Welcome back to the Inbound Reporting podcast, HubSpot Academy's miniseries covering the ins and outs of good reporting behaviors.

Here, your hosts, Jorie Munroe and Nakul Kadaba, will talk to the experts about how to set yourself up for success when it comes to the flywheel, goals, reporting, and everything in between.

In this episode, join us as we chat with Academy's Certification & Credential Program Strategist, Julien Clement. Together, we discuss the anatomy of a good business goal and common pitfalls you may face when setting meaning ones. Check out the entire episode below.

Prefer to listen? We've got you covered. 

Each episode will be uploaded to this SoundCloud playlist, so make sure to bookmark and like it so you can stay up-to-date:

 

That was a lot of content to cover! Let's talk next steps:

  • Still wondering where to start? Check out the lesson above on setting inbound business goals. 
  • Looking to be more data driven with your business goals? Check out the Inbound Smarketing calculator! Email us at inboundreporting@hubspot.com if you are looking for feedback on your business goals.
  • Let's discuss! Stay up-to-date on all areas of inbound reporting and engage with other listeners of the series in the HubSpot Community.

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Podcast Transcript

Prefer a quick skim? Not a problem! Check out the transcript for the episode below! 

- And we're back. Hi, everybody, my name is Nakul Kadaba. This is episode three of the Inbound Reporting Podcast. And today, we are talking about goals.

- Goals.

- Goals.

- I meant in like a soccer way, like goals.

- Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Cool.

- Whew, not that one, okay.

- That's great. Do you support any team?

- No, not at all. I don't even. I know that there's one in Manchester. That's it. That's the level.

- That's my club team.

- Oh, so, see, great minds.

- Daggers.

- We digress, we digress. Today we are talking about goals. Business goals, not the soccer goal. So like I said, my name is Nakul Kadaba, and with me is my cohost, the lovely

- Jorie Munroe

- All right.

- And I am an Inbound professor with HubSpot Academy, and today we're actually joined with an exciting, behind-the-scenes, superhero of HubSpot Academy, Julien Clement. Okay, I'm gonna let you introduce yourself. Go.

- Yeah. Julien Clement, I work on our certification program, working on credentialing and figuring out a way that we can get education in the hands of more people through credentials and have it be something that people can put on their resume, something that they can learn from. So all that cool jazz.

- Love that.

- That's great.

- So, for those of you that don't know, Julien is like one of the cogs in the machine that makes the certifications happen at all, so behind the scenes, working in the learning center, making sure our content goes live on time, and is accessible to many of our users, both– nationally is not the word– domestically and internationally. So that's who we have the pleasure of talking to today. So just to do a slight recap, we've talked about the flywheel. We've had Kyle Nadriti on, talking about the ins and outs of using the flywheel, implementing the flywheel, what the flywheel even is, and really how it's different from the funnel. So as step two, if you will, of the Inbound Reporting framework, we're gonna dive into goals today, because, you know, goals are really that kind of connective force that really tie the sort of high level abstract of the flywheel to the actual actions that your business is taking to grow sustainably as a business. So we're gonna dive into the nitty gritty of goal setting. And really just go from there.

- Yeah, no, yeah, yeah, no, exactly.

- Did you have anything?

- Yeah, yeah, no, I did. Yeah, that was a good way to kind of bring it about, right? You know, how do you end up measuring your progress to better understand your business model, i.e., your flywheel, right? That's where goals come in, right? Where they're pretty easy to understand at face value, and we're gonna ask Julien in a minute a bunch of questions, put him on the spot about how he does it with his team and beyond that. But the difficult to scale engaging when you're thinking, if you're leading x number of teams, if you're in charge of x number, several products. If you're taking into account different parts of your business model, that you've gotta say, I need one central business goal, or I need a definable set of metrics all lining up to that business goal. So Jorie, you know, Julien, you may not know, audience probably doesn't know, I'm a bit of a math nerd, so.

- Yes.

- Yes.

- Can confirm, math nerd.

- Yeah, so typically, and my customers will definitely be annoyed when they hear this, because I've done it with several of them, if not all of them at some point, where I think about it in terms of an algebraic equation to calculate one's business goal.

- Oh, God.

- Where y equals, wait for it, y is that business goal, that quantifiable figure, whether it's revenue, number of leads, market penetration.

- Okay.

- What have you. We'll get into the examples later. And then you have your x sub one, x sub two, x sub three, so on and so forth, those are your different metrics that you can differentiate by team, right. And that's really, at least from a service's point of view, or at least from my point of view, and easy way to say, great, if I'm talking to sales, service, and marketing all at once, well, x sub one goes to service, x sub two goes to sales, x sub three goes to marketing, all adding up to y, which is that overall business goal.

- And when you're talking about this, they're like, I can't believe this is the guy that does math in his head on a call. That's what, as a customer, I'm like, this is what I was talking about.

- You have no idea how unrealistically accurate that is.

- I can see it.

- It really is really accurate.

- You said algebra and I glazed over. Like flashbacks of high school, just horror film.

- I'm a math nerd too.

- Yeah, see, look at that.

- Okay.

- He identified.

- Yes, I identified. I get it, I get it.

- So great.

- I feel like your face lit up, Julien, when he was like "algebraic equation." You were like ding!

- I was like, oh, you're gonna do mx plus b?

- Yeah, yeah, right.

- Like, what is it?

