When scaling a business, striving for perfection can be sometimes more detrimental than beneficial. Focusing on quality has caused many businesses to be stagnant and prevented them from scaling.
While perfection sounds like the “right thing to do,” in practice, it only inhibits growth; improving quality generally comes from rounds of improvement in quantity with direct feedback from your target market. It’s the end-users who judge the quality; therefore, it’s important to produce quantity at scale.
Of course, this doesn’t mean completely neglecting quality altogether. There’s always a baseline quality that must be met. People at every level, employees, managers, and even business owners, must adopt the mindset of quantity rather than quality.
Quality can be improved over time through critical feedback, corporate training, and process improvements internally.
In this article, we'll offer our unique perspective on why businesses across all industries and sizes should focus on quantity over quality. You'll learn the common misconceptions of quality and how it applies to different departments and company sizes.
Why Quantity is More Important Than Quality
Quantity should be the core focus of each department. Every team should have quality assurance measures in place to ensure that the quality of work always meets a standard. However, quality will help to drive results and scale the company to meet the objectives of the business.
Every expert marketer knows the value of being omnipresent in your marketing. While a bad reputation can certainly hurt you, most business leaders often exaggerate the fear of "bad press" to the point of lack of production.
Think of a brand like "Dollar Shave Club." They quickly rose above obscurity through their viral marketing tactics. Their innovative approach to their monthly subscription of razors, combined with their funny commercials, makes them relatable to the end consumer.
Is their blades necessarily a work of perfection? I'd argue they are quite standard. Instead, they appeal to a specific demographic and have focused on pushing their message through creative marketing.
In this example, Dollar Shave Club knows that improving the quality of their blade isn't necessarily what their customers want. Instead, they value convenience and something that gets the job done. They focused on increasing the number of people that knew about their brand by producing more ad campaigns.
Here are the reasons why you should focus on quantity instead of quality:
Quality is Subjective
Quality is always subjective, but the quantity isn't.
Think about every great business or piece of artwork.
Some people love Apple products, while others prefer Microsoft products. There will be critics no matter what, and therefore it is difficult to optimize for quality.
If quality is subjective, why not give yourself more chances to succeed.
Most sales training always emphasizes the importance of increasing call volume. The more sales calls with qualified candidates, the more likely you are to increase sales. A sales rep who is perhaps less talented but doubles or triples the number of calls made, may still outperform the more talented sales rep.
Of course, at some point, this amy come at the cost of the brand or resources available. You can only have so many leads, but if you’re not even attending to them at all because you’re focused on the perfect sales pitch, customers will still have a negative experience with your company.
Quantity Scales Your Business
All businesses should be focused on scaling growth, and you can't do that without a plan and proven methodologies, which you won't get if all you're focused on is quality.
Not to say you can't focus on both, but they need to run simultaneously. A lack of focus on either can hurt you, but a lack of sufficient quantity can shut down your business.
Obviously, without a baseline quality that meets your expectations, you’ll end up with unhappy customers. However, too much focus on quality without quantity means insufficient cashflow to continue running your business. According to Quickbooks, 61% of small business owners struggle with cashflow problems.
In the book “Ready, Fire, Aim”, Michael Masterson talks about how a business generating under one million annually should always focus on selling as their top priority. This means pushing the product out into the market first and not wasting time trying to perfect it.
Quantity allows you to grow your business. In every facet of your business, it requires "more."
Creating more content generates more organic traffic. Putting out more campaigns lets you capture more leads. Testing more campaigns allows you to optimize for the best converting ad. Generating more demos and consultation calls will lead to more sales.
No matter what field you're in, the quantity will typically drive more business than quality.
Quantity Comes Before Quality
Nobody magically gets it right the first time. Thomas Edison failed 10,000 times before finally perfecting the light bulb. The iPhone had millions of iterations before it reached its current form. Previously, the iPhone didn't offer Siri, didn't have facial recognition, and many other features.
Look at any great business, content creator, or artist. Look at their beginning stages of work compared to their most recent, and you'll notice a significant difference in quality.
Quality comes from repetition and putting the work out there for others to judge. Without this critical and harsh feedback from consumers, it's impossible to obtain quality.
How Does Quantity Apply to Different Areas of Business
The idea of quantity over quality applies to every area of your business. This especially rings true for businesses looking to scale. We'll point out some specific departments in your business where you should prioritize quality over quantity and how it will help you scale.
Content Marketing and SEO
While user experience is the holy grail of ranking at the top, search engines place a heavy emphasis on consistency.
For example, the sheer volume of backlinks and keywords being ranked will drive more organic traffic.
Imagine two websites that both started around the same time. Website A has produced 100 blog posts in that time, while Website B has only produced 10.
