Lead Assignment Rules – Setting Record Ownership

In this episode of the ShellBlack Whiteboard, Shell gives some best practices and considerations when setting up Lead or Case Assignment rules in Salesforce.com. Shell touches base on Queues, Round Robin rules, and emphasizes howthe order of your rule entries determines how records are assigned in the database. Additionally, Shell discusses how Lead Assignment Rules can be leveraged when using the native Lead Import Wizard or the Data Loader (API).

View this video on YouTube: http://youtu.be/EhPJ98intxM

Transcript of video:

Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of Shell Black Whiteboard.  I am Shell Black, President and Founder of Shellblack.com and Salesforce MVP.

Today we are going into the topic of Lead Assignment Rules, so first let me tell you what a Lead Assignment Rule is.  The thought is when you are importing a lot of records into the database into Leads, for example, maybe marketing did a trade show and you’re coming out of that trade show with 300 or 400 leads.  You want a method to be able to pour data into the Salesforce model and have it assign those records based on information on the lead to make sure the right lead gets to the right person.  For example, a government lead goes to your government guy, folks that handle certain territories, maybe you have a territory rep that works Arizona, you want to make sure that leads that are in the state of Arizona go to this person and so on.  It’s basically a way to use logic or set of rules or criteria to have Salesforce try to figure out who should get what record and then assign that record to that person.  Assignment Rules can not only change the record ownership, it can also notify that user as part of the Assignment Rule that they just got a new record assigned to them.  So, that’s the purpose of Assignment Rules.

Let’s get into a little bit of the mechanics of how they work.  This is not going to be a click-by-click exercise; this is more just covering the topic in general on how they work.  There’s a lot of confusion on how to set these right and there are some best practices to know about.

The first thing you need to know is you have to give your rule a name.  I personally like to give the Assignment Rule a date in the name because that tells me a couple of things: it tells me when we put it in place and then how long we’ve been running it.  So, this is a 2003 Assignment Rule.  Maybe next year you have a territory change and you have a new Assignment Rule that’s active, you can see how long that’s been in place and running.  A little tip there for you.

The way Assignment Rules work is based on an order of criteria.  A lead comes into the Salesforce database and Salesforce is going to look at these rules in the order that you put them in to determine who should own that record.  The way that I have this set up is at the very top, I have an entry that says if the lead source is from the website and the email address contains a “.gov”, (a government employee) and the number of employees is => 5,000 employees, I want to throw this into the government queue.  This is one of the rare instances in Salesforce where you can assign a record to a queue.  You can do that with both Leads and Cases. So, I have a government queue worked by Mark and Sebastian and I’ll let them fight it out from there, but I know that if a lead comes into the system regardless of any other information that’s on that lead record, if it hits this criteria, I want my government team to start working it.

The next two rules are to make sure that my two sales reps that manage the Dallas territory get their record before it starts hitting this other criteria for the state of Texas.  Basically, what I’m trying to accomplish is if I have two people that work just the city of Dallas and I have another rep that has everything but Dallas, I’ve got to make sure that I evaluate the Dallas rule before Texas because if I have this State = TX criteria first, as soon as that lead comes in and it says Texas, it’s off to Kimi and it will never get evaluated to know if it’s the city of Dallas.  If I want to make sure the folks that have this one market get first dibs, I’ve got to have them higher in the order before it hits Texas.  In this rule, I said city of Dallas, City = Dallas or zip code starts with 752 which is roughly the zip code inside Dallas, and then I have another criteria here that I want to highlight and that is Round Robin ID = 0,1,2,3,4.  I have two users that service Dallas so I want to make sure there’s equal opportunity or equal likelihood that they’re going to get an equal share of leads.  So, if I have 10 leads come into the system that are from the city of Dallas, I want to make sure Felipe gets five and Fernando gets five – it’s even Steven, fair chance.

How you create a Round Robin Assignment Rule, we’ve created a blog post for that, I’m not going to get into it here because it’s a lot of clicking, a lot of setting up, there’s some custom formula and some other things.  Just realize once you have that set up, it becomes criteria that you can use to make sure that there’s equal distribution of leads.  We’ll put that in the transcription notes on how to do a Round Robin.  So, that’s how I want to make sure that Dallas leads get chosen and equally distributed to these two folks.

Now, the next rule I have is very simple.  State = TX and if that’s true, it goes to Kimi.  Again, if I had that up higher that rule would grab all the leads from Texas and we would never get into the city of Dallas.  Then so on we have the State = FL, that goes to Jenson and we’d go through all of our 50 states.  The best practice is you want to have a rule at the very bottom with no criteria, no requirements and if a lead comes into the database and it doesn’t meet this requirement, it doesn’t meet this requirement, it doesn’t meet this requirement, and so on and so on and so on, it finally gets down to this catch all that goes to the System Administrator.  That tells me as a System Administrator that I’ve got a hole somewhere in here that I need to go plug.  I need to make sure that there is a rule criteria, a rule entry to catch this record so if anything does make it to me, I can look at that record, look at the criteria, look at what came across into the database and try to figure out who should have gotten it.  Once I make the determination, I can update my rules.  This is kind of a catch-all, make sure everything happens.  Okay, so that’s how Assignment Rules work.

A couple of things I want to hit before we wrap this up.  This works great if maybe you have web-to-lead but there are other methods if you are importing lead records into the database.  You might be using the Lead Import Wizard and if you want to make sure that when you’re doing an import through the Lead Import Wizard, which is the data management tool you can do up to 50,000 records at a time, there is a field where you select a pick list of the name of your active rule and basically you tell Salesforce during the import, use this rule to assign records out during the import that you’re running through the Wizard.

Let’s say that you’re using the Data Loader.  The Data Loader uses the API.  If you go into settings in the Data Loader, there is a field for Lead Assignment Rules, but you’re not going to put the name of the Lead Assignment Rules like you did in the Wizard.  You’re actually going to put the record ID of this Assignment Rule – I’m not going to get too technical here  – into the Data Loader and that tells the Data Loader when importing records that you want to basically pour all of those records into this set of criteria and let Salesforce figure out who should own the records so you don’t have to sit there and hard code 50,000 leads with a lead owner.  You basically say just let the Lead Assignment Rules do that for me.

The good news is if you are the master of Lead Assignment Rules and you kind of get how this is starting to work, there are similar areas in set up that leverage this rules type set up with looking at your rules from the #1,2,3 or 4.  If you use Case Assignment Rules or Lead Auto Response Rules, the set up is extremely similar.  In fact, Case Assignment Rules are almost identical or are identical to Lead Assignment Rules.  So, if you’re getting good at Lead Assignment Rules, don’t be scared of Case Assignment Rule.  Don’t be scared of Lead Auto Response.  Auto Response is a lead comes in and you can evaluate and decide which email to send back to your client.  For example, on Web-to-Lead.  Very similar set up.

So that wraps up this Shell Black Whiteboard segment.  I want to thank you for your time.  We would love your feedback.  We would like to know what you like, what you don’t like, and what you would like to see in future episodes.  You can get ahold of us a couple of different ways:  you can use @Shell_Black on Twitter or you can email me at whiteboard@shellblack.com which goes to me.  We’d love to hear from you.  We’ll see you soon.

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