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Marketing Automation – Assign or not Assign

Leads, they need to be assigned to ‘someone’, but where and how that happens can sometimes be tricky. I want to take the trick out of it and make it digestible. It’s finding the right place to manage the lead assignment process and who can maintain it.

Lead assignment doesn’t have to be complicated, there are territories but there are always the ‘if this then that’ and ‘it doesn’t quite fit this, then it’s that’ scenarios. How are leads assigned today? Is that someone’s job? If you have a sophisticated marketing automation platform, such as Eloqua, it can help. I’m going to talk about it in reference to how Eloqua can assist, because that is what I know…and love. But that doesn’t mean that it couldn’t be done in another marketing automation tool, I just don’t know if you can or how you would.

Is there a large map in the Marketing Director’s/Manager’s office that outlines who is in what territory? Is there a spreadsheet that is so big it sits on your desktop or an external hard drive by itself that you have to go into to know who to assign a lead to? If you answered yes, to either question, likely Eloqua could help in the assignment.

The ‘how’ comes down to how the territories are structured. Most of them are pretty straight forward, either by state, by zip, by geo region, by country, etc. Eloqua can assist since it is defined, based on criteria that is either submitted or could be appended to the contact record. In these cases, the best way is to have the rules built into the steps in your CRM Update program(s). If you’re unfamiliar with Eloqua’s Data Tools, I recommend reading up on it. A blog post I wrote, ‘Oracle Eloqua – Data Tools’, will provide the CliffsNotes version.

For the outliers, it is still doable. How do the outliers get assigned today? There usually are criteria that is relatable to get the lead assigned. Maybe a zip code is split and it goes by county, or maybe you have a split state, either way there is a way to determine how to assign the lead. If there is, Eloqua can definitely assist in that assignment. Again, it comes down to looking at the rules that are done in a manual process, applying them to the Data Tools in Eloqua to make it an automated process.

What happens when all the data needed to make the assignment isn’t there? A default queue works great. The queue, will need to be monitored on a daily basis so that leads don’t sit for a long duration.

A healthcare company I’ve worked with has territories based on ID’s and they are a bit complicated because there are definitely some ‘if this, then that’ going on. However, they also have a default queue in the case that a lead isn’t able to be routed based on the rule that is setup. One of the marketing people checks it daily and does the research to assign. Taking a time-consuming process and automating it frees up time for the ‘other things’ on the desk.  The rules by themselves aren’t complicated, there are several different criteria. Since implementing this process, the person managing the queue, only has to manually assign on average about 2 per day.

Where and how the leads are assigned depends on who owns the process. If marketing is going to own the process, then having the assignment rules and maintenance of the rules in the marketing platform is the best solution. Marketing needs to stay on top of sales personnel changes, there may be a process change in order for that to happen, so make sure that whoever on the marketing team maintains the changes has insight to when those changes happen.

Happy lead assigning!

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Amy Anderson

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