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Lead to Account Matching: How to Automate and Close Deals

As businesses grow it becomes increasingly difficult for teams to talk to each other. 

And while it’s bad when communication fails internally, it’s considerably worse when prospects or leads are aware of the breakdown. 

From a sales standpoint, imagine sending an email to a prospect only to be met with a reply of “I’m already working with Chris” or “Thanks, but I’ve actually been a customer for three years…”

Not only is this situation terribly embarrassing, but now your sales rep is wasting time chasing down the person in charge of that account instead of spending time emailing actual prospects. 

If this situation sounds at all familiar to you, it may be time to look into investing in lead-to-account (L2A) matching. 

Let’s dive in. 

What is lead to account matching?

Lead-to-account matching is the automated process of connecting inbound leads to the appropriate account in order to use that data for routing, scheduling, analytics, and more. 

You can implement routing rules to decide what makes a lead ready for follow-up and which rep (or group of reps) is best equipped to work that lead.

Lead-to-account matching helps you scale more efficiently and ensure no lead is lost in the system ever again. 

Why is lead-to-account matching so important?

Keeping your prospects and customers happy is the best way to maintain a healthy pipeline and win revenue. 

And step one is being cognizant and respectful of their time.

If too much time is spent chasing after the wrong lead, you’ll surely miss out on a quality lead that’s now buying from someone else. 

Fortunately, lead-to-account matching can help — it helps you make the most out of your inbound leads in a number of ways. 

Accurate data reporting

Before there were lead-to-account matching tools, the whole process was manual. 

Can you imagine?

All the hours spent manually distributing leads or patching together multiple software that doesn’t really integrate well with one another.

All those hot leads turning cold. 

But what’s worse for me is picturing murky “databases” filled with duplicates and outdated contacts — trying to find who came from where, who was assigned to whom, and when. 

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way anymore.

Lead to account matching tools offer clean reports so you can see all your data in real-time and continuously evaluate your performance.

Increased efficiency

Any lead is absolutely useless if not routed and assigned properly. 

If your sales team is wasting time on the wrong lead, that’s money down the drain. Period.

Lead-to-account matching helps get your leads in front of the right reps. 

For example, Chili Piper’s Distro has intelligent rules that automatically route leads to the correct rep based on the criteria you set.

automated lead distribution

Qualified prospects who request a demo can instantly book a meeting, while leads that aren’t quite ready for a call can be assigned for personal outreach. 

Talk about efficiency.

Accurate and fair lead distribution amongst reps

The best lead distribution software will help you make sure every rep is getting a fair amount of leads based on your routing rules.

I know this sounds obvious, but you will not believe the horror stories we’ve heard about how companies distribute and route their leads.

We’ve heard of SDRs using a Slack bot to randomly pick a sales rep every time a lead came in.

Or, one of my favorites, SDRs actually having to unplug their computers, run up two flights of stairs to the sales office, and yell ask “who can take this call?” whenever a lead raised their hand and wanted to talk to sales. 

Horrifying.

Luckily, this is something you can avoid. 

Lead-to-account matching software lets you build intelligent routing rules that automatically assign leads and meetings to the correct rep based on a combination of fields, including territory, company size, account ownership, and more.

Even better, the best tools will also let you account for ownership so assigned leads in your CRM aren’t re-distributed.

A dream come true.

Kevin Dorsey, PatientPop’s VP of Sales, says it best.

“If pipeline isn’t being distributed evenly… you lose out on revenue, and it kills morale.”

Minimize loss of trust

Put yourself in this situation for a moment. 

Imagine being at work. You’re busy. You’ve got emails coming out of your ears, and one more just came in.

The worst part is that it’s a cold email from a company and a product that you already use. 

It’s not only infuriating and a complete waste of your time, but it’ll likely ruin your trust in the company. 

After all, if one person doesn’t know what another is doing, how are they handling your business?

Your reps need to instill trust in the company, the product, and the service… not degrade it. Lead-to-account matching is the best way to avoid this embarrassing and detrimental slip-up. 

Keep wasted time to a minimum

Sales reps are tight on time. They’re making phone calls, sending emails, prospecting new customers, checking in with current customers, and so much more. 

Time is money. 

That means any running around they have to do to find answers to questions or work with other reps on existing customers is not only a waste of time but also a potential loss of revenue. 

Lead-to-account matching works on autopilot, ensuring that leads are routed to the right person, that they’re distributed evenly across your team, and that your reps are notified so they can spend more time driving revenue. 

Not to mention, massive database cleanups can take days if not weeks to complete. 

Rather than wasting your team’s time on a project of this magnitude, allow the lead routing software to do the heavy lifting. 

