3 Reasons Goal Setting is Essential to Inbound Marketing
If you’ve read any of our recent content, you’ll notice that goal setting is a topic that pops up, well, a lot. It’s usually the first step we recommend for any content marketing, digital marketing, outbound marketing, and of course inbound marketing strategy.
Goal setting is essential to any inbound marketing effort. Here are three reasons why you just can’t (and shouldn’t want to) skip it. We’ll also throw in a few tips about setting great inbound marketing goals, too.
01. Goal Setting Aligns Marketing and Sales Teams
A common problem with any marketing or sales initiative — inbound or otherwise — is a disconnect between sales and marketing.
Marketing feels like they’re delivering tons of leads to the sales team, and they’re not doing the work of following up with them.
Sales feels like marketing keeps delivering unqualified leads that aren’t a good fit or that will be really difficult to close.
Goal setting, especially when you define and determine your goals with both teams in the room, eliminates this problem.
Just getting both teams in the same room will do a lot to foster alignment, but setting shared goals can really make an impact on how your sales and marketing teams work together to reach your overall revenue goal.
And when sales and marketing are working together seamlessly, you’re closing more of the right sales, faster. That means greater ROI for your company.
02. Goal Setting Helps You Measure the Success of Your Inbound Marketing Strategy
It’s pretty difficult to figure out how well you’re doing if you don’t have a benchmark for success. Setting your goals upfront, at the very start of your inbound marketing process helps you determine what success will actually look like.
Let’s say you’re implementing inbound marketing to draw in, convert, and close more qualified leads.
You implement an inbound marketing strategy, and 3 months later, you’ve closed 15 sales directly from your inbound marketing efforts. Congratulations! But let’s think about those 15 sales:
- Are 15 sales good?
- Are they the sales you were looking for?
- From the right market?
- Have they contributed to your sales teams’ revenue goals?
It’s hard to know the answer to those questions if you haven’t set goals ahead of your inbound marketing strategy.
Goal setting is an integral part of the inbound marketing process that enables you to:
- Take stock of your company’s current situation
- Evaluate where you are, and where you’d like to be
- And set specific goals and benchmarks that show you when you’re making an effective effort to get to that place
If you don’t have goals to work towards, it’s difficult to say whether your inbound marketing efforts are working successfully to drive leads, close sales, and improve your bottom line, or not.
03. Goal Setting Helps You Focus Your Inbound Marketing Efforts
Inbound marketing is a massive methodology. There are a million tactics you could be using right now, but they’re not all suited to every company or every goal.
Setting goals helps you focus your inbound marketing efforts on just the tactics that will deliver the best results for your company.
For example, if your goal for the moment is to increase qualified traffic, you know not to focus the majority of your time on your email marketing campaign.
Email marketing is great, but it only really works to nurture leads you already know. It doesn’t draw in new traffic.
If your goal was to increase qualified traffic, your marketing team would know that they’d need to up how much content they’re putting out, perhaps beef up your paid ad campaigns, and step up their work on social media in order to increase their reach.
But without a goal, your team’s efforts are likely to be disparate and disconnected.
Goal setting enables your teams to put their valuable time and resources to the efforts you know will produce the greatest results, and affect just the improvements you’re looking for from your inbound marketing strategy.
How Do You Set Great Inbound Marketing Goals?
We’ve established that goal setting is important to effective inbound marketing. But how do you set great inbound marketing goals?
We get that it’s not always as easy as it sounds to set goals, so here are 5 steps to setting great inbound marketing goals:
01. Figure Out Where You Are
Before you can set relevant goals, you have to have a clear picture of where your company is now.
- How many leads did you pull in this month?
- How much traffic does your website see on a monthly basis?
- How many sales are you making per month from your inbound marketing efforts?
- Are you pulling in the qualified leads your sales team wants to talk to?
- If so, how many per month are qualified, and how many aren’t?
- What percentage of your inbound marketing leads convert to sales?
When you understand where your company and your inbound marketing strategy stands now, you can set better goals for the future.
02. Figure Out Where You Want to Be
What’s your end goal with inbound marketing? What’s your big picture goal for the company this year?
You should have a pretty good idea of where your company stands at this point, so now let’s think about some big-picture goals that describe where you want your company to be in the future.
