Focus on the short-term can kill long-term growth

Sometimes you must be the bearer of bad news. We are often asked, “what can we do now that will increase our sales this quarter?” Unfortunately, for most businesses, the answer is, “Not much.”

Sales cycles are long and getting longer. Successes today are often the result of actions taken 3-9 months ago. And, while short-term solutions sometimes yield results, the success of a short-term push is usually insignificant when compared to the long-term opportunity.

Sales are a great indicator of what your company did in the past, but financial performance is a lousy indicator of future success. For that you need to rely on market data (industry trends, pipeline activity, customer relations, etc.) and long-term strategy. Sure, you might be able to boost short-term growth with a sales promotion, or a coupon code, but even that should be part of the long-game.

Take, for instance, Black Friday sales. Those just don’t happen. Purchasers put in orders for Black Friday items a year or two in advance to lock in the best deal. It may look like retailers are waiting until mid-November to decide what will be on sale, but they’ve had it planned for a long time.

While most industries aren’t the same as major retailers, they do share a few commonalities – including the need to create strategies connected to long-term growth.

So, if you’re looking at what you can do now to spark short term sales growth, you should have your sights set on 3-9 months from now.

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