Blog

Accelerate your sales process with a discovery call

In the B2B environment with an often-lengthy sales process, there can be a tendency for salespeople to focus effort on opportunities further down the pipeline and closing the sale at the end. However, how you position yourself and your proposition at the start of an engagement is the real key to success. An early discovery call with your prospective customer will not only smooth and accelerate the sales process, but it also sows the seeds for a strong relationship, the foundation for any high value sale.

According to a recent survey by HubSpot, businesses that prioritise discovery calls are 2.1 times more likely to meet or exceed their sales quota than those who don't. A discovery call sets the tone and direction for everything that follows and gives you the opportunity to understand your prospect's pain points and needs, establish trust and move them through the sales cycle efficiently.

Structuring the call around these priorities is vital so let’s consider the key steps:

Prospect research

Having scheduled a call, research your prospect in advance so you are prepared, well informed and can present yourself as a credible brand. Understand what is happening in their industry and sector so you can relate to their needs and position yourself as a partner rather than just a supplier. Demonstrating an understanding of their business and their sector will give create an authentic connection and a solid foundation for the relationship from the start.

Brand differentiation

If your prospect feels that you understand and can relate to their situation, they will be more open and receptive to what you have to say. This will allow you to dig deeper and discover their true needs and motivations, and in turn position yourself, your brand, and your proposition more effectively. As a consultative salesperson or trusted advisor equipped with real insight into their needs, you are well placed to differentiate yourself, your business, and your solution from those of competitors.

Needs discovery.

Your approach can’t be pushy, so it’s important to explore their challenges and issues gently, maintaining rapport and, most importantly, listening. Don’t feel you have to fill gaps in conversation; silence encourages them to share. Only by uncovering their need, can you hope to explain how you can solve their problem and guide them confidently to a purchase decision. By actively listening, you make the call about them, gain their trust and build the understanding you need to present a compelling proposition.

Qualification

The value of the call isn’t just in enabling you to sell the right benefits, it is also to ‘not sell’ if you don’t have a solution that meets needs. Be clear on what a good prospect looks like so you can quickly identify those that aren’t the right fit. To qualify fit, it is important to use a variety of questioning techniques to create clarity and avoid being caught out later, when you have invested your valuable time and theirs.

Questioning techniques

Different techniques achieve different outcomes at different stages of the call. The questions below used in this order are often called ‘Funnel Questions,’ as they move the prospect further down the funnel.

  • Open questions encourage your prospect to share and help explore wider topics, opinions, feelings, and ideas.

  • Probing questions are narrower and help uncover what is behind responses to open questions.

  • Hypothetical questions, "What if?" and "If you were to...?" help flush out your prospects’ deeper thoughts.

  • Closed questions confirm that you and the prospect have the same understanding.

  • Summarising is also helpful to confirm that you are on the same page and to avoid false assumptions.

Value-based selling

The discovery call equips you to present a value-based proposition to your prospect – showing why you can solve their issue better than others. If you already have their trust, it is easier to open their eyes to different approaches, overcome inertia and create a vision of how they can improve their approach and achieve better results. Getting your prospect to consider options they weren’t aware of and recognise the value you offer is the key to successful sales.

In summary, the discovery call is the most important part of the sales process as it sets the tone and direction for everything else. By building trust, taking a customer-centric approach, and using the right questioning techniques, you can uncover needs, create a value-based proposition, and move your prospect effectively through the sales cycle. By qualifying fit early, you also ensure that you don’t waste your time with a prospect that is unlikely to become a customer.

Read more on using the phone to optimise the sales process:

10 tips for effective sales conversation

Related articles

Mid-year marketing check-in. Assessing progress.

Mid-year marketing check-in. Assessing progress.

Tuesday, June 18, 2024
Find out more
The psychology behind successful B2B sales

The psychology behind successful B2B sales

Friday, May 17, 2024
Find out more
Telemarketing – obsolete tactic or powerful strategic tool?

Telemarketing – obsolete tactic or powerful strategic tool?

Thursday, May 9, 2024
Find out more
What are you trying to prove? The value of a proof of concept

What are you trying to prove? The value of a proof of concept

Wednesday, April 3, 2024
Find out more

Our full range of telephone services

Data Services

Flexible Data Services

Data Cleansing
Data Cleansing
Clean, up-to-date data delivers better quality leads and boosts sales
Read more
Data Enrichment
Data Enrichment
Data enrichment helps you better connect with your target audience and delivers actionable insights, improved conversion
Read more
Email Opt-ins: GDPR
Email Opt-ins: GDPR
Do you have a clean, compliant, opted-in database?
Read more

Pre Sales Research

Drive your sales strategy with telephone interviewing

Pre Sales Research
Pre Sales Research
Arm your sales and marketing teams with clear customer intelligence and actionable insight.
Read more

Telemarketing

Telemarketing that’s personal, agile, smart and insightful.

Lead Generation
Lead Generation
A steady stream of qualified buyers
Read more
Call Handling
Call Handling
We can provide your customers with an expert, personalised service - making every interaction count
Read more
Appointment Setting
Appointment Setting
Successful appointment setting requires meaningful human interaction with senior decision makers
Read more
Lead Management
Lead Management
Improve lead flow and quality - turn inbound leads into sales
Read more
Event Marketing
Event Marketing
Engage high value attendees and drive registrations
Read more
Lead Qualification / Nurture
Lead Qualification / Nurture
Move leads through the funnel more strategically with our expert lead qualification and lead nurturing services
Read more

Sales

High-performance Telesales

Telesales / Inside Sales
Telesales / Inside Sales
Flexible, high performance transactional telesales and complex inside sales services.
Read more
Account Based Marketing
Account Based Marketing
Increase profitability, reverse churn and increase customer lifetime value.
Read more

Post Sales Research

Strengthen customer relationships

Welcome Calls
Welcome Calls
A welcome call is an opportunity to reach out to new customers and reduce customer churn, as part of an effective customer management strategy.
Read more
Customer Satisfaction
Customer Satisfaction
Gain a more nuanced view of your customers’ experiences through phone-based surveys.
Read more
Treating Customers Fairly / Compliance
Treating Customers Fairly / Compliance
An FCA authorised and regulated business, our expert team can help you meet your TCF compliance needs.
Read more