Marketing and sales teams both have the same goal—driving revenue growth. However, without the right processes in place, these teams can fall out of alignment and hamper overall productivity.
One of the most effective ways to make sure these teams are rowing in the same direction is through the use of service level agreements (SLAs). In this post, we'll explain what a marketing SLA is, why it's important, and provide some examples to help you create your own.
Curious about Sales SLAs? It’s important to hold each other accountable. Dig into Sales SLAs and SLA reporting here.
A marketing SLA is a contract that defines the level of service expected by a customer from a service provider, laying out the metrics by which that service is measured, and the remedies or penalties, if any, should the agreed-upon service levels not be achieved. In the context of marketing, an SLA is typically an agreement between the marketing and sales teams that outlines the expectations that each team has of the other.
The purpose of a marketing SLA is to create clear and measurable objectives, ensuring that both marketing and sales teams are aligned on goals, responsibilities, and timelines. This helps to eliminate any ambiguity and sets the stage for a more collaborative and productive relationship between the two teams.
A marketing SLA is important for several reasons:
1. Alignment: A marketing SLA ensures that both the marketing and sales teams are working towards the same goals, which can lead to improved collaboration and efficiency. It establishes a shared set of expectations around each team’s responsibilities, minimizing the chance of misalignment and increasing the efficacy of both teams.
2. Accountability: A marketing SLA holds both teams accountable for their respective roles and responsibilities, which can help to prevent misunderstandings and conflicts. It provides clear, concrete documentation of what each team is responsible for, leaving no room for miscommunication. This level of accountability ensures that neither team can blame the other for a perceived lack of work and focuses on the process not the people.
3. Measurement: A marketing SLA provides clear and measurable objectives, which can help to track progress and identify areas for improvement. It translates marketing and sales expectations into quantitative goals, taking the emotion out of the collaboration and reducing uncertainty. This allows for a more objective assessment of the whole team's performance and helps identify areas where improvements can be made.
4. Performance: A marketing SLA sets the standard for performance, which can help to drive results and improve the overall effectiveness of your marketing efforts. It provides a benchmark against which both teams can measure their performance, helping to drive continuous improvement and better results.
5. Efficiency: A marketing SLA can lead to a more streamlined revenue funnel. When managing your funnel is a true collaborative effort between marketing and sales teams, the output of that funnel will be better, leading to more revenue for your company.
6. Resource Optimization: Marketing SLAs create a shared understanding about what defines a qualified lead and when such leads are ready to be handed off to sales. This ensures that marketers won’t waste time nurturing leads that sales deems a poor fit and that all the qualified leads marketing produces get addressed appropriately, so none of marketing’s work goes to waste.
7. Feedback Mechanism: Marketing SLAs create guardrails that make communications between the two teams easier. They provide guidelines for feedback, ensuring that any feedback is backed up with data and compared against the benchmarks established in the SLA. This ensures that it is received by the right people and addressed in a timely manner.
A marketing SLA is not just a document—it’s a strategic tool that can significantly enhance the performance of your marketing and sales teams. By fostering alignment, accountability, and clear communication, it can help your business achieve its marketing goals more effectively and efficiently.
Next, let’s look at some examples.
To give you a better understanding of what a marketing SLA might look like, let's delve into a few examples:
In this type of SLA, the marketing team commits to generating a specific number of qualified leads per month. In return, the sales team agrees to contact those leads within a certain timeframe.
For instance, the marketing team might commit to generating 500 qualified leads per month, and the sales team might agree to contact those leads within 24 hours of their generation. This ensures that no lead goes unnoticed and that potential customers are contacted while their interest in the product or service is still high.
Here, the marketing team pledges to produce a certain amount of content (e.g., blog posts, white papers, case studies) per month. The sales team, on the other hand, agrees to use that content in their sales efforts.
For example, the marketing team might agree to produce four blog posts, two white papers, and one case study per month, and the sales team might agree to incorporate this content into their sales pitches and follow-up emails. This ensures that the sales team is equipped with the latest and most relevant content to aid their sales efforts.
In this SLA, the marketing team agrees to launch a certain number of campaigns per quarter, and the sales team agrees to follow up on the leads generated by those campaigns within a certain timeframe.
For instance, the marketing team might commit to launching three campaigns per quarter, and the sales team might agree to follow up on the leads generated by those campaigns within 48 hours. This ensures that the leads generated by marketing campaigns are promptly acted upon, increasing the chances of conversion.
The marketing team agrees to provide the sales team with regular reports on marketing performance, and the sales team agrees to provide feedback on those reports.
For example, the marketing team might agree to provide weekly reports on lead generation, conversion rates, and campaign performance, and the sales team might agree to provide feedback on those reports within a week of receiving them. This ensures that both teams are on the same page regarding performance.
In a training SLA, marketing agrees to provide the sales team with training on new products or services, and the sales team agrees to attend those training sessions.
For instance, the marketing team might agree to provide a training session on a new product one week before its launch, and the sales team might agree to attend that training session and learn about the product's features and benefits. This ensures that the sales team is well-equipped to sell new products or services.
Remember, the specifics of your marketing SLA will depend on your unique business needs and goals. The key is to create an agreement that fosters alignment, encourages accountability, and drives performance. By setting clear expectations and measurable objectives, a marketing SLA can help ensure that both your marketing and sales teams are working together effectively to achieve your business goals.
Ultimately, these agreements are powerful tools that can help to align your marketing and sales teams, drive results, and improve the overall effectiveness of your marketing efforts.