Assuming that both are relatively equal in quality, website A will more likely rank for more keywords, receive more quality backlinks and outrank website B.
Furthermore, there have been many studies that point to how long-form content outperforms short-form content. This means simply having a "greater quantity" of words will get you better results than having less because you're too focused on quality.
Here are several studies to back up this premise:
- Moz: A Moz study found that content with over 1000 words earned more shares and links than content under 1000 words. This study specifically looked at more than one million websites.
- BuzzSumo: A BuzzSumo study tracked 100 million articles and found that posts between 3000-10,000 words generally had the most shares. Blog posts with 1000 words or less received the least number of shares.
- HubSpot: A HubSpot study focusing on the company's 6000-plus blog posts found that longer content performed better when it came to links and shares, specifically articles that had 2,500 words or more.
Compared to short-form blog posts, long-form content ranks far more keywords. When you write long-form content, you're generally writing between 1200 words to 2000 words or more. While that is a sizable time commitment, having a high word count lets you explore and cover topics in-depth. Since you're taking a complete approach to covering a topic, your content can rank for a wider range of related keywords. Ranking for more keywords will increase traffic to your website while also boosting shares and backlinks to your site.
Additionally, you're answering a reader's current question along with their next question and even their question after that. If you run a contracting company, you may write a long-form post that discusses contracting costs. You may answer the first question, "How much does a contractor cost?" and then answer follow-up questions, such as "What makes up a contractor's costs?" With long-form blog content, you include helpful content for your audience that also ranks well.
A top-ranking page matters because:
- Only 25% of visitors click even make it to the second page of search results
- About 75% of visitors click on the first, second, or third result on the search engine results page
- 0.78% of visitors click on a link from page two of the search results
Rankings mean generating more traffic, which leads to generating new leads and sales. Search helps people find and discover your brand, with over 50% of users saying they found a new product after using the search engine.
For social media marketing, posting more will lead to better results. Unless you're posting an absurd ten times a day with irrelevant content, it's rare that posting more won't yield better results.
Most businesses fail to post enough content. Big brands like Mcdonald's, Nike, Apple, and many others have understood the value of being omnipresent.
Omnichannel marketing is the concept of communicating to your customers and prospects through many different channels.
From a practical standpoint, many prospects aren't on every single platform. So by sheer math, if you post on all platforms, you'll reach more people.
For example, b2b prospects are more likely to engage on LinkedIn than on other social platforms. Or older adults are more likely to check Facebook than Instagram. However, an eCommerce store can benefit more from Instagram than LinkedIn.
Timing when a customer will buy isn’t practical. The best thing to do is guide your customers through each stage of the sales funnel and guage their interest level. However, the more social media posts you have, the greater the likelihood that you’ll have of increasing brand exposure.
When a customer is ready to buy your particular type of product or service, you’ll be the first brand they think of.
However, big brands know that they want to be the first business to come to mind whenever a prospect is ready to buy.
Often, a customer undergoes the following process in their buying cycle:
- Prospect becomes aware of the problem, and they search online to educate themselves about the problem
- Prospect learns about a potential solution
- They research different solutions to find the best option
- Prospect researches the best companies that can provide the solution they're looking for
- Prospect makes the purchase
By posting more on social media, you become "top of mind." When a customer is ready to buy, your brand will be the first they purchase from since you've helped them through the entire buying journey through your social media and content marketing.
When it comes to product development, there's only so much research that can be done. Startups tend to never get off the ground or even receive enough feedback to perfect their product, which ends up in either the business shutting down or being stagnant for years.
Tom Dyson iterated the vacuum cleaner design 5,126 times, which made him billions of dollars. Many product teams don't perform enough iterations for their product to succeed. And it is daunting trying to determine how many iterations a product needs to undergo when developing its product.
The more iterations your team can work through, the more chances they will have of succeeding. The reality is that endless iteration is hard to come by, no matter how big the company or the bank balance, so you'll need to put the product out into the world. Then allow customer feedback to dictate how to improve upon the product continually. Apple takes into consideration customer feedback by always having new iOS updates.
It's vital to understand that the concept of product iterations applies to your business whether you sell a physical product or a service. Even if you sell consulting services, you'll offer specific "features" in your program. As you acquire more customers, they'll provide feedback as to what features or parts of the service really made an impact and other areas that may have no effect at all.
This lets you iterate your services so that you come away with a solution that is more effective than other solutions. Or perhaps, you realize that your solution is better suited for certain groups of people while less effective for others.
In this case, you better understand your target audience and can create a buyer persona to help attract the right types of clientele into your business.
Many sales managers talk about "it's a numbers game," and that's largely true. Sales come down to numbers. Mathematically speaking, it's better to increase the quantity by speaking with more leads than to try to improve your close rate.
