Many smart companies have started implementing service level agreements (SLAs) between sales and marketing to ensure the alignment of these often adversarial teams. In fact, the HubSpot blog has offered some fabulous advice for implementing SLAs, including considering quality vs. just quantity of leads and determining your best-fit leads.
These factors are key in figuring out how to optimize your sales and marketing efforts so that everyone’s rowing in the right direction to stay ahead of your competition.
Here at Infer, we’ve observed quite a few different SLA approaches, and many of our customers are now taking the quality and best-fit metrics to a whole new level.
Most companies create tiered SLAs based on lead type in which contact me requests and free trial leads might be given top priority and sales reps spend less time contacting webinar attendees or ebook downloaders:
The problem with this is that not every free trial sign-up warrants three calls. There are people who try your product but simply aren’t a fit to buy. And on the flip side, there are certain webinar and ebook leads that you’d be foolish to give up on after one call. The trick is identifying the diamond in the rough to minimize wasted energy and missed opportunities.
New data and predictive lead scoring techniques are emerging that can use many more signals to ID hot leads -- such as relevant job postings, business model, website traffic, spam indicators, and even the technology vendors a company uses.
By bringing this additional information into the equation, you can actually align your sales SLAs with a true likelihood of conversion vs. gut instinct.
Here’s an example of the kind of SLA many of our customers employ, based on predictive lead scores:
By raising the sophistication of your SLA in this way, your team can take its efficiency through the roof. With the traditional SLA approach, we often see that companies still end up spending 30% of their sales energy on a set of leads that account for just 2% of their pipeline in the end.
The opposite also holds true -- many great opportunities just happen to come in via "less promising" lead types. By leveraging predictive intelligence for your SLAs, you can identify those hidden good leads that might not be getting enough touches.
Once you can accurately predict your winners, you’ll be able to invest your teams' time where there's the greatest opportunity. And you may be able to optimize their effort even further by just sending everything below a certain score directly to nurture -- because those leads represent such a small pipeline opportunity.
I love hearing about best practices like these, so please share a comment if you have any other examples of innovative ways to rethink sales and marketing processes.
Originally published Jan 30, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated December 06 2016