Hopping on sales calls without understanding your prospect is like packing for a trip without checking the weather. You might make it there, but you’re guaranteed an awkward ride. Discovery calls are your chance to avoid discomfort and gather intel to pave the smoothest road to “yes.”
This complete guide explores what makes or breaks those pivotal first conversations. You’ll learn proven tips to qualify leads, handle objections, follow up promptly, and continuously improve results. With insights from top reps, actionable templates, and sample scripts, step up your discovery call game to accelerate deals and exceed quotas. So grab your virtual coffee, get cozy, and let’s connect.
What is a Discovery Call and Why is it Important?
A discovery call marks the beginning of the sales process for many companies. It is the crucial first conversation between a sales representative and a prospective customer after they have expressed initial interest. The discovery call sets the tone for the entire sales relationship, so it is important to get it right. In this section, we will cover everything you need to know about discovery calls, including defining what they are, their purpose, and key benefits.
Definition of a Discovery Call
A discovery call, sometimes referred to as an exploratory call, is a sales conversation aimed at qualifying leads and determining if both parties are a good fit to work together. It is a chance for the sales rep to learn more about the prospect’s needs, challenges, and buying journey. At the same time, it allows the prospect to get to know the sales rep, ask questions about the offering, and evaluate if it aligns with their goals.
Discovery calls are conversational in nature rather than scripted sales pitches. The sales rep guides the discussion using open-ended questions that uncover pain points and buying priorities. It provides a low-pressure opportunity for both sides to evaluate compatibility before committing to a formal sales process. If the prospect seems like a good match, the rep can introduce their offering as a potential solution and discuss next steps like product demos, proposals, or further conversations.
Purpose and Benefits of Discovery Calls
Discovery calls serve several important functions:
The core purpose of a discovery call is to determine if a prospect is a good fit for your offering, and vice versa. As a sales rep, you want to identify leads that match your ideal customer profile and eliminate those that do not fit. Key qualifying criteria often include:
- Budget range
- Buying authority
- Urgent needs your product addresses
- Timeframe or deadlines
Through conversational questioning and active listening, you can gather this information to decide whether or not to pursue the lead further. If the prospect does not meet your criteria, you can politely end the call and focus your efforts elsewhere.
In addition to qualifying, discovery calls allow you to dig into the prospect’s specific needs, challenges, and requirements. This helps you tailor your sales approach instead of delivering a generic, one-size-fits-all pitch. Key requirements to gather include:
- What problems they want to solve
- Business objectives and goals
-Obstacles faced and pain points
- Features or capabilities needed
- Budget parameters
- Evaluation and decision process
Understanding these requirements is invaluable for crafting personalized solutions, demos, and proposals later in the sales cycle. It also helps you engage stakeholders on what matters most to close the deal.
An equally important aspect of discovery calls is starting to build a connection with the prospect beyond the surface level. You want to establish rapport and trust to lay the foundation for a lasting business relationship. This involves:
- Making a strong first impression
- Finding common ground through conversation
- Demonstrating sincere interest in their needs
- Asking questions and actively listening
- Being helpful, adding value where possible
Prospects want to buy from people they know, like, and trust. The discovery call represents a prime opportunity to begin cultivating this critical relationship.
For sales reps, the discovery call is a chance to add value right from the initial interaction. You can showcase your industry expertise and perspective by:
- Providing relevant advice and insights
- Suggesting helpful strategies or best practices
- Citing relevant statistics, data points, or trends
- Making thoughtful recommendations
Even if the prospect does not convert to a customer, delivering value builds goodwill. It positions you as a trusted advisor rather than just a salesperson.
Set the Sales Process in Motion
When a discovery call goes well, it sets the entire sales process in motion. Outcomes often include:
- Scheduling a product demo
- Introducing other key decision-makers
- Providing proposals, pricing, or content
- Discussing implementation plans and timelines
- Determining follow-up conversations and cadence
Without an effective discovery call, the sales process stalls. But when executed successfully, both parties gain alignment to move forward on next steps. It converts promising leads into qualified opportunities.
