I had the privledge of getting a sneak peak in to the new State of Inbound 2015 Report produced by Hubspot. When I reviewed the report I was really surprised at how poorly sales and marketing teams are aligned. I know, we have all heard it heard it many times, sales teams blame marketing for too few or unqualified leads while marketing teams blame sales for not effectively working and closing leads.
This is the first time I have seen this problem quantified to this extent. The data shows this is due to a lack of an SLA (Service Level Agreement) between the sales and marketing teams. A recent survey of 4000 respondents, included in the 2015 State of Inbound Report, shows that only 37% of the North American marketing and sales teams had a formal agreement outlining their roles and responsibilities.
The simple response is, “So, it works fine the way it is.” Okay, except the data also shows that 47% of the teams aligned by an SLA were more likely to see a higher ROI compared to 35% of the teams without an SLA.
It shouldn't be a surprise that the marketing teams that have an SLA with their sales counterparts grow their budgets at a higher rate. The survey shows that 57% of the teams with an SLA received a higher budget than those those with no SLA. Simply put, SLAs between Marketing and Sales yield more ROI, more budget, and more headcount.
How does this lack of alignment hurt the sales team?
When asked, 42% of salespeople responded that prospecting was the hardest part of the sales process. It should be no surprise that it continues to be more difficult to reach the right person who is the perfect fit for your offering. The process becomes even more difficult the less contact and business information salespeople have available to them. When a sales rep is left to hunt for this information and possibly use impersonal communications their odds of success become even lower.
The good news is that the marketing teams also understand the challenge. “Increasing the number of contacts/leads” is marketers’ number one or two priority, depending on company size and B2B vs. B2C.
The Solution - and it’s not just an SLA
The obvious solution is to create a very clear SLA between the teams. The data is very that this is a good place to start. But it isn’t enough because the teams don’t necessarily have the tools to live up the the agreement.
The real solution is to employ inbound marketing in addition to an SLA. Inbound marketing is an effort that requires tight alignment between the sales and marketing teams. This alignment exists from the identification of the customer personas through the sales funnel all the way to the close. The data shows, with this kind of alignment companies maximize the ROI on their marketing and sales efforts.
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