Difference Between Communications Objectives & Sales Objectives
Your business’s communications objectives are the goals that you need to achieve through all communications, such as public relations, advertising and social media. Your sales objectives are the goals you need to achieve in sales, such as an incremental increase in a particular product or an entire line. Your communications plan can help you achieve that, but it also includes other aspects of your business other than sales, such as communicating both inside and outside your organization. Objectives in both areas should meet the “SMART” test: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-focused.
External communications are what you use to communicate with audiences and markets outside your business. This includes the media, current and prospective customers, analysts, investors and any other stakeholders. In young businesses or for new products, communications objectives may start out very broad, such as “create media awareness about our company and products.” This means you design communications to introduce yourself to the media, such as press releases announcing the opening of your business. As your contacts grow, your objectives can narrow, such as “increase media awareness by 10 percent based on a name recognition survey."
Your internal business communications include your employees, sales force and distributors. These communications are important because you want everyone in your business to be consistent in their communications with everyone they meet. You also do not want external audiences to get information before your employees receive it. Internal communications tools may include company web portals, newsletters and weekly meetings. Objectives may include “increase on-time attendance at weekly status meetings,” or “improve communications between work groups.” You then develop strategies and tactics to meet those objectives, such as providing incentives or training in meeting facilitation.
Your sales objectives are easier to measure than your communications objectives, as long as you keep them specific. You can set them for any time period you like, such as a month, quarter or year. You can break them out by a particular product as well as overall sales. For example, “increase sales of women’s shoes by 20 percent the first half of 2013.” If you have more than one business location, you need to set specific sales objectives for each geographical area.
One portion of your communications plan should be devoted to your products or services to support your sales objectives. This is where you lay out your strategies -- using public relations and advertising, for example. An example of this communication objective might be “educate prospective customers in the warehouse district about the health benefits of our support shoe inserts.” Your strategies and tactics use all communications tools to achieve this objective, such as soliciting testimonials from current customers and posting them on social media sites.