That is why an organization must produce a document that contains the necessary information. A service level agreement proves helpful to the company to address these matters. What is a service level agreement, and what advantages or disadvantages does it bring to the business? Read through the article below and learn about the definition, components, and structure of the document. The text also answers frequently asked questions concerning the service level agreement.

40+ Sample Service Level Agreements

What Is a Service Level Agreement?

A service level agreement or an SLA is a contract between a service provider and an end-user client or a consumer, stating the level of service a client expects from the company giving the service. The document also serves as a criterion for an organization’s internal business operations and daily activities. The company utilizes the service level agreement whenever a new customer signs up to avail of the organization’s services. In case the document exists between one department delivering a recurring service to another, the service level agreement must indicate details regarding the company’s sales and marketing objectives. It must also identify the number of leads it must generate monthly, quarterly, or annually and the action plans it must perform to support the other departments’ goals.

From the archives of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology entitled Crack The Code: Understanding safety stock and mastering its equations by Peter L. King, the desired service cycle for businesses to tolerate the eventuality of stockouts of products is 95 percent. Statistically, no more than five percent of the replenishment cycle of the company.

Types of Service Level Agreements

The purpose of service level agreements is to create a visible arrangement between the provider and user by communicating and setting specific expectations while mitigating problems and issues before they arise. Case in point, there are four types of service level agreements that an organization can use for particular purposes.

Customer Service Level Agreement: The first type of SLA is the customer service level agreement. The agreement focuses on a single customer and highlights all the relevant services that a client expects or needs from the company. Generally, the SLA equates to a single contract, providing convenience to the vendor. It also contains all the necessary information regarding the type and quality of service the two parties agreed upon. An excellent example of a customer SLA is a telecommunications company providing call and text services, plus internet services to match, all under a single contract.Service-based Service Level Agreement: The service-based service level agreement is a contract that defines a singular service from a company to its customers. Utilizing this type of SLA is advisable if the company offers unchanging service standards and criteria, making it convenient and frank to vendors. A service-based service level agreement is present for a company’s helpdesk that resolves issues or problems relating to a particular service for all consumers who availed of it.Internal Service Level Agreement: An internal service level agreement focuses on the relationship of parties within the company instead of its consumers. The internal SLA usually exists between the marketing and sales departments of a business. An example of an internal SLA is where the marketing department promises and commits to producing one hundred leads each month towards an expiration date. The document then contains provisions concerning the update to the sales department through weekly reports to ensure that both departments are on the same page in achieving their respective goals. Multi-level Service Level Agreement: As the name implies, the multi-level SLA takes on several forms. The document supports the customer list or the internal departments of the business. Similar to the other types of service level agreements, it outlines the expectations of various parties. The difference lies when there is more than one end-user and service provider present in the arrangement. The sales and marketing departments can elicit the help of the customer service department into the service level agreement to incorporate the significance of customer retention into the document, which is an example of a multi-level SLA.

Components of a Service Level Agreement

The information within the service level agreement varies according to the type and purpose, an external or internal agreement. However, there are general provisions and sections of an SLA that must be present across several arrangements. Below are the fundamental components of a service level agreement, whether for your client list or business departments.

Summary of agreement: The first section of the SLA focuses on the overview of arrangement between parties. It outlines the summary of the service, services recipient, and success of services standard and criteria.Goals and objectives of the parties: An external service level agreement between a customer and the company emphasizes the goals and objectives set by the consumer. It is best to work with clients to match customer needs with the ability of the company to procure a product while formulating a measurable goal. Through it, the business can feasibly produce for the client daily. When it comes to internal service level agreements, especially between the marketing and sales department, it must highlight the goals set by both teams. It ensures that department goals are understood and achieved together. Description of the needs to reach the goals: The SLA must clearly define and identify the essentials each party needs to achieve the set goals. In agreements that constitute a customer, it is advisable to keep their needs as priorities. They need more than the product itself and require the additional services that come along with it, including scheduled consultations, monthly reports, and maintenance plans. For internal service level agreements between the sales and marketing teams, it must describe the needs of one party from the other to fulfill goals.Points of contact: The points of contact refer to individuals or entities that ensure meeting the needs and goals of the parties. It assigns which of the parties are responsible for the completion of certain tasks and communication. It also describes the reporting process and the involvement of the parties.Consequences: The service level agreement must always indicate what happens when the specified goals are left unfulfilled. Include any form of compensation to the end-user of the services in the form of service credits. For an internal service level agreement, work with the sales team and establish a contingency plan to make up for lost revenue because of the unreached quota. It is also advisable to indicate a strike system from both departments accountable for system analysis and diagnosis to resolve performance issues.Conditions of termination: The SLA must indicate formal conditions that the parties choose to terminate the contract to establish a better one.

