Good morning, everyone! I’ve been doing several webinars and podcast interviews in the past 5 weeks. I found one question particularly interesting. That was from Jeff, CEO of MarketMuse. He asked me: “What are some examples of questions I ask to understand my salespeople?”

If you are working with your sales team and don’t have a good relationship with them just yet, here are some questions that you can ask to get to know them. It’s worked well for me and I want to share with you.

For a starter, here is the top question I ask frequently, and it always gets them talking.

How do you handle rejections to salvage the potential lost deal? OMG, it’s like giving them a free therapy session.

They would talk about the different types of rejections they encounter and the frustration of almost getting the deal closed and losing it at the last minute. Interesting enough, they can always recount specific deals they’ve lost and what they did before and after that. It’s a question that gives them an opportunity to tell their personal stories. I simply just listen, which helps to get to know them.

To follow that question, I usually ask them:

For those accounts which they lost, should the contacts come back to the marketing database for further nurturing. Why or why not?

Then, they start sharing their perspectives on the different types of rejected leads, which types make sense for nurturing and which one don’t. That’s valuable information for marketers to help determine what to do with rejected leads from the sales team. It helps you to work on customized campaign to reach out to these leads.

Depending on how the conversation goes, I also ask what the biggest deal is they closed in the last 2 years and why they think they were able to close it. They love talking about their major victories. I let them show off their glorious moments. Who doesn’t like to share how awesome they are? Again, I just listen.

Then, I ask them to dissect their recipes for success.

That helps me understand what they did right to close the deal, such as their game plan, their conversations, their email exchanges etc. Again, it’s not an interview. It’s just a casual conversation over a cup of coffee between two colleagues.

The next question is: What content do you find most useful?

I usually have them walk through the typical sales stages from prospecting, qualifying, demo and proposal down to PO placement.

Why do they usually do at each stage? What does email communications look like? What types of content are incorporated into their emails? Interestingly enough, most salespeople still love product-collateral and case studies or white papers. More and more are asking for video format content.

My last question is always: How can marketing or I help you? What can I do to help? Of course, that opens the flood gates for a long wish list, but it doesn’t mean that you have do all of them.

It gives you ideas of what they need and helps you prioritize what you can do to support them.

So, those are my questions to understand my sales team over a cup of coffee:

  • How do you handle rejections to salvage the potential lost deal?
  • For those accounts which they lost, should the contacts come back to the marketing database for further nurturing. Why or why not?
  • What the biggest deal they closed in the last year and why they think they were able to close it?
  • What content do you find most useful at different sales stages?
  • How can marketing help? What can I do to help?

There! Those are types of questions I ask my sales peeps. So, what questions do you ask to understand your salespeople? I’d love to hear from you.

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Before you leave, make sure to check out the previous podcast episodes.

Be well. Let’s connect again next week.

What can Pam Didner do for you?

Being in the corporate world for 20+ years and having held various positions from accounting and supply chain management, and marketing to sales enablement, she knows how corporations work. She can make you and your team a rock star by identifying areas to shine and do better. She does that through private coaching, keynote speaking, workshop training, and hands-on consulting. Contact her or find her on LinkedIn and Twitter. A quick note: Check out her new 90-Day Revenue Reboot, if you are struggling with marketing.