A marketing service level agreement is an agreement between marketers and sales representatives that will set specific goals and expectations to ensure they work together to drive profitability in the business.

In the world of sales, everything seems to move at a quicker pace. With sales come strict deadlines and quotas. Marketers continue to try to keep up with marketers and trends in marketing as support for the sales staff though, in reality, they rarely seem like they are on the same team.

In a State of Inbound Report from 2017, less than half of the marketers felt that both the sales and marketing teams were fully aligned. This can be a problem because having the sales and marketing staff function as one towards the same goal is vital to improve and grow a company strategically. Even with this proof on how the harmony of sales and marketing working together can improve business, there are few organizations that bring them into alignment.

The lack of progress is often due to the little attention that the executive level in a corporation pays to the structure of the sales and marketing team. A marketing service level agreement, or SLA, can clearly define this relationship as well as the responsibilities of each side to push both to focus and achieve the same goals.

The Purpose of a Service Level Agreement

The relationship between sales teams and marketing staff tends to be tedious, as marketing staff feels that many of their leads are being wasted by sales teams, and sales feel that the leads that are produced from the marketing staff are not high enough in quality or quantity.

Since the major disagreements come from the misalignment with the goals and expectations of both departments, an SLA can help with this problem by laying out the process of what needs to be done. The agreements create accountability to push all members to achieve the company goals to increase profitability through sales.

When an organization takes the time to create tactical and structural changes through the use of SLAs, they will end up with better alignment within their sales and marketing teams. A marketing service level agreement will include such items as:

  • Marketing goals
  • The number of leads
  • The sales activities that are required to support those needs

When an agreement is in place, 81 percent of marketers will produce a more effective marketing strategy. HubSpot research has shown how these SLAs can improve marketing team and sales performance. Some of the findings include:

  • 34 percent are more likely to get a greater return on investment year after year
  • 21 percent are more likely to obtain higher budgets
  • 31 percent are more likely to have to hire more salespeople to keep up with demand
  • 4x more likely to feel they have an effective marketing strategy

Not only do businesses implementing an SLA have better trust between their sales and marketing division, but they also will see an increase in sales and an increased need to grow their sales force. Companies who do not use an agreement in their marketing and sales force mostly identify that validating their ROI is one of the most difficult challenges.

Things You Might Guarantee in an SLA

Even though an SLA tends to be a more informal agreement, it is still important to make sure to include certain guarantees within it. Some of the guarantees you will want to make sure you include are:

  • A contact will schedule a post-meeting recap within one business day.
  • All new client requests will be acknowledged within two business days when submitted through (a specified program), though resolution can take longer.
  • Requests sent outside of the preferred program will not have a guaranteed response time.
  • Requests can be sent through an escalation channel and can be acknowledged within three business hours and start at a minimum fee.
  • A client should provide their feedback within three days, and if they need an extension, they should request it within one business day.

How to Create a Sales and Marketing Service Level Agreement

While you can include information in your SLA, information, and goals that are specific to your departments and companies. Some of the most common sections that should be included are:

  • The definition of your buyer personas or client profile
  • The standard lead definitions
  • Clear, well-defined goals

If you need help with a marketing service level agreement, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Stripe, and Twilio.