The following questions are designed to generate new ideas about how you can improve your sales and marketing efforts. They can be used by an individual or as part of a group discussion and are not listed in any particular order. You may wish to go through a group of questions in one sitting – or perhaps take one question at a time to discuss at a weekly meeting.
1. What is it that makes what you do different from similar product/service offerings by your competitors?
2. What do your prices say about your business?
3. How are you selling additional products and services to existing customers?
4. Are you capturing information about potential customers who visit your Web site?
5. If you are not capturing information about potential customers who visit your Web site, what could you offer them as an incentive to join your mailing list?
6. How do your measure the performance of your marketing or sales campaigns?
7. When was the last time you updated your logo? Is it looking old-fashioned?
8. Does your business have a ‘corporate identity’ in other words do all your means of communication reflect a common look and feel? For example, do all your paper communications (invoices, quotations, brochures, flyers, advertisements, letterhead, envelopes, business cards, Web site, promotional video, exhibition stands etc.) use the same typeface, color scheme, logo and paper color.
9. How would the use of hand written ‘thank you’ notes affect your business?
10. Do you have information about your business (e.g. product and service offerings, maps, directions, differentiators, tag-lines) printed on the reverse of your business card?
11. Have you used Google Adwords as a way of getting extra traffic to your Web site?
12. Do all your promotional materials contain a ‘call to action’, in other words, are your asking your prospects to take an action, e.g. buy something or register for more information?
13. Have you considered creating a newsletter to trumpet the successes and information that is of interest to your suspect or prospect base?
14. Have you considered how your business would improve if you had a higher position on a search engine search – such as Google, Yahoo, or MSN?
15. Do your create regular news releases to describe new worthy events in your business?
16. Why should customer buy from you rather than a competitor?
17. How would you describe your company culture?
18. If you ever go to an exhibition, what is your process for dealing with the contacts you make?
19. How do your define the difference between marketing and sales?
20. Should marketing be exclusively concerned with generating new leads? What other functions does marketing play?
21. How would you define the term ‘marketing’? How do sales and marketing differ?
22. Are your marketing plans developed on an ad-hoc basis or do you go through a disciplined marketing planning process?
23. How would you define the term ‘brand’ and how does branding apply to your business?
24. What are the products and services in your product and service portfolio?
25. What are the channels that you use to get product or service to market? Are their any other channels that you could investigate?
26. What are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing your business?
27. What are the political and legal, economic and demographic, social and cultural and technological issues that are facing your business now and are likely to face your business in the foreseeable future?
28. Do you use e-mail as a means of communicating with your customer base?
29. Are your customers directly involved in helping you to improve your business and develop new product and service offerings? If not, could this be something you could introduce in your business?
30. What languages are your marketing communications produced in?
31. Are your company vehicles (e.g. your car) branded in any way?
32. Do you have any method of getting and dealing with referrals?
33. Do you reward those who bring you referrals?
34. What does business strategy mean and do you have one?
35. What are the marketing objectives for your business?
36. How often do you add new content to your Web site?
37. Do you ever link to other Web sites that are relevant to yours and (more importantly) solicit “incoming” links from Web sites?
38. All products and services have a defined product lifecycle (i.e. introduction, growth, maturity and decline). Where are your products on this lifecycle?
39. Are you developing any new products or services that will replace existing offerings as they decline?
40. Have you considered monetizing visitors to your content sites by using Google’s Adsense program?
41. Think about how many times you receive a marketing message (e.g. receive a postcard or see an advertisement) before you are motivated a take an action?
42. How might a postcard mailing campaign be of value to your business?
43. A marketing segment can be defined as a group of potential customers who have similar product or service needs. In other words, not everyone likes exactly the same thing – on the other hand you can find groups whose needs are sufficiently similar that they can be served by one distinct product or service offering. How do you segment your business’ customers?
44. If you use an e-mail list of potential customers for your business, are you certain that you are meeting anti-spam regulations?
45. How do you make sure that e-mail addresses submitted to your mailing list are genuine and really want to receive e-mails from you (i.e. do you use a ‘double-opt-in approach for gathering new e-mail addresses’)?
46. Have you ever asked your customers for testimonials? How could you use testimonials in your marketing campaigns and how do you think they would affect the buying behavior of prospects?
47. Do you have a software program to manage your ‘suspects’, prospects and customers?
48. Can you think of any ways in which you can build ‘residual’, i.e. on-going income streams into your business model?
49. What does a business promotion mean to you and how could it help your business?
50. How could you gather more information about what your competitors are doing?
51. How often do you contact customers who have bought from you in the past?
52. Are you familiar with ‘Do Not Call’ regulations?
53. Does the implementation of your brand vary from marketing communication to communication? For example, do you use one typeface on your letterhead and another in your advertisements?
54. Do your specify the Pantone reference for your corporate colors to maintain consistency across communications?
55. Does your Web site have an analytics package installed so that you can analyze where visitors come from and how they navigate the site?
56. How do your competitors spend their marketing budgets?
57. Do you ever examine the logs for you Web site to gain an understanding of where visitors are coming from and how they found your site?
58. Have you investigated how a Weblog or “Blog” could benefit your business?
59. Do you understand the possible benefits of RSS?
60. Do you understand Podcast technology and how you could use this in your business?
61. How do you backup your marketing databases?
62. Have you created different landing pages on your Web site so that site visitors who arrive at you site from different locations or from different Adwords advertisements arrive at different pages more relevant to their possible interests?
63. How does your voicemail message reflect your company?
64. Do you have a phone number, e-mail address, Web site, cell phone number and Yahoo identity on EVERY e-mail that you send out?
65. What are the ‘keywords’ and ‘keyword phrases’ that apply to your business? Have you included these words on the appropriate pages on your site?
66. What keywords are your competitors using on their web sites?
67. Can you list your competitors?
68. Have you looked at installing Google Analytics on your site?
69. Do you have a statistics package installed on your web host? How often do you review the statistics?
70. have you consider using an e-mail marketing package such as Constant Contact?
More questions to come …..