The SLA Template You Need for Sales and Marketing Alignment

How often do the Sales and Marketing teams at your company disagree?

At most companies, it happens all the time. The conflict between the two departments is pretty much a business cliché at this point.

Sales always complains about the quality or quantity of Marketing Qualified Leads, while Marketing always complains about how Sales wastes valuable leads by not engaging with them correctly. There’s always something causing friction between the two departments.

But you don’t have to be resigned to these intra-company conflicts. You can stop these fights in their tracks with a strong Service-Level Agreement between Sales and Marketing. An SLA is a contract between two departments that aligns goals and outlines agreed-upon expectations. Instead of constantly battling over leads, and SLA holds both teams accountable to specific, measurable goals.

A well-written SLA can lead to actual alignment between Sales and Marketing, by outlining how to define, measure, and engage with Marketing Qualified Leads. With the right SLA in place, your Sales and Marketing teams will start to act like they’re on the same team again.

Building a Powerful SLA

Part of the cause of the conflict between Marketing and Sales is the fact that there are no set rules. Both teams have their own ideas and expectations for how the relationship should go, and these ideas are usually vastly different. This is obviously a recipe for disaster and misalignment. An SLA is so valuable because it sets a level playing field for both teams, and ensures that everyone understands what the goals are from the beginning.

For example:

  • What is a high-quality MQL?
  • How many MQLs should marketing provide to Sales?
  • When does the handoff occur between Marketing and Sales?
  • How quickly should the Sales team call every new MQL?

A great SLA should be detailed, clear, and easy to understand for both teams. Not sure how to build out your own company’s SLA?


Get a FREE copy of the InsightSquared Sales and Marketing SLA Template.

Enforcing the Rules

A Sales and Marketing SLA functions as both a rulebook and a referee that defines how both teams operate. You have to set these expectations as soon as possible so everyone understands and follows the rules at all times. When conflicts arise, Sales and Marketing can always refer back to remember exactly what the expectations are, so they can stop fighting and start working.

This formalized process may seem rigid, but it’s the only way to ensure that Sales and Marketing are operating effectively. It holds both teams to high standards, and pushes them to reach their goals. And if something isn’t working or needs to be tweaked, you can always change it. The SLA should be a fluid document, where both teams can make changes and re-write it to fit the needs of your company as it grows.

Better Alignment and Achievement

Instead of wasting time and resources on constant disagreements between Sales and Marketing, the two departments are now on the same team again. Neither Sales nor Marketing wants to be the one that falls short of the expectations set in the SLA. They’re pushing together to drive leads down the Sales and Marketing funnel and reach the same goals — as they were always intended to do. This doesn’t just save your company time, it makes both teams more efficient and drives them to be their best.

This means that your Marketing leads will be higher quality, your Sales team will chase those leads harder, and ultimately — you will close more deals. Sales and Marketing alignment is tough to achieve, but completely worth the effort.

If you’re not sure where to start in building your own Sales and Marketing SLA, download InsightSquared’s SLA Template and customize it for your own company.