- It's close to that.

- Grabbed the attention.

- But, I mean, that's why we wanted to bring Julien on, right? Because that may not be the only way to calculate it, right? That's my preferred way. You know, sometimes, though, as I've talked to customers, Jorie, I'm sure as you've talked to customers, they calculate it in a different way. They may have a different version to show it. Some people, and even just the types of business schools themselves, some might be revenue oriented, some may be customer success oriented, some may be growth oriented, so not necessarily tied to a monetary figure, but number of leads produced, increase in market penetration, share. Customer success can be satisfaction, right, usage.

- And I feel like what I've seen a lot, too, is it's not just what types of goals. I feel like I have the fortune or misfortune, if you will, of seeing when goals go wrong so many times. So it's not so much always what type of goal are you setting? It's like, you set a goal, never looked at that goal, kept it in a dusty box until the quarter was out, and then you're realizing you're tracking the wrong things.

- Did we achieve that?

- But you need to take that goal to your higher up and say how you performed against it. So I've seen goals go wrong more often than not. Or it's like, goals are treated as something like, if you're an individual contributor, you don't really pay attention to, you just kind of stay in your silo, do your work, and then you go home for the day. So definitely interesting that there definitely are different business goals per customer, but I've just seen kind of the murky backside of the business goals, where they go wrong on a lot of my

- Yeah, similar to me, and then it goes into those different frameworks of the S.M.A.R.T goal method which HubSpot has definitely talked about quite a bit.

- So let's dig into that.

- Let's talk about that.

- I have tooth to pick. So I have an unpopular opinion at HubSpot.

- You said tooth to pick, I like that.

- Tooth to pick, is that different? She was talking about her dentist appointment earlier.

- Like bone to pick, tooth to pick.

- Oh, is it bone to pick?

- I think it could be two birds with one scone.

- Oh. It's bone to pick.

- It is bone to pick, but I liked [what you said], that's what I was saying.

- 'Cause like you have a toothpick.

- It makes sense.

- It's less invasive if it's a tooth versus a bone.

- Yeah, why do you pick your bones?

- Oh, 'cause like to eat.

- It's like eating, and it's not like human hand.

- Yeah, anyway.

- We digress, we digress.

- So, S.M.A.R.T goals. It's in Academy content, it's on the blog.

- It's a thing, it's a thing.

- It's like proliferated through our content, but, you know, I think S.M.A.R.T goals, they do have a place, especially if you've never set goals before. But I'm just not convinced that they are the be all, end all of strategies, even though we talk about them all the time as S.M.A.R.T goals, and Julien, I'm gonna let you dig into the logistics of S.M.A.R.T goals, 'cause I know this is something that you've talked about to the Academy team a lot, just in general. Give me the nitty gritty of S.M.A.R.T goals.

- I'd say that it's interesting, 'cause I think S.M.A.R.T goals, you probably see them more outside of the work realm, like where you have someone with a New Year's Resolution, and is like, I wanna lose 20 pounds by my wedding, or stuff like that.

- That's a good example.

- Things like that. And I feel like you see them a lot with food and health, things like that, but they're really applicable in business, especially when they're fitting into, I like to think of a more like project-based goals.

- Okay, love that. And now, could you remind me what S.M.A.R.T actually stands for?

- Oh, on the spot. Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely?

- Yeah.

- Time-based, but yeah, pretty much.

- Time-based, timely.

- Yeah, same thing. Well done.

- You got it.

- And so I feel like with S.M.A.R.T goals, they fit really nicely with project-based stuff.

- Sure.

- Okay.

- So you're setting out and you need to, I'll give it in context with certifications, launch a new certification. One of the S.M.A.R.T goals you may set is to get 1000 certifications in the first three months that this is live. And I think as you start to dig into these S.M.A.R.T goals, you realize how hard they are to set.

- Why?

- I think it's because traditionally, and in a lot of companies, data is buried. And so actually getting those numbers and having them be not just a guess and throwing something at the wall is really hard to do, so it's a matter of making sure that you have the either baseline or something that you're trying to achieve that is actually attainable, right, to the A part of S.M.A.R.T goals. So I think it's an interesting aspect to them, that can make them really hard, but when you do them right, and you, like you said, don't hide them, shove them away in a drawer, they can be really impactful.

- Yeah, so Jorie, I know, bringing this up, this was part of the lesson that you and I created, was it almost a year ago?

- It was.

- It was almost a year ago. Julien, you may remember this from, it was called Goal Setting Tips for Inbound Success.

- Oh yeah.

- Which will be in the lesson notes. We kinda hit on this, where there are some good places where S.M.A.R.T goals, that framework does work. And project orienting goals, I love the New Year's Resolution, that's a really good example of like, I'm going to lose this much, because it is specific, measurable, attainable.

- And it's a good example, also, because how many New Year's Resolutions work out?

- I don't know, actually, I've had a couple that worked out okay.

- So I tend to not do New Year's Resolutions, I don't know why. You know what it is, it's totally from this. I get frustrated with the amount of the people that go to the gym as their New Year's Resolution

- The worst.

- and it crowds the gym and then they're gone.

- In February.

- In a month.

- Literally.

- And you're like, yeah, good seeing you, too. But, yeah, I think it's a good one because it's very relatable to a lot of people.

- That's totally fair. We all set them, whether or not we all keep them, like me. Never, it never happens. None of the New Year's Resolutions I've ever set ever work out.

