Sales discovery meetings set the stage for the relationship your business has with its clients however many sales teams struggle to do this well. Not doing Discovery effectively causes opportunities to be lost forever at a critical point in the process. Learn how to overcome the top challenges and crush your Sales Discovery in 3 steps!
Sales Discovery is Challenging
Anyone that has been in sales can admit that sales discovery is hard! Here are the top 3 challenges with Sales Discovery.
Challenge 1:Different Expectations of the meeting
Sales Discovery typically occurs the first time your sales team speaks with a prospective client. It’s the beginning of their relationship and both sides have different expectations for this 30-60 minutes. Your prospects have likely been researching your solution for days/weeks before clicking the ‘request a demo’ or ‘contact sales’ button. Or perhaps they agreed to a first meeting from a cold call. Some prospects expect to see software demos while others may want a high level intro. Your sales executives’ expectation is to understand the prospect’s challenges, present their solutions, and qualify the buying opportunity. This gap produces potential friction and navigating this gap rests with sales executives.
Challenge 2:Different understanding of the business challenges
Prospects are hunting for solutions to their challenges so they come to the Discovery meeting with a deep understanding of their challenges (or what they believe their challenges are!). Sales executives know very little, if anything, about the prospect’s business challenges. So this gap in understanding of the prospect’s business is massive and requires sales executives to quickly and effectively diagnose the problems.
Challenge 3:Deciphering the prospect’s statements and connect them to your value-prop, in real-time, is difficult
When a prospect makes certain statements related to their challenges and needs, sales executives must decode them quickly. Not only do they have to understand the business problem at the root of these statements, but they have to connect them to their company’s value proposition in real-time. This is very difficult to do and every sales executive does it differently based on their experience, skill, and business acumen.
Step 1:Learn the Prospect’s Challenges BEFORE the Meeting
Sales Discovery meetings focus mainly on asking questions as sales executives try to learn the client’s business challenges. This is not a good experience for the prospect and can sometimes feel like an interrogation! If a sales team can learn their prospect’s business challenges BEFORE the meeting, the discussion can focus on how prospects can solve them using your solution!
How do you learn prospects’ challenges before the meeting? Ask them to take an interactive assessment! An interactive assessment is a digital experience where prospects answer ~15 questions about a topic/business problem and receive an instant scorecard about their business performance, recommendations for how to improve, and other analysis. This is a high value personalized experience and takes only 7-10 minutes. Prospects get instant value and are further educated about their business needs.
Step 2:Coach Your Team
The next step is to coach your sales team on how to best connect the client’s identified challenges to your solution & value prop. This eliminates each rep having to figure this out on their own. For each identified challenge, give reps the probing questions they should ask, explain how your solution addresses them along with the associated business benefits, and other clients that solved this same problem!
The most effective way to provide this coaching is using the assessment results. Don’t give reps a book of material they have to sort through. Configure the assessment platform to display only the coaching the rep needs for each specific prospect. Each prospect’s challenges will be different so only show the rep the coaching that is relevant for the prospect.
Step 3:Tailor The Conversation
Sales executives have the assessment results along with relevant coaching so the final step is to have a high value discovery call that is tailored to the prospect’s challenges and needs. Since the prospect is more educated about their needs and the sales executive is more informed, this meeting should be a discussion instead of a presentation. The discovery meeting can follow this outline:
- Introductions & personal connection (“How long have you lived in Arizona? I visited there last year…”)
- Ask prospect what they are looking to accomplish and what challenges they are looking to overcome (Note:This allows the sales executive to hear what the prospect THINKS their challenges are and their goals)
- Sales executive shares observations about the prospects needs & challenges using the assessment results & coaching
- Discuss how your solution can address the identified challenges & the business outcomes other clients have seen. Confirm if this prospect is a real sales opportunity based on their needs.
- Understand the prospect’s timing, decision making process, and next steps
- Agree on next steps and timing
The Takeaway for Sales Teams
These three steps refocus the sales discovery call on solving a client’s problems using intelligence gathered before the call and enabling the sales exec to confidently navigate the conversation. This high-value approach has shown to consistently source more opportunities, accelerate the sales process, and increase the win rate.
Using this approach, The Pedowitz Group saw a 22% higher conversion rate to opportunity, 43% increase in average deal size, and a 12% increase in win rate.
Crushing a sales discovery means rethinking the experience for prospects & sales teams. Companies that use interactive assessments such as those offered by 9Lenses put themselves in the driver’s seat of the call, ready to address their clients’ challenges before the call even begins.