Our Data     Sample Profile     User Reviews     Compare Versions     Subscription Pricing     Weekly Webinar     IndustrySelect Blog     Contact Us     FREE DEMO

8 Questions for Determining the Needs of Your Industrial B2B Prospects

Posted by IndustrySelect on Thursday, May 11, 2023

8 Questions to Ask Your Prospects in B2B


Industrial sales and marketing is a complex and challenging field that requires a deep understanding of the customer's needs, preferences, and decision-making process. You have to deal with long sales cycles, high competition, changing customer expectations, and evolving digital channels. How can you overcome these challenges and generate more leads for your business? One way is to ask smart questions to your B2B prospects. Questions that help you understand their pain points, goals, preferences, and decision criteria. Questions that help you establish trust, credibility, and value. In this blog post, we will share some of the best questions to ask your industrial B2B prospects and how they can help you improve your sales and marketing results.

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!

Editor's note: This article was originally published in December 2021. 


Want to keep up with the latest sales and marketing trends and exclusive industrial statistics from MNI? The free weekly IndustrySelect Insider email is the industry's top source for sales, marketing and industrial news you can't find anywhere else. Subscribe here.

Google NewsFollow IndustrySelect on Google News
Get 500 FREE
Industrial Leads from
Reach U.S. manufacturers, suppliers, and industrial service providers with B2B company data
Researched firsthand by real people for unparalleled accuracy and detail, trusted by over 50,000 professionals at small businesses to Fortune 500 companies
IndustrySelect is the Industrial Database
Sales • Marketing • Recruiting • Research
Check  Identify prospects by location, industry, size
Check  View complete company profiles
Check  Executive contact data with direct emails
Check  Get instant counts, build unlimited lists
Check  Export profiles to your CRM
Check  Locate top executives by name & title
Check  Collaborate with your sales team
Check  See parent company and family tree
Check  Discover a company's key competitors
Check  Uncover hidden prospects with Intent Data
Check  Clone your best customers Customer Match
Check  Pricing levels for all budgets
Check  Use on your PC, Mac, tablet, or smartphone
Get 500 FREE demo leads now!
© 2024 MNI     License Agreement     Terms of Use     Legal Information     Privacy Policy     Do Not Sell My Personal Information     Help Us Fight Data Theft