7 Strategies for More Effective Sales Discovery Calls

Posted December 18, 2017

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By Serena Miller

Editor, Sales Best Practices at Outreach

When it comes to the sales process, one of the most important components is the discovery call. A good discovery call works for two reasons: you qualify prospects, and prospects qualify you. With this in mind, it pays to invest some time and effort in ensuring your discovery calls are as productive as possible.

Here are a few effective sales call tips to help your team succeed.

1. Prepare Ahead of Time

One of the most detrimental things a sales agent can do is forget to prepare for potential prospect objections ahead of time. With this in mind, it's essential to take the following steps:

  • Understand and prepare for all potential prospect reservations
  • Make a plan to counter each reservation directly, and know how you can use information to assuage fears and turn them into pitches for your business
  • Research the company so you understand how your product fits into their daily operations
  • Learn who decision-makers are, how long they've been with the company, and what their roles are
  • Start with situational questions that prove you've done your research 
  • Validate the research you've done with questions mean to confirm or deny. This allows you to build on what you know and adjust your message according to any new information you might uncover along the way

The better prepared your agents are for their sales discovery calls, the more streamlined the calls will be, and the more likely it is that they'll create positive interactions with prospects.

2. Solve an Issue

Most salespeople have heard the line "benefits rather than features." If you're going to sell a solution to your prospect, focus more on fixing their problems than you do on selling the features of the product in question. In other words, make it clear how the product can benefit them, rather than which nifty features you like about it. 
By fixing a prospect's problems, you create a compelling argument in favor of your solution. After all, if it can address that pain point, what else can it do?

3. Don't Wait to Schedule Meetings

As soon as you've piqued a prospect's interest, move to schedule the sales meeting. If you wait too long to take this step, you risk letting the prospect get away. Instead, keep your focus and take actionable steps to move the prospect further into the sales funnel. 
When you start planning for the next step as quickly as possible, it keeps the momentum going and increases the chances for a successful close. 

4. Make a 3rd Party Reference

If it'll be helpful to your prospect, share a relevant use-case. As a general rule, customers care more early in conversations about how a peer solved a similar challenge than they do later, so make sure to slip this use-case in on the beginning end of the conversation. 
As always, ensure the use case is relevant to your prospect, and that it accurately reflects a pain point they're currently dealing with. The more the prospect sees themselves in the use-case, the more likely they are to convert. 

5. Listen More

Salespeople are focused on answers, and it makes sense - that's the definition of their job. If you want to be as successful as possible, though, it pays to listen more than you talk. There are two major reasons for this. 
The first is that prospects will supply you with many of the answers you're looking for if you talk less and listen more. The second is that active listening helps to build a deeper relationship with the prospect, creating trust and reliance in a place that was previously blank.

6. Evaluate Your Success

Once you complete a discovery call, take the time to evaluate its success. Consider using sales metrics and sales engagement software to track close rate and develop a diligent strategy for figuring out which approaches work and which don't. Adjust accordingly and stay on your toes. 

7. Name the Goals

While most SDRs have a personal goal in mind when they dial the phone - to make a sale - it can help to also identify goals during the call. 
For example, how does the product or solution fit into the company's overall trajectory? How will it help them achieve the success they desire? How does it propel them to bigger and better things? 
Not only does this goal-setting process inspire confidence in the prospect, but it also helps keep you and your prospect on the same page throughout.
For more information on setting your goals, before and during the call, check out our recent post on improving your discovery call format

Creating a Better Discovery Process

In the world of modern sales, there's no "one size fits all" rule for sales discovery calls. Instead, each agent needs to tackle individual calls as just that - individuals. 
By researching each company and prospect, asking mining questions, listening more than you talk, and being proactive about scheduling sales meetings, SDRs can create a better sales discovery process, and close more as a result. And by being fluid about the architecture of discovery calls and adjusting as needed, your entire organization can enjoy a bigger bottom line and a more robust year. 


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