In short, discovery calls allow sales teams to identify and engage with suitable prospects, gather crucial requirements, begin establishing relationships, deliver value, and advance quality leads into the sales funnel. They represent a low-pressure but high-impact touchpoint early in the buying journey. Taking the time to do discovery calls right pays huge dividends for driving pipeline growth and revenue.
How to Prepare for a Successful Discovery Call
Discovery calls set the tone for the entire sales relationship, so it is crucial to prepare thoroughly. Without proper prep work, you may miss key details or opportunities during the call. Follow these best practices to ready yourself for an effective first conversation with any prospect.
Do Thorough Research on the Prospect and Their Company
The foundation of preparation is researching both the prospect themselves and their company. Go beyond surface level LinkedIn stalking and take time to dig deeper using all resources available:
- Website, blog, social media – Look for company info, thought leadership content, announcements.
- Your CRM and shared contacts – Check for any prior connections, conversations, or context.
- Public databases – Search databases like ZoomInfo, Crunchbase, and Alexa for employee hierarchies, technologies used, firmographics.
- News articles and sources – Aggregate recent announcements, initiatives, product launches.
- Industry publications – See if the company or individual has been quoted or featured.
- Conference speaker lists – Have they presented? Look for topics to gain insights.
By becoming an expert on the prospect’s world, you can tailor your discovery conversation and show deep understanding of their needs.
Create a Discovery Call Checklist
Based on your research, create a checklist to keep you organized and focused during the call. Include:
- High-level company goals, culture, and initiatives
- Prospect’s role, responsibilities, and bio tidbits
- Previous interactions with your company
- Technologies used that relate to your product
- Major challenges and pain points
Checklists prevent critical details from slipping through the cracks in the heat of the moment on calls. Glance at it periodically to ensure you gather all information needed.
Set Goals and Craft an Agenda
With a solid understanding of the prospect and a checklist in hand, define 1-3 goals for the discovery call. Example goals include:
- Uncover the prospect’s precise pain points
- Identify all decision-makers and process
- Assess budget and timeline for solving the problem
- Gauge enthusiasm and priority level
- Determine if the prospect is an ideal fit
Then build out a simple agenda to hit these goals, usually covering:
- Introductions and small talk
- Background about their needs and challenges
- Questions to uncover requirements
- Introduction of your offering as a solution
- Next steps and follow-up planning
Sharing the agenda upfront is a best practice so the prospect knows what to expect. Make sure to leave flexibility to adapt based on the conversation flow.
Set a Time and Date That Works for Both of You
Discovery calls require focus and energy, so select a time when you and the prospect will be sharp and engaged. Avoid scheduling at either end of the workday or surrounding lunch hours when attention spans dip.
If your prospect is hesitant about committing to a full call, offer a 15 or 30 minute meeting as a compromise to get your foot in the door. Once they see the value, you can extend future calls.
Calendar tools like Calendly make it easy to find overlapping availability and book calls directly. Include a conferencing line, time zone, dial-in details, and calendar invites to minimize any friction to connecting.
Practice and Role Play the Call
Next, practice and role play the discovery call multiple times. Have a colleague act as the prospect using what you’ve learned in research. Rotate through the various roles.
Pay attention to tone, pacing, word choice, and response time. Refine how you’ll frame questions and handle objections. Mastering these elements ensures a smooth, effective first call.
Start with Ice Breaker and Maintain Conversation
Even with an agenda, discovery calls should maintain a natural, conversational flow. Starting with some ice breaker rapport building sets the right tone.
If you uncovered any common connections or interests during research, use those to establish familiarity right off the bat. Other ice breaker best practices include:
- Thanking them for their time
- Complimenting their role, company, or achievements
- Sharing an interesting industry factoid or current event
- Recapping any prior interactions or meetings
Use humor and friendly tone while avoiding overly corporate sales speak. Keep the prospect engaged rather than dominating the call.
Set the Stage with Introductory Questions
Before diving into business needs and pain points, take time to further set the stage with introductory questions that ease into discovery. Start broad, confirming your existing knowledge of their company and initiatives.
