A mapped out, living, and breathing strategy is what distinguishes vision and illusion. This is why setting strategic objectives is the most crucial move for the future of your business. And in this article, we'll teach you how to project your vision from the mind's eye into concrete strategic objectives. So you can make your organization focus on a mutual goal with a sense of unity.
Here are the things we're going to talk about:
- What is a strategic objective?
- What is the purpose of strategic objectives?
- How to write a powerful strategic objective statement?
- Strategic objective examples for different focus areas.
What is a Strategic Objective?
Strategic objectives are manifestations of your vision that can help you achieve your future business goals. They are big goals that point out the vision of the leaders and managers inside an organization. Hence strategic objectives are higher-level statements and typically set quarterly or even for longer periods.
You may think of them as a compass that indicates where the organization should be heading. Anybody can hold this compass. It could be attained to an individual, team, or department in the organization.
In short, these are kinds of objectives that people talk about in board meetings. Maybe this example could highlight the importance of them better. Things are more tangible when you see them, so check the diagram below to understand the relationship between strategic objectives, focus areas and projects.
What is the purpose of strategic objectives?
There are three major purposes of strategic objectives.
1.To create a laser-focused team to achieve a mutual goal
When a strategic objective is clear and transparent, everyone will know what to do. Since the objective is bigger than its parts, this motive will bring people together and evoke a sense of unity.
2. To remove uncertainty
Having an end destination without a roadmap is a nightmare. In such cases, organizations are most likely to produce noise and ambiguity. The whole point of setting strategic objectives is to prevent that uncertainty. And thinking about "when and how?" beforehand.
3.To lay down a foundation for operational objectives
Operational objectives are smaller objectives that fall under strategic objectives. When you already have strategic objectives, all you need to do is create smaller (operational) steps to ensure you're in control and hit the goals.
How many strategic objectives should you have?
We think the answer depends on two things. (a) The size of your organization (b) the people around you. If you know your organization's capacity and limitations, you can set the right amount of goals.
It's crucial to find the sweet spot. Because if you set too many, you can end up exhausting your organization without hitting your goals. On the other hand, if you assign too few strategic objectives, the overall progress might be disappointing. A better approach is to count how many departments, managers and teams are present in the organization. And more importantly, to ask this question, "How many people can take responsibility and lead?". In our opinion, you can create a minimum of two and a maximum of five strategic objectives per each of your focus areas / departments.
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How to write a powerful strategic objective statement?
There are two qualities to write a great statement. It should be understandable by a 6th grader and should be easy to remember. And these conditions translate to a short sentence that contains no business jargon.
Here is the formula: Action + Focus + Due Date
And here is an example: Improve lead generation by 20% by the 22nd of September 2021.
You see, it's quite straightforward but contains all the information about what and when to do it. After setting these strategic objectives, all you need to do is create sub-projects to achieve your goals. If you want to create accurate and efficient steps/projects for your strategic objectives, you can check our gap analysis guide.
Examples of strategic objectives for five different departments.
There are countless strategic objectives for each department in your organization. Here we want to give you some of the most important objectives related to 5 common departments.
Strategic objectives for the marketing department
Increase brand awareness
You might have great products or services, but you don't exist if people don't know you. Regardless of what industry you're in, this is one of the universal objectives you should aim for. More awareness = more sales = more profits. Here are some articles that can help you:
- How a SaaS company generated 289 leads in two weeks.
- 7 actionable strategies for creating an inbound marketing content strategy
- eCommerce brand awareness – best practices and platforms
Decrease retention rate
Especially for SaaS companies, this is a holy metric. The goal is to make your users continue to use your app or service for longer periods.
Increase lead generation
A business without a solid lead generation strategy is as good as dead. The goal here is to keep your sales pipeline full by providing valuable content to your prospects. At GrowForce, we have many strategies to fire this particular strategic objective up. You can find some of the related articles below:
- 9 actionable Facebook marketing tips that only experts know
- How to find customers online using 20+ actionable strategies (on 5 platforms)
- 19 growth hacking examples that you can copy-paste
- How we generated 700+ leads on LinkedIn with zero budget.
