cold calling

How to Execute a Sales Discovery Call

Nicolas Gromer
LAST UPDATED
April 26, 2024
READING TIME
7 min.

Discovery call isn't just another item on your sales to-do list. It's a powerful tool to get to know your leads better and sync your offerings with their needs.

A discovery call in sales is all about getting to know if the prospect is right for your business. It's a chance to dig into what the client needs and show how your product or service fits the bill.

If you execute a sales discovery call well, you'll be able to target the right prospects to make more sales faster and easier. In this article you learn how to do it.

What is a discovery call?

A discovery call is the first conversation with a prospect after they show initial interest in your product. It's an excellent chance to learn about the customer to see if they are a good fit for your what you're selling.

Discovery call can save your lots of time and resources spent on targeting wrong prospects.

In fact, data from Sales Insights Lab suggest that 50% of initial sales prospects turn out NOT to be a good fit for what your business has to offer.

Discovery calls as a bridge between what the prospect needs and what you offer. It's your chance to really get to know the prospect, find out what problems they're facing, and present your product or service as the answer they've been looking for.

What discovery calls are about?

Discovery calls executed by sales people are not about sealing the deal. They're about really understanding the prospect. A successful discovery call focuses on building a relationship, showing your prospect that you have what they need, and that you're committed to delivering a solution that works.

In this article, we dive deeper into how to make the most out of your discovery calls. We discuss how to prep for them, tackle potential issues, and make sure they're a win-win for both parties. Plus, we'll look at the best tools to make your discovery calls even more effective.

How to Execute a Sales Discovery Call

Here are 8 crucial steps you want to make to execute a perfect discovery call in sales:

1. Plan your sales discovery call: Do your homework!

2. Be excited and positive

3. Build rapport quickly

4. Ask the right questions

5. Listen!

The ideal Talk:Listen ratio is:

Sales Rep: 45% of the sales discovery call

Lead: 55% of the sales discovery call

6. Set a call duration

The ideal length of a sales discovery call is:

LTV < $1500 = 15 minutes

LTV $5000–15,000 = 30–60 minutes

7. Follow your discovery call script

For example: Hi [Name], thanks for taking the time to chat today! I'm excited to learn more about your business. I noticed you're located in Buffalo, New York - is that where you are from?

This example has a strong opening because it starts with appreciation for your prospect's time and expresses enthusiasm for the call. Second, it focuses on business first since it prioritizes the call's purpose. Lastly, it maintains a conversational tone: it keeps it friendly and personal while remaining professional.

8. Close the Deal

What questions to ask in a discovery call?

There are many questions sales people can ask their prospects. Here are nine most important discovery call questions to ask your prospects:

  1. What goal is your business trying to achieve right now?
  2. What are the biggest obstacles you're facing in achieving those goals?
  3. What are your top priorities for [relevant area] in the next 6-12 months?
  4. Who is involved in the decision-making process for [product/service]?
  5. What is your typical timeline for evaluating and implementing new solutions?
  6. What's your budget for achieving your goals?
  7. What questions do you have for me about how our solution could work for you?
  8. Do you have any concerns about our product that I can address?
  9. Can we go ahead and schedule a follow-up with one of our sales reps?

It's important to note that you should tailor your questions to the specific prospect, their industry, and the product or service you're selling.  

Actively listen to their responses and use them to go deeper into your prospect's challenges and goals.

By the end of the call, you should have a clear understanding of their situation and whether you can offer a valuable solution.

Application of Discovery Calls in the Sales Ecosystem

Discovery calls aren't just initial chats but more like strategic peeks into your prospect's world.

They let you figure out what challenges your potential customers are facing and what they really want. With this intel, you can shape your sales pitch so it hits home and ups your chances of making a sale.

The most important part of the discovery call is the questions you ask your prospect. These questions aren't just small talk; they're smart moves to draw out important info.

If you ask the right questions during a discovery call, you'll get to know not just what your prospect needs, but also where they're at now and what they're aiming for. This helps you line up your business goals with what your prospect needs, making it easier to pitch your product or service as the perfect fix.

In a nutshell: discovery calls are more than just talk. They're a strategic part of your sales process that can lead to custom-fit pitches and, ultimately, more deals closed. By asking the right questions, you make it easier to align what you're selling with what your prospects are looking for, resulting in more sales down the line.

Discovery Calls: Optimize your Sales Approach

Discovery calls are your go-to for lead generation and management, offering a deep-dive into what your prospects really want and need.

Moreover, discovery calls boost lead generation and management. Forget the notion that discovery calls are just introductory chats. These calls are actually a killer way to identify and understand potential customers. They let you size up interest levels and get leads into your sales funnel. Plus, a well-executed call can turn a maybe into a definite yes, ramping up your conversion rates.

