First, let me throw out a disclaimer in that I am speaking from my experience and am gearing this towards my industry and that it’s best to take my advice and mold it to fit your companies strategies and target market.
When thinking of B2B, the first question that comes to mind is how big is the business that I am selling to and who does what. Meaning what role does each stakeholder have in that company and who makes decisions? So, let’s break it down further and look at the specific questions to ask when targeting B2B prospects.
Question Set 1 – What do I know about the company that I am targeting?
- What is their annual revenue?
- How many employees do they have?
- How many offices do they have and where are they?
- How long have they been in business?
- What are their different product lines?
- How much are they selling their products for?
Question Set 2 – Who does what?
When talking to a prospect (company), you need to understand who does what and who makes the decisions. Typically in a B2B company you are targeting 3 different roles. Depending on the size, the same person may be doing all three or two of the three roles.
Decision Maker – this is the person that typically is the final word because they sign the check, they are in a executive role, or could run the business unit.
Typical Title: C-level Executive, President or Vice President
Conversation: These are more formal conversations. You are typically talking about the company wide benefits and total cost of ownership or even total cost of operation.
Interaction Time: Limited, more interaction near the end of the deal
Influencer – this person is usually in a middle management role and either runs the department or team that will be purchasing your product. This person is also the biggest voice in the conversation.
Typical Title: Director or Manager
Conversation: These are less formal conversations. When talking to this person, you need to talk about your product as a solution, show them the product highlights and key selling points.
Interaction Time: Frequent, you will spend more time with this person than any other person and you should spend most of your time selling to this person.
User – this person will actually be hands on with the product and will need to understand the ins and outs of it along with usability and functionality.
Typical Title: Manager, Supervisor, Associate, Analyst
Conversation: These are informal conversations. It is best to keep these conversations specifically about the product best practices and operational efficiencies.
Interaction Time: Occasional, more interaction near the end of the deal