Short-term hacking vs long-term results


Let’s say you sell an enterprise product or solution, and your sales cycle is 4-6 months.  Maybe longer.

What possible growth-hacking test done next week (or even next month) is going to deliver an immediate sales return?  How can you possibly evaluate the effectiveness of a short-term test if it takes far longer to see actual, revenue-producing and beer-buying results?

This slippery slope applies to more than just tactical campaigns.  If you’re evaluating immediate value/ROI from a new campaign, you’re looking at leading indicators which in most cases translates to some version of “more”.  But “more” might not necessarily be better.  Getting more clicks doesn’t naturally translate to better leads.  Getting higher response rates doesn’t mean those responses are from prospects you can sell something to.

The slippery slope more dangerously applies to strategic and process improvements that tend not to get prioritized in lieu of those tactical campaigns that “look better” and may make you feel better short term.

So here’s what happens.  Organizations continue to prioritize knee-jerk, tactical, random acts of marketing that show a lot of activity and activity-based metrics.  And they fail to invest in process improvements, sales development programs that can create long-term impact and results but are more difficult to justify with short-term results.

About a year ago, for example, we worked with a client to develop a systematic sales development system between the sales and marketing teams.  If the client were to evaluate the ROI of that effort after 2-3 months, it could have been seen as a fail.  Where are our closed deals? Where’s the pipeline?!

Fortunately, this client was able to balance short-term needs with building for the long-haul.  Twelve months later, their revenue is up 97 percent year-over-year.  In Q2 of this year (2017) they’ll do more sales than they did all of last year.

So what’s your priority?  A few more leads this month and growth-hacking your way to week-by-week tactical results, or investment in a system that can drive long-term repeatable, scalable, predictable growth?

If you answered both, that’s OK too.  Just don’t ignore the big picture.