- “Could you tell me a bit more about your role and main responsibilities?”
- “What are 1-2 big projects or goals your team is focused on this quarter?”
- “How would you describe your company culture and values?”
- “What gets you most excited to come to work each day?”
Then begin connecting the dots to your offering or solution:
- “How does your role intersect with challenges like [their pain point]?”
- “What technologies or processes are most critical for you to do your job effectively?”
- “When it comes to your stack, where do you see the biggest opportunities for improvement or upgrades?”
These intro questions get key background context and lay the groundwork for a productive, value-driven discovery discussion.
In nutshell, prepping extensively for each discovery call is an indispensable success factor for sales teams. Thorough prospect research, checklists, agendas, scheduling, role playing, and intro questions prevent scrambling in the moment. They enable reps to have strategic, needs-based conversations that reveal true buyer needs and prime the prospect for next steps. The time invested upfront pays off exponentially in terms of insight gained on calls and pipeline accelerated.
Discovery Call Best Practices and Etiquette
The way you conduct yourself during the discovery call can make or break your chances of building a relationship with the prospect. Mind your etiquette and incorporate these best practices to ensure an effective, productive conversation.
Start with Your Introduction
The first few minutes set the tone. Greet the prospect warmly right off the bat. Share a bit about yourself, your company, and your role.
“Hello [prospect name], I’m [your name] with [company]. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today.”
This shows gratitude for their time and kicks things off on a polite, professional note.
You can also establish some common ground if uncovered during research:
“I see from your LinkedIn profile that you’ve been with [company] for [X years]. How long have you been in your current role as [title]?”
Making this personal connection demonstrates you took time to learn about them specifically. People like discussing themselves so this is a great ice breaker.
Finally, confirm the prospect’s goals and expectations:
“Before we dive in, I just wanted to get a high-level view of your goals for our call today. What were you hoping to get out of our discussion?”
This allows you to align the conversation to their desired outcomes.
Create a Connection
Look for opportunities to establish genuine connections and rapport:
“That’s great background, thank you for sharing. I actually started my career in [prospect’s industry] as well, so I understand many of the challenges you face.”
When you share something about yourself or your experience, it builds trust and relatability.
You can also highlight any mutual connections:
“I see we have [mutual connection] in common. I’ve known [her/him] for many years and [s/he] always spoke very highly of you and your team.”
Mentioning a shared contact makes things feel less cold or salesy.
Finally, call out if you’ve helped similar prospects:
“You mentioned [pain point]. We’ve worked with several clients facing similar issues, so I’m confident we can provide relevant solutions.”
This reassures them you understand their problems and can add value.
Set Expectations and Get Prospect Buy-In
Managing expectations upfront ensures the call stays productive for both parties.
Clarify the timeframe and ensure it works for them:
“I want to be respectful of your time today. I expect our call will last 30-45 minutes as we discuss your needs and see if our solutions may be a potential fit. Does that timeframe work for you?”
This shows consideration for their schedule.
You can also get their buy-in on the high-level agenda:
“Before we dive in, I just wanted to provide a quick agenda of what we’ll cover today…”
Hitting the key points they expect to discuss prevents surprises and confusion.
Actively Listen More Than You Speak
Discovery calls should follow a 60/40 rule – the prospect should speak 60% of the time, while you speak just 40%. This ensures you gather the information needed to best position your solution.
When they are speaking, remove all distractions and listen fully. Use affirmative language and ask clarifying follow-ups. Take detailed notes of their challenges and needs.
By simply listening well, you demonstrate genuine interest in helping them succeed.
Ask Open-Ended Discovery Questions
Leverage open-ended questions that extract detailed information from prospects:
“Walk me through how your team currently handles [process]?”
This prompts them to provide context critical for your later recommendations.
Find out their vision of success:
“What does success look like for this initiative?”
You’ll need this benchmark to showcase how your product enables it.
Also uncover their evaluation criteria:
“What factors do you consider most important when evaluating a solution?”
This allows you to emphasize the capabilities that matter most to them specifically when discussing your product.