Let's take a look at the numbers. Hubspot analyzed the sales closing ratio of various industries and came away with the following numbers:
- Biotechnology: 15%
- Business and industrial: 27%
- Computer software: 22%
- Computers and electronics: 23%
- Finance: 19%
If a salesperson had 100 sales presentations per month and closed at a 10% ratio, that means they closed ten customers out of 100 calls. Let's say that sales reps increase their close ratio by 5%, meaning they close 15 new customers per 100 calls.
By eliminating time-wasters such as data entry or automating certain sales tasks, the rep can potentially increase their output by getting to 200 calls per month. Thus, 200 calls will outperform the increase in conversion rates.
While it's certainly important to improve both, many of the top sales performers across all verticals all have one thing in common – they simply speak to more qualified leads than other salespeople.
Even the human resources department requires quantity. Many companies aren’t ready to scale since it requires additional employees. Once your product or service is profitable, by scaling the total output you can increase revenue.
The human resources department should continually prospect for a pool of applicants who would make great candidates for positions. It requires the executive leadership to outline key areas of improvement for the company and disseminate them down to the HR department.
For example, filling positions that require a high technical skillset will likely require more time to complete. These positions could be senior software engineers, business data analysts, executive leadership positions, and other technical or experience-driven roles.
Human resources should continually send out messages, connect and grow their network with specialists. When the time is needed to scale and hire specific roles, the company has a pool of candidates to select from to help them achieve the company’s long-term goals. The wrong hire can set your company back for quite some time.
In this case, quantity means continually searching and pooling candidates, so that you have a larger selection to choose from. And once your company is ready to scale or needs to fill certain positions, you’re ready to hire the best candidates available.
Importance of Feedback Loop
While quantity should be prioritized over quality, that doesn't mean you shouldn't improve quality. Every organization should have systems and processes to receive and analyze feedback to improve quality over time.
For example, content managers should review content to ensure brand guidelines are being met and produced at the quality needed that would outperform competitors.
Additionally, data can be used as feedback. For example, a time tracking system can help analyze where your employees are spending their time. If you notice sales teams focusing on time finding leads or entering data, it's better to have these tasks automated.
Feedback loops help increase productivity in an individual's performance, project teamwork, or process. Agile companies use feedback loops to identify areas for improvement regularly. Then, they turn these improvements into actionable items that address those key challenges, and they can be tracked to measure progress.
Here are some internal feedback loop systems that your organization can implement to improve the quality of your employee's work while still maximizing on quantity produced:
1. Daily Stand-up Meetings
The daily stand-up meeting is the most frequent form of review, and it addresses questions like who needs help, who is working on what, are there any blocked tasks, and how we can help. This daily meeting is the internal feedback loop for your employees working on a project but is also helpful for executives who are interested in knowing how that project is going and how they can help.
2. Replenishment & Commitment Meeting
In this meeting, it's important to decide which are the most important tasks to feed into the input queue and make sure your team can commit to delivering the most valuable tasks for the week or month ahead. This meeting can vary in its occurrence. Depending on the context, it may be conducted weekly, monthly, or as needed.
3. Delivery Planning Meeting
Managers, directors, and executives come together to plan delivery. Clients should be informed about how, when, and what will be delivered to them.
4. Service Delivery Review
Executives and directors focus on checking the team's performance against agreed-upon commitments, SLAs (service level agreements), customer-focused metrics, quality, lead time, and other metrics.
5. Operations Review
The operations review meeting is a higher-level view of how the various departments are collaborating as an organization. It's focused on assuring the operational flow over local optimizations. For example, a marketing manager may update the workflow of content marketing output to ensure that quality is met every time.
6. Strategy Review
The strategy review is the highest level of meeting and ensures that the company is moving in the right direction based on the organization's strategic goals and continually changing market conditions. This meeting is an opportunity to answer if the company is still taking the right steps to make sure that the organization and operational mode are aligned with the overall mission and vision of the business.
How Does it Apply to Different Levels of Companies?
A company can often fall apart by having the wrong priorities. Focusing on quality over quantity can hurt your business at different levels, no matter the company size. Let's take a look at how they can affect startups, SMB businesses, and enterprise-level organizations.
It's common for startups to focus entirely too much on the product. They tend to spend weeks, months, or even years. The founders may obsess over having the most innovative or perfect idea. However, in reality, it's the execution that drives results. Even the simplest ideas that are well-executed can become multi-million dollar companies. As a result, these startups will spend too much time on the research and product development phase.
Remember that what your customers think about your product is far more important than what you think. It's crucial to spend a lot of time with marketing and sales of your new product. Since cash flow will determine whether your company continues its business, marketing and sales should be the top priority for startups.
