• Amit Sarda

Pipedrive: Automate Leads Assignment

Updated: Jun 7

Pipedrive Automation and other third-party tools like Zapier, Routerjet, etc. allow for automatic and efficient leads assignment so that they can be acted on quickly. This post is a deep-dive into setting up the right process for assigning/routing leads in Pipedrive depending on the business case and sales process requirements.



Introduction


A study by LeadResponseManagement.org reports that the odds of contacting a lead if called in 5 minutes versus 30 minutes drop 100 times. Also, the odds of qualifying a lead if called in 5 minutes versus 30 minutes drop 21 times.


What it means is you cannot afford to waste any time in contacting a lead, and you should act on the lead as soon as it lands in your pipeline. And for that to happen, you cannot waste any time deciding 'who' in your team takes on a new lead.


Business owners and sales leaders, therefore, need to consider options to configure a CRM like Pipedrive so that one of the biggest determinants of sales conversion isn't a bottleneck.



Problem


Automate leads assignment using smart automation

The solution for automated leads assignment depends on various factors:

  • the sales process of the business

  • the structure of the sales team

  • the roles in the sales team

  • the products in the portfolio

  • the seniority of the salespeople


The factors could be many, but the core methods to implement automated leads assignment based on these factors are only a few. It, therefore, becomes important to understand these factors and understand what they translate to in terms of implementation.


When you have a number of salespeople working on your team, and when you have hundreds of leads coming in every day, as a business leader, the following questions become crucial:

  • How to distribute leads fairly to the sales team?

  • How to assign leads automatically, without having to employ one or more people for this job?

  • If responsiveness is so important, how can I make it easier for my sales team to be responsive?


Click this link (affiliate) to get an extended trial of 30 days with Pipedrive.


Solution


Once your leads are in Pipedrive, your next big challenge is to assign them to the right salesperson. The process of leads assignment is also popularly known as lead routing. While the former is notionally manual in nature, the latter has a sense of automation attached to it.


Zapier Setup


Since we are going to use Zapier for deals creation, let's first understand my setup for deals creation in Zapier. The flow is notionally summarized in this picture.

Zapier Setup to add a Person and a Deal to Pipedrive

Zapier first tries to find a Person with the email submitted in the enquiry. If there is no person found in Pipedrive, Zapier creates a new Person in Pipedrive with those details. I then create a new deal for that Person.


Let's see the scenarios and the recommended solution in order of complexity.


Assigning Deals in a One-man Team Scenario


When you're the only person on the team, there is no decision to be made. In the Zapier setup, I have highlighted above, you can assign the lead to yourself as part of the ZAP definition.

Assign a Person or a Deal to an Owner

In the Create Person action in the ZAP, select the name of the salesperson (you) for the Owner field of the Person. Similarly, in the Create Deal action, select the name of the salesperson (you) for the Owner field of the Deal.



Assigning Deals Manually in a Team Scenario


All said and done, you can still employ one person whose only job is to decide who is assigned the newest lead in the pipeline. In this scenario, you can follow the same steps described above and assign all deals to this one person. This person's job is then to assign these deals, one by one, to a salesperson in your team, in Pipedrive. You can never tell how effectively and efficiently this person is assigning deals to salespeople though. Besides, it is a huge bottleneck since it requires manual intervention every time, and it could become a single point of failure for your team when this person is not available 100%, mentally and physically.



Assigning Deals using Round-Robin Method


In the absence of well-defined criteria to distribute leads, a round-robin distribution of leads is the fairest method of assigning leads to your sales team. It is also effective when all deals are more or less the same and there is no significant difference in terms of value or opportunity between the deals. Besides, it doesn't matter much if there is a slight difference between the deals in terms of monetary value. In the long run, it all averages out if you stick with a round-robin distribution long enough.


You cannot assign leads using the round-robin method in Pipedrive. You have to use a 3rd party tool to accomplish this. Of all the tools I have tried, I found RouterJet (affiliate link) to be the most efficient and elegant leads assignment tool for round-robin allocation. It was developed specifically for Pipedrive and therefore it works so well.


All you have to do is assign the leads to a placeholder account (Admin in my example, who doesn't do sales) in Zapier. You can then set up rules in RouterJet to distribute any new deal assigned to this placeholder account in a round-robin fashion, from a pool of selected salespeople.



Assigning Deals based on Business Case or Sales Process


Many sales teams are organized to suit the sales process, which in turn is designed to suit the customer requirements.


For instance, teams can be organized around which products a customer has expressed interest in. Or, teams can be organized around how keen the customer is. Or, teams can be organized around the value of the deal.


The factors on which the deals can be categorized are often indicated by the customer. If a customer is filling out a contact form on your website, you can capture these factors as part of the form. This is also true when customers submit a lead generation form after seeing an advertisement on Facebook or Instagram.


