Top Challenges for Salesforce Lead Assignment to Channel Partners

Imagine you work for a mid-size to large producer of specialty equipment that’s typically sold to consumers or smaller organizations. Or more generally, any organization handling a high volume of moderate complexity deals, usually ranging in size from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.

Your leads, ranging from a few dozen to several hundred per day, are sourced from your website, events, and other marketing activities.

To reduce cost of sales and improve geographical coverage, you distribute most of your leads to a network of channel partners, with direct sellers handling only the larger and more complex opportunities.

Salesforce Lead Assignment

Salesforce is your CRM, and you have attempted to automate the distribution of leads. But it’s been a lot tougher than expected — despite significant effort by your admin and development team, many leads are still being assigned to the wrong partner, or worse, not being assigned at all.

Your marketing VP was visibly agitated during your last meeting when he exclaimed, “We’re getting leads, but they’re being wasted – we’re not getting them to the field soon enough!” The task has now fallen on you to make sure every new lead is automatically assigned to a partner who is eligible to receive it.

Channel partners have overlapping territories and their contracts may have additional clauses limiting lead eligibility. For example, Wixly’s Widgets is eligible to receive leads across your entire line for all industries in Washington and Oregon – in addition to those for California’s technology sector. Meanwhile, Gormer’s Gizmos is entitled to leads just for your Frabulator solution in all three coastal states.

Within the constraints on eligibility, you need to maximize the revenue generated by your partners. Specifically, this means rewarding the partners who close more business by getting them more or better leads, and encouraging partners to process leads quickly by load balancing assignments. In addition, you can implement SLAs on response time and take back leads from partners who don’t follow up reliably.

Also, some of your partners are large organizations with multiple sales reps assigned to selling your products. They have asked for your help in distributing leads to their individual reps — who each have a login to the Partner Community hosted in your Salesforce org — based on their individual load, availability and skillset.

All the while, leads representing larger deals are kept in-house. So your lead routing must distribute to the right internal seller for those prospective sales, using a separate set of rules based on some combination of territory, named accounts and skills. And since these are typically more complex sales, it is often necessary to assign a technician as well as a sales rep.

Response Rates Matter

Meanwhile, the clock continues to tick – time is of the essence for every one of your leads. In a study conducted by, researchers quantified the impact of response rates:

“For B2B inquiries submitted via a web form, 78% of the sales go to the first company to respond. And the optimal time to respond is within five minutes of the prospect hitting submit on your web registration form. The research revealed a tenfold decrease in the effectiveness of following up after the first five minutes and a 400% decrease in the odds of qualifying a prospect between following up within five minutes and following up within 10 minutes.”

That’s pressure. Given such lead routing challenges, how do you fairly and efficiently distribute each lead to the right person – i.e. one who is eligible and has both the matching expertise and current availability?

As you’ve discovered, the built-in assignment capabilities in Salesforce aren’t sufficient to effectively implement such multifaceted channel assignment, and manual processes are far too involved and time consuming. You could write custom code. Or…

Decisions on Demand Makes it Easy

Through powerful rule-based decisioning and an intuitive UI, Decisions on Demand – a Salesforce AppExchange partner – enables you to elegantly handle lead assignments from the simplest to the most complex. Our UI makes it easy to enter and maintain rules, including large rulesets which you can upload using Excel. With a built-in Test Console you can thoroughly test your rules prior to going live, and before any updates are deployed. And a detailed execution log lets you monitor and report on the distribution of leads in your production org.

To learn more, contact us to request a demo!