- Zero percent?

- Zero percent, zero for many.

- We're rooting for you.

- I am rooting for you, Jorie. I think you can get one.

- Maybe. I guess I have to start small.

- But we also talked about another framework in that lesson, which, and in Julien's world, the objective and key results framework on the OKR's.

- Julien, take it away.

- Yeah, let's hear it from your vantage point of what that is.

- So OKR's is objectives and key results. First time I heard about them was I read a book, Measure What Matters by John Doerr, and Google's used OKR's. In all honestly, if you use KPI's or OKR's, it's kinda the same thing.

- Interchangeable.

- Yeah. So for anyone out there, key performance indicator, KPI. I really like the OKR framework because it provides this link between this larger objective that you're trying to accomplish. And when you talk to businesses, and talk to people today, such a big part of it is, what's your mission? What's your mission as a business? What do you stand for? And I think an OKR is the objective, really, is that larger piece that connects to why people are sitting in that room with you today. And then that key results aspect of it is like, okay, how do we go out and tactically do this? And I think that's where the overlap between the S.M.A.R.T goals really comes in and it's that key result piece, because the key results need to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-based, but OKR says, hey, there's something bigger here that we have to tie it to, and that's why everyone's here working towards the same objectives.

- Totally.

- We had a similar, in our research before making that lesson and then obviously with the framework as well, we knew that this particular episode was gonna be someone contentious in the fact that not everybody uses the same framework, just saying. Even in the phrases, KPI's versus key results, interchangeable, right? And then even beyond S.M.A.R.T goals and OKR's there could be another framework that people use to measure their goals.

- Definitely, so Julien, I know this is something that I mean, you've taught Academy how to set these. You've run sessions on this.

- Pumping my tires over here, okay.

- But from your experience, so how long as you been on the Academy team?

- So I've been on the Academy team four years, I think. So I'm a dinosaur now, I guess, yeah.

- By HubSpot standards. And in that time, how have you seen implementing OKR's kind of change in those four years, or like, goal-setting in general? Walk me through that story.

- Yeah, we

- So when you started, what was the framework used?

- Oh man. I don't know, it wasn't good, though. And we kept it all in one Google sheet, that was an absolute nightmare of a mess to keep track of and you'd go in and accidentally delete someone's goal and they'd get all pissed and then look at the history, and then like, at that time it was HipChat, like HipChat you and be like, yo, you deleted my goal. So it wasn't very good. I would say about year and a half ago, two years ago, we really leaned into OKR's, and as we did it, one of the things we knew was that we have to make this easy for everyone on the team. It was a team of 15 or 20 people. Like, how do you make this easy for people to do and how do you make it so that they can properly measure it, 'cause that's one of the big things with these, is how do you look back and see, was it successful?

- Totally.

- And the way we kind of broke it down was that when you think about an objective, you really have the action verb, and then the detail of it. So you have, we want to increase, decrease, do whatever there, and then it's kinda like a what, why, where aspect of it, is like, are you increasing subscribers to your blog.

- Like your subject.

- Your why, right? So that was kind of how, at least, when I was trying to explain how we were gonna use it. For the objectives, it was like, all right, it breaks up into these two parts, and then for the key results, it's really, again, that action verb, which is grow, average, increase, decrease, then you kinda have that measurement aspect, which we've talked about, which is like, we want to increase the existing percentage of x, or we want to go from this number to this new number. And then that time to completion, by x date, or by x month, or end of the quarter.

- Right, right.

- Yeah, and so that was kind of how we ended up as a team breaking it out to make it easy, and to your original point, when we started doing that, it became clear that the way we were doing it before, we would just throw stuff around and see if it stuck and then when we came back, we'd be like, I don't even know why I set this number as my target. And so it was having the context to that, as well, which I think is really important, like, why did we come to this number? Why are we working toward this key result? That rolls up into the subject.

- So to kinda dig into that a little bit more, so when setting key results, what are some recommendations you might have for people trying to identify what metric to actually go after?

- Well, I think

- It obviously depends on the objective you're setting.

- Yeah, totally. I think the flywheel. Really dig into that. So you have your attract, engage, delight, where do you really need to focus your efforts in order to get the most return, not only for your business, but impact your customers the most. So I think that's a big way to think about it, is like, okay, do we need to increase supply at the top so that we can have more people to engage?

- Right.

- And so obviously it's a new concept to a lot of people, and people are traditionally thinking of it as like, let's think the funnel, but what happens is, if you can get people to that delight stage and you have goals set around that delight stage, that's what continues to spin, and you say, all right, we have all these promoters, and our goal was to get an MPS of 50, it falls in the delight stage, now those people that are promoting on G2 crowd or wherever it may be are actually feeding into the top level of your track stage, which you may have a goal to get 10,000 net new users.

- But again, removing friction or easing more force to keep it spinning, as you were.

- But I love that also kind of focus on vision-setting, almost, where it's like, if the flywheel and the goals set there, or the forces and frictions identified there are your north star, how are each of the teams using specific tactics to help increase or decrease those numbers, and you could almost roll that down to the individual, where it's like, you need to be able to identify what you're doing, what metrics that's actually helping impact, take that to the team level, and almost kind of like a step pyramid, be able to track how your action can actually impact your force or friction. So there's a hierarchy of the goal structure, when set like OKR's.

