Most of the B2B SaaS marketing teams we work with at Kalungi use a quarterly based priority system for their marketing goals.
If they don't, we recommend they start using one to monitor and evaluate progress over time.
We use "Objectives and Key Results" (OKRs). These are easy to understand and learn, and other management systems like Traction/EOS (based on the Rockefeller Habits) use a similar Quarterly Focus (i.e. Quarterly Big Rocks).
Changing your B2B marketing OKRs every quarter works well in startups, where the company will change a lot in a year, and annual goals are just too far away.
OKR stands for objectives and key results, but also includes one unmentioned element: the actions you'll take to accomplish your key results and objectives. When you create B2B marketing OKRs for yourself, consider the following:
Tools like Weekdone are great to track OKRs and the weekly execution of Initiatives. When you just get started though, a simple list in a Google Doc or spreadsheet that can be easily shared with the team works well too. Keep it simple! Don't get bogged down in process, get frustrated, and abandon the effort.
We recommend having a weekly marketing dashboard with rows and metrics that are the same as the Key Results on the OKRs (in addition to other meaningful Marketing KPIs).
Here is an example list of OKRs for a typical B2B SaaS marketing leader (or team). The bullets under the "Key Results" are Initiatives to achieve the Key Results. You will have to change these if they don't deliver the outcomes you want.
OKRs will help you stay focused. They will help you say "No" to the right things so you have time to do what's most important. Pick a few things that matter. ID metrics that reflect success. Say no to everything else.
When writing your OKRs, start with analyzing what you spend most of your time on and make sure your OKRs reflect this. If the list of OKRs and Initiatives gets to long, you know that you're not focused on getting the most important things done.
Avoid metrics that quantify progress; focus only on metrics that reflect actual impact that’s core to the business. Key results are what matters. Your actions are only as good as the impact they have on outcomes that you are focused on. Avoid metrics that show you’re busy but which are not connected to the outcomes your team wants to achieve.
Having goals improves performance. Spending a lot of time cascading goals up and down the company to align, does not. It takes too much time and it’s too hard to make sure all the goals line up (and keep them aligned).
Use your OKRs in your weekly team meetings (make them part of your dashboard) and check-ins with team members. We like to at least do an OKR check-in once per month, and sometimes more often.