Increase authority / be a thought leader
You can build authority by showing your expertise to your prospects on the right platforms. For B2B organizations, this platform could be LinkedIn. Meanwhile, for B2C, it could be Instagram. Find yours and grow your visibility to be recognized as an expert in your field.
If you want to promote your business on LinkedIn, these engagement tips and LinkedIn content marketing practices can speed up your process.
Enhance user experience
In the last decade, UX has become one of the most important aspects for businesses. Since your customers' expectations are set by the best brands (such as Apple, Google, Facebook) in the world, their experience threshold is quite high.
- Does your software have a confusing interface? You lost.
- Is your website loading 1 second later than average? You lost.
- Is the shopping experience on your site as not good as your competitor's? You lost.
As you see, this objective is worth leaning on.
Strategic objectives for the growth department
Investing in your employees to develop a specific skillset
In the last decade, roles have changed drastically. Everything is evolving at a breakneck speed, and roles are evolving too. Now, many roles require multiple skills. An extreme example of that would be a growth marketer role. Here are the skills needed for a senior position:
- Data analysis
- Graphic design
- Social advertising
- Content Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Marketing tools know-how
- Platforms know-how
- And many more.
Investing in your staff will always give you the best ROI. If you want to invest in your sales and marketing teams, you can check our 6-week growth marketing course.
Investing in tools to make your employees more productive
At GrowForce, we're using more than 70 marketing tools to automate daily tasks, track behaviors of our prospects or make operations easier. This gives our employees a remarkable amount of time to pay attention to business development, new ideas, or what matters most at that moment.
- You can take a look at our approach on Martech tools from this guide.
- Also, you can check this article to see the best 50 tools we personally used and reviewed.
Strategic objectives for the finance department
Diversify revenue streams
Depending on a single product, service or customer is extremely risky for organizations. Therefore, to manage the risk, many set goals to discover new streams of income, create new products or expand to new markets. The end goal is to create a diverse and stable portfolio that gives you 8-hours of wakeless sleep.
Create a budget for growth needs
This is especially crucial for innovative industries and startups. When it's time, breakthroughs or innovations may need a remarkable amount of budget. Here the finance department should be prepared to support the growth through different channels.
Strategic objectives for the IT department
Improved data quality
The quality of the data affects the quality of your data products. These products could be your marketing campaigns, developments, or major decisions within your company. So this is a crucial one for the IT department.
I think all business people know how dangerous a leak could be. It could literally destroy your assets, reputation, or even individual careers. If you think you're missing some points, definitely an area you should focus on.
Strategic objectives for the HR department
Develop or improve the recruitment process
Especially important for growing companies. HR needs to have a continuous stream of candidates, as well as, a strategy and toolset to handle the recruitment process. Every year, we see innovations and new tools in this recruitment area, so this objective is always viable.
Empower the culture / Or develop one
The culture of a company is a powerful asset. It can make work-life more meaningful for your employees and give them a sense of belonging. Happiness at work can only deliver goodness to your business: whether it's profit or satisfaction.
Strategic Objectives for Customer Service
Improve customer satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is a crucial objective, especially for B2C and SaaS products. Problems or questions will inevitably arise, but if you focus on developing an excellent customer support team, then you can transform these problems into a great asset for your company.
Invest in customer management technology and tools
As we mentioned earlier, tools can make everything easier and more efficient for your customer support team. If you're going to focus on your customer service muscles, you should consider adopting the latest CRM (customer management system), live chat/call, recording, or tracking tools.
The next steps to build a better strategy
Here we are, I hope this article will help you write your own strategic objectives.
These objectives will be the milestones of your business strategy. Once you write them down, don't stop there. Make sure to create the next steps to reach your objectives. Since you won't be able to close a quarterly gap with a huge step, we encourage you to create smaller projects and set your key performance indicators (KPIs) to hit your goals. In fact, you can use our gap analysis template to learn how to bridge the gap between your current state and future goals.
See you around!