Can you get sales and marketing singing the same tune?

Sales and marketing alignment is something that, while difficult, provides companies with many benefits if it works well. It’s quite a common thing for businesses to not have sales and marketing on the same page, I’m sure you’ve heard before complaints from either side; ‘marketing aren’t delivering us the leads that we need’, or ‘sales aren’t following up on the leads we are giving them’.

One thing that can help this relationship is a service level agreement (SLA). While this might sound like an overly formal approach, it can really pay dividends in terms of getting alignment and a streamlined sales process.

What should go into an SLA?

  1. Marketing’s performance agreement
  2. Sales performance agreement
  3. Metrics

Set goals

Your SLA needs to be about numbers. Exactly what each team is expected to do, and the metrics that reflect that. With marketing, it usually means committing to a monthly marketing qualified leads target. For sales, if you know exactly what is supposed to come through from marketing you can come up with your processes and your plans on how to follow those up in a timely manner to get the sales that you need at the other end.

  1. Marketing’s performance agreement

In order to calculate the marketing side of your SLA, you'll need the following four metrics:

Total sales goal (in terms of revenue quota)

  • % of revenue that comes from marketing-generated leads (as opposed to those directly generated by sales)
  • Average sales deal size
  • Average lead-to-customer close %

Then, it's time to do some calculations.

  • Sales quota * % of revenue from marketing-generated leads = Marketing-sourced revenue goal
  • Marketing-sourced revenue goal / average sales deal size = # of customers needed
  • Customers / average lead-to-customer close % = # of leads needed


  1. Sales’ performance agreement

The sales side of the SLA should detail the speed and depth of following up with marketing-generated leads.

  • If leads are responded to in fewer than five minutes, the chances of actually contacting them are 100x higher than waiting 30 minutes. On average, only 7.7% of leads are contacted within the first five minutes. HubSpot
  • In terms of follow-up, "the best practice is 6 phone calls, 3 voicemails, and 3 emails, for a total of 12 touches." HubSpot


  1. Metrics

It needs to be an open conversation but it also needs to be a really visible one. You need to set up good reports to track things right through the buying process, from first touch to close. And then review it. That needs to be happening on a regular basis. Its not something that should be set in place and then looked at 3 years later. It needs to be constantly reviewed - is it delivering us what we need it to, is there ways that we could do this better? Constantly looking at this and reviewing it will not only make sure you are reaching your targets and getting what you need out of it but also keeping every team happy along the way.

Open the discussion up

Once you’ve got those agreed targets - that needs to be everything your B2B lead generation efforts are focussing on. You need to ensure that you are reporting on these, you are communicating them across the teams and raising any flags that come up in terms of the ability to reach them or the ability you see coming through.

For example, if sales are happy with leads volume but not with the quality – it needs to go back to marketing, and they need to tighten their parameters.

Concentrate can help with the SLA process and implement tools to deliver that powerful synergy between marketing and sales. We help dozens of New Zealand tech companies improve sales and marketing alignment and see real results. Find out more about our sales services here.

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