Whether you are a sales rep trying to reach your own personal bookings goal, a marketer striving to raise your conversion rates or the CEO of a company looking to understand how your teams are generating revenue for your company, it all starts with setting a goal.
We all use goals in our personal and professional life. It’s how we stay on track and measure whether or not what we’re doing on the daily is really paying off. It’s also how we break down those massive yearly goals into digestible pieces that we can work towards every day.
But more often than not, our professional goals are general and hard to measure. We’ve all written or seen a goal similar to: “Marketing will bring in more customers this year.” The problem is, goals like that are too vague.
Setting SMART goals instead will help guide the efforts of your teams day to day, motivate your team and hold you accountable throughout the year.
What is a SMART Goal?
Too often when we think about setting goals they end up too high-level or general. We'll say something like, "In 2020, marketing will grow their online sources." While that is a great goal, what does it mean? How are you going to actually get there? How will you measure your progress to this goal over each quarter to make sure you are on track during the year? How does this goal help your team hit the bigger goals at your company like revenue generation?
When you set SMART goals for your team instead, you're giving yourself true, actionable items that you can actually achieve and report on because SMART goals are:
So, if we were to take that original goal from above: “In 2020, marketing will grow their online sources" and turn it into a SMART goal it may look something like this:
Achieve a 56% increase in revenue generated from marketing primarily through the growth of online sources by the end of 2020.
Now, that goal is something teams can definitively work toward and achieve.
Setting Marketing and Sales Goals
Too often marketing and sales teams at a company are siloed. Each team has their own individual goals that they’re measured on. But when you think about it, their goals are the same: to generate revenue for the company. This is done by attracting and converting customers. Those customers start by interacting with your marketing team and then move into the sales pipeline.
If both teams are aiming to generate revenue and convert customers, then there should be alignment when setting each team’s individual goals.
Marketing’s role is to enable the sales team to achieve their sales goals by handing the right amount of qualified leads along. Sales’ role is to reach out to those leads in a reasonable fashion, and ultimately close enough of them to hit a revenue goal.
But what if the leads that marketing is passing off to sales are not the right fit to begin with, or aren’t actually ready to be contacted by sales? Putting all of the blame on the sales team when those leads don’t convert into customers isn’t fair.
Alternatively, if sales isn’t following up with leads in the right way or at the right cadence, those leads won’t close and it may seem like marketing isn’t handing over the right leads to begin with.
There has to be a sense of “win together, lose together” when it comes to marketing and sales goals because ultimately they are the same. Generating revenue is the end goal for both teams, no matter how granular you get, the hope for all of each team’s efforts is to bring in leads and then convert them to customers.
Neither team can function without the other, and that is why their goals need to be aligned too.
If your organization's goal is to generate one million dollars in revenue, then both your marketing and sales teams will need to have their own goals to account for their piece of that total.
When it comes to actually setting those goals for marketing and sales, using a SMART goal formula will help ensure your goals are relevant and attainable for both teams.
How to Create SMART Goals for Marketing and Sales
When it comes to actually setting the SMART goals for your marketing and sales teams, you will want to be sure you address each letter in the acronym
It's important to set goals that are specific — if you stay too general, you'll be much less likely to get where you want to be. When we say, "be specific" we mean set goals with numbers and deadlines associated with them. Do your goals contain words like, "more" or "less"? Those aren't specific. Choose real numbers that you can work toward and break down into weekly and monthly goals as well.
When you're setting your goals for this year, make sure they can truly be measured.
This means they need to contain numbers that you have access to reporting on with your current systems and software. You need to be able to go into your system and track progress on your goal throughout the year, not just at the end to see how you did.
This will not only help your team stay motivated, but it will help you make changes to your priorities along the way and see what is working and what isn’t.
When setting the goals for your marketing and sales teams, make sure that you set goals that they can actually achieve.
Your goals should be a combination of both your historical data and the numbers that you will need to hit in order for your company to grow. Using things like last year’s generated revenue or traffic numbers will help make sure you are setting goals that your team can actually reach during the expected time period.
You want your goals to be possible, but that doesn’t mean they have to be easy. A goal should still push your team members to challenge themselves. This is how growth happens for your team and for the company as a whole.
Focus on setting goals that are relevant for your individual team and your business. If you use the inbound marketing methodology, you wouldn't want your number one goal for driving traffic to be increasing the leads you bring in through paid channels. You may end up spending all of your time and efforts on paid advertising, which doesn’t line up directly with what your company’s goals are.
Additionally, your goals should pertain to not just how you currently operate but also where you're moving toward in the future. Your goals should align with the vision for your company and your teams as a whole.
The key to ensuring your goals are relevant to your company is communication. All of the team leaders at your company should be communicating to make sure they are all working toward the same North Star. Aligning the work each of your teams is doing on a daily, weekly and monthly basis is a great way to ensure you hit that big revenue goal at the end of the year.
Every goal should have a concrete timeline that you can work toward. Without hard deadlines, you will keep prioritizing other tasks and pushing out your goals. A deadline helps make the goal reportable as well, letting you set smaller milestones along the way to make sure you reach that end result you are striving for.
The key to setting marketing and sales goals that your teams will actually achieve is to make sure both teams are aligned in all aspects. Aside from setting SMART individual team goals, putting in place an service-level agreement (SLA) is a great place to start with that.
An SLA between marketing and sales is a contract that holds each team accountable to specific, agreed-upon expectations that align to the same goal of revenue generation.
Communication and alignment is key when it comes to the success of your marketing and sales teams. Don’t make the mistake a lot of companies do and let both teams remain siloed or your goals and, ultimately, your customers will suffer in the end.
This post was originally published January 3, 2014.
Weslee Clyde is an inbound marketing strategist at New Breed. She is focused on generating results using inbound methods and is driven by the customer experience. When not at the office, you can find her binging a docu-series on true crime or perfecting her gluten-free baking skills.