38 Questions You Need to Answer in Order to Grow Your Business

38 Questions You Need to Answer in Order to Grow Your Business

A commonly mentioned quote in business is, “If you are not growing, you are dying.” Simple, but true. No one establishes a business intending to be stagnant.

It’s easy to dream about having a cutting-edge business that is constantly growing. What’s not easy is developing and executing the right plan for getting there. You need a roadmap to take your business from where it is today to where you envision it to be in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years and beyond.

There are many things you, a business owner or business executive, must know about your industry, your competition, your target niche and your internal processes to have any hope of seeing your business expand.

In this article, we present 38 key questions that you need to answer in order to grow your business. Where possible, we provide some potential answers to assist you along the way. However, this article is intended to be a thought-starter and not a solution that will provide all the answers for you. You need to put thought into each question and answer them as they apply to your unique situation.

The more thoughtfully and thoroughly you answer, the better equipped you’ll be to put the strategies and tactics in place to take action and make a positive difference for your business.

About Your Target Niche

Your business may sell the same or similar types of products or services into unique markets, verticals or niches. The people you target within each niche are likely to have unique needs, goals and pain points. Because of that, it’s necessary to craft relevant copy, offers, calls to action and creative that speak to their unique needs.

One thing that’s true for almost every business is that their marketing budget is limited. You can’t be everything to everyone, and you can’t be everywhere! Marketing success hinges on your ability to identify your ideal customers and understand what makes them tick.

To grow your business, you need to start by getting into the minds of your target niche.

1. Who are the decision-makers?

Decision-makers are the people within a company who have the final say in whether or not a purchase will be made. When determining who, generally, makes purchase decisions, consider the following:

  • Age
  • Education level
  • Job title
  • Job function

2. What products/services should the target niche be interested in?

The answer to this question will be specific to your industry, target niche and business.

3. Why should the target niche be interested in those products/services?

Once again, the answer to this question will be specific to your industry, target niche and business.

4. What problems are your products/services solving for your target niche?

Example answers could include:

  • Increasing efficiency
  • Improving quality
  • Decreasing waste
  • Saving money

5. Who are your competitors in this target niche?

Consider all possibilities based on the size and reach of your company:

  • Local competitors
  • Regional competitors
  • National competitors

6. What makes your products/services better or unique for this target niche?

Example answers could include:

  • Higher quality
  • More affordable
  • Better warranty

7. Why does your target niche choose you over the competition?

Example answers could include:

  • Better perceived value
  • Superior customer service
  • Brand reputation

8. Why does your target niche choose the competition over you?

The answers could be the same as the examples in the previous question.

Sales Process & Conversions

Sales Process & Conversions

Conversion-centric marketing should align itself with and complement your existing sales process. By understanding how your leads show interest, signal intent and ultimately convert, you can select the tactics that will strengthen your sales process and keep your sales funnel full.

Top of Funnel = Cold Lead

Your goal at the top of the funnel with cold leads is to create awareness and get them to show INTEREST in a topic related to your company, products or services.

9. How does a new lead show that they may have interest in your products/services?

For example:

  • Research online
  • Talk to peers
  • Utilize social media platforms
  • Read industry magazines

10. What are they looking for?

For example:

  • Product/service specs & information
  • Product/service benefits
  • Product/service options & pricing

11. What makes them progress forward?

For example:

  • Identifying a product/service that may address their pain points
  • Discovering product/service benefits that would integrate well with their processes
  • Confirming that the product/service fits their budget

12. What makes them stop?

For example:

  • Realizing that a product/service doesn’t address their pain points
  • Discovering the product/service wouldn’t integrate well with their processes
  • Confirming that the product/service doesn’t fit their budget
Tip, Trick or Talk

Middle of Funnel = Warm Lead

Your goal at the middle of the funnel with warm leads is to get them to show INTENT by responding to a low-commitment offer and/or providing their contact information.

13. How does a new lead show that they may have intent to buy your products/services?

For example:

  • Perform more in-depth online research
  • Explore comparable options
  • Discuss solutions/options with other stakeholders
  • Call or schedule a meeting

14. What are they looking for?

For example:

  • Information on what solutions may align with the problem
  • Assurance that the solution has features/functions that will solve their problem
  • Alternative solutions from comparable companies
  • Comfort that your business is a safe choice
  • Total cost calculation
  • Case studies
  • Testimonials/social proof

15. What makes them progress forward?

For example:

  • Confidence that your product/service is the best available option for their needs
  • Reassurance from peer feedback that your product/service is a good choice

16. What makes them stop?

For example:

  • Realization that your product/service isn’t as good of an option as others on the market
  • Negative peer feedback about your product/service

Bottom of Funnel = Hot Lead

Your goal at the bottom of the funnel with hot leads is to get them to CONVERT into a paying customer.

