Even when Marketing and Sales agree on lead follow-up SLAs 🙌 and document them 🙌 🙌 🙌 there’s a huge difference between having SLAs in a PPT slide and actually living them day-to-day.
Our collective goal is to just call the damn leads. But there are hurdles:
- Sales Managers (understandably) spend more time on pipeline management than early stage lead or opp management. It’s time consuming to check if calls are logged against individual leads. So it just doesn’t get done.
- Reps are overwhelmed with tech tools. They’re in meetings all day. And they naturally prioritize qualified opps over new leads.
- Most SLA reports look back at the mistakes we already made last week/month/quarter, after we ghosted the lead. Sad trombone.
Automate an SLA alert in Salesforce
SLAs aren’t wishlists. They’re blueprints of the vital handoff points between Marketers, BDRs, and reps.
- Who’s responsible for the contact at each stage?
- What information do we need before a contact gets qualified?
- How long does a rep have to call/email someone at each stage?
- If that rep doesn’t meet the SLA, do we reassign the lead?
- When do reps (and their managers) get alerted?
As much automation as we can introduce here, the better. If a rep is in a meeting for two hours, we just need to roll the lead forward.
Similarly, we want the alerts to be as simple as possible, and in real-time. Because again, the goal is to just call the damn leads!
Enter SLA flags ✅ 🚩on lead queues
My favorite solution? I create advanced logic in Salesforce that accommodates SLA requirements and each rep’s business hours.
The logic is completely customizable for the “always, never, sometimes” scenarios. And I also bake in awareness of “off hours”, including weekends/holidays by using the built in
BusinessHours class in Salesforce. This way SLAs are only active during each territory’s relevant business hours.
But then I simplify the alert waaaaay down, to a green/red flag on leads in the queue using a custom Salesforce formula field that takes advantage of the
IMAGE function. At a glance, reps (and their managers) have a live view of which leads still need to be worked.
Even though the automation behind the scenes is sophisticated, the flags are quickly/easily understood. If the flag is red, you need to pick up the phone.
Seeing SLAs = better SLAs
Obviously the goal here is to (say it with me) just call the damn leads. But a lot of times, I turn on the flags, and 70% of the queue is red. It’s usually the first time the team realizes there’s a problem:
- the timelines or process are simply unrealistic
- we don’t have enough people working leads
- our people don’t know how to follow the process
- or all of the above 😬
We want to be at least 90% in compliance. And we want to realistically expect every rep to have a list of green flags before signing off each day.
When combined with the custom funnel history object, we can easily capture historical SLA compliance–directly in Salesforce–and create reports like this:
So the opportunity is fourfold:
- agree on detailed SLAs and the fallback processes
- automate those processes to speed them up and prevent human error
- help reps call leads that need calling
- actually report on SLA compliance and tweak the rules (or train the reps)
A recent Sponge client was (rightfully) appalled they hit the MQL follow-up SLA just 30% of the time. After implementing alerts, SLA compliance reached 85% within two months.
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