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How to Use SLAs to Get Sales and Marketing on the Same Page

How would you grade your marketing and sales alignment? Be honest. Now be a shade more honest – SiriusDecisions states that more than half (58 percent) of marketing and sales operations leaders view their alignment as poor. For all the #MKTGgeniuses out there, why can’t we put this issue to bed?

If an SLA is violated in the woods and no one is there to hear it…

While we can’t point to a single reason you couldn’t cut through the tension between marketing and sales with Valyrian steel, poor use of Service Level Agreements (SLAs) certainly isn’t helping. According to the same Marketing and Sales Operations Alignment survey by SiriusDecisions, only 43 percent of respondents have lead response SLAs in place, and most aren’t even being governed. The result? No accountability between marketing and sales.

Teamwork makes the SLA dream work!

After your funnel is documented, marketing and sales need to work together to agree upon SLAs. Get everyone in a room (conference or virtual), order some pizza and roll up your sleeves – it’s about to get fun! For each funnel stage, you’ll need to define the following:

  • Who is involved? What teams or people are responsible?
  • What is the expected action? Is it three phone calls? Or two calls and two emails, etc.?
  • When is the deadline? The trickiest part of SLAs is getting agreement on and adoption of the deadline. Make sure this is easy to understand and remember.

But what’s in it for me?

Everything! Sure, you’ll be closer to that air-tight alignment, but marketing and sales operations will also have reportable metrics for each SLA. You’ll quickly know when there are issues with the lead flow so you can take ninja-fast corrective action. The smoother the lead flow, the greater the revenue!

The Power of Predictive

According to Demand Gen Report, 1 in 4 organizations plan on investing in a predictive marketing solution within the next 12 months. But what does this mean for your SLAs?

With predictive marketing, you’ll know who is most likely to become your next customer. To focus your teleprospecting team on the leads most likely to convert, you’ll want to adjust your SLAs to reflect this powerful new information. Higher-ranking leads require more attempts in a more timely fashion.

So, what does that look like? Check out this example from one of our customers:

Now, hop to it!

At this point, you should know why SLAs are important. They keep marketing and sales accountable to each other and are a great reminder that we’re all on the same team. If you’re like the 89 percent of companies with ungoverned or undeveloped SLAs, there’s no time like the present to get sales and marketing on the same page.

Written by

Jenna Keegan
August 10, 2015