What Is Needs Assessment In Sales + Examples

Have you ever tried to pitch any product or service without knowing the lead’s needs and wants? Yes? What Was the Result? Of course, you weren’t able to close the sale. Assessing prospects’ needs is an integral part of the lead generation process. Without understanding your client’s needs, you can’t introduce them to your product or service effectively.

Needs assessment holds a vital role in knowing the customer’s fit with the product type. It is essential to know whether their offerings would be able to fulfill the prospect’s current needs and wants or not. Without knowing their fit, you are just selling them a piece of equipment, not something that meets their needs.

Yes, it is a huge and complex concept. It is kind of impossible to learn everything about this concept in a day or two. However, we have made it possible for you. We have got your back, right here.

We have created a detailed guide on Needs Assessment in Sales. This guide talks about every aspect of needs assessment in detail. We have covered everything about needs assessment, including its importance, types, tools, and the entire needs assessment process.

Continue reading the guide to learn everything about needs assessment in sales.

What Are Needs In General?

Let’s first understand what needs are in General.

It is necessary for human beings like us to have a few basic things to live a decent life: food, shelter, and clothing. These things are crucial to living a happy and healthy life on this planet. In addition, these are basic needs that human beings always demand for. These necessities play a vital role in making our lives more comfortable.

Let’s understand this with an example.

Feeling hungry and searching for something to eat is a type of need. As mentioned above, food is a basic need. We can’t compromise on our basic needs if we want to survive on the planet. Let’s understand with some other basic examples.

  1. You need funds to pay your house taxes. That is again a need.
  2. You need a few bucks to buy food for yourself. That’s a necessity.
  3. You need some money to pay for your accommodation. Ignoring this need can lead to discomfort in your life.
  4. You need money to pay your academic fees. That is also a need, and you can’t compromise with it to get a good education.

So, basically, needs are something you eagerly want, and you can barely survive without them. These need help in making your life work properly. You can again look at examples like food, shelter, and clothing.

What Are the Types of Needs?

To learn about the type of needs assessment, we need to revise a small and basic concept: Maslow’s Theory. We are sure you must have studied this theory in your high school.

According to Maslow, there are five types or levels of needs:

  1. Physiological Needs;
  2. Safety Needs;
  3. Social Needs;
  4. Needs Esteem Needs;
  5. Self-actualization Needs;

Let’s now talk about each type in brief.

  1. Physiological Needs: It refers to the most basic and essential things human beings require to survive, such as food, shelter, clothing, water, air, sleep, etc. It represents the lowest level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
  2. Safety Needs: The next level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs represents: Safety Needs. In terms of safety needs, human beings demand a few things to keep their life safe and balanced, such as job security, old-age pension, insurance plan, etc.
  3. Social Needs: Human beings are known as social animals. We can’t live without interacting with other people. That’s what social needs talk about and include. Social needs refer to having people in their surroundings to speak to and build relationships with them.
  4. Esteem Needs: Esteem needs are called ego-driven needs. These needs aren’t important to live life or perform basic tasks. But, these are necessary to create a good recognition in the society.
  5. Self-Actualization Needs: Self-actualization needs represent the highest level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. These needs refer to the development of your own, self-actualization, etc. Human beings want to develop themselves to feel satisfied and capable of doing more things.

These are the types of needs that Maslow’s Hierarchy explains. Read the next step to learn what is a needs assessment in sales.

What Is a Needs Assessment in Sales?

Needs assessment is one of the essential concepts in sales. It refers to knowing clients’ needs and what they have right now. We can also understand this as finding the gaps between their expectations and current condition.

Salespeople bridge the gaps between customer needs and their present situation by introducing customers to their products or services. They use this technique as a qualification tool to check whether the lead is a good fit for their business or not.

Needs assessment helps understand the prospect’s needs and tailor the pitch according to their requirements. During the needs assessment process, salespeople try to get everything out of their clients’ heads. It involves asking questions about their pain points, goals, and challenges to understand their requirements.

There are multiple ways to conduct a needs assessment. It can be conducted online through a web form, a discovery call, and physically meeting prospects.

Ultimately the whole needs assessment process helps assess the prospect better by gathering some information about them and their wants. Later, this information is used in the selling process.

Let’s understand this with an illustration.

A few decades back, Online food ordering applications didn’t use to exist. It was impossible to order food online or contact the nearest restaurant to order the food.

But now, some brilliant minded-people recognize the need to connect restaurants with customers with the help of an online application. They understood the need and developed an application to order food online in a few clicks.

When we feel hungry these days, we open the application and search for the food from the best restaurant. And we get the food at our doorsteps. This is the perfect example of Assessing the Needs.

Why Is a Needs Assessment Important?

