Ultimate Guide to Successful Discovery Calls

Man Shouting at the Phone
Table of Contents
Insightful Discovery Calls
What is a discovery call?

The discovery call is the first call you have with a prospect after they express interest. During the call, you qualify their buying potential. The focus of the discovery call is to identify whether or not the prospect is a good fit for you and your business. You also discover their needs, problems they face and how you can help them.

After the discovery call, you then have a decision to make. You either add them to your lead pipeline and pursue the deal, or, if they are not a good fit for your business after the discovery process, drop them from your deal flow. If they are not the right fit, you may gain insights of how another company may be able to help them.

A discovery call can vary widely depending on what you offer. Discovery calls look different for a lawyer, potential investor, someone selling a physical product or with a real estate agent, to name a few examples.

Sales discovery calls are more specific versions of the discovery call. The primary motivation of a sales discovery call is to take leads or prospects, qualify them for your product or service, and move them towards closing.

Motivation of Sales Discovery Call
Step-By-Step Guide for the Best Discovery Calls

The discovery call is not a call but rather a process. Every moment, from when they are first aware of your brand until closing, is part of the sales discovery process. With that said, we are going to focus on the call itself. We expand into the discovery process as a whole below.

4 Key considerations for effective sales discovery calls:

1 Building trust
Establishing trust with the prospect is crucial in sales discovery calls. This involves building rapport, being genuine, and demonstrating credibility to gain the prospect’s trust and create a foundation for a successful sales conversation.

Demonstrating Credibility
2 Establishing Authority

Demonstrating authority and expertise in the industry or product/service being discussed helps establish credibility and confidence in the salesperson. This can be achieved through industry knowledge, case studies, testimonials, or sharing relevant success stories.

3 Defining Expectations

Setting clear expectations with the prospect about the purpose, agenda, and desired outcomes of the sales discovery call helps align both parties and ensures a productive conversation. If you don’t manage expectations, you risk the entire relationship of the customer with your business. This includes clarifying the purpose of the call, discussing the agenda, and mutually agreeing on next steps.

4 Understanding their needs

The most important part of lead qualification is understanding the prospects needs. The salesperson should focus on actively listening to the prospect’s needs, challenges, and pain points during the discovery call. Understanding the prospect’s needs and requirements helps tailor the sales pitch and offer relevant solutions, ultimately increasing the chances of a successful sales outcome.

Successful discovery call Agenda

A discovery call agenda is designed to provide an outline. By having an agenda with clear steps on every call, you set yourself and reps up for a successful discovery call. There are multiple steps in the process, beginning with pre-meeting materials all the way through post-call follow-up.

Pre-Meeting Materials:

When necessary, sending information before the call builds rapport. Great discovery calls start with the lead qualification, making sure the prospect is the right fit for what you offer.
This may include relevant case studies, what engagement with your team looks like, qualifying questions, and more.

Pre-Meeting Materials

Remember, good discovery begins during the preparation phase! Know their industry, competitors, customers in order to provide more value when you have a discovery meeting with them. Based on close rate data, the more you know about the prospect’s situation before the call, the more likely the deal is to close.

Discovery call Outline:
I. Introduction
  • Greetings and pleasantries
  • Introduce yourself and your company
  • Establish rapport and build initial trust
 
II. Agenda
  • Clearly outline the purpose and agenda of the discovery call
  • Set expectations for the conversation
 
III. Prospect Background
  • Ask the prospect about their role, responsibilities, and company background
  • Gain insights into their industry, challenges, and goals
 
IV. Needs and Challenges
  • Ask open-ended questions to understand the prospect’s needs, challenges, and pain points
  • Actively listen to the prospect’s responses and take notes
 
V. Solution Discussion
  • Share relevant information about your product/service that aligns the pains your prospect is facing
  • Highlight key features, benefits, and value proposition
  • Customize your pitch based on the prospect’s responses and requirements
Solution Discussion
VI. Objection Handling
  • Address any concerns or objections raised by the prospect
  • Provide clarifications or additional information to overcome objections
 
VII. Next Steps
  • Discuss potential next steps in the sales process
  • Set up follow-up actions, such as scheduling a demo, sending additional information, or arranging a meeting with other stakeholders
 
VIII. Closing (Depending on the type of sale, discovery may or may not end with closing)
  • Summarize key points discussed during the call
  • Confirm the prospect’s interest and willingness to move forward
  • Gather required information for the close
 
IX. Follow-Up
  • Send a follow-up email with a summary of the discovery call and any additional information discussed
  • Include a clear call-to-action and next steps for the prospect to take
 

Note: The actual agenda and duration of each section is supposed to vary. Depending on the prospect’s responses and the dynamics of the call, different areas will receive more or less focus. It’s important to be flexible and adapt the agenda to the prospect’s needs. Ultimately, you need to ensure a productive and engaging conversation.

