It is often challenging for business leaders to ensure that marketing efforts align with company goals. This may result in wasted budgets, missed objectives, and frustrated relationships between executives and marketing representatives. Maybe you should take a look through a proper OKR definition.
What are the best practices to ensure your marketing team drives results in the most important areas? A business strategy that has been misaligned, inefficient, and distracting may make the difference between success and failure in implementing a go-to-market strategy.
Do you know what does OKR stands for? Well, organizations such as Amazon and Microsoft employ Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). When you use this goal system, you can integrate your goals with the corporate strategy, focus your resources on what is most important, and ensure that the company is transparent and accountable.
OKRs for marketing teams: why they're important
Chances are, you have dealt with too many competing priorities and stakeholders from various stakeholder groups, whether you are a CEO, the CMO, or in marketing leadership. Your marketing team will be stressed as they try to meet multiple support deadlines while pushing marketing forward as well.
Additionally, an OKR definition decreases marketing's ability to perform against company goals, often leading to frustrated leaders who complain that marketing is inefficient.
Almost every discipline and industry is affected by this phenomenon. Most people don't have enough time to accomplish their goals comfortably across all departments, from finance to operations to customer success. However, marketing is particularly concerned with this (and it is especially relevant for B2B marketing). The two underlying issues that are causing these symptoms are:
Markets encompass a wide range of activities. That's a pretty broad topic. Marketers support almost all aspects of a business, including sales, events, executive presentations, demand gen, and content creation.
There are countless other items on the list. Most companies have a broad definition of marketing. It is common for marketers to try to take care of too many stakeholders, resulting in an unfocused department unable to make progress in what matters. Here is a video that explains the day-to-day of a successful marketer:
Marketers sometimes struggle to measure their results. The question: What is success? is a common issue we face, no matter what it is: where did it come from, what problem they were trying to solve, or how they got in touch with your company. What does a lead mean to you?
Would it be possible for you to tell us how many leads you received last month? Leaders may find it difficult to understand marketing, its priorities (or what they should be), or the performance of the department against these priorities due to ambiguity. It is not uncommon for organizations to have difficulty managing marketing if they lack transparency.
An organization's marketing team may encounter difficulties because of these factors. In the absence of an incentive structure, with the aim of pleasing everyone in the organization, the team can easily become unfocused and conflict-prone. There have been too many instances when the marketing team has been so focused on providing support to so many individuals at the end of the period, in that way, it may be hard to determine what impact it had on the bottom line (site traffic, lead generation, content.)
So how do you combat these issues? How do you give your marketing team the focus it needs, the permission to say no to unimportant projects, and the transparency that executives require for strategic planning?
I present you with your new best friend: Objectives and Key Results (OKRs).
Why should you make an OKR definition?
According to many successful CEOs, to make things happen, all you need to do is apply pressure and focus on getting things done. An OKR strategy performs this exact function.
As a manager at Intel, Andy Grove, an icon of management science, envisioned Objectives and Key Results, a leadership framework.
By emphasizing employee efforts on meaningful initiatives that matter, this quarterly system fosters collaboration, transparency, and provides a better alignment between employees' goals and larger departmental goals.
In terms of setting and achieving goals, this management framework consists of three straightforward steps:
OKR definition is supposed to represent what I refer to as your long-term goals or aspirations. Often, these are large-scale objectives.
Many of them are impossible to accomplish in a quarter, or they are vague enough to remain the same from quarter to quarter, despite the key results and actions below them changing.
To ensure that your department, division, or company is successful, think of objectives as lamp posts that you and your team must continually strive towards. Describe the places you would like to visit in short, qualitative terms.
The OKR definition you choose should be between three and five per quarter, to maximize their effectiveness. By doing so, you will give your team and yourself sufficient time and energy to fully embrace your objectives.
What does OKR stand for? When more than five objectives are set, it becomes difficult to spend adequate time on each, which results in a lack of focus, distraction from less important purposes, and consequently low accomplishment of important goals.
Make sure you ask yourself these questions when setting objectives:
- How does my department plan to achieve its goals?
- Is there a way I can influence the strategy at the top of the company or department?
- Where can I make a difference to revenue or profitability?
- Where should I focus my efforts in the next few months?
- What would signify a successful quarter for me, if I were to influence nothing else?
The following are good examples of objectives:
- Boost website traffic
- Conversion rates for funnels must be improved
- Develop a stronger sales pipeline
- Build an infrastructure for marketing technology
- Develop new channels to generate demand
- Providing marketing leadership through COVID
The following are examples of BAD objectives:
- Produce 53 MQLs (this should not be considered an objective, since it is too specific and the timeline is very short.)
- Research on the market (This doesn't detail what you are trying to accomplish: are you conducting market research? enhancing the results? adjusting the outcome?)
The next step after choosing your objectives is to plan how you will work toward reaching them.
Decide which result is most important for each objective you create. It is critical to identify key results that are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound) instead of vague and aspirational objectives.
The criteria in these key results make them the most challenging piece of OKR strategy to create. As you construct key results, you will need to answer the question, What outcomes will demonstrate significant progress towards my goal?”
Your department (and your employees) announces a measure of success for the quarter through SMART key results. Your top marketing priorities are firmly established by doing this.
The marketing department can then be transparent about its activities, declare publicly how they will measure success, and refuse (or say "not right now") projects that may undermine these goals.
Create key results by asking the following questions:
- In the coming quarter, what are three to five goals I can achieve that will demonstrate progress toward my objectives?
- What is the accuracy of this measurement?
- Do I have the option to measure this with a real number (and not a percentage)?
- What specific contribution does this result make towards its goal?
- Do you have a clear understanding of what success looks like in your team/department/company? (for instance, how MQLs are constituted)
Key results that are GOOD:
- Approval of three OKRS by the executive
- 5 lifecycle stages you can effectively measure
- Publish three newsletters via email
- Provide marketing CRM training to five members of the team
- A 20 to 30 fold increase in MQLs gained from inbound marketing
Here are some examples of BAD keys results:
- A better understanding of brands
- Earn 50% of the keywords ranking in the search engines
- Engage in customer interactions that lead to MQLs
- Make a new website available
- Ninety percent of the inquiries you receive are responded within 24 hours
The final step is to document how you will achieve your objectives and key results. Your OKR strategy will be broken down into more specific steps called actions (or initiatives).
Despite being very tactical, actions don't necessarily need to be as specific as your key results. No specific numbers (or minimums or maximums) are used for the actions you can have. You might consider these steps the necessary steps towards achieving your goals.
Creating actions requires questions like these:
- What will I do to achieve this goal?
- In order to meet my key results throughout the quarter, what are the milestones I must set?
- Do I have a chance of achieving my key results without this action?
Actions to consider:
- Until this date, draft OKR proposals
- The campaign plan of this individual should be approved
- Keeping CRM data clean
- Create a strategy for SEO research
Resources you may find useful
The OKR strategy is a simple and exceptionally effective tool you can use to instruct your team to focus on what matters, to turn down requests that compete with your main objectives, and to achieve big tasks that affect revenue.
In summary, this framework will make your business more successful by making your team more effective (while giving you credit for your efforts).
The construct of an OKR strategy may seem simple at first, but it can be a challenge to distill everything you're doing into these measures. Throughout this article, we will detail the true marketing OKR definition to get you started. Now that you know what does OKR stands for, don't be afraid to elevate your marketing team, and achieve greater marketing success. Take a look!
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