17. How does a new lead show that they are close to purchasing your products/services?

For example:

  • Call or schedule a meeting
  • Gain approval from other stakeholders
  • Review a proposal
  • Finalize the order/specs
  • Negotiate the deal

18. What are they looking for?

For example:

  • Final costs & terms
  • Product/service availability
  • Implementation timeline
  • “How to” guides

19. What makes them progress forward?

For example:

  • Confirmation that your product/service is available in the desired quantities
  • Confirmation that your product/service can be implemented within an acceptable timeframe
  • Final costs/terms/conditions that are acceptable
  • Availability of after-sale support to aid with implementation and troubleshooting

20. What makes them stop?

For example:

  • Discovery that your product/service isn’t available in the desired quantities
  • Discovery that your product/service can’t be implemented within an acceptable timeframe
  • Final costs/terms/conditions that aren’t acceptable
  • Lack of after-sale support
Content Questions

According to writer and keynote speaker Marcus Sheridan, “Great content is the best sales tool in the world.” Consumers look for information to consume at every level of the sales funnel. Content marketing satisfies that need. And because of this, content development also factors heavily into search engine optimization (SEO).

In order to craft great content, you need to understand your target niche and what motivates, challenges or concerns them. You can then take that information and utilize it to formulate an effective content strategy.

For more information on developing quality content, check out our articles on getting the most out of your content team and helping your copywriter create a winning blog post.

21. What are the top 3 challenges your target niche is experiencing?

The answer to this question will be specific to your industry and target niche.

22. What are the top 3 reasons that show you are qualified to help your target niche?

For instance:

  • Longevity of your business
  • Educated, experienced staff = team of experts
  • Cutting-edge tools, technologies & processes

23. What are the top 3 reasons that show you care about the results you deliver to your target niche?

For instance:

  • Follow-up calls/emails/surveys to gauge customer satisfaction
  • Fast resolution of any issues or complaints
  • Strong warranty backing your product/work

24. What are the top impacts your target niche will experience if their challenges are not addressed & fixed?

For instance:

  • Inefficiencies
  • Increased costs
  • Decreased ROI

25. What are the top results your target market will experience if you solve their challenges?

For instance:

  • Increased efficiency
  • Decreased costs
  • Increased ROI

26. What are the top 3 current events or trends that you have knowledge around that relate to the products/services you offer?

The answer to this question will be specific to your industry and business.

27. What is new in the industry?

For instance:

  • Products
  • Services
  • Research
  • Theories
  • Rules & Regulations

28. What company information, news or behind-the-scenes tidbits will people find interesting?

For instance:

  • New product/service releases
  • New hires
  • Upcoming events

29. What common questions do customers ask?

The answer to this question will be specific to your industry, target niche and business.

It’s important to answer this question because it will serve as a valuable source of content topics. It will help you identify what existing content you have that your customers will be interested in and what new content you should create to meet the needs of customers.

30. What are words to avoid in your messaging?

The answer to this question will be specific to your industry, target niche and business.

You don’t want people to discount your content because it includes words or language they don’t like. Documenting these words will help ensure you leave them out of your messaging.

31. Are there words/jargon that should be included in your messaging?

The answer to this question will be specific to your industry, target niche and business.

In contrast to the previous question, there may be words or jargon that catch customers’ eyes and get them interested. These definitely should be included in your messaging, so document them and ensure you sprinkle them throughout your content.

32. Are brand, style guidelines and editorial tone established and formally documented?

They should be. So if they’re not, make it a priority.

Brand consistency is a key component of marketing. Each of your marketing pieces should have a similar look and feel so people can quickly and easily identify that it’s coming from your company. And it doesn’t just apply to visuals. The writing style and tone (voice) should be consistent from piece to piece.

33. Who are the internal stakeholders involved in the approval process?

For example:

  • Marketing manager
  • Marketing assistant
  • Sales rep
  • Owner, President and/or CEO

34. Who is your primary contact for reviewing and providing feedback on content?

The answers could be the same as the examples in the previous question.

35. What content do you already have?

Content can be categorized into:

  • Sales collateral
  • Blog posts
  • Infographics
  • Case studies
  • White papers
  • Original research
  • Videos
  • Images

However, it’s important to take it a step further and detail all specific content pieces that fall under each category. Doing so will help you realize any potential content gaps that exist and prioritize the creation of new content.

36. What is the purpose of your content?

For example:

  • Drive sales
  • Generate leads
  • Build authority
  • Increase website traffic

37. How will you distribute your content?

For example:

  • Social media
  • Email
  • Landing page
  • Direct mail

38. What do you hope someone does after reading your content?

For example:

  • Search for & read more of your content
  • Share it with other stakeholders
  • Contact you for more information
  • Prepare to make a purchase

Need Marketing Support to Grow Your Business?

If it was easy to grow your business, you’d be doing it right now and not need to read this article. But since you took the time to read and answer the questions we presented, we hope you are now equipped with the knowledge necessary to grow your business.

Have additional questions about growing your business or want to learn even more? Call us at 815.431.1000 or submit this form to contact us.

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