- Yeah, it's such a interesting thing, because I feel like a lot of times what gets lost is the individual contributor, working towards something, and a lot of times, maybe that's not what the higher level objective of the team is, or key results, and then you have this weird dichotomy where you're like, am I actually helping influence these metrics with what I'm doing, and then there's no ownership, and that's when it starts to fall apart, right, is when you don't have the ownership of the goal and you don't feel like you're contributing to it, then there's a lot less force behind that, especially as an individual contributor.

- Definitely, and that's something that I feel like we're still solving for and entering on on the Academy team specifically. Sometimes it can be hard to tie content to the forces and frictions of HubSpot as an organization, but at the same time, I think it's important. One of the things that we do is we have a monthly team meeting where we kind of reaffirm the types of metrics that we're going after as a team. And then what we do on a monthly basis is really set the priorities, so we can almost as individual contributors reflect on what are the actions I'm prioritizing, and how does that actually roll up into as a team, what we're trying to move the needle on. So I think definitely a certain amount of reflection, because it can be frustrating if you're an individual contributor to feel like you're not actually impacting the business at all. And for just also a team culture kind of thing. It's important to feel like you matter.

- Yeah, so as a follow-up to that, I mean, I assume that some of those targets or priorities will be quantitative. Are some of them qualitative, as well? Do you make room for that?

- Yeah, so definitely, so usually what I've seen, and correct me if I'm wrong, Julien, 'cause we're all on the same WikiDoc, but it kinda depends on the person, but I sort of see them a little bit as like OKR's, almost, where there's this high-level qualitative statement and then there's sub-bullets that are the more quantitative, like this is what this actually means.

- That's great.

- So there could be almost no confusion as to what that person's priorities are. So for example, I might say something like, Oh, I wanna create net new lessons, but then it might be like three lessons on ads, launched by x date, or something. And then that actually brings me to a follow-up to this OKR structure. So unlike normal goals, which sort of just sit there and you either hit it or you didn't, OKR's comes with a grading system. So could you help us unpack that, Julien?

- Yeah. So I think Google is famous for saying that you should only hit 70% of your objectives and key results, which is always very weird to me. I get it , like, we're striving to be

- Better all the time.

- Right, better all the time. But then part of me is like, well, shouldn't you just set them better? Like, isn't that?

- Shouldn't you just know what you can do?

- So, you know. But at the same time, the grading system we use, at least on Academy, we look at it and just kinda say like, zero to ten. How do you feel that you achieved or your team achieved, or whatever it was, the goal that you set out to do. And I would say people tend to err on the side, well, one, I think, a lot of people are awesome and they crush it, so you see a lot of eight out of tens, nine out of tens.

- Totally.

- But it's that reflective point, which you brought up, Jorie, that you need to be able to have the goal visible, so that you're held accountable, that's something that they mention a lot in the Measure What Matters book, is they had it on Post-It notes, they had it all over the place. And then come back and say, was I effective? Why or why not?

- Love that.

- And that's where like, we use the grading system, and it's just a way, it's more of a self-check rather than anything, it's accountability, self-check, but just to be like, wow, I was a two out of ten on that. What happened? Was I not aligned with the people I needed to be to get this done? Was it an unrealistic goal? That's my biggest problem. Every day I set out write six things on a sticky note that I wanna do. I found that I was writing more than that, and then not hitting them because I was trying to actually do objectives on the sticky note rather than actual tasks. And so it's that type of thing, where it's really hard to set attainable things. I think that's, at least personally, one of the biggest things that I've struggled with.

- That's the beauty, I think, of OKR's, you know, because, again, they kind of mix that qualitative nature of here's an organizationally wide objective, right? The key results, though, have this quantitative nature of the S.M.A.R.T goal framework within it, of saying, web traffic, need to increase this by 20%, for example. Legion needs to get this many per month. Revenue needs to be this much. I wanna go back to an earlier point, Julien, that you had hit on, which is a good follow-up. Benchmarks. A lot of times, at least when any of us are really thinking of goals, in particular, regardless of the framework that we use, sometimes there's not much benchmark to go off of. As you were saying, data is sometimes buried, It's a really good foreshadowing for episode five and six, but we digress. How can people start to think about, though, getting that benchmark in some way? Or at least partially recovering it to say, here's some evidence from which I can say, here's my business goal, and here's the metrics or the KPI's or the key results, whatever you wanna call it.

- Totally. Can base it off of that.

- It's crazy now, 'cause there's so many systems that you use as a business. And a lot of them have metrics available, things like that, I find that it comes down to just caring enough about finding the benchmark, for this is here, we're narrowed out here, but like making algorithms. That may sound kind of crazy, but just being like, if we know that we get a thousand views in our English content, and we wanna put this in Spanish. Well, we know in general that 20%, we have like a 20% drop-off in what we see between Spanish views and English views on normal content. So, okay, that's about 800. So a lot of times it's just doing the math, almost, right, and just being sure.

- I'm interested.

- But like, are there other projects, things within the company, other companies have done that are similar that I can just make it an educated guess rather than just a total guess, and I think we do this in innately a lot, but then the key is to write that down. That's the context that matters.

- And stick to it.

- Yeah, I came to this number of 800 because we got this many in English, because we know that this is the general ratio, and then you can go back and say, oh, we were way off. Was it my predictive method that was off, or was it something we did promotionally, all that different kind of stuff. I think the context is what a lot of people leave out.

