8 Cringeworthy B2B Email Nurturing Mistakes that Leave Your Leads Dead in the Water

According to Gleanster Research, 50% of qualified leads aren’t ready to buy. 

Okay, so if they are interacting with your website, but they aren’t ready to buy, what are they doing? They are likely researching solutions to solve their problems and considering several options prior to making a purchase decision. 

The way that we as marketers help leads through the buyer’s journey, is by leveraging email nurture sequences, also known as lead nurturing. Lead Nurturing by definition is the process of building effective relationships with potential customers throughout the buying journey. 

One to one direct communication with all B2B leads isn’t scalable, but strategic email lead nurturing is, and it’s effective. The caveat? Email nurturing must be strategic. 

Here are 8 B2B email nurturing mistakes that will tank your conversion rates and leave your leads dead in the water.  

B2B email nurturing mistakes

Mistake #1: Not Having a Lead Nurturing Campaign at All

Every B2B company needs lead nurturing one way or another. Not convinced? Start by asking yourself these questions:

  1. Do you have content available for download?
  2. Do you have a chatbot?
  3. Do you have a ‘Contact Us’ form on your website?
  4. Do you offer a demo or webinar?
  5. Do you a newsletter sign up?

If you answered yes to any of the above, email nurture sequences are for you. They do some of the heavy lifting by giving the potential buyer the information they need to help themselves, yet still provide them with the opportunity to easily raise their hand for sales. 

And let’s face it, if you’re not nurturing them, another company likely will and they’ll be drawn elsewhere.

Mistake #2: Forgoing Strategy and Research 

Nothing can turn your leads away faster than poorly targeted random marketing emails. Let strategy and research fuel your persona development and help you craft your marketing plan at large. Email lead nurturing should roll up nicely and be aligned across teams.

Interested in how Lake One does strategy? Here’s what we include.

Mistake #3: Not using personalization

Make sure your emails sound like they were written by a human being for another human being to read. 

If you’re using a marketing automation software like HubSpot, you’ve likely collected data that can be easily inserted into your emails to add a personal touch. It can be as simple as addressing the email with their first name or you can take it a step further. Do you know their role? Their job title? The more insights you can glean from your leads, the more tailored you can make your emails. 

Also, here’s a fun fact. 

B2B Email Nurturing Mistakes

Mistake #4: Death by sales pitch 

Not all leads are ready to buy the second they begin interacting with your brand, so hang tight on transcribing your elevator pitch.  

It’s important to meet personas where they are at in the buyer’s journey by providing relevant, helpful content. Videos, blogs, additional resources, case studies, and customer testimony are perfect tidbits that can be shared via email nurture campaigns.

Are sales pitches ever appropriate? Absolutely. There comes a point in the nurture sequence, which should be determined by user engagement, where you absolutely ‘ask for the sale’. Here are some ways to do that.

Mistake #5: CTA Overload

Every email should have at least one clear call-to-action (CTA), but too many CTAs can be a distraction. Not to mention, it makes for an ugly email. 

Pro Tip: If you’re unclear about the purpose of your email, the lead likely will be too. Take a step back and list out the email subject, primary CTA and secondary CTAs if you have them, in a doc prior to building out your sequence. 

B2B Email Nurturing Mistakes

Mistake #6: Radio Silence When Leads Engage 

This one seems simple enough, but you’d be surprised how often email replies go unanswered. If a lead replies to your nurture sequence, where does it go? Who checks the inbox? Whose responsibility is it to reply? Make sure to have a game plan in place prior to launching.

What’s worse than silence? Any of these mistakes!

Mistake #7: Thinking Lead Nurturing is One and Done

The more blogs I write, the more I feel like a broken record that’s stuck on research and optimization. But it’s so true. Lead nurture emails are perfect candidates for optimization and should be based on research.

Not sure where to start the optimization process? Let the data be your guide vs intuition. Subject lines, CTAs, and email timing are all great optimization candidates if the data points are lackluster.

Mistake #8: Keeping Sales in the Dark 

Lead conversion is a team effort and often a result of both the sales and marketing team working towards the same goals

Lead Scoring Guide

When it comes to workflows and email nurture, it’s especially critical that sales and marketing align and have a system in place to signify when a lead is actively talking to sales or vice versa. Nothing can confuse or in some cases, annoy your leads more than emails from several people at the same company. Not sure if you’re aligned? Here are some tips to check.

The good news, this can be easily avoided if you’re using HubSpot by leveraging enrollment criteria, lists, and lead status. 

6 Must-Track B2B Email Marketing KPIs

Are you using email to send content to your leads and customers? If you’re not, turns out you’re part of the minority.

B2B Email Marketing KPIs

Whether you’re a seasoned marketing pro or an email novice, check out the list of our top B2B email marketing KPIs we like to track. But before we dive into the metrics, we need to touch on one major email marketing necessity, goals. 

Email Marketing Goals 

You should know by now that random acts of marketing (executing marketing tactics that aren’t part of an overarching strategy) are a major don’t in our book and that definitely applies to emails. You might be thinking, “It’s just an email.” And in a sense, you’re right. However, all email communication whether it be a newsletter or a simple follow up email post-download needs to be part of a greater digital marketing strategy.

Learn all about Lake One’s Digital Strategy here.

Okay, so how do you go from the big picture down to your email campaigns? You break it down email by email.

HubSpot recommends doing a quick gut check before you send your next email by asking yourself these questions. What is the goal of my email marketing? Is it to grow my subscriber database? Generate more leads? To convert more existing leads into customers?

B2B Email Marketing KPIs

Once you have your goal(s) determined, you’re ready to figure out which metrics you need to track. Read on for our top 6 fav B2B Email Marketing KPIs.

Need help goal setting? Download our SMART Goals template. 

#1. Bounce Rate

What is bounce rate? Bounce rate is the percentage of emails that could not be successfully delivered to the email recipient’s inbox. 

Why we track bounce rate: Emails can bounce for several reasons and fall into two categories, “hard” and “soft”. Soft bounces are temporary problems with delivery like issues with an email client’s server. Hard bounces are permanent problems such as a nonexistent email address and will never be delivered. 

Okay, so an email can’t be delivered, how does that affect you? Our friends at HubSpot say contact list cleanup is a must and we agree. All hard bounces should be removed from your list immediately because internet service providers (ISPs) use bounce rates as one of the key factors to determine an email sender’s reputation. Too many bounces = Spammer when it comes to ISPs. 

#2. Open Rate

What is open rate? Open rate is the percentage of recipients that open a given email.

