The Sales Discovery Process

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The Sales Discovery Process

Slintel Image
Slintel Image

Anupreet Lamba

Last updated February 10, 2020

The discovery phase is the most crucial step in the sales process. In discovery is where you get to ask questions, gauge whether the company is interested or just browsing, gather information pertaining to closing the sale, and the most important, setting the tone of the whole relationship with the customer. 

Discovery calls help you know why the individual might actually buy your product- not just why the company should buy it. Prospects are not just buying your product because they think yours is the best; They want to buy the product because it is helping a certain team or a process that can be enriched by your product. Understanding this need for a pain point is what will eventually get you the close. 

The discovery phase majorly consists of two components: Asking relevant questions for your needs and actively listening to the prospect to understand theirs. 

A 5 step process for a successful Discovery Call:

  1. Preparing custom questions to ask and practicing: It’s about time that teams realize that you can’t “just wing it” on each call. Before each call, read up on the prospect; surf through their social media, what they are interested in, and a general overview of whom you are dealing with. 

Prepare a list of questions that you think might pertain to the prospect, and practice them with your account executive or your manager (or coach). Anybody really, who can give you feedback and advice. The following questions are a good place to start:

  • What is the current process to solve this problem?

  • What product(s) the customer is using currently in your category?

  • What motivated him to get on this call?

  • What are their needs and challenges with the current process?

  1. Setting the tone and agenda of the call: A lot of times SDRs jump straight to the selling leaving prospects bewildered. This makes the prospect confused, and they end up not even knowing the objective of the call. And since you’ve already started on a bad footing now, there is no guarantee that the prospect will let you have another call. 

I’ve found a good way to avoid this is to take control of the call from the beginning. Before you start discussing anything with the prospect, start by laying down an agenda. Let them know what the objective of the call and what you’re going to discuss with them. 

This is let you start with a stronghold on the call and manage expectations well with the client. And as a bonus, the client will realize that you can be trusted and will be bought into your sales process much easier than a haphazardly done meeting. 

  1. Ask questions: To BANT or Not to BANT? BANT stands for Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeline. Your qualification mechanism needs to have these factored in to make this part of the process fruitful for you. You can read one of my articles about the same here

  2. The Close: The only way to know if the call has been successful is if you have locked down on a date and time for the next call. Summarize all that you have discussed on the call, focusing on how is it that your company can help the prospect solve/better a problem. Then, try and make them agree that your solution is THE solution. 

Another great way to put this chance to good use and shorten the sales cycle is to get other stakeholders involved in your next conversation. You can do this by asking “who else is this important to in the company”. Simple, and slick. This way you can get important decision makers in the next call itself and end up closing the sale sooner. 

  1. Coach, learn and repeat: Did you know? Regular coaching has proved to help salespeople boost their revenue by 17%. Conducting successful discovery calls is tough, even for a seasoned sales rep. The only way to better the process is to look back, learn from your mistakes, and try not to repeat them in the next one. 

One good way to do this is to record ALL your discovery calls and go through them with your manager/coach. Use the calls to break down what you did, self reflect and get feedback on what you had done well and what you didn’t. 

Some Tips:

Try to strike a chord with some common interests of the prospect: Don’t just try to finish a call to get it into your CRM. Look at calls as a way to connect with the prospect, and this can be done only by finding similar grounds and then working your way from there. Don’t be a robot, connect with the pain points the prospect is sharing and how you can help them alleviate that. 

Read A LOT about the company and the prospect: Again, you can’t just “wing” a sales call. A good discovery call is always backed up by thorough research and understanding of the prospect and the company. Read up on whatever you can find about them, and make notes which will help you personalize the call. 

Personalize your interaction: Everybody follows a script, obviously. We will all be lost without it. But leave a lot of space in your dialogue to tailor it to the prospect you are talking to. Take some time out before the call, and personalize the conversation according to the research you have done about them. 

Probe probe probe: Do not be scared of asking questions during the call. If a particular bit of information is important for the next call, ask. The whole point of the call is to get as much information about the prospect and their decision to close with you. This will only happen when you have exhausted yourself and you know whatever it is you need to. 

I hope this article has helped you understand the Sales Discovery Process better and how to make the most out of it. Read up, keep yourself updated, and use these calls as a way to better your process through feedback and criticism. Happy Selling!