Needs assessment is an integral part of a lead generation process. Knowing the customers’ fit for your product or service is vital. Needs assessment is key to a successful sales strategy.

Knowing Customers Needs: One of the main benefits of a Needs Analysis strategy is understanding client needs and wants. Before jumping to the selling process, it is necessary to consider the customer’s strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and pain points. Needs assessment is a crucial step to seeing unseen opportunities. By doing so, your sales pitch will be more effective.

Best Recommendations to the Prospects: A salesperson mugs up every detail of the product, including its features, specifications, pricing, etc. Without Needs Analysis, sales representatives can’t determine their leads’ needs. In this case, they start pitching everything to prospects, which confuses them. But, with Needs Analysis, they can know what customers actually want. It can help them in altering their sales approach according to their needs. Rather than talking about each feature, they can only focus on the feature that can solve prospects’ problems. They will be able to recommend better options to the prospects.

Makes Conversations More Effective: When salespeople know what customers want, it automatically makes the conversation more effective. This is because they know how to get them, what they genuinely want. Knowing their requirements helps them mold the conversation to learn more about the problem they are facing. Rather than talking about other unnecessary issues that won’t help them get a sale.

Needs assessment is crucial to a successful sales strategy, as the above-mentioned point indicates. It is important to know the customers’ needs before diving into the sales process.

Read the next section to learn about needs assessment tools.

What Are Needs Assessment Tools?

According to research by Harvard Business Review, 50% of your leads will not be ready to buy your product as you think. Out of the remaining 50%, 30% of qualified leads will always be ready to choose your offering. So, this is important to whether the leads qualify or not.

You can easily verify whether the lead is a fit for your product or not with the help of needs assessment tools. Without needs assessment tools, this isn’t accessible.

There are multiple tools to conduct a needs assessment. It can be conducted through web forms, such as Google Form, Contact Us Form, etc. Salespeople also conduct a needs assessment with the help of discovery calls. Then, the last tool they use is physically meeting prospects, understanding their needs, and making suggestions according to them.

  • Online Forms: One of the most used tools is online forms. Many salespeople know their clients’ needs via online form submissions. They add forms to their business website to collect information about their leads and contact them later to ask more questions from them.
  • Online Questionnaire: They create questionnaires, Google Forms, and quizzes to know more about their prospect’s needs. They directly send the form to the lead through email or messaging applications.
  • Live Assessment: Live needs assessment can be done by meeting prospects physically. In addition, salespeople also get on a live discovery call to know more about their needs and wants.

Most salespeople first use an online form or online questionnaires to get a basic overview of their client’s needs. Then, they get on a live discovery call or meet the people to learn more about their needs and wants. So, these are tools you will require to assess prospects’ needs. Read the following section to know the steps to conduct a needs assessment.

What Are the Steps to Conduct Needs Assessment in Sales?

Here are the six steps to conducting a needs assessment.

Step 1. Choosing the Best Tool to Assess Needs;

Step 2. Design Questions To Know Customers;

Step 3. Analyze Their Needs & Wants Based on their Answer;

Step 4. Get on a Live Call To Learn More About Their Needs;

Step 5. Recommend According to Their Needs;

Step 6. Close the Call;

Step 1. Choosing the Best Tool to Assess

In the previous section of this guide, we mentioned the best needs assessment tools: Online forms, questionnaires, and live needs assessments. Salespeople mainly use these three tools. In the first step, you will need to choose a tool to conduct a needs assessment.

If you have a business website, you can create a separate page, embed a form, and publish it. Now, visitors will land on the page. They will answer the questions and submit them. You will find the form data in your backend. The perfect example of an online form is a Contact Us page.

Suppose you are running an offline business and have a vast email list of your prospects. If yes, then you can build online questionnaires and send them over. They will answer the questions, and you will get their answers in your questionnaire tool’s backend.

You also can meet with people physically, which isn’t suitable for everyone, but it is the most effective tool. So, choose between these three tools mentioned above.

Step 2. Design Questions To Know Customers

The next step is to draft questions to ask your clients’ to learn more about them. No matter what tool you choose, you need to draft the same questions for all types of tools. You need to create questions strategically to learn more about their needs and wants.

You can ask questions like: “Which KPIs Are You Focused on Improving at the Moment?” This question clearly asks them to tell what their priorities are. After knowing the answer, salespeople can easily mold their approach as they think.

For instance, they will start focussing more on the features that can help in improving their selected KPIs. This way, this will help in increasing the chance of getting a sale.

Step 3. Analyze Their Needs and Wants Based on their Answers

It’s now the time to analyze their needs more based on their answers. In short, you have to perform a GAP Analysis. You need to figure out the gap between their actual needs and what they have right now. This will help you understand the prospects’ needs better than going with the intuitions.

