We all have our insider language and acronyms. Marketers will talk endlessly about things like SEO, UX, CTR, CPA, KPI and more. Sales counters with the need for BANT, PPVVC, GPCT, ABC and my personal favorite MMC. But what are we really getting at?

Time to move beyond the typical marketing language and get right to the questions your Sales VP really wishes you would ask about the sales pipeline.

For all our talk about awareness, visibility, and engagement, we really need to focus on the things that will help move the revenue needle. This starts with building a partnership between sales and marketing. To establish this partnership, it’s critical to understand what sales teams are up against in trying to close more deals.

5 Questions you should be asking about the sales pipeline before you kick off your campaign.

Remember, your Sales VP doesn’t really care about traditional marketing measurements like impressions or site visits. They care about what will help them succeed, as should you. This starts with asking the right questions.

1. What revenue target are we trying to hit, and when are we trying to hit it?

Sales live and die by their number more than any other part of the organization. As marketers, we need to know what it is and how you can help them reach it.

2. Who is the ideal buyer?

Marketers understand personas and demographics, and many also understand the importance of knowing the psychographics of the target audience. However, are you paying close enough attention to the firmagraphics of the ideal B2B buyer?

Firmographics include things like industry, employee size, geography, revenue, ownership structure, organizational structure (who are the influencers and who are the decision makers), etc.

3. What are the five questions prospects always ask?

Are there any critical questions buyers always ask? Are there any misconceptions that need to be overcome to make the sale? Marketing can help qualify prospects and educate potential buyers, but only if we know what needs to be overcome.

4. What compelling reasons move buyers to seek a solution actively?

This is all about getting to the real reason buyers are researching. This is a perfect place to work through a “Pain Chain” with the team. What is the real challenge, and how is it impacting the organization?

5. When we win, why? When we lose, why?

Are there other indicators that will help identify and qualify what leads are good fits and which ones are bad fits? How can we better identify buyers’ pain points, and who are the influencers and decision-makers we need to influence? How can we more effectively demonstrate the vision and value of our solution as the answer to solving our prospects’ problems?

Bonus Question:


5. What is happening with leads that are not actively being worked in the sales pipeline?

The sales team only has so many hours in a week. The good ones will ruthlessly prioritize which leads they will work and which they will not. Needs matter, budget matters, and, above all, timing matters. This means there will always be some qualified leads that just aren’t ready to move forward because of timing. Maybe their budgets aren’t approved yet. Maybe they’re in a contract with another provider for another six months. Salespeople don’t always have time to follow up individually on these longer-term prospects. Ask if marketing can help nurture these longer-term prospects till they are ready for a sales conversation.

To build a stronger partnership between sales and marketing, ask how you can help the team be more successful and rely less on the oldest of sale strategies: MMC “Make More Calls.”