Questions to Ask a Prospective Client

Questions to Ask a Prospective Client

It can be very easy to get distracted and chase every little sniff of an opportunity when you are focussed on agency new business. This is especially the case if you are in survival mode i.e. how am I going to hit payroll next month.

Very often it might actually be better to say no to a prospect than to waste valuable time, energy, budget and morale on a poorly fitting prospect. I had an enquiry this morning for a project I probably could fulfil, but it’s not a strategic fit at the moment. I’m trying, therefore, to shape it into a lead for the Agency Squared community.

If you are knee-deep in lead gen, here are some questions to help you evaluate whether a prospect is a good fit for your agency, or not.

What is the opportunity?

  • Is there a defined scope of work?
  • What is the business challenge?
  • What are the client’s objectives?
  • What does success look like?
  • Why are they doing it now?
  • Who is the target audience?
  • Can we see their target consumer profiles?
  • Who are the primary competitors?
  • What is the client’s view of their own strengths and weaknesses?
  • Is there a defined and approved budget (and how much is it)?
  • Who has the ability to authorise the appointment of an agency?
  • How did they find your agency?
  • What about your agency interests them?
  • How will they measure agency performance?

What’s their past experience with agencies?

  • Have they worked with an agency before?
  • What went well/what didn’t go well?
  • What are they now looking for in an agency?
  • How is their department structured?
  • Do they work with any other agencies?

What is the decision-making process?

  • Who are the client’s decision-makers?
  • Are there any other stakeholders involved in the agency appointment process?
  • Is there a formal RFP (request for proposal) process in place?
  • Is there a structured pitch process in place?
  • How many other agencies have been invited to compete for the business?
  • Which other agencies are involved?
  • What other factors will affect their decision making?

How can we position ourselves for success in the process?

  • Is there a product roadmap?
  • Can we have access to any research already undertaken?
  • Is there an existing marketing platform/ad campaign we should link our thinking to?
  • What technology do they use for CRM, email, data, automation etc?
  • Are there any target audience insights they would like us to focus on?
  • What client personnel can we have access to in any competitive pitch?
  • What decision-makers can we speak with?
  • If there’s a pitch, can we soundcheck strategy and creative approach before pitching?
  • What is the deadline and timetable for proposal development?
  • Is there a procurement team involved?

This is by no means an exhaustive list. But food for thought. As screening questions, they may be the difference between focussing on your core targets and winning clients that are the right fit for your agency, and wasting a ton of time on prospects you can never win, or worse, win and then can’t service profitably. Better to spend your energy on those that are suitably qualified.

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