Suppose their current conversion rate is 1.35%, but they want it to be around 2.35%-3%. You can clearly see the difference between their desired needs and what they currently have. Here’s how you can analyze their needs better with the GAP Analysis.

Step 4. Get on a Live Call To Learn More About Their Needs

You have now got a basic overview of their requirements. It’s not time to get on a live call or meet them to discuss everything in detail. You need to schedule a call or physical meeting with your prospect.

During the call, you can ask more questions to learn about their pain points, challenges, and strengths in detail. Until now, leads have described their needs through forms or questionnaires. But, now they will tell you everything in particular during the call. You can start noting everything that can help you make an effective sales strategy.

Step 5. Recommend According to Their Needs

Now, it’s the right time to create a good sales strategy to win those clients after knowing their requirements. You can now start recommending your product that suits best for their problems. You need to make sure that you aren’t only selling them but also making a healthy relationship with them.

Step 6. Close the Call

When you have explained everything, it’s the perfect moment to start closing the call. After introducing them to your product, you can try the Assumptive Call technique. This will help you complete the call and sales much faster.

These are the steps to conduct a needs assessment in sales. Continue reading the next section to check the eight needs assessment example questions.

Eight Best Needs Assessment Example Questions

While asking the questions to the leads during a virtual or live needs assessment, your main goal should be to know the prospects’ pain points, challenges, and strengths. These questions should be drafted in a way, so it urges prospects to tell everything about their difficulties in detail.

We know creating these kinds of questions could be quite challenging for you, so we did it for you. Here we have mentioned the eight best needs assessment example questions to learn more about the client.

1. “Which KPIs Are You Trying to Improve Right Now”

It’s one of the most common questions sales representatives ask their prospects to learn more about their needs. This question helps the representative understand what they are currently at and what they are trying to achieve. They can quickly figure out prospects’ needs and introduce them to their offerings accordingly.

2. “Which Process Would You Like To Improve?”

This is again an excellent question to ask your clients. With this question, you mean to ask in which task they need your assistance. You can ask them something like: “Which Administrative Task Would You Like To Automate or Improve?” or “Which Process Would You Like Our Team’s Input and Support On?” Both questions will help you understand their requirements.

3. “Please Tell Us a Bit About What You’re Struggling With.”

This is a perfect question for a live discovery call or a physical meet. It will let you have an open-ended conversation with the prospects. This question will help you learn more about the candidates.

This question aims to know the challenges they are currently facing. They will tell you every bit of information which will be helpful for you to make a sale. You can easily figure out how your offerings can help them overcome the challenges.

4. “Which Problem Are You Experiencing Most?”

It asks the prospect to tell more about their pain points or problems they are currently facing the most. It’s a short and straightforward question to know their pain point. This question is similar to the previously mentioned question.

5. “How Does Your Company Evaluate the Potential of New Products or Services?”

This question lets you understand how the company evaluates a new product or service. For instance, how they determine whether this product is suitable for them or not, features are good or not, etc. This is a perfect question to check whether the customer is the ideal fit for the product or not.

6. “Which of the Following Services Are You Most Interested In?”

It is one of the best questions to ask while ending the conversation with the prospect. It would be best if you first listened to their challenges and goals, then let them know how your services can help them overcome the obstacles. After completing everything, you can ask this question. This will help you know which service they are most interested in.

7. “What’s the Ideal Outcome?”

This question is perfect to know what result they are expecting. You can use this question to understand their expectations and determine whether your product or services can meet their desired outcomes. If yes, then make sure to introduce them to your services thoroughly.

8. “What Are You Hoping To Accomplish in the Next Year?”

It’s again one of the best questions to ask your prospect. This question will help you know their future goals and plans. You can blend your services with their plans perfectly to achieve the desired goals.

These are the eight best needs assessment example questions to understand the leads better.

Bottom Line

We reached the end of the needs assessment Guide. We learned the importance of needs assessment in the sales process. Through this guide, we understood the importance of needs assessment. Needs assessment enables you to understand prospects’ challenges, strengths, weaknesses, pain points, etc.

In this guide, we learned everything about the needs assessment. We looked at each aspect of the needs assessment, from its importance to how to conduct it. We hope you understand this concept correctly and will implement it in your lead generation process.

That’s all for this guide on Needs Assessment. Stay tuned for more content on Sales and Marketing.

About Author

Lito James is the founder of Massivepeak.com. He is an entrepreneur and marketing specialist who helps businesses to get more leads, subscribers and customers. Massive Peak has been featured on Thriveglobal, Cloudways, sujanpatel, surveysparrow, renderforest and many more. Follow on LinkedIn

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