SLA Development: The Marketing Two-Way StreetSmarketing is the art of unifying your sales and marketing teams so that they can work toward an overarching company goal together instead of blaming each other for any failures to deliver their quotas. There are five steps to creating unified Smarketing teams, and one of the major ones is to create a Service Level Agreement, or SLA.

An SLA is a document stating exactly what the marketing team is responsible for providing to the sales team in terms of leads, as well as the process the sales team must go through to adequately follow up with a lead trying to convert it into a sale.

The agreement is essentially a formal, written commitment between the two former adversaries with the intention of turning them into allies. It also serves as a way to keep tabs on each teams progress.

The Marketing Team’s Responsibilities

The first step to setting the responsibilities of your marketing team is to look through current analytics for that department. Those should include visits, new visits, leads generated, etc. These can be found in your comprehensive marketing software.

Take steps to define what a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) is for your business then calculate how many qualified leads it will take for the sales team to meet their quota each month. That is the number of leads that the marketing team will be responsible for delivering.

Next consider what percentage of sales leads are generated by the marketing department and use that number to determine the percentage of the pipeline that must be driven by the marketing team.

Once the number of leads has been calculated, the marketing team can devise a plan to meet those requirements on a monthly basis, whether it is through new campaigns, a new responsive website, or any other means they might use to increase their visitors and lead generation techniques.

The Sale’s Team’s Responsibilities

As with marketing, before you can establish sales goals for the future you must first analyze the metrics involved with the sales team as they are now. Start by looking at close rates and where the leads that are closed are most often generated.

Also consider the current process for following up with leads. Do you do it via email? Via phone call? How many emails do you send? How frequently do you email or call? When are those touches most successful? At what point to they stop becoming successful?

From there you can set a definite process as to how often and when lead should be touched by a member of your company’s sales team. That is their part of the agreement, that they will follow up with each lead as many times as it required before either closing the lead or it goes cold.

For the sales team, make sure that you base the agreement on dollar figures, as that is what they are used to dealing in, just as the marketing team deals in leads.


The key to making your SLA work for your company is to pull analytics on a regular – even daily – basis, or provide both teams with a dashboard they can refer back to throughout the month to see how they are progressing toward their goals.

If both teams are being constantly updated on the status they are more likely to notice a problem before it is too late to address and correct it.

So set realistic, yet challenging goals for both of your teams and hold them accountable for making sure that they hold up their ends of the bargain. Make sure they are stated explicitly in the SLA. “Marketing will deliver X number of MQLs per month and there will be a predetermined follow-up process used by the sales team to convert those leads into sales.”

That way it will be easy to track where each team is successful as well as where they need to improve.

Happy Smarketing!