Before you start, you need to get SMART.
No, my caps lock is not stuck. And no, I’m not yelling at you either.
SMART goals are real, and implementing them into your company and professional development can help you conquer every goal you make and keep you on track toward success.
The real aim of this method is to define who, what, where, when, and why so that there is no room for ambiguity or misunderstanding of the end result. Remember that the ultimate purpose is to help your company – and you – succeed.
What Is a SMART Goal?
The SMART goal framework defines a process for identifying long-term goals and creates a method for achieving those goals. It makes the goal-setting process less subjective and ensures that all parties involved have the same expectations.
So, what does SMART stand for?
SMART goals are well-defined and express exactly what you are seeking to accomplish. Use action verbs to tell what you plan to deliver.
A broad goal won’t bring you much success because you can’t exactly pinpoint its main purpose. With a specific goal, you can be sure to set the right initiatives in place.
Unless you include concrete, measurable values to your goal, how will you know if you’ve actually accomplished it?
This is why it’s essential to create measurable goals. Doing this will help keep you on track as you strategize and implement tactics in order to complete your goals. When setting goals, always ask, “How much do we want to improve/increase this by?”
Yes, we want you to shoot for the moon – but don’t shoot for Pluto. That’s way too far away.
As you build out your goals, be realistic. Knowing your knowledge and resources, make sure you set goals that are possible to reach by your deadline.
Your goal should be relevant to your company’s mission and reflect one or more core values. If it doesn’t pertain to a main initiative you have for the quarter or just seems completely random, it’s probably not a goal worth pursuing.
You want goals that can yield your business impactful results, so focus your attention on the ones that matter most.
When do you need your goal to be completed? Establishing a realistic timeframe for achieving your goal locks in a deadline and keeps you focused on accomplishing your goals within that time restriction.
If you didn’t give yourself a deadline, you would never really be able to know if you’ve accomplished your goal and be able to scale it later on.
Why You Need SMART Goals in a Professional Setting
Setting clearly defined goals for your business — and yourself — is important because it gives you a reason for doing what you are doing while maximizing your chances for success.
Creating SMART goals doesn’t have to be a rigid formula, but more of a checklist of things to include in your plan.
In other words, you need to know how you will decide if your goal has been reached. If your goal involves working with other people, they will need to know this, too.
SMART Goal Examples for Marketing
Setting SMART goals for your marketing efforts each quarter is a valuable way to see how your strategy is playing and determine whether your initiatives are worth pursuing.
Here are 11 examples of SMART goals your marketing team might make to improve your efforts over time.
- Double our publishing frequency from two posts per week to four and increase our average word count per blog from 800 words to 1,600 words to attract 400 unique visitors to our blog.
- Boost total new lead acquisition by 10 percent over a two-month period by adding relevant CTAs and content offers to 50 pieces of existing content.
- Increase demo requests by 10 percent in eight weeks by creating a new product video and case study to serve as “bottom of the funnel” content.
- Increase conversions on our SmartProduct landing page by 10 percent by using A/B testing on five conversion-focused elements and refining the landing page based on comparison results.
- Improve SQLs by five percent this quarter by using analytics to identify which criteria are least likely to be met by leads to simply the qualification process.
- Increase weekly Twitter shares by 20 percent in one month by using a banner development tool to add a graphic to each social media post.
- Boost our client retention rate by 25 percent in six months by conducting a customer listening campaign to learn where to add value for mature accounts.
- Increase our Net Promoter Score (NPS) 10 points over a six-month period by reducing the customer service call waiting time by 50 percent through training and process changes.
- Acquire three referral clients to make sales contact with by calling or emailing current customers in 15 days.
- Boost our average open rate for our email marketing campaigns 10 percent by split-testing headlines.
- Increase email conversion rates by A/B testing different CTA and in-line linking strategies, then modifying future emails based on the results data.
SMART Goal Examples for Businesses
Your business is more than just your marketing efforts — it's about how your company grows as a whole, through every aspect of your company.
Setting SMART goals in place for your business aligns your teams and keeps each employee focused on one common purpose. Using your organization's mission statement and vision statement as your "North Star," here are 11 SMART goals examples for business.
- Complete at least 25 phone screening sessions and 15 in-person interviews this quarter to reach our goal of hiring two new account managers for our client services team.
- Increase efficiency in the workplace by 10 percent by the end of quarter three by implementing Scrum so our employees can keep track of their processes and complete at least 75 percent of their weekly commitments.
- Reduce business power costs by 30 percent by October 1 by setting up auto-dimming lights in every room to turn off after five minutes of no movement and installing outlet timers to power off non-critical equipment after hours.
- Email a meeting link to at least 150 leads who come to our website so we can reach our goal of acquiring 10 new customers by the end of Q1.
- Automate this process using a HubSpot workflow to ensure consistent enrollment of all future leads by the end of the month.
- Establish a recruiting system by hiring a talent manager by April 30 and reduce time-to-hire from 30 days to 20 days by Q3.
- Show employees growth opportunities in the company by creating a detailed advancement matrix in Q1 and rolling it out in Q2.
- Reduce onboarding time for new hires by 50 percent in quarter two by establishing a detailed onboarding process with at least five training courses and three shadowing opportunities with experienced team members.
- Get one new online review this month by sending out a weekly newsletter (four newsletters total) to all clients with a request for feedback (positive or negative) on a major review or partner site.
- Implement a set of processes to review feedback from clients and revise business processes by the start of the new year.
- Increase the number of client touchpoints from one a month to three a month by sending out a targeted email campaign.
SMART Goal Examples for Professionals
Ever hit that work plateau, where you just feel like you're repeating the same tasks over and over again and don't feel like you're actually getting anywhere?
Setting professional goals for yourself is one way to ensure you're always learning and striving to accomplish something new.
Let's look at 12 examples of valuable goals you can set for yourself to help you in your career path.
- By the end of Q2, take [insert course] and pass the certification exam to better educate myself on [topic].
- Over the course of four weeks, shadow at least five employees on their on-site visits with customers. After shadowing, write key takeaways to find areas of improvement for my own on-site visits as well as offer valuable feedback to the employees on areas of improvement.
- Sit down with my boss at least once a month to discuss areas of improvement in my work ethic and discuss improvements for business processes in order to eventually increase my salary by at least five percent by the end of the fiscal year.
- Over the next month, join at least two LinkedIn groups and log on at least once a week to engage in conversations. From these LinkedIn groups, find at least 10 professionals to connect with.
- Take and pass a training course on [topic] so that I can host a lunch and learn for my co-workers on how to [lesson from the topic] on July 3.
- Read and finish "insert book here" by the end of Q2 and take weekly notes to expand knowledge on the topic.
- Attend at least two local business events in my area this month and collect contact information from at least three individuals I meet to build out a stronger professional network.
- Over the course of July, make a journal entry at least once a week to recap small accomplishments and highlight what I could have done better. At the end, review all notes and see how I improved.
- Reduce procrastination this month by using the Pomodoro Technique and breaking my workday into 25-minute intervals.
- Improve conflict resolution this quarter by establishing bi-weekly meetings with my immediate co-workers to discuss lag in communication and needs from each other to work better.
- Acquire [industry certification] by the end of the quarter and let my boss know about my new qualification once achieved.
- Apply for a new role (either a promotion or a lateral move to a new department) by the end of my second year with the company.
Don't Be Dumb: Get SMART
It's never too late to start setting goals for your business and for your own professional growth.
And, the more you do it and measure your success, the better off you will be – hopefully with a lot of accomplishments under your belt!
What are some SMART goals you plan to implement this year? Let us know!