Employees, resellers, MSPs, distributors, and influencers may have better insights into your customers than you do.
Here are 15 questions ask your channel partners in order to get insights that will accelerate sales.
Keep in mind a broad definition of channel partners. These may be your employees, your ultimate channel partners, your sales force, distributors or manufacturers' reps who sell multiple products or services.
Refine these questions based on your objectives and your business. Do not assume you already know the answers to these questions and do expect to get a lot of different answers.
How long have you been in the business? How did you get started? Who else have you worked with?
What is a good day at work for you? What is a bad day at work for you?
What do you think makes for a good client relationship? What do you think makes for a bad client relationship?
What trends do you see that are causing customers to shift to another brand or product?
Who are your biggest competitors?
How do you differentiate yourself?
Who are your customers? What are their titles? What are they like? How do they keep up with what’s going on in the industry (i.e., websites, trade publications, conferences)?
What are the steps in your sales process?
Where do you add value in the sales process?
Strengths, weaknesses, personifications of competitive companies?
What should we do to develop a better relationship with you and your firm?
How often do you want to be contacted by us? In what form (i.e., text, email, or telephone)? In what information are you most interested?
What do the other brands that you sell do particularly well? Where can we improve?
What should we do to make our products/services leapfrog ahead and stand out among the competitors’ products?
What have I not asked you that you think I need to know to improve our service to you and your company?
The first three questions are really a warm up to build trust with the channel partner and establish the fact you are very interested in, and value, what they have to say.
Ask follow-up questions to any answers that are vague or unclear. Ask the respondent to “tell me more about that” or “can you give me a specific example?”
Based on my experience, the less the respondent thinks you know about an industry or category, the more they'll tell you.
Begin every interview assuming you know nothing about what you are asking questions. Listen with "fresh ears."