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The 3 Components of Lead Segmentation Model

Segmenting your leads isn’t just about dropping them into the appropriate territories, it’s also about routing them to the sales people that you know can close. It’s about increasing the success and productivity of your entire sales team. Whether you call it segmentation, assignment, or something else, creating the right routing model is pivotal in getting the right customers to the right reps. 

The basic components of lead segmentation

I’ve built and ran lead segmentation models across multiple companies and sales teams. No matter what your organization sells, you can design your model around 3 main components:

  1. Customer quality
  2. Customer intent
  3. Sales rep behavior

These three inputs help us determine two important scores: 

  1. Customer score: combination of customer quality and customer intent
  2. Rep score: combination of each rep’s conversion rates over time 

When creating a new lead segmentation model, start with the customer score. Once you’ve identified that a lead is worth pursuing, use the sales rep score to assign the highest quality leads to the right reps.  

Component 1: customer quality

It’s important to have some kind of filter that helps salespeople understand the potential value of a lead, whether it’s inbound or already owned within your CRM. For example, if you sell a SaaS product that bills customers based on seat count, you wouldn’t treat a 10 seat deal the same way you would treat a 100 seat deal. They’re different quality deals that yield different revenue amounts. 

Start off by defining a floor for customer quality. This is the amount that your sales people won’t go below. Let’s say a deal is worth less than $5,000, for example. If most of your customers pay more than this amount, you don’t want your reps focusing on this deal, it’s too low quality. You might send the lead to a self service portal if you have it or just do nothing with it at all.

Every lead that comes in above that $5,000 floor should wind up in someone’s book of business or territory. The best way to route these leads is to bucket them. Every company will have a unique approach to bucketing. Perhaps you bucket leads into basic, premium, and gold. This will determine your outreach cadence and style of communication for each lead. 

A 1,000 person company deal requires a different outreach strategy than a 50 person company deal. By creating a floor and bucketing everything, your reps will know the caliber of each lead and the appropriate amount of communication. 

Component 2: customer intent 

The types of actions your customers have taken determine their customer intent score. These actions are signals and tell us how interested in your product the lead actually is and whether they’re in a buying cycle. Examples include filling out a web form, visiting your company blog, or putting out an RFP. They’re signaling that they’re in the market for your solution. 

If your intent score is high, it will bump up the overall customer score, even if the quality is low. Low quality, high intent leads are worth pursuing. Sure, there isn’t a ton of revenue on the table, but the amount of effort it will take to close the deal is pretty low. 

Not every scored customer gets same treatment 

Getting back to cadence and communication, the overall customer score, using quality and intent, determines how you treat each lead. If you have 3 buckets for customer score, you might see something like this: 

  • Bucket A (highest value): cadence of 7 phone calls and 4 emails over one month
  • Bucket B (lower value): cadence of 5 phone calls and 2 emails over one month
  • Bucket C (lowest value): cadence of 3 calls and 1 email over one month

This service design defines the service level they get from your sales team. You want reps to spend most of their time in Bucket A, not burning through cold calls and emails chasing a low value deal from Bucket C. You can set these buckets up yourself in Salesforce or you can add your cadences into a sales engagement tool like Salesloft or Outreach.

Component 3: rep behavior

Finally, your rep’s behavior and performance will influence which leads they receive. When it comes down to it, you don’t want to route your highest quality leads to someone who’s underperforming. You’ll end up wasting leads that should have closed. Reps need to reach a performance plateau first before they get the best leads. 

In your segmentation model, every rep should be scored on lead conversion. This can be over a long period of time, or a short period of time. I recommend using a combination of a 3 month window and a 2 week window. The longer window gives you a clear idea of average performance while the shorter window lets the rep improve their score quickly. It seems counterintuitive, but you want to give people a chance to pull themselves up fast and start converting. No one should be in lead jail forever. 

The goal is to feed your highest converters as much as you can. There might be a certain section of reps who get access to the highest quality leads or to more deals overall. This may seem unfair to the reps who are stuck working low quality leads, but being fair in a sales organization doesn’t mean being equal. It means continuing to provide leads to those that do the best at their jobs

Improve your reps’ performance 

How can you optimize every minute of a sales rep’s workday? Have them spend their time on the highest value leads and deals at any point in time. Don’t have them working leads that won’t bring in much money, don’t show any real intent, or aren’t in a buying process. Finally, decide which pockets of sales reps will get the best leads so they can close deals fast.

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