Setting clear, specific goals can be a key contributor to successful business development. Goals contextualize and elevate your perception of to day-to-day circumstances. Without them, you can easily find yourself reacting to conditions as they occur, not knowing when to pivot or course-correct. By default, those who do not set goals fall into an expectation of incremental improvement, where they assume that as long as they did better than last year, they must be on track. But taking a strategic, proactive approach to business development will allow you to optimize your potential according to a vision of the future, not just a reflection of the past. It will also help you re-evaluate when your business results fail to meet your expectations.
Where Did Things Go Wrong?
Of course, any time you set a goal, you run the risk of falling short of it. This is why it’s important to take the time each year to think on the inefficiencies or missteps that were within your control, and the processes you can set in place next year to avoid such outcomes in the future. Failure is just feedback. The sooner you learn from it, the sooner you can benefit from it.
Expectations: Setting “stretch” goals can be effective, especially if you have an ambitious personality, but aiming too high in January can lead to disappointment in December. If you’re going to establish a set aggressive goals, pair them with acceptable fallbacks in case optimal circumstances don’t present themselves. That way you can still win, even if you don’t win big.
Execution: If you set realistic goals at the beginning of the year but still didn’t reach them, take the time to review performance by department with the appropriate parties to see where the issues were. If the shortfall pertained to top line growth, take a deeper look at marketing and sales initiatives.
External: Keep in mind that there may be factors outside your organization that contributed to missing annual business goals. In 2020, many businesses were unable to reach the goals they set due to the Covid-19 pandemic, rather than anything within their control. That said, the pandemic prompted many firms to pivot and optimize otherwise inefficient systems.
Getting it Right This Time Around
Measuring business success is not strictly an annual exercise. We’ve all seen the perfunctory partner business plans that get turned in (usually after the requested deadline) and ignored until it’s time to repeat the same exercise the following year. After establishing your annual business development strategy, it’s important to keep regular tabs on your sales funnel. Business sales dashboard software can help you monitor your progress and keep you on track to hit the goals you set this year.
Reviewing the status of your KPIs, and monitoring the new leads and sales that come in on a weekly and monthly basis will help you track toward your yearly business goals. Without this type of insight, you may be flying blind and losing out on a competitive advantage.