The actual questions will vary based on the type of team you are. I.e. a couple undergrad dorm-room hackers with a prototype, a team that's spent time in the industry they are trying to disrupt, a team that's developed some real technology, or a team with a product that has traction.
But whatever questions you get, demonstrate genuine insight, not marketing speak or cliches. And have a decent answer to every possible question. The partners have spent only minutes with your application, and you've spent anywhere from weeks to months to years on your idea, so this should not be that hard. If you do this, they will get themselves excited and you're pretty much in at that point.
I love your advice about having at least 1 person dedicated to learning about/listening to users all the time. This is so key from my experience thus far with matchist (http://matchist.com/talent).
With an early stage startup, it's not about the code at all - it's 100% about the users.
Switching costs are often underestimated and it's hard to come up with a solid answer for this in many businesses. And even if you do have people who would switch, it's hard to get the distribution to implement a way of getting those users who want to switch.
"Did you know Airbnb thought the “breakfast” in Airbed & Breakfast was a crucial part of their product experience at one time?"
I did not! Interesting.
And also: is there actually a problem?
Because without a REAL problem for your users, it doesn't matter how good your solution is.
My company sells advertising and the equation is similar to your situation. Our customers are marketers who use our tools to launch retargeting campaigns that serve ads to their own visitors. Our products have to interact with those visitors in a way that creates value for the business, but our actual customer is the marketer and we need to know his/her needs inside and out.
The "and you can't speak to them daily or weekly or even monthly" is one of the biggest barriers to entry into many very lucrative B2B spaces. One of the reasons why it took us so long to launch our product, http://perfectaudience.com, after finishing YC was because our initial product was aimed at enterprises we had domain knowledge of (newspapers), and when that didn't pan out and we had to build a product that went direct to advertisers, we had to go out and gain a ton of new domain knowledge from a customer type we weren't familiar with at the time.
B2B businesses are awesome and hugely lucrative if you can build something lots and lots of businesses want. But building something lots and lots of businesses want is a lot harder than building something lots and lots of consumers want because you're much less likely to have shared experiences with those enterprises than with consumers.
I've been trying to figure out how much time I might be able to get to explain what we do before the first interruption. 15 seconds? 10? Basically, I get a verbal twitter post, right?
That's a good way to look at it.
We build software that stops law firms from overcharging our customers.
For now, I've printed this list of questions to hang in my office. :)
"I'VE GOT PEOPLE SKILLS"