Why the Best Lead Distribution Strategies Don’t Always Work

When committing yourself to a plan, you’ve got to have a strategy. In a game of Scrabble, how are you gonna keep your opponent off of those sweet, sweet triple word scores, while still opening them up so you can get ’em later? Going in with an idea of how you’ll accomplish your goals is essential to success, and this is true in casual or career scenarios. Lead distribution is one of those businesses where, without a solid strategy, you may flounder. There are a couple of tried and true strategies out there, but they’re not without their fair share of difficulties. Sometimes the best lead distribution strategies have their weaknesses. It’s a matter of how well you play around them:

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Round Robin

Quite possibly the simplest of lead distribution strategies, Round Robin is used often because it works pretty well. Leads are distributed equally among the pool of buyers as they come in, and nobody gets a second until everyone has had their first. It’s fair, easy, and everyone gets their fair share. Nobody walks away feeling stilted, and everyone gets their leads. Right? Well…
The problem with round robin strategies is that there isn’t much room for growth. What if you raise your lead price and one of your most valued buyers doesn’t appreciate it? Then you either stagnate your price or cut them out entirely. What if you want to offer special products, new services, or privileged leads? It’s hard to get everyone on board for that. Round robin is one of those lead distribution strategies that works well in theory, but it’s like a bad watch – mess with one of the cogs and the whole thing breaks down.


A performance-based approach to lead distribution is another idea that is often used, and often used well. As sales reps and buyers perform their job more effectively, they are given higher priority and/or lower prices for leads. This rewards harder workers, stronger speakers, and overall better salespeople, raising the bar for the whole system. But…
But lead distribution strategies like this performance-based idea get kind of stuck. At some point, the best salesman will get all the leads, and the worst will get next to nothing. What if a company that previously floundered in the leads department suddenly picked up some new talent and significantly improved? Ever seen Wolf of Wall Street? In this system, once a buyer is at the bottom, it becomes incredibly difficult to rise up. This may sound like a good thing, but if the poor performers bail on you and you’re left with just one company, you’ve lost the diversity needed to distribute all of your leads.

Cherry Picking

Leads don’t always have to be handed out – cherry picking is one of those lead distribution strategies where the buyers can pick out what they want or what they need from a pool of leads. Some lead distributors work exclusively through cherry-picking, while others put their leads in a cherry-picking pool once they reach a certain age. This way, lead buyers can operate on leads that they trust at a pace that works for them.
But unfortunately, this doesn’t always end up being good business for the lead distributor. Allowing your buyers to hand-pick their leads means there’s a pretty good chance that you won’t be able to distribute all of them. The older a lead gets, the harder it is to make use of, and the value goes down. So cherry picking is great for supplemental income off of failed or unmatched leads, but building a business off of it takes a fair amount of business acumen.

So what can you do?

Well, I can think of two solid ways lead distribution strategies are being distributed fairly, efficiently, and profitably:

  • Use a combination of all three of the above. Start a round robin system, with minor benefits for those who perform well (and minor penalties for those who struggle). Having small incentives is great for growth, but they’re not too big to crush the hopes of anyone who struggles right out of the gate. Any leads that don’t get put into this system can be put into a pool to be cherry picked. Everyone wins!
  • Use a system like ping post. Ping post is essentially a rewards system and an auction rolled into one. Give everyone a chance to bid on leads, give price incentives to high performance buyers, and recirculate leads in the system at different prices until they’re purchased. If you’re interested in learning more about a ping post system, click the banner below to download our free whitepaper, The Basics of Ping Post.


boberdoo has been developing lead distribution systems since 2001, and we are always at the forefront of new lead distribution strategies. We would be happy to talk to you more about your lead distribution needs. Give us a call at 800-776-5646 to talk to a representative today!

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