The Pros and Cons of Push and Pull Lead Distribution

Posted: 7/3/2012 by 11

Lead generation strategies are costly expenses so there is constant scrutiny from upper management around ROI. What better way to show the value of spending and justify the work effort than to show that a lead generated from a campaign turned into a sale. Unfortunately, regardless how good the lead, many leads fall between the cracks due to the distribution method chosen and lack of follow-up.

While in our last blog, we discussed a number of different business rules on how to match your valued leads with the right partner sales rep. In this blog, we will be exploring the pros and cons of using Push and Pull methods for lead distribution to the partner sales reps.

Let's take a look at the two different distribution approaches:

Push Distribution - leads are assigned and distributed to specific partner sales reps based on certain business rules. The assumption is that those partner sales reps will then be accountable for following up and working those leads. Some examples of assignment rules in a push distribution are:

  1. -  Sales performance
  2. -  Sales representative contact rate
  3. -  Criteria such as city, state, and lead type
  4. -  Weighted distribution
  5. -  Round robin

While a push method provides for quicker timeframe to get the lead to the "right person", it does not instill the urgency of the follow-up and has the potential of dropping leads into "dead" queues. This partner sales rep is "given" the lead and there is no competition for the lead. This can result in poor follow-up rates, lost opportunities and customer frustration. It's up to the sales rep to manage the lead and their pipeline. This approach may be feasible for low volumes and small teams but as you scale there is potential for an increase in lead aging and spoilage.

Pull Distribution - leads are queued up in a lead pool and partner sales reps can pull leads when they are ready to handle a new lead. Even in a pull distribution method, you can associate business rules to when a sales rep can grab a lead. The lead is "earned" by meeting the customer's needs or minimally responding quickly to the lead. Some examples of restriction rules in a pull distribution are:

  1. -  All leads have been updated
  2. -  Only if they haven't reached their daily cap
  3. -  Time zone restrictions
  4. -  Criteria such as state, city, zip code
  5. -  Lead source restrictions

The pull method compels the sales rep to annotate and disposition the lead before taking on the next lead. This method can potentially backfire in a highly competitive marketplace. A sales rep may try to cherry pick from the lead pool and only select leads he feels have a higher potential to close or higher potential sales value, leaving some leads to go stale and sit in the pool. Both the push and pull methods need to be monitored to identify when business rules need to be modified or additional rules added.

No two businesses are created equal and there are many factors such as business size, number of leads acquired, sales team size, and lead qualification process that contribute to choosing the right distribution process for your company. In the end, each distribution method has its strengths so many vendors combine the benefits of both push and pull working together in one harmonious process. This ensures that every lead is connected to a partner sales rep as quickly and as effectively as possible. And we all know how important the speed to contact is to high lead close rates.

About our Guest Blogger

Lisa HeydornLisa Heydorn, Professional Services Manager at Requisite Software (,  has over 15 years of experience with channel operations in high-tech, telecommunications and manufacturing industries. She is a proven leader with strong skills in project management, customer service, execution, and on-time delivery. At Requisite, Lisa is responsible for the Channel Management solution.

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