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How To Align Your Business Goals With An Inbound Marketing Strategy

inbound marketing business goals

If you are to build a successful Inbound marketing campaign which will deliver results and Return on Investment, it is essential that defined, realistic goals are set and aligned against financial targets.

If financial goals are unclear and lead generation targets are undefined, the campaign won’t deliver. But how do you know how many Inbound leads you need to reach your financial targets and provide real ROI? How do you align your business goals with your Inbound Marketing strategy?

Inbound Marketing ROI Calculators can be used to streamline this process and simplify the calculations. But whether you choose to use a calculator or not, you will need to begin with accurate, historical data to ensure realistic projections.  

To map financial goals to realistic lead generation targets, you will need to know:

  • Your revenue target
  • Your average order value
  • The percentage of your total revenue target which you will attribute to Inbound marketing
  • Timescale (years) - that you want to achieve your revenue target in
  • The length of your sales cycle (in months) - the average time it takes to convert an order from initial contact
  • Sales channel contribution % split - How will you split your digital channels? (organic, paid, social, referral)
  • Typical conversion rates for each channel - At what rate does each of those channels typically convert for you?

How To Align Inbound Marketing Goals To Your Business Goals

  1. Define Your Revenue Targets

When planning an Inbound campaign, first define your overall yearly revenue target figure. This figure is directly linked to your lead generation target, and will be affected by your retention rates and average order value.

Once you know your revenue target, you also need to consider:

  • The type of leads you need to gain more of (your buyer personas)
  • The products or services you want to sell to those best-fit customers
  • The value of those products/ services
  • Your average order value, and lifetime value of your best-fit customers

By looking at the demographics, preferences, challenges and lifetime value of your current best-fit customers, you can then establish how many new, similar customers you will need to generate to achieve your revenue target.

2. Use Your Sales Cycle Length To Identify Timescales

What timescale is required to acquire new customers, and achieve that revenue target?

Base your projections on historical data and consider the length of your typical sales cycle.  It is important that you match your revenue target timescales with your historical conversion rates. Be realistic - the length of your sales cycle will have a major impact on the number of customers you can hope to convert in a given length of time and will also allow you to allocate marketing and sales resources more accurately.

3. Determine What Percentage Of Total Revenue Your Inbound Campaign will be Responsible For

Will Inbound form the entirety of your marketing activity and therefore be responsible for your total revenue target? Or do you have other marketing strategies in place?

If Inbound is only one part of your strategy, you need to decide what percentage of your revenue target the campaign will be responsible for. This percentage will affect your lead generation targets, conversion goals and timescales, so must be defined at the outset of the campaign to manage internal expectations.

Try the Strategic Inbound marketing ROI calculator to determine your own campaign goals.

4. What are Your Conversion Rates Through the Different Stages Of The Sales Funnel?

Now that you have determined what revenue percentage your Inbound marketing campaign has to achieve, and the number of customers your campaign must generate, you need to determine:

  • The level of site traffic you need - and how much of that traffic will convert into leads
  • The number of leads you need to generate - and know what percentage of those will be MQLs (marketing qualified, good-fit leads)
  • The number of MQLs you need - and know the percentage of those that will become SQLs (Sales qualified, or purchase ready leads)
  • The number of SQLs you need - and know the percentage of these that will convert to customers  

As you can see, understanding your conversion ratios between each lead stage will define the total number of lead opportunities you need at the top of the funnel (and the level of site traffic you need to generate to convert enough leads) to result in enough customers (and revenue) at the bottom.

inbound sales targets aligned with lead generation goals

5. How To Attribute Each Digital Channel Source

Once you know your ideal persona, and how many leads you need to attract to achieve your goals, you must decide which digital channels will be responsible for generating them.

During persona development you will have defined where your ideal buyers are active online. Channel attribution is very important as different digital channels (organic, email, social, paid, referral) will deliver differing qualities of lead.

Budget, sales cycle, conversion rates and staff allocation will also come into the equation.  For example, if you find that paid channels deliver a high percentage of MQLs vs. a low percentage from organic search, you can attribute a greater percentage of your resources to the channels expected to produce the best quality leads. To avoid wasted budget, your marketing channel mix must be well balanced. Budget must also be allocated across all Buyer’s Journey stages. Keep in mind how long it takes a lead to become an SQL within the total sales cycle length to ensure your campaign stays on track.

Realistic Planning For Inbound Campaign Success

Correct alignment of goals and marketing strategy will produce a successful, data-driven campaign which can realistically achieve goals.

Without this step at the planning stage, targets, expectations and all further activity will be hampered. But by defining your business goals and financial targets, and aligning them with Inbound out the outset, realistic lead generation and ROI will be the result.