Ready, Set, Match: Why You Need Automated Lead-to-Account Matching
Lead-to-account matching is a seemingly small part of the big picture of lead management, but a very important part of making your data workflow – and your day – a whole lot better.
Think about the big picture first. What does lead management and an Olympic relay team have in common?
The short answer is efficiency.
Like a team of athletes chasing after a gold medal, you need to continuously optimize your lead management. In both cases, there’s so much more that takes place behind the scenes. Where do you even begin?
At the starting line, with lead-to-account matching.
What is Lead-to-Account Matching?
It all starts with a match.
Lead-to-account matching is the starting line for lead management, or the process of matching incoming leads to existing accounts in your Salesforce instance or CRM.
Think of matching as a critical part of the preparation that takes place before the big race. If you don’t do it, your lead response times could be slow to start, or miss the finish line all together.
But get it right and you’ll get customer data where it needs to go, efficiently, without any bumps or bruises in the customer experience along the way.
Need more convincing?
Here’s Why You Need Automated Lead-to-Account Matching
Keep your database clean
The average sales team loses around 550 hours a year from bad prospect data, equating to approximately $32,000 annually per sales rep.
Think of lead-to-account matching as the gatekeeper for bad data. Without it, inbound leads are merely a message in a bottle at sea, with no connection to an account or other duplicates that might be floating around. More messages, more bottles.
Native Salesforce can do one of two things.
First, it blocks a duplicate from being created — no message in a bottle. Or, it can notify a user that a duplicate exists — adding one bottle to a myriad of others.
In the first case, blocking upon entry means the user is losing data that might include more updated information.
For example, let’s say a prospect drops off your sales reps’ radar for a year. Then, they express interest in a recent webinar and fill in a form.
But this information never gets to the right record and is blocked from being created. While you have a clean database, you don’t have accurate or up-to-date information.
In the second case, a user can be notified but will be forced to do either manual cleanup or leave the duplicate altogether, further contributing to data proliferation.
Neither of these truly solves the right problem – enter lead-to-account matching.
A mass deduplication or “dedupe” exercise is key. This involved merging thousands, or even millions, of duplicate records.
A powerful matching engine identifies duplicate records based on fields (name, phone number, email, etc.) then merges all related records together based on the set criteria.
With lead-to-account matching in place, you can keep your database clean.
Get leads to the right rep fast
Sales conversions are 391% higher in the first minute according to Lead Connect.
Getting a lead where it needs to go – and fast – is usually credited to lead routing.
But without accurate and timely lead-to-account matching, lead assignment has nowhere to go. It’s like having a destination without an address.
Leads sit in a queue, waiting to be manually assigned. When it comes to your sales reps, they might pick the best one from a lot and hope that the lead hasn’t gone cold. Even worse, a sales rep might not bother looking for any existing account at all. Instead, they reach out blindly, leading to a poor customer experience and a lower conversion rate.
On top of that, custom rules need to be manually created, and so the process holds your entire business back when you request a change to your assignment or routing rules from IT. Say hello to long strings of code and complicated account data.
In theory, manually sifting and connecting a lead to an account might take a few minutes. But the reality is that high-growth companies have incredible volumes of incoming leads coming at every moment.
This creates a bottleneck process where if a company has thousands of leads a week, the vast majority have already gone cold.
Matching leads to accounts helps be more efficient, assign accurately, and speed up and sell more.
Got a need for speed? Read our round-robin block and buckle up.
Flexibility without compromise
While speed is important, it’s not everything. It needs to be equally matched with accuracy and powered by flexibility.
If you’ve got a complex and evolving go-to-market, standard matching rules run shy of all you need it to do. Rules can be edited, however, users that require a more complex workflow need to create custom matching rules.
Custom matching rules come with their own set of restrictions:
- Up to five matching rules can be activated or deactivated at a time
- Up to five active matching rules are allowed per object
- A maximum of 25 total active matching rules are allowed
- You can only have 100 total matching rules that are both active and inactive
- Each matching rule is only allowed one lookup relationship field
Before you know it, your rules quickly turn into spaghetti and your matches are capped out.
Instead, go beyond native Salesforce limitations and automate your lead-to-account matching.
There are several kinds of matching that can be done including exact matches, fuzzy matches, and multiple field matches:
- Exact matches can be done by using unique values, such as an email address, a DUNS# or any unique identifier
- Fuzzy matches account for fields that might have minor differences, such as the Company Name being Google vs. Google LLC
- Multiple field matches require a number of matching values, such as Company name and Country
Having powerful lead matching tools allows companies to go beyond matching accounts. Leads can be matched to other leads, opportunities, and accounts (even when no account exists in Salesforce).
With the power of custom object matching, you can take your match capabilities further by matching to an account hierarchy. By doing so, all related contacts to a subsidiary account are rolled up to the parent record.
Match any object, customize to your needs, and leave the compromises at the door.
Better insights for account-based selling
When a hot lead comes inbound, it’s a happy day for an SDR.
Imagine a new lead was generated for Lenovo, a popular technology company, by Arizona State University. By using lead-to-account matching, Lenovo could uncover the university’s past interactions with the brand – one of which might indicate that they’re more interested in purchasing laptops and tablets, as opposed to PCs and workstations.
If a current customer fills a form online expressing interest in an ebook on laptops, that could then present an opportunity to cross-sell additional products like keyboards.
Without a matching engine, there’s no additional data stamped on the lead outside of that very expression of interest.
Reps are left asking all the questions:
- What account is this lead related to?
- Is it a part of an enterprise account or am I good to reach out?
- What is the history or account data that I can personalize my outreach with?
- What products have been sold, if any?
- Is there an opportunity to land and expand?
What if it’s a lead from an account that was closed lost but is expressing renewed interest?
It might be the perfect time for a sales representative to reopen that door.
All of this impacts your account-based selling effectiveness and it’s crucial to arm your entire sales team with the insights they need to conduct conversations and influence the deal.
Remember how important matching to any object is?
For sales, having information on active cases with customer success means you can turn up the heat if you’ve got an opportunity for up-sell in the pipeline. Insights across the entire sales cycle and customer cycle will elevate your selling success.
Improve the customer experience
Poor customer experiences are memorable — and not in a good way. Not to mention, they have the potential to create waves of word-of-mouth reviews.
The best strategy is a customer-centric one, and providing a great customer experience starts with connecting your data.
87% of customers who say they had a great experience will make another purchase from the company, compared to 18% of customers who had a very poor experience.
No matter what side you’ve been on, you’re familiar with the dreaded “thanks, but I’m already a customer” response.
What happens if a rep reaches out to a current customer with a discount that they were never offered when they first purchased the product? That level of unawareness and redundancy could sour the relationship.
Now that once loyal customer is left upset and wondering why they weren’t offered that same deal in the first place.
Not to mention, the customer success team will have their hands full trying to match the discount offered, hoping to keep the customer around.
That’s the painful reality when lead-to-account matching isn’t properly done.
Matching Matters: What Are You Waiting For?
The starting line – where it all begins. Lead-to-account matching is one of the most important steps for lead management.
Being able to connect the dots automatically and with accuracy gives your team a head start and puts them in a position to win the race to revenue and turn more leads into opportunities.
To learn how to optimize your lead-to-matching and make smarter, more informed decisions in your lead management, check out our free Speed to Lead Ebook.