Imagine you’ve just been appointed CEO of a private company or a division of a public company. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in the job 10 years, I’m asking you to imagine! How would you audit your sales performance? How would you know if you had a great team with a bad set of products or a weak team with a great set of products? Or both? Well here’s a 20-question list for starters. It doesn’t cover the questions you’ll need to ask your product teams or the customer support teams but it’s a start. I hope it helps.

Sales Team

Interview on a one on one basis, a representative sample of the team, let’s say six team members maximum.

  1. What does the company do?
  2. Who is your ideal prospect (person & job title not company) and what outcomes do we deliver for that prospect?
  3. What is your vertical market and what is our estimated market share?
  4. What companies do you believe should be in your pipeline for this year?
  5. How much business can you win from these companies during the next four quarters?
  6. Can you summarize your engagement strategy for three of your most attractive prospects, especially questions you will deploy to understand them?
  7. How would you describe your sales process from start to finish?
  8. What are the key differentiators of our product when they solve real customer issues?
  9. Can you summarize using three examples what problem you solved for a customer, the solution deployed and the results achieved?
  10. What’s your opinion of our marketing team, the collateral they produce and our web site?

These answers will indicate how your sales team are thinking. It will indicate their knowledge of three key aspects, product knowledge, customer knowledge and a world class sales process. It only takes one of those three to be weak for sales failure to occur. It will indicate how well you are telling your story.

Marketing Team

Interview on a one on one basis, a representative sample of the team, let’s say three team members maximum.

  1. What does the company do?
  2. How would you communicate our story and brand values better?
  3. What are the competitive advantages of our products by market?
  4. How can our customers use our products in their jobs and what outcomes can they expect?
  5. What type and volume of sales leads are you targeting to achieve over the next four weeks?
  6. What customer issues do we solve that will appear in a blog post in the next six months?
  7. What are our most successful campaigns in winning new business?
  8. What would you change in our web site?
  9. What vertical market has the greatest sales potential?
  10. What’s your opinion of our sales team in terms of their effectiveness handling in-bound leads? Cover urgency and ability to engage in a conversation.

These answers will indicate how well your marketing team are aligned to the needs of the business. Are they being busy fools or is their work truly helping to scale the business, setting the sales team up for success? Are they telling our story? Is it compelling?

From time to time, every business needs to stand back and audit where they are. Markets are changing fast. Are you still relevant to your customers? Are you teaching and incentivizing staff to be curious, to ask why?

Comments and thoughts are welcome.

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