What is a Needs Assessment?
A needs assessment, also referred to as a needs analysis, is the process of determining what exactly a sales prospect needs to achieve their business goals and objectives. It’s a critical step when researching new prospects because you want to ensure the product you’re selling will actually help them; otherwise, why would they become an active customer?
Every sales rep should know how to conduct a needs assessment in order to properly understand their prospect’s gaps and roadblocks, and how exactly the product they’re selling can help.
How to Conduct a Needs Assessment
You can collect information from your prospects in different ways to assess their needs. Regardless of the method used, you should follow up in order to properly understand what they need assistance with, and ask for clarification where needed.
Online Needs Assessment
Some sales reps send out an online survey as a first step when conducting a needs assessment. These can be detailed, or cover high-level information in order to get a better sense of their business model.
“In-Person” Needs Assessment
To get into the weeds of a prospect’s specific needs, a needs assessment should be done either in-person (when possible), or via phone or video call. This step is often referred to as a discovery call and requires the sales rep to ask detailed questions in order to understand their prospect’s specific issues.
It’s incredibly important to conduct a needs assessment because if you don’t know what your sales prospect is struggling with, you won’t know how your product can help. Being able to illustrate exactly how you can alleviate their roadblocks is essential if you want to close out a sale.
Examples of Needs Assessment Questions
Conducting research beforehand will give you a general idea of what your prospect does, but you’ll need to dig deeper to find out exactly what they’re doing, and how it can be improved.
Here are some examples of questions to ask during a sales prospect’s needs assessment:
- Why did you take my call today? Allowing your sales prospect to explain why they’re interested in meeting with you will help illustrate what exactly they’re interested in, general pain points they may be dealing with, and what their expectations are.
- How many people are on your team (or within your company)? This will allow you to see how many people will need access to the product you’re selling. Keep this in mind for future cost/budget forecasting.
- What are your monthly/quarterly/yearly KPIs? Knowing how your prospect measures success will give you insight into how they will use your product, or what exactly they need help with.
- What are some common challenges you and your team are dealing with? This pointed question will allow your prospect to highlight what specifically they need help with, and in turn will allow you to showcase exactly how your product would help.
- What timeline are you working with? Knowing their timeline will help you plan for future sales, training, and any onboarding required to get them set up to use your product.
- What does success look like for you and your team? Knowing their end goal is important so you can figure out exactly how to help them achieve it.