As part of the form, you can ask customers which products they're interested in, when they're planning to buy, the size of their team, which plans they are considering, etc. All these questions can be a factor in deciding who among your sales team is assigned that lead. When adding this information to Pipedrive, you can add this information as custom fields under Deals in Pipedrive.


Pipedrive Workflow Automation is a really powerful feature of Pipedrive and is extremely handy when assigning deals. As soon as a deal is added to Pipedrive, you can create an automation workflow in Pipedrive to decide who that deal is assigned to.


In the following example, I am assigning a deal based on the Timeframe and the source of the deal. The trigger could be 'Deal created', instead of 'Deal updated' depending on your business case. I have also added a few extra conditions (Deal owner and Deal stage) to ensure that the automation doesn't run every time.



Lead Assignment based on Business Case or Sales Process

The action of this automation is updating the 'Deal owner', which will ensure that the deal is assigned to the right person. Depending on the criteria for assigning leads, you can be looking at configuring multiple automation workflows to cover all the possibilities.


Tip: Keep the number of factors (in this case Timeframe and Source) to a minimum. You have to create automation workflows for all possible combinations of these factors.



Assigning deals based on Customer Location


Most healthcare companies undertake sales territories design projects every year as part of aligning sales teams with business goals. It is because sales representatives have to physically visit the hospitals and doctors to educate them about the medicines in their portfolio.


Generally, sales territories are common for any sales team that requires salespeople to visit customers. Therefore, in such situations, it is important to allocate new leads based on location.


Before automating this workflow, it is important to design sales territories. You can use tools like Tableau, along with Google Sheets, to design sales territories. The output of such sales territory design exercise is a location to salesperson mapping in the form of a table.


The following images show each country's geography divided into sales territories. In these maps, each color represents one salesperson. These territories are designed considering many factors, but in the end, ensuring the sales opportunities are fairly distributed among all.


France Sales Territory Design

United Kingdom Sales Territory Design

United States Sales Territory Design

In the US sales territory design map, the states are divided fairly among the sales team. Each color represents one salesperson, and one salesperson covers many states. The result of this exercise, geography to the salesperson mapping table, would look something like below:

Location to Sales Rep Mapping

This table can then be transformed into listing each state that falls under a single salesperson.


Sales Rep's Territories

Using this list for each salesperson, you can now create workflow automation in Pipedrive as explained in the previous section.


To make this work, you will have to create a custom field of 'Address' type under Deals. The address field under Person or Organization is not accessible in this workflow automation.


In Zapier, or in any other business process automation tool (Automate.io, Integromat, etc.) that you use, you will have to populate this field with the address submitted in the website contact form.


To understand how this works, you should know a few things about 'Address' fields in Pipedrive.

  • Pipedrive breaks every address into its component parts using 3rd party maps APIs:

Apartment/suite no
House number
Street/road name
District/sub-locality
City/town/village/locality
State/county
Region
Country
ZIP/Postal code
Full/combined address

  • The definition for each of these components depends on the country the address belongs to. For instance, boroughs of the United Kingdom are listed under Region, while the States of the United States and Australia are listed under State/county.

  • It takes some time for Pipedrive to update these component columns. When Pipedrive populates these columns, a 'Deal updated' event is triggered and that is the trigger to watch out for in automation.

  • The higher the geographical granularity, the more the number of conditions in the automation rules. So try to find a balance between the level of geographical detail and fair distribution of sales opportunities.


Following is an example of one such lead assignment automation in Pipedrive for the sales region of the United Kingdom and Ireland. The trigger is 'Deal updated', and the condition is 'Country has changed'. The conditions for geographies consist of checks at different levels: Country (Ireland), State (Wales, Cymru), Region (Swansea, Kerry, Gloucestershire, etc.)

Lead Assignment Automation for United Kingdom

The following example of workflow automation in Pipedrive to assign leads in Australia checks if 'State has changed'. The geographical location checks are at the State-level (Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia).


Lead Assignment Automation for Australia

Depending on the number of geographical locations to salesperson mapping in your table, these automation workflow definitions could become really complex. When you combine location-based assignment rules with some other criteria, it becomes even more complex. Before you realize, you will be dealing with a number of workflow automatons that are extremely hard to maintain. You have to be careful when making changes to these rules. If not, you could miss out on a few geographical locations, or two or more salespeople will be fighting it out for the same location.



Conclusion


Automated leads assignment ensures that your sales team is quick to respond to newly created deals. An understanding of the above business cases for leads assignment and the necessary setup in Pipedrive should cover most of the use-cases to suit your sales team structure and your sales process. Put your sales process on autopilot and set up your sales team for success with these one-time exercises that pay off immensely in the long run.



Again, if you're new to Pipedrive, click this link (affiliate) to get an extended trial of 30 days when you create a new Pipedrive account.

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©2020 by Amit Sarda