How does lead-to-account matching work?

It’s actually relatively simple, but for some reason, few tools get it right in the back end. 

Depending on which lead-to-account matching technology you use, there are different features available. 

However, every tool works off of the following basic concept:

  • A change in your CRM initiates a trigger event
  • Leads are routed and assigned based on your rules
  • Reps are alerted via Slack and/or email so they can follow up

Sure, you could do this manually, but why waste your most valuable asset on clerical work that could be handled more efficiently? 

Plus, as your CRM grows this becomes impossible to do manually. Between customers, prospects, lead lists, etc., we’re talking about hundreds of thousands of records over time.

Products like Distro will do this automatically, integrating with your current tech stack and bridging the gap between marketing automation and your CRM.

chili piper lead router

What to look for in lead-to-account matching software?

Fuzzy matching

Fuzzy matching is a technique that helps identify two elements of text, strings, or entries that are approximately similar but not exactly the same.

For instance, when a lead comes in, it should be matched against your CRM to check if the lead is coming from an existing account or not.

A simple string match sounds sufficient, but it really isn’t.

What if the text includes legal company suffixes, special characters, acronyms, nicknames, or a misspelling? 

Fuzzy matching is fantastic because it’s fast, accurate, and flexible. It’s able to determine even the smallest connection and interpret the relevance.

It can recognize that “Microsoft Corporation, Inc.” and “Microsoft” are the same company, or that IBM, I.B.M., and International Business Machines are the same. 

There are 14 basic rules that are the cornerstone of the Fuzzy Matching algorithm.

  1. Email and web domain match
  2. Company name match
  3. Suffixes 
  4. Geographical spellings
  5. Whitespace
  6. Nicknames
  7. Name changes
  8. Acronyms
  9. Mergers and acquisitions
  10. Inferred Industry
  11. Stock codes
  12. Common words
  13. Geographical match
  14. Special characters 

Fuzzy matching is helpful because it allows you to define rules that work for your business and decide on how strict those rules are. It’s important to note that the stricter the rules, the fewer matches you will produce.

Lead to contact conversion

Let’s be real. Manually reviewing and processing leads inside your CRM is a time suck.

When you look at your inbound leads, they likely include a mix of prospects as well as leads in existing clients, target accounts, or even partners. Many of which won’t be suitable for follow-up by sales reps. 

Wouldn’t it be great if these just appeared in your CRM as a contact? 

Well, lead-to-account matching software continuously evaluates inbound, uploaded, and entered leads that match accounts. 

This means that leads are immediately and automatically converted to contacts based on your business criteria, without any manual effort, intervention, or reassigning. 

Lead to contact conversion means you can:

  • Add contacts (not just leads) to your targeted, named, and strategic accounts
  • Get qualified contacts that sales cares about the most
  • Automatically notify account owners when a new contact has been added to their account
  • Reduce the burden on SDR teams to manually reassign and convert leads
  • Eliminate time between lead creation and sales handoff
  • Set conversion rules based on any set of auto-include or exclude, account-based, CRM criteria

Lead to contact conversion is a phenomenal feature to help clean your inbound data and lead lists in real-time.

Tiebreaks

You should also look for the ability to customize tiebreaks. 

What happens when a lead matches into multiple accounts? Fuzzy matching often produces several potential corresponding accounts. 

You need control over which account is the best match, and you do this with tiebreaker rules.

While L2A matching software provides default tiebreaker rules, you may opt to use custom rules to meet your requirements and may need to use more advanced fuzzy logic that the default tiebreakers don’t incorporate. 

Sophisticated matching requires a sophisticated system of tiebreakers. A matching system won’t be effective without robust tiebreaker options.

Whether you’re navigating parent-child hierarchies or controlling duplicate accounts, tiebreaking criteria should include geography, opportunity stage/type, company size, revenue, account type, or any other custom field. 

The heart of the matter

Without lead-to-account matching, your revenue team not only runs inefficiently, it also risks running ineffectively too.

Salesforce, for example, has its own matching functionality, but more complex go-to-market motions benefit from specialized solutions. 

Whatever your situation, consider how automating your lead routing processes might save you time, better accommodate your sales org’s structure, and ultimately increase your conversion rates. 

Because of our experience working with hundreds of organizations, Distro anticipates the complex lead management needs that will arise out of lead-to-account matching as you grow. 

If you’re ready to power up your inbound lead process, grab a demo. We’d love to talk to you.

 

About the Author

Carlos Silva is an SEO Content Manager at Chili Piper. He's passionate about the craft of writing and the power of storytelling. You might find him trail running through the mountains of Valencia, Spain, or writing in his journal at home, but you'll always find him reading something new!

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