Marketing for Good Measure: Implementing an SLA

Business.com / Marketing Strategy / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Check out some tips here on how you can maintain a great relationship with sales with an SLA

Marketers are usually thought to rely on the right side of their brain. We're creative, imaginative, and spend more time trying to evoke emotion than focusing on cold, hard facts. Because we joined writers clubs instead of becoming mathletes, our jobs don't really require us to work with numbers as much as some of our colleagues in other departments. The problem is, marketing has to be measured.

At the end of the day, your CEO, CFO, manager, and other departments internally want to see results. You may be the best marketer around, but unless you can show tangible growth, progress, and insights, there's no real evidence of your hard work or how it propels your company overall. Measuring your efforts with the right metrics will help other teams understand what marketing is accountable for. Implementing a Service Level Agreement (SLA) has done wonders to align our sales and marketing teams, and keep our team responsible for moving the needle. Historically, sales and marketing have had a tough time being on the same page and communicating how they can work together toward the same goals. Sales feels pressures to hit their quota every month, and by creating a numerical goal for marketing to meet, it holds our team accountable too. So, how do you do this?

How to Implement an SLA

Every company's SLA is different. You can find a goal that works for your team by calculating how many leads marketing needs to bring in each month in order for sales to hit their quota. The word calculate can be a little intimidating for marketers, but the formula is straightforward once you've gathered the analytics:

1. Sales quota * % revenue from marketing-generated leads = Marketing-sourced revenue goal

2. Marketing-sourced revenue goal / average sales deal size = # customers needed

3. Customers / average lead to customer close % = # leads needed

Those steps will leave you with the number of leads your marketing team needs to hit every month to give sales the support they need to reach their quota. Now, this is just the beginning. Your SLA should be a dynamic metric that is updated over time. For example, this formula gives you lead volume but doesn't count for the quality of those leads. Advanced SLAs will account for the revenue that different types of leads bring in, and assign separate SLAs for different segments of leads depending on how high or low quality they are.

Working with Sales

Work with your sales team to keep each other honest. The value calculated above accounts for marketing's end of the deal, but sales has to follow-up with those leads and find the optimal number of times to call each lead depending on the team's bandwidth. Having a two-way street will create more productive dialogue between sales and marketing, and align both teams goals. Check out some tips here on how you can maintain a great relationship with sales beyond the SLA.

Communicating your performance on the SLA each month to your manager or executive team makes it easier for them to visualize how effective your marketing team is. As marketers, it's up to us to embrace metrics in a way that works for us and explore the left side of our brain to show our value company-wide.

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