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Why is a Sales and Marketing SLA Crucial for Smarketing?

Posted by Carole Mahoney on 11/20/12 7:20 AM

What is a Sales and Marketing SLA?

A SLA, or service level agreement, is like a contract between sales and marketing departments or functions. It is the feedback and handoff that happen between the sales and marketing functions as a buyer enters and goes through their buying process. Below is a sample of a Smarketing SLA template that I use with clients.

Smarketing SLA example resized 600A few important things to note:

  1. A Smarketing SLA should be done after you have created your buyer persona modes so that you sales and marketing process and actions are aligned with your ideal customer's buying process. What you don't see are the documents that support this SLA. Namely, the persona modes, the customer experience outline (how they buy) the marketing program and the sales process.
  2. The Smarketing SLA is a contract agreement about what will happen, when, and what it means. It is the basis for the closed loop feedback that has to happen between sales and marketing in order to create a meaningful and long lasting customer experience.
  3. Your sales and marketing best practices should be reflected here. This means that you will update it as you become more aligned with your customer's buying process. Build, measure, test and optimize.

Why All Businesses Need a Smarketing SLA

Yes, ALL- whether you are a start-up in your basement, an established small business, or a growing enterprise. You need an agreement and understanding between sales and marketing that defines what happens when, or things start falling through the gaps. Here is a simple real-life example.

A few months ago, my family and I went to a local fair. For those of you who don't live in the country, think of a fair like a tradeshow. There is entertainment, samples, swag, keynotes, vendors and games. Oh, and fried dough.

At this local fair, several tents and 'barns' were filled with vendors ranging from jewelry sales to handyman repair. I walked by the handyman booth and this tagline caught my eye.

great tagline

I called my mom over because I knew that she needed many home repairs done. She and the owner and his son talked about the specific projects she needed, verified when she wanted them done, she even wrote them down for them on their quote request form, gave her email and phone. She was delighted.

They never called. Never emailed. Never followed up. She was ready to buy, they just had to show up.

You would never do that right? And besides, contractors are notorious for this. But are they really that much different than those of us that don't call prospects when they give us their business cards? Are we not missing on business just like they are when we don't pursue our prospects? If your sales people (or you) don't pass this test, are you any better than my example?

Now what if our small business owners had a weekly Smarketing meeting where they discussed their top leads and sales. What if they had an SLA that marketing could say, "Hey, we did this show, we gave you swag, we even gave you a list to give back to us to do some followup. What happened?"

What would happen to your sales and marketing efforts if you had, and used, a Smarketing SLA? What would change?

You can have one easier, and sooner, than you think.

Topics: smarketing, sales and marketing alignment, sales best practices, marketing best practices