B2B Marketing Strategy: Take Control of Your Teams With a Sales and Marketing Service Level Agreement
In a perfect world your sales and marketing teams work together in harmony. Marketing will consistently find perfect leads and Sales will sell your product to each one of them with a minimum of fuss.
Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world.
Instead, managing these teams will remind you of squabbling kids. They’ll blame each other for every little problem and issue that occurs. They’ll struggle speak to each other without it collapsing into an argument and blame game, forcing you to be the “parent” in the room.
Managing it all can be exhausting.
If this sounds familiar to you know that you aren’t alone. A study by the Corporate Executive Board discovered that 87% of the terms used by these teams to describe each other are negative.
Getting these teams working well together requires you to create a strategy and structure for them. The first step in creating this B2B marketing strategy is to develop a Sales and Marketing Service Level Agreement.
What is a sales and marketing service level agreement?
At it’s most basic, a sales and marketing service level agreement is a set of guidelines that your teams use to work towards common company goals.
It should outline a process for them to work together more efficiently with clear and measurable goals. Giving both departments a structure to explain how they work and how they can help each other become more efficient.
The contents of the agreement will vary depending on your specific company needs but let’s take a brief look at a few things it should contain.
Creating an agreement that works
Creating an agreement as part of your B2B marketing strategy that is balanced and works for both departments can be a challenge. It requires equal input from both teams on how they actually work as well as how they can improve their collaboration.
Doing this needs an honest appraisal of what each department is doing both correctly and incorrectly.
I’m going to go through a few key aspects each department should think about. For further advice on implementing a sales and marketing agreement you should read this post from Hubspot.
The Marketing department
The primary focus of the marketing team should be to find suitable leads.
We’ll always suggest Inbound Marketing as the best method to go about this. If done correctly it can be an excellent way to bring highly qualified leads to you.
The agreement for the marketing team should include the following items:
- Supply a specific number of relevant leads to the Sales team on a daily/weekly/monthly basis
- Continually develop Inbound Marketing techniques to improve the quality of the leads
- Refine their lead generation practices with feedback from the Sales team on a regular basis
The Sales department
The focus of the Sales team should be to convert those leads they have been given into paying customers.
The agreement for the Sales team should include:
- Approach the leads supplied by Marketing in a timely manner. For example, let’s say leads are received on a weekly basis. Sales should approach each lead supplied in that weekly batch before a new batch of leads are supplied by Marketing.
- Complete their own research on the supplied leads before approaching them to make sure they are approaching the correct decision maker.
- Report and give regular feedback on each lead so that Marketing can improve their lead generation.
Common aspects of the agreement
While there are specific goals for each team, there should also be sections that highlight what both teams should work on together.
This section should include a method for regular reporting and communication between the teams. It should also supply guidelines for collaboration between the teams in an effort to improve the lead nurturing process.
The sales and marketing service level agreement shouldn’t be set in stone. Its real benefit becomes clear as it is refined over time.
As the teams begin to work more closely with shared purpose, your hands on management of them should lessen. This in turn allows you to focus on the larger aspects of your B2B marketing strategy.
Now it’s your turn
Have you already taken control of your sales and marketing departments with a service level agreement?
What did you choose to focus on and what changes did it bring about in your teams? We’d love to hear in the comments below.