Post-Meeting Summary & Next Steps:

Without next steps, the sales process dies the moment you click end-call. You don’t want that to happen, as that means a deal is never closed. On the call, you need clear next steps that will be taken to move the deal forward.
After the meeting, you have a much higher close rate if you send a recap of the meeting, what was discussed, and the purchase process moving forward. Sales leaders make sure both the agent and potential buyer have a smooth, simple process that leads to closing. What are the pains, what are the needs, and how can you provide them solutions?

Top 9 Tips to perfect the Discovery process:

Discovery doesn’t start when you pick up the phone, nor does it end once the meeting finishes. The discovery process begins the very first moment they become aware of your company, and continuously evolves even after they are a customer. Here are 9 discovery call tips to perfect the process:

  • Zero in on your messaging. If you are a plumber, it does you no good if your messaging is all over the board. Do you only service people in a specific geographical area? Do you have any areas of expertise? Do you specialize in helping a specific type of client? Clear messaging makes reaching and connecting with the decision makers far easier. Once you do qualify them as buyers, it makes the purchasing process much more effective.
  • RESEARCH their company. What segment of the market do they focus on? Size? Implementation of their product or service?
  • Ensure you talk with the decision maker. Don’t spend time with someone who won’t be making the decisions.
  • Analyze their market conditions. Know what challenges the industry is facing. Are there large competitors in their space? Are there many small players? Is the market growing or shrinking? For a winning sales discovery call, you need to be well informed on them and their industry.
Analyze Market Conditions
  • Slow down. Based on data analyzing millions of calls, The longer the initial call, the higher the likelihood of closing the deal down the road.
  • Don’t be pitchy- let them do the talking. Sales insights show that ” the “highest yielding” B2B sales conversations hovered around a 43:57 talk-to-listen ratio. In other words, the data told us that top-producing B2B sales professionals speak 43% of the time (on average), allowing the prospect to speak 57% of the time (on average).
  • Clear pre and post-call follow ups. If you don’t leave the discovery call with action items, the deal probably (based on average close rates) won’t close!
  • Prepare responses to common questions. This varies widely by industry and who you serve. For example, lawyers need to be prepared to answer “Why should I work with you?”. Construction managers commonly face “Why should we hire your company?” when giving quotes to potential customers.
  • Turn the camera on! It doesn’t matter if you’re having a bad hair day. Based on close rates, your odds of closing a prospect go up significantly if your camera is on! Even if they don’t turn their on, being able to see you and have the prospect know you are engaged build trust and rapport.
 
Common discovery call questions:

In any business, the majority of prospects will have similar questions. The more specific your ideal customer, the easier it is to predict and prepare for these questions. You need to be prepared for whatever comes your way, after all, you don’t want to work with a business that is not both easy to work with and professional when you bring up potential issues

Common questions from prospects:
  • How must does it cost?
  • How does pricing model work?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • How do you compare with X competitor?
  • What kinds of results are your clients seeing?
  • What kind of results are clients in my shoes seeing?
  • What should NOT use this for?
  • How long does it take to implement?
  • How difficult is the implementation process?
  • Who from my organization would need to be involved?
  • Are there any legal issues?
  • Is it safe and secure?
  • How likely are we to get the desired outcome?
  • Do you meet regulations/best industry practices?
  • Do you offer discounts or tiered-pricing? How does that work?
  • What additional services do you offer?
 
11 Best Discovery Call Questions:

In order to have a great discovery call, you need to ask the right questions.

