What is Lead Routing: Definition, Value & Solution

Mark Kosin
8 minute read
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Mark Kosin
8 minute read

In the world of performance marketing, there is a lot of discussion around lead routing.

Simply put, lead routing is the process of taking inbound sales leads and distributing them to the right destination. The activity of routing leads, also called lead distribution, is essentially very straightforward but can also include layers of complexity. With simple concepts but elaborate execution, lead routing in not unlike a traffic light.

The three-way traffic light first debuted in America thanks to inventor Garrett Morgan, who had seen the effects of a “too simple” two-way signal that led to a crash in his native Cleveland. While everyone can understand the basics of the traffic light—red, stop; yellow, caution; green, go—the realities of traffic signals in major cities is far more complex. New York City, for example, has over 12,000 traffic signals across its five boroughs. Sophisticated timing makes sure that traffic keeps moving.

The same differences exist in the world of lead routing. While it may seem simple that inbound leads should go to the destination that can best serve them, the actual process and technology that can help hundreds of leads get connected to a wide array of destinations—especially if there are multiple buyers willing to pay varying prices—can be complicated.

For those who want to work in performance marketing, it is important to know what lead routing is and how it works.

Defining Lead Routing

To define and understand lead routing, it’s important to start with marketers who leverage one or many channels to generate inbound leads. The leads might all be from a single campaign, or multiple campaigns that have different offerings. When you have a high volume of leads it becomes necessary to use a lead management system to track and manage all your inbound leads. The lead management system should have lead distribution software to help with routing and distribution.

Lead routing is how marketers can strategically pass those leads along, often to businesses who buy the leads for the opportunity to connect them with a sales agent who can fulfill their request. For marketers who want to connect leads with buyers, the lead routing process becomes especially significant because those marketers want to make sure they are providing quality leads to the buyers at a mutually agreed upon cost.

Using ping tree technology built into lead distribution system, marketers can use algorithms to route their leads to the most interested buyers first, where they have the first right of refusal. If the first buyer passes, the lead goes on to the next in line, and the next after that. The software makes sure that the lead continues through this process until it is connected with a buyer who can help them.

The Value of Lead Routing

For Marketers

Marketers who use lead routing will do so in the hope that they are getting the best possible value for their leads, because they are showing their leads to the most interested buyers first. This means they are able to command higher prices for their most sought-after leads.

For Advertisers & Buyers

Lead buyers are fans of ping tree lead routing because those who are able to pay more for leads get the advantage of having “first look” on leads to decide if they are valuable to them. Buyers can also set prices, meaning that they don’t need to bother with leads that don’t meet their budget specifications.

For Customers

Customers get benefits from lead routing as well. Because there are multiple opportunities to be connected with a business, ping tree technology lead routing means customers are more likely to have their needs met. There are other technology tools that are included in lead distribution software that ensure customers are connected with the right product or service faster.

Lead Routing and Lead Distribution Software

Lead routing is the primary function of lead distribution software. There are many aspects of lead distribution software that help to facilitate and optimize the lead routing process.


Filters are a necessity for performance marketers looking to maintain high lead quality during lead routing operations. By using this technology, businesses can restrict which leads they see depending on state, lead score, credit score, veteran status, and more. This allows businesses to only see the leads that are most relevant to them. 

Importantly, filters can also be modified or lifted should a business want to increase their lead quantity. Tools like a filter analyzer can show where certain quality leads might be getting filtered out.

Real-Time Distribution

Lead distribution is a necessary process to help marketers route leads to buyers; however, it is important that the process not take too long. If customers face lengthy delays before being connected with a business, it could impact their ability to be converted. For this reason, real-time distribution is crucial feature.

By setting specifications in your automated lead routing process, you can make sure that if there are any delays from a buyer, then the lead can be re-routed to the next available destination. This routing in real time ensures that no lead is “dropped” because a business is unavailable or not responsive.


Marketers who are using lead distribution software to route their leads should also keep a close eye on their key performance indicators to measure their lead routing efforts. Getting detailed reports can help marketers spot trends, like if a certain buyer makes up the majority of their business, or to identify potential fraud from duplicate leads.

Reports are most effective when they are easy to read and can be pulled up quickly for review. Different types of lead distribution software have different reporting options, making reporting a key factor for businesses looking to use software to manage their lead routing.

Lead Routing Solutions

Without lead distribution software, the lead routing process would be as chaotic as a city without traffic signals. As result, businesses would be smart to take steps towards investing in lead distribution software.

If you’re considering selecting lead distribution software to help you route leads, begin by asking these simple questions: 

  1. Is my lead routing optimized to ensure a high return on my marketing investments?
  2. Do I have access to reports that are easy to read, load quickly, and help me spot important trends?
  3. Do I have the right technology to filter my leads so that the leads I’m routing are all high quality and more likely to convert?
  4. Is my lead routing set up so that customers have a positive experience that increases that chances of conversion?
Mark Kosin avatar
Mark Kosin
Mark Kosin was a Content Writer at Phonexa, covering topics such as SaaS technology, call tracking, lead generation, and digital marketing.
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