Why we track open rate: Recipients can’t convert if they aren’t opening your emails, so the open rate can be a great place to start for optimization. We have to disclose though, not everyone is a fan of tracking open rate because it can be an unreliable metric. An email only counts as opened if the recipient also receives all embedded images within that email. Image blocking is an option via email clients- it’s definitely a possibility your number is off. 

So all of the above aside, we still like to keep open rate on our radar, especially when optimizing subject lines and using it comparatively. 

B2B Email Marketing KPIs

#3. Click-Through-Rate 

What is Click-through-rate? CTR is the percentage of email recipients who clicked on one or more links in an email. We often refer to the links as the Call-to-Action (CTA) of the email.

Why we track CTR: CTR is a great indicator of how your email is performing and if your content is resonating with your personas. Are recipients actually clicking on the links that you want them to click on? According to Campaign Monitor, the average click-through rate for most campaigns is slightly over 4%. Here are some tips on how to optimize your followup email CTAs for a higher CTR.

#4. Conversion Rate

What is conversion rate? Conversion rate is the percentage of email recipients who clicked on an email CTA and completed the desired action. Think completing a form, signing up for a free trial, making a purchase, etc.

Why we track conversion rate: Conversion rate is the money maker! Both figuratively and quite literally in some instances. The first step in email marketing is getting the user to click on your link in the email and the second is getting them to convert. This is a major metric in determining if you are meeting your goals.

Lead to MQL/Customer Conversion Rate

Depending on your email campaign goals you can really drill down when it comes to conversion rate. It can also spin off into other metrics such as Lead to Marketing Qualified conversion rate and Lead to Customer conversion rates. 

#5. ROI

What is B2B Email Marketing ROI? ROI is the overall return on investment for your B2B email marketing campaign. 

Why we track ROI: ROI is a KPI staple. Just like any other initiative within your company, you need to track ROI. Are you making money? Are your marketing efforts helping the bottom line? ROI analysis can point out areas of opportunity and areas that are burning cash. 

While we’re talking about KPIs, are you tracking your sales and marketing team alignment? Here’s some more info.

#6. Unsubscribe Rate

What is Unsubscribe Rate? Unsubscribe rate is the rate at which email recipients are unsubscribing from receiving email communication from your company. 

Why we track unsubscribe rate: Unsubscribes alone shouldn’t be the only indicator you review for email performance; however, if your unsubscribes are high, check it out! Perhaps your email is too aggressive, your customers have outgrown you, or your persona messaging is off.

Whatever the reason, high unsubscribe rates are like a big flashing light saying, “Change needed here.” 

Smart Goals Worksheet Template

Words to the Wise

It’s easy to get lost in the numbers and become hyper-focused on the KPIs, but here are few things to keep in mind.

  1. Keep it in perspective. Don’t rest solely on percentages. Make sure to look at how many recipients are contributing to the data before you go optimization crazy.
  2. Optimize. And then Optimize again. Perhaps it goes without saying, but if you see a number you don’t like, optimize! Emails are perfect candidates for testing. 
  3. Give it time. You want to give your email campaign time to do its thing. Rapid-fire changes aren’t helpful because it muddies the waters of what’s actually contributing to the change. 

The Conversion Funnel: Inbound Marketing Basics

Conversion funnel by definition can mean a few different things depending on the source, but here at Lake One, when we talk about conversion funnel as it relates to an inbound marketing program, we’re talking about the call-to-action, landing page, thank you page, and follow-up email that supports our inbound efforts. 

Read on to learn more about the key components of a conversion funnel along with some insider tips for implementation.  

conversion funnel

Call-to-Actions

With content consumption at an all-time high among consumers, Call-to-Actions (CTAs) are uber important. 

In Marketing, a call-to-action (CTA) is an instruction to your target buyer designed to provoke an immediate response. Figuratively speaking, CTAs are a hand wave or an arrow saying, “Hey! Look over here. We have something you might like!” 

CTAs use action words to direct the user. For example, ‘download this white paper now’, ‘click here’ and ‘watch the video’. There are so many examples of CTAs, but a few elements stay consistent across the board.

  • Headline: Write a header that makes it clear and easy to see what it is you’re offering.
  • Sub Header: Explain the value to the user of what you’re offering, but keep it concise. Space is limited. 
  • Image: Include an image that relates to what you’re offering to catch the user’s eye and add additional context.
  • Action Words: Here’s where you actually say what action you want the user to take (download here) typically called out by a button or highlighted differently in some way.

Below is an example of a Lake One’s CTAs. Go ahead. Click on it 

LinkedIn Marketing Guide

Landing Page 

Although the majority of B2B businesses are using landing pages, not all landing pages are created equal. 

Landing pages are different than your other website pages for a few reasons and should contain at a minimum, the following elements.

No Page Navigation

Landing pages should be designed to be lean mean converting machines and the full navigation menu can distract users. We want them to submit the form and get down to business. 

Above the Fold

Keep the main gist of your offer (body copy, image, form, CTA, etc.) above the fold. If the CTA is below the fold and requires a scroll, conversion rates could suffer. You want to make it as easy as possible for the user to convert.

Landing Page Copy

The copy should have a header, a subheader, a few sentences that explain your offering in more detail, and then roughly 3 – 5 supporting bullets that talk about the user benefits of your offer and what the user can expect by submitting the form.

Image

Include an image on your landing page that depicts the offer. The image should be sized appropriately and placed in close proximity to the copy and the CTA making sure to add value and not distract the user from converting.

Here’s an example of the type of image we like to use. Click to see the full funnel in use.

conversion funnel

Form

Forms are an absolute must. They are the method you’ll use to capture the lead’s information in exchange for whatever your offering. Make sure that your ask matches the value of the offer. For example, if you have a form 10 questions deep for an infographic, you’ll likely scare away your user.

Insider Tip: My favorite form field is ‘Role’. Role is imperative because it essentially identifies the lead by persona. Role identification allows us to better tailor our workflows, and, not to mention, it gives us better insight into who is actually submitting our forms and engaging with our content. Oh and the bonus is, we’ve found that ‘Role’ is a light ask for the user as it doesn’t hold the same trepidation that company name or phone number can.

Needing help setting up your conversion funnels and forms might be a sign it’s time to hire a digital marketing agency. Learn about the other indicators here.

CTA 

All landing pages must have a CTA that’s clearly visible and intuitive to the user as to what they’re getting and what step to do next. 

Truthfully, the above just scratches the surface on the information available on landing pages and best practices. Here is an awesome infographic by Unbouncedescribing additional elements of a landing page if you want to learn more. 