Discovery calls also play a multi-role in sealing the deal. Think of them as Swiss Army knives in your sales process. Discovery calls don't just help in lead generation and management; they also streamline your sales moves.

By understanding your prospects, you can craft a sales pitch that's more than just a shot in the dark—it's a targeted hit that can really up your conversion game.

To sum it up: discovery calls aren't just a box to tick off; they're a crucial part of your sales strategy. From lead generation to lead management and streamlining the sales process, they help you connect with prospects and customers in a way that boosts conversions and closes deals.

Discovery Calls: Address Buyer Pain Points

If you want to get your sales right, you've got to understand what your prospects are going through. And one of the best ways to get into their heads is by making good use of discovery calls. These calls set the stage for you to dig deep and find out what your prospects really need and what's bugging them.

  • How discovery calls help you spot your prospects' real issues

Don't underestimate the potential of a well-crafted discovery call. It's not just a chat—it's your chance to identify the big (or little) problems your prospects are dealing with. By asking open-ended questions, you can go beyond surface-level needs and really understand the challenges they're up against. This is golden info for tailoring your product or service into the perfect solution.

  • Why smart questioning is the key to solving prospects' problems

The questions you ask in a discovery call can either move you forward or stop you dead in your tracks. Well-thought-out, insightful questions can help you get clear on what the prospect's present challenges and goals are. That info becomes your secret sauce for presenting your product or service as the go-to fix for their issues.

In a nutshell discovery calls are a heavy hitter in your sales toolkit. They help you get to the heart of your prospects' challenges and needs. By leveraging the power of smart questioning, you can position your product or service as the answer to their problems, boosting your sales and making your customers happier in the process.

Discovery Calls: Finding a Good Fit for Your Business  

One of the main goals of a discovery call is to see if the prospect is a match for your business. To do this, you'll want to understand their needs, hurdles, and aspirations, and then line them up with what your product or service can do for them.

Great sales discovery call starts from a great script. A killer script for your discovery call isn't set in stone; it's more like a roadmap to keep the chat on course. It should have open-ended questions that get your prospect talking about their needs and challenges. Also, make sure to slot in some key points about how your product or service can be the answer they've been searching for.

Next, it's important to keep the convo fresh and avoid hitting replay. The trick to a successful discovery call is active listening. That means really getting what your prospect is saying, not just hearing the words. To avoid sounding like a broken record, switch up your questions and the info you share. This will keep the chat engaging and stop either of you from zoning out.

To sum it up discovery calls are all about figuring out if a prospect is your next customer. A flexible but targeted script and attentive listening skills are key to making sure these calls hit the mark. By doing this, you'll not only understand your prospects better but also make a stronger case for why your solution is the right fit.

The Best Tools to Make a Successful Sales Discovery Call

In today's sales game, you've got a variety of tools that can take your discovery calls from good to great. From structuring your calls to automating the process, here's a quick rundown on what's out there.

Here are the best tools you want to use to make sure you get the most out of your discovery call:

  • CRM tools for call structure. Think Salesforce, HubSpot, and Pipedrive. These CRMs help you keep track of your interactions with prospects and even schedule your calls. Plus, they offer valuable insights about each prospect, letting you fine-tune your approach.
  • Be smarter about your prospects with intelligence tools. Tools like Clearbit can amp up your buyer intelligence by providing a deep dive into each prospect's profile. This helps you tailor your calls, increasing the odds of nailing that sale.
  • Automate prospecting with lead handling tools. If you're looking for efficiency, tools like lemlist have you covered. They automate your prospecting from A to Z, and even throw in analytics to help you see what's working and what needs a tweak.

  • Keep tabs on your calls with analytics tools. Tools like Clari let you track key metrics of your discovery calls, like how long you talked and what the outcome was. This gives you data-driven insights for future calls.
  • Up your call game with training tools. Training tools like Gong offer real-time coaching during your calls. They can even analyze your past calls to point out what you can do better next time.
  • Automate your workflow.Want your sales team to focus on closing deals instead of logistics? Automation tools like Zapier can handle scheduling and even send those crucial follow-up emails.

These tools can supercharge your discovery calls, but remember, they're just tools. The real magic happens when you blend these tech advantages with genuine relationship-building and a deep understanding of your prospects' unique needs and challenges.

3 Steps to Choose the Best Tools for your Discovery Calls

After you've gotten the lay of the land with the various tools out there, the next big step is picking the ones that mesh with your business goals and needs. Here's a roadmap to guide you through it.

Step 1: Get all hands on deck

Before making a decision, loop in everyone who's going to use or be affected by this new tool—from your sales reps to your managers and even the IT folks. They can offer a range of insights on whether the tool fits your budget, if it's user-friendly, and how well it'll play with your existing systems.

Step 2: Check the safety box

Whichever tools you're considering will be dealing with customer data, so you'll want to give the vendor's security chops a close look. Make sure they tick off all the boxes on data encryption, regular security checks, and compliance with industry norms.