- Maybe you want to grow sales revenue by 20% this year.
- Maybe you want to beat out the competition and secure your place at the top of your market.
- Maybe your goal is to streamline your marketing and sales process so your sales team is converting a high percentage of the leads coming in.
Think big, but reasonably here. It’s a good idea to set yearly or quarterly goals now, and then we’ll break those into monthly SMART goals in the next step.
03. Set SMART Goals
You know where you are, and you know where you want to be. SMART goals are the goals that help you reach that big yearly goal. Let’s say you want to grow sales revenue by 20% this year — that’s your big overarching goal, and it’s what will drive your inbound strategy throughout the year.
SMART goals are individual goals within that large goal that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.
You’re not going to increase sales revenue by 20% overnight. SMART goals make up the interim benchmarks between now, and the end of the year, that help keep your marketing and sales teams on track to reach your yearly goal.
Here’s an example of a monthly set of SMART goals that would apply to your year-end goal:
- Increase monthly website traffic to 10,000 new visitors/month.
- Convert 300 leads from the website/month.
- Convert 15 of those new leads to sales.
This set of goals assumes that your company converts about 3% of your site traffic into leads and about 5% of those leads into sales. If that’s pretty close, or just slightly better than your company’s current conversion rate, then these are SMART goals.
Breaking Down Your SMART Goals
They’re specific — they say exactly what you want from each step of your inbound marketing process: new visitors, leads, and sales.
They’re measurable — they tell you exactly how many leads, sales, and site visitors you want.
They’re attainable — they’re based on your company’s current performance, and give you a little bit of room to improve, but not so much that it’s impossible.
They’re relevant — increasing qualified traffic, leads, and sales will, of course, lead to an increase in revenue (your overarching goal)
They’re timely — all three of those goals set a time frame: a month. This tells you when you want to reach those goals.
SMART goals give your team the direction they need to put the right inbound marketing tactics into play while keeping everyone on track to reach your overarching goals.
04. Measure Your Results
It’s one thing to set goals, but they don’t do you a whole lot of good if you’re not measuring your progress against them.
If you’re setting monthly goals, you should check at least at the end of every month to see how you did.
- Did you meet one or all of your goals?
- Did you seriously exceed your goals?
- Maybe you didn’t meet any of your goals.
How you did doesn’t matter as much as circling back to measure those results does.
Of course, you want to meet all of your goals, but if you didn’t it’s more important to figure out why.
Maybe you met your traffic and marketing lead goals, but your sales team wasn’t able to close 15 of those marketing leads. That shows that somewhere along the line, there’s a disconnect between sales and marketing.
It could be that the leads marketing is pulling in aren’t right for your sales team, or it could just be that your sales team needs some help — sales enablement training or sales enablement resources to help them nurture and close those leads faster.
Reviewing your goal progress at the end of the month is really what will give you the insight you, your marketing team, and your sales team, need to hone in on the efforts that produce the results you’re looking for.
05. Set New Goals
Once you’ve reviewed your goals and measured your success, you should set new goals according to your findings.
For example, let’s say that in the first month you exceeded all of the goals you set. That’s awesome, but you don’t want to just stay where you are. Setting new goals will help your company continue to grow.
Now that you know how you did in month one, you’ll be able to set even better, more relevant goals. Since you exceeded all of your goals last month, you know you can probably set a more challenging goal for this month.
The most important thing to remember about goal setting is that it’s central to continuous improvement. Setting new goals, once you’ve reached the old ones, helps your company keep pushing forward.
The more you set goals, measure your success, and implement new, optimized goals, the more efficient your company will become at inbound marketing, and more importantly, at growth.
Goal Setting is Essential to Inbound Marketing
Goal setting is essential to inbound marketing, and really to any strategy — sales or marketing-related — that’s designed to help your company grow. If you want to increase revenue, boost your company’s number of monthly retainers, or even expand your client base geographically, the first step should always be goal setting.
With clearly defined goals in hand, your team can work efficiently at the tactics that will produce the results you want.
Struggling to set and define your company’s growth goals? Let the Evenbound team help. We work with all of our clients to set yearly and monthly goals, and then we put inbound marketing and digital marketing tactics in place to help them get there. We’d be happy to help you, too.