A Discovery Call Masterclass

In this premiere episode of our new podcast, B2B Outbound, our hosts James Snider and Chris Muldoon are joined by in-house sales expert Adam Clarke to crack the code on mastering the art of the discovery call.

The discovery call is arguably the most important step in a complex B2B sales cycle. It sets the tone and direction for how an opportunity will progress. Yet many sales reps struggle to run effective discovery calls that keep prospects engaged while extracting the key insights needed to position their solution.

In this podcast episode, we break down the anatomy of a great discovery call with Adam, an experienced sales professional who has seen the process from both the SDR and closing perspectives.

What is a Discovery Call? 

A discovery call should not be a pitching session. 

As Adam states, “The goal is understanding the prospect’s business priorities, goals, and most importantly – the challenges they are facing.” This first call is all about asking purposeful questions to diagnose their pain points and friction. Only once you grasp their current situation can you begin to position your offering as the solution.

Best Practices Set Proper Expectations: 

Don’t surprise the prospect by firing off question after question. Adam advises, “Set expectations upfront that for the next 30 minutes, you’ll be asking a lot of questions to make sure you fully understand their needs and if you’re a good fit.”

Be Investigative: 

The rep should aim to talk only 40% of the time, letting the prospect do 60% of the speaking. Use open-ended questions to uncover the “whys” behind their challenges and keep asking follow-ups to get to the root cause. As Chris explains, “Don’t just accept the surface-level issues they volunteer. Ask what have you tried before? Why didn’t that work?”

Demonstrate Understanding: 

Periodically paraphrasing and confirming the challenges is crucial for building rapport and trust. “Mirroring back their challenges shows you were listening attentively and understanding their specific situation,” says Adam.

The SCALE Framework:

At Punch we follow a framework to structure effective discovery calls:

S – Seek insights into the prospect’s overarching priorities, goals and strategy 

C – Clarify their key challenges preventing them from achieving those goals 

A – Ask strategic follow-up questions to peel back the layers on those challenges 

L – Link how your solution’s capabilities can potentially solve for those challenges

 E – Engage them with a relevant case study/success story to illustrate proof

Wrapping It Up:

Great reps don’t let momentum fizzle after the discovery call. Adam stresses, “Always book the next step meeting to continue the conversation before ending the call.” 

Other vital closing actions include:

  • Asking who else is involved in the decision process to start multi-threading
  • If appropriate, discussing budget range/constraints and the competitive landscape
  • Sending relevant follow-up content that provides more value

By treating the discovery as a two-way needs analysis, reps earn the right to advance prospects versus pushing a product. “You uncover what motivates them, understand their world, and then walk them down a path centered on their unique challenges,” says Chris. Skilled discovery sets the stage for successful sales cycles.

Listen to the full episode here.

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