It may seem silly, but business and sport are much the same — everyone works together to achieve a common goal. But when those goals aren’t clearly defined, things can get murky. With SMART goals and initiatives, teams can streamline their productivity and in turn improve performance. In other words, it’s easy to score when the team is running in the same direction.
But what exactly is a SMART goal? And what are some examples of SMART goals? Learn about the SMART framework with examples that can be used within your organisation to win that championship trophy.
What are SMART goals?
SMART isn’t just an adjective — it’s also an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. For a professional goal to be SMART, it must meet all five of these criteria points.
Broad goals are fine, but if you want real results, it’s specificity that lets the team know what to focus on. Tread carefully — you never want a SMART goal to be too specific that it becomes unattainable.
Good SMART goals are always measurable. What’s the point in setting a goal without the ability to measure your progress or success?
Aspirations are great, but at the end of the day it’s important to be realistic about the goals we are setting. Can your team actually score 20 points per game?
We’re talking big-picture thinking. Ask yourself, ‘Why am I setting this goal?’ and ‘Will it deliver success in the long term?’.
Deadlines aren’t as stressful as they seem. Time is money, so in order to track progress on your goal, you’ll need to have a start and end date.
We go into even more depth on SMART goals in our guide on making goals bottom-up.
What’s the point of SMART goals in business?
It’s all about streamlining. Goal setting is most effective when everyone’s working toward a common target. When you set professional SMART goals, you’re not only making your goals clearer but also more approachable. Goals — whether they are professional or personal — are much harder to achieve if they aren’t specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound (SMART).
Setting SMART goals is essential for many reasons, but it all comes down to achieving your business dreams. An organisation implementing SMART goals may see benefits in four key areas:
1. Increased visibility
For a team to succeed, a shared vision is essential. By creating visibility, SMART goals align team members and provide meaning to everyday tasks.
2. Improved decision-making
SMART goals bring order to your to-do list by asking you to prioritise tasks by importance and deadline, simplifying the decision-making process.
3. Faster progression
It’s simple — SMART goal-setting propels you forward by creating a vision. Achievable, time-sensitive goals motivate teams, improving collaboration and reducing time-wasting activities.
4. Better time management
When SMART goals are broken down into tasks, managers have more insight into teams' workflow, allowing for gaps to be filled and more effective time management.
What are some examples of SMART goals for work?
Now that you understand the ins and outs of SMART goals for work and why they are necessary to succeed, here are some SMART goals examples to set you off on the right foot.
1. Customer Success SMART goal example
General goal: Improve customer satisfaction
SMART goal: Improve CSAT and NPS scores by 10% each by Q2.
- Specific — Improve CSAT and NPS scores by 10%
- Measurable — Build up CSAT score from 25% to 35% and NPS score from +50 to +60
- Achievable — We have previously increased these scores by 7%, so a 10% improvement seems possible
- Relevant — Our broader goal is to improve sales, and customer retention will help us do so
- Time-bound — Improve scores by Q2
2. Mobile app SMART goal example
General goal: build a mobile app
SMART goal: Build a fitness class app and achieve 2,000 installs within three months of the December launch.
- Specific — Launch mobile app for fitness class sign-up
- Measurable — Achieve 2,000 installs within three months of launch
- Achievable — Dev, design, content and marketing teams have signed off on this project
- Relevant — Our broader goal is to increase sign-ups, and a mobile app will help us do so
- Time-bound — Launch the app by December
3. SEO SMART goal example
General goal: boost our website traffic
SMART goal: Increase organic traffic by 25% in the next 3 months
- Specific — Increase organic traffic
- Measurable — We're targeting a 25% increase that can easily be measured
- Achievable — There should be a budget and enough resources to achieve said goals
- Relevant — Our broader goal is to convert visitors into shoppers, and more traffic will help us do so.
- Time-bound — We have 3 months to achieve this goal
4. Business SMART goal examples
General goal: Launch in the European market
SMART goal: 10% of our new revenue should be coming from Europe by end of the quarter
- Specific — New revenue should be coming from Europe
- Measurable — 10% of the revenue
- Attainable — 10% should be an achievable number given the commitment in resources
- Relevant — Increasing revenue is relevant for the business
- Time-bound — This should happen by the end of the quarter
5. Social media SMART goal examples
General goal — Grow social media presence.
SMART goal — Grow social media presence by 30% by reaching 10,000 followers on Instagram by June 30.
- Specific — Grow social media presence by 30%
- Measurable — Reach 10,000 followers on Instagram
- Attainable — Target Instagram, where our target demographic is most active
- Relevant — Improve social media presence to generate more leads
- Time-bound — 10,000 followers by June 30
6. Leadership SMART goal examples
General goal: Improve employee relations and office morale.
SMART goal: Boost team morale by spending $1,000/month for three months on team-building activities
- Specific — Boost team morale in the office after two years of working from home due to the pandemic
- Measurable — Spend $1,000/month on team-building activities. Conduct weekly one-on-one meetings with staff
- Attainable — Plan activities in advance and set them during office hours
- Relevant — Encourage social activities to improve morale
- Time-bound — Spend three months on these new initiatives before evaluating them through an anonymous feedback survey
7. Marketing SMART goal examples
General goal: Increase traffic to the website.
SMART goal: Generate revenue by increasing the number of visits to our landing page by 15% by EOFY.
- Specific — Increase the number of visits to our landing page to generate revenue.
- Measurable — See a 15% improvement in website traffic.
- Attainable — Ensure the marketing department has the capacity.
- Relevant — Increasing visits to the landing page ensures more conversions.
- Time-bound — 15% more site visits by EOFY.
8. Sales SMART goal examples
General goal: Reduce Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC).
SMART goal: Reduce CAC from $1,200 to $800 by the end of the quarter
- Specific — We're targeting the Customer Acquisition Cost
- Measurable — We want to reduce CAC by $400
- Attainable — We should have validated that $400 is an achievable number for our market
- Relevant — Better CAC means more leads with the same budget
- Time-bound — The goal is to complete this by the end of the quarter
9. Retention SMART goal examples
General goal: Reduce churn rate.
SMART goal: Increase customer retention rate by 10% in the next quarter by improving the quality of the product
- Specific — Increase customer retention rate
- Measurable — 10% customer retention rate increase
- Attainable — We should have identified key improvements that can lead to an increase in retention
- Relevant — Better retention means more revenue for the business
- Time-bound — 10% customer retention rate increase by the end of next quarter
How to track SMART goals at work
Using the SMART way to write goals will bring a lot of clarity to your company and team goals. It's a method that you can also use for writing your KPI targets, but it can also help you write effective OKRs.
Now, the question is: how do you keep track of progress?
You'll most likely start with a spreadsheet, but what you really need is the ability to:
- See progress trends
- Identify issues early
- Be able to capture feedback
- Connect your goals to your work
The screenshot above shows you a week-by-week progress on a goal. The team has been able to identify the stalling risk early thanks to the progress chart, and they can now work on recovering growth before it's too late.
What's next? SMART goals and AI
Thanks to the new progress in artificial intelligence, you can now generate hundreds of relevant SMART goals using AI.
Check it out, and don't forget that setting goals is only 50% of the job! You still need to keep an eye on progress to make sure that you're on track.