Discovery calls help businesses to implement a robust process to qualify sales prospects. This allows companies to identify and focus on qualified leads; streamlining their sales efforts, boosting conversion rates and ultimately driving growth and profitability.
In the latest episode of the SME Growth Podcast, Dave Parry and Richard Buckle explore some of the ways businesses can benefit from using discovery calls, some best practices to include, and how to use CRM software such as HubSpot to analyse and use the data points collected.
You can listen to the podcast episode here.
How to run a discovery call
Maximise the pre-sales call
Successful pre-sales contact for a discovery call requires a strategic approach, particularly in the realm of cold email outreach. To kick things off, one key tip is to avoid using ROI (Return on Investment) in cold emails. Surprisingly, this approach has been found to be less effective, with theories suggesting that it may come across as too good to be true or give the impression of handpicked data that doesn't truly relate to the recipient. What's intriguing is that this insight is based on real A/B testing, where emails with ROI calculations performed 15% worse compared to those without.
While this might seem counterintuitive, it highlights the need to rethink your initial cold outreach strategy.
Don’t be pushy- make it easy
It’s also important not to be pushy pre-contact. Salespeople often make the mistake of being overly enthusiastic about their product, talking about its great features before the prospect is ready to engage. It’s great to be excited about your product, but it’s essential to give the other person time to become as excited as you are.
Additionally, when sending that initial email, it's wise not to suggest meeting times or send calendar links immediately. This can come across as rushing the process, and it's better to first gauge the prospect's interest. Instead of assuming they want to meet, ask if they are interested.
As discussed in the podcast, the data suggests that offering to book a meeting at the prospect's convenience is a good strategy, but it shouldn't be done too soon in the conversation. It's about providing a solution without forcing a date on them, making it more enticing and starting a conversation.
Think about your CTA Strategy
For a successful discovery call, it's essential to consider your call-to-action (CTA) strategy. Research indicates that emails with CTAs can lead to a 15% higher success rate compared to those without CTAs. However, if your CTA is more about expressing interest rather than immediately booking a meeting, the success rate can double to 30%. Again, this highlights the importance of not rushing into meeting requests.
When it comes to phone calls, it's recommended not to start by asking if it's a good time. Research suggests that this approach is 40% less likely to result in a successful outcome, as many people use it as an opportunity to decline. Instead, it's advised to launch into the conversation without giving space for objections.
This insight aligns with the concept of persuasion, where asking for a smaller commitment before a larger one can be more effective, similar to how charities might ask for a small donation rather than asking for a significant amount of time.
Take time to build rapport
Building rapport is essential when qualifying prospects in discovery calls. Often, salespeople are eager to dive into the details, but starting with rapport can make outcomes much better. Research from Gong - Revenue Intelligence Platform indicates that beginning a call by asking about the other person, such as "Have you been?" makes it 6.6 times more likely to have a successful outcome.
Additionally, explaining why you're calling and demonstrating that you've done some research can help establish trust and make the prospect feel less like just another name on a list.
Furthermore, data shows that when the prospect curses first, and the salesperson follows up appropriately, there's a 20% increase in the chance of winning the deal. This highlights the importance of being authentic and breaking down professional barriers to connect on a more personal level, while also being judicious with language.
Know when to talk about price
In successful sales calls, the timing of discussing price and value is crucial. Ideally, it's best to introduce the topic of price early in the first call to establish transparency and manage expectations. However, the specifics can be saved for later in the conversation. Discussing pricing in the first call can lead to a 10% higher success rate compared to waiting until a subsequent call. It's also a remarkable 42% higher than not discussing it at all.
The key is to address pricing with a sense of openness and willingness to provide value. Addressing it early can help save time and remove any potential obstacles. It's about setting the stage for a conversation focused on how your offering will deliver value at the given price.
Furthermore, it's important to avoid "feature dumping," where salespeople overwhelm prospects with product or service features. Instead, focus on discussing benefits and building rapport first. Features should be a secondary consideration, and sometimes, they might not even need to be highlighted at all, as the emphasis should be on delivering value.
When to use SOCIAL PROOF
You might be surprised to learn that timing of social proof matters. While social proof is typically seen as a confidence booster, research shows that mentioning it early in the first call can be counterproductive. In fact, introducing social proof in the first call can reduce your chances of success by a whopping 47%.
This aligns with the idea that trust and value should be established before relying on external proof.
Objection and pausing
When handling objections in a discovery call well, it’s all about the art of the pause. When a prospect throws an objection your way, your first response should be to pause. This pause serves as a strategic moment to convey that you're genuinely considering their objection and giving it proper thought.
According to data analysis of phone calls, this pause has a positive effect. It demonstrates your willingness to engage in meaningful dialogue rather than hitting back with a canned response.
But what comes after the pause is just as important. Instead of immediately countering the objection with reasoning, excuses, or explanations, it's more effective to follow up with a well-crafted question. This approach is about encouraging a deeper conversation and understanding the prospect's objections on a deeper level.
Email velocity can also impact the success of a discovery call. But this isn’t about standalone volume of emails sent, it’s about back and forth, value added conversations and exchanges,
Data on this can offer interesting insights to guide forecasting and email strategy; and when presented as a visual curve of email velocity, being right in the middle is the ideal. But it’s really important to not artificially inflate email volume. It's not about flooding inboxes; it's about observing the natural flow. Think correlation, not causation.
As discussed in the podcast, the stats are really interesting. For successful deals, the average email cadence rate is 8-9 emails a week.
Here’s where your CRM system can add real value. A system such as HubSpot allows you to dive into the data and spot trends, boosting your sales game.
Using HubSpot or other Sales Intelligence Software
Effective data tracking and usage are vital in discovery calls. The biggest lesson is the need for not just more data but the right data. Many software tools provide a current snapshot but lack historical data, making it challenging to track progress. To address this Rich and Dave discuss research which suggests using tools like Gong.io, a sales intelligence platform that works alongside CRM software like HubSpot and Salesforce. It analyses calls and emails, offering insights into what's working.
This approach might raise privacy concerns as it involves content analysis, but it can provide valuable insights. The findings from these tools can highlight correlations between specific actions and positive or negative outcomes, helping sales teams make informed decisions following the call. With proper data tracking and analysis, sales professionals can improve their discovery call strategies and enhance their chances of success.
In conclusion, discovery calls serve as a vital tool for businesses seeking to streamline their sales prospecting, improve conversion rates, and drive growth. Key takeaways from this podcast episode include the need to approach pre-sales calls strategically, avoiding pushiness, emphasising the importance of a well-timed and value-focused CTA, building rapport, addressing pricing transparently, and introducing social proof at the right moment. Effective objection handling, thoughtful email velocity, and leveraging CRM and sales intelligence software like HubSpot for data analysis are all essential for enhancing discovery call strategies. By mastering these techniques and employing the right tools, businesses can significantly boost their success in the competitive world of sales.
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST
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