Within successful businesses, SMART goals become a natural process, something that goes without saying and happens organically. That’s likely why you don’t hear mention of SMART goals when organizations explain their success. To them, SMART goals are just goals. They’ve internalized a successful process and made it a best practice. That’s partly due to the cyclical nature of business goals. My gross over-simplification of a business goal cycle is: set goal, work hard, achieve goal, celebrate, set new goal, and the cycle repeats. And when you’re working with SMART goals, each step of that cycle becomes more efficient. After a quick breakdown of the goal-setting process, I’ll provide and discuss two SMART goal examples from our clients.
What makes a goal SMART?
The first step in setting a SMART goal is evaluating and understanding where you are and where you’d like to be. Then, use the following guide to create goals that can get you from here to there. In order to be SMART, your goal must be:
Specific: What do you plan to accomplish? By what percent? Using what processes?
Measurable: How will you know when the goal is achieved? What does success look like? How will you track your goal?
Attainable: Is your goal challenging yet possible?
Time-bound: What is your deadline? Have you set benchmarks to measure progress?
When we set goals, both internally and with our clients, each one must hold up against SMART guidelines. After all, that’s how we prove our work works. To further illustrate the value and practice of SMART goals, I’ll detail two real-life SMART goal examples from our superstar clients.
SMART Goal Example #1: Williams Integracare
Williams Integracare Clinic provides all types of patient care under one roof. They were looking to increase family practice appointments while maintaining their chiropractic numbers. Their 2015 new business goal was to reach 15 family practice appointments each month. Well-known for chiropractic, we rose awareness about other services offered.
So, what made the goal SMART? It was specific: 15 family practice appointments as new business, monthly. It was measurable: basic medical recordkeeping practices. It was attainable: they had everything needed to accommodate their goal. It was relevant: tied to current business practices and offerings, just had yet to be realized. It was time-bound: an annual goal with monthly benchmarks.
By implementing an inbound strategy focused on our client’s SMART goal, 2015 closed with eight months where the goal was met or surpassed. Additionally, due to the goal being surpassed seven out of eight months, their annual average was 109.2 percent.
SMART Goal Example #2: Marco
2014 was a good year for Marco. A $1 million in generated revenue kind of year. And like any ambitious business, they wanted 2015 to be an even better year. One of Marco’s 2015 SMART goals was to generate enough sales qualified leads (SQL) to generate $1.25 million in revenue by the end of the year.
How was the goal SMART? It was specific: the dollar amount and source were defined. It was measurable: we track all SQL metrics. It was attainable: they increased the previous year’s success by 25 percent. It was relevant: keep doing business as usual, just better. It was time-bound: an annual goal with quarterly benchmarks.
Spoiler Alert. We didn’t get Marco to their annual goal in 2015. But, when goals are SMART failure provides valuable data. Data leads to analysis, which leads to even SMARTer goals in the future. Upon analysis, one of the 2014 leads was a huge percentage, which threw off our benchmark. If that outlier was calculated out as an anomaly, Marco’s 2015 revenue number would have surpassed the 2014 total. So, it’s vital to closely assess a goal’s attainability before it’s set. Sometimes finding that balance between challenging and possible doesn’t pan out. Lesson learned.
Goal setting is essential to success, whether it’s tied to dollars or not. Like the best things in life, SMART goals have layers of usefulness and the capacity to bring your business dreams to reality. Hopefully these SMART goal examples provide a foundation for your own. For more help getting started, get a template for setting SMART marketing goals. Setting, working toward, and achieving SMART goals makes it easier to duplicate your successes and minimize your failures.
As the Vice President, I build strong, personal relationships with each and every client that partners with Leighton Interactive. I love helping clients achieve their goals, dreams, and visions in ways they never thought possible. My daily schedule consists of meeting with clients, communicating client information to the inbound marketing team, and managing account managers. When I'm not busy with client work, I love to relax and spend time with my two amazing kids.