How To Create a Service Level Agreement

The communication between marketing and sales departments is of utmost importance. To achieve both teams reach their goals, producing a service level agreement is advantageous. The document holds both teams accountable for the expectations and fulfillment of goals within the SLA. Below is a guide to help you create a service level agreement for the company.

Step 1: Build Your Buyer Personas

For teams that work separately, there is a possibility that they capture different leads from one another, coming from different perceptions of being a good fit for the company. The situation often results in misalignments that influence the trend of attracting customers to your business. The sales and marketing departments must perfect their concepts of buyer personas. Buyer personas are representations of entities benefiting from your products or services, according to industry analysis and employee insight. Accurate information results in better sales.

Step 2: Define the Lead Stages

The organization must identify and classify the lead stages. The purpose of the lead stages is to aid the sales and marketing teams where probable customers are in their purchasing journey. Both teams must also agree on the action plans and quality standards to indicate the stages. It helps to set similar working definitions across all departments to guarantee that everyone is on the same page.

Step 3: Establish a Set of Unified Goals For the Organization

It is worth noting that the sales and marketing departments must work together to achieve a singular objective, and that is to generate income for the company. Allowing the members of each team to understand the goal through revenue figures helps them focus on the essential areas of improvement. You can also utilize the objectives to start a reporting structure, define the company KPIs, and begin a strategic plan.

Step 4: Determine the Marketing-to-Sales Handoff

After identifying the lead stages and revenue goals for the business, follow up with defining the handoff process. It is one of the most critical moments for a customer interacting with your company. When it comes to leads, timing is everything. An established handoff process eliminates any neutrality in terms of responsibilities. Send the advances from the marketing to the sales team as soon as possible to assure continuous progress.

Step 5: Establish a Lead Management in the Company

It is necessary to have a clear and defined set of responsibilities for every party within a service level agreement. As a critical component of the SLA, determine the possible stages of the purchasing journey of consumers, state accompanying responsibilities, and identify the entity responsible for lead management.

Step 6: Continually Review SLA Over Time

Like any other long-term agreement, the service level agreement needs revision along the way. Ensure there are appropriate assessment methods periodically to connect each process. It is essential to pursue a proactive approach and use reactive reviews. Remember that an SLA is dynamic in structure. It must always align with the company goals and present leads.


What is the purpose of a service level agreement?

The agreement establishes and defines the level of service consumers expect from receiving a product or service from a provider. It also contains the necessary measurement parameters of the service, with the corresponding solutions and penalties if the agreed product or services are not met. It is especially crucial to have this document when the company plans to outsource services.

What is the definition of service level?

Service level, by definition, is the performance measurement of a system or service. Service levels are commonly in a percentage format for a specified goal. When it comes to telecommunication companies, it refers to achieving specified goals in handling customers. These goals are often in the form of successful and end call percentages, average call and hold time, and other measures that represent efficiency and productivity.

What is the service level agreement lifecycle?

The SLA lifecycle governs the service level agreement throughout its term of effectivity. The service level agreement lifecycle helps determine the stages or phases in the SLA and identifies the following transitions that occur on the next step.

Service level agreements are helpful documents to increase the effectiveness of services, increase reach to consumers, and improve company revenue. The SLA also aids the marketing and sales team in realigning their goals to achieve the best possible outcome for producing products and services for the company. Start making a service level agreement, both internal and external, to achieve the holistic goals of the company. The article provides service level agreement samples you can use for internal and external affairs of the business.