Hopefully, most of you are already leveraging SLA's (Service Level Agreements) in your sales deals. Without them, you run the risk of unsatisfied customers, unsatisfied employees being asked to do more than what they thought was agreed upon, and even potential legal action. But outside of the obvious, here are a few other reasons why you should be leveraging SLA's in your sales process:
1. It Gives Something to Measure Performance On
And what gets measured, gets improved. So let's say customers are expecting a turnaround time of 24 hours on something, and you get it to them in 48 hours. If it was written in your SLA to have it over in 24 hours, then this means: customers are justified in being upset, and the SLA will validate their unhappiness. This is actually a much better scenario than ending up in a "he said, she said" situation because no one agreed upon an official timeline. Rather than feeling validated and justified in their unhappiness with your service, they'd probably feel defensive and "nitpicky" about complaining about you not getting it over soon enough. It would also hold your team responsible for improving their performance - which circles back to the concept that what gets measured, gets improved.
2. It's the Ultimate Word
With an SLA in place, it will protect you from all of the following situations:
- The customer tries to get as much bang for their buck as possible, and asks for special requests. An SLA will outline everything included in your agreement, so anything outside of that agreement needs to be discussed separately, and at a separate price.
- Perhaps over time, your customer's team shifts and your main point of contact changes, and your relationship has the potential to get muddled. An SLA will be the doc that anyone can go back and refer to, so they know exactly what your relationship entails. This will not only keep everyone on the same page, but strengthen the relationship with clear guidelines.
3. Stand Out from Competition
Not everyone is willing to sign an SLA, which actually shocks me. But an SLA comes as close to guaranteeing a quality solution and relationship as possible - which customers may be willing to pay extra for. So while you may not be the cheapest of your competitors, an SLA can help you stand out as the most quality option.
Are you already using SLA's in your sales process? If so, what are the pros (and cons) you've found with them? Share a comment below!