4 Ways That Companies Can Smartly Allocate Leads You worked hard! You got 'em! Now, what do you do with them?

By Chuck Cohn

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When companies discuss leads, the conversation often revolves around how to increase their number. And for good reason: Companies of all sizes and in all industries devote a large percentage of their resources to lead generation. What to do once the leads begin to roll in, however, may be less clear. How can you ensure that your business benefits from your team's hard work?

Related: Why You Have a Lot Fewer Sales Leads to Follow Than You Think

The answer is, you can allocate those leads. While there are a number of smart strategies to help you with lead allocation, here are four to consider:

1. Qualify your leads.

The first thing you should do with all the leads your company receives is to ensure that they are qualified. This should happen before they are passed on to the sales team. Unqualified leads can tax company resources and frustrate your sales team, which makes implementing a lead-scoring system critical.

If your company is in the startup phase, you may have to make some educated guesses about what constitutes a qualified lead, but as you do more and more business, you can (and should) refine your criteria. If a lead is deemed to be unqualified, or not yet ready for follow-up by the sales team, enter it into a nurturing program. While some people view leads in a nurturing program as lost leads because no purchase has been made, the reality is that nurtured leads may ultimately prompt bigger purchases. According to the Annuitas Group, leads in a nurturing program make 47 percent larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.

Suppose, for a moment, that you sell communication software to global companies, and that the purchasing time line for each lead features heavily in your scoring system. A nurturing program can help you continue to build relationships with those leads who intend to make a purchase within six months or more, while also prioritizing those who are currently ready to buy.

2. Continually refine your process.

As mentioned, the more leads you generate, the more you can refine your scoring system. When you first begin to review leads, your process may be manual -- for instance, you read detailed notes from your sales team on why some leads are qualified, while others are not. Over time, however, you will accumulate enough sales history to automate the process, and to include a feedback loop that examines which leads become sales.

Because the process is rarely clear-cut, you should consider developing a scoring range, rather than a qualified/unqualified designation. For example, with a rating of 1-5, leads that score a 4 or 5 could be forwarded to sales, while leads that score a 1, 2, or 3 could be entered into a nurturing program.

Related: Marketers: Your Sales Team Needs Leads, Not Inquiries

3. Automate your qualification system.

Automation (discussed in the previous paragraph) is one way to streamline the process of collecting information, building customer profiles and scoring leads. The key to effectively automating such a system lies in collecting enough information upfront to accurately score leads without overwhelming potential customers with requests for too much information.

Each time you ask for more information, you increase the likelihood that your lead drops out of the process, so collect simple details like name, telephone number and email immediately. This way, if a lead drops out before you complete all the steps in your process, you can still follow up via a nurturing campaign. You can also try to determine purchasing ability based on questions like company size (i.e., number of employees, number of offices). This limits the amount of information that the lead has to provide, while still allowing you to add sensitive information to each profile.

4. Utilize high-value lead routing.

A fantastic benefit from ranking leads is the ability to route your highest-quality leads to the salespeople most qualified to convert them into customers. This is often far more effective than solely routing leads based on salesperson availability, because it allows you to capitalize on a salesperson's unique knowledge base and familiarity with a potential client (or businesses similar to that of the potential client).

As much as possible, design your lead system so that the right salespeople can quickly address those high-value leads that relate to their areas of expertise. Not only will you likely improve your sales numbers, you may also further motivate your sales team to consistently perform at a high level.

Ultimately, the most effective lead-allocation systems are those that qualify leads; utilize an automated, continually refined process; and capitalize on high-value lead routing. With such a system in place, you can make more efficient use of company resources and strengthen your bottom line.

Related: Here Is the Equation for Increasing Your Sales Team's Success

Wavy Line
Chuck Cohn

CEO and Founder of Varsity Tutors

Chuck Cohn is the CEO and founder of Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.

Editor's Pick

She's Been Coding Since Age 7 and Presented Her Life-Saving App to Tim Cook Last Year. Now 17, She's on Track to Solve Even Bigger Problems.
I Helped Grow 4 Unicorns Over 10 Years That Generated $18 Billion in Online Revenues. Here's What I've Learned.
Want to Break Bad Habits and Supercharge Your Business? Use This Technique.
Don't Have Any Clients But Need Customer Testimonials? Follow These 3 Tricks To Boost Your Rep.
Why Are Some Wines More Expensive Than Others? A Top Winemaker Gives a Full-Bodied Explanation.

Related Topics

Business News

'I'm Not a Very Good Businessman': Kevin Costner Is Risking a Ton of His Own Money on New Project

The "Yellowstone" star discussed how he bankrolled his new epic movies — and his accountant isn't happy.


Find Cheap Flights and Learn New Languages With This $160 Deal

Get Rosetta Stone, a VPN, and more in this Father's Day deal.

Business News

'I Am Just Floored': Woman Discovers She Won $1 Million Lottery Prize While Checking Her Email at Work

Initially, she thought the email was a scam, but went to lottery headquarters and walked away with a six-figure check after taxes.

Growing a Business

6 Tips on How Job Seekers Can Prepare for All Types of Interview Questions

Learn how to create compelling talking points that apply to a variety of interview questions.

Business News

'The Most Vile Coffee Drink I Have Ever Had': Starbucks' Olive Oil-Infused Beverages Are Coming to More Cities

Former CEO Howard Schultz found inspiration in Sicily — but it's not for everyone.