Balancing Pitch & Discovery
How to go deep on discovery without losing your prospect
Finding the balance between pitch & discovery
We all know that discovery is key to carrying momentum on your later stage deals, but how do you find the balance between pitching too early and great discovery. In an ideal world, you would be able to hit a prospect with question after question until you uncover their use case, current pains and decision process…but that isn’t a reality. If you ask too many questions upfront without giving your prospect something tangible to understand why they are talking with you, they will walk away. If you fall into the trap of pitching too early, and too generally, you don’t have the leverage you need to create a solid value proposition. In this blog post, we will be taking a closer look at how your team can find the balance between uncovering pain and giving your prospects enough to understand why they should continue talking with you.
It’s no secret that you need to understand what your prospects are looking to improve in order to accurately frame your solution. But many conversations revolve around features and benefits and don’t go deep enough to create real value. This is an important step in the process as it’s what leads to your prospects “ah ha” moment about your solution. As a sales rep, it can be very clear what your solution brings to the table but you should never assume your prospects will be able to connect those dots on their own. This is why it is key to talk about the value and not the benefits of your solution. Benefits can be used broadly to hook and engage prospects, but they are not enough to seal the deal. In order for a company to adopt a new solution, there needs to be value, specific to their organization. The difference here is subtle but incredibly important. In order to pitch your value, you need to understand the current state and desired future state of the prospect.
Example…Imagine you are working for an SEO company that is targeting brick and mortar shops without much of an online presence. You have found a bike shop that is struggling to keep up the growing competition in their area.
The benefit of SEO is pretty clear…they are more likely to be found when people search online. This is a generality that doesn’t relate directly back to their business goals.
Prior to creating a solid value proposition, you need to discover what problem your prospects are currently looking to solve. Prior to bombarding your prospect with questions, they need to understand why they should give you the time of day. But wait…you just said that you shouldn’t pitch before proper discovery and this inlies the topic of today’s blog post, finding that balance.
While sales methodologies will never act as a script that can be followed, they can help us outline the strategy behind our desired sales process. After being through 5+ different types of sales methodology trainings, I have found that the MEDDPICC framework has helped me outline my thought process most effectively.
When looking at MEDDPICC, the first letter stands for Metrics. Metrics are quantifiable measures of value that your solution can provide and the first step in the sales process is uncovering those.
To help uncover those values, MEDDPICC recommends talking about Metrics in two categories, M1s & M2s. This outline can be incredibly helpful when trying to find the balance between pitch and discovery. M1s are your proof points, or what value your solution has brought to your other existing customers. M2s are the value points that your solution will bring to this specific client.
When looking at this delineation, M1s can be a great way to establish a foothold in the conversation with your prospect, without giving them a look under the hood. Highlighting an M1 is a great way to give your prospect a general understanding of what you are looking to do for them.
Going back to our example where you are selling SEO to a bike shop…You and your prospect have reviewed the messaging you used to hook them, you have had the chance to ask a few questions but then your prospect hits you with:
“Can you just tell me what you do?”
An amateur move would be to let this statement push you, preemptively, into demo’ing or pitching your solution without all the information you need to talk about value. This is the perfect time to highlight an M1.
“We are a bit too early in the conversation for me to accurately describe how my offering will align with your current initiatives. What I can do is explain what impact my solution has had on a current client of mine that is very similar to you…”
“My solution has a broad application and the value we create varies vastly from client to client. Before diving into our solution, I’d love to learn more about your current initiatives so that I can accurately describe how we can help. That being said, I have an existing client that has a similar business model to you and here are some of the tangible effects they saw and what initiatives we helped with…”
By reviewing this M1 with your prospect, you not only give them some insight into how impactful your solution can be, but you also establish that you have been here and done this before giving them confidence that you can help. This allows you to transition seamlessly back into discovery mode and dive deeper prior to the pitch.
Now is your chance to dive back into discovery and understand what business problem your solution is going to solve. Before you assume what your prospects' M2 values are, you need to clearly outline their pain.
“A business problem that is not well defined will not get exec sponsorship”
When probing around in discovery mode, keep in mind that business pains can generally be broken down into three buckets: Financial, Efficiency and People.
Financial, relates to where the organization is either missing out on revenue or has higher costs. Efficiency, relates to a problem that is occurring because something is prohibiting the organization from being efficient or effective. People, relates to the impact this problem has on its people in the organization either by productivity, morale, skill or ability.
Once you are able to accurately define the problem and get buy-in from your prospect, you can now work on implicating that pain. You now have your M2s, the value your solution brings to the table and you can move onto the next step in your sales process!
As many of you are approaching the end of month/quarter and are pushing forecasted deals out, here is what I want you to remember…Deal commitment begins at discovery. Gain confidence in your forecasts by spending the time to discover true business pain and don’t let your prospects control YOUR deal cycle!