Sales Enablement

7 ways to run better discovery calls

Larson Stair

Sales teams are always looking for ways to run better discovery calls. This is because these calls are essential to the sales process – they help sales reps learn more about their potential customers and determine whether or not a deal is worth pursuing. If done correctly, it will facilitate incredibly productive conversations about the business and problems they're looking to solve. Ultimately, you want your prospects to feel like you're on the team with them. In this blog post, we will discuss seven ways to enable your sales team to run better discovery calls. Let's get started!

Free E-Book here! 5 steps to enabling discovery calls.

1. Dig into Salesforce and know the history

The first step is to know everything about the customer and their history with your company. This begins with digging into Salesforce (or other CRM) data. You need to know the history of the account, who they've met with previously, what the conversations looked like, and if it went anywhere. This information can be critical. I can help to point out areas where things went wrong last time and what you should focus on this time around. It can also help you craft a POV and compelling questions.


2. Conduct Pre-call prospect and company research

: The second step is to conduct precall prospect and company research. This means taking the time to learn about the person you will be speaking with and their company. This research will help you tailor your discovery call and make it more relevant to the prospect. You can find this information by doing a few key searches

  • LinkedIn profile: Look into their previous work history, likes/dislikes, posts they've interacted with, description section, etc.
  • General Google search: Sometimes, I'll do a general Google search of my prospect to see if there are any articles with quotes that I can bring into the conversation.

Next, you'll want to do research on the company. I'll conduct similar searches to uncover this information in addition to a few others.

  • Crunchbase search - this helps me understand a bit more about their funding history, the time between rounds, etc.
  • Recently news articles
  • Job Postings - you can glean a lot of insight from job postings. It can tell you where a company is focused on growing in addition to the types of people they're looking for in that role.
  • LinkedIn employee information - LinkedIn provides a lot of unique data on employee growth. It can tell you historical trends for various departments, which can help to craft a POV and power questions.

3. Create a unique POV and a few power questions

The third step is to create a unique POV and generate a few power questions. You can develop a unique point of view that is based on your prospect and company background research. To create this point of view, you need to have a thorough understanding of the company, what they do, where you think they're headed, the goals they're trying to achieve, and what they might be focused on in that moment.

IMPORTANT: This POV doesn't necessarily need to be correct. It just needs to be backed in research, well thought out, and articulated. The point of this is to show your prospects that you did your homework and are thinking critically about their business.

After you've generated this point of view on their business, it's time to think through 1-3 "power questions" to ask your prospects. These should be open-ended questions based on the research you've done, specific to the prospect you're meeting with and the goals they're trying to achieve. And of course, this should serve as a bridge into the current state/future state discussion and where your product or service could be helpful.

Also, if you're interested, here is a link to our generalized discovery call template!

4. Understand the current and desired future state

The fourth step is to understand the current and desired future state. If done correctly, your POV and power questions should lead nicely into this discussion. Understanding their current state is essentially asking enough questions to give you a thorough understanding of how that person, department, and company is operating today.

The conversation should progress naturally into where they'd like to take things in the future. You can transition into this part of the conversation but succinctly summarizing how they're operating today and saying "so what are focused on improving this and next quarter?". This type of open ended question will give your prospect the room to take the conversation where they'd like and ideally give you a "lane" to dig deeper on and create a connection between that desired future state and you solution.

5. Why this, and why now?

The fifth step is to understand why this, and why now. This is arguably the most critical part of the Discovery call. This is where you should dig into why this problem is such a big problem. Why is this the thing they're focused on solving and ideally, what impact will it have on the business? Why can't you solve this problem with the solutions you have today?

It is also important to understand their level or urgency. Why are they focused on this right now? Is this something that needs to be fixed immediately? Why? Understanding this deeper motivation will ensure that you maintain the momentum in the sales cycle and can consistently remind them of why they're focused on this.

If you can identify these two things, you will be in a better position to sell them on your solution in a predictable fashion.

6. Why us?

The sixth step is to understand why us. This is the opportunity you've been waiting patiently for! Now that you fully understand their business, what they're focused on and why, why they can solve it today and why they need to get it done now, you can craft a pitch that is in perfect alignment to their business needs. This means articulating why your solution will help in a clear, succinct manner, and what sets your company apart from the competition. If you can articulate this to the customer, you will be in a better position to win their business and earn your next steps.

Click here for your free E-Book here! 5 steps to enabling discovery calls.


7. Show them the way to their future state

The seventh and final step is to show them the way to their future state. The bottom line is this, your prospects don't know the industry or solutions as well as you do. This is one of the many problems they need to tackle in their jobs. It is your job to show them the path forward and confidently speak to the steps they'll need to take to get them there. We recommend documenting all of your discussed next steps during the call and reviewing them with your prospect at the end of the call. You should also have a compelling reason why you need to meet again. If you're emailing or calling them to just "check-in", you're done. You've provided them zero value or reason to meet with you. What we like to do is offer up a workshop that can help us work through some of the initial discussions that need to happen before getting started on your solution.

By following these seven steps, you will be able to run discovery calls with more consistency which will lead to better sales conversations, more predictable sales cycles and more closed-won customers.

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