Ponder. Conspire. Digitize.

Any good digital strategist knows this. Setting clear goals is the first step to an effective go-to-market plan. If you don't know where you want to take your business, how can you build a practical roadmap? When making plans, you can only be strategic by setting clear goals first.

As one management consultant, said, "If you don't know your destination, you'll end up somewhere else." If you don't pick the desired outcomes and destination on your digital marketing "map," even great tools won't help you achieve what matters.

Practice a "goals first" approach. Proper goal setting is the foundation of any successful strategy. Many plans fail because of poorly conceived goals. Spend serious time getting clear goals to set your organization up for success.

How to get started?

The first question any team should ask when developing their go-to-market strategy is: what exactly are we trying to accomplish?

When setting goals, consider what you want and how you will achieve them. Define the system and process, not the result. For example, the goal isn't to "increase sales" but "generate $1M in sales."

When establishing goals, it's important to consider short-term and long-term objectives. Don't focus goals on a single quarter; look out 1-2 years. This helps provide strategic direction and motivation.

Data should also influence your goal setting. Have you analyzed industry benchmarks, customer surveys or tested new initiatives? Leveraging data means the goals will be grounded in reality versus plucked from the air. Facts before feelings, as they say!

Also, don't forget qualitative goals. These include developing leadership skills or improving company culture. You cannot measure everything quantitatively. Balancing both hard numbers and softer aspects leads to well-rounded growth. 

When setting goals, keep them simple. Focus on the business's main needs. Complex goals with many moving parts will be challenging to track and achieve. To avoid confusion, I recommend at most five goals.

Get Collaborative 

Participation is a crucial factor. When people help determine the goals, they feel invested in achieving them. Look for ways to get input from frontline teams, not executives. Collaboration over dictation will boost buy-in.

Goals also need buy-in from leadership. One of my clients spent months developing tactics. They did this before they defined goals with the CEO. The road mapping was a waste of time. The detailed planning didn't fit the company's needs. Big mistake! Make sure executives understand and support the goals. They will allocate the resources needed to execute any plan.

Don't forget to cascade goals throughout the organization. Once you have the five primary goals, you may want to identify 3-to 5 sub-goals or objectives.


My favorite goal-setting recommendation is to make your goals SMART. SMART means specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

Here is an example of a SMART goal for a B2B SaaS startup focused on increasing trial conversions:

Specific: Convert 15% of visitors to our free trial within 30 days

  • Measurable: Track conversion rate from visitor to trial start in Google Analytics

  • Achievable: Based on benchmarks from competitors and internal testing

  • Relevant: Trials are key to demonstrating product value and closing paid deals

  • Time-Bound: Target to be achieved within the next 90 days

By aligning their marketing tactics, such as content, ads, and on-site optimizations, directly with this goal, the team has a clear priority filter for all work. We can deprioritize anything that does not support this goal.

Measure Success 

Identify key performance indicators (KPIs) needed to help measure progress. They help turn high-level goals like "increase website traffic" into specific dimensions. You can track these. For example, "pages/session" or "average time on site."

With clear KPIs, evaluating what is and isn't working to achieve the goals will be possible. First, without goals, how can an organization prioritize and set success criteria? The goals and KPIs must work hand in hand.

The journey starts with clarity of purpose and direction. Spend the time needed upfront to define your goals and KPIs.

Staying Agile 

Once you get things rolling, revisit your strategy every three months. Make any needed changes. Sometimes our tactics don't work. No shame in that game. Use data from your KPIs to stay agile in your planning. Look back on the quarter to see what did and did not bring you closer to your goal. Keep the things that worked; kill the things that didn't.

Leverage AI for Planning 

As a final recommendation, use visualization tools when planning and finalizing the goals. Being able to see them mapped out increases understanding.

Advanced planning tools have AI capabilities. They can also help streamline goal-setting and strategy development. For example, the Miro Smart Goal Template includes tips. It also has integrations that can save time. Its digital workspace is collaborative. It makes it easy for distributed teams to weigh in.

We hope these perspectives are helpful as you continue developing strategic plans. We love a good goal-setting brainstorming session. Even with all the good advice, an outside perspective can help get the creative juices flowing. If your team needs help, you can book a planning session with us (the first one is free). Learn more about our goal-setting workshops.