How to Overcome 4 Common “Smarketing” SLA Concerns

As a software or tech company, you’re already familiar with the concept of a service level agreement (SLA) for end-users, but have you developed an SLA for your sales enablement program yet? Without clear goals for what both marketing and sales will contribute, how can you measure success and hold people accountable?

(Hint: you can’t.)

So, why do so many tech companies avoid creating an SLA? Well, in our experience it usually comes down to one of four common concerns. Lucky for you, we’re giving away tips to conquer each and every objection you might hear at your tech company.

What if an SLA requires more leads than marketing can deliver?

Lead value goals should be challenging, but not impossible, to achieve. If your company gets one lead a week, you can’t realistically expect to bump that number up to 100 leads per week over a short period of time. That said, there are three main variables that marketers can tweak to optimize output:

  • Volume: how much content you produce
  • Velocity: how fast you produce content
  • Conversion Rate: how well your content performs

To determine where there could be room for improvement, measure how much time your team is spending creating different assets vs. how many leads those assets are actually generating. If it takes a whole week to produce a quality eBook that gets the same number of leads as a well-optimized blog post completed before lunch—you know what to do.

What if marketing is delivers more leads than sales can handle?

While too many leads might sound like a “good” problem to have, it can be super stressful on a sales department to follow up with multiple prospects within a short timeframe. To determine your ideal cadence of inbound leads, calculate your sales velocity using this formula from the book “Aligned to Achieve”:

  • Number of opportunities: how many sales opportunities can a rep handle in a time period?
  • Win rate: what % of opportunities actually close?
  • Average deal value: how much does a typical deal close for?
  • Sales cycle length: how long does it take to close a deal?

The resulting sales velocity value will give your marketing team the ideal number of leads that they need to produce to keep sales working at capacity.

What if sales rejects marketing’s leads?

To make sure sales isn’t unfairly sending sales qualified leads (SQLs) back to marketing for unnecessary nurturing (or worse, dropping them altogether!), consider forming a “judicial branch”—a small group of leaders that reviews every lead sales rejects. To remain unbiased, this review board should only consist of members outside of sales and marketing since they will determine the ultimate fate of rejected leads and will help tweak your definition of a marketing qualified lead (MQL) vs. SQL.

What if marketing’s leads aren’t a good fit?

If marketing is generating bad leads, take a look at your messaging. As Marcus Sheridan of The Sales Lion says, “Leads are as good or as bad as the messaging that brought them there.” This is why content is such a crucial part of sales enablement. If you need help with your content marketing strategy, check out another blog we wrote: “How to be a Tech Company with a Killer Content Marketing Strategy.”

So, how can you create a successful SLA?

If your efforts to start a successful sales enablement program are meeting internal resistance at your tech company, check out some of our ideas to help you baby-step your way into kicking off sales enablement initiatives and gaining buy-in from key stakeholders.

Then, rally the troops into one room, work together to determine how your teams can help each other. Plus, check out two of the most important elements of a tech sales and marketing SLA to get you started. Happy sales enabling!


Sales Enablement Guide for B2B Tech Marketers

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Topics: Sales Enablement, Smarketing

Jen Lombardi

Written by Jen Lombardi

Jen Lombardi is the Head Honcho and Creative Genius at Kiwi Creative, a creative marketing studio for B2B technology companies. She has an award-winning background in print design, but is also a marketing maven, wizard of the web, grammar geek and all-around fun person.

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