Magazine article CRM Magazine

Marketing Guarantees the Goods to Sales Service-Level Agreements between Marketing and Sales Improve Everyone's Performance

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Marketing Guarantees the Goods to Sales Service-Level Agreements between Marketing and Sales Improve Everyone's Performance

Article excerpt

Automating marketing activities can increase productivity within your marketing organization. But applying marketing automation with the specific goal of improving your department's service levels to salespeople and sales channels delivers even greater benefits across your enterprise.

You probably are familiar with a Service-Level Agreement (SLA). An SLA is a contract in which a service provider guarantees a minimum performance level of key service measures to the customer.

An SLA often is part of contracts between technology service providers and their customers. For example, a leading cable company states: "We will always be on time within your appointment window or we'll credit you $20 or give you a free premium channel for three months." Most telecommunications companies and outsourcing companies have SLAs with their customers. The agreements include guarantees of key performance, availability and response measures, along with compensation for performance below the standards.

AN SLA FOR MARKETING

Applying the SLA concept to the daily operations of marketing organizations may seem radical--but it's worth exploring because it yields big benefits. How does the concept of an SLA relate to the internal operations of marketing and sales?

If you consider the commitment embodied within an SLA, and then harness that commitment in cross-functional business processes within an enterprise, you can see how a mutual SLA works.

* The marketing department provides a service level guarantee to sales teams for key deliverables such as lead quality and quantity, availability of sales tools and marketing materials, inquiry response time, and access to new product information.

* Sales provides a service level guarantee to the marketing team regarding lead follow-up, marketing program implementation, and feedback from customers and prospects.

* Marketing and sales managers commit to regular reviews of their key metrics, with the goals of continuous improvement and rapid handling of breakdowns.

The word "guarantee" might be disconcerting for some managers. But certainly a mutual agreement to provide key information in a timely, reliable manner is a reasonable requirement for working on a marketing or sales team today.

MARKETING LEADS BY MEASURING

In business, what gets measured gets done. The marketing department can provide leadership by committing to measure and improve its level of service and quality to sales teams. After all, they are marketing's principal internal customer. With reliable service levels "locked in" by marketing, salespeople are able to achieve higher performance goals, and ongoing improvement becomes possible. …

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