How can the service level agreement (SLA) align teams and benefit my company’s results? – WAU
The union between marketing and sales, or Vendarketing, may sound a little strange to professionals in both areas at first. Despite this, after this initial awkwardness, it is easy to see how this practice brings great benefits, not only for each of the teams involved, but also for the business as a whole, generating each […]
The union between marketing and sales, or Vendarketing, may sound a little strange to professionals in both areas at first.
Despite this, after this initial awkwardness, it is easy to see how this practice brings great benefits, not only for each of the teams involved, but also for the business as a whole, generating more and more profits and simplifying internal processes.
But you must be asking yourself: what is the secret behind this strategy?
Well, there are a number of factors involved, but one of the main ones is the SLA, it is he who “connects” this mix between marketing and sales.
Want to know more about what this acronym stands for and how it can help you? So stay tuned!
What is Service Level Agreement (SLA)?
The term SLA stands for Service Level Agreement, which can be translated as a Service Level Agreement. But what does this really mean?
Basically, is an agreement between two or more areas– usually marketing and sales – when they come together in order to achieve better results for the business.
This agreement determines the role of each team, establishes clear goals for both, defines when the transition from a marketing lead to sales should be made, etc.
In other words, the SLA is the document responsible for keeping everyone aligned with the same objective .
This helps to avoid that expectations are higher than they should be in one of the sectors, or that one of them has many more tasks than the other, for example.
How important is the SLA?
As you can see in the explanation above, the SLA is a kind of contract between the marketing and sales teams.
Through him, each is aware of what they need to doand knows what to expect from the other. But, does it make such a difference at work?
Surely! See 5 benefits that the SLA brings when well implemented:
The first benefit, of course, is knowing that with an SLA applied correctly from the beginning of the strategy, the objectives will always be aligned.
This agreement must be very specific as to the goals to be met and deadlines for this to happen.
This way, it is much easier for everyone to have the same goals in mind, and from there make decisions that facilitate the achievement of such goals.
Without an SLA, it would be more likely that each team’s idea of success would be quite different, and their actions would not complement each other, causing the strategy to fail.
Focus on the right activities
As the agreement also defines exactly what aspects of work each sector should be engaged in, we can say that it helps to keep the focus on the right activities.
The SLA’s idea is not to focus on the activities that the other team must perform, as a kind of quality inspection.
Especially because the professionals in each area know very well how to carry out their duties, right?
The goal is to focus on the activities you need to doin order to deliver your part in the best possible way and to ensure that the results are not adversely affected by poor performance.
Ease of measuring efforts
How do you know if each team is doing its job well, if the SLA is really working, if Vendarketing is giving the expected results?
There is only one way to prove it all, and yes, it is for use metrics to measure efforts. The good news is that it’s not complicated to do that.
The modern analytics tools that exist today allow you to even generate detailed reports, which will help you to see in detail how everyone is performing in planning.
Of course, the next step is to act on the data found in order to constantly improve.
More efficient processes
Another great benefit is that in order to meet the objectives within the established deadline, it is expected that more efficient processes will be developed internally.
These processes must also take into account the most frequent communication between the two teams, as well as the monitoring of metrics in order to facilitate changes.
The SLA will play an important role in the improvement of these processes, since it will be done thinking about fulfilling this agreement with more tranquility.
Better working environment
Finally, this advantage may not be so noticeable at first, but it will soon prove to be one of the most important for the company’s long-term development.
Many companies, in addition to not having integrated sales and marketing departments, unfortunately see these two teams as rivals internally.
This sucks for business! Therefore, as the SLA is put into action and the teams collaborate correctly, the work environment becomes lighter.
6 steps to make an incredible SLA!
We already know what it is and why it is important, but how to make a good SLA to unite once and for all these two forces?
It is of great importance that some steps are taken in order that this agreement is well established and really works. See what they are:
1. Set business goals
The first step is for the two teams to talk to establish the business objectives. Only after that will it be possible to advance the strategy.
But what, exactly, needs to be defined at this meeting? You need to know how many leads are needed, on average, to convert a customer.
Then, with the number of customers the company expects to gain, you will know how many leads it should generate, and what the required conversion rate is.
Once you know which objectives will be pursued, already select together which metrics and KPIs should be used to assess whether this is actually being done.
Finally, don’t forget to set a deadline for this to happen, as this will help to keep teams focused.
2. Define the performance limits of each team
Using the same example as we did regarding the number of leads generated and converted, after establishing the overall business objectives, it is time to separate who is responsible for each activity.
In this case, the marketing team must be concerned with the generation and nutrition of leads, while the sales team takes action when closing sales.
In addition, it will be necessary to define the internal criteria for MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead) and SQL (Sales Qualified Lead), in order to divide responsibilities correctly.
3. Document everything that is decided
They have already decided what MQL and SQL is, how far marketing work goes and when sales work begins. Great! But the job is not over yet.
It still remains to document everything that was agreed at the meeting. What if you’re wondering if this is really necessary? We answered at once: for sure!
It is very important that the defined details are documented and kept in view of all involved. That way, no one will have a hard time remembering what is involved in the SLA and complying with it.
4. Communicate constantly
Communication must be part of the daily routine between the teams, not only in periodic meetings to evaluate results.
Leaving to talk just in time to review the campaign data will be too late if the strategy is in trouble.
It is way better talk constantly, as this helps to solve small problems as soon as they arise, preventing them from affecting the achievement of objectives.
In this respect, team managers are fundamental, and they must encourage their team members to make themselves available to other professionals and help them with whatever is necessary.
5. Track metrics and KPIs
Using the metrics chosen there at the beginning of the strategy, the two teams will be able to see how they are doing.
These metrics must be observed frequently, in order to adjust the small problems the moment they are encountered.
It is also part of the responsibility of each team to evaluate metrics and KPIs related to their assignments and create reports, which they must present to the other team .
6. Adapt the strategy as needed
Based on the data found, the final results of each campaign and the development of the strategy in general, the last step is to adapt.
In other words, learn from mistakes, identify what workedand try to improve those points even more, and use that learning in the next strategies.
By doing this, you will certainly be able to take more and more advantage of the integration of sectors, and you will understand better how to use the SLA with mastery.
Thus, it is clear how the SLA is a key player in the union of areas as important as marketing and sales.
Through it, responsibilities are divided and collaboration becomes easier. Now that you know how to create one, it’s time to take action and put Vendarketing into practice!
Did you like to learn more about the SLA? Be sure to download the ebook on Vendarketing!