You don’t know your prospective clients and customers if you don’t understand the problems they’re experiencing. Taking that a step further, even knowing their problems isn’t enough if you don’t understand how they currently deal with it.

They’re doing this on their own, making rash choices and attempting to sort through extensive options from various business solution providers. So how do you position your business to be the ideal solution? By uncovering their pain points.

Now that’s easier said than done. To help you get started, in this article, we’ll outline the various categories of business pain points that your prospects may be facing. Once you understand that, you can dive into our suggestions for eight vital questions to ask your customers to dig deeper into their problems.

What is a business pain point?

A business pain point is a challenge or issue that causes “damage” within a company and requires a remedy. True business suffering isn’t a dilemma with a nice-to-have solution. It’s a budgeted, hair-pulling, have-to-get-it-solved challenge that’s been debated from the top down. 

They are issues that must be resolved for the company to expand and operate effectively because they impact the bottom line. The tricky thing about pain points is that they can often be misdiagnosed or overlooked. Oftentimes, a business may not even be aware that they have a problem, and that’s where you come in.

Why identifying pain points is important

Successful businesses and salespeople search for pain in their opportunities first. By discovering consumer pain points you immediately become more than just another product or service, you become a problem solver. Internally, knowing your customers’ pain points affects both marketing and sales strategies.

At the broadest level, it may influence your mission statement, positioning, and value proposition. For your employees, knowing their prospects’ problems can help them adapt their presentation and prepare what they’re offering as the best alternative. 

It may even alter your advertising targeting and messaging. By knowing their distinct problems, you can develop and adapt copy, promotions, and even the design to speak directly to their needs.

That’s why finding and revealing these troubles is so important.

Types of customer pain points

However, identifying consumer pain points is more difficult than it seems. There is no perfectly packaged solution for every prospect. In reality, some consumers aren’t even aware of the source of their problems.

Before you can help your client identify their pain points, you need to have an understanding of what they generally could be. Let’s take a look at the various kinds of pain points and see where they come from. 

Productivity pain point

Customers try to be more effective about their time, and their new solution is spending too much of it.

Financial pain point

Customers tend to waste less money and are more likely to overpay for their new solution.

Process pain point

Customers continue to develop organizational procedures and have problems with the structures and processes they now have in place.

Support pain point

Customers are not getting the help they require, notably at key points in the consumer experience or sales process.

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8 Questions to identify your customer’s pain points

Now that you have an idea of what the pain points could be, let’s explore a method to directly identify your customer’s pain points. With these eight questions, you can uncover their business pains and simultaneously lead to a great dialogue. 

Keep in mind that these are meant to be starting points. You’ll want to adapt and alter your questions to fit your business and the customers your working with over time. With that, let’s dive in.

1. What is the biggest roadblock they are facing when trying to grow?

This type of question usually gets to the core of a problem quickly. For any organization when they are expanding, the main roadblock to expansion is usually a major annoyance.

Many customers haven’t given this much consideration, but this issue adds to your reputation. Helping prospects chat about their present market scenario will help you learn more about the enterprise while still showcasing your skills in a non-intrusive manner. In short, you’re helping them lay out the current status of their business, as well as their goals and direction for growth.

In this case, the most common sources of market pain are sales, clients, staff, inventory, and venture capital. Any of these can be large barriers deterring growth. Once they’ve laid out the baseline for their market position, you’ll want to use these follow-up questions to get to the heart of the conversation:

  • How do you want to deal with X pain?
  • What is your target for resolving this issue?
  • What do you believe it’ll be simple or difficult to solve?
  • Who in the business is now trying to resolve this?

These types of questions will help break the ice. You’ll hear more about your customer’s pain and begin to identify ways to help.

2. Is your support team faster than your competitors?

One of the most common consumer complaints is having to wait for help. Customers may become frustrated and have a negative service experience if real-time assistance is delayed. 

Unhappy consumers can spread negative reviews both digitally and by word of mouth. This can lead to lost sales, a damaged reputation, and further issues leaking down your service chain. This is also an often-overlooked element of business success, meaning that you may need to paint a picture of how this is leading to larger issues for your customers.

Their aim should be to rapidly respond to and resolve all customer problems while exceeding customers’ standards. The number one factor of excellent customer service, according to 82 percent of consumers, is getting their problems handled easily.

To help increase customer loyalty, you may recommend providing real-time service assistance to all inquiries through live chat. This may include systems like co-browsing, video chat, and leveraging a CRM system to keep track of customer information. 

In your case, you want to position yourself to help give visibility to this system. Either offer some variation of the solutions above or complementary options that can assist them further up the chain.