Thank You Page

Some conversion funnel implementations don’t use a ‘Thank You Page’ (TYP), but we are big fans. In short, a TYP is just that- a page thanking the now lead for submitting their information via the form to obtain whatever it was you were offering. The TYP also hosts an actual link to the file, guide, case study, etc. 

If you’re peeking ahead and seeing that we deploy a follow-up email that also contains the asset link and thinking TYPs are pointless, they aren’t! TYPs have an important job and here are a few highlights on what they bring to your conversion funnel:

  • Trust: For some leads, submitting information via the form in hopes of obtaining an asset can feel a little uncomfortable. They are likely wondering if they’ll actually get the asset, will they start getting spammed and harassed, etc. TYPs are a chance to build trust with your lead by showing them you’ll give them what you promised and you’ll do it fast. 

Learn more about lead follow up strategies here.

  • Conversion: TYPs have prime real estate for additional CTAs. Make sure the CTAs are relevant and helpful in aiding in the next step of the buyer’s journey. Also, insider tip: Make sure the CTAs are not interfering with the user clicking on the asset to download it. It can go from helpful to intrusive quickly.
  • Brand & Site Exploration: Unlike landing pages, TYPs have a full navigation menu and can incorporate links to the company’s social media pages as well. It’s a chance for the lead to explore more on their own.
  • Tracking: Without getting too technical for the sake of this post, the TYP is a perfect place to fire your conversion pixel for tracking. Why? Because in order for the TYP to render, the form submission must be completed. You get the lead’s info, they get the asset. Bam. Conversion.

Follow-Up Email

Follow-up emails consist of a direct link to the piece of content (or whatever the CTA promised) and then an additional CTA to interact with your brand an additional way like a newsletter sign up or to check out your blog.

The emails are pretty simple, but we send them for a few reasons. 

  • User Experience: For example, if your offer is a download of a white paper, how convenient for the lead is it to have the white paper sent to their inbox vs needing to download it and save it right away? 
  • Conversion: It opens the door of communication with the lead via email and provides them with more ways to convert and interact with your brand right from their inbox. 
  • Lead Nurturing: Simple follow up emails can be a great segway into lead nurturing as the lead will have already received their first email from you. It seems more natural after sending the high-value first email to continue a cadence.

Key Takeaways

In summary, now that you know about the elements of a conversion funnel, here are a few reminders to take with you if you put the elements above into practice.

SEO. SEO. SEO.

All conversion funnel elements must be optimized for SEO. Think images, landing pages, meta descriptions, URLs, etc. All of it. 

Optimize. Rinse. Repeat.

Nothing in marketing is set it and forget it, including conversion funnels. Let the numbers be your optimization compass. They’ll point you to where you need to focus your attention first.

Marketing is for Humans.

When in doubt, always remember you’re content was created for humans and so were your conversion funnels. Where is your eye naturally drawn? Can you understand what you’re offering quickly and easily? A little humanity gut check can go a long way.

5 Types of Digital Marketing Audits: Must-ask questions to get your audit underway

When it comes to your digital marketing program (or at times, lack thereof) conducting a digital audit can be both eye-opening and exciting. Yes, we said exciting! From your website to your content to your tech stack, audits examine it all. The digital marketing audit is your ticket to finding out the state of the state and where the opportunity is for you to make a quick splash on your modern marketing and sales program. 

So, if you think you could be squeezing more results out of your current marketing plan or are feeling a little in the dark about your tech stack, then this one’s for you. Here are the 5 types of digital marketing audits Lake One utilizes, along with some of the top probing questions we ask to kick off the process.

digital marketing audits

1. Google Analytics Audit

The primary purpose of a Google Analytics Audit is to walk-through your site’s tracking implementation and setup. It goes beyond just paid media although that does play a part. From conversion to clicks to time spent on your site, here are a few questions to ask yourself to get you started in the direction.

Questions to ask:

  1. What are you currently tracking? Are you tracking everything you need to be?
  2. Is the data you are collecting valid? Can you trust it and make decisions off of it?
  3. What are the holes? What would you like to be tracking that you aren’t?
  4. Does anything need to be fixed? Is tracking broken?
  5. Can reporting and/or tracking be consolidated to make the process cleaner?

Is your marketing geared toward the modern buyer? Download our guide and learn more.

2. Website Audit

The fact that you are reading this blog post is a strong indicator that you realize how important your website is, but in case you don’t, we’ll say it: your company’s website is uber important. A website should attract your potential customers and empower them with information, aide in their buyer’s journey, and most importantly, provide opportunities for conversion. Design is critical as well, but great sites contain more substance beyond aesthetics. 

At Lake One, we like to review websites for four main areas.

Performance

Performance can mean can quite a few things but in a nutshell, this section means, “Does your website pass the blink test?” Not familiar with the blink test? Simply put, are you able to determine within five seconds the purpose of the site, digest some content, and know what steps to take next as a user. 

Questions to ask:

  1. Is the main value proposition clear? 
  2. Is the main navigation menu clear and accessible?
  3. Is there a clear conversion path? Do the conversion paths flow through the buyer’s journey from awareness through to decision?
  4. Are there relevant resources for web visitors? Are they accessible?
  5. Do users know what steps to take next?

Content & SEO Audit

Now we start getting into the nitty-gritty, the ‘substance’ that I was referencing earlier. 

Content

When reviewing a website for content, it should be two-fold with both online and offline content. Online content encompasses all of the posts, downloadables, etc. that are accessible by web visitors; offline encompasses all of the sales assets, one-pagers, etc. that may be archived internally.

Questions to ask:

  1. Does the site contain relevant keywords that align with a clear content & digital strategy?
  2. Is the content keyword-rich?
  3. Does the content appeal to different buyer personas?
digital marketing audits

SEO

We create content for people first and foremost. But content needs SEO love to fully reap the benefits of your hard work. SEO is an ever-present tactic we weave throughout all of our digital practices; however, at its most basic, we review from both the content and website construction itself. (Click here for info on finding the SEO keywords that will be the hardest work for you.)

Questions to ask:

  1. Do the relevant page titles, meta descriptions, URLs, etc use relevant keywords?
  2. Do the above elements follow SEO best practices for character count, structure, etc.?
  3. Are the images optimized for SEO as well?

Conversion

Websites must provide visitors with an opportunity to convert. A website that’s fully optimized for conversion goes beyond a learn more button and a contact us form. You can have all the website traffic in the world, but if the website isn’t converting, you’ve got a problem.

