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The Global Trouble with Service Agreements Between Sales and Marketing

The world

Marketers are careful not to call themselves salespeople, just like salespeople typically have titles like account executive.  Truthfully though, marketing and sales are intertwined to the point where both should take the time to thank each other.  More importantly though, companies should realize that by contractually obligating sales and marketing to work together, their ROI will increase significantly.

HubSpot recently published a survey that shows that a formal service level agreement (SLA) between sales and marketing departments leads to increased budget and increased ROI. However, only between 30% and 40% of respondents in each region we polled indicated their organization has one.

SLA by Region

While inbound marketing is decidedly a global phenomenon, the dots aren’t quite connected in any region of the globe.  The Asia Pacific (APAC) region was somewhat called out on this with only 35% of organizations signing some sort of an SLA between sales and marketing, but according to the chart in this post this is truly a global epidemic.  I have written before about connecting the marketing dots, but as an industry we also have to be able to connect the dots between marketing and sales.  After all, there is some sort of correlation between marketing and sales. 

Living in the center of the continent it’s easy to forget that the online community is much broader than the borders of the United States.  While cultures are vastly different, the internet works the same across the globe.  As it turns out, whether a potential buyer is in Latin America, North America or Asia, he likes to research a product and company without pressure.  Below are a few findings from HubSpot’s survey:

  • Inbound marketing is effective globally.
  • While APAC worries about tailoring content to international audiences, LATAM is preoccupied with identifying the right tech.
  • North America tracks ROI most reliably, demonstrates more positive ROI, and checks marketing analytics most frequently.
  • International marketing communities lag behind on securing an SLA with their sales organizations.
In all five international regions, a 3:1 ratio emerged between those who considered their organization inbound-driven versus outbound-driven.  If penguins ran businesses and could type, certainly it would be six international regions. 

What does resonate around the world are the three letters; ROI.   Several differences emerged in how various international regions think about their marketing challenges. Compared to other regions, Australia, New Zealand, and North America all are proportionally less concerned with training, and more concerned with proving ROI. 

ROI Tracking – Easier said than done – but still vital

Everyone wants to go to their board and give a power point presentation that shows an incredible return on their marketing investment.  Without the proper tools, showing ROI on inbound marketing can be difficult.  The entire premise of inbound marketing is to drive people to buy at their convenience.  Many leads begin the buying process with a cursory glance at a website and browsing through blogs, their information was likely never recorded.  Yet they contact a sales rep and end up buying anyways.  That’s just one example of why it can be a challenge to record ROI with inbound marketing.  

All players in the international marketing community share the desire to see a higher ROI year-over-year -- but not everyone tracks ROI in the first place. While half of North American respondents saw a higher ROI in 2015, more than half of survey takers in Latin America didn’t know their ROI to begin with. As mentioned earlier, tracking your ROI is the first step in proving positive ROI, which in turn unlocks budget.

In addition, North America was the only region where more than half of respondents indicated they check their marketing metrics three or more times per week. International regions have catching up to do in terms of tracking metrics and ROI.

While the sales and marketing silos might be a global epidemic might be global, HubSpot’s survey proves that there is a lot more money to be made if an SLA is practiced no matter where your company is located.  

Check out the entire State of Inbound 2015 below.  Read about this global conundrum and much more  in this comprehensive report.




State of Inbound 2015