- Totally.

- Which makes it hard.

- And with certain goal setting in frameworks, there's just not space for it, so you don't think about it, you just kinda set the number and like, did I hit that? No. And then your team, yourself, someone looks bad.

- Yeah. Well, in a lot of those cases, though, at least in those situations where I've talked with customers or worked with customers, they ended up changing the goal.

- Right, like halfway through.

- For this specific reason. It's like, well yeah. And that's fine, at least from my vantage point, because to that methodology, Julien, they are clearly thinking through it, and then saying, well, didn't look like this worked, I'm gonna change it. Cool. Here's the new goal, here's the new metrics. Or, here's the new goal, here's the revised metrics from that goal.

- I think the changing the goal thing, I would agree with you. It's interesting, though, 'cause you do get this slippery slope of goals that get changed for the wrong reason.

- Yeah, you don't wanna change it every week.

- But even

- Like you're doing laundry.

- Like accountability, right?

- Yeah.

- Yeah.

- Where it's like, if you're just not doing your work, or you weren't careful.

- Right, right. But, yeah, there is no shame in changing a goal if you have put the thought into it and you have we need to change this because I was wrong, or because we weren't able to launch this campaign that we thought we were going to. So many things come up.

- Or as an organization, we're just shifting in a different direction.

- Totally.

- Which, I see that happening a lot.

- HubSpot's done that a couple times.

- Yeah.

- Just a couple.

- Yeah, I mean, yeah, it's true. It's very true. And as a result, it kinda trickles down to the rest of us.

- Absolutely. So speaking of HubSpot, one thing that I wanna dig into a little bit is this concept of an MSPOT.

- Dun dun dun.

- Dun dun dun. Because often times, I get questions about how HubSpot does it, and it's a bit of a beastie, so let's unpack the MSPOT together.

- What is it?

- What is it? So MSPOT is Mission, Serving, Plays, Omissions, and Targets.

- Okay.

- Acronyms, right?

- HubSpot has them everywhere.

- Really strong start.

- We call them like TLA's, three letter acronyms, and they're everywhere. But it's interesting, MSPOT's not something I see in a lot of places. I can't remember where HubSpot took it from.

- I have to do

- It might've been sales force.

- Maybe.

- I don't know. But we basically adopted this, and it's really cool. It comes packaged in this little grid, template thing.

- Template.

- And you get to see, here's our overall mission, here's the constituents that we're serving, these are the tactical plays that we're gonna do and these are the targets around them, and then at the bottom, there's this omissions piece, which is like, we are actively not going to do this thing. And so this is what our executive team gets together every year and they create it, and it's something where you actually will have the company MSPOT, which are essentially the north star for HubSpot for that particular year.

- [Nakul] As a whole.

- And then you'll have departments that will create their own MSPOTS underneath, and it's a way, you'll actually track it by saying, are we on track, would be a green, yellow would be, and this is for the actual numbers, the targets that go in there. Yellow for maybe, red for no. So it's something that's a public page on our Wiki, so any employee can go look at it and see how we're tracking towards it, and it's really cool to one, have that transparency, but also to align behind it. So we talked about earlier in that, if you're in support, or you're a CSM or an IS, to be able to say, oh, this is what the company's doing? How can I best serve what the company's doing here?

- Right.

- And then you go a layer deeper and your own team will have an MSPOT, as well.

- Yep.

- Again, it all kinda boils down to the same thing, of you need to have kind of a higher level goal and then you need to have tactical ways to pull it off

- To accomplish it.

- and then measure it.

- Definitely. So for something like an MSPOT, it doesn't necessarily have to be like HubSpot specific, but how aspirational do you think it's important to have those goals? Because one thing that we talked about is with the OKR's, you're shooting for around 70%, but how much of that mentality of hitting that 70% benchmark should you be taking into high level business goals, especially something that's so macro as an MSPOT?

- I think you can use the same 70%.

- Okay. So they should be aspirational.

- Yeah, exactly. If we were to hit everything on the MSPOT, I mean

- That's great.

- That would be incredible. I don't think it's ever happened. I don't know if it ever will happen. It's a type of thing where

- They're meant to be hard.

- They're meant to be hard.

- Yeah.

- Yeah.

- And if we're hitting all of them, then I think, it's certainly my opinion, but I would guess in our leadership's opinions, we're settling.

- Right.

- And that's a place where you don't wanna be. That's a place where your shareholders aren't happy, your customers aren't happy, because you're settling. Either that or

- You're coasting.

- Yeah, you're kinda like coasting, which I still think is a very odd thing to mentally grasp. Isn't getting all of them great?

- Well, it's the difference between being complacent and ambitious.

- Definitely.

- You don't wanna go too easy, because then, as you guys are saying, you're coasting. You're being a little complacent, whereas you don't wanna make it so impossibly difficult that you're climbing Everest.

- Right.

- Or it seems like climbing Everest.

- I love that, Nakal. Sounds good.

- So what's that quote? It's like, if life seems like easy street, then danger's at the door? I don't know who said that.

- Oh, I've heard this before, yeah.

- Was that a Brian Halligan thing, or a someone else kind of thing?

- Maybe.

- But you've heard this before, right?

- No, yes, I've heard this before.

- Verified.

