February 06, 2020 3 min read

The idea behind OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) is to build a common focus within a business and stretch the limits of what’s possible. It is a framework to help you set, track, and execute aggressive goals. Invented at Intel and popularized by Google, OKRs are the secret weapon of sustainable growth. Objectives and key results are broken into two sections and answer the following questions:

  • What are you trying to achieve? (Objective)
  • How will you achieve it? (Key results)

Objectivesare the outcomes you wish to achieve over a certain period of time (usually monthly or quarterly). Each objective should be a clear goal so you know when you’ve accomplished it.

Key results are metric-based indicators of success or progress toward your objectives. Since key results are all about measuring progress or success, the important part is having a numeric value associated with each one. And like objectives, key results are time-bound and set for the same frequency - either monthly or quarterly.

In this article, we’ll get through the details of how to set your OKRs and we’ll see, together, few examples of OKRs for SaaS companies.


Setting Objectives and Key Results (OKRs)

As you begin thinking about OKRs, first determine what time frame you’ll be measuring against. Three months is the industry standard since it’s long enough to see significant results with a lower administrative overhead but not too long in case you need to change course. One of the reasons objectives and key results work so well is because the framework is part planning, part communication. OKRs are designed to be made public within an organization. When everyone knows and understands the OKRs, the entire company becomes focused and accountable for achieving the goals. As you’re setting your OKRs, I recommend starting at the top of the organization or team. Once the broadest objectives and key results have been defined, you can cascade the objectives to teams and then to individuals. While the specific OKRs will vary for every organization, there are a few universal principles to keep in mind as you set your objectives and key results:

  • Focus on growth - This might seem obvious, but remember the purpose for using this framework is to cultivate continuous, aggressive growth. If you want aggressive growth, set aggressive goals. This means objectives should be ambitious and even make you uncomfortable.
  • Respect the time needed - Choosing your objectives is one of the most critical and challenging steps in using OKRs well. Spend as much time as necessary to figure out what you should be achieving (your objectives). Significant growth requires significant planning and research. The better you understand your business and customers, the better your objectives will be aligned for growth since you’ll have a deeper understanding of revenue drivers and other important metrics.
  • Keep results measurable - It’s worth repeating that key results work because they’re measurable. Be sure every single key result has number associated with it.
  • Choose several key results - Since there are typically several ways to achieve a given objective, it’s best to select several (3-5) key results per one objective. Also, remember that your objectives should be big enough to require several steps to achieve them.

Examples of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) for SaaS companies

Now, as you understand the theory of OKRs and how to set OKRs for your SaaS company. Let’s move to the practice part. Here are some example OKRs and how does it look like for SaaS Companies:

Objective 1:Continue blog regularity and organic traffic growth

Key result 1:Write X blog posts on topic A, topic B, and topic C

Key result 2:65% growth in organic search sessions vs Q1

Key result 3:70% increase in new trial sign-ups from organic vs Q1

Objective 2:Accelerate monthly recurring revenue growth by building pipeline

Key result 1:Grow MRR 15% in Q2 to X€

Key result 2:Generate X% increase in trial signups vs Q1

Key result 3:Deliver X% increase in demo requests vs Q1

Objective 3: Increase inbound marketing leads

Key result 1:20% increase of demo requests via PPC landing pages

Key result 2:10% boost in conversions from webinar attendees

Key result 3:2x Ebook downloads 

Go big or go home !

If you’re serious about seeing aggressive growth, you must be relentless in implementing and executing your OKRs. A half-hearted attempt will only backfire.

If you have any further questions, feel free to reach out to us and chat about your marketing goals.


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