Whether it’s the beginning of a new year or not, data-driven marketers like you are constantly looking for ways to build a successful digital marketing and metrics strategy to track performance.
The problem is often when we have a strategy in mind and create SMART marketing objectives to run it, that strategy doesn’t focus on the area of the business that actually needs focusing. There will never be a shortage of things to work on, so prioritizing work that will actually make an impact on the business is key. That’s why working on objectives and your digital strategy at the same time is important — they have to play off each other.
Most successful small businesses we work with have marketing objectives that tie directly back to revenue and sales, which is why we also encourage our clients to include marketing on the revenue team. After all, revenue is the lifeblood of every business, and when sales and marketing work together to drive it, the results can be incredible. This also helps small to medium-sized businesses (SMB) achieve results in the leanest way possible because your marketing objectives are closely aligned with the organization’s monetary goals instead of being treated as a separate animal altogether.
With all that in mind, and after working with hundreds of companies over the past 10 years, we’ve found the following are some of the best marketing objectives examples that align digital strategy with the rest of the organization’s goals in a way that actually makes an impact on the business.
Use this list to help you determine how to measure your success with the right objectives and KPIs. But first, a little about the difference between marketing objectives and KPIs, and why it’s a good idea to align your sales and marketing teams.
Marketing objectives vs. KPIs – and why your sales and marketing goals should align
Some say objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs) are the same thing. Others disagree.
We believe the latter at IMPACT.
Of course, an objective can and will vary depending on what your company is trying to achieve (and how quickly), but, in general, here is how we define objectives and KPIs:
Objective: The state you’re trying to achieve; SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound) goals.
KPI: A measurable metric used to determine if you are on track to achieve your objective (often multiple KPIs contribute to one objective).
Although objectives and KPIs vary and should be treated differently, we also coach our clients following the They Ask, You Answer methodology to begin first by aligning sales and marketing teams, especially when it comes to defining your company objective and KPIs.
The best way to do this is by forming what we call a revenue team, which is a team made up of the key players in your sales and marketing units that share the goal of working together to increase traffic leads, and sales. Even though different members might focus on specific parts of the process, the team will come together and plan to work toward a common goal: driving revenue.
What this really means, in terms of marketing objectives, sales objectives, and KPIs, is that your sales and marketing SMART goals should essentially be the same.
One of IMPACT’s digital sales and marketing coaches, Zach Basner, gives us his take:
“If the marketing and sales team aren’t aligned, the greatest consequence is an inconsistent buying experience.
“Prospects and customers have one experience on the website or other digital channels, and a totally different experience in the sales process. For most organizations, this also means that content the marketing team produces is considered ‘fluffy’ by the sales team (i.e., it doesn’t actually lead to revenue).
“For sales and marketing to align around what will actually result in revenue, they have to spend time together. If they don’t unite their efforts, it becomes extremely difficult to make progress with buyer communication.”
Whether you’re a large or small business, here are nine marketing objective examples (plus one bonus objective) to inspire your digital strategy-planning conversations.
Examples of SMART marketing objectives
1. Increase lead quality
This objective, though straightforward, is about increasing the probability that the sales team closes a higher percentage of deals. The more quality leads you can attract as a marketing team, the happier your sales team will be.
Your KPIs for this objective should be focused on initiatives that define what a “quality lead” is or indicators of whether your efforts are working along the way.
Examples of related KPIs:
Number of fit prospects, in other words, those marketing automation identifies as correct-fit prospects.
Number of booked initial sales conversations.
Number of closed deals associated with marketing.
2. Shorten the sales cycle
It’s not just up to the sales team to be more efficient or effective with their conversations, marketing can help shorten the sales cycle too. Because modern prospects get so much information before talking with sales, it’s marketing’s job to deliver consistent messaging, branding, and relevant materials to help them progress toward making a purchase.
Though sales can certainly impact this objective, marketing can have a significant impact as well. Marketing sets the tone for prospects coming to sales. And if marketing is not qualifying properly, or setting the right expectations, it will be nearly impossible for a salesperson to change course and still close the deal.
For e-commerce companies, KPIs may be metrics or initiatives around reducing cart abandonment rates. For non-e-commerce, on the other hand, marketing can assist by updating website content or other materials that prospects see before talking with sales.
Examples of related KPIs:
Decreased shopping cart abandonment percentage.
Number of sales enablement materials and training launched.
4. Increase customer lifetime value
Focusing on increasing the average amount that each customer spends with you can not only provide more value to your existing customer base, but it can also be an easy way to impact sales with less effort because the relationship is already built.
Of course, your product or services can make your brand the best of its kind in the space, but what beyond that can you do to delight customers? Marketing plays a huge role in educating prospects, and this is your opportunity to put your stake in the ground.
Examples of related KPIs:
Number of media interviews.
Number of positive customer interviews.
Bonus objective: Develop an engaged audience
This metric is essential for larger brands, especially those that may report to a board or shareholders, as it’s an indicator of longer-term health. And if you’re doing Nos. 1 through 9 exceptionally well, it makes tracking this objective even easier.
Related KPIs should look at email metrics or social engagement to know if you’re on track to nurturing an engaged audience. Using these metrics allows you to measure without paying for market research.
Examples of related KPIs:
Number of newsletter subscribers.
Number of email open/click rates.
Number of social interactions and comments.
Why is traffic alone not a good marketing objective?
Now that we’ve gone through these objectives, you’re probably thinking — what about traffic?
Traffic is certainly something you should be tracking, but it is something that is more useful to marketing than the company as a whole.
Traffic should be monitored as an indicator of the objective’s success.
For example, traffic can be an indicator of increased brand awareness, which leads to other successes. Traffic alone will not mean a lot to upper management or a board of directors.
If the focus of the conversation is not on revenue or revenue-driven objectives, then you’re not putting your energy into the right focus area.
At the end of the day, if you grew traffic but sales plummeted, no one would be celebrating marketing.
If marketing’s primary role is to assist the sales team, then make sure your marketing objectives align with your sales objectives, and with those of the organization.
Give your team everything they need to experience inbound marketing success.
IMPACT teaches companies the most essential sales and marketing functions through an intensive 12-24 month program of coaching, training, and strategy — resulting in better leads and more closed sales.
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