- Okay, cool. Not making it up. But there is something to be said about kind of complacency in the workplace, because you should have that "always be growing" mentality, hopefully growing better, but really stretching your team and the capabilities of your team and the new heights you can reach to pull the thread on your Everest metaphor. But at the same time, there are these things that are omissions. And walk me through why it's important to have those omissions, stake in the sand, like, we're not doing this.

- You can't do everything.

- Love that.

- And I mean, really, it's as simple as that, but to elaborate, there are so many different things, activities, tasks, that you could be doing as an individual, as a business, and it's about focus. So by declaring those up front, you strip out the distractions and it allows you to focus on what matters and what people have identified as these are the things that are gonna make our business successful this year and years to come.

- And I know the next steps with Mike Redbord is gonna really come straight on. Building buy-in an alignment between those individual teams within a business. Whatever goal it is, whether they're using an MSPOT, purely just OKR's, a S.M.A.R.T goal, whatever, anything that we haven't mentioned here, right? Let's go into the qualitative versus quantitative play, because on an MSPOT, there is that good balance, too too, I would say.

- It's a mix.

- When you have omissions, which is pretty qualitative, you're trying to have this overarching organizational north star that you're trying to hit, the plays and the targets, those may be more quantitative, right? OKR shows up differently, S.M.A.R.T goal, it may show up differently, it's usually more quantitative, I would say. How does that translate into, I guess, for your team, for the Academy team, when you're using something like an OKR for data collection, for those key results?

- Well, the objective, again, feels a lot more qualitative, almost across the board for us. So maybe it's helping people grow better using Inbound, right? So you have this really qualitative, like how in the heck are you gonna measure that? Well then, it's like, we have an Inbound certification. Let's figure out how many people we can get certified in a time period. Let's figure out what our pass rate is for that. Are we actually teaching people? Or are they coming in and they already know it.

- Clicking

- And they're clicking, or whatever.

- Yep, yep.

- So I really think it, at least the way we do it, the objectives feel a lot more qualitative, and if you're doing too much of the qualitative on the key results, what ends up happening is you essentially just get a black box where you don't really know how you fared.

- Then it's that situation of, oh, I'm just gonna put it in a drawer and as a result, you have no data, really, to judge it, again, whether you nailed it or not.

- Definitely. So, do you have an example, it could be on Academy, do an Academy example, of OKR's gone wrong. Like, OKR's gone rigid. Like, was there a time you set a goal and you were just like, yeah, we're gonna do it, and it just went off the rails.

- So it's funny. We developed this, as we created more hubs, so we went from just having a marketing hub, now we're becoming a suite, so we created a sales hub. We had It was cross selling at the time, which is basically getting someone who has marketing to buy sales and vice versa, and we're like, oh, yeah, that's sweet, we're gonna latch onto that, let's increase cross selling in Q1. And that was the objective. And we were like And then we had a key result that was like have delighted cross sell users, or customers, something like that.

- This was an Academy goal.

- This was an Academy goal.

- Interesting. Which we have nothing to do with sales .

- Right, exactly, so we looked back and what we traced back was like one person had heard from someone else that cross selling was gonna be important and we shoved it into something that Academy shouldn't be doing, because this person higher up was like, this will be important, with no context, with no measurable way to attain it, and it was

- Wow.

- We looked at it after three months after Q1 and we're like

- Red.

- What are we doing?

- We're definitely red.

- Can confirm.

- Can confirm. Don't know why. This would've been much better to try and either increase the MR influence through cross sell or something like that, like to change it in a certain way, but it just There's a lot of those. It happens all the time. This is a motion, it's an exercise that you get better at the more you do it, and you're gonna have a lot of those not so good objectives, to put it lightly, and not so good key results, but the more you do them, the better, the clearer they get, and the more they help you and your business.

- So from your experience of setting those and sometimes they go right, sometimes they go wrong, what are some guardrails that when you're setting them, you kind of have in place to make sure that you're going after objectives that really you can A, action, but B, seem to matter.

- For HubSpot, the MSPOT, if your company or your department has some sort of objective or mission or MSPOT, anything like that, the best thing you can do is to closely align your objective with that, and then find key results that are going to influence that.

- That you can influence.

- That you can impact, and that's the key point, Jorie, you nailed it there, is like, what are things that I can do that are going to maybe be a small part, maybe be a big part, but impact this team and this company objective so that you do have that ownership, and it's not something where you're like, great, I set this goal and we achieved it, but I didn't do anything because I couldn't have had a role in this, right?

- Right.

- And I think one example that I've had in the past is we used to want to increase just the number of certifications, and we had to rely heavily on marketing to do that and we had to rely on all these other teams, and when we looked at it, it was like, oh, man, I'm kinda just being a lobbyist to help get this done, which is fine, but there were things that I personally could've done that I would've been able to measure and would've helped impact our larger goal.

- Definitely, and when you're relying, also, on other teams like that, it could be completely out of your control whether or not you hit your goal to begin with, which is scary.

- Which is scary.

- Especially when you start to consider those more high level team goals.

- Would a second guardrail, not to put words in your mouth, be quantifiable, as much as you can?

- Yes, 100%. Be quantifiable.

- You can track it .

- Please make sure that you track it.

- Please track it somewhere.

- And put the time, we've talked about it, but a lot of times, if you don't say by when, you keep pushing it out, and pushing it out, and pushing it out, and all of a sudden now, what you really needed to do in Q1, you're doing in Q3, and it's really not helping the larger objective.

