Today on Inbound Academy we’re jumping into pt.2 of our discussion about aligning your sales and marketing efforts.
Jeff Lambert: 00:01 Hello everybody, and welcome to Inbound Academy. I'm your host, Jeff Lambert. So last episode we started talking about tips to align your sales and marketing efforts and how that can actually benefit your organization. Now we're going to continue that discussion today and Rogelio Rodriguez is back in the studio to continue this discussion. So, Rod, thanks for coming by again.
Rod Rodriguez: 00:22 Thanks for having me, Jeff.
Jeff Lambert: 00:23 Now to our listeners who may not have tuned into the first episode, although I don't know why they would do that because it's a two-part thing, but just to recap from what we talked about, why is it a good thing to align your sales and marketing efforts?
Rod Rodriguez: 00:37 Sure. Well, alignment will help you reach your goals faster, right? That's the short of it.
Jeff Lambert: 00:44 Okay. And do you think overall that aligning sales and marketing also streamlines your entire processes for the business?
Rod Rodriguez: 00:52 Absolutely. It'll streamline your processes. It'll streamline communication between the teams and also enable for unity to happen.
Jeff Lambert: 01:02 Right, teamwork. Now are most businesses doing this already?
Rod Rodriguez: 01:07 No, no, not according to the stat that I looked at from Forrester research, which stated only 8% of companies believe that their marketing and sales teams are aligned.
Jeff Lambert: 01:19 So you heard it here first to our listeners, you can be on the cutting edge by doing this. So why don't we talk about the first two tips that you gave to our listeners last episode. Just to recap really quickly, you had said a good natural starting point would be to use similar terms between departments. How would that be helpful?
Rod Rodriguez: 01:37 So it really creates a common language for a individual team members to communicate more effectively towards building a process that, that reaches their goals.
Jeff Lambert: 01:51 And the second thing that we talked about in the last episode was setting common goals. Can you talk just a little bit why that's a good thing to do?
Rod Rodriguez: 01:58 Sure. It's like the North Star, right? It's that guiding light that a team can use to move effectively in unison towards.
Jeff Lambert: 02:10 So let's jump into our topics for today. We have taken those two steps as a business to align marketing and sales. Where do I go from here? What would you recommend as a next step?
Rod Rodriguez: 02:24 So I think really the next step in this process is to be able to develop and document a service level agreement, or an SLA, between sales and marketing. And companies with an active SLA are 34% more likely to experience a greater year-over-year return on investment than those that aren't. 21% are more likely to get greater budget allocations, and 31% more likely to be hiring additional sales people to meet demands.
Jeff Lambert: 03:11 So for me and our listeners, can you talk to me about what exactly is an SLA? You said service level agreement. What does that look like?
Rod Rodriguez: 03:21 Sure. It's a contract between the departments that outlines specific guidelines to establish mutual accountability. It outlines specific actions with the intent of moving towards a goal, right? Moving the organization forward in unison.
Jeff Lambert: 03:38 So is this just actually like a contract that people sign?
Rod Rodriguez: 03:41 It could be, if you'd like to make it that way. Yes. You know, on our team we have something outlined as a document and it's a document that that dictates what we do in specific cases when we're generating leads and converting those leads into customers.
Jeff Lambert: 03:59 So you're really just putting down specific objectives that people are agreeing to adhere to, to move towards?
Rod Rodriguez: 04:05 Yes.
Jeff Lambert: 04:06 Okay. So if I want to create a service level agreement, which I'm going to call an "SLA" from here on out, what do I do? Let's talk about some steps to creating that document.
Rod Rodriguez: 04:17 Sure. We broke it down into six steps. The first one is define the ideal client, understanding who that individual is and having everybody understand who that individual is is going to help them better move towards that goal - attracting that client.
Jeff Lambert: 04:32 Using the common terms like we talked about?
Rod Rodriguez: 04:34 Absolutely. Absolutely.
Jeff Lambert: 04:35 What would be the next step?
Rod Rodriguez: 04:36 The next step is setting clear goals, right? The "north star." Creating those one or two points that you're moving towards.
Jeff Lambert: 04:48 Okay. So I've defined my client and my document, I've set a clear goal for both teams to hit. What else do I do?
Rod Rodriguez: 04:54 You have to define how the handoffs occur, right? So you have to determine when marketing generates a lead, what makes that lead marketing qualified? And then once they're identified as marketing qualified, what defines the process for it becoming sales qualified - in order for marketing to notify sales that this lead is viable, a sales lead, that they're ready to talk to sales.
Jeff Lambert: 05:24 So there's actually a handoff from one department to the other?
Rod Rodriguez: 05:27 Yes, yes.
Jeff Lambert: 05:28 And that goes back to increasingly communication between teams?
Rod Rodriguez: 05:31 Absolutely.
Jeff Lambert: 05:32 Double Win there. Okay. So I have to find how those handoffs occur. I've realized that this lead is ready to move into sales because we've kind of prepped them for that as a marketing department. Now that we've defined that, what's the next step?
Rod Rodriguez: 05:44 So you have to establish the protocols for managing the leads. So what is sales going to do once they receive it from marketing, and how are they going to be managed? How are they going to be contacted? How will the data that sales gathers go back to marketing as well? Because it's important, you know, sales is on the ground. They're there face to face. They're, they're collecting a ton of data from their interactions. And if somehow they discover that this is a lead not qualified as a customer, they need to send that communication back to marketing in order for marketing to be able to adjust their language or the communication strategies to bring in more qualified leads.
Jeff Lambert: 06:30 Sure. So it really helps marketing know if what they're doing is effective or not too? I can see why that would absolutely be valuable. So we've established those protocols. What would be the next step?
Rod Rodriguez: 06:42 The next step is tracking everything, the lifecycle of the leads being generated right from lead to MQL to SQL to the customer or not customer. Being able to assess the performance metrics behind your activities is essential to the success of an SLA.
Jeff Lambert: 07:03 Okay. So that sounds like a pretty straightforward process. Once I create an SLA and I have both my, teams sign onto it and they understand the process, is my job done?
Rod Rodriguez: 07:15 No. There's one more step. You really have to standardize the SLA review process. So every quarter or so, take a look at it and see how it's functioning for you and if there's a need to make some changes in some definitions. Then do so at that time.
Jeff Lambert: 07:32 And who should I involve in that review process? Is that just the leader?
Rod Rodriguez: 07:35 No, I think everybody involved should review that SLA and how it's working.
Jeff Lambert: 07:40 Okay. Now I know for me, I'm a bit more of a visual person. Does Rizen offer any resources - maybe like a template of an SLA that I could use to get started?
Rod Rodriguez: 07:52 Yes, you can. You can check it out and go online on our website at gorizen.com and check out our sales pillar page. it's an ultimate guide that we created to driving more business. And you can check it out on the website.
Jeff Lambert: 08:09 Great. I will definitely do that. And to our listeners, I'll make sure to post a link in the show notes so you can just one-click and get that template and that background information to keep going. So we've set up four steps for aligning sales and marketing. We've established why it's important to do that. So to our listeners, I would encourage them, you know, take that first step and go ahead and get started. And Rod, thanks for coming by and sharing this information with us and I'm looking forward to future conversations with you as well.
Rod Rodriguez: 08:35 All right. Thanks for having me Jeff.
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