The Sales Metrics that Matter for your SLA

You know how critical it is to have sales and marketing alignment at your company, you’re aware that to achieve that alignment you must have a formal and clear service-level agreement (SLA) in place, and you’ve read the best practices for setting up an effective SLA that actually works. Now, it’s time to take the next step, perhaps the most important in drafting your SLA:

Identifying the sales metrics that matter the most to your SLA.

These metrics will help, not only in providing clear goals to shoot for, but also in helping both the sales and marketing teams measure and benchmark their progress toward these goals. Here are the most important sales metrics to keep in mind when drafting your SLA.

(For even more detailed information about sales metrics, check out our FREE eBook: The Right Metrics for Your Inside Sales Team.)


How much will marketing contribute to the sales pipeline?

This should be the crux of your SLA – how much is marketing contributing to the sales pipeline and, effectively, to your overall bookings. Having this sales metric in place in your SLA ensures that both sides, especially marketing, are pulling their weight.

There is no clear-cut industry standard for how many opportunities marketing should contribute to the sales pipeline – this is something that you will have to determine internally, taking into account the market you’re selling to and your sales process. Marketo has published research noting that 38% the overall pipeline opportunities is a good number for marketing to shoot for, while SiriusDecisions sets a wider range of contributions between 10 and 40% of the sales pipeline.

Using this report, both VPs can huddle to gain insight into how effective marketing’s efforts are at generating pipeline. The Marketing VP can drill down even deeper and connect the dots between specific campaigns that generated more leads and opportunities, while having a crystal-clear report to demonstrate her team’s contributions to the CEO and the board.

How well and how quickly is sales doing with follow-ups?

If the main goal of the SLA is to determine the number of sales-ready leads that marketing agrees to be held accountable for, then the secondary goal should be to clarify the handoff process of leads between sales and marketing. At companies without sales and marketing alignment, there is usually confusion in the lead-handoff process. This produces inefficiencies that might result in valuable leads slipping through the cracks, before they have been contacted and converted.

To prevent this, check out our Lead Aging report. This report helps Sales and Marketing VPs determine:

  • Which of our leads have not received any activity in the last X days and need immediate follow-up?

  • How well our sales team is generally doing with follow-up?

This second question is the more interesting of the two. Everytime marketing generates a lead, sales is expected to qualify them and then follow-up promptly. Ken Krogue of has identified through his research that most organizations follow up on leads too slowly, while emphasizing how immediate follow-up can produce higher conversions.

In the example above, more than 2,000 of the leads generated by marketing have received ZERO activity or engagement. Can you imagine how perturbed the Marketing VP would be upon seeing that his team’s hard work is essentially being wasted?

On the flip side, what if those 2,000 leads deemed to be marketing-qualified are actually of a low quality and have not been accepted by sales? This then raises questions about the quality of leads that marketing is producing, and might prompt a greater discussion on what constitutes a marketing-qualified lead.

When drafting your SLA, be sure to consider these two key sales metrics, especially when setting your goals. Implementing these metrics should also open up a wealth of questions on whether or not you truly have an effective SLA and real sales and marketing alignment.