- Right.

- That makes sense.

- And as we're thinking about it, in terms of a larger reporting strategy, 'cause that's what this podcast is for, ultimately, all of a sudden, you have that sure qualitative-esque objective, or MSPOT, but those key results, KPI's, metrics, whatever you wanna call it, they are your first reports. Those are the first few things that you can start collecting data on, and then measuring your progress to say, yep, I'm hitting it, or nope, we're definitely red, to use Julien's words.

- Definitely not gonna hit it.

- Definitely not gonna hit it, yeah.

- Awesome. Those are the questions that I had. Do you have any more, Nakul?

- Yeah, I was actually wondering on how you would tie something like an MSPOT into that OKR? 'Cause we heard, obviously, we obviously know at HubSpot that we have an MSPOT.

- It exists.

- We know that it exists. We're aware of it. But we work off of these other frameworks like OKR's, to define our individual teams. How do you guys do that in Academy?

- So, I think the closest relational piece is when you look at an MSPOT is the plays. We'll have plays, right. I like to align objectives with plays.

- Sure, that's great.

- So you'll have, let's say our play is to get more developers in our ecosystem. Then we have an objective to create more developer content, so those are two high level qualitative, and then your kind of targets that you have on the MSPOT are going to be very similar to your key results, and so if your target is to increase the MPS, you wanna create really good content. You may actually have an MPS target for your content rather than just the full developer ecosystem, which kinda brings it one level lower, I guess, but then you also may want to get a lot of people going through that content so that the MPS actually matters and get different survey feedback, things like that, but it's really looking at those plays and saying like, can we really closely align the objective, maybe in context of our team, and then looking at those targets and saying, hey, are there any of these targets that we can reuse in a smaller sphere, that will impact the larger sphere, things like that.

- Yeah, I really like that kind of sense of alignment, because your departments, your teams, they should match how you're impacting your overall company's mission, so that's how the mission statements align. So for instance, HubSpot's mission is to help millions of organizations grow better.

- That was it.

- I was like, don't mess it up.

- That's exactly what it is.

- I saw you thinking.

- But then so Academy's, I'm gonna actually grill you, Julien, so what's Academy's mission?

- Oh, geez, you're grilling me? Oh, man.

- Okay, I'll help you.

- You're putting me on the spot.

- So the one destination where companies learn to start and grow a business.

- There we go.

- That was so Kristen. That's how she is. It's all about the listing.

- Our director.

- Cut that, please .

- So that's how Academy intends to impact that mission statement. Then HubSpot has its specific cohorts of users that it's looking to drive value with. We take a specific We actually might take all of them, but certain teams will take specific subsets of who HubSpot's serving, because, for instance, who sales is interacting with might look different from marketing or sales, they're different cohorts, and then, absolutely, like Julien was saying, I almost called you Jillian. Julien, Jillian. It's really just the tactics. So we take the plays, see which ones Academy could actually affect, and those became our new guiding star for our Academy MSPOT. And then omissions I think is just interesting because it's like, don't go after campaigns that your company is omitting. I don't care how shiny the penny is, don't do that. And I think that can be the guardrails. So, for instance, a big one is when the HubSpot MSPOT, so many spots, doesn't go after a certain languages. We don't prioritize content in certain languages, we just don't try to shake that up. And then, again, yeah, the targets. How can we actually move those specific numbers? And it might not be the entire number, but how can we help influence it? What's within our scope of impact?

- Yeah, no, yeah, yeah. No, exactly.

- I would say the one thing, and it's not even a push back onto you, Jorie, but something to consider is, especially with this flywheel model, we shouldn't actually be thinking about it in cohorts, right, because the best way we can continue to serve our customers is to have more alignment across sales, across marketing, across service, right? So if we can start to think of it as one customer and one relationship, certainly, serving all those. I think that's gonna be

- Wait, I love that, yeah.

- We hear Brian talk about it a lot, the customer code and all these things, but it becomes true and then it becomes true when you're setting these goals, is you don't want to silo it as much.

- Love that. So almost what'd you wanna do is on serving, keep all the cohorts, but then uniquely identify for your MSPOT or your team's MSPOT how you're interacting, and if you're not, that could be an interesting point of reflection. So say your team doesn't really work with partners of your company. We do, but certain teams might not. That might not be the most obvious, like how are you continuing to solve for that cohort if you don't really interact with them, and is that something that you can work and collaborate with other teams on?

- And then how are you gonna measure it?

- Exactly.

- What data are you gonna start collecting to measure progress against that goal or metric?

- Which is real lofty.

- Yeah, yeah, yeah, sure.

- Yeah.

- It's our own OKR.

- We're not even there yet, we're trying to get that alignment across our business, and I'm sure every company out there has something that they struggle with, but that's the goal, is can you make that friction less as possible.

- Definitely. But I think that's so interesting too, because if you can get it right before or as you're scaling, it will become less of this massive effort later. If you can start to get these teams talking to each other early on, then by the time you are several employees, it's less of wrangling the different types of goals, the different types of team alignment, who's talking to who about what cohorts of customers. You can really do your business a justice, if you will, by getting this right as early as possible. Because just from personal experience at HubSpot, sometimes these lofty goals, they take awhile to implement, but just because we have so many people that need to get boughten, that need to start using these processes and talking to each other. So definitely recommended that you start thinking about this sooner rather than later.

