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How to Set Marketing and Sales Goals That Are Realistic, Challenging, and Achievable

Written by Mitzi Morris on 22, June 2020
How to Set Marketing and Sales Goals That Are Realistic, Challenging, and Achievable

We get things done by setting goals.

Education is marked by milestones:

  • High school diploma
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Master’s degree
  • Ph.D.

Careers are labeled by levels:

  • Staff
  • Managers
  • Middle managers
  • Executives

Fitness is organized by objectives:

  • 5K
  • 10K
  • Half marathon
  • Full marathon

We are working toward personal and professional goals on a daily basis. But it’s not easy. Reach too high and you end up disappointed. Settle for less and you miss out on what might have been.

In business, the sales and marketing departments often have separate goals. But aligning these ambitions together will point the teams toward the overall objective of the business and enable them to share the same metrics.

Below are the steps to take in setting realistic marketing and sales goals that are both challenging and achievable.

What Do My Funnels Look Like?

Marketers and sales reps have different roles to play in the buyer’s journey. Check out each department’s funnel to see how they are currently guiding the customer along and what metrics are being measured at each level.

  • Marketing: Traffic → Leads → Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL)
  • Sales: Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) → Opportunities → Customers

This analysis will let you know whether your current goals are too grand or too naive by lining up what’s occurring in real time. Let’s say your customer goal is 20, but you’re regularly closing 25 deals.

It’s time to aim higher.

Once you’ve readjusted each funnel to reflect what’s needs to happen in order to achieve the end goal, work your way back up to take the next step in setting realistic marketing and sales goals:

  • How much revenue do you want?
  • How many sales do you need?
  • How many opportunities?
  • How many SQLs?
  • How many MQLs?
  • How many leads?
  • How much traffic?

When you break down the funnels as they are currently functioning and see how the real world compares to the fantasy, you can take the end goal and divide it into the directives needed for success.

How Do I Make a New Funnel?

Creating a revenue funnel is easy. It’s when you combine marketing and sales funnels in order to fully step back and see the big picture of how revenue is being generated.

Traffic → Leads → MQLs → SQLs → Opportunities → Customers

By placing the two funnels together into one revenue channel, you can now look at the entire customer’s journey from start to finish and hone in on areas that may be giving you trouble in setting realistic marketing and sales goals. You will begin to see where the bottlenecks are as you measure conversion rates between each stage.

For instance, the numbers for traffic, leads, and MQLs are all on target, but you’re finding a discrepancy between MQLs and SQLs. As a result, you’re falling short of your end goal. Analysis of the revenue funnel shows you how the momentum was building up to that point and where the chain broke down. This allows you to focus on the right area to make adjustments.

How to Set Marketing and Sales Goals That Are Realistic, Challenging, and Achievable

Why Do I Need SMART Goals?

Once you can see how revenue is being created by aligning your funnels, you’re ready to get SMART about setting realistic marketing and sales goals. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. You will have a greater chance of focusing your efforts and meeting your goals if you use these criteria.

Let’s take a look at an example of creating a SMART goal to get more leads.

  • Specific: You want to increase the number of leads by 5% this month.
  • Measurable: You will keep track of the number of leads last month compared to this month.
  • Attainable: You’ve been following data that shows leads have steadily increased by 4% over the last four months.
  • Realistic: Achieving a 5% increase mark is doable because you’re implementing some new strategies and increasing efforts.
  • Timely: This is a short-term goal that will be reevaluated next month for its effect on the long-term plan.

Clearly-stated marketing and sales goals will help you recognize what your teams are capable of and set the bar accordingly so they can achieve the desired results.

How Do I Set Realistic Marketing and Sales Goals?

The first step in setting realistic marketing and sales goals is looking at the current methods of each department and analyzing how well they’re working.

Break down your funnels, rebuild them, and then make a new one. Combine your marketing and sales funnels into one revenue channel to raise awareness about conversion issues and highlight new opportunities to grow your business.

Be SMART. Pick goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Taking this step will give your teams the tools they need to succeed in meeting the end goal.

When you do your homework and set corresponding expectations, your sales and marketing teams will be able to go above and beyond their goals.

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