I have worked with CEOs for more than 30 years, and one constant that I have seen is a lack of clarity about goal setting. CEOs know what they want and usually have a growth number or percentage in mind, but they don’t have clear vision or a plan for how they will get there. This point was confirmed once again during a recent round-table session I facilitated for Conway Family Business Center.
There is a huge advantage for CEOs and their sales, marketing and operations teams to understand exactly where growth will come from. Here are some considerations for establishing a crystal clear vision as you begin setting goals for 2013.
Break it down
Measurable metrics give your goal a whole new meaning. If you could describe your goal in terms of activity, what would it look like? How many new prospect meetings and proposals? How much in proposed new business? How many new customers? How much new growth will come from new or existing customers? What is your annual customer attrition rate?
If your business is broken into market segments or business lines, you should answer these questions for each category of business so you know which ones to support with marketing, sales and operational dollars.
Another important consideration is analyzing market share — are there enough new business opportunities available to reach your growth goals, or do you need to diversify geographically, look for new market segments or expand your product or service offerings?
Also, look at the average annual sales volume by customer type so you understand how many new customers are needed to reach your goal. When you understand, for example, that $1 million in new business equates to 10 new customers, it is more palatable and much easier to understand what activity it will take to secure those relationships.
Develop a plan in support of action required
When there is clear vision of what needs to be done to reach the company’s goal, a laser-focused sales, marketing and operational strategy can be developed to support the effort.
You should have an understanding of what market segments will provide the greatest growth, what core prospects will get you to that goal, how you will expand your business with your current customers and what you need to do to improve your customer satisfaction and retention rates.
If you adjust your lens a bit further, you can see what opportunities you have to get in front of your core prospects and customers and analyze the best tactical approach to support your goal. And if you take the time to focus even more, you should be able to determine expected outcomes from every actionable activity.
Track key performance indicators
Many of us are familiar with the term KPIs, or key performance indicators. Most financial reports are viewed historically — a recap of what happened to drive performance toward a goal. KPIs keep us focused on activity that leads toward goal achievement and as such should be reviewed at least weekly.
KPIs can vary greatly by company, but most businesses should track activity such as dollars of proposed business, percentage or likelihood of business to close, number of new leads, new business appointments and similar metrics.
Establish an infrastructure to obtain the level of reporting your organization needs to assure you’re on track and proactively moving toward your business growth goals.
Laser focus is a winning strategy
When employees in an organization can see and understand their role in helping their company achieve its goals, they will succeed in reaching that goal. It begins with laser focus at the top so the mission is clear and measurable.