  • What prompted you to explore our solution?
  • Tell me about your current process to solve X.
  • What are you looking to improve about X?
  • What would happen if you didn’t do anything, and X stayed the same?
  • Who is the decision maker?
  • Are there key dates, timelines or events to consider as we work together?
  • What, if anything, piqued your interest on our call today?
  • How would we know if our engagement was a success?
  • What types of Key Performance Indicators would you expect to impact and how?
  • Have you considered any other solutions to solve Y?
  • What needs to happen for *our product/solution* to be successful for you?
 
15 Fascinating Facts about Discovery Calls:
  1. Top-performing salespeople talk only 46% of the time during discovery calls, while lower-performing salespeople talk 68% of the time. If you want to be successful on initial calls, talk less. Active listening during discovery calls is the best approach. Source
  2. A HubSpot Research report found that 69% of buyers accepted a meeting or replied to a sales email based on the subject line alone. The significance of a compelling subject line in the discovery call invitation had a huge impact on whether they show or not.
  3. A LinkedIn Sales Solutions report revealed that 76% of buyers prefer to have a conversation about their business goals and objectives during a discovery call. You need to take a consultative approach in discovery conversations, not a sales-oriented approach.
  4. According to a Salesforce State of Sales report, 72% of sales professionals believe that having a clear agenda for a discovery call is crucial to its success. Setting expectations before the call is a huge indicator for success. Also, having a structured and consistent process aids significantly in leading to a close.
  5. Research by Source found that discovery calls that focused on identifying the prospect’s pain points had a 74% higher win rate compared to calls that didn’t, emphasizing the significance of understanding the prospect’s challenges and needs.
  6. According to a study by Sales Hacker, 63% of buyers prefer a salesperson who listens to their needs, indicating the significance of active listening and understanding the prospect’s requirements during discovery calls.
  7. A study by InsideSales.com found that 50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first, emphasizing the importance of timely follow-up and responsiveness after a discovery call.
  8. According to a report by CSO Insights, only 38% of salespeople feel well-prepared for a discovery call. If you prepare, you are already in the top 40% of sales people. If you prepare well, you can deliver a custom experience that will guide the prospect towards a closed deal.
  9. Research by TOPO revealed that personalized discovery calls, which included insights about the prospect’s industry, company, and challenges, had a 74% higher win rate compared to generic calls. Makes sure your data is customized and relevant during your discovery calls.
  10. A study by ZoomInfo found that 68% of buyers prefer to meet with salespeople who share relevant content during the discovery call, indicating the importance of providing valuable information and insights to engage the prospect.
  11. 82% of buyers accept meetings with salespeople who are viewed as trusted advisors and industry experts. When you have a reputation, people are much more willing to meet with you. Work to establish authority and expertise both before, during and after the discovery call. Sales for Life
  12. In a report by Forbes, 71% of buyers said they were more likely to engage with a salesperson if they had a strong online presence, emphasizing the importance of building trust and credibility through digital channels before the discovery call.
  13. A study by McKinsey & Company found that B2B buyers go through 70% of the decision-making process before engaging with sales, highlighting the need for salespeople to be well-prepared and provide value during the discovery call.
  14. According to a study by SalesLoft, 82% of buyers viewed at least five pieces of content from the winning vendor before making a purchase decision, underscoring the importance of providing valuable insights and resources during the discovery call.
  15. Research by Sales Enablement PRO found that 91% of buyers prefer to be contacted by email. Email is perhaps the most effective tool to connect with potential clients and customers on a consistent basis.
 
Gaining Insights from your discovery calls:

Review the Game Film: Professional athletes watch game film to improve their ability to read the game, and anticipate their opponents (anticipate objections). By reviewing insights,

Playback your calls: As difficult as it may be, reps who listen to their calls perform better. It’s just data. If you don’t listen to your or your reps game film (calls/meetings), there’s little chance for improvement.

Review calls with your team: Practice makes improvement. Reviewing calls with your team gives you the opportunity to highlight the good, and teach best practices.

Identify both strengths and pitfalls of your sales process: Every sales process needs constant care. Adding in new touch points, correcting the script, and changing outreach strategy. These insights guide you to make appropriate changes to your discovery process that lead to closed revenue.

Role play: Lastly, put what you learn into practice. Without practice, the next sales opportunity may pass you by. Role play with a manager, coworker or someone else to cement what you learn into action.