Find Top Pain Points
The heart of an effective discovery call is uncovering the prospect’s core pain points and challenges. Use open-ended questioning to probe deeply:
“What are the biggest challenges your team faces on a day-to-day basis?”
This identifies their most pressing current struggles. You can also assess wasted efforts:
“Where do you feel the most time/effort is being wasted currently?”
Pinpointing inefficiencies reveals opportunities to inject value.
Ask about their goals:
“What metrics would you like to improve or optimize?”
Connecting your capabilities to tangible metrics they want to drive positions you as a strategic partner.
You can also uncover legacy obstacles:
“What legacy processes or tools are in most need of improvement?”
Overcoming these can demonstrate quick wins after implementation.
Connect Pain Points to Prospect’s Use Case and Impact
Paint a vivid picture of how addressing pain points would transform their specific situation.
Quantify time savings:
“How much time could your team save per week if [pain point] was addressed?”
Hard numbers showcase your potential ROI.
Link to business outcomes:
“What goals are you struggling to hit due to these current challenges?”
This emphasizes your solution’s strategic impact.
Discuss customer experience:
“How has this impacted your customer experience and satisfaction?”
Showing you care about their customers, not just sales, is crucial.
Provide Relevant Solutions and Value
With needs established, you can introduce your product as a solution, focusing on relevance:
“We’ve worked with companies facing similar challenges who have seen great results using [solution]. Would you like me to provide an overview?”
Social proof is powerful.
Quantify the benefits:
“Our [solution] is designed specifically to address [pain point] – reducing [metric] by up to [XX%].”
Hard ROI numbers capture attention.
Offer specific resources:
“I’d love to send over a few relevant case studies showing how we’ve helped clients in your industry.”
Proof points tailored to their niche are extremely persuasive.
Anticipate and Handle Objections
Get ahead of common concerns:
“I know this type of solution often comes with an initial learning curve. We provide extensive onboarding and ongoing support to ensure adoption.”
Addressing objections proactively reassures.
“Our pricing model is customized for each client to provide maximum value based on your specific needs.”
This can alleviate sticker shock.
Overcome inertia around current tools:
“I understand the desire to build this internally. We often integrate with clients’ legacy tools for a seamless transition.”
Showing you get their mindset builds immense credibility.
Manage Time and Pace Effectively
Finally, keep discovery calls sharply focused and moving. Reign in tangents and distractions to maximize the time.
Provide brief yet complete responses rather than meandering. Pause regularly to ask, “Does this make sense?” or “Would you like me to clarify or expand on anything?”
Close each topic line with “Does this resonate?” or “Have I captured your situation accurately?” Seeking continual feedback ensures alignment.
End on time and thank them for the engagement. Execute the rest of the call professionally, and you make the shortlist for their partner of choice.
Must Ask Questions on a Discovery Call During Sales Process
The key to an effective discovery call is asking the right questions to uncover needs while advancing the prospect through your sales funnel. Use these proven questions tailored to each stage of the call.
Kicking off with broader, introductory questions establishes context and gets prospects speaking about topics they are comfortable with.
Learn about their company and role:
“Tell me about your company and your role?”
This starts the conversation on familiar ground for them. You can also ask:
“What are your main responsibilities and goals?”
People enjoy discussing their work and objectives. These questions also reveal metrics to reference later when showcasing your value.
Connect their role to the pain point:
“How does your role intersect with [prospect’s pain point]?”
This demonstrates you grasp their situation and need.
Uncover their process and tools:
“Walk me through a typical day – what processes or tools do you use the most?”
You’ll gain insight into workflow friction points and technology gaps.
End on a positive note:
“Before we dive deeper into challenges, what about your current setup are you most happy with?”
This reassures you aim to enhance, not replace, what already works.
Next, qualify budget, authority, and need with targeted questions:
Ask about their process:
“What does your end-to-end process look like for [relevant function]?”
The full view exposes hidden weak points.
Uncover team dynamics:
“Who all is involved in [process] and do you experience any cross-team friction?”
Knowing key players and relationships is crucial.
“Do you have a timeline or budget allocated for improving [process]?”
This reveals the urgency and priority level.
