3 min read

Discovery call: How to prepare & run those?

Discovery call: How to prepare & run those?
Photo by Andrew Neel / Unsplash

I had a call with a customer this week. She asked how I knew so much about their situation.

This wasn't the first time I heard a comment like this.

It's all about the preparation & now I will share how I prepare for discovery calls & how we run those at TalentBee.

Why should you use your time to prepare for the first sales call?

It's super simple: You will win with a higher % when doing that. The customer feels like you understand their business and their situation.

It also ensures that you can focus on the most important things in the call and not talk about what the company is doing.

Things I go through before the discovery call

First, I open HubSpot & Notes. I write everything there to ensure everyone else can find the information later if needed.

I have built a snippet to HubSpot #Beforethefirstmeeting so I can do it systematically every time. Here they are:

1) What is the company doing

2) Who are we meeting from the company: (Link to LinkedIn profile, their role & history & some fun fact about the person)

3) Their headcount, according to LinkedIn

4) Their Leadership team members: Founder, CEO, COO, Head of sales, Head of Marketing, Head of Product

5) Their Funding round (Google: Company name + funding = Cruncbase or news)

6) Check their open roles on their website / their career page

Prepare your questions, positioning & references.

Based on the information I find, I will prepare around 5 questions for the discovery call - there are some general ones I use, but I want them to be as personalized as possible.

I also try to think how I should position ourselves towards this customer & which reference cases might interest this person. For choosing a reference story, I have a few tips for you:

1) Do you have references for the same industry? (This is quite easy for us because we focus on helping SaaS companies in their recruitment & employer branding)

2) Do you have references from similar roles --> If I'm meeting with CTO, I want to have references from other CTOs

3) Did you find out they are opening up new markets? --> Then you want to have cases around this topic and so worth.

Should you use a slide deck or not?

I've run thousands of sales calls and tried both during my career.

We are currently using decks, but don't get me wrong. It's not a company presentation. It's a deck I prepared only for this person/company I'm meeting with.

The structure looks like this:

1) Background information of their situation --> I make slides about what I found out in my research, and that's typically where I start the discussion. It always gives a good start for the meeting, and customers are impressed by the background work.

2) I then write down the questions I want to go through with the customers and have them on one slide.

3) I have a picture or two of our model that I can show if needed.

4) Few reference slides.

I should be talking as little as possible. Me talking around 20-30% and customers talking 70-80% is the ratio I'm aiming towards.

What's the outcome of the discovery call?

A mistake many salespeople make is trying to close the sale during the discovery call. It depends on what you are selling and how long your sales cycle is, etc.

In our case, the main thing is that discussion will continue after the discovery call, and you have clear next steps with the potential customer.

Is there something else you are doing to prepare for discovery calls? Please share it with me! I'm always trying to learn more about sales.