Questions to ask: 

  1. Are there conversion pages at various stages of the funnel?
  2. Are there any CTA opportunities being missed?
  3. Is it clear what steps a user needs to take to get that information they need to convert?

3. Technical

A site audit wouldn’t be complete without reviewing the technical implementation and output of the website. Have you ever sat and waited for images to load or content to render and given up? Sure, it might have been a slow glitch in your wifi, but it might not have been. Here’s what to look for when it comes to tech.

Questions to ask:

  1. What is the site speed?
  2. Is the design responsive?
  3. Does the design render well on mobile?
  4. Are there any crawl issues?
  5. Is there a sitemap?

4. HubSpot Audit

HubSpot offers a full platform of marketing, sales, customer service, and CRM software. It’s a powerful tool that when fully utilized, can propel your sales and marketing results forward. With all that being said, we love to look under the hood and look for ways to get more out of your HubSpot subscription. We look at the following and more:

  • Landing Pages
  • Forms/Form Fields
  • Thank You Pages
  • Personas 
  • Calls-to-Action (CTAs)
  • Nurture Sequences

When reviewing, first check if those functionalities are in use and then check performance. 

Questions to ask:

  1. How are the above elements performing? (conversion rates, submission rates, etc.)
  2. Are the nurture sequence emails targeted? What’s the enrollment criteria? Is it useful? Is someone checking those emails?

By the way, did we mention we are HubSpot Gold Partner? We just so happen to be experts in utilizing HubSpot and making it go the distance for your digital marketing program. Let’s chat.

5. Sales & Marketing Alignment Audit

We have written several pieces on the importance of Sales and Marketing alignment to achieve harmony among client-facing teams. When teams are aligned, it’s dynamite. However, when conducting the audit, think less along the lines of quick wins and more along the lines of building a strong foundation for long-term success. 

Questions to ask:

  1. Do teams have a common definition and understanding of key terms? (i.e. marketing qualified lead, sales qualified lead, etc.)
  2. Are teams targeting the same buyers?
  3. Are teams working towards the same goals?
  4. Are teams promoting the same products/services?
  5. Are teams creating content together?
  6. What is the lead handoff procedure?
  7. How does sales provide feedback on lead quality?
  8. Do teams have regular meetings?

For an in-depth look at the questions above, check out our B2B Smarketing Team Assessment.

Conclusion

The best way to move forward and to grow is to gain a complete understanding of where your company is at digitally. Even if you’re not looking to grow (but who isn’t?) no matter where you are at with your marketing, everyone can benefit from a digital marketing audit.

B2B Sales Enablement: What it is and the Role Marketing Plays in Making it Happen

We often discuss the age-old battle that can go down between sales and marketing. The tale of two disparate teams. Well in case you didn’t know, now it’s all about alignment. And… enablement.

Sales enablement according to HubSpot, is the technology, processes, and content that empowers sales teams to sell efficiently at a higher velocity. And brace yourself for this one: marketing plays, or should play, a key role in the sales enablement process for B2B companies.

Whether the above sentence has you ready to fall out of your chair or stand up and clap, read on. We’ll cover why sales enablement should matter to marketers and their role in B2B sales enablement execution.

B2B Sales Enablement

Why Sales Enablement Should Matter to Marketers

Today’s modern buyers are different from buyers of old. The sales process is heavily led by the buyers and dictated by the market. Who specializes in the buyer’s journey and converting leads to customers alongside sales? Marketing.

A Seismic article quoted Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing, as saying the following on an episode of the Sales Enablement Shift podcast, “If you’re in B2B marketing today and you’re not thinking every day about sales, what the pipeline looks like, or how close the organization is to hitting the number, then you’re not nearly as integrated in strategy – let alone tactics or activities – as you should be.” Yaaaasss. 💯

We created a guide to make sales and marketing alignment easier. Click here to get it.

This quote really says it all. If the company isn’t making money, more than just the sales team will be in hot water. The above just drives home the fact that strategy, goals, alignment, and yes sales, should be driving teams company-wide.

Successful sales are everybody’s business, but marketing has the skill set to enable sales to be successful and propel growth.

Marketing’s Role in Sales Enablement

Sales enablement is really less about sales and more about serving the buyer through the buyer’s journey. It results in an empowered sales team that sells at a higher velocity which ultimately equals happier customers.

B2B Sales Enablement

With that being said, there are several ways marketing can move the needle and enable sales.

Lead Qualification

Reporting needs vary from company to company, but one constant is the need to qualify leads. Every B2B company has to have some type of lead qualification process. Marketing’s role falls under the Sales and Marketing SLA, but more specifically, the Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) process. [Read more about SLAs here.]

At a high level, MQLs are leads that are ready to be qualified by the sales team. Once the criteria are set and agreed upon, marketing can help with the implementation and qualification process. When marketing does some of the qualification and heavy lifting up front (digitally of course) it ensures sales are talking to leads that are ready to be talked to. It’s a win for everybody including the buyer.

Lead Scoring is a way to put your qualification process into action. Download our guide to learn more.

Content

A major component of sales enablement is arming the sales team with information they can use when selling. Don’t let your brain pigeonhole you into a sales deck. Information can range from internal best practices to customer-facing sales sheets. According to the TOPO blog, regardless of the form the information takes, it needs to be easy to consume and reusable across the sales organization.

Content Audit

Speaking of easy to use, have we mentioned content audits? Content audits at Lake One are a living breathing workbook that houses all of the client’s content (both internal and external facing). The workbook also notes what part of the buyer’s journey that piece of content serves, the location of the document, the persona, if it is a fit for a workflow, etc.

The best part of the document, though, is the collaboration tab where sales can add content ideas. Think repeat buyer questions, a need for a case study, and more. Marketing can pull directly from the tab to help fill the content calendar.

Email Templates & Automated Sequences

Marketing teams should be pros at nurture sequences (if they’re not, contact us) and pros at moving buyers through the buyer’s journey from a lead to an MQL.

That precise expertise applies to the email template and automated sequences of sales enablement.

How do those differ from marketing based workflows? The email templates and automated sequences can be used pre-marketing qualified lead state or even as a way to qualify MQLs to a sales qualified lead.

Despite the differences, the same basics of sending personalized tailored emails to the buyer still apply. Marketing can leverage their knowledge of lead engagement and automation to enable the sales team.

New call-to-action

Key Takeaways

  • A successful sales team should be everyone’s business
  • Sales enablement is really less about sales and more about serving the buyer through the buyer’s journey which leads to an empowered sales team selling at a higher velocity.
  • Marketing contributes to sales enablement in the following ways:
    • The definition and implementation of marketing qualified leads.
    • The creation of content that supports sales and in turn, the buyers.
    • The creation and implementation of email templates and sequences.

