If you have been in sales for a while, you know that sales leads are usually distributed to sales teams in three ways. Each way has its advantages and disadvantages.
1). Geographic territory: States and/or countries are assigned to salespeople. You are responsible for prospecting any leads in your assigned area. In addition, any incoming leads from your location are handed over to you. Sometimes lead transfer can be a little sticky, especially if you are dealing with large corporations with several global locations. In most cases, where the corporation is headquartered is usually the determining factor in whether that lead is assigned to you or another salesperson. In addition, I once worked for a small publishing company that actually assigned “fenced off” accounts, i.e., large national accounts would be assigned to other salespeople even if some of those accounts fell into your territory.
2). Market segmentation territory: Rather than assigned leads based on geography, you are assigned leads based on specific market segmentation. This type of distribution is common if you work for a large corporation. Examples would include law firms, academic institutions, nonprofit organizations, federal and state governmental agencies, etc. Sometimes market segmentations may be broken down further by employee size or estimated revenue. For example, one group of salespeople may be responsible for Fortune 500 companies, while others may be responsible for Fortune 100 companies, and so on.
3). Round Robin: This process appears to be most common in start-ups or small companies. Under Round Robin, leads are assigned to the sales team on a first-come, first-serve basis regardless of size or geographic territory. Usually, the sales manager oversees the process to ensure fairness. Sometimes the sales manager may use his discretion to fall out of the Round Robin process and assign specific leads to salespeople he feels will have a better chance of closing the sale. For example, you may have someone who has experience working with financial institutions, or someone else who has experience working with automobile companies.
During the Round Robin process, if your lead bucket is too full, a sales manager may temporarily suspend you receiving more leads until you close more sales, or put leads on a back burner to contact them later.
Lead distribution is always a touchy subject. While there is never a full-proof way of handing out leads, salespeople need to be reassured that leads are being distributed fairly.
Please let me know if you have any comments or know of other ways leads are distributed.