OKRs are like flossing your teeth - not the most enjoyable part of your day by any means but still a vital and fundamental part of the bigger picture.

We’re all here with the same ambition - to be the best at what we do (and to avoid too many long stints in the dentist’s chair!)

OKRs are a crucial cog in the machine that will drive you to the top, so if you’re a newbie to the world of OKRs, it’s high time you started paying more attention to them.

Right, buckle up because we’re about to take you for a spin around:

What are OKRs?

OKRs stands for objectives and key results. They’re a popular type of framework used to keep track of goals and performance. They’re all about setting objectives and measurable results.

Not just another product marketing acronym, OKRs are an integral part of your efforts, steering strategies, maintaining progression, and helping you pivot like a pro.

They’re a bit of a hot topic within the world of product marketing actually, mainly because they can be pretty tricky to nail.

But hey, you don’t need us to tell you that.

Why are OKRs so important?

Product marketers rarely work solo and in any given campaign, launch, or project, you’ll almost always be collaborating with at least two other departments, from sales and product to customer success and finance.

Whilst teamwork does indeed make the dream work, it can also make attribution a bit of a challenge. With fingers in so many pies, it can be tricky to tie product marketing to revenue and success.

You’ve gotta love a challenge though, right?

No matter how tough it might be pinpointing where product marketing played its part, measuring the impact of your work is non-negotiable.

It not only keeps you on the right track and ensures you’re going from strength-to-strength, but it also helps others within the organization appreciate the true value of product marketing. This can then, in turn, positively influence things like budgets and how heavily the organization invests in its product marketing.

So, with this in mind, before you set about tackling any kind of project - be it a full-blown product launch or a one-off sales enablement session, ask yourself:

  • What am I hoping to achieve?
  • How will I know if I’ve achieved it?

In the wise words of Avinash Kaushik, Digital Marketing Evangelist at Google:

“If you don’t actually know what you’re trying to achieve, it’s also hard to measure success. Try it, you’ll see what I mean.”

Defining your OKRs

When defining your goals, steer clear of vanity metrics such as likes and page views. They aren’t as powerful as bottom-line metrics that can be tied to your product’s success, and oftentimes don’t paint an accurate picture of positive results.

For example:

If 7,000 people land on your product page but just 2% click your call-to-action and 0.1% sign-up to the free demo, is that really something to celebrate?

Relying on these metrics will result in a lot of “So what?” responses, and that won’t do the credibility of you or your product marketing efforts any favors.

So, that’s what NOT to do. Now let’s look at how you should be approaching your OKRs.

Give it some thought

Put real consideration into which metrics you want to monitor, and make sure you’re able to confidently answer why they’re important to the business.

Remember to make sure you’ve got a predetermined and set timeframe in place. If you go from measuring a certain metric once a quarter to once a month to once a week, you’ll struggle to form any sort of trend - and that’s exactly what you’re after.

Be more specific

Make your goal super specific by attaching a clear timeframe and metric to it. So, instead of saying “we want to increase the number of customers who use our product at least once a week”, say “we want to increase the number of customers who regularly use our product at least once a week by 15%, taking the current active user norm from 45% to 60%, within six weeks”.

Keep it realistic

It’s important not to have too many metrics in place because that can be a recipe for disaster when it comes to staying focused. We recommend identifying the top three metrics that align with product, sales, and marketing and then tracking that OKR to build up consistency.

OKR first, execution second

You should always set your goal(s) before you set to work on the project. The reason being, your OKRs will directly influence how you go about delivering it and how you prioritize your time and efforts.

Oh, and don’t forget the funnel:

The product marketing prospect and customer journey funnel

A prospect or customer’s stage in the funnel will impact the nature of your goals and potentially shift your OKRs.

For instance:

For someone in the awareness stage, you’re going to want to look at things like sign-ups to your newsletter. For people in the interest stage, you’ll want to turn your attention to variables like free trial sign-ups. For retention, it could be active users, and then for advocacy, it might be up or cross-sell revenue.

All making sense so far? Awesome, let’s continue!

The different types of product marketing OKRs

Here are some examples of common product marketing goals we hear being used regularly and broadly speaking, they can be split into four pillars:

Go-to-Market OKRs

  • Win rates
  • Reason for winning
  • Market share
  • Conversion rate in target segment
  • Average deal size
  • Product-market fit

Sales enablement OKRs

  • Asset utilization
  • Sales confidence
  • Deal velocity
  • Time to close

Lead demand/gen OKRS

  • Campaign performance
  • Leads influenced by PMM content
  • Brand awareness

Product adoption OKRs

  • Active users
  • User satisfaction
  • Retention
  • Feature adoption
  • Up and cross-sell revenue
  • Time taken to complete actions

To delve into each of these in granular detail, download our Intro to OKRs eBook >

How to report on your OKRs

Once you’ve set your OKRs and put measures in place to monitor them, you’ll need to ensure you’re recording and reporting them.

Fear not, for this doesn’t need to be a complicated process at all.

Here’s a really simple, low-maintenance table that includes all the top-line info you need to be documenting. It’s super easy to keep up-to-date and circulate with relevant teams.

Once you’ve done all the hard work in setting up your OKRs, now all that’s left to do is communicate your findings with the relevant departments. Let them know how they affect your success and what their role is in helping you achieve them.

The last word on OKRs (for now)

The tricky thing about OKRs is the sheer variety of factors each product marketer will be up against. The type of market, pricing model, and product will all have a significant impact on your metrics, so it’s vital that you take our advice and tweak it to meet your individual circumstances.

Each product marketing team is also structured differently depending on the company’s needs. Some are in the marketing org and some are in the product org, but irrespective of which org you sit with, having quarterly updates to product, sales, and marketing leadership is helpful to establish trust and credibility and work together on shared goals.

Before you go…

Don’t forget to check out our AMA with Div Manickam, Director of Portfolio Messaging at Boomi, where she discusses product marketing’s key metrics and OKRs in expert depth. Get her insights on how she breaks down strategic, tactical, and operational objectives at Boomi.

Key PMM metrics and OKRs: CLTV and revenue retention for SaaS
In the latest of our AMAs, Boomi’s Director of Portfolio Messaging, Div Manickam, took some time out to answer your questions on some of product marketing’s key metrics and OKRs; customer lifetime value and revenue retention for SaaS.