Categories Articles, Sales and Marketing

It’s a conversation no Sales VP wants to have:

“Why didn’t you hit the sales number last quarter?”

Whether it’s coming from the CEO, the Board, or anyone else in the organization, this question is enough to raise a Sales VP’s blood pressure. But being posed this question on its own is not what a Sales VP should fear.

What a Sales VP should fear is not being able to provide an answer.

Missed quarters happen all the time, but what separates an effective, data-driven Sales VP from the rest of the pack is his ability to analyze and understand this predicament, and answer questions from his CEO with fluency, detail and certainty.

So what’s the secret to answering this anxiety-inducing question? It comes down to understanding the 5 sales metrics that explain why a sales team makes or misses its bookings goal:

  • Open Opportunities per Rep and in Total

  • Closed Opportunities per Rep and in Total

  • Average Deal Size

  • Win Rate

  • Sales Cycle

By analyzing these metrics, Sales VPs can take their sales results from the previous quarter and pinpoint exactly what happened. So instead of standing in awkward silence when a CEO asks them what happened, they can come back with a precise, data-backed answer.

  • “Our pipeline didn’t grow fast enough to keep up with our rising bookings goals.”

  • “The decision for us to focus on larger deals resulted in a longer sales cycle, so we didn’t have enough time to close all the deals we needed this quarter.”

  • “Our win rate suffered because we lost 3 of our strongest reps last quarter.”

All of these answers show that the Sales VP didn’t just open his eyes on the last day of the quarter and realize his team was going to come up short. Instead, they prove that he analyzed the results, identified the right trends and provided a reasonable deduction about the factors that led to the missed number.

If you want to be able to answer this dreaded question, download our new FREE guide on the 5 metrics that every Sales VP should analyze in the face of a missed quarter.

Mike Baker
Mike Baker is the Content Strategy Manager at InsightSquared, where he helps distribute original eBooks, articles and guides about data-driven sales and marketing. He has a BA in English and Journalism from Oberlin College.
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