Selling to today’s SaaS buyers can be a challenge. They want elegant solutions to their problems, are time-poor, and are constantly being bombarded by an endless array of other businesses trying to solve their problems. That’s why when your sales reps actually get the opportunity to talk to a potential buyer, they need to use that time wisely. Asking thoughtful questions designed to quickly assess their needs and qualify them is essential.

While the questions that follow certainly aren’t new or novel, they’re designed to help sales teams quickly get the information they need most in an initial conversation with a prospect. 

How long have you had the problem and what has the impact been on your business?

Whether you’re reaching out to a prospect or they’ve reached out to you, it’s because they have a problem that they need to solve. While unpacking the nuances of what’s happening at their organization is important, so too is gathering other intel. Establishing how long the company has had the problem will allow you to quantify its financial effects. Meanwhile, discussing the other impacts it has had can help illuminate additional ways in which the issue is hurting the business. Armed with this information, you can better make your case for why they need the right solution.

What are your unique requirements?

You wouldn’t be talking if your solution couldn’t do what they need in general terms. But every customer’s situation and needs are different and you’ll want to drill down into the unique requirements they have so that you can articulate exactly how your solution can address them. If there’s something you can’t accommodate, is there a workaround? Or are new features to address it already laid out in your product roadmap? Make sure to discuss any potential gaps.

What’s your ideal solution look like?

Ask prospective customers about their expectations. Not just in terms of the product they’ll be buying, but also the relationship they want to have with the vendor. Beyond ensuring that your product has the features and functionality they’re looking for, buyers want to know that you’ll be there for them well after the deal closes, providing ongoing support.

What have you tried in the past to solve the problem and what happened?

Ask your prospects to recap what they’ve done in the past to address the issue. Doing so will shed light on any of your competitors they may have interacted with, while also helping you understand exactly where they are in the buyer’s journey. You can then use the information to tailor your pitch and set your solution apart from their past experiences.

Where have your past partnerships fallen short?

If a prospect is unhappy with a past or current provider, dig a little deeper to understand why. Knowing exactly where things went wrong will help you to avoid those mistakes while also giving you an opportunity to put the prospect’s mind at ease. 

How do you see your needs changing as you grow?

If you want to retain your client year after year, you need to be able to keep up with their evolving needs. Ask how the prospect sees the business growing over time and what impact that could have on the problem you’re trying to solve or what other issues could arise. You’ll want to use these inputs to articulate exactly how your solution will be able to help them, not just today, but also for years to come. 

Who’s really making the decision?

Decision-making is often fairly complicated in most B2B organizations. Lots of different stakeholders might weigh in and you’ll need to get everyone’s buy in. Understanding who the final decision ultimately sits with and who else you’ll need to convince in the process is critical. Since that very well may not be the person you’re currently talking to, you’ll want to get the lay of the land as quickly as possible so that you’re getting in front of the right people.

Final thoughts

When starting on a sales journey with potential buyers, you need to take the guesswork out of it and get all the important information upfront. By asking intelligent and open-ended questions, your sales reps will be able to quickly capitalize on their most valuable leads, and convert their best prospects into long-time customers.