Connect to metrics:
“What KPIs or metrics will determine success for this initiative?”
This enables you to quantify potential ROI.
Assess past efforts:
“Have you evaluated or used other solutions previously? What did and didn’t work?”
You can position your solution as the next logical step.
Qualifying questions allow you to tailor your pitch and gauge fit.
Probing Questions on Pain Points and Priorities
Once you’ve established basic needs, probe deeper with questions that reveal root causes and get candid feedback:
Ask for specifics:
“You mentioned [pain point] – could you expand more on where the breakdown happens and how it impacts your team?”
The devil is in the details here.
Gauge priority level:
“On a scale of 1-10, how much of a priority is resolving this issue?”
Quantifying urgency helps segment leads.
Uncover ideal scenarios:
“If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about [process], what would it be and why?”
This highlights the dream solution they have in mind.
Connect to metrics:
“How does this issue affect your ability to hit targets for [metric] or impact [business goal]?”
Hard numbers make the case to invest in a solution.
Discuss risks of inaction:
“What risks or costs does inaction potentially hold?”
Shining light on the downsides creates motivation.
Questions to Disqualify
Ask targeted questions to identify prospects that are not an ideal match:
Assess willingness to address:
“I know you mentioned [roadblock] earlier. Do you see that severely limiting your ability to move forward if we identify a strong solution?”
If they remain stubbornly opposed, disqualification may be prudent.
Gauge budget flexibility:
“Realistically, what level of investment is possible for a project like this right now?”
An amount wildly off from your pricing flags misalignment.
Uncover competing priorities:
“What other initiatives could delay action on resolving this issue?”
You need to know what you’re up against.
“Who holds the power in making the final decision to move forward?”
Ensuring access here is crucial.
Test agreement levels:
“On a scale of 1-10, how much agreement is there that change is needed?”
Lukewarm responses reveal underlying obstacles.
Questions to Establish Next Steps
Assuming the lead is qualified, push for action with forward-looking questions:
“Based on what we’ve discussed, I believe [solution] would be a great potential fit to address your challenges. Does that align with your assessment?”
Get their buy-in first.
Map the process:
“What steps remain in your evaluation process before reaching a decision?”
You need to know what comes next on their end.
Secure follow-up meetings:
“Would you be open to having our team provide a custom demo and proposal for you?”
Move the ball forward.
Identify all stakeholders:
“Besides yourself, who should I loop in for our follow up conversations?”
Know all key players early.
“Is there any additional information I can provide to help with your decision process?”
This support demonstrates commitment to their success.
In short, strategically mapping discovery questions in this manner accelerates opportunities through your funnel. It maximizes effectiveness for both lead qualification and nurturing.
How to Handle Different Types of Prospects
Not all prospects come to the table exhibiting the same levels of need awareness and enthusiasm. Savvy sales reps adapt their discovery approach based on prospect type to maximize effectiveness. Here are proven techniques for common scenarios.
Dealing with Prospects Who Don’t Know Their Needs
Some prospects may have only a vague idea of the problems they need to solve or requirements for a solution. They are stuck and looking for guidance. In these cases:
- Ask guiding questions that edge them closer to identifying latent needs:
“What difficulties have you encountered with your current [system] as the business scales?”
“Where do you foresee your team struggling if current processes remain unchanged?”
“What milestones aren’t being hit consistently that you’d like to improve?”
- Offer informed suggestions based on familiar pain points:
“Other similar companies often face challenges with [X] and [Y] using legacy systems. Is this resonating?”
- Use analogies they can relate to:
“Think of it like a car. Right now you have a model from 2010. It may still run, but lacks newer safety features, fuel efficiency, and performance capabilities simply not available back then.”
- Discuss common scenarios and ask them to visualize applying outdated systems and processes to those futures.
- Suggest a follow-up meeting with a needs analysis consultant who can provide an unbiased assessment.
The goal is to move them closer to stating concrete needs, not just telling them what they need. Once they articulate it themselves, your solution resonates more powerfully.
Adjusting for Different Industries and Use Cases
Each prospect’s specific context may call for adapting your discovery approach to fit their realities.
