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Inbound Marketing Blog

    3 Tips for Creating an SLA for Your Smarketing Efforts

    Posted by Brittney Ervin

    Looking to align your sales and marketing teams' efforts towards company growth? Then it's time to create a Service Level Agreement.  

    Ah, smarketing: that highly beneficial alignment of your sales and marketing teams. Smarketing can help you convert more leads into customers, increase revenue and build your brand into a superpower.

    Unfortunately, coordination of your sales and marketing efforts can be sticky. Implementation can be fraught with disagreements and confrontation between your teams. General chaos can ensue.

    That’s why you need a Service Level Agreement for smarketing.

    An SLA will help both of your teams conceptualize what’s expected of them and provide them with clear guidelines to follow, metrics to meet, and expectations to fulfill.

    Check out these 3 tips for creating a solid SLA for your smarketing efforts.


    Determine Your Marketing Team’s Contribution

    Before you move forward with reaping the benefits of smarketing, you need to establish what your sales and marketing teams expect from each other.

    Sit down with the numbers and determine how many MQLs your marketing team will be expected to deliver to your sales team each month.

    What’s an MQL? It’s a marketing qualified lead; that is, a lead that has expressed some level of active interest in your company’s products or services.

    Your sales and marketing teams must collaborate on what you will define as an MQL:

    • Look at your collected data. How many avenues does your marketing team have for collecting leads? Are there email campaigns, eBooks, coupons, free trials, Facebook CTAs, etc? Which pages of your website did your leads visit before they converted on an offer? Did they reach your website through social media, organic search, or referrals?
    • Find the percentage of those leads that sales converted into customers.
    • Find out where those closed leads came from. Did they come from eBook downloads, coupon downloads, a free trial or somewhere else?

    Of course, there will be other criteria, unique to your company, that you use to determine an MQL. Just be prepared to use that criteria to determine your marketing team’s expectations, per the SLA.

    After you determine what an MQL means to both your marketing and sales teams, it’s time to decide what your marketing team’s contribution must be:

    • On average, what percentage of your company’s revenue comes from MQLs?
    • On average, what percentage of the leads provided by the marketing team are converted to sales by your sales team?
    • On average, how large is each sale closed by your sales team?

    Once you find these numbers, you can create a comprehensive portrait of what your marketing team must contribute in the Service Level Agreement.


    Determine Your Sales Team’s Contribution

    Sales teams are driven by quotas; that’s why a vital part of the SLA is deciding how many MQLs they must convert into sales each year.

    Again, your sales and marketing teams must reach complete alignment as part of the SLA. Your marketing team must agree to deliver a certain number of qualified leads, and your sales team must agree to convert a certain amount of those leads into sales.

    • Determine your company’s overall revenue goal for the year; separate that goal into monthly or quarterly installments. This will help the numbers be more manageable and foreseeable for your sales and marketing teams.
    • Look at the number of MQLs your marketing is required to deliver each month
    • Settle on a percentage of those MQLs which your sales team is required to close into customers; reach this number by doing a little math. How large is your average sale? How many MQLs must you close into customers, based on average sale size and according to your company’s revenue goals?
    • Determine the average length of a sales cycle for your customers. Determine your monthly requirements based on how long it takes for a prospect to become a customer. Consider the length of the sales cycle when revising your Service Level Agreement.

    Revise Your SLA Often

    As with any important plan for your company, you need to revise your smarketing SLA often. Whether it’s yearly, twice a year, quarterly or monthly, be vigilant about how your SLA is being implemented by your marketing and sales teams.

    • Is marketing meeting their numbers but sales isn’t? Explore why this might be. Do you need to further qualify your MQL’s to include high-quality and low-quality categories? Are the members of your sales team simply not following up efficiently?
    • Is marketing struggling to deliver enough leads to sales? Are these leads low-quality and thus not likely to convert into customers, no matter how diligently sales follows up with them?
    • How can you alter your smarketing SLA to be more accessible and agreeable to your teams? Does marketing want to lower the volume they’re expected to deliver and focus instead on delivering leads that are more likely to close on bigger purchases? Does sales feel confident that they can close on larger sales with fewer, more qualified leads?

    These are just a few hypothetical questions you can ask to improve your Service Level Agreement after initial implementation.

    We hope you can create an SLA that helps your marketing and your sales teams flourish this year!

    Read More: How to Hold Smarketing Meetings That Benefit Sales and Marketing


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    Topics: Inbound Marketing