You feel like you're delivering for your client but they seem to be consistently unhappy with the results.
You crunch the performance data which seems to only confuse you more.
How can you deliver what, to you, feel like great results just to hear the client tell you that they expect more?
As a marketer, I've found myself in this situation more than once and every time it came down to goal setting. You can deliver 100 leads per month and if the client expects 200, then to the client, you're not meeting the objective.
If helping clients is our goal, we need to not only understand their business goals, but we need to set agreed-upon goals with them upfront in order to achieve the desired outcome.
Here are five reasons you must implement a goal-setting process with a customer any time you're doing client work.
This seems obvious, I know. But you can never assume you know your client's goals.
In my line of work, one of our main services is SEO. We help rank clients rank well on Google so customers can find them. But that is never their ultimate goal.
What they usually want are leads that they can turn into business.
However, even that is not the whole objective.
How many leads do they want and how frequently? From what area? From which demographics? Are they looking to expand their service area?
You must be aligned from the beginning or you'll be spinning your wheels.
Setting goals provides a baseline for progress in your client's business. Past performance within your client's business is not always visible. We rely on our customers to be transparent.
Of course, without a baseline, we have no idea if we are making a difference and making progress towards the desired outcome.
Helping clients is your business. Leave no doubt in their minds that working with you is a step in the right direction.
Clear goal setting fosters collaboration between you and your clients by giving both parties a shared understanding of what needs to be accomplished.
Without realistic goals, miscommunication and misunderstanding can occur, leading to a breakdown in the relationship.
Any achievable goal is only achievable with client buy-in. After all, they are the ones who ultimately run the business.
Meaningful goals create a roadmap. When you can see the path you can identify potential roadblocks or barriers.
By anticipating these challenges, strategies can be developed to overcome them and keep clients on track.
Without clear, realistic goals, identifying challenges becomes more difficult, as there is no clear benchmark against which to measure performance.
In these scenarios you end up relying on guesswork or assumptions rather than hard data, leading to poor decision-making and ineffective strategies.
When clear and measurable goals (think SMART goals) are established, both clients and marketers are more accountable for achieving them.
Accountability can manifest in a variety of ways, including regular reporting, progress tracking, and ongoing communication to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Without goals, it's easy for either party to lose sight of what they're trying to accomplish, leading to a lack of accountability and responsibility and can lead to scope creep in projects.
Set Goals for Success
The bottom line is that if you start a client relationship without a clear goal, there will be problems. When you and the client shoot at different targets it will be very difficult to achieve client success.