B2B Smarketing Check: How aligned are your sales and marketing teams?

“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.”

— James Cash Penney, founder, JC Penney

Sales and marketing misalignment can lead to a domino effect of problems such as internal tension, inability to achieve goals, and even revenue loss. Yikes.

But in order to grow and move forward, it’s crucial to assess and understand where you’re at currently with your smarketing efforts. How aligned are your sales and marketing teams?

B2B Smarketing

Here are 8 must-ask questions to understanding your company’s B2B smarketing state of the state.

Interested in some mind-blowing sales and marketing alignment stats? Check out this post.

B2B Smarketing Question #1: Are Teams Speaking the Same Language?

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of the first areas for assessment is verbiage and definitions. Communication is key but can be extremely difficult if teams aren’t speaking the same language or starting from some place of commonality.

Questions to ask:

  • Do your teams have a common definition and understanding for the following terms?
    • Marketing Qualified Lead
    • Sales Qualified Lead
    • Disqualified Leads
    • Lead Status
    • Contact Lifecycle Stages
    • Deal Stages
    • Traffic Sources (direct, referral, search, etc..)

The above is by no means an exhaustive list of all of the sales and marketing alignment terms, but it’s a start. At a minimum, it should get you analyzing the common ground (or lack thereof) between the two teams when it comes to defining the sales and marketing process.

B2B Smarketing Question #2: Are Teams Targeting the Same Buyers?

We have stressed time and time again the importance of buyer personas. Buyer personas (in conjunction with research) should drive your strategy and be another common denominator among your sales and marketing teams and really, the company as a whole.

Questions to ask:

  • Are buyer personas defined?
  • Did both teams have influence in their creation?
  • Are the personas still relevant or do they need to be updated?

B2B Smarketing Question #3: Are Teams Working Towards the Same Goals?

Sales and marketing can be impactful independently, but joined together and working towards the same goal? Teams will achieve much more.

Nothing sets you on the fast-track to success like SMART goals.

Questions to ask:

  • Do the teams separately have SMART goals?
  • Are the goals well-known among the two teams and agreed upon?
  • Are the goals measured and tracked?

In need of a SMART goal refresh? Then this worksheet is for you.

B2B Smarketing Question #4: Are Teams Promoting the Same Products/Services?

Not all products and services are created equal. Through defining your buyer personas or crafting your smart goals, you likely surfaced key areas of focus whether it be new product offerings, key industries, revenue generation, etc.

For example, if demos have been unsuccessful but consults are effective, marketing likely shouldn’t be pushing demos as their bottom of the funnel offer in the nurture sequences.

Questions to ask:

  • Is sales aware of the products/services that marketing is promoting and vice versa?
  • Are both teams in agreement on the best direction?

B2B Smarketing Question #5: Are Teams Creating Content Together?

Although content creation doesn’t necessarily fall under the job descriptions of the sales team, sales should have an influence in content topic selection. Why? Because they are the front lines and literally the voice of the customer inside the company. Pairing sales’ insight with marketing’s keyword research skills is a great start to creating valuable content for your buyers.

Insider tip: We like to take it one step further and create what we call a content audit. It’s a living document that houses links to all of the content created and breaks it down by buyer persona and stage of the buyer’s journey. There’s also a tab for content requests that’s a direct line into marketing’s content topic queue. Here are some additional smarketing best practices to help.

Questions to ask:

  • What processes currently drive content topic selection?
  • Does sales approve?
  • Is there a way for sales to communicate content requests to marketing?
  • Does marketing have an audit document or something like it?

B2B Smarketing Question #6: What is Marketing’s Lead Handoff Procedure?

Marketing curates leads through inbound or paid media and then at some agreed upon point, the leads need to be passed to sales to be contacted and qualified. There are a few ways to accomplish the handoff. Our favorite is using marketing automation software (HubSpot) to do the heavy lifting. However, software aside, aligned smarketing teams should be able to answer the questions below.

Questions to ask:

  • At what point in the process does marketing handoff a lead to sales? What triggers it?
  • How is sales notified of the lead?
  • What is the follow-up expectation from sales? (i.e. how many days do they have before they make contact, how are they contacting the lead, etc.)

B2B Smarketing Question #7: How Does Sales Provide Feedback on Lead Quality?

In order for marketing to continue to deliver the sales team quality leads, there needs to be a feedback loop. Sales needs to communicate through lead status- the quality of the lead. This ties back all the way up to the first question about definitions.

Questions to ask:

  • How does sales communicate a rejected lead? (marketing automation software or otherwise?)
  • Does sales have a way to communicate why leads were rejected? (Poor timing, bad contact information, no budget, etc.)
  • What does marketing do with the rejected leads? Where are the leads at now?

B2B Smarketing Question #8: Do Teams Have Regular Meetings?

Actually meeting in person, having conversations, and building rapport are critical to sales and marketing alignment success. It’s so much easier to work as a team when you have a strong foundation to work from.

So how do you build rapport? Meetings. But let’s be clear, quality of meetings should be prioritized over quantity. Nothing disengages teams like pointless meetings.

Questions to ask:

  • Do teams have monthly and/or quarterly meetings?
  • Do teams have a way to easily communicate outside of meetings? (Like Slack or Skype)

The trick to these meetings are to make them engaging, yet structured. Here’s an article with some great tips for doing just that.

B2B Sales & Marketing Alignment

B2B Smarketing Key Takeaway: Communication is a Must

Do the questions above have your head spinning or wondering where to even start to begin to achieving sales and marketing harmony?

Start with communication. If there is one commonality that leads to the improvement of sales and marketing alignment, it’s communication. It fuels defining the terminology, the buyer personas, content creation, and the entire smarketing process. Whether facilitated through technology or happening in regular scheduled meetings, it’s critical.

Need a little help with your sales and marketing alignment? You’re in luck because that’s our specialty. Contact us here.  

Must-Have Digital Marketing Technology to Facilitate SEO

When looking at the entire digital marketing technology landscape (all 7,040 options according to Scott Brinker’s Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic), you have a lot of choices.

marketing technology for SEO

So when building your B2B search engine marketing tech stack, where do you start? With our article of course. Here are some of the must-have marketing tools for your B2B SEO stack.

But First, Strategy

We do need to preface this post with a word of caution and Intercom says it well, “a tool is not a strategy”. They go on to say, “you can compare different software packages by their features, but that’s like marrying someone based on their dating profile. The real value marketing software offers is in the strategy and approach it enables.”

