The SLAs You Need for Predictive to Work

Our customer success team works very closely with our customers to ensure that value from predictive can be measured and realized. We’ve found that one key to success is the use of service level agreements.

Service Level Agreements (SLAs) between marketing and sales are clear definitions create accountability for the behavior expected from each team at every stage of the demand funnel.

Benefits

  • Clarity on how leads will be handled by marketing and sales at each step of the funnel.
  • Tighter alignment between marketing and sales because the expectations of each team are transparent.
  • Reportable metrics for each SLA help the marketing operations and sales operations team quickly know when and where there are issues with the lead flow so they can be corrected rapidly.

Getting Started

After the basic lead flow (“funnel”) is documented, it’s time for marketing and sales to work together to agree upon SLAs for each funnel stage. Collaboration is key here. If either team works in a vacuum the other team will not be bought into the process and it won’t be successful. Remember to keep it simple! SLAs should be quick and easy to understand without a myriad of exceptions.

For each 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? This is the trickiest part to get agreement on and consistent adoption of. Make sure this is easy to understand and remember.

Simple Example

Below is an example SLA definition:

  • Funnel Stage: Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) to Sales Accepted Lead (SAL)
  • Who is responsible: The teleprospecting team is responsible for accepting or rejecting MQLs
  • What is the expected action: Three phone call attempts and 1 email attempt before an MQL is disqualified or returned to marketing for nurturing
  • When is the deadline: The initial call will be placed within 4 business hours of receiving the lead, with all subsequent activity to occur within 10 days
  • Note: The SLA doesn’t define how the lead is qualified, what questions are asked, etc. That information should be included in your overall funnel stage documentation.

Predictive Lead Scoring Example

Lattice recommends adjusting some of your SLAs based on the lead ranking. The higher the lead rank, the more attempts should be made and in a more timely fashion. Here is an extension of the above example:

  • What is the expected action:
  • For the highest leads ranked 85-100: 7 phone call attempts and 3 email attempts before an MQL is disqualified or returned to marketing for nurturing
  • For leads ranked 60-84: 4 phone call attempts and 2 email attempts before an MQL is disqualified or returned to marketing for nurturing
  • For leads ranked 45-59: 3 phone call attempts and 1 email attempt before an MQL is disqualified or returned to marketing for nurturing
  • Note: Leads below 45 are held back by the marketing team and nurtured
  • When is the expected deadline:
  • For the highest leads ranked 85-100: The initial call will be placed within 2 business hours, with all subsequent activity to occur within 8 business days
  • For leads ranked 60-84: The initial call will be placed within 4 business hours, with all subsequent activity to occur within 10 business days
  • For leads ranked 45-59: The initial call will be placed within 6 business hours, with all subsequent activity to occur within 12 business days

Accountability

Marketing Operations and Sales Operations should work together to build alerts, reports and dashboards to measure the effectiveness of SLAs. Sales and marketing leaders should look at these reports on a regular cadence (daily or weekly) and take swift action when they see problem areas. It’s not always an issue of reprimanding offenders: maybe it’s a matter of additional training, or perhaps the SLAs need to be simplified.

Written by

Lattice Engines
January 11, 2016

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