More often than not, your sales and marketing departments are on completely separate wavelengths when it comes to understanding what a qualified lead looks like. When your teams haven’t created shared definitions to enable easier communication, the entire sales funnel gets bogged down with unqualified leads.
If you want to see better-qualified leads, you need to solve your lead qualification problem with a service level agreement (SLA) for your sales and marketing teams.
Your Sales and Marketing SLA
A service level agreement is crucial for the success of your sales and marketing alignment. To create your sales and marketing SLA, your teams must:
Set clear goals.
Before you get down in the trenches of the SLA terms, you’ll need to set specific, shared goals for the quarter. For example, you might want to determine the total number of marketing and sales qualified leads (MQLs and SQLs) you’d like to qualify by the end of the quarter.
Set lead qualification criteria.
Both the marketing and sales teams should come together to create a shared definition of what a qualified lead looks like. Base the criteria off your ideal customer and consider factors such as:
- Company size
- Engagement with site (downloaded content, subscribed to newsletter, etc.)
From there, you can assign a point value for each MQL criterion. With custom lead scoring, you can designate qualified leads on a point system that enables your sales team to see when a lead is ready to be contacted, even if they don’t fill out a contact form.
Create a lead handoff process.
The lead handoff is often a place where demand generation fails. The more clarity you have surrounding leads, the better – without them, your team will be drowning in ambiguities, unable to sustain alignment or growth.
Define when a lead is passed from marketing to sales to clarify the responsibilities and roles of each team. A handoff workflow can be used to notify the sales team of a new MQL, and require they ‘accept’ or disqualify the lead.
Just as the marketing team commits to provide the right lead at the right time, the sales team should commit to take similar action on every SQL. This will help keep the sales engagement flow in motion.
When you clearly establish and communicate the expectations of your sales and marketing teams with an SLA, you will not only solve your lead generation problems, but you will also begin to see revenue goals met and potentially exceeded.