So with that being said, start with the strategy and follow with technology. Don’t get lost swimming in the martech ocean of options.

Tech that Attracts & Optimizes

HubSpot’s new Flywheel is the latest and greatest model when it comes to how people think about their businesses. (Curious about the Flywheel? Learn more here). The Flywheel is broken down into three stages: Attract, Engage, and Delight. For this post, we’ll focus on tools that help attract visitors and as a little bonus, many of the tools serve a dual purpose with the ability to help curate data for later optimizations. Technology BOGO.

Marketing Automation Software

Marketing automation software. The mothership. The big Kahuna. It’s almost impossible to talk about digital marketing technology without at least mentioning it. So what exactly is marketing automation? According to HubSpot, marketing automation is defined as the following:

Marketing Automation refers to the software that exists with the goal of automating marketing actions such as emails, social, and other website actions.

In addition to the tasks noted above, most marketing automation software has additional features that can help to attract website visitors, which brings us to HubSpot.

HubSpot

HubSpot is inbound marketing, sales, and service software that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers. Although that definition is somewhat technical, HubSpot really can be a one-stop shop.

At Lake One, we’re big fans of HubSpot and not to mention, we’re also a HubSpot Gold Agency. However, admittedly, HubSpot is an investment in time and in most cases, money. Pricing varies from free to paid based on different services and Hubs.

Want to know what other marketing tools make our favs list? Find out here.

Why we love it: We love HubSpot for its multi-use features that allow our marketing activities to stay connected in one platform. A few of our HubSpot favorites that further B2B SEO efforts are:

  • Landing pages: HubSpot makes it easy to create and duplicate landing pages that are optimized for conversion.
  • Forms: Forms are a must when it comes to capitalizing on the traffic you drive (whether paid or organic) to your website
  • Reporting: Although this doesn’t directly impact SEO, it sure does when it comes to optimization and measuring the effectiveness of your efforts. You can see where traffic is coming from and how visitors are converting (or not converting) on your site.

If you are hesitant to make the leap and purchase marketing automation software, rest assured that there are other tools out there to help you with your SEO objectives. Read on dear reader, read on.

Analytics Tools

If you’re an avid Lake One blog reader, you know we love data-driven decision making. The same rules apply for B2B SEO and especially, keyword research.

Ahrefs

Ahrefs is a well-known tool for backlinks and SEO analysis. You can audit your website, research competitors, and explore keywords and content. For keywords specifically, you can see top questions, new keywords, and keyword suggestions.

marketing technology

Why we love it: Among other things, Ahrefs gives you insight into how many backlinks it would take to rank on Google’s page one. We can plan our goals and outreach efforts accordingly with their additional insight.

For more Keyword Research Tools, read our blog.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics gives you a birds-eye view of your organic traffic but also allows you to drill-down into specifics like channel or by segment such as audience, behavior, and conversion reports for your organic traffic segment.

Why we love it: It’s a time-tested, reliable source- it’s the Granddad of web analytics. We also love that we can set up goals to track traffic as it moves through specific funnels as a means to monitor how audiences navigate through the site.

For more info on GA, check out this article by Medium.

Content Creation Tools

When it comes to B2B SEO, content creation is inevitable. You must be doing it. Here are a few of our favorite content creation tools.

WordPress

WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS) which accounts for both entire websites and stand-alone blogs.

Why we love it: We’ve found it to be easy to use and really allows for concentrated SEO efforts through plug-ins like Yoast.

Unbounce

Unbounce is a platform that allows you to quickly create, launch, and test-high converting landing pages, popups, and sticky bars without developers.

Why we love it: If you decide to go sans HubSpot or another marketing automation software with landing page capabilities, this is the next best thing. You can easily create customized landing pages and have insights into the data for optimization.

Digital Outreach

Digital outreach and backlink building are critical, yet manual, components of SEO. If done right, outreach should be personalized and tailored to each opportunity. As you can imagine, when it takes several earned backlinks to make an impact on B2B SEO, digital outreach can be time-consuming.

BuzzStream

BuzzStream helps automate some of the outreach processes through researching influencers, managing your relationships, and conducting outreach that’s personalized yet efficient all in one single platform.

Why we love it: Especially as our team continues to grow, it’s critical we have outreach housed in a visible platform for the team at large to access. It takes outreach out of the depths of our inbox and puts it in front of our team.

How to Pick the Best Digital Marketing Agency for Your Company

Key Takeaways

  • Don’t mistake tools as a strategy. Lead with a strategy and tools and technology should follow.
  • Marketing Automation Software like HubSpot is awesome, but not necessary to achieve your B2B SEO goals.
  • Content tools that help you easily create and optimize landing pages are a must.
  • No matter what tools you use, you can’t forget about the linkage! Digital Outreach can be time-consuming, but critical.

Tips for Identifying B2B SEO Keywords

If ‘Content is king’, SEO is most definitely queen.

The SEO landscape is ever changing; however, the need for traffic and for your company to rank on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) is not.

According to MOZ, SEO is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. And do you know what goes hand-in-hand with SEO? Keywords. Keywords are at the very core of SEO. They are defined as words and phrases that people type into search engines in order to find the answers to their questions.

Keywords are a critical component for SEO strategy because they play a significant role in helping your website rank on SERPs. Higher rankings equal more traffic to your website and ultimately, more conversions. Here are tips for identifying B2B SEO keywords.

Identifying B2B SEO Keywords

The Long and Short of It

There are several variations of keywords combinations, and not all keywords are created equal. The type of keyword you select depends solely on your goals, the buyer you want to attract, and the results you want to achieve.

[Wondering why B2B SEO is important in the first place? Click here.]

There are two main types of keywords:

Short/Header Keywords: Short keywords are just that, short words that typically describe a category. For example, SEO. Short keywords can be flashy and shiny from a volume perspective, but they tend to be lofty goals and often requires deep pockets to make any headway against the competition.

Long Tail Keywords: Long tail keywords are longer searches and can often contain more intent. Long tail keywords typically have lower volume than some of the short keywords, but they can pack a powerful punch when it comes to competition. Space is less crowded.

Short Keyword: SEO

Long Tail Keyword: How do I identify keywords for B2B SEO?

Think About Your Buyer Personas

Before we get too in the weeds on types of keywords, volume, and difficulty, we need to take a step back and think, “Who are my buyers and how are they searching?. Buyer personas are at the heart of inbound and should be a driving force in your B2B SEO strategy. Buyer personas, according to HubSpot, are a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.

