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How to Increase Your Revenue Operations Teams Accountability With SLAs - Blog Heade V2r

How to Increase Your Revenue Operations Teams Accountability With SLAs

Your people, your systems, and your processes are the driving force of your business. Their actions are the engine powering your revenue creation. 

But, what if your people, systems, and processes aren’t acting in sync? If your teams are siloed, that engine’s power is limited. Rather than pushing forward in a singular direction, its energy is being diluted and pulled in multiple different directions, limiting how far it can travel. 

This happens across many businesses, with each department focused on their own goals, processes, and responsibilities, rather than considering their role in the success of other departments.

The problem with this single-minded rather than company-minded approach is that it can limit growth and undermine your ability to scale. That’s especially problematic when there’s a disconnect between your sales and marketing teams.

Just like that engine being pulled in many different directions, your sales and marketing resources are working counterproductively when they are focused exclusively on their own area of responsibility, rather than moving as a cohesive unit towards a common objective. 

McKinsey research indicates that these siloes develop due to inadequate information being disseminated from the top down, and a lack of accountability or coordination on enterprise-wide initiatives. Initiatives such as growth goals. 

The result is a correlation coefficient no business leader wants to see. As siloed mindsets and behaviours increase across the company, economic performance decreases. 

McKinsey suggests that “The first imperative for companies looking to break out of a siloed mentality is to inspire within employees a common sense of the overall direction and purpose of the company.”

It sounds simple, but the reality is that while 69% of high-performing companies say communicating business goals across the company is the most important and effective pathway to success, just 7% of employees feel confident that they know what they need to do to contribute to those goals.  

If your sales and marketing teams are working in silo, it’s likely neither team will know what they need to do to help the company achieve its overall goals. That’s a problem because while they are traditionally different departments, today’s digital-first mindset means that there is no longer a clear distinction between the two.

If we think about the revenue operations flywheel, the marketing team provides the nudge that keeps the wheel spinning for the sales team.  Without that input from marketing – that burst of energy - the sales team has no momentum.

But that nudge needs to be just right so the wheel spins at the exact rate the sales team needs – too fast and they’ll be overwhelmed and unable to hang on, too slow and they won’t have the momentum they need to act. 

The importance of the Sales and Marketing SLA 

It’s common for there to be a lack of synergy between sales and marketing, despite the fact the two units are co-dependent; the sales team requires leads and sales enablement material from marketing. Equally, the marketing team requires the sales team to close the leads that its actions generate. 

When there’s a disconnect between the two, performance is impacted across the board. The sales team may not be getting the right enablement materials, or the correct volume of good quality leads it needs to achieve its sales goals. 

Likewise, the marketing team - unaware of what the sales team needs – may not understand leads aren’t of the right quality leading to feelings of frustration when conversion figures are low.

It’s a lose-lose situation that could be transformed into a win-win with the introduction of a sales and marketing SLA.

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What is a sales and marketing SLA?

As the saying goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” To achieve company growth goals, sales and marketing teams must work together and adopt a collaborative mindset. 

A Service Level Agreement (SLA) is a document or contract which formalises that collaboration by clearly outlining each team’s responsibilities and commitments to the other. 

It might seem like an obvious solution, yet less than half of businesses are thought to have an SLA agreement in place between their sales and marketing functions. That’s a costly omission.

This document alone could help you make significant strides towards your growth goals, with HubSpot data indicating that successfully aligning sales and marketing could deliver a 20% uplift in revenue. 

Creating an SLA for your teams

Creating an SLA for your teams is a way to formalise how sales and marketing work together. 

In its most basic form, your SLA will state how many leads marketing needs to generate for sales each month, in order for your sales team to then meet its sales target. 

You’ll need to delve into your data to arrive at this figure. It should be based on a clear understanding of: 

  • What your revenue goal is.

  • How many leads on average are required from marketing to generate a sales opportunity.

  • How many opportunities on average your sales team is subsequently likely to convert.

  • The average value of each sale.

Calculating how many leads are needed

Once you have your average figures and an idea of typical performance, you should find it easy to work out how many leads your team requires per month to meet its sales goals. That may look something like: 

We have twenty salespeople. Each person will currently handle around 100 leads each month and close 10. Each lead closed is worth £500. We want to generate around £100,000 of revenue per month. Therefore, we’ll need 2,000 leads per month.

Knowing the average number of leads your RevOps strategy requires each month is a good foundation for your SLA. But it’s not enough to provide a meaningful agreement between sales and marketing because it lacks a vital nuance – the quality or value of each lead. 

Not all leads are created equal

Having your marketing team commit to generating 2,000 leads, and your sales team commit to generating £100,000 revenue from those leads still might not bring your teams into alignment. Why? Because not all leads are of the same value. 

