Connect the Dots with The Sales and Marketing Alignment Template

Written by in Lead Generation on May 11, 2015

Think about how many terms and conditions boxes we have to check on a regular basis. We read these thoroughly, combing through every detailed paragraph and bullet point before signing our lives away.


It’s frightening to think about the boxes I’ve checked over the years. Any day now someone is going to knock on my door and demand custody of one of my cats.

I know it’s coming. It was in section 2B of the terms and conditions I “read diligently” for that essential oil diffuser I ordered online.

In a world flooded with contracts and agreements, why don’t we have a solid one between our Sales and Marketing teams?

Sales is busy wooing clients and gearing up for brand new business. Marketing is cranking out content and capturing leads.

Then, what?


Where do the leads go? When do we contact a lead? And by the way, what’s a lead?

More crickets.

What seem like simple questions to answer can often be the most difficult. That confusion comes with a lack of communication internally.

And, it happens all the time.

Having a Service Level Agreement (SLA) and a lead scoring model in one place are crucial for every team.


The sole purpose of an SLA is to build alignment between Sales and Marketing. By clearing up confusion about definitions and responsibilities, the team will know what to do and when.

We have our own Sales and Marketing Alignment Template that we share with our clients. Since you seem pretty cool, we’ll let you have it too.

But first, you have to answer every one of these questions.

Who do we consider a lead?

The first—and, dare I say it—most important step is having everyone on the same page about the definition of a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL).

An MQL definition is unique to every company. An MQL might be defined as any prospect that meets predetermined criteria AND takes an action.

But that may not align with your team’s goals. By clarifying what an MQL is, you’ll be setting the foundation for your entire lead scoring system.

So, the Sales and Marketing team needs to figure out what the criteria is for each of these areas:

    • Demographic/Firmographic:  job level, employee size, industry, geography, etc.
    • Behavioral:  website page visits, email clicks, webinar status, etc.

webinar viewing time

What’s a lead?

Basic information and online behaviors tell us so much about our prospects. Examining these details helps us determine the best course of action to take.

Jack might download a tool, visit a service or pricing page, and engage on your company’s social channels.

webinar viewing time

On the other hand, Jill downloads a free resource when she’s in the mood, but never checks out service or pricing pages on your website.

webinar viewing time

Jack is an active buyer, expressing an avid interest in your offerings because he’s shopping around. He’s ready for a follow-up from Sales.

Jill is a latent buyer, checking out some whitepapers and webinars because they are useful for her. She’s not ready for a direct phone call, but she also shouldn’t be ignored. Jill just needs a little nurturing right now.

Where do the leads go?

Rather than working out the follow-up strategy later, a best practice would be to create this process upfront as a team.

Dividing up responsibilities between Sales and Marketing will ensure that the prospect is taken care of in a timely manner.

When will Marketing alert Sales of new qualified leads? Perhaps it’s a certain number of days after an asset download, or maybe a specific day each week.

Do what works for you—just be consistent to avoid a communication breakdown.

When do we contact a lead?

Once Marketing has an alert system in place for each qualified lead, the follow-up time frame needs to be engraved in the minds of Sales.

The last thing you want is to have warm leads abandoned by mistake. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle, so make sure Sales will stick to the defined time frame for follow-ups.

Another important step is to have Marketing as back-up, checking in with Sales on these follow-ups. Schedule check-ins ahead of time as well, so your prospects don’t slip through the cracks.

Why should we use lead scoring?

Lead scoring gets into the nitty-gritty, helping us become more efficient and effective with our business development strategy.

By connecting the dots between Sales and Marketing, you’ll be ready to steer new leads in the right direction.

All revved up for your Sales and Marketing Alignment Template? Here you go…

sales and marketing alignment guide

Marketo’s Definitive Guide to Lead Scoring


Britt Skrabanek About the author: Britt Skrabanek

As a Freelance Writer and Content Strategist, Britt strives to help businesses reimagine their content strategy and revive their brand awareness. Through education, engagement, and energy, she believes content marketing can make a genuine impact. A wordsmith with a passion for marketing, Britt is currently working on her fourth novel. Connect with Britt on LinkedIn.


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