Step 3: Tailor your tool choice to specific needs

Your business isn't a one-size-fits-all, and neither are your prospects. The tool you pick should line up with the unique challenges and needs you and your prospects have. If you're all about lead generation, opt for a tool that shines in that area. And if your prospects have complicated questions, a tool that can help you ask the right probing questions could be a winner.

The right tools can make your discovery calls far more effective, but it's crucial to pick ones that align with your business needs and those of your prospects. Include everyone who'll use the tool in the decision-making process, double-check security features, and make sure the tool can tackle your specific challenges to get the most bang for your buck.

Limitations of the Discovery Call Tools

Although tools can supercharge your discovery calls, they're not a stand-in for the personal touches that only you can provide. We're talking about the kind of customer service that makes people feel seen and heard—something no tool can replicate.

It's not either-or, it's both. The trick is to balance tech with touch. Tools can gather data, automate tasks and even guide your conversation, but at the end of the day, it's your personal interaction that makes all the difference. Listening actively, responding with empathy, and showing a genuine desire to solve the prospect's problem are things only you can do.

Putting it all together. So, are discovery calls worth the hype? Absolutely. They give you the lowdown on what your prospects need, making it easier for you to tailor your pitch. From lead generation to customer fit, the advantages are many. But just remember, while tools can level up your game, they can't play the game for you.

Key Takeaways

Discovery calls are gold in your sales strategy—they can unlock new opportunities and help you build lasting relationships with your prospects.

With the right mix of tools and that irreplaceable human touch, you're not just closing deals; you're opening doors to long-term business success.

Here are the main points about sales discovery calls to remember:

  • Purpose of Discovery Calls: They are crucial for understanding if a prospect is suitable for your business by discussing their needs and how your product can help.
  • Benefits of Effective Discovery Calls: Successful calls can identify the right prospects, saving time and resources by focusing on those who are more likely to convert.
  • Importance of Questions: Asking the right questions during the call helps to gather essential information about the prospect’s current situation and goals, aligning your solutions effectively.
  • Strategic Value: Discovery calls are more than initial conversations; they are strategic opportunities to delve into the prospect’s challenges and customize your pitch.
  • Role in Sales Ecosystem: They play multiple roles in the sales process, including lead generation, lead management, and enhancing the precision of sales pitches.
  • Use of Tools: Utilizing CRM tools, intelligence tools, and automation can optimize the efficiency and effectiveness of discovery calls.
  • Human Element: Despite the benefits of tools, the personal touch in communication remains irreplaceable, emphasizing empathy, active listening, and genuine problem-solving.
  • Tool Selection Strategy: When choosing tools, consider your business and prospect needs, security features, and the impact on existing systems to ensure they support your sales goals effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the difference between a cold call and a discovery call?

Cold calls target prospects who haven't had any prior contact with your B2B company. Sales reps typically use scripts and rely on effective communication skills to generate interest and qualify leads. On the other hand, discovery calls are conversations with prospects who have already shown some level of interest in your product or service. Discovery calls are used to delve deeper into the prospect's needs, understand their challenges, and determine if your offering is a good fit.

What are goals of a discovery call?

The purpose of a discovery call is to find out if there's a potential fit between the prospect's needs and the company's offering.

What is the difference between a sales call and a discovery call?

The purpose of a sales call is to close the sale and convert the prospect into a customer. Meanwhile, the purpose of a discovery call in sales is to find out if your prospect is a good fit for your service or product that you're offering.

How do you nail a discovery call?

There are main steps to make to make sure your discovery call is successful:

  1. Do your research.
  2. Set a clear goal for your discovery call
  3. Establish a two-way rapport
  4. Focus on the prospect's pain points
  5. Provide your prospect with a solution
  6. Make an after-call review
  7. Follow-up

What questions should you ask the prospect?

The best discovery questions are open-ended. They can be about your prospect's obstacles and challenges, or current business processes that relate to what you’re trying to sell.

What is the sales discovery process?

There are several steps in the sales pipeline that focus on building a connection with your prospect:

1. Researching potential sales prospects in your CRM

2. Cold calling and connecting with your prospect

3. Asking your prospect qualifying questions

4. Answering your prospect's questions

5. Solving your prospect’s biggest challenges

6. In the best scenario: moving your prospect to the next stage of the sales funnel

What is the biggest mistake salespeople make in a discovery call?

The bigest mistake salespeople do, both experienced and new to the business, is not listening to the prospect responding to their question. If you're too focused on what the things you are going to say next, you won't have a smooth discussion. It's important to remember that customers don't care about features. They care about if you can actually help them.

Nicolas Gromer
Growth Marketer @lemlist | Providing you the insights to master cold emails and accelerate your business growth!
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