This episode of What’s Your Edge? explores the importance of having enough resources to achieve your growth strategies, performance target and KPIs. Over the past few weeks, I’ve talked with several customers who were disappointed with the results of their current growth strategies, programs, and tactics.  In each instance, a key challenge was having enough wood behind the arrow. strategy, growth strategy, key performance indicators, KPIs, metrics, performance targets, planning, growth strategies

Here’s a snapshot of the challenges faced by three of these customers. Perhaps one of these scenarios will resonate with your experience. Here are the focal points of these conversations:  

  1. Leveraging events to create conversations with new customers.   
  2. Implementing a land and expand strategy that was dependent upon existing customer referrals and introductions.   
  3. Planning an integrated initiative comprised of email, press and influencer outreach, and advertising on LinkedIn to support the launch and adoption of a new product.   

While the challenges faced were experienced by different-sized companies in different industries, all three examples had one thing in common, they didn’t have what we refer to as enough wood behind the arrow.

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Yes, I Want My Growth Idea

Are Your Growth Strategies in Jeopardy of Missing the Target?

What does “not having enough wood behind the arrow” mean?  It reflects whether the arrow has the necessary weight. The weight of an arrow helps determine its speed, drop rate, and target penetration. An arrow with no, or too little, wood behind it goes nowhere and will never reach the target.  This is also true of growth strategies.  

strategy, growth strategy, key performance indicators, KPIs, metrics, performance targets, planning, growth strategiesWithout enough tactics and associated activities and resources behind a strategy, the success of the strategy is in jeopardy. In each of these examples, there was not enough weight in terms of tactics and activities and associated resources to maximize performance for the strategy. 

A Practical Case Story that Brings the Metaphor to Life 

Let’s delve a little deeper into the first example to illustrate the point.  Here are a few details to provide context to their challenge of leveraging events to create conversations with new customers: 

  • Performance target (KPIs). The Sales and Marketing teams calculated that there would be 1500 people at the event that met their target prospect criteria. Their performance target was that 10% of these qualified prospects (150) would follow up on an email, with 10% of these (15) accepting a meeting, with a goal of five qualified prospect conversations per event day.  strategy, growth strategy, key performance indicators, KPIs, metrics, planning, growth strategies
  • Tactics. The company had access to a list of prospective event attendees along with a list of potential prospects created by their partners and internal sales team.  This list included names, titles, company, email and LinkedIn addresses, and phone numbers.
  • Activities. They executed two activities. A few weeks in advance of the event, Marketing sent an email from a key member of the leadership team that would be attending the event asking for a “meet up” at the event.  Each sales representative also sent a personalized email to their contact list, with the same request. 
  • Results. Every one of the target KPIs fell short. There were only 5 meetings.  When probing further, it turned out that only about 20 people responded to the email. The email sent on behalf of the leadership team member had an open rate of 1% (15 people) with a 5% click-thru rate. 
  • Debrief. They reached out to us to do a debrief to understand how they could improve. While the open and click-thru rates suggest the subject lines and calls-to-action (CTA), needed improvement; the real issue was that they needed more weight behind their arrow. Here’s why. The average person receives over 120 emails per day.  People are in meetings, out of the office, or engaged with their own deadlines. The odds of one email being received, opened, and answered, are low. The same applies to the email sent by the Sales team.  
  • Conclusion: They needed more wood behind their arrow, e.g., by sending more emails and connecting via other relevant touchpoints  

Helpful Ideas so You Don’t Miss New Conversations Performance Targets 

strategy, growth strategy, key performance indicators, metrics, planning, growth strategiesWhat might more wood have looked like in this scenario? It is our experience that it takes at least 3-4 emails to hear back from a warm prospect. A HubSpot statistic suggests that it takes an average of 18 touches to actually connect with a prospect.  For the program associated with this growth strategy, they needed to augment their email marketing with additional tactics. For example, in addition to sending more emails, they could have done outreach via LinkedIn, partners’ contacts, phone calls by sales representatives, and posts on LinkedIn. More arrows with more weight. 

Understand the Arrow Weight to Growth Strategy Relationship 

Arrows come in three weight categories: light, midweight and heavy. Lighter arrows fly faster and can group more tightly, but they’re often harder to tune. Heavier arrows fly slower but resist wind better and penetrate deeper.  

The same can be said of growth strategies. Some strategies can be light in weight, for example, strategies that entail selling existing products/services to existing customers.  Ideally, familiarity and trust have already been established, so there is less wind/resistance, or in the business world, noise, and competition.  

Strategies that entail penetrating new markets or connecting with prospects who do not know you with new products or services, face more resistance and potentially more competition.  These strategies will need heavier arrows and most likely more of them.  

strategy, growth strategy, key performance indicators, KPIs, metrics, performance targets, planning, growth strategiesJust as it is essential to be able to calculate your arrow’s weight to ensure you’re shooting the right setup for your bow, the same is true for calculating the weight to support your strategy. When it comes to arrows, grains per inch (GPI) is the industry standard for measuring arrow weights. An arrow’s GPI determines the arrow shaft’s weight. It includes the arrow’s length, diameter, wall thickness, and shaft material.  

While such a metric doesn’t exist in the business world, we can borrow the concept.  Growth strategies are intended to increase market and customer share, product/service adoption rates, brand equity, and customer lifetime value. These serve as valuable key performance indicators (KPIs). Make sure you have the weight needed for your strategy to achieve the KPIs you set.     

Achieving Your Growth Strategy Goals Requires More than Wood 

strategy, growth strategy, key performance indicators, KPIs, metrics, planning, growth strategiesIt takes more than effort to have enough wood behind the arrow for any strategy to succeed. A strategy without the right tactics and associated activities and resources to support execution will very likely miss the performance target. To ensure your arrows reach and penetrate the target and KPIs, start with a well-crafted customer-centric measurable growth plan.  

We hope you found this episode of What’s Your Edge? helpful. What’s Your Edge? is the creation of VisionEdge Marketing. VisionEdge Marketing, founded in 1999, helps our customers solve the most difficult challenges when it comes to using data, analytics, process, and measurement to accelerate growth, create customer value, and improve performance. We always welcome hearing from you. 

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