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8 Questions for Determining the Needs of Your Industrial B2B Prospects

Posted by IndustrySelect on Tuesday, December 14, 2021

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3 MIN. READ

In sales, a good starting point is often to understand what your industrial prospects' needs are. By asking the right questions, you can establish a dialogue and recommend the best solution for a shorter sales cycle and a better B2B buying experience.

Why Asking Questions Matters

Asking open-ended questions serves two purposes. First, it helps you qualify leads. After asking a few questions, you might find that what you offer won’t be a good match for a manufacturer and you might decide to focus on other leads.

Asking questions also helps you develop a deeper understanding of what each prospect hopes to achieve. You can become more than a salesperson if you listen to each prospect’s goals and pain points and recommend the best solution possible. This approach, known as prescriptive or consultative selling, can boost decision confidence.

A confident prospect will be more likely to invest in a premium product and to purchase another product from you in the future, resulting in more revenues.

And because listening to a prospect’s answers helps you narrow down the options you can present to them, you shorten the sales cycle, delivering a better experience and establishing yourself as a partner for success.

Top Eight Questions to Ask in Industrial Sales

The following questions will help you get a better idea of where a manufacturer is in their journey, which pain points they need to address and what the ideal outcome looks like for them. Remember to ask open-ended questions and use active listening to truly understand how you can deliver more value to a lead.

1. How Did You Hear About Us?

If a prospect reaches out to you, asking this question will show you what motivated them to seek a solution. If you were the one who reached out to the prospect, ask if they have tried looking for a solution in the past, and if not, why they didn’t. These questions can uncover some pain points linked to the B2B buying process that kept the prospect from completing a purchase before.

2. What Are Your Top Challenges?

Find out what keeps your prospect up at night. Go further by asking about their personal pain points and about the top obstacles at the team and organization levels. The answer should help you nail down the main selling points that will interest the prospect.

3. What are Your Requirements, Wishes and Deal-Breakers?

Asking about key requirements can help you narrow down which solutions you can present to the prospect. Wishes are features that would be nice to have and that can add value to a product. Deal-breakers will help you eliminate solutions that aren’t a good match.

4. What Does the Ideal Outcome Look Like?

This open-ended question will tell you what success looks like for your prospect. You can ask follow-up questions about any existing deadlines for achieving the desired outcome and about the consequences if the organization doesn’t reach that goal.

You can use this information to apply prescriptive selling techniques and show how the solution you offer will help the prospect achieve their best outcome. Don’t hesitate to ask about metrics to leverage existing case studies and show how similar organizations achieved their goals with your solution.

5. What is Your Decision-Making Process Like?

Nowadays, 63% of B2B buying decisions involve more than four people. You need to ask about the role of the person you’re talking to and find out who else you’ll have to convince.

6. Where Are You in Your Buying Journey?

Find out if the prospect is close to making a purchase, and if not, what kind of information they need to get there.

7. Are You Looking at Other Options?

Asking about any competitors the prospect is considering helps establish trust and transparency. Plus, it will reveal which differentiators you should highlight.

8. Where Do You See Your Organization in Five Years?

This question makes it clear that your goal is to build a long-term partnership and that you want to offer a product that will support future growth. Discuss how needs might change in the near future and explain how the solution you offer can grow and adapt.

The Importance of a Personalized Approach

Doing some research about prospects will help you ask the right questions and gain insight into goals and pain points that are unique to each industry and organization.

IndustrySelect offers a mix of high-level contact information and unique data points that paint a comprehensive picture when you are researching manufacturers. Sign up for a free demo to see for yourself how our detailed profiles can result in a shorter sales cycle and a better experience for your prospects!

 

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