A senior sales executive asked me for strategic questions his sales team could use to do a better job of satisfying customers and identifying opportunities for his B2B company to solve. Probably as a surprise to him, the 10 question list I created had only a few questions specific to his company’s business category. Instead, the questions focused much more directly on what a potential customer’s business is, its processes, and how a company’s strategy creates or shuts off business opportunities.

Having shifted to a more direct business development focus now, I find myself going back to these 10 questions. Since it's much easier to find them online than searching through old presentations, here they are for you to modify and use as well:

  • What are your biggest business challenges?
  • What are your company’s goals & how do you fit into them?
  • Who are your best consumers/vendors? How do you sell to/buy from them?
  • Who is your best service provider (not necessarily in our category) & what do they do to make you more successful?
  • Is there a gap between how much time you spend on activities related to our service/product & how much you want to? Why?
  • How (& how frequently) do you make decisions about which providers you are going to use in our category?
  • Why did you start using us?
  • Why do you continue to use us?
  • What do we do that makes your biggest business challenges more difficult?
  • What do we do to help solve your biggest business challenges?

I’d love to hear how they work (or don’t work) for you in looking for more strategic opportunities with your clients. If you have other questions you find effective in unlocking business opportunities, please share those as well – Mike Brown

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