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by Bob Ruffolo Bob Ruffolo on February 12, 2013

How to Set Marketing Goals Based on Business Goals

by Bob Ruffolo Bob Ruffolo

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February 12, 2013


How to Set Marketing Goals Based on Business GoalsSo you're getting ready to build your inbound marketing strategic plan and ready to set your marketing goals. That's awesome, let's get started!

This post will teach you how to set marketing goals based on business goals.

Marketing Goals Not Set on Business Goals:

It's important to set goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. Here are some examples of goals that need more work:

    • I want more website visitors, leads and sales.
    • I want to generate a larger email list.
    • I want to rank number one in Google.

It's easy to say that you want to generate more leads, but how many more leads do you need to achieve your goal? 10 more? 100 more? Thousands more? How many contacts do you want on your mailing list? What do you want to rank number one in Google for? Please tell me more!

Well-Defined Marketing Goals:

Below are the same marketing goals turned into well-defined marketing goals. These goals are based on the overall goals of the business:

    • We need 20,000 visitors, 500 leads, and 12 customers within the next 12-months from our inbound marketing efforts in order to achieve our revenue goal of $600,000 from inbound marketing.
    • We would like to generate 2 customers from our current client list using email marketing. We would also like to add all qualified leads to our mailing list, allowing us to keep these leads warm for future sales.

Steps on How to Set Marketing Goals Based on Business Goals.

Let's get started setting some marketing goals. Below are the 10 steps for setting well-defined marketing goals that are in sync with the goals of the business:

1. Identify how much revenue you need to generate from your inbound marketing efforts.

This is easy. Say your business did $2,000,000 in sales last year. Your CEO just said that he wants to grow the business 30%. You know that you already have $1,800,000 on the books for next year and expect another $200,000 from other marketing efforts, such as trade shows. That leaves you with a gap of $600,000 that you need to close within the next 12-months using inbound marketing.

2. Determine how many sales you need to hit those revenue goals.

Take your revenue gap and divide it by the value of your average sale. For example, if the revenue needed is $600,000 and your average sale is $50,000, then you need 12 new customers from your inbound marketing efforts.

3. Identify your closing rate and how many opportunities you need.

We'll continue working backwards to identify how many opportunities you need. For example, if you need 12 customers and your closing rate is 50%, and 50% of your opportunities go for a close, then you'll need 48 opportunities in order to hit your business goal.

4. Identify how many SQL's you need.

A sales qualified lead (SQL) is a lead that will be passed to the sales team. If this is your first inbound marketing campaign, then you may not know this number, so take your best estimate. I often find that 50% is a good number to start with and adjust over time. For our example, we can estimate that we need to pass 96 SQL's to our sales team.

5. Identify how many MQL's you need.

A marketing qualified lead (MQL) is a lead that is qualified, but not sales ready. MQL's need more marketing such as lead nurturing to become more sales ready. Again, 50% is a safe number if you have no history and you can always adjust this later. Going off our example, we'll need to generate 192 MQL's within the next 12-months.

6. Identify how many leads you need.

We define a lead as a visitor that has converted on one of your offers. Not all of your leads will be qualified, so it's important to estimate a number that will provide you with enough MQL's to achieve your goals.  The more attractive your content is for your qualified leads, the higher your conversion rate from lead to MQL will be. To generate 192 leads, in this example, I would estimate that 500 leads will need to be generated to achieve your revenue goals. We'll monitor this closely and make the necessary adjustments over time.

7. Identify how much traffic you need to achieve your goals.

Based on our experience, we would estimate a traffic to lead conversion rate of 2.5% over the next 12-months. We'll plan on this being lower in the beginning as content is being created and higher in the fourth quarter of the program. In our example, you'll need 20,000 website visitors within the next 12-months.

8. Implement your other key business goals.

It's also important that you put emphasis on other key business goals. Here are some examples of other business goals you may need to create metrics for:

    • Sales for a particular product line
    • Revenue from existing customers
    • Increase retention rates from current customers
    • Number of job applicants (May be important if your business is growing)
    • Downloads of a high lead-to-customer converting offer

These types of business goals will certainly depend on your business' needs.

9. Set quarterly benchmarks.

If you're just getting started, remember that inbound marketing builds upon itself and takes time. So set your benchmarks for the fourth quarter much higher than your benchmarks for the first quarter. For our example, our quarterly benchmarks may include generating 1000 visitors in the first quarter and 8000 visitors in the fourth quarter. Set benchmarks for all metrics all the way down to new customers. Make sure you include metrics for your other key business goals.

10. Develop an inbound marketing budget.

A solid ROI from inbound marketing over 12-months is 200%. In this example, we said that the goal is to generate $600,000 from our inbound marketing efforts. That means you'll need to set an inbound marketing budget of $200,000. Your budget may be increased or decreased based on previous performance trends of your website and the resources you have available, so use this $200,000 number as a starting point.

Now you're ready to start building an inbound marketing strategy that achieves your goals. You may want to consider creating your Inbound Marketing GamePlan.

If you need help setting your inbound marketing goals based off your business goals, schedule a free inbound marketing assessment with one of our consultants.

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Bob Ruffolo

Bob Ruffolo

Bob is the founder and CEO of IMPACT, an agency he formed in 2009 to help people and their organizations succeed by changing the way they market themselves online. Since its founding, IMPACT has achieved its status as one of HubSpot's first Platinum Partners in less than 2 years, and secured its place as one of the top inbound marketing agencies in the country.

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