At some point or another, every Sales VP hears this question from his CEO:
“Will you hit your number this quarter?”
This question may seem innocent at first, but it often spurs a sense of panic within that Sales VP. Why? Because, all too often, he just doesn’t know the answer.
Usually, the Sales VP will hem and haw and provide equivocal, rambling answers about how he will hit his number if a couple of unexpected big deals come through or if a few breaks go his way.
But guess what: CEOs see through this ruse. The Sales VP doesn’t know if he’s going to hit his number, he’s just too afraid to admit it.
We’ve all been there before but we don’t have to resign ourselves to this state of uncertainty. In fact, I’ve come up with a simple 4-step guide to help all Sales VPs determine (on any day of the quarter) whether they’ll hit their number, and here it is:
- Identify Your Business’ Distinct Segments
Does your Win Rate drop when you’re trying to sell to larger customers? Is your sales cycle shorter for one of your products than the others? If you want to predict how the rest of the sales period will unfold, you need to know what your business segments are and how they affect your sales process.
- Analyze Your Current Pipeline
If you stopped creating new opportunities for the rest of the selling period and only relied on the open opportunities in your pipeline, how close to your number would you get? Using historical data to forecast which of your open opportunities will close by the end of the selling period will help you see how much additional pipeline you need to generate.
- Project New Pipeline
The number from step #2 will almost certainly be much lower than your bookings goal. That’s ok — you still have time to make up the shortfall by generating additional opportunities that will close before quarter’s end. How many of these opportunities can you realistically create? Take your average sales cycle(s), subtract that number from the number of days you have left in the selling period, and figure out how many new opportunities you can create in that amount of time.
- Select additional levers
Creative sales managers can find additional ways to generate revenue, even at the 11th hour. Closing deals themselves, leaning on their network, or offering discounts are just a few examples.
Want more details about how these 4 steps can help you forecast your end-of-quarter bookings total? Check out our FREE eBook on the topic.