The foundation of every growth plan and dashboard is quantifiable customer-centric objectives. If your function’s objectives aren’t aligned with the business outcomes, you will be at a disadvantage in demonstrating its value to the business right from the get go.

How do you make sure your growth planning and dashboard development efforts aren’t for naught? Know the three questions:

  1. What are your organization’s business outcomes?
  2. Which of these outcomes is your function expected to impact?
  3. How will the organization know whether your function achieved this impact?

Know the answers? You’re a rare breed. Would you be shocked to learn that many functional departments, especially Marketing, do not know the answers to these questions! In fact, our research in the area of Marketing Performance Measurement (MPM) reveals that it is unclear to the leadership of over 2/3 of Marketing organization’s on how Marketing impacts the business. Other research such as the Kantor and the VisualIQ study reveal similar results.

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Why does this situation persist? There isn’t a clear link between the function’s activities and business outcomes, and this is particularly true for as many half of the Marketing organization’s in these studies.

Some Marketing organizations have an inkling into the business outcomes. These organizations make what we call intelligent assumptions about the business outcomes. Outcomes framed as increase revenue or improve customer retention don’t provide vital directional guidance.

Goals vs. Outcomes – What’s the Difference and Why You Should Care

Know the outcomes before you craft your growth plan, function's objectives

Goals are directional. Outcomes provide direction, clarify success, define priorities.

What’s the difference between a goal and an outcome? A goal indicates intention whereas an outcome specifies a result. Statements such as improve customer retention and/or increase revenue are goals. Outcomes are far more specific. Some examples might be:

  • retain 90 percent of our tier one customers resulting in X dollars revenue
  • acquire 50 net new customers from industry segment X with an average order value of $10,000 each quarter
  • double the number of customers who have two or more products based on Y platform
  • increase our rate of growth within our category by 15% resulting in X more revenue

Outcomes provide direction. Outcomes clarify success. Outcomes define priorities. Outcomes are all inclusive. Every part of the organization should know the outcomes and their role in bringing the outcome to reality. A growth plan and dashboard not based on outcomes is already handicapped. 

Business Outcomes are Essential for Success

Once you know the outcomes and the answers to the other two questions, you can establish the quantifiable outcome-based objectives – the basis of your growth plan. The growth plan you develop should be designed to deliver on those outcomes your function is expected to impact. This is why outcomes serve as the starting point for your dashboard. 

It will be clear what data, metrics, and analytics your function needs related to customers and the market to support the outcomes and achieve the objectives. Success will be far less arbitrary. Which scenario would you prefer?

  1. A vague outcome around increasing revenue and a function’s objective framed around increasing the number of qualified leads?
  2. An outcome framed around acquiring #N net new customers that increase revenue to $Y so you can create a quantifiable marketing objective such as, generate #X conversations with #N non-current customers quarterly with X% these converting to level 2 demos resulting in #N new qualified opportunities within 45 days of demo. 

Scenario 2 is far more concrete. You will be able to develop, implement, monitor and adjust strategies, programs, activities, and the associated metrics for scenario 2. So before you start writing your next marketing plan be sure you know the answers to three questions: what are our organizations business outcomes, which of these are you expected to impact and how will your success be measured?

Make sure the hard work of creating your plan and dashboard pays off.

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