- Yeah, apart from the qualitative versus quantitative aspect, there's benefits to having both in there, whatever the framework that you use is. Also, thinking about it, as Julien was saying, in the context of your flywheel, you wanna map your flywheel, you wanna understand your business, the next stage, at least with the Inbound Reporting framework is to find your goals. It's just a direct correlation to say, great, I understand the forces and friction.

- What's happening?

- Yep, within my flywheel, what works, what doesn't work, I'm gonna translate that into a goal based on my organization, maybe my team, my department, my geography, whatever it is, right? So lot of takeaways from this episode.

- I have one questions.

- Yes.

- Could you give us maybe a preview, something that you mentioned was credentialing? Could you give us a bit of a preview as to like what people can start to expect or anticipate on the Academy side? Tell us about your projects, Julien.

- Yeah, so the one main project right now is to move to this credentialing platform, if you will. And if anyone's familiar with our certifications, we kinda have one way to get a certification and then if you wanna differentiate yourself, you gotta just go and get more.

- Right.

- Mmm.

- All of our competitors, the industry, it's almost like we're a college that can only give a diploma. You can't get course credit that counts, but then you also can't get a masters anywhere. And so what we are hoping to do is really enable our customers, prospects, partners by saying, hey, we're going to create more of this advanced-level assessment, which will allow you to get an advanced certification, or something like that, name pending.

- Right.

- No TM.

- No, no TM.

- No TM.

- Yeah, yeah. And then also, we want you to be able to continue learning and be able to gather badges along the way, and have something to show for all the learning that you've done that may not be in service of going and taking a certification exam, but may also not be as rigorous as going through, for an advanced certification, you might have to do a practicum, and a video, and all these different things that make that credential a lot more valuable in the market for whatever topic, but that's kind of how we're starting to think about it. I think we're underserving our prospects, customers, partners right now with only having one certification type. So we need to expand that and really make it so that it's robust enough to solve not only HubSpot's business issues but really enable our users out there to differentiate.

- And is this across languages and geography, as well?

- That's the plan.

- That's the plan.

- Yes, everything that we're doing is now baked in as global. If we're gonna do this, how do we do it globally? That's really hard. We have some awesome people that are working on it. I'm really excited to see kind of how we can continue to think more global first as we do these big switches. That's the hard thing, it's easy to do it in English, how do we do it across our six core languages?

- Definitely, and I think what's interesting is I love this example of the credentials 'cause it's very much one of those times when it's like there's a friction in the business that kind of trickles down, and this is one of the ways that Academy is saying we can solve for this because this is in our area. We can help our user base get front running education on industry standards, and really getting them skilled up in the tool by making things credentials happen. Definitely. So, cool, sorry, didn't mean to interrupt you.

- No, that was great. That was great to hear, that's excellent. So as I alluded to earlier in the episode, about a year ago, Jorie and I created a lesson on goal setting tips, we'll certainly put that in the blog post.

- Hashtag ad.

- We'll definitely put that

- We're just gonna end every episode with that.

- We talked about S.M.A.R.T goal framework, how it differentiates from the OKR framework. What are qualities from both that you can take, at least to set a goal for yourself. The asset for this episode, we do have, it's actually one of assets from that lesson that we're gonna add. We do have what we call the Inbound Smarketing calculator, we should probably Inbound goals calculator, I would say.

- 'Cause there's not a good way to smush marketing, sales, and service, and then sort of products, it's like, what would you even call it?

- Well, so the original version of this

- Smarvasel?

- 'Cause you need product in there.

- Spartacus?

- Yeah, Spartacus. So the original version of this was built by Max Cohen, formally of HubSpot services. He actually is on our learning development team now. Thank you, Max, so I kinda took it, kinda added some more stuff onto it, some more formulas, made it what it is today to encompass at least all three of our main hubs that we use. As an assignment, or if people are wanting to get feedback, fill this out, send it to us at inboundreporting@hubspot.com for some feedback. Please add your portal ID.

- We got an official email address.

- I feel like you guys need

- A business card.

- No, like a swipe up for Inbound Reporting thing, even though it's already free, it's like, 20% swipe up promo here, Inbound Reporting, I don't know.

- That's our long technicians.

- You're laughing at this

- That's on the MSPOT.

- Jorie is thinking about this actively.

- Yeah, that's what I'm doing, seeing it, seeing it.

- Yeah, right, but we'd love for you to take this, add this up, it's an indirect pdf, so it actually works on some formulas.

- The numbers change as you go.

- Yeah, the numbers change as you go, so if you have a revenue goal, it's gonna go all the way down to web traffic and go all the way up to customer acquisition cost.

- And it's pretty.

- For you to think about, right? We'd love to give you some feedback, if you wanna provide your portal ID so we can start looking at, as well, that benchmark in question that we were asking Julien about earlier, because that's pretty important when designing a goal. Is it specific, it is measurable, is it attainable, is it relevant, is it timely? Again, the S.M.A.R.T goal framework still has relevance, no pun intended, with regards to something like this, but send it over to us again, inboundreporting@hubspot.com, otherwise, thanks, Julien, for your time. It's good having you.

- And thanks for joining us.

- Yeah, thanks.

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Originally published Oct 1, 2019 9:00:00 AM, updated October 01 2019