[For a refresher on Inbound marketing, here are the basics]

Part of defining your buyer personas are thinking about their pain points, how they are searching, what they are searching for, and when. The buyer’s journey, is the process buyers go through to become aware of their problem or pain, consider and evaluate solutions, and decide to purchase a new product or service.

Meeting your buyers where they are at in the buyer’s journey with keywords that align to how they search is the ultimate goal. In order to do that, break it down by stage.

Awareness

In the awareness stage, the buyer knows they have a problem, but they may not be able to put a name to their pain yet so search terms in the awareness stage are often questions.

Keyword Example: How do I get my company to rank on Google? How do I get more visitors to my website?

B2B SEO Keywords

Consideration

In the consideration stage, the buyer is aware they have a problem and has begun to consider solutions to the problem.

Keyword Example: SEO Solutions, Options for improving SEO, How to build a B2B SEO strategy

Decision

In the decision stage, the buyer is looking for a solution and likely ready to buy. Here they are comparing solutions, reading reviews, and making the decision of who to buy from.

Keyword Example: B2B SEO agencies near me, Best B2B SEO agency

Put yourself in your buyers’ shoes, familiarize yourself with your persona stories. From there, let the research begin. For more information on aligning keywords with your buyer’s journey, check out this article.

[SEO results won’t happen overnight. Here’s why.]

Keyword Tools

Third-party keyword research tools are essential when it comes to selecting keywords. The tools can help us learn about keyword volume, keyword difficulty, and help us to discover new keyword opportunities.

There are several keyword research tools in the marketplace, but here are a few favorites.

Ahrefs

Ahrefs is a tool widely known for backlinks and SEO analysis. Their Keywords Explorer provides relevant keyword ideas and traffic estimations and in particular. The tool also provides estimates on how many backlinks you need to obtain in order to rank for a given term.

Keywords Everywhere

Keywords Everywhere is one of Ryan’s favorites. It’s a free browser add-on that shows search volume, cost-per-click, and competition data when you visit a SERP. Plus, unlike Ahrefs, it’s free! Can’t beat that.

Moz

It’s hard to talk about SEO and not mention MOZ. MOZ is a widely popular SEO tool that allows you to do in-depth keyword research and SERP analysis through researching volume, quality, and competitive analysis. In addition to the tool, they offer training and great tips for leveraging local search.

[Check out some more of our favorite tools!]

Keyword Inspiration

Okay, so you’re in tune with your buyers, you are thinking about tools, but what’s next? You need to generate a B2B SEO keyword list before you can start honing in on your targets. Here are a few of our recommendations for keyword inspiration outside of running searches in the tools mentioned above.

Current Rankings

Especially if you are embarking on a new B2B SEO effort, do a temperature check and see where you are at with your current rankings. What terms are you ranking for? Are they relevant? Are there terms that you would like to rank higher for? If so, add them to your list and do a deep dive on the stats to understand what it will take to move the needle.

Competitors

Check out what the competition is doing. What are they writing about? What phrases are they using? As we mentioned above, keyword research can help you do some digging to see what’s happening behind the scenes but don’t discount paying your competitors site a visit and seeing what you can gleam yourself. There’s something to be said for a little digital sleuthing.

B2B SEO Keywords

Google Searches

One of the most obvious, but most likely to be missed suggestion with all of the tools and data at our disposal, is literally a Google search. Try googling a keyword you are interested in and review the suggested search terms at the bottom of the SERP page for ideas.

Also, see who comes up in the SERPs. What topics are they writing about? It can give you an idea of what content is already ranking towards the top in answer to your buyers’ queries.

Keyword Selection

Keyword selection is both an art and a science and involves choosing quality keywords. Keyword quality is often talked about by describing both the search volume and the difficulty of the keyword.

Keyword Search Volume: Search volume is the number of people searching for the keyword for a given set of time. Most platforms aggregate the volume number monthly.

Keyword Difficulty: Keyword difficulty is a numerical score which indicates how hard it would be to rank in the top position on the SERPS for the keyword term or phrase.

As a rule of thumb, you should select higher volume, lower difficulty keywords that still align with your buyer personas and content strategy.

Looking for help with your B2B SEO Strategy? Request a consult.

REQUEST A CONSULTATION

Key Takeaways:

  • Bring it back to the personas – as with all things inbound, they should be at the heart of your strategy.
  • Do your research and leverage third-party tools to help you aggregate data around volume, difficulty, and opportunity.
  • Look outside the keyword research tools for keyword inspiration from your current rankings, competitors and real-time Google searches.

6 Key KPIs for Sales and Marketing Alignment

According to HubSpot, 39% of marketers say proving the ROI of their marketing activities is their top marketing challenge.

Statistics aside, even anecdotally, the age-old battle of sales and marketing is centered around proving the value of ROI and activity from the often separate teams. Before you can begin to prove ROI, however, you need to determine collectively, which metrics are worth tracking.

Abnormalities in data, whether spikes or declines, can point to issues, gaps, and ultimately, misalignment. Smarketing is everything but a ‘fix it and forget it’ initiative. Measuring sales and marketing alignment may differ slightly from company to company, but there are several KPIs that hold value across the board. Here are six key KPIs for sales and marketing alignment we recommend keeping an eye on.

KPIs for Sales and Marketing Alignment

Still need to fine tune your Sales and Marketing Alignment plan? Download our Ultimate Guide to learn more.

1. Overall Revenue

Every company’s end game is to make money, therefore, everyone should be working towards the common goal of generating revenue. At Action19, we heard Josh Fedie say sales is everyone’s job. And he’s right. Revenue and sales are everybody’s job and everybody’s business quite literally.

For smarketing purposes, the overall revenue metric can be broken down a little further into marketing-sourced revenue. For example, how many leads that came in from paid social became customers? How much revenue did the customer from paid social generate? You can follow a similar deep dive across traffic sources and evaluate each channel.

2. Sales Cycle Length

Tenfold names the sales cycle length as one of the most important KPIs for sales and marketing alignment to track. Here’s the reason they said it makes their list. “The total length of the sales cycle has important consequences that ripple throughout the entire organization and shortening the buying cycle is usually particularly important to the sales and marketing teams in order to minimize bottlenecks in the process.”

In theory, the shorter the sales cycle, the more qualified the lead. Tenfold goes on to say that the tracking shouldn’t stop at just the length of the cycle overall; you should look at each stage individually to determine lags and gaps in the process.