Use artificial intelligence tools: As a sales leader, is can be difficult to manage everything. This is where technology comes in. Transcribing every call, AI monitoring, lead scoring and rep performance reports, all come to you automatically using sales tools.

Keys for Sales Managers to Evaluate Sales Interactions
Key 1: Create a cohesive sales culture

Make notes of where sales calls can improve. As you listen, you can point out:

  • Things your rep should have said
  • Things your rep should NOT have said
  • Anticipating customer objections
  • Customer comments that were missed
  • and more!
 

Help create a culture of sharing. You want your employees to hear champion calls from your best reps. Tools such as Convirza make this easy. Listening to calls will help you identify trends. You may compile a list of common questions to ask, or responses to common questions. Make sure your entire team has those details as a reference for every call.

Key 2: Lead by example

If you want your sales team, sales coaches or others on your QA team to listen to calls, you need to lead by example. Lead by example and others will follow suit. Make sure you have a specific amount of time set apart each day you can listen to calls.

Lead By Example

To increase team cohesion, listen to calls alongside reps. This will help them recognize what can be done to improve from your perspective.

Key 3: Create a structure for constructive feedback

Every organization has its process for providing feedback on sales calls. This may be documented with bulleted lists, AI analysis, a call flow, or another method. This constructive feedback should be for positive and negative calls, regardless of the outcome.

Salespeople are people, too, although it may not always seem that way when you get a cold call. Salespeople appreciate feedback and the opportunity to improve. For most salespeople, this affects their livelihood. They can close more deals and make more in commission as a result.

As a manager, it’s your responsibility to provide learning opportunities for your sales team. If you want help with coaching, sales enablement, and empowering your salespeople, Convirza is here to help.

Key 4: Record your calls

Your sales discovery process is greatly enhanced when you can review call recordings. Sales recording software automatically transcribes conversations. After the fact, sales managers and agents can search transcripts for key moments and improvement opportunities or create a library of best practices. Conversation analytics provides key insights and data on every call for both inbound and outbound calls.

As a sales manager, this is extremely helpful. With tools like Convirza, you can create a library of specific moments on recorded calls. This can include champion calls, calls with unique objections, or training moments. Recording your calls also allows for call scoring and lead scoring. Call scoring enables AI to review and score any sales rep calls. Lead scoring provides insights into sentiment analysis, why the customer is calling, and how likely they are to close. This is valuable marketing information that can be used to get more of your best leads.

Key 5: Use technology that makes your life easier

Regarding technology, find a conversation intelligence platform that gives you complete visibility into every customer. Other tools like Call Tracking and Marketing Attribution Data empower sales teams to boost close rates.

In the age of AI, there are constant improvements in the world of technology. This makes a manager, marketer, CEO, and agent’s lives much easier. Evaluate every call, pull data and insights from each interaction, and analyze how that data can be applied to make positive changes using technology. Know precisely what happens in every part of the sales and customer service process.

Key 6: Monitoring performance and constant improvement

It’s pointless to spend money and not get results. If you don’t see metrics improving, changes need to be made. Technology allows you to monitor every step of the customer journey and make appropriate changes. This data and more can be accessed using Convirza’s technology suite.

With that said, consistent improvement is important to ensure results. AI coaching and in-person training help reinforce concepts that lead to closes.

In-Person Training
Improving your discovery calls:

This is your game. Professional athletes study their game film to see where they can improve.

Record: Make sure all your sales interactions are recorded. This includes emails, chats, and of course, calls. Without recording, you can’t get the information you need to improve.

Review: Recordings don’t mean much if they spend all their time in a dropbox without being used. Review your calls with others on your team, your manager, or by yourself. Give yourself the opportunity to hear and learn from previous calls.

Revamp: Make changes to your approach. Did you not ask the right questions? Did you handle their objection poorly, which led to the deal being lost? Did you use data to see how much you were talking, or things you may have missed that could help contribute to a close?

Recap

Discovery calls are the initial impression that any prospect has with your company. From a prospect’s point of view, the best the company has to offer is whatever they see. If you don’t deliver during initial contact, capturing leads and keeping the sales pipeline flowing will be tough. If you need help to perfect your discovery calls beyond this ultimate guide, talk with us to see how your close rates and more will improve.

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Tanner, Royal, Caden, Jonah, & Syd 4.5.24

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