- With highly regulated industries, emphasize capabilities relating to compliance, governance, and security right away. Ask detailed questions about required certifications, protocols, and mandates to showcase domain expertise.
- For companies with complex or lengthy decision cycles, inquire about all stakeholders and steps in the purchasing process early on. Map out the key milestones you’ll need to navigate over an extended period. Establish next actions for each influencer and phase.
- When prospects have unique use cases, avoid making assumptions based on prior clients. Drill into the nuances of how they would leverage your offering and tailor it to their needs through pointed questions that uncover domain-specific requirements.
- For small businesses with limited resources, be sensitive to budget constraints. Focus discovery discussions on the specific functionalities needed rather than comprehensive suites or enterprise-level capabilities with unnecessary bells and whistles.
Listen closely instead of being overly prescriptive. Find opportunities to educate prospects on possibilities relevant to their situation versus dictating a pre-formulated path. Adjusting your approach based on context strengthens relationships and solutions.
Winning Over Skeptical or Reluctant Prospects
For prospects who exhibit higher skepticism or reluctance, discovery conversations require extra finesse. Useful techniques include:
- Letting them air doubts transparently without judgement. Listening shows empathy for their concerns.
- Offering competing viewpoints to broaden perspective. “I’ve found clients who worried about [objection] see great value once [benefit] is in place.”
- Providing tailored proof points that counter objections directly. Case studies from similar companies or data on achievement of relevant metrics.
- Suggesting a small pilot offering to allow low-risk evaluation for themselves versus asking for a big leap of faith.
- Reinforcing you aim to be a trusted partner, not just hit sales targets. “My goal is setting you up for long-term success.”
- Being willing to invest more time educating versus pushing for an immediate commitment.
- Following up consistently without being pushy or overbearing.
With extra TLC, skeptical prospects often become vocal champions. Avoiding forceful sales pressure and listening to address concerns thoughtfully can turn the tide with proper discovery skills.
In nutshell, aligning your outreach to each prospect’s specific situation accelerates conversions. Adapting questions, emphasizing certain features, and providing tailored proof points gives your solution the best chance to resonate powerfully.
Following Up After the Discovery Call
The work doesn’t end once the initial discovery call wraps up. Effective follow-up is crucial for advancing qualified leads towards a sale. Use these tips for seamless post call nurturing.
Send a Thank You and Recap Email
Start by sending a thank you and high-level recap of the call. Try to get this out within 24 hours while conversation details are fresh. Key elements to include:
- Express gratitude for their time and insights shared. This kickstarts the relationship on a polite tone.
- Summarize the discussed pain points and requirements. This confirms you were listening and ensures no miscommunication.
- Recap any suggested next steps you or they committed to. Putting action items in writing keeps momentum going.
- Attach any resources promised like case studies, product sheets, or pricing. Back up your claims.
- Close with a call-to-action for following up or connecting again soon. Provide calendar links or suggest 2-3 specific dates and times that work for you.
Getting a quick, thorough follow-up email out promptly is like putting a bookmark in your last conversation spot. The prospect leaves the call engaged, and your email keeps that spark going to fuel future outreach.
Schedule Next Steps and Future Meetings
Move quickly to schedule follow-on meetings, demos, or contacts while interest is piqued.
- If next steps require involving other stakeholders, ask for introductions or permission to contact them directly. Get on their calendars ASAP.
- Be flexible around scheduling and availability. Offer to meet before/after work hours or over lunch if needed to accelerate momentum.
- Have set agendas for follow-on meetings ready to share. This provides reassurance you’ll use their time wisely.
- For long sales cycles, use your CRM to track and schedule regular check-ins and progress updates.
Strike while the iron is hot. The fortune is in the follow-up, and quick action while they are engaged capitalizes on discovery call momentum.
Provide Additional Resources as Needed
Some prospects will require further education before committing. If more information is requested during your discovery call, fulfill those needs promptly.
- Provide specific pages or sections from documentation that address questions raised, rather than generic materials that overwhelm them.
