Does Your Lead Routing Fit Your Team’s Needs…and the Needs of Your Customers?

Lead Routing

Your lead routing process may be causing you to miss opportunities.

Do you ever wonder there’s a better, faster, smarter way?

No matter how effective your lead generation strategy is, without a strong lead routing strategy your conversion rates will suffer, and hundreds of promising leads will slip through your fingertips.  In this post, we contrast and compare the pros and cons of each of the most common lead routing strategies used in the real estate sector. Read on to see how your tactics measures up.

Round Robin
Lead routing using weighted and unweighted rules

Courtesy of BoomTown

Utilizing the round robin method, leads are directly funneled to agents in rotation. Lead assignment can be weighted or unweighted.  Round robin is an attractive lead routing strategy for many, as leads are divvied up fairly between agents – in comparison to performance-based methods. Team morale remains high as agents do not feel overwhelmed by too many leads, or alternatively, feel passed over for a higher-performing rep. Many are drawn to the round robin method for its simplicity.

CRMs with lead routing options can be used to seamlessly assign new leads directly to agents – further simplifying the lead-routing process.  Comparatively, the equal shares inherent in the round robin method often mean that agents aren’t fueled by competition with one another to qualify and convert a high number of sales leads.

Round robin does little to energize agents to consistently expand their sphere of influence.  It can take away the sense of urgency needed to ensure that agents respond to leads quickly.  Agents hey may pass over lead qualification and conversion responsibilities for more engaging tasks, such as showings and closings.

The Top Agent

The top agent strategy assigns leads based on performance. The top agent is assigned the largest number of leads; with the remaining agents being assigned a larger number of leads based on how high they are up the ladder.  The top agent strategy incentivizes hard work as the strongest performer will receive the most leads. This also increases your likelihood of converting a higher number of leads, as your strongest salesperson takes command of the majority of the leads coming in.

One drawback of this strategy is that your best agents may become overwhelmed with a high number of leads – this may lead to a chip away at morale if the workload becomes too stressful.  Flooding one agent with the majority of your leads may also adversely affect response times; negatively impacting how many leads your top agent actually manages to convert.  CRMs can help you track and monitor your team’s performance with the top agent method. With a CRM, you can gain great insights into how well your agents perform with different kinds of leads. CRMs provide a transparent lead-routing strategy, allowing you to adjust your lead assignments and managerial approach accordingly.

Agent on Duty
Lead routing using agent on duty rule

Courtesy of BoomTown

Agent on duty assigns an agent, or a team of agents, to handle leads during a set time frame. The on-duty agent is on call for a set number of hours each day, after which they pass responsibilities to another agent. When an agent is “on duty” they are solely responsible for responding to all initial inquiries and their follow up.  There are several pros to the agent on duty method.

Firstly, this method guarantees that there is always an agent available to respond to a lead – ensuring that your leads are engaged in a timely fashion.  In some cases, granular routing rules can also take into account areas of specialization, such as those assigned agents who work exclusively with city dwellers, or low income housing.  Assigning a dedicated team of agents to lead nurturance will also speed up response times. Harvard Business Review found that the chances of qualifying a lead decrease by 400% if sales reps respond within 10 minutes – rather than five.  So, rather than splitting their focus between several different tasks, agents focus their efforts solely on nurturing leads – further improving productivity.

On the downside, agent on duty lead assignments don’t account for an agent’s specialities or performance. For example, if certain agents excel at working with first time buyers, they are unable to cherry pick to their strengths as leads are shared up equally.  You’ll see a higher number of conversions by assigning leads based on agent expertise and experience – capitalizing on an agent’s confidence, skills, and ability.

Inside Sales Associate…within your team, or a 3rd party
Lead routing using Inside Sales Agents ISAs

Courtesy of BoomTown

An inside sales associate (ISA) is hired as a third-party company to pick up and scrub incoming leads. The ISA nurtures the lead through a series of touches in a pre-defined playbook.  The ISA only puts a lead in contact with an agent when they are qualified and ready to meet.  An ISA can allow your agents to focus on other elements of business, such as showings, saving them time and delivering leads likely to convert.

While ISAs are hired to engage and qualify leads quickly, it can frequently take days or weeks to fulfill the process. Because they are not real estate agents themselves, the process is often jarring for prospects who have grown accustomed to the ISA – negatively impacting conversion rates.

Big data, commonly used in retail to better address customer needs, is still relatively new in real estate.  Utilizing software to provide qualifying demographics about a lead and instantly connecting the lead with the right agents, ensures a smooth and easy transition for your leads and enables agents to connect and qualify them as soon as they make contact.

Routing Based on Availability

In contrast to equal shares with the round robin method, routing based on availability can tap into salespeople’s competitive nature.  Seasoned agents, with years of experience in the job, can lose the competitive edge that fuels snapping up incoming leads. In addition, the majority of real estate agents have a naturally competitive streak and that’s rarely used fully. Routing based on availability plays on an agents’ competitive nature with a gamification of the sales environment.

Furthermore, assigning leads based on availability ensures that agents have a steady influx of leads to suit their current workload. This avoids the overwhelm and burnout that can crop up with the top agent or the agent on duty methods.  Using software to automate lead routing based on availability also ensures your agents qualify leads swiftly. Studies show that agents have five minutes to qualify a lead before it goes cold. Automated methods ensure that your team qualify leads within the coveted five-minute window. They command an 87% higher conversion rate.

The fastest agent wins, whether they work for you or your competitors, software platforms that have the ability to route leads in seconds to an agent’s phone will skyrocket your conversion rates.  However, despite the effectiveness of this strategy, larger teams may still need to integrate other strategies to enable the immediate hand-off of leads, boosting conversion rates with efficient follow-ups.

Time to Trade in Outdated Lead Routing Strategies?

How do your real estate lead routing methods stack up? A flawed lead routing strategy can topple even the most talented team of real estate professionals.  The larger the brokerages, and the more diverse their properties, the more complex routing rules become. While most CRMs accommodate a layered, “waterfall” approach; where the “fastest finger” claims the lead first. The latest lead-routing software institutes those rules upfront for all lead sources – while updating the CRM automatically on lead and agent assignment; allowing them to focus solely on selling.

 

 

 

 

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