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There Is No Quick Fix

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Aug 3, 2011 11:56:00 AM

Long TermI remember years ago a friend of mine was having money trouble.  He was talking to a financial advisor who laid out a plan to fix his financial problems, and then to build financial independence.  My friend was frustrated with this advisor's recommendations and he came to me expressing frustration for how long the process was going to take.  My response was, "It took you 35 years to create this problem, what makes you think you can solve in 6 months?"

I'm constantly reminded of that advice when I talk with CEOs who are working to drive real improvements in their sales organization.  It's not new, people have been looking for the short-term fix for as long people have been looking for anything.  The problem is that every time a CEO focuses on the short-term over fixing the long-term they merely delay the solution, and make their organization weaker in the process.

Look at RIM, the makers of Blackberry.  In January, I asked if Blackberry was a dead product walking.  I chastised them for ignoring what made them special and fighting for short-term market share, rather than focusing on what would make them successful in the long-term.  Since then, RIM has continued to aim for the quick fix.  Last week they announced they are laying off more than 10% of their workforce and they find themselves fighting for their survival.

It pains me to tell you:  THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES.

It takes 12 - 18 months to begin to see the impact of changing your go-to-market efforts.  That number could be longer if you're dealing with a complex, long sales/buy cycle.  If you feel like that's too long, I've got a simple question for you:  Are you planning to be here in two years?  If so, why not spend that time making your company structurally stronger so you can reap the rewards for years?

Please do not misunderstand, I am not saying that you should ignore the short-term.  There are many tactics you can take that will increase your win rates, lots of things that increase leads, a wide variety of ways to get more conversations going.  But, please (PLEASE) do not confuse any of those things with SOLVING THE PROBLEM!

You must balance your desire for short-term gain, with the actions needed to drive long-term results.  Sometimes that means accepting more pain in the short-term than you'd like.

When the short- and long-term are in balance, great things happen.

Topics: B2B Sales Strategy