Some leads will be of a higher value. They’ll be further along in their path to purchase, more engaged with your company, and more ready to convert and become a customer. 

Having a larger proportion of those warmer leads is obviously more desirable for your sales team as they’re more likely to make the conversions they need to meet their goals.

However, if the leads they’re receiving from marketing are less engaged, further away from making a decision and still evaluating whether your products are a good fit, it’s less likely that revenue goals will be met. 

You can refine your SLA to ensure that the marketing pipeline and sales quotas take into consideration the difference between a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) and a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) by lead scoring.

One way to do that is to assign a monetary value to each type of lead you receive. For example, someone who has just subscribed to your newsletter will be harder and more time consuming to convert than someone wanting to schedule a demo. The newsletter lead therefore gets assigned a lower value than the one requesting a product demo. 

Recognising that you need a certain value of leads, in addition to a certain quantity of leads, makes the deliverables much clearer and means sales and marketing can be more accountable for business growth.

Optimizing your SLA 

Knowing that you need a certain quality and quantity of leads per month is the crux of your SLA and key to achieving sales and marketing alignment. However, it’s still a fairly blunt tool and doesn’t spell out what each team can expect from the other, nor how the two will work together to ensure desired outcomes. For that, you’ll need a more detailed agreement.

You’ll need to optimize your SLA.

Building out your SLA

Having a clearly defined lead target per month is one stop on the journey to growing your revenue. What it doesn’t do is set out how to get to that stop, nor how to reach the final destination (the revenue goal). For that, you’ll need to build out your sales and marketing SLA with additional considerations.

That may look something like:

  • Assigning measurable goals to each department.

  • Agreeing requirements which outline what each team needs from the other.

  • Setting timeframes that stipulate how long certain actions should take.

  • Documenting accountability measures detailing what happens if performance expectations aren’t met.

  • Stipulating communication channels for feedback and idea sharing.


The goals section of your SLA should include reference to clear, measurable business goals so sales and marketing teams know what they are working towards collectively.

You’ll also want to include individual goals for the sales and marketing teams within the SLA. This ensures full transparency between the departments and can further encourage the two units to work together as a collective, rather than in silo. 


Here, you can reference the number and quality of leads to be generated. But you may also want to consider things like:

  • When should leads be passed from sales to marketing? 

  • How are they handed over? 

  • At what frequency should leads be delivered through the month? 

  • How many follow ups are sales required to undertake? 

  • When do leads require a call rather than an email? 

  • How often are lead pipeline reports needed?

Assigning clear requirements to create an optimal workflow ensures your resources are being used to their maximum potential, without being under or over stretched at any point.

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For your RevOps flywheel to keep spinning, it will need certain inputs at certain times. Your sales and marketing teams similarly need to execute certain tasks within certain timeframes to achieve their goals.

Use this section of your SLA to set realistic, achievable timeframes for key actions. When a lead is passed from marketing to sales, how quickly should the sales team follow up?

This is an important consideration as the longer it takes to follow up on a lead, the less likely a conversion becomes. While the average response time is around 42 hours, calling within one minute of an online enquiry being submitted is shown to increase conversions by 397%.  

How long should the sales team wait before following up when they can’t get hold of a lead? And how much time should be allowed to elapse before an uncontactable lead is passed back to marketing as a prospect? 


The core purpose of your SLA is to document expectations and agree deliverables between your sales and business units so they can work together in a more productive manner. But what happens if one team begins to fall behind on their commitments to the other?

Building in an accountability section sets out what happens when agreed behaviours or timeframes are missed, by either team. 

Communication channels

An SLA aims to bring sales and marketing together, so they’re pulling in the same direction – your company’s overall growth goals. For that to happen, there needs to be clear lines of communication for feedback and updates.

That could be Slack, a CRM platform, email, Teams, Zoom – there’s no one right or wrong way, but clearly defining how information should be conveyed, and when to use which channel, removes the guesswork and creates a clear protocol.

It can be helpful to nominate specific individuals to carry out certain communication tasks. Who should provide lead updates for example? And how should they be delivered to the other team?

Moving beyond the SLA

When your SLA is up and running, you may realize that it needs some adjustment. That’s because it may bring issues to light beyond the SLA that were previously hidden away in silo. Marketing may not be generating enough leads for example. Or sales might not have enough resources to deal with all leads within the agreed timeframe. 

Having those issues brought to the forefront isn’t a bad thing. Instead, it’s an opportunity to continue to optimise your approach and more closely align how your teams work, so that you’re moving ever closer to achieving your company goals. 

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Published by Jamie Midgley February 14, 2023
Jamie Midgley