How can you tell if a lead is worth pursuing?
Asking the right questions can help you find out.
In fact, creating a list of sales questions to ask prospects throughout the sales cycle is one of the keys to creating a reliable, repeatable lead qualification process. By knowing which sales questions to ask at every step, you can figure out which leads are most likely to convert and focus your time and energy on the right prospects.
This article provides you with a huge selection of suggested sales questions to ask prospects at every stage of the sales process, from qualification to close. Sales reps can use these sales questions to help understand a lead’s goals, objections, and motivating factors—so you can ultimately guide them towards a sale.
What is Sales Qualification?
Before we jump right into our recommended sales questions, let’s take a second to review the value of qualification in sales.
Sales qualification is the process of determining which leads are most likely to become customers.
With the right combination of lead scoring and qualifying questions, you can filter out poor-fit leads, identify viable prospects, and optimize your chances of making a sale.
Note: In most cases, qualified leads are those who align with your ideal customer profile, have a need for your product or service, and are open to implementing your solution.
Why is it Important to Know Which Sales Questions to Ask Prospects?
Qualifying sales questions play an important role in the sales conversation. If you want to get to know your leads—and qualify them as potential sales opportunities—you need to ask the right questions.
Figuring out which questions to ask allows you to qualify leads early in the conversation, uncover valuable information that can help drive conversions, and progress deals through your sales pipeline.
More specifically, sales questions help you determine how well a particular lead fits your ideal customer profile (ICP), whether they have an existing need for your product, and what type of reassurance they need to nudge them towards a conversion.
Put simply, a prospect’s answers to your sales questions will help you identify whether they’re a potential customer.
By asking strategic sales questions at the right moments, you can more reliably:
- Determine lead fit
- Filter out unqualified leads
- Identify viable prospects
- Tailor your offer to your prospects’ needs
- Progress deals through your pipeline
- Turn leads into customers
Now let’s look at some of the best sales questions to ask prospects during the sales process (and why they work).
Types of Sales Questions to Ask Prospects at Every Stage of the Process
The best sales questions to ask your prospect depends on their current position in the buying cycle and how much you already know about them. For sake of this article, we’ve categorized questions by what they can help you achieve:
- Qualifying Sales Questions
- Objective: Find out if they’re a match for your ICP.
- Strategy: Ask questions that filter out poor-fit leads early in the process.
- Discovery Questions
- Objective: Uncover decision-driving factors and confirm their need for your product/service.
- Strategy: Ask open-ended questions to learn more about their potential use case, deciding factors, and concerns.
- Progress Opportunities to Next Steps
- Objective: Move the deal forward in your pipeline.
- Strategy: Ask action-driving questions to move leads through your pipeline, prevent stalling, and fuel conversions.
Qualifying Sales Questions for Filtering Out Poor-Fit Leads
To start off, let’s focus on qualifying sales questions that allow you to get to know your prospects better. The goal of this type of question is to assess your prospects’ needs, filter out poor-fit leads, and determine which leads are the best match for your ideal customer profile.
Ideal Customer Profile Alignment (Demographics & Firmographics)
Asking questions related to your ideal customer profile (ICP) can help you recognize which leads are worth pursuing further. If you have a clear idea of who your ideal customers are, you can learn a lot about new and incoming leads based on how closely they match your ICP criteria.
Or, if you’re starting out cold and don’t have much information about a lead, begin by asking questions that tell you about their company and their role within it. Examples of this include demographics, firmographics, lead source, and other qualifying factors that can be measured against data from your past and existing customers.
Here are some good questions you can ask to evaluate lead fit:
- Can you tell me about your company/industry/niche?
- How big is your company/team?
- What are your growth goals for the next six months?
- How many people would be using this solution?
- What are the biggest challenges you’re facing at the moment?
- What are your top priorities for the upcoming quarter?
- How did you hear about our company/product?
Sales Qualification Questions Based on BANT
BANT is one of the most popular, easy-to-follow frameworks for lead qualification. Developed by IBM, the BANT model evaluates a lead’s budget, authority to make a purchase, need for your solution, and potential timeline for implementation.
The BANT model can serve as a good foundation for coming up with high-value qualifying questions. Here are some examples of questions you should ask to qualify leads based on budget, authority, need, and timeline:
- How much are you hoping to spend on this solution?
- Does this proposal line up with your budget?
- Are you comfortable with this scope and price?
- What are your financial parameters for this project?
- Are you the sole decision-maker?
- Are there any other parties who would need to sign off on this?
- How many people are involved in the final decision-making process?
(Note: Too many stakeholders can signal trouble if this has proven to be an issue with previous prospects.)
- How do you see this solution fitting into your workflow?
- What do you hope to achieve with this solution?
- How many team members do you expect will make use of this?
- When are you hoping to finalize your decision?
- How soon are you planning to implement?
- What’s your ideal timeframe for rolling this out?
Open-Ended Sales Questions for Discovery (Problems, Use Cases, Motivation)
You can learn a ton about your prospects by asking open-ended questions. From uncovering hidden sales objections (that you can then proactively address) and motivations, to gauging interest levels (so you know how much time you should put into a particular opportunity), open-ended questions can be quite revealing.
Here are some examples of open-ended sales questions to ask your prospects when assessing their objections, motivation, interest, and goals:
Sales Questions to Uncover Objections
- What other solutions are you considering?
- What are your current concerns?
- What’s the biggest roadblock to moving forward?
- What are your thoughts/questions about the implementation process?
Sales Questions to Discover Motivating Factors
- What would this solution help you achieve?
- What’s your vision or goals for the next quarter or next year?
- Why is now the best time to address the problem? (Follow-up questions: Has something recently changed in your business operations? What was the catalyst?)
Sales Questions to Help Gauge Interest
- How closely does this align with your current priorities?
- What are your thoughts on the trial/demo so far?
- What would happen if the problem remained unsolved or the solution were delayed?
- On a scale of 1-10, how ready do you feel to move forward?
Questions to Assess Pain Points and Goals
- What problem are you trying to solve?
- What is your current solution (if any)for this problem?
- How much [time/money /energy] are you currently spending on [problem to be solved]?
- How would this solution impact your [financial/growth/business] goals?
Ask Action-Driving Questions to Move Leads through Your Pipeline
Once you’ve qualified a prospect as sales-ready, you can ask outcome-oriented questions to help steer them towards a purchasing decision.
These questions are geared towards building and maintaining momentum. If you find a deal getting stuck, for instance, you need to ask questions that create urgency, verify a lead’s authority to make a purchase, and uncover any hidden objections.
Here are some action-driving questions you can use to move a deal forward:
- I’m excited about this opportunity. Are you ready to move forward with [next stage]?
- How soon can we take the next steps?
- Can we set up a demo for [specific time on specific day]?
- What type of reassurance/data do you need before we take the next steps?
- What questions do you have before we finalize this contract?
Generate & Connect with Qualified Leads at Scale
Now that we’ve provided you with plenty of high-value sales questions, let’s talk about the bigger picture.
Building a reliable lead qualification process is crucial to successful sales, especially in the world of B2B sales. But before you can qualify leads and find your best-fit customers, you need to keep your sales pipeline full of incoming leads. To support your growing business, you need the right tools and technology to manage and fill your pipeline.
If you want to generate more leads for your business, Datanyze is here to help. As a B2B lead generation tool for sales and marketing teams, Datanyze not only helps you find new leads but also provides information and context to better qualify each lead—so you can turn more leads into customers.
Get started with Datanyze today to connect with more qualified leads and future customers.