3. Marketing Qualified Leads

HubSpot defines a marketing qualified lead (MQL) as a lead who has been deemed more likely to become a customer compared to other leads. Why? They have taken a specific set of actions and or they fit the lead criteria, like role or ideal company size. The criteria qualifying MQLs are set by both sales and marketing and are part of the foundation of the SLA. Tracking MQLs as one of your main KPIs can help you determine if your team is moving in the right direction with generating quality leads.

4. Marketing Qualified Leads to Sales Qualified Leads Conversion Rate

This conversion rate speaks to the building blocks of the sales and marketing SLA, the point in which sales evaluates leads that marketing deems qualified.

KPIs for Sales and Marketing Alignment

How leads are actually handed off to sales (typically by using software to automate the process) varies from business to business, but the value in the conversion rate does not. What is the percentage? How many MQLs are considered quality (an SQL) by sales?

This also points to why it’s critical both sales and marketing buy into the plan. If this number is low, there’s definitely a problem. Regrouping and going back to the basics can help troubleshoot and realign. 

5. Content Audit & Usage

Another key KPI to track for sales and marketing alignment is your content. How spot on is it? Does it align with target buyers? Is it attracting the right personas? All of these questions can be answered by digging deep into the data and probing to answer the following key questions about content consumption.

  • Which content offers are being downloaded? Which ones aren’t?
  • Are your target buyers downloading your offers or is your offer attracting a secondary or tertiary role?
  • Out of all of your customers, how many actually downloaded a content offer?

In taking a look at the above you’ll be able to determine if your content is in alignment with sales and marketing and benefiting your overall goals. If it’s not? You might need to consider refreshing your personas or brushing up on some keyword research. Here is a refresher on inbound marketing.

6. End to End Conversion Rate

The end to end conversion rate measures the conversion ratio for the full buyer’s journey from attraction phrase through to closing customers. According to Forbes, “Benchmarked over time this metric highlights leakages and inefficiencies between stages, sales and marketing, and enables more accurate forecasting and target performance setting.”

The more aligned an organization, the more stable the rates and rations. See a spike or dip in the data? Better start digging.

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The Sales & Marketing Alignment Meeting

Now that you have your critical KPIs to measure smarketing performance, share and circulate the data amongst the team. Do this quarterly at a minimum. Share the findings, deep dive, optimize, rinse and repeat.

4 Reasons Why Sales & Marketing SLAs Are a Must

Sales and marketing SLAs are essentially a contract between the two teams on how leads will be managed through the entire sales funnel. According to the HubSpot State of Inbound 2018, 65% of marketers whose companies have a sales & marketing SLA see a higher return on investment from their inbound marketing efforts. However, only 26% of respondents actually operate under an SLA. 

Those that have an SLA are also more likely to have a need to grow their sales team to keep up with demand, and they typically have growing inbound budgets. If you think your company is headed for sales growth, a sales and marketing SLA should be in your future. Here’s why SLAs are a must.

Why Sales & Marketing SLAs Are a Must

SLAs Define Alignment

Sales and marketing teams perspectives tend to be different because they collect and digest information differently. These differences can lead to disagreements, disconnection, or simple misunderstandings. SLAs are a must-have because they alleviate these issues by establishing a baseline for your teams’ language through shared definitions, like the following.

We’re about to talk about Lead Scoring! Download this guide and follow along.

  • Customer personas – Sales may not have even utilized personas before this process. We guarantee, though, they’d be able to explain the details of the customers they prefer to speak with. Have marketing and sales use a combination of data and direct feedback to create a more clear picture than ever of your ideal customers.
  • Funnel & customer journeys – Chances are, both of your teams are using some kind of a funnel.  They are probably focused on very different stages and outcomes, though. Combine everything into a single funnel with lead stages assigned appropriately.
  • Lead/MQL/SQL – What’s the difference between a lead, an MQL, and an SQL? What are the criteria for defining each? Setting up lead scorning criteria together can help collaboratively define the terms.
  • Handoff point – One of the most important pieces of the alignment puzzle is the lead handoff. This is a defined point in the customer journey when marketing has done their part and it is time for sales to take over. Lead scoring can help here by setting the trigger point for the handoff, but no matter how you do it, make sure everyone understands and agrees on when.

SLAs Set Goals

Misaligned sales and marketing teams are typically hard-working and dedicated; they are just working hard toward very different goals. A lack of visibility into the other team’s focus and goals can actually lead to conflicting efforts, i.e. – Marketing is testing a price increase, but Sales is pushing for discounts. Having an SLA in place will calibrate your expectations on goals between teams. 

Establishing shared goals will allow your teams to start working in the same direction. Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating your goals.

  • Numerical/revenue goals – It’s fine to have a couple of soft goals, but most of your goals should be hard numbers tied to revenue and easily trackable. [Click here for a SMART Goals Template.]
  • Time-driven goals – When would you like to accomplish your goals? Aim for both short and long-term goals. Then, establish a rhythm of when progress will be reviewed, and be open to the idea that goals may need to be adjusted as everything is established.

Sales and marketing SLAs

SLAs Build Transparency and Accountability

One of the biggest reasons you need a sales and marketing SLA is its ability to address misunderstandings on team functions and contributions perpetuated by the absence of transparency. Laying out goals and roles in a shared SLA allows everyone to know who is responsible for what.”Marketing does X, then Sales does Y.” Having an SLA in place eliminates the, “I didn’t know”s and the, “I thought that was his job”s.

Want to know what a functional SLA looks like? Check out ours.

Additionally, an SLA provides structure around how each person and team will contribute directly to the goals.  Built into your sales and marketing SLA will be predetermined ways to measure this success or failure. Support these definitions with clear tracking metrics and reporting systems accessible to everybody involved.

This allows everyone to understand exactly how they contribute to their own personal goals, and how those goals contribute to the overall efforts of the alignment. It also allows them to see how others contribute and compare their own efforts to those of others on their team.

This level of understanding, transparency, and acceptance of responsibility allows you to have buy-in and accountability from every angle.

SLAs Encourage Commitment

People tend to feel more connected to something they help create. The individual contributors on your teams should be included in the process of creating the SLA and everything that goes into it. Including them will establish buy-in from the very beginning. These individuals also have the most accurate information to bring to the table because they are the ones doing the work day-to-day. You can combine all of their experiences and feedback to create the most accurate agreement.

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Furthermore, each individual and team is more likely to adhere to their specific accountabilities and goals because they are publically set and agreed upon by everybody. People are, in general, less likely to stray from their responsibilities when everybody will know if they fail. Essentially, peer pressure will work in your favor when it comes to SLAs.