A marketing goal is so much more than a target objective. Good marketing goals are a prescription for action, telling your team how to reach them.
Setting a lofty a goal is one thing, being able to set a goal that is obtainable and realistic is another. You can’t have the latter without a firm understanding
of what data and forecasts tell you. You cannot set good goals without knowing what’s realistic, what’s impossible, and what’s a stretch goal.
When it all goes according to plan, it’s the kind of magic that propels careers and gets marketers noticed for the vision, project management and creativity that went into hitting a revenue goal.
In this post we’ll discuss building a strong foundation in order to set and hit revenue goals -- revenue goals that are higher than last quarter, of course.
Goal Setting Rests On A Culture Of Data And Testing
In research funding, you have to prove that your research has “promise” before you get the green light and a check. You need to prove something first.
You need to show evidence that you will succeed in answering your research question. And what’s the best measure of success? Past success.
Many researchers will tell you that writing a research grant involves reporting and teasing the results of research you’ve already done. It’s counter intuitive, but you get a research grant after you’ve completed most of your research and have a decent understanding what the answer is to your research question.
Like a research proposal, you should have a good idea of the answer to the question: how much revenue should we expect next quarter?
Like research funding, you’re being trusted to succeed in what you set out to do.
It’s a revenue goal, but it’s also a prediction that you expect has a high chance of coming true. And this takes the ability to study data and run tests to understand what’s possible in terms of goals and stretch goals.
Foundations For Revenue Goals: Essential Reports
What would you test and observe to understand revenue and predict it in the form of revenue and pipeline goals?
To answer this question, start with the most important reports pertaining to each section of the funnel. We think of the funnel as having three parts: top-of-funnel (TOFU), middle-of-funnel (MOFU), and bottom-of-funnel (BOFU) transition stages or stages in your funnel.
For each stage you’ll want to know the ROI or dollar efficiency, i.e. how much do you get with for $1 in spend for a lead, opportunity and customer? You’ll also want to know how quickly that $1 dollar turns into a lead, opportunity, and etc., measured by velocity.
These two measures help you set an attainable goal.
Next, we’ll focus on the reports you’ll need for each funnel stage to understand dollar efficiency and velocity.
Top Of The Funnel Marketing Goals
How do we drive demand and fill the top of funnel better? Answering this question is how you reach a demand goal, and set goals that are higher than before, hopefully without having to spend exponentially more money.
To understand how to fill the top of funnel more efficiently, begin with a Leads by Channel report. This provides an overview of channel performance.
For this you’ll need a marketing attribution solution that pulls real data from your marketing platforms.
For leads, we use U-Shaped attribution model which distributes credit for anonymous First Touch and Lead Create touch. This model represents an accurate estimation of channel performance, measured by how many leads each channel should be credited for.
Why does this matter?
In order to run an analysis or make a forecast to help you set attainable marketing goals, you need data that represents how well your channels are actually performing. Using a single touch attribution model to measure performance will make some channels look like they are performing better than they actually are, or worse than they actually are.
After understanding your baseline channel performance numbers for the past several months or quarters, you can plot them and begin to see the month-over-month (MoM) growth, and get a sense of what next month’s or next quarter’s goal should be.
You can use Excel or another tool to create a trendline, or take the average MoM growth rate to set demand goals.
But there are metrics you can include and tests you can run to gain an understanding of what’s possible as a result of more spend or optimization improvements. We’ll cover that in the next section.
To understand the trends for lead-to-opportunity conversion rates, you’ll need to run an Opportunities By Marketing Channel Report. This describes channel performance from an opportunity creation point of view.
Marketing is so much more than generating leads, which is why we champion the pipeline marketing mindset.
By understanding how well your channels are converting opportunities, you can set opportunity goals in marketing. Same rules apply as previous, you want to use a multi-touch attribution model to accurately estimate which channels and touchpoints were influential in driving the opportunity. At Bizible, we use W-Shaped attribution.
There are additional reports you can run to help you set marketing goals. By looking at average velocity of lead to opportunity conversion and cost data, you can begin to understand the levers that move opportunity conversion. If you can improve velocity or reduce cost per opportunity, you can set higher goals, or simply have greater control over how many opportunities you generate.
At Bizible, we track every touchpoint date. In other words, every interaction and engagement gets tracked with a timestamp so we can understand which campaigns and channels are associated with faster velocities.
Why does this matter?
A marketing goal is much more powerful when it’s reached because of you and your team. Plenty of goals will get reached at your organization if you do nothing. Sales will close deals, customer success will upsell, developers will build products, and the world goes on.
But how do attribute accomplishments to your marketing team? By setting a goal that can only happen when marketing teams reach their full potential.
With a firm understanding of the the efficiency of your middle-of-funnel conversion rates, and the effectiveness of your content and tactics, you can build a roadmap to reaching marketing goals that have business value. An 2x improved in MOFU conversion rates is one example of a marketing goal with business value.
What goals will you set?
How To Set Bottom-Of-Funnel Marketing Goals
We’ve discussed the levers that move the top and middle of the funnel, which is all important for predicting how many prospects will cross the finish line to become customers.
Once you control the top and middle, you can begin to control the bottom of the funnel.
What’s required to reach X dollars in revenue?
Once you know this, you can confidently set a marketing goal that is aligned with the rest of your organization’s goals. For example, perhaps converting opportunities into customers becomes highly important to the executive team. You can now set an attainable goal, given your knowledge of the improvements you can make across channels and campaigns.
Begin with a Revenue By Marketing Channel Report for a baseline reading. Using W-Shaped attribution, revenue gets distributed to the three most important touchpoints: Anonymous First Touch, Lead Create Touch, and Opportunity Create Touch.
Here you can see which channels are contributing revenue, which ones need improvement, and the performance for each one required to hit a revenue goal. You should focus on the campaigns and channels associated with the Opportunity Created Touch. This way you can begin thinking about what influences opportunities to become customers.
Tactics like account-based marketing (ABM) work great for converting opportunities to customers. Your ABM should be measured in terms of influence and revenue. You can use Bizible to uncover the ABM-driven touchpoints such as retargeting and mailers.
Next, run an Opportunity to Customer-Closed velocity report to understand when you can expect revenue.
With these reports in hand you have an understanding of how much revenue you can expect, and begin setting revenue goals.
Once your teams have their marching orders, and you the right tools for the job, you can be confident that next quarter you’ll be enjoying what comes with the sweet smell of reaching an impressive revenue goal.
Making Sure Your Team Has The Right Tools
Hitting marketing goals is a team effort. Like any kind of team, each member needs the right tool to accomplish their job.
For media managers this means have the kind of reporting that includes granular data that saves them time during the reporting process. This saved time can be used for more important work like optimization.
For Directors of Demand Generation, they need accurate data that is consistent across all channels that drive demand.
Marketers need to ensure their team has the right tools to set goals and go about reaching them.
When considering marketing technology, it’s essential to evaluate the value both in terms of impact from a technology standpoint and a people standpoint.
Does it improve collaboration? Does it provide access to a new set of information? Does it make content production more efficient? Does it improve productivity so teams can focus less on operations and more on big ideas?
A focus on operations is a core part of helping teams meet bigger revenue goals.
Marketing leaders must inspire their team to reach new milestones. Setting a marketing goal is setting a vision that says: We have everything in our power to be a driver of growth for our organization. Your goal setting abilities are a reflection of your leadership as a marketer.
Being proficient in data analysis and marketing attribution means you have a firm understanding of what’s possible and how to achieve them.