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Setting Goals for Your Sales and Marketing

Have you looked at your goals lately? More important, are you following through on them?
Magazine Contributor
4 min read

This story appears in the February 2002 issue of Subscribe »

Each year about this time, I go through a family ceremony to make sure I'm on the right track. I call this a "goal-setting session," where we get together with co-workers, friends and family members and evaluate our results from last year. After reflecting on our successes and failures, we decide what we want to accomplish for the upcoming year.

You may be familiar with this type of thing. The most common system for setting effective goals utilizes the SMART model. Using the five checkpoints in the model is supposed to help you set goals that you will actually follow through on and achieve. If you set a SMART goal, it means the goal you set was Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and had a set Time frame for accomplishment.

To ensure success is in your future, keep your goals in sight. Read "On the Horizon."

However, there is a big difference between setting the goals and achieving them. Achieving the goal is much like getting a combination lock to open: You first must know the correct numbers, yet more important, you must know the sequence in which those numbers are entered.

The Numbers Are Right, But You Can't Open the Lock
Your outcomes are the connecting link between setting your goals and achieving them. If you know what you want, you have the numbers you need to open the lock. Now it's time to learn the sequence of events required to reach your goal. To reach your SMART goals, follow this simple formula:

  • In every situation, decide what your best possible outcome would be.
  • Take massive action toward that result.
  • Recognize what the actual outcome of the action was.
  • Evaluate the outcome. Ask yourself whether it got you closer to your goal.
  • Learn from the outcome. Continue to take the same action, or change or alter your approach to improve your result.
Check out some of the free and low-cost tools available from matter what your goal, you're bound to find a tool to help you.

Paying attention to a "BPO," or best possible outcome, in everything you do provides the information you need to change your approach for your next attempt. BPOs can be applied to every part of your life, including your sales and marketing efforts. Before you meet with your next customer, ask yourself, "What would be the best possible result of this call?" If you're sending an e-mail, what is it specifically that you want the recipient to do as a result of reading the message? If you're designing a Web page or thinking about how to market your products or services, what specific action is required to move to the next step of the sales process? If you're talking to a co-worker or employee, ask yourself what the outcome of the conversation should be.

As you start to learn from your results and focus on a BPO in everything you do, you'll quickly find which steps work and which don't. Each time, you'll learn a little more about the sequence or steps required to meet your objective. In each attempt, you get closer to finding the right combination for your success.

In everything you do, there are always three possible outcomes: the result you prepared for, the result you actually got and the result you should have gotten. My BPO is that you try to apply these steps to your promotional and sales efforts and that they help you achieve your goals.

James Maduk is one of North America's leading sales speakers. He is the host of the "Small Business Heroes" radio show, creator and publisher of more than 80 online sales training courses, and author of 52 Secrets Your Mom Never Taught You About Selling. You can reach James at (613) 825-0651 or visit his Web site at

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