- Offer custom spreadsheets or TCO/ROI analyses to showcase potential cost savings or profit gains with numbers they provided.
- Send brief video tutorials that walk through how your product handles specific use cases they described.
- Introduce them to current customers in roles or industries similar to theirs who can share candid insights.
Providing tailored collateral demonstrates alignment with their situation and needs. It also builds goodwill by proving you listen and aim to help.
Leverage CRM for Ongoing Nurturing
Your CRM is a pivotal asset for systematic discovery call follow-up.
- Log all prospect information, interaction details, needs discussed, and next steps in the CRM for visibility across your team.
- Set reminder tasks for sales reps to follow up at scheduled intervals. Automate subsequent emails where possible.
- Track open and click rates on follow-up emails. Monitor engagement levels and adjust outreach accordingly.
- Create customized nurture tracks based on needs identified during discovery. Serve targeted content through timed drips to move prospects down the funnel.
- Capture discovery call recordings and transcripts in the CRM for reference during deal progression.
A centralized CRM workflow sustains the spark of discovery calls through closed-won by maintaining organized follow-up at scale.
In summary, disciplined post discovery call nurturing converts more leads by delivering ongoing value, accelerating next steps, and tracking progress. Treat follow-up with the same care as the initial call, and ROI will reflect it.
Measuring the Effectiveness of Discovery Calls
Discovery calls are a foundational sales activity, but they must deliver ROI. Apply these best practices to monitor, analyze, and continually improve results.
Review Recordings and Takeaways
Recording your discovery calls provides invaluable review material. Some insights to gather:
- Listen for strong questions that uncovered valuable intel. Identify areas where questions fell flat so they can be reworked.
- Note points where you lost momentum or wasted time down rabbit holes. Refine your steering of the discussion.
- Assess rapport building and tone. Could you have connected better?
- Gauge effectiveness explaining your solution. Where was clarity or persuasion lacking?
- Examine prospect reactions and levels of engagement. Were they open and receptive?
Also compile key takeaways while fresh:
- Document prospect pain points, requirements, and timeline expectations discussed.
- Note any objections raised you’ll need to address in follow-ups.
- Identify next steps committed to by both parties.
Regular call reviews ensure you continuously improve discovery skills. Consistent evaluation and application of lessons learned leads to better conversations.
Track Sales Metrics and KPIs
Tangible metrics reveal how your discovery process impacts results:
- Percentage of discovery calls held vs. total leads. Highlights sourcing efficiency of quality prospects.
- Number of follow-up meetings, demos, or proposals booked. Measures ability to advance leads.
- Sales velocity from discovery to close. Faster is better.
- Percentage of prospects qualified vs. disqualified. Shows accuracy of vetting.
- Win rates for qualified leads. Proves qualification methods work.
- Average deal sizes for qualified leads. Validates targeting of valuable prospects.
If key indicators dip, revisit discovery effectiveness. For example, low scheduling rates indicate poor question quality. Long sales cycles point to ineffective follow-up.
Monitor Win Rates for Qualified Leads
For prospects marked as qualified during discovery, track their win rates over time. High close rates validate your qualification criteria.
Watch for these warning signs:
- Win rates decreasing – Qualification questions need reassessment
- Higher than expected fallout – Disqualification questions need refinement
- Poor win rates for seemingly solid prospects – Confirm relevance of solutions suggested
Constantly monitor win rates from your pipeline that entered via discovery calls. This data acts as a compass pointing how to improve.
Continuously Optimize and Improve
Implement a regular discovery call review process involving your sales team. Some best practices:
- Maintain a shared library of sample recordings. Reps can listen to examples of stellar discovery engagements.
- Host roundtables to discuss challenges and review trends in performance data.
- Roleplay new scenarios like objections to finesse responses in a safe space.
- Share tips and tricks for describing product capabilities effectively.
- Work with marketing to adjust lead scoring models based on new learnings.
- Brainstorm better qualifiers and disqualifiers to trial. Test and iterate constantly.
- Update CRM fields to capture any new intel you want to track.
Getting structured discovery call feedback flowing across the team unlocks continuous improvement through cooperation and creativity.