3. What are their superior’s major concerns?

You won’t necessarily be dealing with the superior; you may be speaking with anyone a few levels below them. It’s in your best interest to bring them into the discussion as soon as possible. This is due to three factors.

They are in charge of the B2B purchasing budget decision

Their agony is not the same as a single contributor’s, but it is them who have to make the purchase, so begin with them.

The frustrations of a boss normally trickle down 

While a manager and a contributor can have different perspectives on the issue, a manager’s victory would normally benefit her direct reports as well. Many of the customers would have bad managers, and keeping them off their backs is a major motivator in the process of sales.

It indicates a lack of expertise

If the contact is unaware of (or may not consider) their superior’s business pain, it could be an indication that they are not able to assist in the closing of a contract.

Ultimately it’s all the way to the top to identify the major pain point of a company. Talking or dealing with the superior will help you to recognize the problem.

4. How do they spend their busiest working day?

Another way to approach your client’s business pain is to concentrate on the day-to-day.

Buyers think more about worth than functionality, according to salespeople. This query shows the tangible value your offering might have on your customers on an individual level.

Inquire about the effect of resolving a market problem on the prospect’s squad. Will they be able to spare at least two hours from a working day? Reduce the amount of time they spend in meetings? If you can identify something specific that your prospect is looking for, dive to the core and see how you can assist them.

5. What problems are repeatedly discussed in meetings?

One element that can become a blind spot for businesses is repeated issues. Falling sales numbers, unsatisfied customers, struggles to maintain cash flow can become such a common occurrence that they simply table them for later. They know that these are problems, but they may just feel so large and daunting that they can’t possibly be addressed.

It’s up to you to dig into these types of issues and directly ask “what is a consistent problem?” From there, follow up with subsequent questions that delve into the timing, regularity, associated issues, and any changes that have been made to address the issue. 

Coming in with a fresh perspective can help them better dissect the issue without the pressure of finding a large-scale solution. After all, you likely won’t be able to help them completely solve everything, but you can alleviate specific pain points.

6. Do you or your employees have any complaints?

This can sound insignificant, but the answers will be incredibly revealing.

What starts as a concern about not having enough coffee will quickly escalate into more serious issues, such as, “Since our company’s budgets were cut this year, we are not investing in coffee. From now on, we’ll devote all of our available budgets to advertisements.”

Here it seems like “lack of coffee” is not a big issue. Why should we even care for it? It’s not even directly related to our revenue.

But do you know a simple lack of recreation in an office can cause serious problems in productivity and it will cause a decrease in revenue altogether? 

Just like a weekend freshen up employees and it’s vital to maintain consistency in productivity. Thus, spending all available budgets may bring new orders but as internal productivity decreases, it will harm more than any good.  

7. What kind of issues are you facing when closing a deal?

This is a vital division of an organization, the sales department, asking this question may reveal positioning, operation, or productivity pains.

Here are some possible issues you may be facing:

Didn’t build a strong relationship

Sometimes reps don’t bother about this vital part of marketing. A good relationship can even ignore some of your faults, which can be useful in times of crisis.

Budget constraints

If you do not disclose all the important information to your buyer then sometimes you may face a serious issue that cannot fix later. In simple terms, clear about financial issues at the beginning.

Failed to connect the product to the buyer’s needs

Did you directly link your product or service to the buyer’s need, assuming the buyer has an issue that needs to be solved? 

Reps also refuse to do so due to a lack of application expertise. You don’t see how the product or service will help buyers with their problems. Always have in mind what you’re selling.

You will win over such bottom-line-focused policymakers if you can put your product/service as one that helps sales and marketing departments gain more customers.

8. Do you currently struggle with acquiring or retaining customers?

Customer loss is a major pain, and it may be exacerbated by a variety of problems for which you might have a cure. Is it their pricing structure? The value proposition and messaging are off? Maybe it relates to the customer service issue we explored earlier?

This one is another query that will give you a lot of information about how their company works. What obstacles they are dealing with when retaining or gaining customers? How is a lack of customers or high acquisition costs preventing them from growing?  

All of this information will start a very specific dialogue about what you can do to help.

Position your pitch

You can’t decide how to alleviate suffering for your customer until you’ve identified it. As a business owner, this is a fantastic technique to use to become a problem solver rather than just a regular product-seller. This will not only help you grow direct sales but can even help you define your competitive advantage within a given market.

Work through these questions internally, when conducting research, and when directly speaking to customers. The more often you do this, the better you’ll get at identifying their needs and positioning your business to accommodate.

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AvatarArif Chowdhury

Arif Chowdhury is the founder of Cliobra. An active digital marketer specialized in both search engine marketing and social media networks. With more than 10 years of experience, he helped many organizations to restructure their sales and marketing department.