By Dr Thomas Brown | December 18 2017
Questions open our eyes to who we are and where we want to be. That’s incredibly valuable — especially when what you’re looking at is your company’s future.
On a recent drive back from Cambridge, one of our co-founders and Head of Revenue Eric Murphy recounted a talk he’d heard by Theodore Zeldin at Oxford TEDX around ‘The Conversation Menu’. Run by Zeldin, the dinner event sees guests paired off and encouraged to forego small talk in place of a series of questions presented to them on what looks like a restaurant menu.
The questions are probing, the wording carefully considered, designed to stimulate thinking and conversation around subjects like ambition, curiosity, fear, friendship, the relations of the sexes, and civilisation. Not your average corporate dinner, then.
'One director', Eric told me, as we flew down the A421, 'said he learned more about a colleague in two hours than he had in over 20 years of working with him.'
Questions make the world go round. They’re the building blocks of stories and the cues from which rapport grows. They’re a quest for information and they also provide it, in the form of answers. (We don’t need to highlight the commercial value of those.)
But there’s something else questions can do that’s at least as important as the answers they provide.
Questions test us. They encourage us to think around a subject more deeply. The right questions, asked in the right way, can even lead us to see something from a different perspective. Questions open our eyes, and that’s incredibly valuable — especially when the thing you’re looking at is your organisation’s future.
You really need to delve into the core of what you do and the challenges you're facing and the goals you're aiming for before you can even think about figuring out what a relationship with an inbound marketing agency would look like.
Questions like this can change someone’s mind about what they thought they needed. You could have been saying you want leads, when actually it's the rivalry between your sales and marketing teams that's leading to problems.
Questions test us. They encourage us to think around a subject more deeply. The right questions, asked in the right way, can even lead us to see something from a different perspective.
It helps us even more when you’ve asked these questions of yourself internally first. You’ll be able to go into much more detail when you come to sharing your answers, and we’ll be able to get a much better idea of where you are and whether or not we’re a right fit for each other.
In the spirit of good conversation (and considered answers), we’ve listed out 31 of those questions below for you.
Short on time? Download the complete list of questions here.
How many customers do you need this year?
How much is a customer worth to you (on average)?
What is your lead to customer conversion rate?
How many monthly visitors does your website get?
What is your visitor to lead conversion rate?
Do you have any additional goals?
CURRENT MARKETING ACTIVITY
What marketing activities are you currently undertaking?
How are they converting for you?
What is the ROI for each channel?
Are you working with any agencies or consultants?
CURRENT SALES ACTIVITY
What CRM system are you using?
What is the size of your sales team?
Is your sales team in house?
What is the biggest challenge for your sales team in terms of goals?
What is the biggest challenge for your sales team in terms of operational duties? Call logging etc.?
What problem are we solving?
Who is the consumer we are problem-solving for?
What’s the consumer insight?
What facts and emotional reasons will make people buy/convert?
What's your USP?
Who is the competition?
How do we measure success?
What are the key milestones / KPIs?
What are your reporting requirements / frequency?
Is your team Inbound Certified?
Do you have experienced in-house content writers?
Who would be working on / managing this project from your end?
Who will be the main point of contact for the day-to-day?
Who will be responsible for the strategy and reporting?
Is your team HubSpot Design Certified?
Do you have in-house developers?
We ask lots of questions when we’re speaking with a prospect. Your answers help us to understand who you are as a business, where you want to be, and what shape your inbound marketing strategy should take. One thing that's so interesting about the calls Eric and Chris make in the sales process is that while they ask a whole range of familiar questions to dig into your challenges, they also encourage you to think differently before answering.
They ask prospects to not only think about what they sell, but also what problems they’re solving and what the buyer actually wants, for example.
Many of these questions go much further than those asked by agencies when they first engage with someone.
An appreciation for conversation is one of our core values. Whether we’re helping our clients start meaningful conversations with their prospects or discussing Theodore Zeldin with the wind in our hair, we understand that communication matters.
If you’re thinking about hiring an inbound marketing agency and you'd like to have a conversation with us around the way your business is growing, have a go at answering the questions above then get in touch. We’ll quickly be able to assess where you’re starting from—and how we could help.
If you’d prefer, download the questions in the form of a printable guide to work from in your own time. Click the link below and enter your details for your free copy.
Topics: Inbound Marketing
Head of Content at BabelQuest responsible for steering and implementing the content roadmap. PhD Creative Writing at the University of Southampton and novelist with Sparkling Books.
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