By applying these measurement and optimization practices, your team can dominate discovery calls to accelerate the funnel. Data illuminates what is working, and where tuning is required, leading to higher conversions and revenue.
Discovery Calls Accelerate the Sales Process
In the fast-paced world of sales, time is money. Lengthy sales cycles drain resources and delay revenue. Discovery calls are the catalyst to compressing the timeline from lead to customer by quickly separating qualified opportunities from time-wasting dead ends.
Effective discovery conversations provide sales teams with an efficient mechanism to:
- Profile and vet leads upfront to focus on those offering the highest potential. Discovery calls allow immediate lead qualification versus waiting for that determination down the line. Sales reps spend time only on real opportunities.
- Uncover the prospect’s true needs and challenges. This insight powers tailored solutions instead of one-size-fits-all pitches. Personalization drives higher close rates.
- Introduce prospects to the sales rep and company early to initiate relationship building. Discovery calls get the sales process kickstarted versus cold outreach attempts with standoffish prospects.
- Provide targeted proof and social evidence that your offering aligns to the prospect’s situation. Instant relevance shortens the decision cycle rather than abstract pitches.
- Give prospects a risk-free glimpse of potential ROI before committing. Discovery calls let prospects validate fit comfortably versus relying on promises. Reduced risk equals faster decisions.
- Begin mapping purchase processes and identifying key stakeholders. Discovery provides an info head start to navigate complex buying journeys with insights straight from the source.
- Establish next steps to progress the opportunity forward during the initial call. No time is wasted follow-up calls just to determine next actions.
- Start delivering tangible value immediately versus delaying until formal purchase processes commence. Quick wins build credibility and desire faster.
- Capture prospect information and context within CRM systems fororganized follow-up and team visibility. Discovery calls feed your sales technology engine rather than scrambling after muted leads.
Well executed discovery calls compress sales cycles by replacing guesswork with qualified leads primed for conversion based on tailored engagement. Reps sell smarter, prospects buy faster, and pipelines accelerate. The end result is a reduced path to revenue.
Finally, to maximize sales productivity, teams should optimize both quality and quantity of discovery calls. More high-value conversations will drive efficiency gains that positively impact KPIs at each successive funnel stage. Combined with purposeful follow-up, discovery calls form the bedrock of hardworking sales teams closing more deals faster.
Here are some sample frequently asked questions for the discovery call guide:
Q: What is a discovery call?
A: A discovery call is the first sales conversation with a prospect after they’ve expressed interest. It aims to qualify leads, uncover needs, build rapport, and determine fit.
Q: When should you schedule a discovery call?
A: Schedule discovery calls as soon as possible after a prospect demonstrates interest by downloading content, requesting information, etc. Quick action capitalizes on momentum.
Q: How long should a discovery call last?
A: Discovery calls generally range from 15-60 minutes depending on deal complexity, prospect availability, and other factors. Keep it concise but allow enough time to gather key details.
Q: What’s the difference between a discovery call and a sales call?
A: Discovery calls focus on asking questions, listening, and qualifying. Sales calls emphasize pitching your solution and directly selling. Discovery comes first to provide context to craft an effective sales pitch.
Q: How many discovery calls should you do per week or month?
A: Volume depends on your outreach cadence and prospect response rates.Aim to convert leads into discovery calls within 1-2 weeks of their first touchpoint. More discovery conversations will accelerate your funnel.
Q: Should you record discovery calls?
A: Recording with consent allows reviewing for improvement. But focus on active listening rather than perfecting a script. Pick key calls to record and review.
Q: What makes a bad discovery call?
A: Dominating the conversation, lacking rapport, failing to uncover needs, poor questioning, and not setting next steps result in unproductive discovery calls.
Q: How do you prepare for a discovery call?
A: Thorough prospect research, creating agendas, roleplaying, and crafting strategic questions ensure you make the most of discovery conversations.
Q: What should you follow up with after a discovery call?
A: Send a recap email thanking them and summarizing next steps. Provide requested information promptly. Schedule any follow-up meetings discussed.