A few months back, I posted a TMC about not asking the right questions in discovery sessions. The commentary was on the importance of discovery sessions. One reader responded, “Can you share some of the types of questions we should be asking at discovery sessions?” I thought that would be a great help to readers. (Please let me know if it is, so I can do more of this type of content, if desired.)
It is important to understand that every organization is unique. When we do this type of work for a client, we customize based on their organization, the prospect, etc., but here are some general thoughts and approach questions. Again, the goal here is to learn as much as you can about the prospect and their business, how it operates, and how they presently grow and market their business (products and services) to see if we can, through a sponsorship with us, help them do even better.
Here are 20 questions.
- What is your business? Make sure you understand it fully. Even after research, you may not be aware of all the company’s products, services, or the regions in which it operates.
- What is the degree to which you are involved in sponsorship, philanthropy, and community investment, and why are you involved in each?
- What other forms of marketing do you undertake, such as newspaper, TV, online, social and digital media, trade shows, direct mail, radio, and how do you integrate (or not) sponsorship into these media as well?
- For the above, what and why are you marketing (recruitment, PR, brand, retail sales, GR)?
- How do you measure success in programs—philanthropy, sponsorship, community investment, general marketing. It is important to know their measurement sticks and determination if an investment worked or not.
- What aspects of your business are most important for your success, for example, guaranteed delivery time, group sales, product awareness, brand penetration?
- In terms of measuring success relative to sponsorship and their philanthropic and community investment as well as general marketing, how do they know if their investment (in philanthropy, sponsorship, community investment, general marketing) is/was successful?
- What other specific “community” commitments do you have (philanthropic or sponsorship) and what makes them successful or not?
- Of the other sponsorships they are involved with, what do they like best and what do they hate?
- What do you consider the role of sponsorship to be Marketing? Community support? Showcase product? A donation? Other?
- Do they understand the difference between sponsorship, advertising, and philanthropy? If not, can you educate them
- Who is their target audience, and secondary and tertiary target audiences?
- Where do they make your margins/profit?
- If you can find out, how much and where do they spend marketing, PR, GR, CI their money?
- What can you tell me about your sponsorship budgets, both cash and value-in-kind? What is your overall marketing budget? How does it break down among direct mail, print, sampling, and other tactics? (This question encourages the company to tap into other budgets besides the line item labelled “sponsorship.”)
- Who are your competitors (not just the obvious)? And is competition an issue (will exclusivity be important to them)?
- What is the company’s competitive advantage?
- How do you presently generate new business, new staff, retain staff, generate leads, keep existing customers?
- Who is the decision maker?
- What is the decision process?
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