• Matt Wolach

5 Huge Discovery Call Mistakes To Avoid

Quick tips to help you win in discovery


NOTE: I originally wrote this for SaaSSales.io, a terrific resource for learning more about SaaS sales. I'm a founding and premium author over there so go subscribe and get the best content routinely.


It seems like everyone in SaaS knows to do Discovery as part of their sales process. The problem is that not everyone knows how to do it correctly.


I see A LOT of demos; I perform Sales Process Audits for my clients where I act like a buyer and go through the entire sales process. This includes the Discovery call and the Demo, among other pieces of the process. And what I’ve found is that even experienced sales teams and sales reps make huge mistakes that kill their deals. So here are five of those mistakes to make sure your team avoids:


1. DON’T SPEAK MORE THAN YOUR PROSPECT


As the old adage goes, salespeople love to talk. Well, it gets them into trouble during the discovery process. Discovery is well named: you’re there to discover the key points about your prospect. The only way for that to happen is if they actually tell you about their challenges and goals.


However, oftentimes during discovery, the salesperson thinks they need to spend the bulk of the time talking about their accomplishments or those of their company.


Or, a sales rep will hear the buyer say something that their system can solve. So, they’ll jump in and start explaining how their product will be the answer to the prospect’s problems. The issue is that this will make the buyer stop talking, and you’ll lose an opportunity to get valuable information that could’ve helped you later in the process.


According to research from Gong.io, the best Discovery calls have the prospects talking 54% of the time. So more than half the time the sales rep needs to be listening (I would argue for an even higher amount of time, but I digress).


Discovery should be about asking the key questions, and letting the buyer divulge the necessary information. Don’t overdo it.


2. DON’T NEGLECT TO TURN ON YOUR VIDEO


We live in an amazing age. We can see and talk with people all the way across the planet. And what a powerful way to communicate! It feels like we’re in the same room having a natural conversation.


Everyone has long known that face-to-face sales is the best way to do business. In fact, since the internet age, business air travel has increased, showing that people still understand the need to get in front of their consumer.


Buyer’s gain trust from seeing you and looking into your eyes, there’s a psychological connection that happens and it creates a bond.


But too many times in SaaS sales, reps don’t use this incredible video meeting technology. They choose to do Discovery over the phone and thus they lose the chance to connect with their prospects.


Don’t miss this opportunity – turn on the video for your Discovery call.


PRO TIP: Once done with Discovery, turn the video off during the demo. People will be distracted looking at you, so let them know you want them focusing on the product.


3. DON’T JUST PASS EVERYONE TO THE NEXT STEP


One of the main reasons for doing a Discovery call, is so that you can learn if the buyer would be a good customer for you and the company.


The best companies are made of the best customers. Customers who believe in the product and the services rendered, along with the people behind them. These customers churn less, complain a lot less, and are less of a burden on support staff.


But when sales lets bad customers sign up, that can kill a company. These bad fits will not like the product, will air out their grievances to the support team – or worse, to their friends and others in the market, and they will churn early killing your LTV.


Another name for Discovery is “Qualification.” So, qualify your prospects, and reject them (nicely) if they are not a fit for you.


4. DON’T TAKE EVERYTHING AT FACE VALUE


Prospects in many cases don’t know what they need. They may think they know, but without understanding what your technology can do, they won’t have a grasp of how their problems can be solved.


Because of this, sales people need to be the experts. It’s up to them to dive into answers, go deep and truly understand the root of the issue.


When you take things at face value, you’ll miss out on the real problems and/or the actual goals the prospect has. In doing so, you’ll be missing out on opportunities to gain a complete picture of the buyer and their needs, and thus you won’t be able to associate your product to the pain points and goals of the buyer.


No association of your product to their pain, no deal.


5. DON’T BE STALE


It’s easy to design a Discovery process on paper, then never have to re-design it again. You’ve done it, just go with it and never change it.


The problem is, like anything else in the software world, things are always changing. New trends, new ways of doing things, new tools.


If your Discovery process stays the same, you’ll eventually fall out of touch and be lost forever.


Instead, know that you need to constantly tweak the process. As you hear new trends that could affect your process, adjust. As you gain feedback, audible and otherwise, from your buyers during the process – change your methods. It’s important to constantly be iterating and updating to always stay at the forefront of the industry.


Don’t be stale, keep improving.


CONCLUSION


These 5 mistakes are extremely common, and many sales teams are committing most or all of them. It leads to lost deals, and in many cases, you won’t know why.


Don’t let that happen to your team. Work on improving your sales and Discovery process so that your team can rise above the competition and achieve your goals.