A fair number of companies we’ve spoken with have wanted to know “what is a marketing and sales service level agreement (SLA) and how does having an SLA in place help to increase our sales conversions, reduce customer buy cycles, and drive higher revenues?” The short answer is: it’s a document that inspires symmetry. The longer answer is:
What an M&S Service Level Agreement Is
A marketing and sales service level agreement is a binding agreement between the sales and marketing teams that specifies a lead generation and management process. The purpose of a service level agreement is to broker collaboration between both departments by defining a qualification process, lead scoring criteria, and accountability standards. Typically, the goal for executing an SLA is to generate an acceptable level of marketing-qualified leads (MQL) for the sales team to convert into sales-qualified leads (SQL) or sales opportunities.
Within a marketing and sales service level agreement there are requirements for how leads will be managed by marketing and delivered to sales. On the sales side, there are requirements for follow up responsibilities on marketing-qualified leads and converting MQLs to SQLs. In some cases, there may be parameters for how demand will be generated as well.
5 Ways an SLA Aligns Marketing With Sales
- Provides a defined pipeline that clarifies when a lead has reached marketing-qualified status.
- Provides clear stages for advancing leads towards sales-readiness
- Provides lead scoring metrics that reflect lead engagement levels with marketing assets (sales can see how effectively marketing assets are educating leads)
- Provides goals for sales to generate sales-qualified leads and opportunities
- Establishes that marketing is responsible for de-duping, filtering competition, and removing bot-filled forms
4 Ways an SLA Aligns Sales With Marketing
- Provides defined follow up time for leads received by marketing
- Defines an automated lead nurturing process aimed at providing the highest quality leads at the earliest possible point
- Provides a criteria-based lead distribution process for sales optimization
- Provides goals for marketing to generate marketing-qualified leads and a percentage of leads that eclipse a lead scoring threshold
Operating without a service level agreement can reduce the efficacy of your lead generation/marketing automation system. Be sure to set the standards for both departments early to get the most from your MA platform.