Small-to-Medium Sized Businesses
Most small to medium-sized businesses stay at their current level because these business owners continue to operate to "things they know."
The only way to scale and break new grounds is to operate outside of your comfort zone. For a retail store that could be transitioning to the world of e-commerce, even if you don't have the current expertise. Or it might mean expanding to new locations where you'll have to appeal to new demographics or face possible regulatory challenges.
No matter the challenge, scaling comes with problems. However, learning to overcome these challenges and facing these fears with tactical strategies will help your SMB scale to new revenue levels.
For SMB, this could mean:
- Hiring consultants: An expert marketing consultant can provide expertise on a strategic level. For example, a small business that has never run advertisements can use a marketing expert to provide the right strategy that is specific to their industry and company size.
- Hiring agencies: Agencies that already have top-level talent can handle marketing activities at scale. If you're an SMB, you likely already have something working for you, especially if you have a continuous flow of customers. An agency can help you scale at a faster pace and is more affordable compared to hiring full-time employees.
- Learning new skills: Business owners may need to learn new skills or hire people that are already experts in them. For example, SMB owners may need to learn fundamental leadership skills by attending training to learn how to lead their organization. They may need to place brand visions and missions and even establish the right culture.
- Adopting new technologies: Small businesses may resist adopting new technologies to help them scale. Again, if you have sales reps still manually using spreadsheets or entering data manually, a CRM can help to manage your prospects. If you are beginning to receive an influx of leads via organic or paid marketing, it's important to have a marketing automation system that can segment and nurture leads.
Even enterprises should continually focus on quality. Oftentimes, large organizations will be bogged down by slow decision making and "company policies," leaving agile competitors to beat them to the customer.
More agile companies might be quicker to adapt to new product lines, features, or technology. For example, cryptocurrency has been a hot topic for many financial institutions. This meant there was a great demand for retail consumers to buy, sell, and exchange cryptocurrency.
Companies like Venmo, PayPal, Square, and other financial institutions were relatively quick to adopt cryptocurrency into their ecosystem. Slower institutional banks that didn't adopt cryptocurrency lost out on a lot of potential users.
While this speaks to adaptability, it also confirms how quantity is vital. Enterprises must adopt systems that allow for fast-decision making and faster production.
Overcoming the Challenges of Quantity at Scale
Quantity over quality sounds nice in theory, but many businesses stop executing once they're faced with challenges. For example, if your business is already at capacity and you're on a limited budget, how can you produce more quantity?
Here are some practical solutions for producing more so that your business can scale successfully.
Your Business Must Be Ready to Scale
Some businesses make the mistake of increasing the output without a profitable business. Most businesses, unless backed by venture capitalists and investors, should be profitable first.
A small business that isn't profitable shouldn't simply pour more money into unprofitable activities. Instead, they may need to cut down on costs and figure out the right business model to ensure profitability.
For example, an eCommerce business that isn't profitable shouldn't dump more money on ads. Instead, they might test and optimize their campaigns until they're profitable. Or perhaps, they may find their product isn't a great fit in the marketplace and therefore need to change directions until they're profitable and ready to scale.
Streamline Processes and Narrow Focus
Not all business activities are created equal. Some tasks are busywork that isn't necessary, while other core activities are fundamental drivers which directly correlate to revenue.
Your business should streamline processes across all roles and departments so that most of the workday is spent on revenue-generating activities. Then, you can focus on those activities and double-down on them to increase the quantity.
This could mean using AI chatbots, marketing automation systems, CRMs, and other tools to improve efficiency so that your employees can boost productivity by solely focusing on important tasks.
Hire an Outside Voice
Marshall Goldsmith an international business consultant speaker, said, "what got you here won't get you there."
It's common for businesses to continue to rely on the same methods and people they've come to know.
The only way to grow is to gain new insight and help from voices that aren't currently there. This means seeking help from expert consultants who can help.
While data and analytics of your current business operations can help you make iterations, a business consultant can provide new ideas you may not have ever thought of.
Consider seeking experts in fields that you want your organization to improve upon. For example, a marketing consultant who attends training conferences and has years of experience in the field can direct easily provide valuable feedback about your current strategy.
Increase Your Quantity
Everybody wants to increase revenue and sales, but few businesses actually want to put forth the effort required to do so.
It begins with a shift in thinking. Changing the focus from quality to quantity will shift your business's daily operations.
Your marketing team begins to put out more content and more campaigns. Sales teams focus on speaking with more people. Product development teams focus on feedback loops for refinement.
Universal Creative Solutions offers marketing consulting and services to help you scale your business. We identify opportunities where your business can increase quantity so that you can achieve your objectives for this year and beyond. Schedule a consultation with a marketing expert from our team and learn how we can adopt the "quantity over quality" approach to your business.