Standardized Interview Questions

These are the first level questions asked during an interview for the creation of any type of collateral, such as case studies, AAGs, blogs, video scripts, sales accelerators, internal wins, etc…

Standard questions used to build the story narrative

  • Overview: Provide a high level story overview, including use case involved
  • Status Quo: What was the customer’s status quo environment?
  • Driver for Change: Is there something that changed in the overall business environment that broke something in the customer’s status quo environment?
  • Catalyst for Change: Was there any particular catalyst to fix what was broken now, versus later?
  • Problem to Solve / Challenges: What problem needs to be solved given these drivers for change?
  • The NOT Insight: Why does the existing, status quo solution NOT meet the needs of the business? 
  • Innovation: What innovation is now available that can better solve the customer’s challenge? 
  • Capabilities: What unique capability utilizing the newly available innovation does our solution provide that fixed what was broken in the status quo environment?
  • Benefits / Unique Value: What is the unique value the customer received using our innovative capabilities that fixed what was broken in the customer’s status quo environment?
  • Validation Proof Points: What are some specific real-world examples of customers receiving this unique value?
  • Business Outcomes / Brave New World: How has this innovative solution helped the customer’s business?
  • Future (optional): What do you see going forward?
  • Highlights: What are the 1 to 2 really unique aspects to this story?

Additional Questions for Sales Accelerators

  • Elevator Pitch: What would be your 3-4 sentence elevator pitch describing the offering, what it can do for the customer, and why the customer should want it.
  • Key Selling Points: What are the 3-5 bullets that highlight the most important business benefits of this offering? Try to match the capabilities to primary business issues the prospect cares about.
  • Top Prospects: Provide guidance on how to recognize strong prospects.
  • Primary Objection: What are the most common objections a salesperson is likely to hear from prospects repeatedly? How can the sales person deflect or counter these objections?
  • What to Sell: List the top 3 to 5 key products in the series or components in the solution and related services, if applicable. Then provide a short description of each.
  • Customer Case Studies (if available): Provide the name of 1-3 customers using this solution that have been profiled and hyperlinked to a complete case study. OR provide 1-3 short anonymous customer stories, highlighting customer challenge, solution and benefits.
  • The Competition: Who are the top competitors (up to 3) and how do we win over them; what’s our compelling differentiator?
  • Seller Contacts: Provide the appropriate email(s) or other contact information for internal solution/product series experts that the field can reach out to with questions.

Additional Questions for Internal Wins

  • Sales Strategy: What was your sales strategy deployed to close the deal?
  • Lessons Learned: What did you learn from this deal?
  • Advice: What advice would you give to other selling teams?
  • Deal size: What was the deal size and quarter won?
  • Partners: What additional partners were involved in this deal?
  • Competition: Who was the competition?

Individual Buyer Persona Questions

Sellers can interact with multiple buy personas en route to selling the joint solution.
  • Buyer Common Job Titles: Who is the buyer? What are the titles commonly associated with the job role. IT: Collab, security, networking; LOB: CMO, CTO, CXO
  • Buyer Role: List the buyer role characterized by decision-making criteria and power level. The five common buyer roles are champion (sponsor), influencer, decision maker, user and ratifier (a professional purchaser or negotiator).
  • Engagement Level: Describe when and how the persona participates in each phase of the buying process.
  • Buyer’s Position in the organization: What is the persona’s position in the organization? Do they report into the buying center or not? This can be an important indicator of decision-making impact and influence.
  • Job Role: Group the buyer’s job role by day-to-day responsibilities, accountabilities and how performance is measured (e.g. management by objectives).  What does the buyer do? Describe a day in the life.
  • Initiatives: What programs and projects is the buyer tasked with completing? What are the buyer’s motivations? What are the buyer’s feelings and aspirations about these initiatives? How does successfully completing these initiatives earn the buyer credibility and promotions?
  • Buyer Need: A persona may have multiple needs; isolate the primary buyer need that is most likely to attract the persona to the offering.