It is tough to manage what one is unable or unwilling to measure. Sure, that’s a somewhat tired business adage, but the saying is more relevant than ever for successfully achieving your sales and marketing goals. By thinking of your business as an aligned system of processes and sequences, you can use the following SMART Goals template to help you both diagnose your sales funnel, and prioritize your most important objectives.
Measurement is important, and by understanding that inputs of X yield outputs of Y, we can measure the size, speed, and efficiency of the sales and marketing system, from lead conversion, all the way through customer acquisition, and then begin to implement specific strategies for driving financial results.
Whether you’re focused on your top line (revenues) or your bottom line (gross profits), you’ll need to get a handle on some of the critical inputs that affect these outcomes. For example: Which segments are the best fit for your business? What are the sources of leads that are most effective in reaching your ideal customer? And what kinds of content interactions can you create to help your ideal customers with their problems, when they need you? There are a lot of moving parts in your business system and as a result, you’ll need to set some SMART Goals to ensure that you can achieve the results you want.
Design Your Sales Funnel
The first step in managing your sales and marketing process is to visualize it. Sales and marketing strategies should align with the stages of your target persona’s buyer’s journey. By mapping out our ideal prospects purchasing process, we can anticipate their questions and problems, and provide content solutions that are helpful as they move closer towards a purchasing decision. We can also visualize the structure of our sales funnel and the stages or status of our prospects by their behavior, and this is measurable.
Establish a Benchmark of Your Marketing Performance
Before you can set a practical goal, you need to understand the state of things as they currently exist. A good benchmark helps with insights on the impact we can make on the business by analyzing the difference between the status-quo and our achievements after we put some effort into making changes. A good benchmark has 3 components:
1. Where are we today?
This part is easy. You might have to do a little digging, but you should at least come up with some reasonable assumptions regarding how many leads you currently have every month (or whatever time period makes sense for your business), and what percentage of those leads are qualified, then converted to customers. You can use our smart goal calculator to help you gather this information and calculate your conversions at each stage.
2. Where were we 12 months ago?
The next step is and important but often overlooked backwards-looking perspective on what was happening in your business 12 months ago. Use the same timeframe that you used to set your current benchmark and gather your sales funnel measures and conversion ratios.
3. What is our cost of inaction?
Now that you have a snapshot of how things looked today, and how things looked a year ago, you can analyze the gap in your performance and get a picture of what things might look like if you continued down the same path. Remember that your sales and marketing efforts are investments that should provide you a return. If your current efforts are sufficient to provide you the results you expect, do nothing. Put your money elsewhere.
Evaluate Trend and Magnitude
Your benchmark includes both a snapshot ( a static picture of what is currently happening) and a basic understanding of the current direction and momentum in your business. For simplicity, you just need to understand where things are headed.
If you can develop a good understanding of the trends in your business, you’ll be in a much better position to predict potential favorable and unfavorable outcomes. Your trends follow two typical patterns: (a) Seasonal: they fluctuate because of repeating annual patterns, or (b) Intertia: there are market forces which are gaining momentum, e.g. new products, regulations, competitors, etc…
Is the trend positive, negative or flat? A positive trend could be an asset which you can leverage to improve your overall results. A negative trend might be a liability or a leading indicator of a performance issue in your sales and marketing system that you have to address before you are able to achieve your financial results.
Magnitude: This is easy using our SMART goals template. Is the trend big, small, or flat? An upward, positive trend might be an asset that you want to prioritize and build upon, and a negative big trend might forecast disaster if it’s not addressed.
Set SMART Goals
Now that you have an established benchmark and an understanding of the current trends and magnitude of your trends, you are in a position to set:
Sales and Marketing Goals for Your Business