dictionaries.
- Unifying the normalization process.
Data vendors have unique methods of formatting and categorizing information. This means data in your system may be unstructured or take different forms. For example, there are many ways to categorize and format industries, job roles, addresses, etc:
- CPG | Consumer Packaged Goods | Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG)
- SVP | Senior Vice President | Sr VP
- California | CA | Cali
When you think about all the different ways data enters your CRM or MAP, the problem is clear.
To illustrate, one prospect might fill out a web form and supply Texas as their state, while another prospect might register for an event and input TX.
What if someone inputs a name in all caps, like “ANTHONY PICA”? When you send them an automated email, it’ll start with “Hi ANTHONY,” which looks unprofessional.
Data inconsistencies create barriers to intelligent routing and may even tarnish your brand reputation.
The solution? Normalization. Essentially, special algorithms transform data to be standardized and consistent, which affords CRM managers greater control of business processes and segmentation.
Marketing 101: know your audience.
Segmentation is the process of placing your prospects and customers into buckets within the database to get a better grasp of your audience. You might segment by geography, company size, lead score, or job function, for example.
Without reliable segments, marketing doesn’t have the ability to target their messaging to the right buyer at the right time in the buyer journey. To be clear, managing segments without enriched and normalized data is a painful endeavor.
Proper segmentation empowers lead assignment and account-based marketing. For example, when you have clearly defined sales territories—based on geography, company size, industry, etc.—it’s drastically easier to configure routing rules. Sophisticated organizations will have multiple segments that can be cross referenced for increased routing precision.
Speed to lead is achieved with quality data that’s segmented properly.
Synergy is the key
Henry Ford revolutionized the manufacturing industry in the early 1900s. A half century later, Taiichi Ohno developed the Toyota Production System. Both of these business leaders innovated their systems to eliminate waste and increase throughput. In the 21st century, factories are filled with intelligent machines that communicate with each other to automate and streamline the flow of parts. The fourth industrial revolution is here.
How can today’s revenue operations leaders leverage the same concepts that enabled Ford and Ohno to make speed a competitive advantage? Eliminate bottlenecks in the routing process.
Traditional routing processes typically consist of fragmented systems, including MAP, CRM, and usually eight web service calls to third parties. It’s expensive, painful to manage, and hinders all efforts to improve “speed to lead”.
But when software components are purposely designed to work together, a synergistic effect emerges. The flow of data accelerates and throughput increases. When you combine processes for deduplication, enrichment, normalization, segmentation, and lead-to-account matching within one flow, you have a strong chain of business processes that together make your revenue engine more powerful.
“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
An all-in-one solution consolidates business processes and delivers benefits that make executives happy:
✓ One investment and procurement process.
✓ One contract and legal review.
✓ One software and security review.
✓ One user interface to learn.
✓ One support team to work with.
✓ One help center to navigate.
✓ One set of internal documentation to manage.
– Decreased cost.
– Minimized overhead.
– Fewer API callouts.
– Less bandwidth required.
– Eliminated bottlenecks.
– No technical debt.
– Reduced effort.
Made possible because of…
✓ One synergistic data orchestration platform.
In the fourth industrial revolution, revenue operations leaders that adopt sophisticated technology to automate and streamline the flow of data will be able to make account-based lead assignment a competitive advantage for their organization. Conversely, organizations without a synergistic routing system will suffer from the same kinds of latencies that haunted Ford’s predecessors.
Fortunately, an all-in-one data orchestration platform gives you everything you need to execute an intelligent routing strategy that withstands the test of time.
Organizations striving for revenue growth must take lead routing seriously. RingLead helps build company cultures where lead response time is respected and data professionals become data heroes.
The RingLead Data Orchestration Platform combines all data management processes into a single command center to ensure data is routed as fast and accurately as possible.