Why SLAs between sales & marketing are important (and why they’re not)


I’m a huge fan of alignment between sales & marketing organizations. In many companies, this relationship is made official with Service Level Agreements (SLAs) between the two groups.

A passionate debate has evolved at Focus.com on whether SLAs are helpful or a distraction to driving alignment and results. You can read the full debate, but here’s my take:

None of this is important, none of it matters, nobody gets paid and nobody gets to keep their job unless the company sells something.

Marketers, in too many organizations, still don’t think of themselves as critical path to revenue. They act like a cost center, get frustrated when the CFO won’t give them more money, and plead ignorance and amnesty when the sales team doesn’t hit their quota.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s all about sales. Marketers need to own that. An SLA is a great tool to help align teams and individuals to the specific metrics required to hit and exceed sales & revenue goals. It will not, magically, drive performance. It will not direct day to day activity. Or intent. Or eliminate animosity between the groups.

Square pegs don’t fit into round holes. For organizations that have a unifying view of the end-goal, an SLA is simply public confirmation of what everyone’s working towards in the first place.