20 Questions to Ask Your B2B Leads, Prospects and Customers

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20 Questions to Ask Your B2B Leads, Prospects and Customers

 

In a previous post, I asked the question, "How well do you know your B2B buyers?" Gathering information on your buyers is your responsibility, not theirs. They may or may not volunteer critical information during the buy cycle, but chances are, they won't offer any more than they need to. So, it's up to us to craft our lead generation, lead nurturing and sales process to qualify our leads and develop them into prospects and customers. It boils down to asking the right questions at the right time. Here are 20 important questions to ask at the three main buy stages—lead, prospect and customer.

Setting Goals

First, let's establish what our goals are for information gathering. I can think of a few:

  • Identify your leads so that you can nurture them and contact them at the appropriate stage of the buy cycle
  • Determine their interests and buy cycle stages so that you can nurture them with appropriate content
  • Segment your leads by appropriate demographics and by product/service
  • Qualify and score your leads for sales readiness and prioritization
  • Provide sales reps with vital information to assist in the sales process
  • Create buyer behavior models to assist in lead generation and lead nurturing
  • Create and maintain customer service models to reduce churn and enhance lifetime value

Goldilocks and the Three Bears Model

20 questions to ask your b2b leads prospects and customers and goldilocksRemember that today's customer doesn't want to be pushed, prodded or otherwise violated before they are ready to buy. You want your questioning strategy to not be too hard, not be too soft, but to be just right. The trick here is to gather information gradually and keep updating your records with new information until your profile is complete. Think about staging your questions in line with your buyer behavior and apparent stage in the buy cycle. You can do that by slowly introducing more questions in your lead capture forms as your leads make their way through your lead nurturing content and consume content you've targeted for TOFU (top of the sales funnel), MOFU (middle of the funnel) and BOFU (bottom of the funnel) stages. So let's get started already!

Stage 1 - Lead (has signed up for TOFU, MOFU, BOFU content )

  1. TOFU (First Touch) - Your Name? (Required), Your Email? (Required)
  2. TOFU (Second Touch) - Name, Email, Company (Optional), Title (Optional), Phone (Optional)
  3. TOFU (Third Touch) - Name, Email, Company (Required), Title (Optional), Phone (Optional), Interests (Optional), Comments (Optional)
  4. MOFU (First Touch) - Name, Email, Company (Required), Title (Required), Phone (Optional), Company Size (Optional), Industry (Optional), Region/Location (Optional), Interests (Optional), Interest Level (Optional), Comments (Optional)
  5. MOFU (Second Touch) - Name, Email, Company (Required), Title (Required), Phone (Required), Company Size (Required), Industry (Required), Region/Location (Required), Interests (Required), Interest Level (Required), Comments (Optional)
  6. MOFU-BOFU (Third Touch or Behavior-Driven Lead Nurturing Content) - Name, Email, Company (Required), Title (Required), Phone (Required), Best Time to Call (Required), Company Size (Required), Industry (Required), Region/Location (Required), Product/Service Desired (Required), Interest Level (Required), Comments (Required)  

Stage 2 - Prospect (contacted by sales rep and tracked as a CRM opportunity)

  1. What are you excited about during the next 12 months?
  2. What are your business goals for that period?
  3. How do you hope to achieve those goals using our product/service?
  4. What strategies/plans do you have in place now for accomplishing your goals?
  5. How do you foresee achieving them using our product/service?
  6. What process will you use to evaluate possible solutions; when will you decide?
  7. Who will make the final decision; can we speak to them?
  8. If we can do A, B, C for you, will you be ready to go with our product/service?

Stage 3 - Customer (at least one purchase)

  1. How well is our product/service performing?
  2. What factors influenced your decision to buy from us?
  3. What content helped you to make your decision?
  4. How would you like to be contacted by us and how often?
  5. What can we do to improve?
  6. When do you anticipate needing more (licenses, seats, upgrades, etc.)?

I'm sure there are many more questions you could ask, but these 20 should get you started on your way to understanding your buyer behavior at the various stages of the buy cycle. Now you can map out your content better for your leads and prospects, assisting them but not pushing them as they move through your sales funnel. You should definitely seek the input of all of the stakeholders in this process—marketing, sales, customer service and management—to come up with the right information-gathering strategy. Don't be afraid to leverage what you already know about your buyers, but don't rely on that alone. Let the data do the talking.

Photo Credit: annethelibrarian






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Comments

John,  
As always, good stuff. Will definitely put some of your tips into action. If you could do a followup article giving a live example of your Stage 1 Process through lead forms/information gathering, I'm sure others would love seeing as well.  
Cheers! 
Andre
Posted @ Thursday, May 24, 2012 8:22 AM by Andre Jensen
@Andre - good idea. I will be happy to follow up with a post with several examples of TOFU lead generation and information gathering.
Posted @ Thursday, May 24, 2012 1:01 PM by John McTigue
Thank you for taking the time to read my long-winded suggestion and as always, thank you for the daily lols.heathrow airport transfer 
Posted @ Friday, May 25, 2012 4:52 AM by heathrow airport transfer
Hi John, we’ve not met. I learned of you through your blog 
 
20 Questions to Ask Your B2B Leads, Prospects and Customers 
I noticed in your list of things to ask for, you do not mention mailing address. 
Have you tried that? I was curious why you did not. I can understand 
Not asking for a mailing address at the beginning of the “relationship” 
But somewhere along the path perhaps. 
 
On another note, I am working on surveys for our company for the purpose of understanding our buyers 
And what their needs and wants are. I had not considered how that also applies to the 
Lead Gen and Lead Nurture path. Thanks for your helpful suggestions. 
 
Posted @ Sunday, May 27, 2012 11:28 AM by Steve Counts
Hi Steve, 
 
Great question. I suppose it depends on the product or service. For products you certainly need to learn the address at some point – perhaps best in the e-commerce stage if available. For services or digital products, maybe not. We deliver almost all of our services online, for example, so we don’t need address until we get to the customer/billing stage, and this can wait until contract time. Best to ask your sales and customer service teams what they “need” in order to consummate and fulfill a purchase. As you point out, less is better from a conversion rate point of view, but more is better from a lead segmentation and lead scoring point of view. It’s a delicate balance. 
Posted @ Sunday, May 27, 2012 12:10 PM by John McTigue
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