What to do if You Didn't Hit Your Goals.

5 min read
December 20, 2021

As disappointing as it may be, not meeting your goals is a normal part of the 

process. We learn from our mistakes and improve our techniques and skills along the way. So no need to feel badly about goals that were not met, it just means you have learned something and are ready to adjust your practices for the future. A failed goal usually does not mean the entirety of the goal was a failure, sometimes only one factor, such as the timing, was off. In figuring out your new goals the most important and most extensive step is taking a look back at the failed goal and carefully assessing what was successful and what was detrimental to meeting the objective. 


Evaluate the structure of the goals


There are many different types of goals and goal structures, but the goal structure that I believe to be most successful, especially with inbound marketing, is SMART goals. In short, SMART goals stands for Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Timely. By including these attributes to your goals they are more likely to be successful. If you would like to know more about SMART goals, how they work and how to create them for yourself then I recommend reading my blog on creating SMART goals for legacy crm. We also provide a free download of our SMART goals template. By converting your regular goals to SMART goals, you will, by the nature of creating the SMART goal, think about what it is you have to do in order to accomplish the goal. 


If your failed goals were SMART goals, then it is important to re-evaluate if your SMART goal truly satisfied each of the attributes. Was your goal truly specific? Or was it specific about its objective and not the process it needs in order to be executed. Was your goal actually actionable? Did you actually have the manpower to complete the goal in a realistic sense? Was the goal actually timely? Or was there simply not enough time allotted in order to reach the goal. While SMART goals are a great guide, it is important to keep in mind that they are not an exact science. Some of the attributes are pretty subjective. For instance,  what is “relevant” might differ from person to person. The best practice is to tweek the parts of the goal that were not working and then try again, rather than just scrap the goal entirely.  


Evaluate the execution of SMART goals.  

There are two parts to every goal, the plan and the execution. Both are equally important, but if just one fails then the entire goal is doomed. If you have a well planned out goal, that includes milestones, then the execution is simply following the steps. However, I know that it is sometimes not that simple. Speed bumps and roadblocks can slow progress. This is why assessing your actions periodically can help you adapt to any situation. 


Milestones are like mini goals within your goal. You will know that you are on your way to achieving your goal if you are reaching those milestones. Here is an example of milestones within a goal: We need to reach a 50% greater open rate within 3 months, in one month we want to achieve a 20% greater open rate, by 2 months we want to achieve a 35-40% greater open rate. In order to achieve this goal, you are going to send emails with more eye-catching subject lines, remove contacts from mailing lists that have low-engagement, and you are going to send emails at a time that prospects are checking their inboxes. This is a great plan, but let's say by the first month you have only achieved a 10% open rate instead of your milestone of 20%. Now you will have to identify why you did not get that initial milestone. It’s important to assess at this stage rather than at the 3 month stage because the earlier you adjust the execution plan the more likely it is you will hit your original goal. There are many things that you could change at this stage, but I recommend only changing a few in order to determine what the problem is. You could change the time that you are sending the email, or you could work on creating even more engaging subject lines. By the second month, if you have achieved your milestone or if your rates improved, then you know what you need to work on in order to reach your goal by month three.   


If you have adjusted nearly every aspect of your execution plan, then perhaps the problem is not with the execution but with your expectations. Consider if you have allotted you and your team enough time to complete the goal, or if you have enough manpower to complete the foal within the timeframe set. It is also important to recognize if you have reached your goal in the future at your current pace. For instance, let’s say you would have reached a 50% greater email open rate at 4 months instead of 3. The problem is not your efforts, but rather your goal’s time frame.


Creating New SMARTGoals

When you eventually get to the point where you decide you need to set entirely new goals (it happens to everyone), know that you have the knowledge gained from past mistakes in order to make new and improved goals. While you may be feeling a little defeated, you are actually in a fantastic position to achieve your new goals. Your new goals will be structured by what you have learned does not work.  


When creating new goats, it can be easy to fall into writing the same goals over again with different wording. So in order to avoid this, you can create a list of reasons why your new goals are different from your old goals. One of the reasons should be that your goals are now smart goals, or they are better SMART goals. If your goal were not SMART goals previously, as I have emphasized, please make them SMART goals so that you can create achievable goals with an adequate time frame. I promise you will see the difference.  


If you had created SMART goals the first time, but not milestones that should also be one of your differences between the first goals and your new goals. Milestones are a very important aspect to goal making. Milestones measure progress and make sure that you are on your way to completing the goal in a timely fashion. Depending on your goal you will want to create 1-3 milestones. 3 milestones is for goals that are quite large and that also have a longer time frame. Feel free to create more than 3 milestones as well if it suits your goal and those who are pursuing the goal.  


Remember, that goal creation is very often a trial and error process. Making errors while either trying to achieve your goals or creating your goals is not what will determine your success, it is what you do after that will determine your success.

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