The role of marketing is to generate sales leads for products/services. The role of sales is to close as many prospects as possible, as quickly as possible. But often the tricky part is the step in between.

A client screener can help build your sales pipeline in many ways:

  • Screen for REAL prospects. Spend your time on prospects that will value what you offer.
  • Focus your time on big, hot leads. Your sales team is likely small (maybe just the owner) and wearing multiple hats. Quickly gauging the potential size and immediacy of the lead helps you focus on big, hot leads.
  • Build a database of cooler leads. 80-90% of your leads will not be immediate prospects, but you can build a list for ongoing nurturing, via email marketing and social media -- until they become big, hot leads.
  • Increase your chances of a win. By asking more questions (rather than "selling yourself"), you significantly increase your chance of getting the sale.
  • Attain a better price. The hidden purpose of the client screener is to get at what value means to the potential client. You can then price and describe your offer in terms of that value, and often gain a higher price.

A new client screener questionnaire is unique to each business and should be constantly upgraded and improved. Depending on the nature of your business and the flow of your sales process, you can split the questions here among several channels such as your website, phone reception and direct sales. But here is an example to get you started from a B2B Marketing Services provider:

Thanks for your inquiry. I’d like to first understand more about your business and goals. Can I ask a few questions?


• Name of Business:
• Name of Owner/Client:
• Lead Source:
• Industry:
• Services Provided:
• Years in Business:
• Number of employees or contractors:
• Target Markets served:
• Key Competitors:

Overall Business Goals and Status:

• What makes your business unique?:
• What is your business model? (How do they make money?)
• How has business been? (growing or struggling)
• What are your main goals for your business?
• What does success look like? How do you measure success?

Current State/Ideal State

• What does your marketing look like now? Current sales and marketing processes, campaigns and results:
• What do you feel is working well? What’s been your best marketing investment and why?
• What is your greatest marketing challenge? What’s been your worst marketing investment and why?
• Have you worked with any marketing firms in the past? What do you want from a marketing partner? What past experiences have you had with marketing resources – positive and negative?
• What resources/staff do you have now that you would like to continue to use? Administrative assistant, web firm , writers, social media, direct mail, etc.
• Ideally what would you like to spend your time on? What would you rather delegate to another person?
• Do you want to be extremely involved or would you prefer to have someone take this off your plate?

Scope and Timing

• Current Marketing budget (time and money) How much did you want to invest?
• Deliverables desired
• Looking at other firms?
• Timing/timeline

Do you have a client screener? Share in the Comments section below.

About the Author(s)

Jeanne Rossomme headshot

Jeanne uses her 20 years of marketing know-how to help small business owners reach their goals. Before becoming an entrepreneur, she held a variety of marketing positions with DuPont and General Electric. Jeanne regularly hosts online webinars and workshops in both English and Spanish.

President, RoadMap Marketing